John D. Burger, Norman Sedgley, Kerry M. Tan
July 15, 2017
Article number: 20160090
This paper investigates the impact of output and credit market shocks on R&D spending in advanced economies and builds on the commonly accepted view that credit constraints lead to procyclical R&D spending. A theoretical model is developed where output and credit shocks are treated separately, though these shocks may be highly correlated. The estimation procedure utilizes a panel vector autoregression (VAR) in order to empirically identify the role of credit market shocks separately from the output shocks more commonly studied in the existing literature. The primary empirical findings can be summarized as follows: (1) R&D responds pro-cyclically to output shocks at the macroeconomic level, and (2) R&D co-moves positively with credit. More concretely, the results indicate that negative output shocks induce a simultaneous and subsequent contraction in credit and R&D consistent with a model where credit constraints drive cyclical adjustments to R&D. The impact of output and credit shocks on R&D are economically significant and a simulation exercise suggests the shocks associated with the global financial crisis have reduced US R&D by 10% relative to the pre-crisis path.