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R&D Tax Incentives and Innovation: Examining the Role of Programme Design in China

Dai, Xiaoyong; Chapman, Gary

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Xiaoyong Dai


Successful tax incentive interventions rely on effective programme design, yet designing an effective programme is highly challenging. We draw on the policy design and tax incentive literature to shed light on how two policy design choices – the nature and targeting of the incentive - shape the innovation effectiveness of a high- and new-technology enterprise tax incentive programme in China. We first find evidence that, on average, the programme can stimulate increases in firm R&D and patenting. Not all firms benefit equally, however. Second, we find that firms with larger incentives experience greater innovation impacts, but that high incentive values may crowd out R&D. We also find multiyear incentives to be effective for stimulating firm innovation in all years, but only in the initial years for R&D. Finally, for targeting, following a ‘picking winners’ strategy may enhance programme effectiveness as we find stronger innovation impacts for firms with greater programme experience, certification likelihood, and innovation experience. Our study contributes by helping resolve the theoretical ambiguity about how policy design choices about tax incentives' value, duration, and targeting can impact innovation effectiveness, by providing insights on the effectiveness and heterogeneity of the innovation impacts of tax incentives in emerging economies, and by providing more explicit guidance on how to design tax incentive programmes to raise R&D and innovation.


Dai, X., & Chapman, G. (2022). R&D Tax Incentives and Innovation: Examining the Role of Programme Design in China. Technovation, 113, Article 102419.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 12, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2021
Publication Date May 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jun 22, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 20, 2023
Journal Technovation
Print ISSN 0166-4972
Publisher Elsevier BV
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 113
Article Number 102419
Keywords Public Support; Policy Design; Tax Incentives; Innovation; Picking Winners; China
Public URL
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Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: R&D tax incentives and innovation: Examining the role of programme design in China; Journal Title: Technovation; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:


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