Študija ekonomskih vidikov javnega financiranja raziskav in inovacij

Generalni direktorat za raziskave in inovacije (GD RTD) Evropske komisije redno izvaja analize gospodarskega vpliva naložb in reform na področju raziskav in inovacij (I&R). V pravkar objavljeni študiji The economic rationale for public R&I funding and its impact obravnavajo ekonomske vidike javnega vlaganja v raziskave in inovacije.

V poročilu ugotavljajo, da so vplivi financiranja R&I pomembni, saj deluje kot katalizator spodbujanja višje rasti produktivnosti, kar je pogoj za pospešitev gospodarske rasti in za ustvarjanje več in boljših zaposlitvenih možnosti. Žal pa Slovenija v poročilu ni omenjena v dobri družbi.


Overall, ample empirical evidence demonstrates that R&I is a key driver of productivity and economic growth. While the estimated impacts vary depending on the methodology used and the period, countries and industries analysed, some typical findings of the estimates of R&I impacts on productivity and economic growth are:

  • Two-thirds of economic growth in Europe from 1995 to 2007 derives from R&I, broadly defined (Bravo-Biosca et al, 2013). The most restrictive definition of R&I estimates its impacts on labour productivity growth, between 2000 and 2013, at 17% in countries such as Finland, Germany or the United Kingdom and at near 30% in Ireland (INTAN-INVEST and EIB, 2016)
  • Among all investment categories that drive labour productivity growth, including investment in tangible capital, or economic competences, R&I accounted for 15% of all productivity gains in Europe, with large differences across Member States in the period between 2000 and 2013. In Finland or the United Kingdom, R&I accounted for 50% and 40% of productivity gains respectively, while in Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic or Slovenia, it accounted for less than 10%. In the United States, it accounted for one third of all gains (INTAN-INVEST and EIB, 2016)
  • An increase in 10% of R&D investment is associated with gains in productivity between 1.1% and 1.4% (Donselaar and Koopmans, 2016). It should be noted that in absolute terms, an increase in 1.1%-1.4% in labour productivity is much higher than an increase in 10% of R&D investment. In the European case, for example, if there is no change in the amount of hours worked, an increase of 1.1% in labour productivity would represent an increase of 1.1% in GDP. In other words, an increase in R&D investment of 0.2% of GDP would result in an increase of 1.1% of GDP, i.e. an increase five times bigger in absolute terms.

These impacts on productivity and economic growth are mainly driven by significant rates of return to R&I investment for firms investing in R&I:

  • While there is a large heterogeneity of results depending of the particular study, the rate of return to investment, or the economic benefits that a firm gets when investing in R&D, in advanced economies is estimated to be in the 10% to 30% bracket. In other words, for every 100 euros a company invests in R&D, the net benefit it obtains is between 10 and 30 euros for every year the R&D investment is considered not to have become obsolete (Hall et al, 2010)

The benefits of public R&I funding have been well documented, even if results are not at all times fully robust. Public R&I creates new knowledge, methodologies or enhanced skills that are crucial to facilitate innovation creation and the diffusion of innovations. Measuring the full impact of public R&I is complex given the nature, timing and multiplicity of its transmission channels- many of them indirect- through which the benefits accrue. In addition, existing methodologies continue to face a number of challenges to accomplish this task. Among the studies that have found positive effects using a variety of methodologies:

  • Public R&D drives productivity growth. An increase of 10% in public R&D results in an increase of 1.7% in Total Factor Productivity which in turn results in higher economic growth (Guellec and van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2004). Some other studies, however, have not been able to find such a positive relationship using macro-econometric models.
  • Some studies have calculated the economic returns to public R&D to be around 20%, i.e. for every 100 euros of public R&D invested, an economy expands by 120 euro, providing a net benefit of 20 euros, for every year the R&D investment is considered not to have become obsolete. (Sveikaucas 2012, Georghious 2015)
  • Public funding of private R&D, via tax incentives, grants or financial schemes, seems to have a positive leverage impact to increase business R&D investment, although its role and impact are different and depend on the design and implementation (IMF, 2016).

In the EU context, in particular, the economic impact of EU funded research through the EU Framework Programmes, and notably of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), reveal important positive economic impacts in sustaining economic growth and job creation. They also reveal the contribution of FP7 to building better conditions for private R&D activities across the EU. More precisely, FP7 has been estimated to contribute to an increase of 500 billion euros to GDP in a period of 25 years, the creation of 130000 research jobs in a period of 10 years and 160000 additional jobs in the broader economy in a period of 25 years.

Against this backdrop, this paper concludes that:

  1. The impact of public R&I funding is large and significant as it acts as a catalyser to boost the productivity growth needed to accelerate economic growth and the creation of more and better job opportunities.
  2. Maximising the impact of public R&I funding will require the adoption of holistic strategies that enable faster and deeper innovation development and diffusion across companies, sectors and countries that have been holding back the positive impacts of R&I in recent years. More precisely, improving the business environment in terms of market functioning, including measures to overcome the persistent fragmentation of the single market in Europe and make the R&I system increasingly open will be crucial. In addition, investing in human capital and ensuring appropriate financing are also important.
  3. The implementation of public R&I funding should be well targeted to cover the whole research-innovation spectrum, including market creating innovations; and channelled through the appropriate R&I instruments that need to be properly designed and implemented based on the local conditions that affect their effectiveness.

Še odlomek iz strani 15, kjer je ponovno omenjena Slovenija:

  • R&I investment, on average accounted for around 10% of labour productivity growth in the EU, while in the United States it was 17%,. However, there are large national disparities. Notably for countries such as Finland, Germany and the United Kingdom, R&I accounted for 17% of all labour productivity growth, while in Ireland it reached almost 30%. By contrast, R&I played a minor role in driving labour productivity growth in countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.
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