Monday, 20 April 2015

Spending on Science, new paper

We have a new paper on this: Goodridge, P., Haskel, J., Hughes, A., and Wallis, G., (2015). The contribution of public and private R&D to UK productivity growth, Imperial College Discussion Paper, 2015/03, March 2015,   available at

The abstract  is

We estimate the contribution of public and private R&D to UK productivity growth on industry data, 1992-2007. R&D affects productivity growth via (1) R&D input, valued at competitive factor shares and (2) (Domar-Hulten weighted) industry TFP growth if there are (a) within-industry spillovers (b) between-industry spillovers and (c) spillovers from public-sector R&D to the market sector. Thus effects depend upon factor shares, spillovers and industrial structure. We estimate all these effects and perform counter-factual experiments such as e.g. additional government spending on the science budget, increased manufacturing R&D spending and the effects of such changes with a different industrial structure.

Our central estimate of the rate of return to public spending on science is  20%.

This the article behind my interview in the FT this weekend,


  1. Why do you think that the UK’s spending on scientific research has been so low over the past few years? Surely if funding research is such an easy sell for politicians then there must be more money than that going into it? In 2013 George Osborne said that scientific spending by the government would stay flat for the rest of the parliament. Do you think his was a good move from him or should he have committed to raising the amount of funding spent on scientific research? If so then by how much should the treasury have increased the budget?
    However, as it would be difficult to convince the public that making the deficit larger would help where do you propose the funding for increased scientific and technological research would come from? The Foreign Aid Budget is becoming increasingly unpopular these days. Or are there other areas you would see fit to cut in order to increase research. Are there any other areas in which you would like to see an increase in spending? Any others that you would prioritise more than scientific research.

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