Discussion paper

DP7626 Profit Taxation, Innovation and the Financing of Heterogeneous Firms

Credit constraints are more frequent among growth companies with large investment opportunities. For the same reason, profit taxes may harm innovative firms more than standard ones. This paper develops a model of heterogeneous firms where an endogenous share opts for innovation and faces credit constraints in the subsequent expansion phase. We emphasize four results: (i) R&D subsidies not only encourage innovation but also relax finance constraints and help innovative firms to exploit investment opportunities to a larger extent. (ii) Taxes which are neutral in a neoclassical world, still restrict expansion investment of constrained firms by reducing free cash-flow and thereby discourage innovation. (iii) A revenue neutral increase in profit taxes to finance larger R&D subsidies redistributes towards innovative firms and boosts aggregate productivity and welfare. (iv) A revenue neutral tax cut cum base broadening policy similarly boosts innovation and welfare.


Keuschnigg, C and E Ribi (2010), ‘DP7626 Profit Taxation, Innovation and the Financing of Heterogeneous Firms‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 7626. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp7626