NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

International Comparisons of R&D Expenditure: Does an R&D PPP Make a Difference?

Sean M. Dougherty, Robert Inklaar, Robert H. McGuckin, Bart van Ark

NBER Working Paper No. 12829
Issued in January 2007
NBER Program(s):   PR

Purchasing power parities (PPPs) for R&D expenditure in 19 manufacturing industries are developed for France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom relative to the United States for the years 1997 and 1987. These PPPs are based on R&D input prices for specific cost categories and differ substantially from current practice of comparing R&D expenditure using GDP PPPs and deflators. After taking into account differences in the relative price of R&D labor and materials, separate PPPs for other R&D cost categories are less essential, and a simpler version using GDP PPPs for these other categories should suffice. Our preferred PPPs are used to compare international R&D costs and intensity. The results suggest that the efforts devoted to R&D in each country are more similar across countries than is apparent using the nominal R&D intensities that are currently the norm.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12829

Published: International Comparisons of R&D Expenditure: Does an R&D PPP Make a Difference?, Sean M. Dougherty, Robert Inklaar, Robert H. McGuckin, Bart van Ark. in Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, Berndt and Hulten. 2007

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