At the heart of the government’s industrial strategy is a commitment to increase overall UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP in 2027. Currently investment stands at 1.67% of GDP. So this has got to be a good thing? Actually this target is not very ambitious when measured against comparable countries and this lack of ambition is likely to affect the future prosperity of people living in the UK.
A comparison between the UK, France and Germany using OECD data shows that the UK has invested less in R&D than France as a share of GDP since 1986 and less than Germany since 1980. These differences are large and have persisted over a long time. It is perhaps worth noting that the share of R&D spending in GDP for the United states has always been above 2.4% and recently has been at around 2.7%.
A previous post outlined a number of major inventions (or macro-inventions) of the eighteenth century that were the basis for the inventions of the nineteenth century that propelled productivity growth. These innovations, according to Robert Allen, would not have taken place in Britain in the absence of cheap coal deposits. Another unique factor driving the innovations was Britain’s expensive labour. Labour was expensive in Britain, and economic historians have traced the origins of the high wages back to the Black Death plague (in the 14th century) that reduced the working age population significantly. Moreover, Britain’s commercial success in the international economy played a role in the growth of wages.
The First Asia-Pacific Workshop on Empirical Methods in Innovation, IP and Competition was held atNational Law Universityin Delhi in early March 2017. The workshop brought together researchers and regulators from India and South East Asia. Sessions focussed on the economics of IP law, the link between competition and IP law, regulation of competition and empirical research on effects of patents, trade marks, copyright and alternatives to IP.