The Decline in Corporate Research: Should We Worry?

The Decline in Corporate Research: Should We Worry?

Friday, March 31, 2017
Duke University's "Duke in DC" Offices

Congressional Briefing
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Government data and research point to a long decline in US corporate investment in upstream research. How pervasive is this trend across industries, technologies, and firms of different sizes? How does it compare with research spending by the federal government, universities, and companies abroad? Does it reflect less reliance on research, whoever performs it? Is it explained by capital market pressures, global competition, or other factors? Has it contributed to the slowdown in productivity growth? Are there other reasons policymakers should be concerned? If so, what policy levers should they look to—e.g., intellectual property, tax, government R&D spending, or antitrust enforcement?

Speakers included Eduardo Porter, New York Times columnist; Katrine Bosley, Editas Medicine CEO; Bill Raduchel, former AOL CTO; Bill Janeway, Warburg Pincus partner; Eric Toder, Tax Policy Center director; Howard Shelanski, former director OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; and scholars from Duke, Harvard, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and Berkeley.

This program was sponsored by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  Agenda   |   Speaker Bios


1st Session: The Evidence
Moderator:

Eduardo Porter, The New York Times

Presenters:

Ashish Arora and Sharon Belenzon,
Duke Fuqua School of Business

Slides


2nd Session: Historical and Economic Contexts
Discussants:

1. Historical perspective on corporate R&D
David Hounshell, Carnegie-Mellon University
Slides

2. Economic implications of research investments
Carol Corrado, The Conference Board
Slides

3. How research and innovation have changed
William Raduchel, Independent Director &
Georgetown McDonough School of Business


3rd Session: Perspectives from IT, Life Sciences, and Materials

Moderator:

Wesley Cohen, Duke Fuqua School of Business

Panelists:

Katrine Bosley, Editas Medicine
Mary Cummings, Duke Pratt School of Engineering
Steve Freilich, Du Pont Central R&D (ret.)
Slides
James McGroddy, IBM Research (ret.)
Slides
Jeff Smith, McKinsey and Company


4th Session: Panel Discussion on Forces for Change

Moderator:

Bill Janeway, Warburg Pincus & Cambridge University

Discussants:

1. Globalization: Increased competition and increased
    market opportunities
Pian Shu, Harvard Business School
Slides

2. Capital markets, risk tolerance, and investment
     horizons
Shiva Rajgopal, Columbia Business School
Slides
Ralph Gomory, IBM & the Alfred P. Sloan Found. (ret.)
Slides


5th Session: Policy Options and Trade-offs

Moderator:

James Turner, former Counsel, House Science Comm.

Discussants:

1. Increasing and rebalancing the public
    research portfolios
Stephen Merrill, Duke Law School
Slides

2. Tax Policy
Eric Toder, Urban Institute Tax Policy Center
Slides

3. Antitrust
Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University Law Center
Michael Katz, UC Berkeley

4. Intellectual property
Arti Rai, Duke Law School
Slides