Friday, July 3, 2009

Economics 03/07/2009: Ireland's Research Sectors - a net positive

CSO released their latest data on R&D spend in Ireland for 2007/2008.
Chart above shows overall R&D expenditure by type of firm in 2007 and 2008. In both 2007 and 2008 larger firms dominated overall R&D expnditure in Ireland, but there was a marginal increase in the share acruing to small firms as well. There has been only marginal growth in terms of overall spend between 2007 and 2008. Still a net positive, when compared to the rest of economic activity.
Total capital spending on R&D declined for larger firms, but rose for smaller firms. Ditto for foreign owned enterprises as opposed to domestic enterprises. Across the board, foreign owned companies vastly dominate R&D spending space in Ireland, though domestic enterprises are closing the gap. Again, a net positive. Capital spending overall declined, as expected, given the fall in the value of land and buildings.
Current expenditure on R&D (inclusive of labour costs) rose for all categories of firms. The smallest percentage increase was for foreign owned enterprises and manufacturing. Again, net positive, albeit marginal. And in the long run, this might be signalling rising pressure on R&D competitiveness. No analysis is provided in terms of off-set in R&D Capital spending savings agains Current spending inflation.Labour costs rose at a significant margin for all players, except for manufacturing enterprises. Net negative for the 'knowledge' economy. Apparently - doubling PhDs output does little to reduce their cost.Own funds are dominant as a source for R&D financing, with small firms, expectedly, leading larger firms in the importance of public funding. In general, public funding is extremely marginal. Again, this is good news. This is true in relative - percentage - terms (above) and in absolute terms (below).
Table below shows the sectoral breakdown of total R&D spending:
Predictably, MNCs-led sectors account for over 70% of the total spend. This is ok in the short run, but must be reduced in the long run if we are to lower the risk of significant withdrawal of one or two leading MNCs from the market.

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