Better treatment for R&D?

Thomas Masterson | July 1, 2010

A post in the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog notes that counting research and development as investment rather than as an expense would have increased gross domestic product by 2.7 percent between 1998 and 2007 (they refer to new numbers from the BEA). If this were standard national accounting practice, then measured GDP would have grown 0.2 percent faster, or an average of 3 percent annually. It makes some sense to treat R&D as an investment, but this item begs the question: would anyone have been better off if we did?

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