7/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
Let me preface this post by saying I am not a macro guy. I get the national accounts, but only so far. But I understand the concept that we are misconceptualizing our national output by not recognizing that R&D investments are longer-term investments and should be capitalized.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis has a new data release
looking at revised GDP estimates through 2007 if R&D investments were capitalized (which it has not been in the past). The biggest thing that stood out to me in their analysis was this: "Biotechnology and information, communication, and technology (ICT) industries accounted for four-fifths of the business sector’s R&D contribution to GDP growth between 1998 and 2007." While ICT is a usual suspect in driving growth during this period, I hadn't expected to see the significant growth in biotechnology. This makes me think back to some recent testimony from a colleague, Lesa Mitchell
, which included a section on the seemingly sad returns to recent investments in life sciences research.
More detailed information about the 2010 R&D Satellite Account will be available in an article in the Survey of Current Business later this year. The article will describe the satellite account in more detail and will include statistics for R&D-intensive industries for 1987-2007, as well as statistics for the regional and international accounts.