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The Causal Effects of an Industrial Policy

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  • Chiara Criscuolo
  • Ralf Martin
  • Henry Overman
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

Business support policies designed to raise productivity and employment are common worldwide, but rigorous micro-econometric evaluation of their causal effects is rare. We exploit multiple changes in the area-specific eligibility criteria for a major program to support manufacturing jobs (“Regional Selective Assistance”). Area eligibility is governed by pan-European state aid rules which change every seven years and we use these rule changes to construct instrumental variables for program participation. We match two decades of UK panel data on the population of firms to all program participants. IV estimates find positive program treatment effect on employment, investment and net entry but not on TFP. OLS underestimates program effects because the policy targets underperforming plants and areas. The treatment effect is confined to smaller firms with no effect for larger firms (e.g. over 150 employees). We also find the policy raises area level manufacturing employment mainly through significantly reducing unemployment. The positive program effect is not due to substitution between plants in the same area or between eligible and ineligible areas nearby. We estimate that “cost per job” of the program was only $6,300 suggesting that in some respects investment subsidies can be cost effective.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17842.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17842

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References

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  1. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  2. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2011. "Public support to clusters: A firm level study of French "Local Productive Systems"," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 108-123, March.
  3. Xulia González & Jordi Jaumandreu & Consuelo Pazó, 2001. "Barriers to innovation and subsidy e¤ectiveness," Working Papers 0112, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
  4. Gobillon, Laurent & Magnac, Thierry & Selod, Harris, 2012. "Do unemployed workers benefit from enterprise zones? The French experience," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 881-892.
  5. Takalo, Tuomas & Tanayama, Tanja & Toivanen, Otto, 2008. "Evaluating innovation policy: a structural treatment effect model of R&D subsidies," Research Discussion Papers 7/2008, Bank of Finland.
  6. Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian & Py, Loriane, 2012. "The Impact of Urban Enterprise Zones on Establishments' Location Decisions: Evidence from French ZFUs," CEPR Discussion Papers 9074, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," NBER Working Papers 16300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David Y. Albouy, 2008. "The Unequal Geographic Burden of Federal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. David Neumark & Jed Kolko, 2008. "Do Enterprise Zones Create Jobs? Evidence from California's Enterprise Zone Program," NBER Working Papers 14530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ruane, Frances P., 1982. "Corporate income tax, investment grants, and the cost of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 103-109, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Giorgio Barba Navaretti & Anthony J. Venables, 2013. "Multinationals and industrial policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 361-382, SUMMER.
  2. Stephen Gibbons & Teemu Lyytikäinen & Henry Overman & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner, 2012. "New Road Infrastructure: the Effects on Firms," SERC Discussion Papers 0117, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  3. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter H. & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2010. "Going NUTS: The effect of EU Structural Funds on regional performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 578-590, October.
  4. Mayer,T. & Mayneris, F. & Py, L., 2013. "The impact of Urban Enterprise Zones on establishment location decisions: Evidence from French ZFUs," Working papers 458, Banque de France.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Ufuk Akcigit & Nicholas Bloom & William R. Kerr, 2013. "Innovation, reallocation and growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51556, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Richard Harris & John Moffat, 2011. "Plant-level determinants of total factor productivity in Great Britain, 1997-2006," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33561, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Guido Pellegrini & Augusto Cerqua, 2011. "Are the subsidies to private capital useful? A Multiple Regression Discontinuity Design Approach1," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1323, European Regional Science Association.
  8. Bernini, Cristina & Pellegrini, Guido, 2011. "How are growth and productivity in private firms affected by public subsidy? Evidence from a regional policy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 253-265, May.
  9. Kim Swales, 2008. "The Relative Efficiency of Automatic and Discretionary Industrial Aid," Working Papers 0812, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  10. Cerqua, Augusto & Pellegrini, Guido, 2014. "Do subsidies to private capital boost firms' growth? A multiple regression discontinuity design approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 114-126.
  11. Neil Foster-McGregor & Mario Holzner & Michael Landesmann & Johannes Pöschl & Robert Stehrer & Roman Stöllinger, 2013. "A ‘Manufacturing Imperative’ in the EU – Europe's Position in Global Manufacturing and the Role of Industrial Policy," wiiw Research Reports 391, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  12. Dhillon, Amrita & Iversen, Vegard & Torsvik, Gaute, 2012. "Employee referral, social proximity and worker discipline," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 90, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  13. Kristian Behrens, 2013. "Strength in Numbers? The Weak Effect of Manufacturing Clusters on Canadian Productivity," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 377, April.

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