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Industrial Policy and Competition

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  • Philippe Aghion
  • Mathias Dewatripont
  • Luosha Du
  • Ann Harrison
  • Patrick Legros

Abstract

This paper argues that sectoral policy aimed at targeting production activities to one particular sector, can enhance growth and efficiency if it made competition-friendly. First, we develop a model in which two firms can operate either in the same (higher growth) sector or in different sectors. To escape competition, firms can either innovate vertically or differentiate by chosing a different sector from its competitor. By forcing firms to operate in the same sector, sectoral policy induces them to innovate "vertically" rather than differentiate in order to escape competition with the other firm. The model predicts that sectoral targeting enhances average growth and productivity more when competition is more intense within a sector and when competition is preserved by the policy. In the second part of the paper, we test these predictions using a panel of medium and large Chinese enterprises for the period 1998 through 2007. Our empirical results suggest that if subsidies are allocated to competitive sectors (as measured by the Lerner index) and allocated in such a way as to preserve or increase competition, then the net impacts of subsidies, tax holidays, and tariffs on total factor productivity levels or growth become positive and significant. We address the potential endogeneity of targeting and competition by using variations in targeting across Chinese cities that are exogenous to the individual firm.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18048.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18048

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  1. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "Economic Development as Self Discovery," CEPR Discussion Papers 3356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bruce Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2006. "Helping Infant Economies Grow: Foundations of Trade Policies for Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 141-146, May.
  3. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Philippe Aghion & Nicholas Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2002. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted U Relationship," NBER Working Papers 9269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Harrison, Ann E, 1994. "An Empirical Test of the Infant Industry Argument: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1090-95, September.
  7. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1984. "Export Subsidies and International Market Share Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 1464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Krueger, Anne O & Tuncer, Baran, 1982. "An Empirical Test of the Infant Industry Argument," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1142-52, December.
  9. Ann Harrison & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "Trade, Foreign Investment, and Industrial Policy for Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 15261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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