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Bidding for Investment Projects: Smart Public Policy or Corporate Welfare?

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  • Johannes Van Biesebroeck

Abstract

Recently, several governments in Canada have shown an increased willingness to subsidize private investment projects, especially in the manufacturing sector, to the dismay of tax conservatives. I evaluate under what circumstances these government subsidies make sense, paying particular attention to interjurisdictional competition. I show what governments should expect to pay when they join a bidding war and derive the expected welfare gain. The analysis looks in detail at the efforts of the Ontario and federal governments to attract new investments in the automobile sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-344.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 16 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-344

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Keywords: Foreign Direct Investment; government competition; subsidies; investment incentives; automobile industry; opportunity cost;

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  1. Neven, Damien & Siotis, Georges, 1993. "Foreign Direct Investment in the European Community: Some Policy Issues," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 72-93, Summer.
  2. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," Working Paper Series 36-08, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2008.
  3. Ian King & R. Preston McAfee & Linda Welling, 1993. "Industrial Blackmail: Dynamic Tax Competition and Public Investment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(3), pages 590-608, August.
  4. Michael Greenstone & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Bidding for Industrial Plants: Does Winning a 'Million Dollar Plant' Increase Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 9844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1980. "Tariffs and the Extraction of Foreign Monopoly Rents under Potential Entry," Working Papers 414, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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  7. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Head, C. Keith & Ries, John C. & Swenson, Deborah L., 1999. "Attracting foreign manufacturing: Investment promotion and agglomeration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 197-218, March.
  9. Magnus Blomstrom & Ari Kokko, 2003. "The Economics of Foreign Direct Investment Incentives," NBER Working Papers 9489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  11. Black, Dan A & Hoyt, William H, 1989. "Bidding for Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1249-56, December.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "The Economics of Location-Based Tax Incentives," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1932, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Aamir Hashmi, 2007. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Dynamic Analysis of the Global Automobile Industry," 2007 Meeting Papers 362, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Holmes, Thomas J., 1999. "How Industries Migrate When Agglomeration Economies Are Important," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 240-263, March.
  15. Bev Dahlby, 2005. "A Framework for Evaluating Provincial R&D Tax Subsidies," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(1), pages 45-58, March.
  16. Barros, Pedro P & Cabral, Luis, 2000. "Competing for Foreign Direct Investment," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 360-71, May.
  17. Thomas H. Klier, 1999. "Agglomeration in the U.S. auto supplier industry," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 18-34.
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