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Grant Assistance and Small Firm Development in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

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  • Stephen Roper
  • Nola Hewitt‐Dundas

Abstract

Small business support is an important element of industrial development policy in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This paper examines the effect of grant support on small business performance from 1991–94. Around 50% of small businesses in Northern Ireland and 30% of small businesses in the Republic of Ireland received financial support over this period. In Northern Ireland, three clusters of assisted companies were identified who received support for marketing, training and capital investments. In the Republic of Ireland, two assisted clusters of firms were identified who received marketing and training grants. In each case, firms in the assisted clusters grew faster, tended to be more profitable, were more active in terms of sales and market development and adopted more ambitious strategic directions than those in the non‐assisted clusters. Selection models are used to explore whether these differences are due to differences in the characteristics of the assisted and non‐assisted groups or can be directly attributed to the effect of government financial support. In the Republic of Ireland there is no evidence of any effective targeting of assistance at better performing firms. In Northern Ireland, there is some evidence that assistance was targeted at firms with higher productivity growth. Grant aid had no effect on either the turnover growth or profitability of small businesses in either area. It did, however, boost employment growth. This is good‐news for job creation but has potentially worrying implications for firms’ longer‐term competitive position through its negative effect on productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Roper & Nola Hewitt‐Dundas, 2001. "Grant Assistance and Small Firm Development in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 48(1), pages 99-117, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:48:y:2001:i:1:p:99-117
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-9485.00187
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    1. Hewitt-Dundas, Nola & Roper, Stephen, 2008. "Ireland's Innovation Performance: 1991 to 2005," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 2008(2-Summer), pages 46-68.
    2. Lew Perren & Peter L. Jennings, 2005. "Government Discourses on Entrepreneurship: Issues of Legitimization, Subjugation, and Power," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 29(2), pages 173-184, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Anahí Briozzo & Clara Cardone-Riportella, 2012. "Evaluating the Impact of Public Programs of Financial Aid to SMEs during times of crisis: The Spanish Experience," Working Papers 12.04, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Financial Economics and Accounting (former Department of Business Administration).
    5. 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.
    6. Greene, Francis, 2012. "Should the focus of publicly provided small business assistance be on start-ups or growth businesses?," Occasional Papers 12/2, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.
    7. Karen Bonner & Seamus McGuinness, 2007. "Assessing the Impact of Marketing Assistance on the Export Performance of Northern Ireland SMEs," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 361-379.
    8. Venetoklis, Takis & Kangasharju, Aki, 2002. "Business Subsidies and Employment of Firms: Overall Evaluation and Regional Extension," Discussion Papers 268, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Roper, Stephen & Arvanitis, Spyros, 2012. "From knowledge to added value: A comparative, panel-data analysis of the innovation value chain in Irish and Swiss manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1093-1106.
    10. Valentina Adorno & Cristina Bernini & Guido Pellegrini, 2007. "The Impact of Capital Subsidies: New Estimations under Continuous Treatment," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(1), pages 67-92, March.
    11. Barrett, Alan & Kearney, Ide & O'Brien, Martin, 2008. "Quarterly Economic Commentary, Summer 2008," Forecasting Report, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number QEC20082, January.
    12. Bah, El-hadj & Brada, Josef C. & Yigit, Taner, 2011. "With a little help from our friends: The effect of USAID assistance on SME growth in a transition economy," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 205-220, June.
    13. Roper, Stephen & Du, Jun & Love, James H., 2008. "Modelling the innovation value chain," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 961-977, July.
    14. repec:pab:wpbsad:12.08 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Venetoklis, Takis, 2001. "Business Subsidies and Bureaucratic Behaviour - A Revised Approach," Research Reports 83, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    16. Peter Mayerhofer & Michael Klien, 2016. "Unternehmensinvestitionen in den österreichischen Bundesländern. Entwicklung – Struktur – Funktion regionaler Förderung," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 61950, December.
    17. Stephen Roper, 2004. "Job Creation and Destruction in Northern Ireland - 1973-1993," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 35(2), pages 183-218.
    18. Mark Hart & Stephen Roper, 2003. "Modelling the Effects of Public Support to Small Firms in the UK - Paradise Gained?," ERSA conference papers ersa03p413, European Regional Science Association.
    19. Kangasharju, Aki & Venetoklis, Takis, 2002. "Effect of business subsidies on labour demand: overall evaluation with regional extensions," ERSA conference papers ersa02p172, European Regional Science Association.
    20. Venetoklis, Takis, 2001. "Business Subsidies and Bureaucratic Behaviour," Research Reports 79, VATT Institute for Economic Research.

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