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Do unemployed workers benefit from enterprise zones? The French experience

  • Gobillon, Laurent
  • Magnac, Thierry
  • Selod, Harris

This paper presents an impact evaluation of the French enterprise zone program which was initiated in 1997 to help unemployed workers find employment by granting a significant wage-tax exemption (about one third of total labor costs) to firms hiring at least 20% of their labor force locally. Drawing from a unique geo-referenced dataset of unemployment spells in the Paris region over an extensive period of time (1993–2003), we are able to measure the direct effect of the program on unemployment duration, distinguishing between short- and medium-term effects. This is done by implementing an original two-stage empirical strategy using individual data in the first stage and aggregate data and conditional linear matching techniques in the second stage. We show that although the enterprise zone program tended to “pick winners”, it is likely to be cost-ineffective. It had a small but significant effect on the rate at which unemployed workers find a job (which is increased by a modest 3%). This effect is localized and significant only in the short run (i.e. at best during the 3years that follow the start of the policy).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9-10 ()
Pages: 881-892

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:881-892
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. 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.
  2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  3. Laurent Gobillon & Thierry Magnac & Harris Selod, 2011. "The effect of location on finding a job in the Paris region," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 1079-1112, November.
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  8. Bondonio, Daniele & Engberg, John, 2000. "Enterprise zones and local employment: evidence from the states' programs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 519-549, September.
  9. Hanson, Andrew, 2009. "Local employment, poverty, and property value effects of geographically-targeted tax incentives: An instrumental variables approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 721-731, November.
  10. Leslie E. Papke, 1991. "Tax Policy and Urban Development: Evidence From The Indiana Enterprise Zone Program," NBER Working Papers 3945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. O'Keefe, Suzanne, 2004. "Job creation in California's enterprise zones: a comparison using a propensity score matching model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 131-150, January.
  16. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  17. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  18. Alan Manning & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2006. "Comprehensive Versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know?," CEE Discussion Papers 0066, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  19. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Evaluating the employment impact of a mandatory job search assistance program," IFS Working Papers W01/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. Peter S. Fisher, 1997. "Tax and spending incentives and enterprise zones," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 109-138.
  21. Patrick Sillard & Roland Rathelot, 2008. "Zones Franches Urbaines : quels effets sur l'emploi salarié et les créations d'établissements ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 415(1), pages 81-96.
  22. Neumark, David & Kolko, Jed, 2010. "Do enterprise zones create jobs? Evidence from California's enterprise zone program," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-19, July.
  23. Boarnet, Marlon G. & Bogart, William T., 1996. "Enterprise Zones and Employment: Evidence from New Jersey," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 198-215, September.
  24. Bondonio, Daniele & Greenbaum, Robert T., 2007. "Do local tax incentives affect economic growth? What mean impacts miss in the analysis of enterprise zone policies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-136, January.
  25. Raphael W. Bostic & Allen C. Prohofsky, 2006. "Enterprise Zones and Individual Welfare: A Case Study of California," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 175-203.
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