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The Impact of Capital Subsidies: New Estimations under Continuous Treatment

Author

Listed:
  • Valentina Adorno

    (Department of Statistics, University of Bologna)

  • Cristina Bernini

    (Department of Statistics, University of Bologna)

  • Guido Pellegrini

    (Department of Statistics, University of Bologna)

Abstract

Most of the relevant literature on the evaluation of the impact of public subsidies to private firms deals with the estimation of causal effects of a binary treatment. However, several policies allow for different levels of subsidies, depending on the investment project, the firm dimension, the region and also on the firms’ choice. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the causal effect of a policy intervention in the case of a continuous treatment, exploring the impact of differences in treatment level on policy outcome. As an empirical application, we estimated the impact of subsidies allocated by L. 488/1992, the main regional policy in Italy, in the southern regions of the country in the period 1996-2000. We compare two estimation methods: a parametric method, based on a more traditional DID estimator adapted to the continuous treatment case, and a non parametric estimator, based on a novel two-step matching method developed in our recent work (Adorno, Bernini and Pellegrini, 2007a). On average, our results support the conclusions derived from methods based on the binary treatment: subsidies have a positive and often statistically significant effect on employment, fixed assets and turnover. However, the strong heterogeneity of the treatment outcome with respect to different levels of treatment is highlighted. We find that higher the level of incentive, higher the policy effect until a certain point, from which the marginal impact decreases. The results are robust to changes in the estimation method.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:gde:journl:gde_v66_n1_p67-92
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Michela Bia & Roberto Leombruni & Pierre-Jean Messe, 2009. "Young in-Old out: a new evaluation based on Generalized Propensity Score," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 93, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    5. Gustavo Varela Alvarenga & Donald Matthew Pianto & Bruno César Araújo, 2014. "Impactsof The Brazilian Science And Technology Sector Funds On Industrialfirms’ R&D Inputs And Outputs: New Perspectives Using Adose-Response Function," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 158, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    6. Alessandro Cusimano & Fabio Mazzola, 2013. "Ex-post evaluation of Territorial Integrated Projects in Italy: an empirical analysis at firm level," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1331, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Affuso, Antonio, 2011. "A propensity score analysis of public incentives: The Italian case," MPRA Paper 36698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. 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.
    9. Michela Bia & Alessandra Mattei, 2012. "Assessing the effect of the amount of financial aids to Piedmont firms using the generalized propensity score," Statistical Methods & Applications, Springer;Società Italiana di Statistica, vol. 21(4), pages 485-516, November.
    10. Affuso, Antonio, 2010. "Do public subsidies reduce credit rationing? A matching approach," MPRA Paper 24874, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Sep 2010.
    11. Augusto Cerqua & Guido Pellegrini, 2014. "Beyond the SUTVA: how policy evaluations change when we allow for interactions among firms," Working Papers 2/14, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    continuous treatment; matching estimator; industrial policy evaluation; subsidies to capital accumulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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