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A drop in an empty pond: Canadian public policy towards venture capital

Author

Listed:
  • Douglas Cumming

    () (York University-Schulich School of Business)

  • Sofia Johan

    () (York University-Schulich School of Business)

  • Jeffrey G. MacIntosh

    () (University of Toronto)

Abstract

Abstract This paper presents evidence about the shortfall of venture capital in Canada relative to comparable regions in the United States, despite massive government spending on governmental venture capital programs in Canada. The Government of Canada committed $500 million towards venture capital in 2013 through the Venture Capital Action Plan. The Government of Ontario committed $29 million to the Investment Accelerator Fund in 2007, $105 million to the Ontario Venture Capital Fund in 2008, and up to $50 million per year through the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund in 2009. We present data that shows Ontario’s expenditures would have to be higher by $4.4 billion per year to achieve levels of VC/GDP that are comparable to Massachusetts. Similarly, federal expenditures would have to be higher by $1.6 billion per year higher to achieve levels of VC/GDP that are comparable to the US. We attribute the shortfall in Canadian venture capital to two major policy failures. First, there is a persistent government venture capital support program that crowds out private investment. Second, other government programs favor established businesses. In Ontario in 2012, $4.1 billion in expenditures were allocated towards businesses, and the vast majority of these expenses are targeted towards the largest and oldest companies and the companies with the greatest revenues. We discuss the impact of such policies on the venture capital ecosystem in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Cumming & Sofia Johan & Jeffrey G. MacIntosh, 2017. "A drop in an empty pond: Canadian public policy towards venture capital," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 44(1), pages 103-117, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:epolin:v:44:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40812-016-0063-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s40812-016-0063-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cumming, Douglas J. & MacIntosh, Jeffrey G., 2006. "Crowding out private equity: Canadian evidence," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 569-609, September.
    2. Michele Meoli & Silvio Vismara, 2016. "University support and the creation of technology and non-technology academic spin-offs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 345-362, August.
    3. Masulis, Ronald W. & Nahata, Rajarishi, 2011. "Venture Capital Conflicts of Interest: Evidence from Acquisitions of Venture-Backed Firms," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 395-430, April.
    4. Brett Anitra Gilbert & David B. Audretsch & Patricia P. McDougall, 2004. "The Emergence of Entrepreneurship Policy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3_4), pages 313-323, April.
    5. Douglas Cumming & Sofia Johan, 2010. "Phasing Out an Inefficient Venture Capital Tax Credit," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 227-252, September.
    6. Massimo G. Colombo & Douglas J. Cumming & Silvio Vismara, 2016. "Governmental venture capital for innovative young firms," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 10-24, February.
    7. David B. Audretsch & Erik E. Lehmann & Stefano Paleari & Silvio Vismara, 2016. "Entrepreneurial finance and technology transfer," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 1-9, February.
    8. Douglas Cumming & April Knill & Kelsey Syvrud, 2016. "Do international investors enhance private firm value? Evidence from venture capital," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 47(5), pages 620-620, June.
    9. Cumming, Douglas & Li, Dan, 2013. "Public policy, entrepreneurship, and venture capital in the United States," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 345-367.
    10. Jacob, Martin & Johan, Sofia & Schweizer, Denis & Zhan, Feng, 2016. "Corporate finance and the governance implications of removing government support programs," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 35-47.
    11. Douglas Cumming & Uwe Walz, 2010. "Private equity returns and disclosure around the world," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 41(4), pages 727-754, May.
    12. Audretsch, David B, 1998. "Agglomeration and the Location of Innovative Activity," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 18-29, Summer.
    13. Poterba, James M., 1989. "Capital Gains Tax Policy Toward Entrepreneurship," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 42(3), pages 375-389, September.
    14. Cumming, Douglas & Dannhauser, Robert & Johan, Sofia, 2015. "Financial market misconduct and agency conflicts: A synthesis and future directions," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 150-168.
    15. Johan, Sofia A., 2010. "Listing standards as a signal of IPO preparedness and quality," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 128-144, June.
    16. Jeng, Leslie A. & Wells, Philippe C., 2000. "The determinants of venture capital funding: evidence across countries," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 241-289, September.
    17. Poterba, James M., 1989. "Capital Gains Tax Policy Toward Entrepreneurship," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(3), pages 375-89, September.
    18. Douglas J. Cumming & Jeffrey G. MacIntosh, 2007. "Mutual funds that invest in private equity? An analysis of labour-sponsored investment funds," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 445-487, May.
    19. Cumming, Douglas, 2007. "Government policy towards entrepreneurial finance: Innovation investment funds," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-235, March.
    20. Cumming, Douglas & Johan, Sofia, 2007. "Regulatory harmonization and the development of private equity markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 3218-3250, October.
    21. Cumming, Douglas J. & Fischer, Eileen, 2012. "Publicly funded business advisory services and entrepreneurial outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 467-481.
    22. John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2006. "The legislative road to Silicon Valley," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 596-635, October.
    23. Douglas Cumming, 2007. "Financing Entrepreneurs Better Canadian Policy for Venture Capital," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 247, April.
    24. Giacinto Micucci & Paola Rossi, 2017. "Financing R&D investments: an analysis on Italian manufacturing firms and their lending banks," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 44(1), pages 23-49, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Venture capital; Government programs; Public policy;

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law

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