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Evaluating the Impact of Public Subsidies on a Firms Performance: a Quasi-experimental Approach

  • Nestor Duch Brown
  • Daniel Montolio Estivill
  • Mauro Mediavilla

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Many regional governments in developed countries design programs to improve the competitiveness of local firms. In this paper, we evaluate the effectiveness of public programs whose aim is to enhance the performance of firms located in Catalonia (Spain). We compare the performance of publicly subsidised companies (treated) with that of similar, but unsubsidised companies (non-treated). We use the Propensity Score Matching (PSM) methodology to construct a control group which, with respect to its observable characteristics, is as similar as possible to the treated group, and that allows us to identify firms which retain the same propensity to receive public subsidies. Once a valid comparison group has been established, we compare the respective performance of each firm. As a result, we find that recipient firms, on average, change their business practices, improve their performance, and increase their value added as a direct result of public subsidy programs.

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Paper provided by Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 181.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2007181
Contact details of provider: Postal: Espai de Recerca en Economia, Facultat de Ciències Econòmiques. Tinent Coronel Valenzuela, Num 1-11 08034 Barcelona. Spain.
Web page: http://www.ere.ub.es

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  1. Helena Lenihan, 2004. "Evaluating Irish industrial policy in terms of deadweight and displacement: a quantitative methodological approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 229-252.
  2. Lerner, Josh, 1999. "The Government as Venture Capitalist: The Long-Run Impact of the SBIR Program," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(3), pages 285-318, July.
  3. Isabel Busom, 2000. "An Empirical Evaluation of The Effects of R&D Subsidies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 111-148.
  4. Arvanitis, Spyros & Hollenstein, Heinz & Lenz, Stephan, 2002. " The Effectiveness of Government Promotion of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT): An Economic Analysis Based on Swiss Micro Data," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 321-40, December.
  5. 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.
  6. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  7. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Fier, Andreas, 2002. "Do Innovation Subsidies Crowd Out Private Investment? Evidence from the German Service Sector," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Ballesteros, Juan Acosta & Rico, Aurelia Modrego, 2001. "Public financing of cooperative R&D projects in Spain: the Concerted Projects under the National R&D Plan," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 625-641, April.
  9. Roper, Stephen & Hewitt-Dundas, Nola & Love, James H., 2004. "An ex ante evaluation framework for the regional benefits of publicly supported R&D projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 487-509, April.
  10. Almus, Matthias & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2003. "The Effects of Public R&D Subsidies on Firms' Innovation Activities: The Case of Eastern Germany," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(2), pages 226-36, April.
  11. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Xulia Gonz�lez & Jordi Jaumandreu & Consuelo Pazo, 2005. "Barriers to Innovation and Subsidy Effectiveness," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 930-949, Winter.
  13. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity score matching methods for non-experimental causal studies," Discussion Papers 0102-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  14. Aerts, Kris & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2004. "Using Innovation Survey Data to Evaluate R&D Policy: The Case of Belgium," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-55, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Roberto Gabriele & Marco Zamarian & Enrico Zaninotto, 2006. "Assessing the economic impact of public industrial policies: an empirical investigation on subsidies," ROCK Working Papers 039, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 12 Jun 2008.
  16. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  17. DUGUET Emmanuel, 2004. "Are R&D subsidies a substitute or a complement to privately funded R&D? Evidence from France using propensity score methods for non- experimental data," Public Economics 0411007, EconWPA.
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