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The Long-Term Effects of Industrial Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Choi, Jaedo
  • Levchenko, Andrei A.

Abstract

This paper provides causal evidence of the impact of industrial policy on firms' long-term performance and quantifies industrial policy's long-term welfare effects. Using a natural experiment and unique historical data during the Heavy and Chemical Industry (HCI) Drive in South Korea, we find large and persistent effects of firm-level subsidies on firm size. Subsidized firms are larger than those never subsidized even 30 years after subsidies ended. Motivated by this empirical finding, we build a quantitative heterogeneous firm model that rationalizes these persistent effects through a combination of learning-by-doing (LBD) and financial frictions that hinder firms from internalizing LBD. The model is calibrated to firm-level micro data, and its key parameters are disciplined with the econometric estimates. Cost-benefit analysis implies that the industrial policy generated larger benefits than costs. If the industrial policy had not been implemented, South Korea's welfare would have been 22-31% lower, depending on how long-lived are the productivity benefits of LBD. Between one-half and two-thirds of the total welfare difference comes from the long-term effects of the policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Choi, Jaedo & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2021. "The Long-Term Effects of Industrial Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 16534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:16534
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    Cited by:

    1. B. Ravikumar & Raymond Riezman & Yuzhe Zhang, 2022. "Private Information and Optimal Infant Industry Protection," Working Papers 2022-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Keren Chen, 2022. "Industrial Policy’s Effect on Cross-Border Mergers’ Decisions—Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(20), pages 1-25, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Frictions; industrial policy; learning-by-doing; Welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy

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