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The "Sugar Rush" from Innovation Subsidies. A Robust Political Economy Perspective

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The governments of most advanced countries offer some type of financial subsidy to encourage firm innovation and productivity. This paper analyzes the effects of innovation subsidies using a unique Swedish database that contains firm level data for the period 1997-2011, specifically information on firm subsidies over a broad range of programs. Applying causal treatment effect analysis based on matching and a diff-in-diff approach combined with a qualitative case study of Swedish innovation subsidy programs, we test whether such subsidies have positive effects on firm performance. Our results indicate a lack of positive performance effects in the long run for the majority of firms, albeit there are positive short-run effects on human capital investments and also positive short-term productivity effects for the smallest firms. These findings are interpreted from a robust political economy perspective that reveals that the problems of acquiring correct information and designing appropriate incentives are so complex that the absence of significant positive long-run effects on firm performance for the majority of firms is not surprising.

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  • Gustafsson, Anders & Stephan, Andreas & karlson, Nils & Hallman, Alice, 2016. "The "Sugar Rush" from Innovation Subsidies. A Robust Political Economy Perspective," Ratio Working Papers 270, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0270
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    3. Zoltán Bakucs & Imre Fertő & Zsófia Benedek, 2019. "Success or Waste of Taxpayer Money? Impact Assessment of Rural Development Programs in Hungary," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(7), pages 1-23, April.
    4. Nils Karlson & Christian Sandström & Karl Wennberg, 2021. "Bureaucrats or Markets in Innovation Policy? – a critique of the entrepreneurial state," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 81-95, March.
    5. David S. Lucas & Caleb S. Fuller & Ennio E. Piano & Christopher J. Coyne, 2018. "Visions of entrepreneurship policy," Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 7(4), pages 336-356, December.
    6. Nilsson, Pia & Backman, Mikaela & Bjerke, Lina & Maniriho, Aristide, 2017. "One cow per poor family: effects on consumption and crop production in Rwanda," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 462, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
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    8. Brachert, Matthias & Brautzsch, Hans-Ulrich & Dettmann, Eva & Giebler, Alexander & Schneider, Lutz & Titze, Mirko, 2020. ""Evaluation der Gemeinschaftsaufgabe 'Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur' (GRW)" durch einzelbetriebliche Erfolgskontrolle: Endbericht," IWH Online 5/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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    10. Eriksson, Klas & Ernkvist, Mirko & Laurell, Christofer & Moodysson, Jerker & Nykvist, Rasmus & Sandström, Christian, 2019. "A revised perspective on innovation policy for renewal of mature economies – Historical evidence from finance and telecommunications in Sweden 1980–1990," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 152-162.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation subsidies; market failures; causal treatment effect evaluation; firm performance; CEM; robust political economy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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