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Design and Effectiveness of Start-up Subsidies: Evidence from a Policy Reform in Germany

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  • Caliendo, Marco

    (University of Potsdam)

  • Tübbicke, Stefan

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

Abstract

While a growing body of literature finds positive impacts of Start-Up Subsidies (SUS) on labor market outcomes of participants, little is known about how the design of these programs shapes their effectiveness and hence how to improve policy. As experimental variation in program design is unavailable, we exploit the 2011 reform of the current German SUS program for the unemployed which strengthened case-workers' discretionary power, increased entry requirements and reduced monetary support. We estimate the impact of the reform on the program's effectiveness using samples of participants and non-participants from before and after the reform. To control for time-constant unobserved heterogeneity as well as differential selection patterns based on observable characteristics over time, we combine Difference-in-Differences with inverse probability weighting using covariate balancing propensity scores. Holding participants' observed characteristics as well as macroeconomic conditions constant, the results suggest that the reform was successful in raising employment effects on average. As these findings may be contaminated by changes in selection patterns based on unobserved characteristics, we assess our results using simulation-based sensitivity analyses and find that our estimates are highly robust to changes in unobserved characteristics. Hence, the reform most likely had a positive impact on the effectiveness of the program, suggesting that increasing entry requirements and reducing support increased the program's impacts while reducing the cost per participant.

Suggested Citation

  • Caliendo, Marco & Tübbicke, Stefan, 2021. "Design and Effectiveness of Start-up Subsidies: Evidence from a Policy Reform in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 14209, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14209
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. L. Behrenz & L. Delander & J. Månsson, 2016. "Is Starting a Business a Sustainable way out of Unemployment? Treatment Effects of the Swedish Start-up Subsidy," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 389-411, December.
    2. Andrea Ichino & Fabrizia Mealli & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "From temporary help jobs to permanent employment: what can we learn from matching estimators and their sensitivity?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 305-327.
    3. Tommaso Nannicini, 2007. "Simulation-based sensitivity analysis for matching estimators," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(3), pages 334-350, September.
    4. Caliendo, Marco & Künn, Steffen & Weißenberger, Martin, 2016. "Personality traits and the evaluation of start-up subsidies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 87-108.
    5. JAMES G. MacKINNON, 2006. "Bootstrap Methods in Econometrics," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(s1), pages 2-18, September.
    6. Lutz Bellmann & Marco Caliendo & Stefan Tübbicke, 2018. "The Post‐Reform Effectiveness of the New German Start‐Up Subsidy for the Unemployed," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 32(3), pages 293-319, September.
    7. Kosuke Imai & Marc Ratkovic, 2014. "Covariate balancing propensity score," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 76(1), pages 243-263, January.
    8. Marco Caliendo & Stefan Tübbicke, 2020. "New evidence on long-term effects of start-up subsidies: matching estimates and their robustness," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 59(4), pages 1605-1631, October.
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    13. Marco Caliendo, 2016. "Start-up subsidies for the unemployed: Opportunities and limitations," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 200-200, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    difference-in-differences; policy reform; institutions; start-up subsidies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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