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Do Unemployed Workers Benefit from Enterprise Zones? The French Experience

  • Gobillon, Laurent


    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Magnac, Thierry


    (University of Toulouse I)

  • Selod, Harris


    (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)

This paper presents an impact evaluation of the French enterprise zone program which was initiated in 1997 to help unemployed workers find employment by granting a significant wage-tax exemption (about one third of total labor costs) to firms hiring at least 20% of their labor force locally. Drawing from a unique geo-referenced dataset of unemployment spells in the Paris region over an extensive period of time (1993-2003), we are able to measure the direct effect of the program on unemployment duration, distinguishing between short- and medium-term effects. This is done by implementing an original two-stage empirical strategy using individual data in the first stage and aggregate data and conditional linear matching techniques in the second stage. We show that although the enterprise zones program tended to "pick winners", it is likely to be cost-ineffective. It had a small but significant effect on the rate at which unemployed workers find a job (which is increased by a modest 3 percent). This effect is localized and significant only in the short run (i.e. at best during the 3 years that follow the start of the policy).

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6357.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2012, 96 (9), 881 - 892
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6357
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  1. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Neumark, David & Kolko, Jed, 2010. "Do enterprise zones create jobs? Evidence from California's enterprise zone program," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-19, July.
  3. Gobillon, Laurent & Magnac, Thierry & Selod, Harris, 2010. "Do Unemployed Workers Benefit from Enterprise Zones? The French Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 8084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Gobillon, Laurent & Magnac, Thierry & Selod, Harris, 2007. "The Effect of Location on Finding a Job in the Paris Region," IDEI Working Papers 433, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Mar 2009.
  5. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod, 2007. "Les déterminants locaux du chômage en région parisienne," Post-Print halshs-00824983, HAL.
  6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2002. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP10/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Papke, Leslie E., 1994. "Tax policy and urban development : Evidence from the Indiana enterprise zone program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 37-49, May.
  8. Bondonio, Daniele & Engberg, John, 2000. "Enterprise zones and local employment: evidence from the states' programs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 519-549, September.
  9. Bondonio, Daniele & Greenbaum, Robert T., 2007. "Do local tax incentives affect economic growth? What mean impacts miss in the analysis of enterprise zone policies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-136, January.
  10. Peter S. Fisher, 1997. "Tax and spending incentives and enterprise zones," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 109-138.
  11. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
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  14. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Evaluating the employment impact of a mandatory job search assistance program," IFS Working Papers W01/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Ridder, Geert & Tunali, Insan, 1999. "Stratified partial likelihood estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 193-232, October.
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  17. Altonji, Joseph G & Segal, Lewis M, 1996. "Small-Sample Bias in GMM Estimation of Covariance Structures," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 353-66, July.
  18. Busso, Matias & Kline, Patrick, 2008. "Do Local Economic Development Programs Work? Evidence from the Federal Empowerment Zone Program," Working Papers 36, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  19. Mauer, David C. & Ott, Steven H., 1999. "On the Optimal Structure of Government Subsidies for Enterprise Zones and Other Locational Development Programs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 421-450, May.
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  22. repec:oup:restud:v:64:y:1997:i:4:p:605-54 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Sylvie Blasco & François Fontaine, 2010. "Étudier le non-recours à l'assurance chômage," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 61(5), pages 933-943.
  24. Joel A. Elvery, 2009. "The Impact of Enterprise Zones on Resident Employment," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 23(1), pages 44-59, February.
  25. Raphael W. Bostic & Allen C. Prohofsky, 2006. "Enterprise Zones and Individual Welfare: A Case Study of California," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 175-203.
  26. Roland Rathelot & Patrick Sillard, 2008. "Zones Franches Urbaines : quels effets sur l'emploi salarié et les créations d'établissements ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 415(1), pages 81-96.
  27. O'Keefe, Suzanne, 2004. "Job creation in California's enterprise zones: a comparison using a propensity score matching model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 131-150, January.
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