IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Subsidies, Shadow of Death and Productivity


  • Koski, Heli
  • Pajarinen, Mika


Our panel data from over 10,000 Finnish firms during the years 2003-2010 sheds light on the effect of different business subsidies on firm productivity performance and on the relationship between firms’ lagged labor productivity and market exit. We find that not any of the subsidy types have statistically significant short-term or longer term impacts on the firms’ productivity performance. It seems that particularly employment and investment subsidies tend to be allocated to the relatively less efficient companies. We further observe that a decline in the firm’s lagged labor productivity levels are clearly more weakly related to the subsidized firms’ exit than to the exit of firms that have not received any subsidies. Our empirical findings thus hint that the allocation of subsidies to the relatively inefficient firms increases their liquidity making their market exit less likely than it would be otherwise. In other words, our data indicate that subsidy allocation weakens the shadow of death phenomenon observed in the previous empirical studies and hinders the process of creative destruction in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Koski, Heli & Pajarinen, Mika, 2013. "Subsidies, Shadow of Death and Productivity," ETLA Working Papers 16, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:rif:wpaper:16

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baghana, Rufin, 2010. "Public R&D Subsidies and Productivity: Evidence from Firm-Level Data in Quebec," MERIT Working Papers 055, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Matthias Almus, 2004. "The Shadow of Death -- An Emperical Analysis of the Pre-Exit Performance of New German Firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 189-201, October.
    3. Inha Oh & Jeong-Dong Lee & Almas Heshmati & Gyoung-Gyu Choi, 2009. "Evaluation of credit guarantee policy using propensity score matching," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 335-351, October.
    4. Carlos Carreira & Paulino Teixeira, 2011. "The shadow of death: analysing the pre-exit productivity of Portuguese manufacturing firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 337-351, April.
    5. Bernd Ebersberger, 2011. "Public funding for innovation and the exit of firms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 519-543, August.
    6. Irwin, Douglas A. & Klenow, Peter J., 1996. "High-tech R&D subsidies Estimating the effects of Sematech," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 323-344, May.
    7. David, Paul A. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Toole, Andrew A., 2000. "Is public R&D a complement or substitute for private R&D? A review of the econometric evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 497-529, April.
    8. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    9. Girma, Sourafel & Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2008. "Creating jobs through public subsidies: An empirical analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1179-1199, December.
    10. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Aki Kangasharju & Mika Maliranta, 2009. "Local Innovative Activity and Regional Productivity: Implications for the Finnish National Innovation Policy," Chapters,in: The Evaluation of the Finnish National Innovation System, pages 203-238 The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    11. Shunsuke Managi, 2010. "Productivity measures and effects from subsidies and trade: an empirical analysis for Japan's forestry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(30), pages 3871-3883.
    12. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences In Firm Productivity?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(4), pages 961-989, November.
    13. Koski, Heli & Pajarinen, Mika, 2011. "The role of business subsidies in job-creation start-ups, gazelles and imcumbents," Discussion Papers 1246, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    14. Griliches, Zvi & Regev, Haim, 1995. "Firm productivity in Israeli industry 1979-1988," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 175-203, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Becker, Lasse, 2015. "Effectiveness of public innovation support in Europe: Does public support foster turnover, employment and labour productivity?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 236, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    productivity; business subsidies; firm exit; enterprise policy; technology policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L53 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Enterprise Policy
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rif:wpaper:16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kaija Hyvönen-Rajecki). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.