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The persistent effects of place-based policy: Evidence from the West-German Zonenrandgebiet

Listed author(s):
  • Maximilian von Ehrlich
  • Tobias Seidel

Using a natural experiment from Germany, we show that temporary place-based subsidies generate persistent effects on economic density. We identify employment and capital formation as main channels for higher income per square kilometer. As the spatial regression discontinuity design allows us to control for all spatially-continuous determinants of agglomeration (e.g. home-market effects, knowledge spillovers), we attribute an important role to capital formation in explaining persistent spatial patterns of economic activity. However, estimates of externalities at the treatment border point to small net effects of the policy. We find strong evidence that pre-treatment land owners have benefitted substantially from the program and transfers show larger effects in high-density places. Finally, accounting for regional subsidies raises the causal effect of market access for economic development as identified in Redding and Sturm (2008) by about 45 percent.

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Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp1506.

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Date of creation: Apr 2015
Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1506
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  1. Lalive, Rafael, 2008. "How do extended benefits affect unemployment duration A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 785-806, February.
  2. Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2011. "History and Industry Location: Evidence from German Airports," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 814-831, August.
  3. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
  4. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter H. & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2012. "Too much of a good thing? On the growth effects of the EU's regional policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 648-668.
  5. Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm, 2008. "The Costs of Remoteness: Evidence from German Division and Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1766-1797, December.
  6. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  7. Gobillon, Laurent & Magnac, Thierry & Selod, Harris, 2012. "Do unemployed workers benefit from enterprise zones? The French experience," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 881-892.
  8. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 588-638, August.
  9. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "A Search For Multiple Equilibria In Urban Industrial Structure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 29-65.
  10. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Wolfgang Maennig & Felix J. Richter, 2013. "Urban Renewal after the Berlin Wall," Working Papers 049, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
  11. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter H. & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2010. "Going NUTS: The effect of EU Structural Funds on regional performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 578-590, October.
  12. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2006. "Causes of Sprawl: A Portrait from Space," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 587-633.
  13. Brülhart, Marius & Carrère, Céline & Trionfetti, Federico, 2012. "How wages and employment adjust to trade liberalization: Quasi-experimental evidence from Austria," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 68-81.
  14. Enrico Moretti, 2014. "Local Economic Development, Agglomeration Economies, and the Big Push: 100 Years of Evidence from the Tennessee Valley Authority," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 275-331.
  15. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
  16. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1269-1289, December.
  17. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  18. Matias Busso & Jesse Gregory & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Assessing the Incidence and Efficiency of a Prominent Place Based Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 897-947, April.
  19. Diego Puga, 2010. "The Magnitude And Causes Of Agglomeration Economies," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 203-219.
  20. Papay, John P. & Willett, John B. & Murnane, Richard J., 2011. "Extending the regression-discontinuity approach to multiple assignment variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 203-207, April.
  21. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
  22. 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.
  23. Abel Schumann, 2014. "Persistence of Population Shocks: Evidence from the Occupation of West Germany after World War II," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 189-205, July.
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