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Evaluating the impact of public subsidies on a firm's performance: A quasi-experimental approach


  • Néstor Duch

    () (Grup en Federalisme Fiscal i Economia Regional(Institut de Recerca en Economia - IEB), Departament d'Econometria, Estadística i Economia Espanyola, Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Daniel Montolio

    () (Grup en Federalisme Fiscal i Economia Regional(Institut de Recerca en Economia - IEB), Departament d'Economia Política i Hisenda Pública, Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Mauro Mediavilla

    () (Grup en Federalisme Fiscal i Economia Regional(Institut de Recerca en Economia - IEB), Departament d'Economia Política i Hisenda Pública, Universitat de Barcelona)


Many regional governments in developed countries design programs to improve the competitiveness of local firms. In this paper, we evaluate the effectiveness of public programs whose aim is to enhance the performance of firms located in Catalonia (Spain). We compare the performance of publicly subsidised companies (treated) with that of similar, but unsubsidised companies (non-treated). We use the Propensity Score Matching (PSM) methodology to construct a control group which, with respect to its observable characteristics, is as similar as possible to the treated group, and that allows us to identify firms which retain the same propensity to receive public subsidies. Once a valid comparison group has been established, we compare the respective performance of each firm. As a result, we find that recipient firms, on average, change their business practices, improve their performance, and increase their value added as a direct result of public subsidy programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Néstor Duch & Daniel Montolio & Mauro Mediavilla, 2007. "Evaluating the impact of public subsidies on a firm's performance: A quasi-experimental approach," Working Papers XREAP2007-07, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jul 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrp:wpaper:xreap2007-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Ballesteros, Juan Acosta & Rico, Aurelia Modrego, 2001. "Public financing of cooperative R&D projects in Spain: the Concerted Projects under the National R&D Plan," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 625-641, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Matas Prats & José Luís Raymond Bara & José Luís Raymond Bara, 2008. "Job accessibility and employment probability," Working Papers XREAP2008-05, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised May 2008.
    2. Nestor Duch-Brown & Jose Garcia-Quevedo & Daniel Montolio, 2008. "Assessing the assignation of public subsidies: Do the experts choose the most efficient R&D projects?," Working Papers in Economics 207, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    3. Catalina Bolancé & Zuhair Bahraoui & Ramon Alemany, 2015. "Estimating extreme value cumulative distribution functions using bias-corrected kernel approaches," Working Papers XREAP2015-01, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jan 2015.
    4. Anna Castañer & Mª Mercè Claramunt, 2014. "Optimal stop-loss reinsurance: a dependence analysis," Working Papers XREAP2014-04, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Apr 2014.
    5. Matas, Anna & Raymond, José-Luis & Roig, José-Luis, 2009. "Car ownership and access to jobs in Spain," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 607-617, July.
    6. Christian Durán Weitkamp & Mónica Martín Bofarull & Federico Pablo Martí, 2008. "Economic effects of road accessibility in the Pyrenees: user perspective," Working Papers XREAP2008-01, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jan 2008.
    7. Antonio Manresa & Ferran Sancho, 2012. "Leontief versus Ghosh: two faces of the same coin," Working Papers XREAP2012-18, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Oct 2012.

    More about this item


    Public policy; evaluation studies; firm performance; propensity Score Matching.;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L53 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Enterprise Policy

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