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Direct, spillover and welfare effects of regional firm subsidies


  • Siegloch, Sebastian
  • Wehrhöfer, Nils
  • Etzel, Tobias


We analyze the effects of a large place-based policy, subsidizing up to 50% of investment costs of manufacturing firms in East Germany after reunification. We show that a 1-percentage-point decrease in the subsidy rate leads to a 1% decrease in manufacturing employment. We document important spillovers for untreated sectors in treated counties, untreated counties connected via trade and local taxes, whereas we do not find spillovers on counties in the same local labor market. We show that the policy is at least as efficient as cash transfers to the unemployed, but is more effective in curbing regional inequality.

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  • Siegloch, Sebastian & Wehrhöfer, Nils & Etzel, Tobias, 2021. "Direct, spillover and welfare effects of regional firm subsidies," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-038, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:21038

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Philippe Aghion & Jing Cai & Mathias Dewatripont & Luosha Du & Ann Harrison & Patrick Legros, 2022. "Industrial Policy and Competition," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Globalization, Firms, and Workers, chapter 15, pages 349-380, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Cailin Slattery & Owen Zidar, 2020. "Evaluating State and Local Business Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 90-118, Spring.
    3. Ernest Liu, 2019. "Industrial Policies in Production Networks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 134(4), pages 1883-1948.
    4. Simon Alder & Lin Shao & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2016. "Economic reforms and industrial policy in a panel of Chinese cities," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 305-349, December.
    5. Cailin Slattery & Owen Zidar, 2020. "Evaluating State and Local Business Tax Incentives," Working Papers 261, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    6. Sun, Liyang & Abraham, Sarah, 2021. "Estimating dynamic treatment effects in event studies with heterogeneous treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 225(2), pages 175-199.
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    Cited by:

    1. Enghin Atalay & Ali Hortacsu & Mustafa Runyun & Chad Syverson & Mehmet Fatih Ulu, 2023. "Micro- and Macroeconomic Impacts of a Place-Based Industrial Policy," Working Papers 23-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. E. Mark Curtis & Daniel G. Garrett & Eric C. Ohrn & Kevin A. Roberts & Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, 2021. "Capital Investment and Labor Demand," NBER Working Papers 29485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lerche, Adrian, 2022. "Investment Tax Credits and the Response of Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 15668, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Aleksandr Kazakov & Michael Koetter & Mirko Titze & Lena Tonzer, 2022. "Firm subsidies, financial intermediation, and bank stability," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 22-078/IV, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Lang, Valentin & Redeker, Nils & Bischof, Daniel, 2022. "Place-Based Policies and Inequality Within Regions," OSF Preprints 2xmzj, Center for Open Science.
    6. Kazakov, Aleksandr & Koetter, Michael & Titze, Mirko & Tonzer, Lena, 2022. "Firm subsidies, financial intermediation, and bank risk," IWH Discussion Papers 2/2022, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    7. Bjorn Alecke & Timo Mitze, 2023. "Institutional reforms and the employment effects of spatially targeted investment grants: The case of Germany's GRW," Papers 2302.11376,

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    More about this item


    place-based policies; employment; spillovers; administrative microdata;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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