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The “sugar rush” from innovation subsidies: a robust political economy perspective
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9173-8347
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO). The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5776-9396
Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Empirica, ISSN 0340-8744, E-ISSN 1573-6911, Vol. 43, no 4, p. 729-756Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

The governments of most advanced countries offer some type of financial subsidy to encourage firm innovation and productivity. This paper analyzes the effects of innovation subsidies using a unique Swedish database that contains firm level data for the period 1997–2011, specifically informa tion on firm subsidies over a broad range of programs. Applying causal treatment effect analysis based on matching and a diff-in-diff approach combined with a qualitative case study of Swedish innovation subsidy programs, we test whether such subsidies have positive effects on firm performance. Our results indicate a lack of positive performance effects in the long run for the majority of firms, albeit there are positive short-run effects on human capital investments and also positive short-term productivity effects for the smallest firms. These findings are interpreted from a robust political economy perspective that reveals that the problems of acquiring correct information and designing appropriate incentives are so complex that the absence of significant positive long-run effects on firm performance for the majority of firms is not surprising.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016. Vol. 43, no 4, p. 729-756
Keywords [en]
Causal treatment effect evaluation, CEM, Firm performance, Innovation subsidies, Market failures, Robust political economy
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-31189DOI: 10.1007/s10663-016-9350-6ISI: XYZScopus ID: 2-s2.0-84978160697OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-31189DiVA, id: diva2:951492
Available from: 2016-08-09 Created: 2016-08-09 Last updated: 2018-08-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Industrial policy: Political considerations, payoffs, and peculiar incentives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Industrial policy: Political considerations, payoffs, and peculiar incentives
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of four independent papers. They deal with some aspects of industrial policy, namely public supports to firms that are intended to support innovation and growth at the firm level, using Swedish data. Two papers study the efficiency of current Swedish policies by estimating the effects of subsidies and public loans to firms, respectively.

The results on subsidized firms suggests that there are some positive effects on profits and productivity, but these diminish and disappear over time. The results of public loans are more positive with long lasting effects on productivity and sales but only for smaller firms. Public loans do not lead to an increase in the number of employees in the firms that receive them.

The third paper studies the selection of firms for subsidies and the incentives firms have to seek them. By modeling the decision to seek subsidies as a trade off between producing in the market and seeking grants, the results suggest that firms with low market productivity might self-select into seeking grants. The empirical results are in line with the theoretical predictions.

The final paper studies the incentives that politicians have to implement programs and policies that they know will be inefficient. Since a lack of political action can make the politicians look incompetent, incumbentens have incentives to implement policies even though they know that these will be ineffective, to signal competence towards the voters.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling består av 4 oberoende uppsatser. De studerar några aspekter av aktiv näringspolitik, mera bestämt effekten av offentliga lån och stöd som syftar till att öka tillväxten och innovationsförmågan i företag med hjälp av svenska data. Dessa åtgärder syftar till att lösa marknadsmisslyckanden på kapitalmarknaden, som annars kan leda till att företag saknar de finansiella resurserna som de behöver för att investera i fysiskt- eller humankapital. Om staten kan identifiera dessa företag och hjälpa dem med finansiering så kan dessa företag investera och växa, vilket i sin tur ökar den ekonomiska tillväxten. Två uppsatser studerar effektivitet i nu existerande svenska åtgärder genom att mäta effekterna av statliga bidrag samt lån till företag. En kombination av matchning och difference-in-difference regressioner används för att reducera problem som beror på selektering.

Resultaten visar att företag som får bidrag får ökade vinster och högre produktivitet, men bara på kort sikt. Resultaten för offentliga lån är mera positiva, med långvariga positiva effekter på produktivitet och försäljning, men bara för de mindre företagen. Offentliga lån leder inte till att företag anställer flera.

Den tredje uppsatsen studerar vilka incitamenten som företag som söker stöd har. Genom att modellera beslutet som ett val mellan att producera för marknaden eller söka stöd så visar modellen att företag med låg marknadsproduktvitet bör ägna mer tid åt att söka stöd eftersom de har lägre alternativ kostnad. De empiriska resultaten är i linje med vad modellen förutsäger.

Den fjärde och sista uppsatsen studerar vilka incitamenten som politiker har att implementera åtgärder som de på förhand är ineffektiva. Ifall det är svårt att lösa ett samhällsproblem kan det fortfarande vara rationellt att införa ineffektiva åtgärder eftersom brist på aktivitet kan signalera inkompetents gentemot väljarna. Ifall väljarna har imperfekt information om olika åtgärders effektivitet kan själva handlingen i sig vara mera viktig än handlingens effektivitet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, 2018. p. 205
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 125
National Category
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41139 (URN)978-91-86345-87-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-09-21, B1014, Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-08-14 Created: 2018-08-14 Last updated: 2018-08-14Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, AndersStephan, Andreas

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