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  • 1.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Busy doing nothing: Why politicians implement inefficient policies2019In: Constitutional Political Economy, ISSN 1043-4062, E-ISSN 1572-9966, Vol. 30, no 3, p. 282-299Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A substantial body of literature suggests that politicians are blocked from implementing efficient reforms that solve substantial problems because of special interest groups or budget constraints. Despite the existing mechanisms that block potentially efficient reforms, real-world data show that a large number of new programs and policies are implemented every year in developed countries. These policies are often selective and considered to be fairly inefficient by ex post evaluation, and they tend to be small in size and scope. With this background, this paper studies the reasons why a rational politician would implement an inefficient public policy that is intended to obfuscate the difficulties in achieving reforms. The paper uses a simple competence signaling model that suggests that if an effective reform is impossible, engaging in strategic obfuscation through an inefficient program increases the probability of winning a re-election compared to doing nothing at all. This is because an inefficient reform does not lead voters to believe that the politician is incompetent, which a lack of action risks doing. Intentional inefficiency aiming to obfuscate the difficulty of efficient reforms can therefore complement the previous theories’ explanations of political failure.

  • 2.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics.
    Industrial policy: Political considerations, payoffs, and peculiar incentives2018Doctoral 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.

  • 3.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics.
    Take it to the (public) bank: The efficiency of public bank loans to private firmsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Incomplete capital markets and credit constraints are often considered obstacles to economic growth, thus motivating government interventions in capital markets. One such intervention is governmental bank loans targeting credit-constrained small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, it is less clear to what extent these interventions result in firm growth and whether governmental loans should target firms that are not receiving private bank loans (the extensive margin) or work in conjunction with private bank loans (the intensive margin). Using a unique dataset with information on state bank loans targeting credit-constrained SMEs with and without complementary private bank loans, this paper contributes to the literature by studying how these loans affect the targeted firms. The results suggest that positive effects are found on firm productivity and sales for firms with 10 or fewer employees, while no evidence is found of employment effects. This lack of employment effect suggests that a lack of external credit is not the main obstacle to SME employment growth.

  • 4.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    et al.
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics.
    Halvarsson, Daniel
    Gustavsson Tingvall, Patrik
    Subsidy entrepreneursManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we study the selection, incentives, and characteristics of small and medium sized firms (SMEs) that apply for and eventually receive one or multiple governmental grants intended to stimulate innovation and growth. The analysis departs from a rent-seeking model in which firms are free to allocate their effort between production and rent-seeking. We show that highly productive firms choose not to seek grants, while moderately productive firms allocate a share of their effortto rent-seeking, and low-productivity firms are incentivized to allocate most, if not all, of their effort to seeking grants and can thus be called subsidy entrepreneurs. Due to their large efforts in seeking grants, these low-productivity firms also havea relatively high probability of receiving grants. Using detailed data over all grants administered by the three largest grant-distributing agencies in Sweden, the empirical analysis suggests that supported firms have relatively low productivity, high wages, and a larger share of workers with higher education than non-supported firms. These characteristics become further pronounced as we move from single to multiple supported firms, thus providing support for the notion of subsidy entrepreneurs.

  • 5.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    et al.
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Örebro University & Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN).
    Manduchi, Agostino
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Media, Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC).
    Stephan, Andreas
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
    Do local bank branches reduce SME credit constraints? Evidence from public-private bank interaction2019Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the past few decades, commercial banks have substantially reduced the number of their branch offices. We address the question of whether or not the increased distance from the lenders correspondingly faced by many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) translates into a lower volume of loans. We use a unique dataset on loans from a state owned Swedish bank designed to support credit-constrained SMEs and interact their loan portfolio with the number of nearby commercial bank offices at the firm level along with an IV strategy to account for endogeneity. The estimation results strongly indicate that a larger number of local bank offices increases the local credit supply, and decreases the credit constraints of nearby SMEs.

  • 6.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    et al.
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis and the Ratio Institute.
    Stephan, Andreas
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
    Does the countryside lack cash (funding)?: The impact of public bank loans on firm growth and its dependence on location2019Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    We investigate whether public policies that aim to reduce credit constraints for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have different impacts on firms located in different types of regions. Using loan data from the state-owned Swedish bank Almi and combining coarsened exact matching with difference-in-difference regressions, we find positive but heterogeneous effects of loans on firm growth. Firms in urban regions are found to be less credit-constrained compared to firms located in other regions. However, the impact from receiving a public loan on firm growth is stronger for SMEs residing in major cities compared to firms in other regions. These results have important implications, suggesting that an evaluation of policies that are targeted to reduce credit constraints should take firm location into account.

  • 7.
    Gustafsson, Anders
    et al.
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Stephan, Andreas
    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.
    Hallman, Alice
    Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Karlsson, Nils
    The Ratio Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
    The “sugar rush” from innovation subsidies: a robust political economy perspective2016In: Empirica, ISSN 0340-8744, E-ISSN 1573-6911, Vol. 43, no 4, p. 729-756Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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