Industrial policy: Political considerations, payoffs, and peculiar incentives
Gustafsson, Anders: Högskolan i Jönköping, Internationella Handelshögskolan, IHH, Nationalekonomi. ORCID-id: 0000-0002-9173-8347
Abstract: 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.