Industrial policy works for smaller firms
John Van Reenen 17 February 2012
The Great Recession has beckoned the ominous return of protectionism. While not condoning such policies, this column argues that if governments must provide investment subsidies to domestic firms, there is a much larger bang for their buck if they target small businesses rather than larger ones. Cash-strapped governments should take note.
The Great Recession has brought industrial policy back into fashion. Huge subsidies have been granted by governments around the world to private firms, most dramatically in financial services, but also in other sectors like automobiles (see for instance Evenett 2011). Despite the ubiquity and cost of such schemes, rigorous evaluations of the causal effect of these policies are rare.
EU policies Industrial organisation International trade
subsidies, protectionism, small business