Cross-country Evidence on the Allocation of COVID-19 Government Subsidies and Consequences for Productivity
Tommaso Bighelli, Tibor Lalinsky, Juuso Vanhala
Journal of the Japanese and International Economies,
We study the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and related policy support on productivity. We employ an extensive micro-distributed exercise to access otherwise unavailable individual data on firm performance and government subsidies. Our cross-country evidence for five EU countries shows that the pandemic led to a significant short-term decline in aggregate productivity and the direct support to firms had only a limited positive effect on productivity developments. A thorough comparative analysis of the distribution of employment and overall direct subsidies, considering separately also relative firm-level size of support and the probability of being supported, reveals ambiguous cross-country results related to the firm-level productivity and points to the decisive role of other firm characteristics.
Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Stability
Aleksandr Kazakov, Michael Koetter, Mirko Titze, Lena Tonzer
IWH Discussion Papers,
We use granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development program in German history to study whether government subsidies to firms affect the quantity and quality of bank lending. We combine the universe of recipient firms under the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures program (GRW) with their local banks during 1998-2019. The modalities of GRW subsidies to firms are determined at the EU level. Therefore, we use it to identify bank outcomes. Banks with relationships to more subsidized firms exhibit higher lending volumes without any significant differences in bank stability. Subsidized firms, in turn, borrow more indicating that banks facilitate regional economic development policies.
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Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Risk
Aleksandr Kazakov, Michael Koetter, Mirko Titze, Lena Tonzer
We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks’ distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capitalised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies required to green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer Programmes.
Economic Mobility Likely to Increase Significantly after Relaxation – but also Number of COVID-19 Cases
Oliver Holtemöller, Malte Rieth
IWH Policy Notes,
In Germany, measures to contain the coronavirus were relaxed in some areas at the beginning of March; in many places, for example, the restrictions on private and public gatherings were eased, and retail stores are increasingly able to receive customers again. The aim of these decisions is to allow for more economic mobility and personal contact between people. However, the frequency of contact is a major factor influencing the rate at which the coronavirus spreads, especially since the relaxations have so far not been accompanied by a systematic testing strategy; and vaccination progress has so far also fallen short of expectations. Estimates based on a model of the relationship between containment measures (Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, Stringency Index), economic mobility (Google Mobility Data), new corona infections, and deaths with data from 44 countries suggest that the recent relaxations increase economic mobility by ten percentage points and the number of new infections and deaths in Germany by 25%. Because both continued lockdown and relaxations have significant negative consequences, it is even more important to enable further relaxations through better testing and quarantine strategies and by increasing the pace of vaccination without putting people's health at risk.
Profit Shifting and Tax‐rate Uncertainty
Manthos D. Delis, Iftekhar Hasan, Panagiotis I. Karavitis
Journal of Business Finance and Accounting,
Using firm‐level data for 1,084 parent firms in 24 countries and for 9,497 subsidiaries in 54 countries, we show that tax‐motivated profit shifting is larger among subsidiaries in countries that have stable corporate tax rates over time. Our findings further suggest that firms move away from transfer pricing and toward intragroup debt shifting that has lower adjustment costs. Our results are robust to several identification methods and respecifications, and they highlight the important role of tax‐rate uncertainty in the profit‐shifting decision while pointing to an adjustment away from more costly transfer pricing and toward debt shifting.
Payroll Taxes, Firm Behavior, and Rent Sharing: Evidence from a Young Workers' Tax Cut in Sweden
Emmanuel Saez, Benjamin Schoefer, David Seim
American Economic Review,
This paper uses administrative data to analyze a large employer-borne payroll tax rate cut for young workers in Sweden. We find no effect on net-of-tax wages of young treated workers relative to slightly older untreated workers, and a 2–3 percentage point increase in youth employment. Firms employing many young workers receive a larger tax windfall and expand right after the reform: employment, capital, sales, and profits increase. These effects appear stronger in credit-constrained firms. Youth-intensive firms also increase the wages of all their workers collectively, young as well as old, consistent with rent sharing of the tax windfall.