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Public SME grants and firm performance in European Union: A systematic review of empirical evidence

Ondřej Dvouletý, Stjepan Srhoj and Smaranda Pantea

Small Business Economics, 2021, vol. 57, issue 1, No 11, 243-263

Abstract: Abstract Governments allocate financial resources to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through public subsidies and grants. However, do these public investments help supported firms to increase their performance and growth? We answer this question by conducting a systematic review of evidence in the European Union. We review studies investigating the effects of public grants on firm performance in the European Union’s 28 member countries that were published from 2000 on. We provide a structured overview of 30 studies covering 13 countries. Our review offers information on the methodological approaches, variables and findings of the previous studies. The summarized findings show mostly the positive outcomes of the grants on firm-survival, employment, tangible/fixed assets, sales/turnover, with mixed findings for labour productivity and total factor productivity (TFP). However, we point out that there are significant differences concerning the time period of analysis (investigating short-term vs long-term outcomes), and importantly, the heterogeneity of effects concerning firm size and age, region, industry and intensity of support. Our study offers a series of recommendations for policymakers and researchers.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship and SME policy; Business support; Public grants; Policy evaluation; A systematic review; European Union; D04; L26; L53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (48)

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DOI: 10.1007/s11187-019-00306-x

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