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Managerial input and firm performance. Evidence from a policy experiment

Francesco Manaresi, Alessandro Palma (), Luca Salvatici and Vincenzo Scrutinio

CEP Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

Abstract: We study the effects of a subsidy program designed to boost small and medium enterprises' export capabilities through a Temporary Export Manager (TEM), hired for at least 6 months to provide consulting on how to reach foreign markets. Firms applied online for the subsidy and vouchers to hire TEMs were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. We use a difference-in-differences design to compare the performances of firms that nearly got the subsidy with those that barely did not. Eligible firms experienced a large increase in revenues, return on equity, profits and value added per employee, accompanied by a significant growth in export in extra-EU markets four years after receiving the subsidy. The gains were larger for the least productive and smaller firms and effects were heterogeneous across TEM providers. TEMs were also effective in stimulating 'good' labor demand: besides intensifying exports, firms increased their workforce by nearly 13%, mainly in full-time and permanent employees. Results of a survey conducted on TEM providers confirm our econometric results and revealed that the benefits of voucher extended beyond the initial subsidized service.

Keywords: SMEs; export subsidy; labor demand; natural experiment; click-day (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-10-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ent, nep-eur, nep-int and nep-sbm
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