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State Aid to Business in the European Union: A Focus on the Car Sector

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Document pages: 31 pages

Abstract: Making use of an original dataset we empirically investigate the determinants of state aid to the car industry in the European Union. The EU regulatory system on state aids and the long history of governments’ grants to this industry make this an interesting case study. Our findings show that in the period 1992-2008 - controlling for a number of variables - subsidies to the car sector have shown a decreasing trend, mainly because of the reduction in the aid aimed at increasing the productive capacity of firms. We find a pattern of a dynamic strategic game among EU countries, whereby aiding a firm induces other member states to grant more subsidies; this seems to be mainly driven by rescue and restructuring aid. Overall, economic and political variables (industry’s value added, country’s income per capita, election year, government’s political orientation) are found to significantly affect aid to the car industry.

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