(12033) Christian Helmers and Natalia Trofimenko
We evaluate the impact of firm-specific export subsidies on exports in Colombia. Using a two-step selection model, we predict firm-specific subsidy amounts that can be explained by the characteristics that determine firms’ eligibility for government support and its amount. Drawing on the accounts of the discretionary allocation of subsidies in developing countries, we interpret the discrepancy between the predicted and the observed subsidy amounts as a proxy for a firm's ties to government officials. Controlling for observable and unobservable firm characteristics as well as persistence in exporting, we find that although, in general, subsidies exhibit a positive impact on export volumes, this impact is diminishing in subsidy size and in the degree of a firm's connectedness.