December 8, 2021


Only The Finest Women

Effectiveness of subsidy applications for small businesses

Whilst huge firms in Japan have viewed a gradual increase in labour productiveness since the worldwide monetary disaster, the productiveness of SMEs stays stagnant. This column investigates the results of the Japanese government’s Business Sustainable Subsidy programme, launched in response to this situation, on SMEs’ functionality. The findings suggest that application to the subsidy in itself promotes firms’ voluntary things to do to handle their small business concerns by way of external aid and enhances their productivity.

The lower efficiency of Japan’s SMEs has captivated substantially interest in recent years. David Atkinson, a former husband or wife of US financial commitment lender Goldman Sachs and a member of the government’s expansion tactic panel, who is also identified to be a essential adviser to the Primary Minister, stresses that small efficiency of compact and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the top cause of Japan’s reduced progress.1 This discussion is based on the reality that whilst significant corporations have noticed a gradual enhance in labour productivity due to the fact the financial disaster, the efficiency of SMEs remains stagnant in Japan (Determine 1) (The Smaller and Medium Enterprise Company 2020).

Determine 1 Labour efficiency tendencies in Japan (ten thousand yen)

Supply: Monetary Statements Studies of Businesses by Sector (MOF, Japan) facts

The governing administration has recognised this predicament, and the Ministry of Economic system, Trade, and Sector (METI) released a subsidy programme, the Enterprise Sustainable Subsidy (BSS), in 2013 to resolve the productivity challenges of modest enterprises. A single of its objectives was to improve efficiency and to endorse far more sustainable progress of little enterprises by partially supporting enterprise charges. In our current paper (Hashimoto and Takahashi 2021), we examine the consequences of the BSS on SMEs’ efficiency.

Some empirical investigate does show the a lot more positive impact of subsidies on SMEs than significant enterprises. Bronzini and Iachini (2014) assess the programme of R&D subsidisation conducted in Italy and present that the subsidies experienced a beneficial impact on investment decision for SMEs, while they did not perform for massive enterprises. Criscuolo et al. (2019) analyse the Regional Selective Guidance (RSA) programme in the British isles and come across important constructive results on employment in producing smaller corporations. Policymakers are also interested in these findings on the innovation and career generation prospective of SMEs.

In get to assess the extensive results of the BSS programme, we test two kinds of remedy teams: reception and application. When the literature on the outcome of getting subsidies is properly founded, tiny focus has been paid out to the result of making use of for subsidies on agency efficiency. This assessment was built probable by applying the Tokyo Shoko Exploration (TSR) data covering 1.5 million corporations in Japan and the listing of all companies that used for the subsidies in 2013.

Initial, we appeared at the result of adoption of the subsidies employing the regression discontinuity style (RDD) method, working with only the sample of companies that used for the subsidies. The cure group consisted of firms that been given the subsidy, even though the command group consisted of companies that used for the subsidy but did not get the subsidy. We could not validate major good or destructive results for business efficiency 1–3 a long time following the base yr. The RDD benefits expose that receipt of the subsidy experienced not led to an advancement in agency productiveness.

Future, utilizing a big difference-in-difference (DID) design, we approximated the circumstance whereby all applied little corporations are the treatment group and not-used corporations comprise the management group. This enables us to study the effect of the application of the programme by itself. In distinction to the reception circumstances in which we found no major consequences, the final results show substantial favourable outcomes on the efficiency of applicant firms (Determine 2).

Figure 2 The results of applying for the BSS

Take note: This determine exhibits the estimation coefficients of difference-in-dissimilarities design. ***,**,* signifies statistical significance at 1{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2},5{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} and 10{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} respectively.

While implementing for the subsidy programme has positive outcomes on general performance, it may be that companies with bigger overall performance are inclined to implement a lot more, suggesting heterogeneity among candidates and non-candidates. The endogenous application selection signifies that firms’ critical properties, such as business enterprise self-discipline, impact their productiveness right after obtaining the subsidy. To reply to the range problem for rigorous causality, we conduct PSM–DID, pursuing Ryan et al. (2019) and opt for a pair of samples with similar intervention alternatives. The end result displays that even immediately after taking into consideration collection bias, making use of to the BSS positive aspects business efficiency.

To examine the heterogeneity of the subsidy software effects by market, we divided the sample into 3 industries: development, producing, and services. For the design and products and services industries, the therapy is positively correlated with sales and efficiency (Determine 3). Favourable sales advancement and unfavorable staff development are also steady in the solutions marketplace conclusions. We last but not least display that the services sector contributes a huge aspect of the productivity advancement outcome of the BSS software with robustness verified by means of PSM DID.

Figure 3 The results of implementing for the BSS by business

Note: This figure demonstrates the estimation coefficients of big difference-in-differences model by market. ***,**,* signifies statistical importance at 1{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2},5{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} and 10{3a94529b2b68d99beac25dca5c1678936e723415472492fb18744b4f77d809a2} respectively.

We consider that these final results suggest two issues. Initially, subsidies that are tiny in sum and thinly dispersed are less most likely to be efficient. The subsidy quantity in this circumstance is ¥500,000 (€3,800) at most. This amount may be ample for smaller machines procurement and much less highly-priced promotions having said that, it may perhaps not be sufficient to devote in machines or produce human methods that would lead to elementary transformation which would increase agency efficiency. 

Next, the effectiveness of the subsidy software may well have been a consequence of the advisory help embedded in the subsidy plan. In purchase to implement for the BSS, corporations are obliged to submit their 1-year company plan for sales and efficiency improvements. In this software method, applicants obtain advisory assistance from nearby establishments collaborating with the programme to increase their strategies. Extra exclusively, corporations apply to the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Market (JCCI) or the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry (CFSCIJ) for subsidies, relying on the region where by they are located. JCCI and CFSCIJ provide session services on company administration to the applicants. This is a special attribute of the BSS plan.

JCCI and CFSCIJ have a total of more than 2,000 chapters nationwide and are acquainted with the company natural environment and troubles going through each and every area. In a lot of instances, they have experienced very long associations with neighborhood member companies. We believe that that they are able of proposing productive business enterprise ideas for corporations making use of for the BSS, to enhance their productivity. SMEs typically demand help from 3rd parties for the reason that they absence productive internal means. Advisory assist assists corporations overcome business issues and promotes additional advancement by way of the imparting of worthwhile expertise (Bennett and Robson 2000). In individual, the result of external guidance may be much more pronounced in the services field, which is rather considerably less dependent on devices and extra possible to speedily integrate exterior assistance into its administration.

Our findings suggest that software in by itself promotes firms’ voluntary functions to tackle their business enterprise difficulties via exterior help and enhances their efficiency. We would like to counsel that it would be handy for small-scale subsidy procedures to incorporate an software course of action that encourages corporations to get exterior assistance. It would increase efficiency by enabling firms to tackle their troubles via external guidance fairly than by the direct provision of financial help. 


Bennett, R J and P J A Robson (2000), “SME Growth: The Relationship with Small business Assistance and External Collaboration”, Small Small business Economics 15: 193-208. 

Bronzini, R and E Iachini (2014), “Are Incentives for R&D Productive? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach”, American Financial Journal: Economic Plan 6(4): 100‐134. 

Criscuolo, C, R Martin, H G Overman and J Van Reenen (2019), “Some Causal Results of an Industrial Policy”, American Financial Critique 109(1): 48-85. 

Hashimoto, Y and K Takahashi (2021), “Are Applying for and Acquiring Subsidy Really worth for Smaller Enterprises? Proof from the Authorities Assist Plan in Japan”, RIETI Dialogue Paper Collection, 21-E-039.

Ryan, A M, E Kontopantelis, A Linden and J F Burgess, Jr. (2019), “Now trending: Coping with non-parallel tendencies in variation-in-discrepancies analysis”, Statistical Strategies in Healthcare Analysis 28(12): 3697-3711.

The Smaller and Medium Business Agency (2020), “2020 White Paper on Smaller Medium Enterprises in Japan” (in Japanese).  


1 See state-business enterprise/japan-minimum amount-wage/.