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Department of Economics Working Papers,
Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics

Spotlight on the beneficiaries of EU regional funds: A new firm-level dataset

Julia Bachtrögler (), Christoph Hammer (), Wolf Heinrich Reuter () and Florian Schwendinger ()
Additional contact information
Julia Bachtrögler: Institute for International Economics, Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Christoph Hammer: Institute for International Economics and Development, Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Wolf Heinrich Reuter: German Council of Economic Experts
Florian Schwendinger: Institute for Statistics and Mathematics, Department Finance, Accounting & Statistics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Abstract: This study introduces a new firm-level dataset containing over two million projects co-funded by the European Union’s (EU) structural and Cohesion funds in 25 EU member states in the multi-annual financial framework 2007-2013. Information on individual beneficiary firms and institutions published by regional authorities is linked with business data from Bureau van Dijk’s ORBIS database. Moreover, we show how modern text mining techniques can be used to categorise EU funded projects into fifteen thematic categories proposed by the European Commission. A first analysis of the dataset reveals substantial heterogeneity of beneficiaries and projects across and within countries. While in the majority of lagging regions the largest project expenditure is dedicated to transportation and energy infrastructure, in most other regions the major part is assigned to innovation and technological development as well as business (including SME) support. In an econometric analysis we control for project and firm characteristics and find that the highest single project values are associated with older beneficiary firms that are larger in size. Furthermore, the projects with topmost expenditure are carried out in Dutch and British regions.

Keywords: Distribution of EU structural funds, Regional policy, Firm-level data, Cohesion, European Union

JEL-codes: E61; H77; R11; R58 May 2017

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