DP5979 Losers, Winners and Prisoner's Dilemma in International Subsidy Wars

Author(s): Armando José Garcia Pires
Publication Date: December 2006
Keyword(s): Airbus, asymmetric firms, Boeing, R&D investment, R&D subsidies
JEL(s): F13, H52, L13, L52, O31
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5979

Two central results in the strategic trade literature are that governments shall support winners and that there is a policy prisoner dilemma in international subsidy wars (i.e. countries have incentives to support local firms but they would be better off by cooperating to not intervene). We show that exactly the contrary holds when asymmetries between firms are endogenous. Specifically, the incentives to support are bigger for loser firms given that intervention can aim at making them winners (competitiveness shifting effects). As a result the countries that host less competitive firms always prefer intervention. We illustrate this with the Airbus-Boeing case.