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Theory-based Impact Evaluation in Practice

Key Findings and Policy Learnings from the Ex-post Evaluation on Cohesion Policy Support to Large Enterprises

Jan-Philipp Kramer, András Kaszap
Keywords: evaluation, cohesion policy, ESIF, large enterprises, 2007-2013 programme, regional development

Direct financial support to large enterprises in the 2007-2013 EU programming period is estimated at € 6 billion on the EU-28 level. Debates on the effectiveness of this sum often fuel controversies, containing varied points of view in favour of, or against using public money to subsidise large enterprises. The justification of subsidies often involves the argument of influencing the large firms’ location choice or realising additional indirect and wider benefits for SMEs and the regions in which they operate. The extent to which the EU support can influence the large firms’ behaviour is, however, difficult to measure, largely due to the complexity of the companies’ organisational structures and decision making mechanisms. This paper presents the methodology, the main findings and conclusions of Work Package 4 (Support to large enterprises) of the ex post evaluation of Cohesion Policy programmes 2007–2013. The evaluation used a theory-based approach, Contribution Analysis in particular, to open the ‘black box’ of large firm support and unravel the causal relationship between the distributed funds and the observed outcomes. The paper sheds light on the effectiveness of the interventions and identifies the conditions under which large firm support can result in added value at EU level.

Dr. Jan-Philipp Kramer is Senior Project Manager and Head of Brussels Office at Prognos AG. For correspondence: András Kaszap is Senior Manager, KPMG Advisory Ltd. For correspondence: The views expressed in this article are personal.


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