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Discussion or working paper
David B. Audretsch ,
João Pereira dos Santos

Do Toll-free Highways Foster Firm Formation and Employment Growth? Results from a Quasi-natural Experiment

  • Abstract

    The paper studies the impact of a switch from free to charged highway provision on firm numbers and private sector employment in a cross-section of Portuguese municipalities. It exploits the fact that highway tolls in Portugal were unexpectedly raised in reaction to the financial crisis to establish causality. Results from a difference-in-differences analysis indicate a significantly negative effect of highway tolls on number of firms and employment in treated municipalities vis-à-vis the control group. We also find negative effects of tolls in municipalities not directly traversed by the treated highways, with larger firms and manufacturing firms being most strongly affected.
  • Keywords

    infrastructure provision, regional economic development, quasi-natural experiment
  • JEL classification

    R48, L25, R12
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