The new empirics of industrial policy

Nathaniel Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Nations have and will continue to shape their economies through industrial policy. Nevertheless, the empirical literature on these interventions is thin, dwarfed by the attention industrial policies receive from policymakers across the world. In this paper, I discuss the difficulties of empirically studying industrial policy and review how new econometric work is confronting these issues. Through careful research design and attention to institutional detail, I argue that emergent studies are rapidly expanding what we know—and updating what we thought we knew—about these policies. As well, I argue tools from policy evaluation allow us to study the impact of endogenous industrial interventions. This review is a proposal to take industrial policy, along with their complexities, more seriously as objects of inquiry. Doing so requires not only more serious evaluations of past policy but also a reevaluation of past empirical work and consensus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-234
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Industry, Competition and Trade
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Industrial development
  • Industrial policy
  • O14
  • O2
  • O25
  • Policy evaluation

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