Do Movie Production Incentives Generate Economic Development?

16 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2020


Movie production incentives (MPIs) are a popular economic development strategy employed by U.S. states. Film subsidies are intended to encourage external investment into a nascent industry that spills over onto complementary industries to generate economic growth through a multiplier. Despite their widespread use, the positive impact of MPIs on state economies has not been documented, and several states have halted their MPI programs due to high costs and questionable efficacy. This study exploits the staggered implementation, suspension, and elimination of film incentive programs across states to estimate the macroeconomic impact of MPIs. Instrumental variable estimates that permit causal inference do not support the hypothesized positive impacts of film incentives on state economies.

JEL Classification: H25, H71, L82, R11, R38, Z11, Z18

Suggested Citation

Bradbury, John Charles, Do Movie Production Incentives Generate Economic Development? (April 2020). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 38, Issue 2, pp. 327-342, 2020, Available at SSRN: or

John Charles Bradbury (Contact Author)

Kennesaw State University ( email )

Dept. of Economics, Finance, and Quant. Analysis
560 Parliament Garden Way NW
Kennesaw, GA 30144
United States

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