Evaluating consumer incentives: the Italian case of building renovations
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The goal of this paper is to assess the impact of consumers' incentives to building renovations - introduced in Italy in 1997 by means of tax reimbursements - on construction sector's economic activity. Our analysis - which absent any sectional variability in the policy under scrutiny, identifies its impact by taking advantage of a longitudinal variation in its generosity within a context of no variation in the remainder of the relevant legislation and of no autonomous trends in the dependent variable - proves that reducing the number of installments of the reimbursement plans enhanced in 2003 the number of renovations by 0.026 squared meters per inhabitant. Based on this result, the recent changes occurred in the relevant legislation, which were expected to have a stimulus impact on Italian economy, can be more easily interpreted as a "restrictive" policy, thus casting serious doubts on the extremely positive comments which have been put forward at the institutional level.