Foreign and domestic companies have been granted increasing numbers of higher value incentive deals for investments in the US than any other country worldwide.

Since 2020, companies investing in the US have been awarded $54.4bn worth of incentives — over six times that of the $8.14bn granted by second-placed Canada, according to IncentivesFlow, a database recently acquired by fDi Intelligence


The overwhelming majority of the 11,271 incentive deals tracked in the US since 2020 were either grants, subsidies or tax-based incentives. The UK, which is expected to announce support for green investment this week in response to US and EU incentive packages, has offered around 88% fewer incentive deals than the US since 2020, according to IncentivesFlow figures.

Kavan Bhandary, the director of economic development research at Wavteq, who heads the team behind IncentivesFlow, says the “US has been extremely transparent” about the support available to investing companies. “Investment promotion in the US has always been competitive and done in a way where companies can easily understand what incentive packages are on offer to them in different states and communities,” he explains. 

Despite IncentivesFlow being the most comprehensive global database of its kind, the political sensitivity of public support for companies means there is often a lack of timely information about incentives. After an investment project is announced, there can be a lag of anywhere from three months to two years before details of the project’s incentives become available. Many incentives are therefore marked as "unspecified" until details emerge. 

In several major investment destinations, such as Singapore and some European countries, information on incentives is either unavailable or not clearly published, according to Mr Bhandary. Despite IncentivesFlow discluding information that is not yet in the public domain, the database provides a strong indication of increased government support provided to strategic industries. 

In 2022, global incentives offered to investing companies topped $44bn, an all-time high and an increase of 77% on the previous year. Around half of 2022’s figure was accounted for by the electronics industry, where governments have rolled out massive support for semiconductor and battery projects.

Global investment into semiconductors surpassed $90bn in 2022, which is higher than any other year since records began in 2003, fDi Markets data shows. The average incentive spend per job created in 2022 was estimated at about $69,000, up by 169% on the previous year and its highest ever level, according to IncentivesFlow data since 2010. 


Mr Bhandary says that the massive increase of incentives has been driven by developed countries trying to capture investments in critical industries which were impacted by supply chain disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Several countries, including those in the US and UK, are planning to roll out incentives to compete with the US’s massive $369bn Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which has magnetised significant green investments from European companies such as Volkswagen.

“The IRA is going to nudge Europe to become more transparent with what incentives a company can get for their investments,” says Mr Bhandary