. Economic benefit (such as a tax allowance or duty rebate) or financial aid (such as a cash grant or soft loan) provided by a government to (1) support a desirable activity (such as exports), (2) keep prices of staples low, (3) maintain the income of the producers of critical or strategic products, (4) maintain employment levels, or (5) induce investment to reduce unemployment. The basic characteristic of all subsidies is to reduce the market price of an item below its cost of production. Also called subvention.
2. Indirect financial contribution by a firm to its employees, such as low cost meals or free transportation.