Structural Change and Productivity
The department of structural change and productivity analyses dynamics of structural change driven, for instance, by technological progress or rearrangements in the institutional framework. Structural change causes prosperity and demise of regions, industries, and firms, and we use microeconometric methods to empirically assess these effects.
The focus is on productivity, innovation, and labour market outcomes such as employment, wages, or educational decisions. We devote special attention to the transformation process of the East German regions, initiated by the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the German unification. The Research Clusters "Markets and the State: Transforming Institutions" and "Productivity and Innovation" build the framework for our research agenda and the corresponding policy advice.
Betriebsräte und andere Formen der betrieblichen Mitarbeitervertretung – Substitute oder Komplemente
in: Industrielle Beziehungen , forthcomingread publication
Does Administrative Status Matter for Urban Growth? – Evidence from Present and Former County Capitals in East Germany
in: Growth and Change , forthcoming
Public sector activities are often neglected in the economic approaches used to analyze the driving forces behind urban growth. The institutional status of a regional capital is a crucial aspect of public sector activities. This paper reports on a quasi-natural experiment on county towns in East Germany. Since 1990, cities in East Germany have demonstrated remarkable differences in population development. During this same period, many towns have lost their status as a county seat due to several administrative reforms. Using a difference-in-difference approach, the annual population development of former county capitals is compared to population change in towns that have successfully held on to their capital status throughout the observed period. The estimations show that maintaining county capital status has a statistically significant positive effect on annual changes in population. This effect is furthermore increasing over time after the implementation of the respective reforms.
Coming to Work While Sick: An Economic Theory of Presenteeism With an Application to German Data
in: Oxford Economic Papers , forthcoming
Presenteeism, i.e. attending work while sick, is widespread and associated with significant costs. Still, economic analyses of this phenomenon are rare. In a theoretical model, we show that presenteeism arises due to differences between workers in (healthrelated) disutility from workplace attendance. As these differences are unobservable by employers, they set wages that incentivise sick workers to attend work. Using a large representative German data set, we test several hypotheses derived from our model. In line with our predictions, we find that bad health status and stressful working conditions are positively related to presenteeism. Better dismissal protection, captured by higher tenure, is associated with slightly fewer presenteeism days, whereas the role of productivity and skills is inconclusive.
Do Employers Have More Monopsony Power in Slack Labor Markets?
in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review , forthcoming
This article confronts monopsony theory’s predictions regarding workers’ wages with observed wage patterns over the business cycle. Using German administrative data for the years 1985 to 2010 and an estimation framework based on duration models, the authors construct a time series of the labor supply elasticity to the firm and estimate its relationship to the unemployment rate. They find that firms possess more monopsony power during economic downturns. Half of this cyclicality stems from workers’ job separations being less wage driven when unemployment rises, and the other half mirrors that firms find it relatively easier to poach workers. Results show that the cyclicality is more pronounced in tight labor markets with low unemployment, and that the findings are robust to controlling for time-invariant unobserved worker or plant heterogeneity. The authors further document that cyclical changes in workers’ entry wages are of similar magnitude as those predicted under pure monopsonistic wage setting.
Why Is there Resistance to Works Councils?
in: Economic and Industrial Democracy , forthcomingread publication
Macroprudential Policy and Intra-group Dynamics: The Effects of Reserve Requirements in Brazil
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 21, 2017
This paper examines whether intra-group dynamics matter for the transmission of macroprudential policy. Using novel bank-level data on the Brazilian banking system, we investigate the effect of reserve requirements targeting headquarter banks’ deposit share on credit supply by their municipal bank branches. For identification purposes, we exploit that reserve requirements are adjusted following global economic cycles. Our results reveal a lending channel of reserve requirements for branches whose parent banks are more exposed to targeted deposits. Branch ownership and exposure to internal liquidity are central in explaining the results. Our findings reveal limitations in current macroprudential policy frameworks.
Central Bank Transparency and the Volatility of Exchange Rates
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 22, 2017
We analyze the effect of monetary policy transparency on bilateral exchange rate volatility. We test the theoretical predictions of a stylized model using panel data for 62 currencies from 1998 to 2010. We find strong empirical evidence that an increase in the availability of information about monetary policy objectives decreases exchange rate volatility. Using interaction models, we find that this effect is more pronounced for countries with a lower flexibility of goods prices, a lower level of central bank conservatism, and a higher interest rate sensitivity of money demand.
The Appropriateness of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure for Central and Eastern European Countries
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 16, 2017
The experience of Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) during the global financial crisis and in the resulting European debt crises has been largely different from that of other European countries. This paper looks at the specifics of the CEEC in recent history and focuses in particular on the appropriateness of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure for this group of countries. In doing so, the macroeconomic situation in the CEEC is highlighted and macroeconomic problems faced by these countries are extracted. The findings are compared to the results of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure of the European Commission. It is shown that while the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure correctly identifies some of the problems, it understates or overstates other problems. This is due to the specific construction of the broadened surveillance procedure, which largely disregarded the specifics of catching-up economies.
Why is there Resistance to Works Councils in Germany? An Economic Perspective
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 23, 2017
Recent empirical research generally finds evidence of positive economic effects of works councils, for example with regard to productivity and – with some limitations – to profits. This makes it necessary to explain why employers’ associations have reservations against works councils. On the basis of an in-depth literature analysis, we show that beyond the generally positive findings, there are important heterogeneities in the impact of works councils. We argue that those groups of employers that tend to benefit little from employee participation in terms of productivity and profits may well be important enough to shape the agenda of their employers’ organisation and even gained in importance within their organisations in recent years. We also discuss the role of deviations from profit-maximising behaviour like risk aversion, short-term profit maximisation, and other non-pecuniary motives, as possible reasons for employer resistance.
TV and Entrepreneurship
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 17, 2017
We empirically analyse whether television (TV) can influence entrepreneurial identity and incidence. To identify causal effects, we utilise a quasi-natural experiment setting. During the division of Germany after WWII into West Germany with a free-market economy and the socialistic East Germany with centrally-planned economy, some East German regions had access to West German public TV that – differently from the East German TV – transmitted images, values, attitudes and view of life compatible with the free-market economy principles and supportive of entrepreneurship. We show that during the 40 years of socialistic regime in East Germany entrepreneurship was highly regulated and virtually impossible and that the prevalent formal and informal institutions broke the traditional ties linking entrepreneurship to the characteristics of individuals so that there were hardly any differences in the levels and development of entrepreneurship between East German regions with and without West German TV signal. Using both, regional and individual level data, we show then that, for the period after the Unification in 1990 which made starting an own business in East Germany, possible again, entrepreneurship incidence is higher among the residents of East German regions that had access to West German public TV, indicating that TV can, while transmitting specific images, values, attitudes and view of life, directly impact on the entrepreneurial mindset of individuals. Moreover, we find that young individuals born after 1980 in East German households that had access to West German TV are also more entrepreneurial. These findings point to second-order effects due to inter-personal and inter-generational transmission, a mechanism that can cause persistent differences in the entrepreneurship incidence across (geographically defined) population groups.