Structural Change and Productivity

The department of structural change and productivity analyses dynamics of structural change driven, for instance, by globalization or technological progress. Structural change causes prosperity and demise of regions, industries, and firms, and we use microeconometric methods to empirically assess these effects. The department staffs the secretariat of the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet), which is a hub for research and policy analysis on competitiveness and productivity, and coordinates MICROPROD (EU Horizon 2020).

Our focus is on productivity, innovation, and labour market outcomes such as employment and wages. 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 "Institutions and Social Norms" and "Productivity and Innovation" build the framework for our research agenda and the corresponding policy advice.

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Professor Dr Steffen Müller
Professor Dr Steffen Müller
Leiter - Department Structural Change and Productivity
Send Message +49 345 7753-708

Refereed Publications

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Ten Facts on Declining Business Dynamism and Lessons from Endogenous Growth Theory

Ufuk Akcigit Sina T. Ates

in: American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract

In this paper, we review the literature on declining business dynamism and its implications in the United States and propose a unifying theory to analyze the symptoms and the potential causes of this decline. We first highlight 10 pronounced stylized facts related to declining business dynamism documented in the literature and discuss some of the existing attempts to explain them. We then describe a theoretical framework of endogenous markups, innovation, and competition that can potentially speak to all of these facts jointly. We next explore some theoretical predictions of this framework, which are shaped by two interacting forces: a composition effect that determines the market concentration and an incentive effect that determines how firms respond to a given concentration in the economy. The results highlight that a decline in knowledge diffusion between frontier and laggard firms could be a significant driver of empirical trends observed in the data. This study emphasizes the potential of growth theory for the analysis of factors behind declining business dynamism and the need for further investigation in this direction.

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Entry into Self-employment and Individuals’ Risk-taking Propensities

Matthias Brachert Walter Hyll Abdolkarim Sadrieh

in: Small Business Economics, forthcoming

Abstract

Most of the existing empirical literature on self-employment decisions assumes that individuals’ risk-taking propensities are stable over time. We allow for endogeneity on both sides when examining the relationship between individual risk-taking propensities and entry into self-employment. We confirm that a greater risk-taking propensity is associated with a higher probability of entering self-employment. However, we also find evidence that entering self-employment is associated with a significant and substantial increase in an individual’s propensity to take risks. Our findings add to the growing evidence that risk-taking propensities are not only inborn, but also determined by environmental factors.

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Who Buffers Income Losses after Job Displacement? The Role of Alternative Income Sources, the Family, and the State

Daniel Fackler Eva Weigt

in: LABOUR, forthcoming

Abstract

Using survey data from the German Socio‐Economic Panel (SOEP), this paper analyses the extent to which alternative income sources, reactions within the household context, and redistribution by the state attenuate earnings losses after job displacement. Applying propensity score matching and fixed effects estimations, we find that income from self‐employment reduces the earnings gap only slightly and severance payments buffer losses in the short run. On the household level, we find little evidence for an added worker effect whereas redistribution by the state within the tax and transfer system mitigates income losses substantially.

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Identifying Cooperation for Innovation―a Comparison of Data Sources

Michael Fritsch Mirko Titze M. Piontek

in: Industry and Innovation, forthcoming

Abstract

The value of social network analysis is critically dependent on the comprehensive and reliable identification of actors and their relationships. We compare regional knowledge networks based on different types of data sources, namely, co-patents, co-publications, and publicly subsidized collaborative R&D projects. Moreover, by combining these three data sources, we construct a multilayer network that provides a comprehensive picture of intraregional interactions. By comparing the networks based on the data sources, we address the problems of coverage and selection bias. We observe that using only one data source leads to a severe underestimation of regional knowledge interactions, especially those of private sector firms and independent researchers.

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Birds, Birds, Birds: Co-Worker Similarity, Workplace Diversity and Job Switches

Boris Hirsch Elke J. Jahn Thomas Zwick

in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, forthcoming

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Working Papers

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Import Competition and Firm Productivity: Evidence from German Manufacturing

Richard Bräuer Matthias Mertens Viktor Slavtchev

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 20, 2019

Abstract

This study analyses empirically the effects of import competition on firm productivity (TFPQ) using administrative firm-level panel data from German manufacturing. We find that only import competition from high-income countries is associated with positive incentives for firms to invest in productivity improvement, whereas import competition from middle- and low-income countries is not. To rationalise these findings, we further look at the characteristics of imports from the two types of countries and the effects on R&D, employment and sales. We provide evidence that imports from high-income countries are relatively capital-intensive and technologically more sophisticated goods, at which German firms tend to be relatively good. Costly investment in productivity appears feasible reaction to such type of competition and we find no evidence for downscaling. Imports from middle- and low-wage countries are relatively labour-intensive and technologically less sophisticated goods, at which German firms tend to generally be at disadvantage. In this case, there are no incentives to invest in innovation and productivity and firms tend to decline in sales and employment.

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Gift-exchange in Society and the Social Integration of Refugees: Evidence from a Field, a Laboratory, and a Survey Experiment

Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins Bernd Josef Leisen

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 17, 2019

Abstract

Refugee integration needs broad support from society, but only a minority is actively engaged. Given that most individuals reciprocate kind behaviour, we examine the idea that the proportion of supporters is increasing as a reciprocal response to refugees’ contributions to society through volunteering. Our nationwide survey experiment shows that the intentions to contribute time and money rise significantly when citizens learn about refugees’ pro-social activities. Importantly, this result holds for individuals who have not been in contact to refugees so far. We complement this investigation by experiments in the lab and the field – which confirm our findings for actual behaviour.

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Mission, Motivation, and the Active Decision to Work for a Social Cause

Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 10, 2019

Abstract

The mission of a job does not only affect the type of worker attracted to an organisation, but may also provide incentives to an existing workforce. We conducted a natural field experiment with 267 short-time workers and randomly allocated them to either a prosocial or a commercial job. Our data suggest that the mission of a job itself has a performance enhancing motivational impact on particular individuals only, i.e., workers with a prosocial attitude. However, the mission is very important if it has been actively selected. Those workers who have chosen to contribute to a social cause outperform the ones randomly assigned to the same job by about 15 percent. This effect seems to be a universal phenomenon which is not driven by information about the alternative job, the choice itself or a particular subgroup.

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flexpaneldid: A Stata Command for Causal Analysis with Varying Treatment Time and Duration

Eva Dettmann Alexander Giebler Antje Weyh

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 5, 2019

Abstract

The paper presents a modification of the matching and difference-in-differences approach of Heckman et al. (1998) and its Stata implementation, the command flexpaneldid. The approach is particularly useful for causal analysis of treatments with varying start dates and varying treatment durations (like investment grants or other subsidy schemes). Introducing more flexibility enables the user to consider individual treatment and outcome periods for the treated observations. The flexpaneldid command for panel data implements the developed flexible difference-in-differences approach and commonly used alternatives like CEM Matching and difference-in-differences models. The novelty of this tool is an extensive data preprocessing to include time information into the matching approach and the treatment effect estimation. The core of the paper gives two comprehensive examples to explain the use of flexpaneldid and its options on the basis of a publicly accessible data set.

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Identifying Cooperation for Innovation – A Comparison of Data Sources

Michael Fritsch M. Piontek Mirko Titze

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2019

Abstract

The value of social network analysis is critically dependent on the comprehensive and reliable identification of actors and their relationships. We compare regional knowledge networks based on different types of data sources, namely, co-patents, co-publications, and publicly subsidised collaborative Research and Development projects. Moreover, by combining these three data sources, we construct a multilayer network that provides a comprehensive picture of intraregional interactions. By comparing the networks based on the data sources, we address the problems of coverage and selection bias. We observe that using only one data source leads to a severe underestimation of regional knowledge interactions, especially those of private sector firms and independent researchers. The key role of universities that connect many regional actors is identified in all three types of data.

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