Matthias Mertens

Matthias Mertens
Current Position

since 10/15

Economist in the Department of Structural Change and Productivity

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

Research Interests

  • productivity estimation
  • misallocation of resources
  • market power

Matthias Mertens joined the Department of Structural Change and Productivity as a doctoral student in October 2015. His research focuses on firm productivity, market power, and welfare losses through misallocation of resources.

Matthias Mertens received his bachelor's and master's degree from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

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Matthias Mertens
Matthias Mertens
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Publications

European Firms after the Crisis – New Insights from the 5th Vintage of the CompNet Firm-level-based Database

Elena Ashtari Tafti Richard Bräuer Sante De Pinto Marco Grazioli Matthias Mertens Daniel Stöhlker Marta Tagliabue

2016

Abstract

This report intends to shed light on the competitive stance of European firms after the crisis. In line with CompNet cutting-edge approach, we take a firm-level perspective to analyse the competitive position of European firms by drawing from the new vintage of the firm-level-based CompNet database. This micro-level approach allows us to ascertain the extent in which firms performances are heterogeneous across EU, also in relation of possible determinants of such performance.

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Die Wirkungen von Handelsliberalisierungen: Ein Vergleich zwischen dem Melitz-Ansatz und der endogenen Wachstumstheorie

Matthias Mertens

in: Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden, 2016

Abstract

Matthias Mertens diskutiert Vor- und Nachteile des Melitz- und des endogenen Wachstumsansatzes hinsichtlich der Analyse von (Wohlfahrts-)Effekten einer Handelsliberalisierung und zeigt, dass beide Ansätze eine Daseins-Berechtigung besitzen, da sie verschiedene Handelsliberalisierungsaspekte in den Fokus setzen. Die Arbeit ermöglicht eine einfache Modellauswahl für die Analyse relevanter handelspolitischer Fragestellungen und Anwendungsfälle. Weiterhin verdeutlicht der Autor das Zukunftspotential hybrider Ansätze, welche endogene Wachstumsmodelle und Melitz-Modelle miteinander kombinieren und zur Entwicklung einer generalisierten Modelltheorie für die Analyse von Handelsliberalisierungswirkungen beitragen können.

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Labour Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2018

Abstract

This article examines how trade shocks shape labour market imperfections that create market power in labour markets and prevent an efficient allocation of labour. I develop a framework for measuring such labour market distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of those distortions in Germany’s manufacturing sector. Import competition can only exert labour market disciplining effects when firms rather than workers have labour market power. Otherwise, export demand and import competition shocks tend to fortify existing distortions by amplifying labour market power structures. This diminishes the gains from trade compared to a model with perfectly competitive labour markets.

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Labour Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2019

Abstract

This article examines how trade shocks shape labour market imperfections that create market power in labour markets and prevent an efficient allocation of labour. I develop a framework for measuring such labor market distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of those distortions in Germany’s manufacturing sector. Import competition can only exert labor market disciplining effects when firms rather than workers have labour market power. Otherwise, export demand and import competition shocks tend to fortify existing distortions by amplifying labour market power structures. This diminishes the gains from trade compared to a model with perfectly competitive labour markets.

read publication

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Micro-mechanisms Behind Declining Labour Shares: Market Power, Production Processes, and Global Competition

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2019

Abstract

This article investigates how changing production processes and increasing market power at the firm level relate to a fall in Germany’s manufacturing sector labour share. Coinciding with the fall of the labour share, I document a rise in firms’ product and labour market power. Notably, labour market power is a more relevant source of firms’ market power than product market power. Increasing product and labour market power, however, only account for 30% of the fall in the labour share. The remaining 70% are explained by a transition of firms towards less labour-intensive production activities. I study the role of final product trade in causing those secular movements. I find that rising foreign export demand contributes to a decline in the labour share by increasing labour market power within firms and by inducing a reallocation of economic activity from nonexporting- high-labour-share to exporting-low-labour-share firms

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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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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.

read publication

cover_DP_2018-18.jpg

Labour Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2018

Abstract

This article examines how trade shocks shape labour market imperfections that create market power in labour markets and prevent an efficient allocation of labour. I develop a framework for measuring such labour market distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of those distortions in Germany’s manufacturing sector. Import competition can only exert labour market disciplining effects when firms rather than workers have labour market power. Otherwise, export demand and import competition shocks tend to fortify existing distortions by amplifying labour market power structures. This diminishes the gains from trade compared to a model with perfectly competitive labour markets.

read publication
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