IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers

The IWH-CompNet Discussion Paper series presents research based on productivity data provided by the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet). The international network has the objective to develop a consistent analytical framework for assessing productivity and competitiveness. The papers are released in order to make the research of CompNet generally available, in preliminary form, to encourage comments and suggestions prior to final publication.

Current Issues

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Labour Market Power and Between-Firm Wage (In)Equality

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2020

Abstract

I study how labour market power affects firm wage differences using German manufacturing sector firm-level data (1995-2016). In past decades, labour market power increasingly moderated rising between-firm wage inequality. This is because high-paying firms possess high and increasing labour market power and pay wages below competitive levels, whereas low-wage firms pay competitive wages. Over time, large, high-wage, high-productivity firms generate increasingly large labour market rents while selling on competitive product markets. This provides novel insights on why such “superstar firms” are profitable and successful. Using micro-aggregated data covering most economic sectors, I validate my results for ten other European countries.

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Trade, Misallocation, and Capital Market Integration

Laszlo Tetenyi

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2019

Abstract

I study how cross-country capital market integration affects the gains from trade in a model with financial frictions and heterogeneous, forward-looking firms. The model predicts that misallocation among exporters increases as trade barriers fall, even as misallocation decreases in the aggregate. The reason is that financially constrained productive exporters increase their production only marginally, while unproductive exporters survive for longer and increase their size. Allowing capital inflows magnifies misallocation, because unproductive firms expand even more, leading to a decline in aggregate productivity. Nevertheless, under integrated capital markets, access to cheaper capital dominates the adverse effect on productivity, leading to higher output, consumption and welfare than under closed capital markets. Applied to the period of European integration between 1992 and 2008, I find that underdeveloped sectors experiencing higher export exposure had more misallocation of capital and a higher share of unproductive firms, thus the data is consistent with the model’s predictions. A key implication of the model is that TFP is a poor proxy for consumption growth after trade liberalisation.

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Private Debt, Public Debt, and Capital Misallocation

Behzod Alimov

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 7, 2019

Abstract

Does finance facilitate efficient allocation of resources? Our aim in this paper is to find out whether increases in private and public indebtedness affect capital misallocation, which is measured as the dispersion in the return to capital across firms in different industries. For this, we use a novel dataset containing industrylevel data for 18 European countries and control for different macroeconomic indicators as potential determinants of capital misallocation. We exploit the within-country variation across industries in such indicators as external finance dependence, technological intensity, credit constraints and competitive structure, and find that private debt accumulation disproportionately increases capital misallocation in industries with higher financial dependence, higher R&D intensity, a larger share of credit-constrained firms and a lower level of competition. On the other hand, we fail to find any significant and robust effect of public debt on capital misallocation within our country-sector pairs. We believe the distortionary effects of private debt found in our analysis needs a deeper theoretical investigation.

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Total Factor Productivity and the Terms of Trade

Jan Teresinski

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 6, 2019

Abstract

In this paper we analyse how the terms of trade (TOT) – the ratio of export prices to import prices – affect total factor productivity (TFP). We provide empirical macroeconomic evidence for the European Union countries based on the times series SVAR analysis and microeconomic evidence based on industry level data from the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet) database which shows that the terms of trade improvements are associated with a slowdown in the total factor productivity growth. Next, we build a theoretical model which combines open economy framework with the endogenous growth theory. In the model the terms of trade improvements increase demand for labour employed in exportable goods production at the expense of technology production (research and development – R&D) which leads to a shift of resources from knowledge development towards physical exportable goods. This reallocation has a negative impact on the TFP growth. Under a plausible calibration the model is able to replicate the observed empirical pattern.

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Employment Protection and Firm-level Job Reallocation:Adjusting for Coverage

Benedicta Marzinotto Ladislav Wintr

in: IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers, No. 5, 2019

Abstract

This paper finds that employment protection legislation (EPL) had a significant impact on employment adjustment in Europe over 2001-2013, once we account for firm-size related exemptions to EPL. We construct a novel coverage-adjusted EPL indicator and find that EPL hinders employment growth at the firm level and increases the share of firms that remain in the same size class. This suggests that stricter EPL restrains job creation because firms fear the costs of shedding jobs during downturns. We do not find evidence that EPL has positive effects on employment by limiting job losses after adverse shocks. In addition to standard controls for the share of credit-constrained firms and the position in the business cycle, we also control for sizerelated corporate tax exemptions and find that these also significantly constrain job creation among incumbent firms.

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