Innovation, Productivity, and Economic Dynamics
The research group deals with the empirical analysis of the dynamics and determinants of economic development. Thereby, we recognize that these are individual heterogeneous firms with their specific capabilities to innovate and to efficiently allocate scarce resources that shape patterns at higher level of aggregation (e.g. cause structural change). While following a micro-level approach we aim at adding to the understanding of the actual mechanisms and dynamics in the development of economies as well as for the development of policy instruments. For instance, one of the current research projects deals with the effect of import competition on the productivity and innovating behaviour of firms as well as on the dynamic in and of industries
The research group works closely together with CompNet.
Research ClusterProductivity and Innovation
The Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet)
Funding institutions: European Central Bank (ECB), European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Tinbergen Institute, European Commission.
The Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet) provides a forum for high level research and policy analysis in the areas of competitiveness and productivity. Its main activities include the regular updating of its micro-based competitiveness database for European countries, unprecedented in terms of coverage and cross-country comparability.
Criminal Network Formation and Optimal Detection Policy: The Role of Cascade of Detection
in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2017
This paper investigates the effect of cascade of detection, how detection of a criminal triggers detection of his network neighbors, on criminal network formation. We develop a model in which criminals choose both links and actions. We show that the degree of cascade of detection plays an important role in shaping equilibrium criminal networks. Surprisingly, greater cascade of detection could reduce ex ante social welfare. In particular, we prove that full cascade of detection yields a weakly denser criminal network than that under partial cascade of detection. We further characterize the optimal allocation of the detection resource and demonstrate that it should be highly asymmetric among ex ante identical agents.
The Effects of Local Elections on National Military Spending: A Cross-country Study
in: Defence and Peace Economics, No. 3, 2017
In this paper, we study the domestic political determinants of military spending. Our conceptual framework suggests that power distribution over local and central governments influences the government provision of national public goods, in our context, military expenditure. Drawing on a large cross-country panel, we demonstrate that having local elections will decrease a country’s military expenditure markedly, controlling for other political and economic variables. According to our preferred estimates, a country’s military expenditure is on average 20% lower if its state government officials are locally elected, which is consistent with our theoretical prediction.
Support for Public Research Spin-offs by the Parent Organizations and the Speed of Commercialization
in: The Journal of Technology Transfer, No. 6, 2016
We empirically analyze whether support by the parent organization in the early (nascent and seed) stage speeds up the process of commercialization and helps spin-offs from public research organizations generate first revenues sooner. To identify the impact of support by the parent organization, we apply multivariate regression techniques as well as an instrumental variable approach. Our results show that support in the early stage by the parent organization can speed up commercialization. Moreover, we identify two distinct channels—the help in developing a business plan and in acquiring external capital—through which support by the parent organization can enable spin-offs to generate first revenues sooner.
Regional Capital Flows and Economic Regimes: Evidence from China
in: Economics Letters, April 2016
Using provincial data from China, this paper examines the pattern of capital flows in relation to the transition of economic regimes. We show that fast-growing provinces experienced less capital inflows before the large-scale market reform, contrary to the prediction of the neoclassical growth theory. As China transitioned from the central-planning economy to the market economy, the negative correlation between productivity growth and capital inflows became much less pronounced. From a regional perspective, this finding suggests domestic institutional factors play an important role in shaping the pattern of capital flows.
Does the Technological Content of Government Demand Matter for Private R&D? Evidence from US States
in: American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, No. 2, 2016
Governments purchase everything from airplanes to zucchini. This paper investigates the role of the technological content of government procurement in innovation. In a theoretical model, we first show that a shift in the composition of public purchases toward high-tech products translates into higher economy-wide returns to innovation, leading to an increase in the aggregate level of private R&D. Using unique data on federal procurement in US states and performing panel fixed-effects estimations, we find support for the model's prediction of a positive R&D effect of the technological content of government procurement. Instrumental-variable estimations suggest a causal interpretation of our findings.
Intangible Capital and Productivity. Firm-level Evidence from German Manufacturing
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2020
We study the importance of intangible capital (R&D, software, patents) for the measurement of productivity using firm-level panel data from German manufacturing. We first document a number of facts on the evolution of intangible investment over time, and its distribution across firms. Aggregate intangible investment increased over time. However, the distribution of intangible investment, even more so than that of physical investment, is heavily right-skewed, with many firms investing nothing or little, and a few firms having very large intensities. Intangible investment is also lumpy. Firms that invest more intensively in intangibles (per capita or as sales share) also tend to be more productive. In a second step, we estimate production functions with and without intangible capital using recent control function approaches to account for the simultaneity of input choice and unobserved productivity shocks. We find a positive output elasticity for research and development (R&D) and, to a lesser extent, software and patent investment. Moreover, the production function estimates show substantial heterogeneity in the output elasticities across industries and firms. While intangible capital has small effects for firms with low intangible intensity, there are strong positive effects for high-intensity firms. Finally, including intangibles in a gross output production function reduces productivity dispersion (measured by the 90-10 decile range) on average by 3%, in some industries as much as nearly 9%.
Import Competition and Firm Productivity: Evidence from German Manufacturing
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 20, 2019
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.
Labour Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2018
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.
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.
Effects of Entrepreneurship Education at Universities
in: Jena Economic Research Papers, Nr. 2012-025, No. 25, 2012
This study analyzes the impact of entrepreneurship education at universities on the intentions of students to become entrepreneurs or self-employed in the short-term (immediately after graduation) and in the long-term (five years after graduation). A difference-in-differences approach is applied that relates changes in entrepreneurial intentions to changes in the attendance of entrepreneurship classes in the same period. To account for a potential bias due to self-selection into entrepreneurship classes, only individuals having no prior entrepreneurial intentions are analyzed. Our results indicate a stimulating effect of entrepreneurship education on students’ intentions to become entrepreneurs or self-employed in the long-term but a discouraging effect on their intentions in the short-term. These results support the conjecture that entrepreneurship education provides more realistic perspectives on what it takes to be an entrepreneur, resulting in ‘sorting’. Overall, the results indicate that entrepreneurship education may improve the quality of labor market matches, the allocation of resources and talent, and increase social welfare. Not distinguishing between short- and long-term intentions may lead to misleading conclusions regarding the economic and social impact of entrepreneurship education.