Market Power, Input Costs, and Technology

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 Cluster
Productivity and Institutions

Your contact

Dr Matthias Mertens
Dr Matthias Mertens
Mitglied - Department Structural Change and Productivity
Send Message +49 345 7753-707 Personal page

EXTERNAL FUNDING

10.2022 ‐ 09.2024

MULTIMSPROD/MULTIMSPROD AUT

European Commission

Enhancing the Micro Foundation of the Research Output of National Productivity Board (NPBs). Using CompNet and expanding its Micro Data Infrastructure (MDI).

See project page

Professor Javier Miranda, PhD

09.2016 ‐

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.

Professor Reint E. Gropp, PhD

Refereed Publications

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Labor Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade

Matthias Mertens

in: International Journal of Industrial Organization, January 2020

Abstract

This article examines how final product trade with China shapes and interacts with labor market imperfections that create market power in labor markets and prevent an efficient market outcome. I develop a framework for measuring such labor market power distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of these distortions in Germany's manufacturing sector. Import competition only exerts labor market disciplining effects if firms, rather than employees, possess labor market power. Otherwise, increasing export demand and import competition both fortify existing distortions, which decreases labor market efficiency. This widens the gap between potential and realized output and thus diminishes classical gains from trade.

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Criminal Network Formation and Optimal Detection Policy: The Role of Cascade of Detection

Liuchun Deng Yufeng Sun

in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, September 2017

Abstract

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.

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The Effects of Local Elections on National Military Spending: A Cross-country Study

Liuchun Deng Yufeng Sun

in: Defence and Peace Economics, No. 3, 2017

Abstract

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.

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Support for Public Research Spin-offs by the Parent Organizations and the Speed of Commercialization

D. Göktepe-Hultén Viktor Slavtchev

in: Journal of Technology Transfer, No. 6, 2016

Abstract

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.

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Regional Capital Flows and Economic Regimes: Evidence from China

Liuchun Deng Boqun Wang

in: Economics Letters, April 2016

Abstract

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.

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Working Papers

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The Aggregate Effects of the Decline of Disruptive Innovation

Richard Bräuer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 22, 2023

Abstract

This paper proposes a model that explains both recently documented facts about the decline of disruptive innovation and the decline in productivity growth as the result of large firms trying to monopolize technologies by poaching inventors from disruptive activities. To come to this conclusion, the paper builds an endogenous growth model with inventor labor markets on which firms can interact strategically. To inform this model, I perform an event study of the effect of disruptive inventions on their technology fields using PATSTAT (1980-2010). I document that technology classes without disruption slowly trend towards incrementalism and that after a disruption, more patents get registered and research becomes less incremental.

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Declining Business Dynamism in Europe: The Role of Shocks, Market Power, and Technology

Filippo Biondi Sergio Inferrera Matthias Mertens Javier Miranda

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2023

Abstract

We study the changing patterns of business dynamism in Europe after 2000 using novel micro-aggregated data that we collect for 19 European countries. In all of them, we document a decline in job reallocation rates that concerns most economic sectors. This is mainly driven by dynamics within sectors, size classes, and age classes rather than by compositional changes. Large and mature firms show the strongest decline in job reallocation rates. Simultaneously, the shares of employment and sales of young firms decline. Consistent with US evidence, firms’ employment changes have become less responsive to productivity. However, the dispersion of firms’ productivity shocks has decreased too. To enhance our understanding of these patterns, we derive a firm-level framework that relates changes in firms’ productivity, market power, and technology to job reallocation and firms’ responsiveness.

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Minimum Wages, Productivity, and Reallocation

Mirja Hälbig Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: IZA Discussion Paper, No. 16160, 2023

Abstract

We study the productivity effect of the German national minimum wage by applying administrative firm data. At the firm level, we confirm positive effects on wages and negative employment effects and document higher productivity even net of output price increases. We find higher wages but no employment effects at the level of aggregate industry × region cells. The minimum wage increased aggregate productivity in manufacturing. We do not find that employment reallocation across firms contributed to these aggregate productivity gains, nor do we find improvements in allocative efficiency. Instead, the productivity gains from the minimum wage result from within-firm productivity improvements only.

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Minimum Wages, Productivity, and Reallocation

Mirja Hälbig Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2023

Abstract

We study the productivity effect of the German national minimum wage by applying administrative firm data. At the firm level, we confirm positive effects on wages and negative employment effects and document higher productivity even net of output price increases. We find higher wages but no employment effects at the level of aggregate industry × region cells. The minimum wage increased aggregate productivity in manufacturing. We do not find that employment reallocation across firms contributed to these aggregate productivity gains, nor do we find improvements in allocative efficiency. Instead, the productivity gains from the minimum wage result from within-firm productivity improvements only.

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Do Larger Firms Exert More Market Power? Markups and Markdowns along the Size Distribution

Matthias Mertens Bernardo Mottironi

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2023

Abstract

Several models posit a positive cross-sectional correlation between markups and firm size, which characterizes misallocation, factor shares, and gains from trade. Accounting for labor market power in markup estimation, we find instead that larger firms have lower product markups but higher wage markdowns. The negative markup-size correlation turns positive when conditioning on markdowns, suggesting interactions between product and labor market power. Our findings are robust to common criticism (e.g., price bias, non-neutral technology) and hold across 19 European countries. We discuss possible mechanisms and resulting implications, highlighting the importance of studying input and output market power in a unified framework.

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