The Economic Gap between East and West Germany

The group uses innovative methods to investigate why the economy in eastern Germany is still lagging behind that in western Germany – and what role the privatisation process 30 years ago played in this.

The main project of the group investigates the privatisation of former GDR businesses by the Treuhandanstalt. To what extent did the qualifications of the selected managers or their networking with other decision-makers play a role? How would eastern German firms be performing today if exclusively the most talented entrepreneurs had been put in charge? The group uses data at a micro level (firms, managers, patents, ideas) in order to answer macroeconomic questions with the help of a model estimation. The second research project analyses why highly innovative firms are established less frequently in eastern than in western Germany, and also examines the role of migrants in economic growth and knowledge creation in Germany. Finally, the third research project looks for reasons for the slowing productivity growth in Europe using CompNet data.

Research Cluster
Macroeconomic Dynamics and Stability

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Professor Ufuk Akcigit, PhD
Professor Ufuk Akcigit, PhD
Mitglied - Department Structural Change and Productivity
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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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Does Low-pay Persist across Different Regimes? Evidence from the German Unification

André Diegmann Nicole Gürtzgen

in: The Economics of Transition, forthcoming

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The Internet Effects on Sex Crime Offenses – Evidence from the Broadband Internet Expansion in Germany

André Diegmann

in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2019

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of the introduction of a new mass medium on sex crime in Germany. I use unique data on criminal offenses and broadband internet measured at the municipal level to shed light on this issue. In order to address endogeneity in broadband internet availability, I exploit technical peculiarities at the regional level that determine the roll-out of high-speed internet. Results provide evidence of a substitution effect of internet exposure on sex crime. The substitution effect is neither driven by differences in reporting behavior, nor by matching processes at the victim and offender side. This suggests that the consumption of extreme media plays an important role in explaining the documented high-speed internet effect.

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History, Microdata, and Endogenous Growth

Ufuk Akcigit Tom Nicholas

in: Annual Review of Economics, 2019

Abstract

The study of economic growth is concerned with long-run changes, and therefore, historical data should be especially influential in informing the development of new theories. In this review, we draw on the recent literature to highlight areas in which study of history has played a particularly prominent role in improving our understanding of growth dynamics. Research at the intersection of historical data, theory, and empirics has the potential to reframe how we think about economic growth in much the same way that historical perspectives helped to shape the first generation of endogenous growth theories.

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Innovation and Top Income Inequality

Philippe Aghion Ufuk Akcigit Antonin Bergeaud Richard Blundell David Hemous

in: The Review of Economic Studies, No. 1, 2019

Abstract

In this article, we use cross-state panel and cross-U.S. commuting-zone data to look at the relationship between innovation, top income inequality and social mobility. We find positive correlations between measures of innovation and top income inequality. We also show that the correlations between innovation and broad measures of inequality are not significant. Next, using instrumental variable analysis, we argue that these correlations at least partly reflect a causality from innovation to top income shares. Finally, we show that innovation, particularly by new entrants, is positively associated with social mobility, but less so in local areas with more intense lobbying activities.

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Working Papers

Police Reorganization and Crime: Evidence from Police Station Closures

S. Blesse André Diegmann

in: German Council of Economic Experts Working Paper, No. 7, 2019

Abstract

Does the administrative organization of police affect crime? In answering this question, we focus on the reorganization of local police agencies. Specifically, we study the effects police force reallocation via station closures has on local crime. We do this by exploiting a quasi-experiment where a reform substantially reduced the number of police stations. Combining a matching strategy with an event-study design, we find no effects on total theft. Police station closures, however, open up tempting opportunities for criminals in car theft and burglary in residential properties. We can rule out that our effects arise from incapacitation, crime displacement, or changes in employment of local police forces. Our results suggest that criminals are less deterred after police station closures and use the opportunity to steal more costly goods.

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Do Digital Information Technologies Help Unemployed Job Seekers Find a Job? Evidence from the Broadband Internet Expansion in Germany

Nicole Gürtzgen André Diegmann Laura Pohlan Gerard J. van den Berg

in: IFAU Working Paper 2018:21, 2018

Abstract

This paper studies effects of the introduction of a new digital mass medium on reemployment of unemployed job seekers. We combine data on high-speed (broadband) internet availability at the local level with German individual register data. We address endogeneity by exploiting technological peculiarities that affected the roll-out of high-speed internet. The results show that high-speed internet improves reemployment rates after the first months in unemployment. This is confirmed by complementary analyses with individual survey data suggesting that internet access increases online job search and the number of job interviews after a few months in unemployment.

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