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


The Role of Information in Innovation and Competition

Ufuk Akcigit Qingmin Liu

in: Journal of the European Economic Association, No. 4, 2016


Innovation is typically a trial‐and‐error process. While some research paths lead to the innovation sought, others result in dead ends. Because firms benefit from their competitors working in the wrong direction, they do not reveal their dead‐end findings. Time and resources are wasted on projects that other firms have already found to be fruitless. We offer a simple model with two firms and two research lines to study this prevalent problem. We characterize the equilibrium in a decentralized environment that necessarily entails significant efficiency losses due to wasteful dead‐end replication and an information externality that leads to an early abandonment of the risky project. We show that different types of firms follow different innovation strategies and create different kinds of welfare losses. In an extension of the core model, we also study a centralized mechanism whereby firms are incentivized to disclose their actions and share their private information in a timely manner.

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Taxation, Corruption, and Growth

Philippe Aghion Ufuk Akcigit Julia Cagé William R. Kerr

in: European Economic Review, 2016


We build an endogenous growth model to analyze the relationships between taxation, corruption, and economic growth. Entrepreneurs lie at the center of the model and face disincentive effects from taxation but acquire positive benefits from public infrastructure. Political corruption governs the efficiency with which tax revenues are translated into infrastructure. The model predicts an inverted-U relationship between taxation and growth, with corruption reducing the optimal taxation level. We find evidence consistent with these predictions and the entrepreneurial channel using data from the Longitudinal Business Database of the US Census Bureau. The marginal effect of taxation for growth for a state at the 10th or 25th percentile of corruption is significantly positive; on the other hand, the marginal effects of taxation for growth for a state at the 90th percentile of corruption are much lower across the board. We make progress towards causality through Granger-style tests and by considering periphery counties where effective tax policy is largely driven by bordering states. Finally, we calibrate our model and find that the calibrated taxation rate of 37% is fairly close to the model׳s estimated welfare maximizing taxation rate of 42%. Reducing corruption provides the largest potential impact for welfare gain through its impact on the uses of tax revenues.

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Buy, Keep, or Sell: Economic Growth and the Market for Ideas

Ufuk Akcigit Murat Alp Celik Jeremy Greenwood

in: Econometrica, No. 3, 2016


An endogenous growth model is developed where each period firms invest in researching and developing new ideas. An idea increases a firm's productivity. By how much depends on the technological propinquity between an idea and the firm's line of business. Ideas can be bought and sold on a market for patents. A firm can sell an idea that is not relevant to its business or buy one if it fails to innovate. The developed model is matched up with stylized facts about the market for patents in the United States. The analysis gauges how efficiency in the patent market affects growth.

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Transition to Clean Technology

Daron Acemoglu Ufuk Akcigit Douglas Hanley William R. Kerr

in: Journal of Political Economy, No. 1, 2016


We develop an endogenous growth model in which clean and dirty technologies compete in production. Research can be directed to either technology. If dirty technologies are more advanced, the transition to clean technology can be difficult. Carbon taxes and research subsidies may encourage production and innovation in clean technologies, though the transition will typically be slow. We estimate the model using microdata from the US energy sector. We then characterize the optimal policy path that heavily relies on both subsidies and taxes. Finally, we evaluate various alternative policies. Relying only on carbon taxes or delaying intervention has significant welfare costs.

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Networks and the Macroeconomy: An Empirical Exploration

Daron Acemoglu Ufuk Akcigit William R. Kerr

in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual, 2015


How small shocks are amplified and propagated through the economy to cause sizable fluctuations is at the heart of much macroeconomic research. Potential mechanisms that have been proposed range from investment and capital accumulation responses in real business-cycle models (e.g., Kydland and Prescott 1982) to Keynesian multipliers (e.g., Diamond 1982; Kiyotaki 1988; Blanchard and Kiyotaki 1987; Hall 2009; Christiano, Eichenbaum, and Rebelo 2011); to credit market frictions facing firms, households, or banks (e.g., Bernanke and Gertler 1989; Kiyotaki and Moore 1997; Guerrieri and Lorenzoni 2012; Mian, Rao, and Sufi 2013); to the role of real and nominal rigidities and their interplay (Ball and Romer 1990); and to the consequences of (potentially inappropriate or constrained) monetary policy (e.g., Friedman and Schwartz 1971; Eggertsson and Woodford 2003; Farhi and Werning 2013).

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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


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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