25 Years IWH

The Performance of Firms and Regions: Determinants and the Evaluation of Industrial Policy

This research group belongs to the IWH Research Cluster Productivity and Innovation. The group focuses on two main research questions: (i) What is the causal effect of cooperative innovation activities on the performance of firms and regions? (ii) What are the causal effects of public Research and Development (R&D) support schemes on the performance of firms and regions? The first research question concerns the dynamics of firms and regions as a result of their different innovation activities. We apply a micro-based integrative perspective on innovative activities which allows identifying causal effects of cooperative activities on specific outcomes (e. g., patent applications, scientific publications, employment growth, or productivity growth). Concerning the second research question, recent studies mainly focus on the evaluation of one specific subsidy scheme. Research in this group aims to overcome this shortcoming by considering various support schemes. Indicators for the firms’ success are (amongst others) patent applications and employment growth. The results allow insights for the future design of innovation support schemes.

IWH Data Project: IWH R&D Micro Database

Research Cluster
Productivity and Innovation

Your contact

PD Dr Mirko Titze
PD Dr Mirko Titze
Mitglied - Department Präsidialbereich
Send Message +49 345 7753-861


01.2015 ‐ 12.2016

Evaluation of the "Joint Task 'Improving the Regional Economic Structure'" in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt

Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt

PD Dr Mirko Titze

12.2015 ‐ 11.2018

Socio-economic Effects of Research on Innovative Approaches for POC Diagnostics

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Part of the EXASENS project. Coordinated by the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) in Jena, nine Leibniz institutes are working together on researching point-of-care (POC) technology for the prediction and diagnosis of chronic inflammatory respiratory diseases. See press release: http://www.leibniz-ipht.de/en/news/read-more/back/418/newsdate/2016/01/17/expertisen-aus-neun-leibniz-instituten-vereinigen-sich-in-einem-chip.html

Dr Matthias Brachert

Refereed Publications

Public Investment Subsidies and Firm Performance – Evidence from Germany

Matthias Brachert Eva Dettmann Mirko Titze

in: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, No. 2, 2018


This paper assesses firm-level effects of the single largest investment subsidy programme in Germany. The analysis considers grants allocated to firms in East German regions over the period 2007 to 2013 under the regional policy scheme Joint Task ‘Improving Regional Economic Structures’ (GRW). We apply a coarsened exact matching (CEM) in combination with a fixed effects difference-in-differences (FEDiD) estimator to identify the effects of programme participation on the treated firms. For the assessment, we use administrative data from the Federal Statistical Office and the Offices of the Länder to demonstrate that this administrative database offers a huge potential for evidence-based policy advice. The results suggest that investment subsidies have a positive impact on different dimensions of firm development, but do not affect overall firm competitiveness. We find positive short- and medium-run effects on firm employment. The effects on firm turnover remain significant and positive only in the medium-run. Gross fixed capital formation responses positively to GRW funding only during the mean implementation period of the projects but becomes insignificant afterwards. Finally, the effect of GRW-funding on labour productivity remains insignificant throughout the whole period of analysis.

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Benchmark Value-added Chains and Regional Clusters in R&D-intensive Industries

Reinhold Kosfeld Mirko Titze

in: International Regional Science Review, No. 5, 2017


Although the phase of euphoria seems to be over, policy makers and regional agencies have maintained their interest in cluster policy. Modern cluster theory provides reasons for positive external effects that may accrue from interaction in a group of proximate enterprises operating in common and related fields. Although there has been some progress in locating clusters, in most cases only limited knowledge on the geographical extent of regional clusters has been established. In the present article, we present a hybrid approach to cluster identification. Dominant buyer–supplier relationships are derived by qualitative input–output analysis from national input–output tables, and potential regional clusters are identified by spatial scanning. This procedure is employed to identify clusters of German research and development-intensive industries. A sensitivity analysis reveals good robustness properties of the hybrid approach with respect to variations in the quantitative cluster composition.

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Joint R&D Subsidies, Related Variety, and Regional Innovation

T. Broekel Matthias Brachert M. Duschl T. Brenner

in: International Regional Science Review, No. 3, 2017


Subsidies for research and development (R&D) are an important tool of public R&D policy, which motivates extensive scientific analyses and evaluations. This article adds to this literature by arguing that the effects of R&D subsidies go beyond the extension of organizations’ monetary resources invested into R&D. It is argued that collaboration induced by subsidized joint R&D projects yield significant effects that are missed in traditional analyses. An empirical study on the level of German labor market regions substantiates this claim, showing that collaborative R&D subsidies impact regions’ innovation growth when providing access to related variety and embedding regions into central positions in cross-regional knowledge networks.

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Complex-task Biased Technological Change and the Labor Market

Colin Caines Florian Hoffmann Gueorgui Kambourov

in: Review of Economic Dynamics, April 2017


In this paper we study the relationship between task complexity and the occupational wage- and employment structure. Complex tasks are defined as those requiring higher-order skills, such as the ability to abstract, solve problems, make decisions, or communicate effectively. We measure the task complexity of an occupation by performing Principal Component Analysis on a broad set of occupational descriptors in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) data. We establish four main empirical facts for the U.S. over the 1980–2005 time period that are robust to the inclusion of a detailed set of controls, subsamples, and levels of aggregation: (1) There is a positive relationship across occupations between task complexity and wages and wage growth; (2) Conditional on task complexity, routine-intensity of an occupation is not a significant predictor of wage growth and wage levels; (3) Labor has reallocated from less complex to more complex occupations over time; (4) Within groups of occupations with similar task complexity labor has reallocated to non-routine occupations over time. We then formulate a model of Complex-Task Biased Technological Change with heterogeneous skills and show analytically that it can rationalize these facts. We conclude that workers in non-routine occupations with low ability of solving complex tasks are not shielded from the labor market effects of automatization.

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Mapping Potentials for Input-Output Based Innovation Flows in Industrial Clusters – An Application to Germany

Mirko Titze Matthias Brachert Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch

in: Economic Systems Research, No. 4, 2016


Our paper pursues two aims: first, it presents an approach based on input–output innovation flow matrices to study intersectoral innovation flows within industrial clusters. Second, we apply this approach to the identification of structural weaknesses in East Germany relative to the western part of the country. The case of East Germany forms an interesting subject because while its convergence process after unification began promisingly in the first half of the 1990s, convergence has since slowed down. The existing gap can now be traced mainly to structural weaknesses in the East German economy, such as the absence of strong industrial cluster structures. With this in mind, we investigate whether East Germany does in fact reveal the abovementioned structural weaknesses. Does East Germany possess fewer industrial clusters? Are they less connected? Does East Germany lack specific clusters that are also important for the non-clustered part of the economy?

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Working Papers


The Regional Effects of Professional Sports Franchises – Causal Evidence from Four European Football Leagues

Matthias Brachert

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 10, 2018


We use the locational pattern of clubs in four major professional football leagues in Europe to test the causal effect of changes in premier league membership on regional employment and output growth at the NUTS 3 level. We rely on the relegation mode of the classical round-robin tournament in the European model of sport to develop a regression-discontinuity design. The results indicate small and significant negative short-term effects on regional employment and output in the sports-related economic sector when clubs are relegated from the premier division of the respective football league. In addition, we find small negative effects on overall regional employment growth. However, total regional gross value added remains unaffected, indicating that in the main it is the less productive jobs that disappear in the short-term.

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Who Benefits from GRW? Heterogeneous Employment Effects of Investment Subsidies in Saxony Anhalt

Eva Dettmann Mirko Titze Antje Weyh

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 27, 2017


The paper estimates the plant level employment effects of investment subsidies in one of the most strongly subsidized German Federal States. We analyze the treated plants as a whole, as well as the influence of heterogeneity in plant characteristics and the economic environment. Modifying the standard matching and difference-in-difference approach, we develop a new procedure that is particularly useful for the evaluation of funding programs with individual treatment phases within the funding period. Our data base combines treatment, employment and regional information from different sources. So, we can relate the absolute effects to the amount of the subsidy paid. The results suggest that investment subsidies have a positive influence on the employment development in absolute and standardized figures – with considerable effect heterogeneity.

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Identifying the Effects of Place-based Policies – Causal Evidence from Germany

Eva Dettmann Matthias Brachert Mirko Titze

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2016


The German government provides discretionary investment grants to structurally weak regions to reduce regional disparities. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits an exogenous discrete jump in the probability of receiving investment grants to identify the causal effects of the investment grant on regional outcomes. We find positive effects for regional gross value-added and productivity growth, but no effects for employment and gross wage growth.

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The Dynamic Effects of Works Councils on Labor Productivity: First Evidence from Panel Data

Steffen Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 14, 2015
published in: British Journal of Industrial Relations


We estimate dynamic effects of works councils on labor productivity using newly available information from West German establishment panel data. Conditioning on plant fixed effects and control variables, we find negative productivity effects during the first five years after council introduction, but a steady and substantial increase in the councils’ productivity effect thereafter. Given the frequently reported positive correlation between council existence and plant productivity, this finding supports causal interpretations.

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Do Manufacturing Firms Benefit from Services FDI? – Evidence from Six New EU Member States

J. Damijan Crt Kostevc Philipp Marek Matija Rojec

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 5, 2015


This paper focuses on the effect of foreign presence in the services sector on the productivity growth of downstream customers in the manufacturing sector in six EU new member countries in the course of their accession to the European Union. For this purpose, the analysis combines firm-level information, data on economic structures and annual national input-output tables. The findings suggest that services FDI may enhance productivity of manufacturing firms in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries through vertical forward spillovers, and thereby contribute to their competitiveness. The consideration of firm characteristics shows that the magnitude of spillover effects depends on size, ownership structure, and initial productivity level of downstream firms as well as on the diverging technological intensity across sector on the supply and demand side. The results suggest that services FDI foster productivity of domestic rather than foreign controlled firms in the host economy. For the period between 2003 and 2008, the findings suggest that the increasing share of services provided by foreign affiliates enhanced the productivity growth of domestic firms in manufacturing by 0.16%. Furthermore, the firms’ absorptive capability and the size reduce the spillover effect of services FDI on the productivity of manufacturing firms. A sectoral distinction shows that firms at the end of the value chain experience a larger productivity growth through services FDI, whereas the aggregate positive effect seems to be driven by FDI in energy supply. This does not hold for science-based industries, which are spurred by foreign presence in knowledge-intensive business services.

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