European Firm Concentration and Aggregate Productivity
Journal of the European Economic Association,
This paper derives a European Herfindahl–Hirschman concentration index from 15 micro-aggregated country datasets. In the last decade, European concentration rose due to a reallocation of economic activity toward large and concentrated industries. Over the same period, productivity gains from an increasing allocative efficiency of the European market accounted for 50% of European productivity growth while markups stayed constant. Using country-industry variation, we show that changes in concentration are positively associated with changes in productivity and allocative efficiency. This holds across most sectors and countries and supports the notion that rising concentration in Europe reflects a more efficient market environment rather than weak competition and rising market power.
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Financing Choice and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from Brazil
Journal of Economic Growth,
We study how financing non-traditional local activities, conceived here as a proxy for activity diversification, is associated with economic growth. We use municipality-level data from Brazil, a country with large geographical, social, and economic disparities observed across its more than 5500 municipalities. We find that finance to non-traditional local activities associates with higher municipal economic growth, suggesting a positive externality between the non-traditional and traditional sectors. Using large natural disasters in Brazil as sources of unexpected negative events, we find that this association between financing non-traditional local activities and economic growth becomes negative in times of distress. We find that traditional local sectors are more affected than non-traditional sectors following a natural disaster. Precisely because of the non-traditional sector’s dependence on the traditional sector, our results suggest that municipalities should restrengthen their traditional activities during adverse conditions.
Private Debt, Public Debt, and Capital Misallocation
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
Does finance facilitate efficient allocation of resources? Our aim in this paper is to find out whether increases in private and public indebtedness affect capital misallocation, which is measured as the dispersion in the return to capital across firms in different industries. For this, we use a novel dataset containing industrylevel data for 18 European countries and control for different macroeconomic indicators as potential determinants of capital misallocation. We exploit the within-country variation across industries in such indicators as external finance dependence, technological intensity, credit constraints and competitive structure, and find that private debt accumulation disproportionately increases capital misallocation in industries with higher financial dependence, higher R&D intensity, a larger share of credit-constrained firms and a lower level of competition. On the other hand, we fail to find any significant and robust effect of public debt on capital misallocation within our country-sector pairs. We believe the distortionary effects of private debt found in our analysis needs a deeper theoretical investigation.
Total Factor Productivity and the Terms of Trade
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
In this paper we analyse how the terms of trade (TOT) – the ratio of export prices to import prices – affect total factor productivity (TFP). We provide empirical macroeconomic evidence for the European Union countries based on the times series SVAR analysis and microeconomic evidence based on industry level data from the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet) database which shows that the terms of trade improvements are associated with a slowdown in the total factor productivity growth. Next, we build a theoretical model which combines open economy framework with the endogenous growth theory. In the model the terms of trade improvements increase demand for labour employed in exportable goods production at the expense of technology production (research and development – R&D) which leads to a shift of resources from knowledge development towards physical exportable goods. This reallocation has a negative impact on the TFP growth. Under a plausible calibration the model is able to replicate the observed empirical pattern.
Within Gain, Structural Pain: Capital Account Liberalization and Economic Growth
New Structural Economics Working Paper No. E2018010,
This paper is the first to study the effects of capital account liberalization on structural transformation and compare the contribution of within term and structural term to economic growth. We use a 10-sector-level productivity dataset to decomposes the effects of opening capital account on within-sector productivity growth and cross-sector structural transformation. We find that opening capital account is associated with labor productivity and employment share increment in sectors with higher human capital intensity and external financial dependence, as well as non-tradable sectors. But it results in a growth-reducing structural transformation by directing labor into sectors with lower productivity. Moreover, in the ten years after capital account liberalization, the contribution share of structural transformation decreases while that of within productivity growth increases. We conclude that the relationship between capital account liberalization and economic growth is within gain and structural pain.
Central Bank Transparency and Cross-border Banking
Journal of International Money and Finance,
We analyze the effect of central bank transparency on cross-border bank activities. Based on a panel gravity model for cross-border bank claims for 21 home and 47 destination countries from 1998 to 2010, we find strong empirical evidence that a rise in central bank transparency in the destination country, on average, increases cross-border claims. Using interaction models, we find that the positive effect of central bank transparency on cross-border claims is only significant if the central bank is politically independent and operates in a stable economic environment. Central bank transparency and credibility are thus considered complements by banks investing abroad.
The Impact of Preferences on Early Warning Systems - The Case of the European Commission's Scoreboard
European Journal of Political Economy,
The European Commission’s Scoreboard of Macroeconomic Imbalances is a rare case of a publicly released early warning system. It allows the preferences of the politicians involved to be analysed with regard to the two potential errors of an early warning system – missing a crisis and issuing a false alarm. These preferences might differ with the institutional setting. Such an analysis is done for the first time in this article for early warning systems in general by using a standard signals approach, including a preference-based optimisation approach, to set thresholds. It is shown that, in general, the thresholds of the Commission’s Scoreboard are set low (resulting in more alarm signals), as compared to a neutral stand. Based on political economy considerations the result could have been expected.