12.03.2020 • 4/2020
Global economy under the spell of the coronavirus epidemic
The epidemic is obstructing the economic recovery in Germany. Foreign demand is falling, private households forgo domestic consumption if it comes with infection risk, and investments are postponed. Assuming that the spread of the disease can be contained in short time, GDP growth in 2020 is expected to be 0.6% according to IWH spring economic forecast. Growth in East Germany is expected to be 0.9% and thus higher than in West Germany. If the number of new infections cannot be decreased in short time, we expect a recession in Germany.
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Intangible Capital and Productivity. Firm-level Evidence from German Manufacturing
IWH Discussion Papers,
We study the importance of intangible capital (R&D, software, patents) for the measurement of productivity using firm-level panel data from German manufacturing. We first document a number of facts on the evolution of intangible investment over time, and its distribution across firms. Aggregate intangible investment increased over time. However, the distribution of intangible investment, even more so than that of physical investment, is heavily right-skewed, with many firms investing nothing or little, and a few firms having very large intensities. Intangible investment is also lumpy. Firms that invest more intensively in intangibles (per capita or as sales share) also tend to be more productive. In a second step, we estimate production functions with and without intangible capital using recent control function approaches to account for the simultaneity of input choice and unobserved productivity shocks. We find a positive output elasticity for research and development (R&D) and, to a lesser extent, software and patent investment. Moreover, the production function estimates show substantial heterogeneity in the output elasticities across industries and firms. While intangible capital has small effects for firms with low intangible intensity, there are strong positive effects for high-intensity firms. Finally, including intangibles in a gross output production function reduces productivity dispersion (measured by the 90-10 decile range) on average by 3%, in some industries as much as nearly 9%.
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Managerial Ability and Value Relevance of Earnings
China Accounting and Finance Review,
We examine how management ability affects the extent to which capital markets rely on earnings to value equity. Using a measure of ability that captures a management team’s capacity for generating revenues with a given level of resources compared to other industry peers, we find a strong positive association between managerial ability and the value relevance of earnings. Additional tests show that our results are robust to controlling for earnings attributes and investment efficiency. We use propensity score matching and the 2SLS instrumental variable approach to deal with the issue of endogeneity. For further identification, we examine CEO turnover and find that newly hired CEOs with better managerial abilities than the replaced CEOs increase the value relevance of earnings. We identify weak corporate governance and product market power as the two important channels through which superior management practices play an important role in the corporate decision-making process that positively influence the value relevance of earnings. Overall, our findings suggest that better managers make accounting information significantly more relevant in the market valuation of equity.
The Regional Effects of a Place-based Policy – Causal Evidence from Germany
Regional Science and Urban Economics,
The German government provides discretionary investment grants to structurally weak regions in order to reduce regional inequality. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits an exogenous discrete jump in the probability of regional actors to receive investment grants to identify the causal effects of the policy. We find positive effects of the programme on district-level gross value-added and productivity growth, but no effects on employment and gross wage growth.