Price-cost Margin and Bargaining Power in the European Union
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
Using firm-level data between 2004 and 2012 for eleven countries of the European Union (EU), we document the size of product and labour market imperfections within narrowly defined sectors including services which are virtually undocumented. Our findings suggest that perfect competition in both product and labour markets is widely rejected. Levels of the price-cost margin and union bargaining power tend to be higher in some service sectors depicting however substantial heterogeneity. Dispersion within sector and across countries tends to be higher in some services sectors assuming a less tradable nature which suggests that the Single Market integration is partial particularly relaxing the assumption of perfect competition in the labour market. We report also figures for the aggregate economy and show that Eastern countries tend to depict lower product and labour market imperfections compared to other countries in the EU. Also, we provide evidence in favour of a very limited adjustment of both product and labour market imperfections following the international and financial crisis.
01.04.2019 • 8/2019
Bank profitability increases after eliminating consolidation barriers
When two banks merge because political consolidation barriers are abolished, the combined entity is considerably more profitable and useful to the real economy. This is the headline result of an analysis of compulsory savings banks mergers carried out by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). The study yields important insights for the German and the European banking market.
Read press release
How Do Banks React to Catastrophic Events? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina
Review of Finance,
This paper explores how banks react to an exogenous shock caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and how the structure of the banking system affects economic development following the shock. Independent banks based in the disaster areas increase their risk-based capital ratios after the hurricane, while those that are part of a bank holding company on average do not. The effect on independent banks mainly comes from the subgroup of highly capitalized banks. These independent and highly capitalized banks increase their holdings in government securities and reduce their total loan exposures to non-financial firms, while also increasing new lending to these firms. With regard to local economic development, affected counties with a relatively large share of independent banks and relatively high average bank capital ratios show higher economic growth than other affected counties following the catastrophic event.
13.12.2018 • 21/2018
Economic activity in the world and in Germany is losing momentum
In the second half of 2018, the upturn of the German economy has stalled. Production of the automotive industry declined because of delays in switching production to WLTP compliant cars. Irrespectively of this, the German export business has been weakening since the beginning of the year, since the global economy, burdened by the political uncertainties surrounding trade conflicts, the impending Brexit and the conflict over the Italian budget, was unable to keep up with the high momentum of 2017. “It is to be expected that the less benign external environment will not only dampen exports, but will also impact on companies’ investment and hiring decisions”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2018 and by 1.4% in 2019, which is roughly equal to the growth rate of economic capacity in Germany.
Read press release
Taken by Storm: Business Financing and Survival in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Journal of Economic Geography,
We use Hurricane Katrina’s damage to the Mississippi coast in 2005 as a natural experiment to study business survival in the aftermath of a capital-destruction shock. We find very low survival rates for businesses that incurred physical damage, particularly for small firms and less-productive establishments. Conditional on survival, larger and more-productive businesses that rebuilt their operations hired more workers than their smaller and less-productive counterparts. Auxiliary evidence from the Survey of Business Owners suggests that the differential size effect is tied to the presence of financial constraints, pointing to a socially inefficient level of exits and to distortions of allocative efficiency in response to this negative shock. Over time, the size advantage disappeared and market mechanisms seem to prevail.
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.
19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
Read press release
21.03.2018 • 5/2018
What is holding back the banking union?
The European Commission wants to better regulate and monitor the European banking sector. In many EU Member States, however, the necessary directives are being implemented extremely slowly. Surprisingly, the reasons for this do not lie in politics and banking structures, but in the institutional framework conditions and existing regulations in the Member States, as argued by Michael Koetter, Thomas Krause and Lena Tonzer from the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
Read press release
19.03.2018 • 4/2018
Economists – and the others
People with a background in economics react more strongly to financial incentives – both positively and negatively, as Dmitri Bershadskyy of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association – found out. At the beginning of his laboratory experiment, economists were prepared to spend more money on a public good and keep to this social behaviour for a longer period than non-economists. However, towards the end of the experiment they were also the greatest free-riders.
Read press release