The East-West-German Productivity Gap: Lessons from Firm-level Data?
Konferenzband "30 Jahre Deutsche Einheit", März
According to national accounts, the East German economy is at only 80 % of West German labour productivity even 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. This difference in aggregate labour productivity goes hand in hand with many of the economic and societal problems East Germany faces today. To understand the sources of the aggregate productivity gap, this study discusses recent literature on the East-West gap that applies granular firm and product level data. The evidence clearly shows the relevance of firm-level productivity differences for the aggregate gap and challenges common hypotheses derived from aggregate data.
Introduction to "Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century"
Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century,
NBER Studies in Income and Wealth, Vol 78 /
Measuring innovation is challenging both for researchers and for national statisticians, and it is increasingly important in light of the ongoing digital revolution. National accounts and many other economic statistics were designed before the emergence of the digital economy and the growing importance of intangible capital. They do not yet fully capture the wide range of innovative activity that is observed in modern economies. This volume examines how to measure innovation, track its effects on economic activity and prices, and understand how it has changed the structure of production processes, labor markets, and organizational form and operation in business. The contributors explore new approaches to, and data sources for, measurement—such as collecting data for a particular innovation as opposed to a firm, and the use of trademarks for tracking innovation. They also consider the connections between university-based R&D and business startups, and the potential impacts of innovation on income distribution. The research suggests potential strategies for expanding current measurement frameworks to better capture innovative activity, such as more detailed tracking of global value chains to identify innovation across time and space, and expanding the measurement of the GDP impacts of innovation in fields such as consumer content delivery and cloud computing.
Benchmarking New Zealand's Frontier Firms
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
New Zealand has experienced poor productivity performance over the last two decades. Factors often cited as reasons behind this are the small size of the domestic market and distance to international partners and markets. While the distance reason is one that is fairly insurmountable, there are a number of other small advanced economies that also face similar domestic market constraints. This study compares the relative performance of New Zealand’s firms to those economies using novel cross-country microdata from CompNet. We present stylised facts for New Zealand relative to the economies of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden based on average productivity levels, as well as benchmarking laggard, median and frontier firms. This research also employs an analytical framework of technology diffusion to evaluate the extent of productivity convergence, and the impact of the productivity frontier on non-frontier firm performance. Additionally, both labour and capital resource allocation are compared between New Zealand and the other small advanced economies. Results show that New Zealand’s firms have comparatively low productivity levels and that its frontier firms are not benefiting from the diffusion of best technologies outside the nation. Furthermore, there is evidence of labour misallocation in New Zealand based on less labour-productive firms having disproportionally larger employment shares than their more productive counterparts. Counter-factual analysis illustrates that improving both technology diffusion from abroad toward New Zealand’s frontier firms, and labour allocation across firms within New Zealand will see sizable productivity gains in New Zealand.
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Competition, Cost Structure, and Labour Leverage: Evidence from the U.S. Airline Industry
IWH Discussion Papers,
I study the effect of increasing competition on financial performance through labour leverage. To capture competition, I exploit variation in product market contestability in the U.S. airline industry. First, I find that increasing competitive pressure leads to increasing labour leverage, proxied by labour share. This explains the decrease in operating profitability through labour rigidities. Second, by exploiting variation in human capital specificity, I show that contestability of product markets induces labour market contestability. Whereas affected firms might experience more stress through higher wages or loss of skilled human capital, more mobile employee groups benefit from competitions through higher labour shares.
08.04.2020 • 5/2020
Economy in Shock – Fiscal Policy to Counteract
The coronavirus pandemic is triggering a severe recession in Germany. Economic output will shrink by 4.2% this year. This is what the leading economics research institutes expect in their spring report. For next year, they are forecasting a recovery and growth of 5.8%.
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Labor Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade
International Journal of Industrial Organization,
This article examines how final product trade with China shapes and interacts with labor market imperfections that create market power in labor markets and prevent an efficient market outcome. I develop a framework for measuring such labor market power distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of these distortions in Germany's manufacturing sector. Import competition only exerts labor market disciplining effects if firms, rather than employees, possess labor market power. Otherwise, increasing export demand and import competition both fortify existing distortions, which decreases labor market efficiency. This widens the gap between potential and realized output and thus diminishes classical gains from trade.
Reports of the European Forecasting Network (EFN)
Reports of the European Forecasting Network (EFN) The European Forecasting...