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.
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.
Industrial Associations as a Channel of Business-Government Interactions in an Imperfect Institutional Environment: The Russian Case
IWH Discussion Papers,
International lessons from emerging economies suggest that business associations may provide an effective channel of communication between the government and the private sector. This function of business associations may become still more important in transition economies, where old mechanisms for coordinating enterprise activities have been destroyed, while the new ones have not been established yet. In this context, Russian experience is a matter of interest, because for a long time, Russia was regarded as a striking example of state failures and market failures. Consequently, the key point of our study was a description of the role and place of business associations in the presentday
Russian economy and their interaction with member companies and bodies of state
administration. Relying on the survey data of 957 manufacturing firms conducted in
2009, we found that business associations are more frequently joined by larger companies, firms located in regional capital cities, and firms active in investment and innovation. By contrast, business associations tend to be less frequently joined by business groups’ subsidiaries and firms that were non-responsive about their respective ownership structures. Our regression analysis has also confirmed that business associations are a component of what Frye (2002) calls an “elite exchange”– although only on regional and local levels. These “exchanges” imply that members of business associations, on the one hand, more actively assist regional and local authorities in social development of their regions, and on the other hand more often receive support from authorities. However, this effect is insignificant in terms of support from the federal government. In general, our results allow us to believe that at present, business associations (especially the
industry-wide and “leading” ones) consolidate the most active, advanced companies and act as collective representatives of their interests. For this reason, business associations can be regarded as interface units between the authorities and businesses and as a possible instrument for promotion of economic development.
Macroeconomic Challenges in the Euro Area and the Acceding Countries
The conduct of effective economic policy faces a multiplicity of macroeconomic challenges, which requires a wide scope of theoretical and empirical analyses. With a focus on the European Union, this doctoral dissertation consists of two parts which make empirical and methodological contributions to the literature on forecasting real economic activity and on the analysis of business cycles in a boom-bust framework in the light of the EMU enlargement. In the first part, we tackle the problem of publication lags and analyse the role of the information flow in computing short-term forecasts up to one quarter ahead for the euro area GDP and its main components. A huge dataset of monthly indicators is used to estimate simple bridge equations. The individual forecasts are then pooled, using different weighting schemes. To take into consideration the release calendar of each indicator, six forecasts are compiled successively during the quarter. We find that the sequencing of information determines the weight allocated to each block of indicators, especially when the first month of hard data becomes available. This conclusion extends the findings of the recent literature. Moreover, when combining forecasts, two weighting schemes are found to outperform the equal weighting scheme in almost all cases. In the second part, we focus on the potential accession of the new EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe to the euro area. In contrast to the discussion of Optimum Currency Areas, we follow a non-standard approach for the discussion on abandonment of national currencies the boom-bust theory. We analyse whether evidence for boom-bust cycles is given and draw conclusions whether these countries should join the EMU in the near future. Using a broad range of data sets and empirical methods we document credit market imperfections, comprising asymmetric financing opportunities across sectors, excess foreign currency liabilities and contract enforceability problems both at macro and micro level. Furthermore, we depart from the standard analysis of comovements of business cycles among countries and rather consider long-run and short-run comovements across sectors. While the results differ across countries, we find evidence for credit market imperfections in Central and Eastern Europe and different sectoral reactions to shocks. This gives favour for the assessment of the potential euro accession using this supplementary, non-standard approach.
Real Estate Prices and Bank Stability
Journal of Banking and Finance,
Real estate prices can deviate from their fundamental value due to rigid supply, heterogeneity in quality, and various market imperfections, which have two contrasting effects on bank stability. Higher prices increase the value of collateral and net wealth of borrowers and thus reduce the likelihood of credit defaults. In contrast, persistent deviations from fundamentals may foster the adverse selection of increasingly risky creditors by banks seeking to expand their loan portfolios, which increases bank distress probabilities. We test these hypotheses using unique data on real estate markets and banks in Germany. House price deviations contribute to bank instability, but nominal house price developments do not. This finding corroborates the importance of deviations from the fundamental value of real estate, rather than just price levels or changes alone, when assessing bank stability.
Growth, Volatility, and Credit Market Imperfections: Evidence from German Firms
Journal of Economic Studies,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it studies whether output volatility and growth are linked at the firm-level, using data for German firms. Second, it explores whether the link between volatility and growth depends on the degree of credit market imperfections.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a novel firm-level dataset provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the so-called Financial Statements Data Pool. The dataset has time series observations for German firms for the period 1997-2004, and the authors use information on the debt-to-assets or leverage ratio of firms to proxy for credit-constraints at the firm-level. As additional proxies for the importance of credit market imperfections, we use information on the size and on the legal status of firms.
Findings – The authors find that higher volatility has a negative impact on growth for small and a positive impact for larger firms. Higher leverage is associated with higher growth. At the same time, there is heterogeneity in the determinants of growth across firms from different sectors and across firms with a different legal status.
Practical implications – While most traditional macroeconomic models assume that growth and volatility are uncorrelated, a number of microeconomic models suggest that the two may be linked. However, it is unclear whether the link is positive or negative. The paper presents additional evidence regarding this question. Moreover, understanding whether credit market conditions affect the link between volatility and growth is of importance for policy makers since it suggests a channel through which the credit market can have long-run welfare implications. The results stress the importance of firm-level heterogeneity for the effects and effectiveness of economic policy measures.
Originality/value – The paper has two main novel features. First, it uses a novel firm-level dataset to analyze the determinants of firm-level growth. Second, it analyzes the growth-volatility nexus using firm-level data. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper, which addresses the link between volatility, growth, and credit market imperfections using firm-level data.
The integration of imperfect financial markets: Implications for business cycle volatility
Journal of Policy Modeling,
During the last two decades, the degree of openness of national financial systems has increased substantially. At the same time, asymmetries in information and other financial market frictions have remained prevalent. We study the implications of the opening up of national financial systems in the presence of financial market frictions for business cycle volatility. In our empirical analysis, we show that countries with more developed financial systems have lower business cycle volatility. Financial openness has no strong impact on business cycle volatility, in contrast. In our theoretical analysis, we study the implications of the opening up of national financial markets and of financial market frictions for business cycle volatility using a dynamic macroeconomic model of an open economy. We find that the implications of opening up national financial markets for business cycle volatility are largely unaffected by the presence of financial market frictions.
Environmental policy under product differentiation and asymmetric costs - Does leapfrogging occur and is it worth it?
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper studies the influence of environmental policies on environmental quality, domestic firms, and welfare. Point of departure is Porter’s hypothesis that unilateral environmental regulation may enhance the competitiveness of domestic firms. This hypothesis has recently received considerable support in theoretical analyses, especially if imperfectly competitive markets with strategic behavior on behalf of the agents are taken into account. Our work contributes to this literature by explicitely investigating the implications of asymmetric cost structures between a domestic and a foreign firm sector. We use a partial-equilibrium model of vertical product differentiation, where the consumption of a product causes environmental harm. Allowing for differentiated products, the domestic industry can either assume the market leader position or lag behind in terms of the environmental quality of the produced product. Assuming as a benchmark case that the domestic industry lags behind, we investigate the possibility of the government to induce leapfrogging of the domestic firm, i.e. a higher quality produced by the domestic firm after regulation than that of the competitor prior to regulation. It is shown that in the case of a cost advantage for the domestic firm in the production process the imposition of a binding minimum quality standard can serve as a tool to induce leapfrogging. In case of a cost disadvantage the same result can be achieved through an adequate subsidization of quality dependend production costs. Thus, careful regulation enables the domestic firm in both scenarios to better its competitive position against foreign competitors and to earn larger profits. Additionally, environmental quality and welfare can be enhanced.