11.03.2021 • 8/2021
New wave of infections suspends economic recovery
The lockdown is being eased only slightly in Germany in March 2021, and gross domestic product (GDP) declines significantly in the first quarter of 2021. As vaccination campaigns progress and restrictions are gradually eased, a normalisation of household consumption patterns will likely boost the economy later during the year. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that GDP will increase by 3.7% in 2021, following a decline of 4.9% in 2020. In East Germany, both the contraction and the rebound are much less pronounced.
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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.
25.01.2021 • 2/2021
High public deficits not only due to the pandemic – Medium-term options for fiscal policy
According to the IWH’s medium-term projection, Germany's gross domestic product will grow more slowly between 2020 and 2025 than before, not only because of the pandemic crisis, but also because the work force will decline. The resulting structural public deficits are, if the legal framework remains unchanged, likely to be higher than the debt brake allows. Consolidation measures, especially if they relate to government revenues, entail economic losses in the short term. “There is much to be said, also from a theoretical point of view, for not abolishing the debt brake, but for relaxing it to some extent,” says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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17.12.2020 • 27/2020
Much more bankruptcies expected than currently observed in Germany
In a recession, the number of bankruptcies usually increases with some delay. However, despite the corona crisis, the number of bankruptcies in Germany is lower than predicted based on the long-term trend. The state aid packages and the suspension of the insolvency rules have led to fewer bankruptcies than expected. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) has estimated how many bankruptcies would actually have been likely to occur by industry because of the corona recession if the typical economic pattern had been in place. The results indicate that after the end of the state aid and exception rules bankruptcies are likely to pick up.
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Marginal Returns to Talent for Material Risk Takers in Banking
IWH Discussion Papers,
Economies of scale can explain compensation differentials over time, across firms of different size, different hierarchy-levels, and different industries. Consequently, the most talented individuals tend to match with the largest firms in industries where marginal returns to their talent are greatest. We explore a new dimension of this size-pay nexus by showing that marginal returns also differ across activities within firms and industries. Using hand-collected data on managers in European banks well below the level of executive directors, we find that the size-pay nexus is strongest for investment banking business units and for banks with a market-based business model. Thus, managerial compensation is most sensitive to size increases for activities that can easily be scaled up.
Activism and Empire Building
Journal of Financial Economics,
Hedge fund activists target firms engaging in empire building and improve their future acquisition and divestiture strategy. Following intervention, activist targets make fewer acquisitions but obtain substantially higher returns by avoiding large and diversifying deals and refraining from acquisitions during merger waves. Activist targets also increase the pace of divestitures and achieve higher divestiture returns than matched non-targets. Activists curtail empire building through the removal of empire building chief executive officers (CEOs), compensation based incentives, and appointment of new board members. Our findings highlight an important channel through which activists improve efficiency and create shareholder value.
07.09.2020 • 17/2020
IWH Bankruptcy Update: Bankruptcies Hit New Low; New Outlook Feature
The number of companies reporting bankruptcy in Germany sank to a new low in August. Associated job losses also declined noticeably, following marked increases in prior months. Published by the Halle Institute for Economic Research, the IWH Bankruptcy Update provides monthly statistics on corporate bankruptcies in Germany. Starting this month, the update will also feature a two-month outlook.
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Aktuelle Trends: Entwicklung der Firmengründungen in Deutschland
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Das Produktivitätswachstum in entwickelten Volkswirtschaften hat sich in den letzten Jahren deutlich verlangsamt. Ein Indikator für die wirtschaftliche Dynamik in einer Volkswirtschaft ist die Firmengründungsaktivität. Wenn neue Ideen entstehen, kann dies in eine zunehmende Gründungsaktivität münden und so positiv auf die Produktivitätsentwicklung wirken.