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Research Profiles of the IWH Departments All doctoral students are allocated to one...
The East-West German Gap in Revenue Productivity: Just a Tale of Output Prices?
Journal of Comparative Economics,
East German manufacturers’ revenue productivity is substantially below West German levels, even three decades after German unification. Using firm-product-level data with product quantities and prices, we analyze the role of product specialization and show that the prominent “extended work bench hypothesis” cannot explain these sustained productivity differences. Eastern firms specialize in simpler product varieties generating less consumer value and being manufactured with less or cheaper inputs. Yet, such specialization cannot explain the productivity gap because Eastern firms are physically less productive for given product prices. Hence, there is a genuine price-adjusted physical productivity disadvantage of Eastern compared to Western firms.
17.08.2022 • 19/2022
Labour mobility is part of structural change
The coal phase-out will also change the affected regions in that part of the workforce will migrate. Politicians should take this process into account in structural policy, because it cannot be completely prevented. A study published by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) illustrates this with a historical example.
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Die Ost-West-Produktivitätslücke: Die Rolle von Produktspezialisierung, Produktpreisunterschieden und physischer Produktivität
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Auch 30 Jahre nach der Deutschen Vereinigung erreicht die ostdeutsche Wirtschaft nur 82% der westdeutschen Arbeitsproduktivität. Dieser Unterschied in der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Arbeitsproduktivität steht in engem Zusammenhang mit vielen wirtschaftlichen und gesellschaftlichen Problemen, denen Ostdeutschland heute gegenübersteht. Auf Basis differenzierter Daten zu den einzelnen Produkten, die Firmen im deutschen Verarbeitenden Gewerbe herstellen, untersuchen wir in diesem Beitrag, wie sich ost- und westdeutsche Firmen bezüglich Produktspezialisierung, Produktpreisen und technischer Effizienz unterscheiden. Wir zeigen auf, dass der Osten – entgegen der Hypothese der „verlängerten Werkbank“ – nicht aufgrund einer Spezialisierung auf Vorprodukte weniger produktiv als der Westen ist. Obwohl Ostprodukte zu deutlich geringeren Preisen verkauft werden, können auch Preisunterschiede zwischen Ost- und Westfirmen den Produktivitätsrückstand nicht erklären. Stattdessen sind Faktoren, welche die physische Produktivität (technische Effizienz) von Unternehmen beeinflussen, entscheidend, um den Produktivitätsrückstand auf Unternehmensebene zu erklären.
02.10.2019 • 20/2019
Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2019: Economy Cools Further – Industry in Recession
Berlin, October 2, 2019 – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have revised their economic forecast for Germany significantly downward. Whereas in the spring they still expected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 0.8% in 2019, they now expect GDP growth to be only 0.5%. Reasons for the poor performance are the falling worldwide demand for capital goods – in the exporting of which the Germany economy is specialised – as well as political uncertainty and structural changes in the automotive industry. By contrast, monetary policy is shoring up macroeconomic expansion. For the coming year, the economic researchers have also reduced their forecast of GDP growth to 1.1%, having predicted 1.8% in the spring.
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The Spatial Clustering of the Photo-voltaic Industry in Berlin-Brandenburg
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Recent empirical studies show a process of selective clustering in the photo-voltaic industry in East Germany. Especially locations like Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Freiberg/Dresden, Erfurt/Arnstadt and Berlin-Brandenburg were able to attract concentrations of economic activity in this industry. Regarding competition between the different locations for production and employment, emerging agglomeration economies can be seen as one major source increasing inter-regional competitiveness.
The aim of this article is to provide insights into the process of spatial clustering of photo-voltaic industry in Berlin-Brandenburg. With the help of a multi-dimensional cluster-concept developed by Bathelt, we analyse the region’s strengths and weaknesses regarding its generation of agglomeration economies.
The analysis shows that there are indeed first signs of agglomeration economies developing in the region. Despite a low level of horizontal cooperation, companies do profit from co-localisation by continuous observation of the local competitors. Along the value adding production chain, vertical co-operation is increasing, leading to positive effects by specialised suppliers and gains in transportation cost.
But the focal point in further industry development is the augmentation of the regional stock of knowledge. Regarding the increasing pressure on the companies’ innovativeness as a result of changes in market conditions in the photo-voltaic sector, only innovative and efficiently producing companies will be able to survive the industries’ consolidation period. Therefore, it is necessary to further support the increasing interconnectedness between university research, non-university research and local companies in order to profit from the high technological potential of the companies in the region.
Firm-Specific Determinants of Productivity Gaps between East and West German Industrial Branches
IWH Discussion Papers,
Industrial productivity levels of formerly socialist economies in Central East Europe (including East Germany) are considerably lower than in the more mature Western economies. This research aims at assessing the reasons for lower productivities at the firm level: what are the firm-specific determinants of productivity gaps. To assess this, we have conducted an extensive field study and focussed on a selection of two important manufacturing industries, namely machinery manufacturers and furniture manufacturers, and on the construction industry. Using the data generated in field work, we test a set of determinant-candidates which were derived from theory and prior research in that topic. Our analysis uses the simplest version of the matched-pair approach, in which first hypothesis about relevant productivity level-determinants are tested. In a second step, positively tested hypothesis are further assessed in terms of whether they also constitute firm-specific determinants of the apparent gaps between the firms in our Eastern and such in our Western panels. Our results suggest that the quality of human capital plays an important role in all three industrial branches assessed. Amongst manufacturing firms, networking activities and the use of modern technologies for communication are important reasons for the lower levels of labour productivity in the East. The intensity of long-term strategic planning on behalf of the management turned out to be relevant only for machinery manufacturers. Product and process innovations unexpectedly exhibit an ambiguous picture, as did the extent of specialisation on a small number of products in the firms’ portfolio and the intensity of competition.