Sources of Large Firms’ Market Power and Why It Matters
Excessive market power has detrimental effects on the functioning of the economy, raising consumer prices, distorting the allocation of resources, and creating welfare losses. The existing literature has largely focussed on competition in product markets. This column argues that it is important to differentiate between various sources of firm market power on output and input (most notably labour) markets. European firm-level data reveals that large firms charge lower markups in product markets but exert their market power significantly in labour markets. Competition authorities can and must distinguish between the sources of market power when attempting to regulate it.
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Globalization, Productivity Growth, and Labor Compensation
IWH Discussion Papers,
We analyze how changes in international trade integration affect productivity and the functional income distribution. To account for endogeneity, we construct a leaveout measure for international trade integration for country-industry pairs using international input-output tables. Our findings corroborate on the country-industry level that international trade integration increases productivity. Moreover, we show that both trade in intermediate inputs and trade in value added is associated with lower labor shares in emerging markets. For advanced countries, we document a positive effect of trade in value added on the labor share of income. Further, we show that the effects on productivity and labor share are heterogeneous across different sectors. Finally, we discuss the implications of our results for a possible throwback in international trade integration due to experiences from recent crises.
08.06.2021 • 14/2021
IWH Bankruptcy Update: Still No Bankruptcy Wave in Sight; Number of Impacted Jobs Reaches New Low
In May the number of corporate bankruptcies once again fell significantly. A jump in June is also unlikely, according to early indicators assessed by IWH. The number of jobs impacted by bankruptcy has fallen to the lowest level witnessed since the Corona outbreak. The IWH Bankruptcy Report, published by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), provides a monthly update on German bankruptcy statistics.
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Intangible Capital and Productivity. Firm-level Evidence from German Manufacturing
IWH Discussion Papers,
We study the importance of intangible capital (R&D, software, patents) for the measurement of productivity using firm-level panel data from German manufacturing. We first document a number of facts on the evolution of intangible investment over time, and its distribution across firms. Aggregate intangible investment increased over time. However, the distribution of intangible investment, even more so than that of physical investment, is heavily right-skewed, with many firms investing nothing or little, and a few firms having very large intensities. Intangible investment is also lumpy. Firms that invest more intensively in intangibles (per capita or as sales share) also tend to be more productive. In a second step, we estimate production functions with and without intangible capital using recent control function approaches to account for the simultaneity of input choice and unobserved productivity shocks. We find a positive output elasticity for research and development (R&D) and, to a lesser extent, software and patent investment. Moreover, the production function estimates show substantial heterogeneity in the output elasticities across industries and firms. While intangible capital has small effects for firms with low intangible intensity, there are strong positive effects for high-intensity firms. Finally, including intangibles in a gross output production function reduces productivity dispersion (measured by the 90-10 decile range) on average by 3%, in some industries as much as nearly 9%.