Total Factor Productivity and the Terms of Trade
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
In this paper we analyse how the terms of trade (TOT) – the ratio of export prices to import prices – affect total factor productivity (TFP). We provide empirical macroeconomic evidence for the European Union countries based on the times series SVAR analysis and microeconomic evidence based on industry level data from the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet) database which shows that the terms of trade improvements are associated with a slowdown in the total factor productivity growth. Next, we build a theoretical model which combines open economy framework with the endogenous growth theory. In the model the terms of trade improvements increase demand for labour employed in exportable goods production at the expense of technology production (research and development – R&D) which leads to a shift of resources from knowledge development towards physical exportable goods. This reallocation has a negative impact on the TFP growth. Under a plausible calibration the model is able to replicate the observed empirical pattern.
The Regional Effects of a Place-based Policy – Causal Evidence from Germany
Regional Science and Urban Economics,
The German government provides discretionary investment grants to structurally weak regions in order to reduce regional inequality. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits an exogenous discrete jump in the probability of regional actors to receive investment grants to identify the causal effects of the policy. We find positive effects of the programme on district-level gross value-added and productivity growth, but no effects on employment and gross wage growth.
Why Is there Resistance to Works Councils In Germany? An Economic Perspective
Economic and Industrial Democracy,
Recent empirical research generally finds evidence of positive economic effects for works councils, for example with regard to productivity and – with some limitations – to profits. This makes it necessary to explain why employers’ associations have reservations about works councils. On the basis of an in-depth literature analysis, this article shows that beyond the generally positive findings, there are important heterogeneities in the impact of works councils. The authors argue that those groups of employers that tend to benefit little from employee participation in terms of productivity and profits may well be important enough to shape the agenda of their employers’ organization and have even gained in importance within their organizations in recent years. The authors also discuss the role of deviations from profit-maximizing behavior like risk aversion, short-term profit-maximization and other non-pecuniary motives, as possible reasons for employer resistance.
02.10.2019 • 21/2019
Thanks to robust domestic demand, the impact of the manufacturing sector on East Germany is less severe than in the west – Implications of the Autumn 2019 Joint Economic Forecast and official regional data for the eastern German economy
In its autumn report, the Joint Economic Forecast Project Group states that the German economy has cooled further in the current year. The manufacturing sector is the main reason for the economic weakness. This affects the economy in East Germany as well.
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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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Import Competition and Firm Productivity: Evidence from German Manufacturing
IWH Discussion Papers,
This study analyses empirically the effects of import competition on firm productivity (TFPQ) using administrative firm-level panel data from German manufacturing. We find that only import competition from high-income countries is associated with positive incentives for firms to invest in productivity improvement, whereas import competition from middle- and low-income countries is not. To rationalise these findings, we further look at the characteristics of imports from the two types of countries and the effects on R&D, employment and sales. We provide evidence that imports from high-income countries are relatively capital-intensive and technologically more sophisticated goods, at which German firms tend to be relatively good. Costly investment in productivity appears feasible reaction to such type of competition and we find no evidence for downscaling. Imports from middle- and low-wage countries are relatively labour-intensive and technologically less sophisticated goods, at which German firms tend to generally be at disadvantage. In this case, there are no incentives to invest in innovation and productivity and firms tend to decline in sales and employment.
19.09.2019 • 19/2019
Long-term effects of privatisation in eastern Germany: award-winning US economist begins large-scale research project at the IWH
It is one of the most prestigious awards in the German scientific community: the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award 2019 endowed with €1.5 million goes to Ufuk Akcigit, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. At the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), Akcigit aims to use innovative methods to investigate why the economy in eastern Germany is still lagging behind that in western Germany – and what role the privatisation process 30 years ago played in this.
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05.09.2019 • 18/2019
Downturn in Germany continues
Trade disputes are causing international trade in goods to decline this year. The manufacturing industry in Germany is particularly affected by this. However, a robust labour market is supporting the economy. According to IWH autumn economic forecast, German gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by 0.5% in 2019. At 1%, output growth in East Germany is likely to be significantly higher than in West Germany.
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East Germany Three Decades After the Wall Came Down: What has Been Achieved and What Should Economic Policy Do?
The persistent difference in productivity between East and West Germany not only results from the relative absence of large firms based in the East as many believe. Companies of all sizes exhibit an East-West productivity gap. The gap is larger in urban regions. Scarcity of skilled labour has emerged as the new barrier to business development. In order to boost productivity, economic policy should avoid additional subsidies that are conditional on creating jobs. Additionally, the potential of East German urban areas should be better explored. Mitigating the shortage in qualified workers requires in-migration of skilled labour from abroad, supported by an open mindset and environment.