Labor Market Power and Between-Firm Wage (In)Equality
International Journal of Industrial Organization,
I study how labor market power affects firm wage differences using German manufacturing sector firm-level data (1995-2016). In past decades, labor market power increasingly moderated rising between-firm wage differences. This is because high-paying firms possess high and increasing labor market power and pay wages below competitive levels, whereas low-wage firms pay competitive or even above competitive wages. Over time, large, high-wage, high-productivity firms generate increasingly large labor market rents while charging comparably low product markups. This provides novel insights on why such top firms are profitable and successful. Using micro-aggregated data covering most economic sectors, I validate key results for multiple European countries.
07.09.2023 • 23/2023
The German economy continues its downturn
High inflation, increased interest rates, weak foreign demand and uncertainty among private households and firms are currently weighing on the German economy. In its autumn forecast, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) expects gross domestic product (GDP) to decline by 0.5% in 2023 and to increase by 0.9% in 2024.
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Long-run Competitive Spillovers of the Credit Crunch
IWH Discussion Papers,
Competition in the U.S. appears to have declined. One contributing factor may have been heterogeneity in the availability of credit during the financial crisis. I examine the impact of product market peer credit constraints on long-run competitive outcomes and behavior among non-financial firms. I use measures of lender exposure to the financial crisis to create a plausibly exogenous instrument for product market credit availability. I find that credit constraints of product market peers positively predict growth in sales, market share, profitability, and markups. This is consistent with the notion that firms gained at the expense of their credit constrained peers. The relationship is robust to accounting for other sources of inter-firm spillovers, namely credit access of technology network and supply chain peers. Further, I find evidence of strategic investment, i.e. the idea that firms increase investment in response to peer credit constraints to commit to deter entry mobility. This behavior may explain why temporary heterogeneity in the availability of credit appears to have resulted in a persistent redistribution of output across firms.
The Impact of Delay: Evidence from Formal out-of-Court Restructuring
Journal of Corporate Finance,
Different types of bankruptcy restructuring procedures are used in most legal systems to decide the fate of businesses facing financial hardship. We study how bargaining failures in an under-researched type of restructuring procedure, a formal out-of-the court procedure impacts the economic performance of participating firms. Croatia introduced a “pre-bankruptcy settlement” (PBS) process in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007–2009. A novel dataset provides us with annual financial statements for both sides of more than 180,000 debtor–creditor pairs, enabling us to address selection into failed negotiations by matching a rich set of creditor and debtor characteristics. Failures to settle at the PBS stage due to idiosyncratic bargaining problems, which effectively delay entry into the standard bankruptcy procedure, lead to a lower rate of survival among debtors as well as reduced employment, revenue, and profits. We are the first study to track how bargaining failures diffuse through the network of creditors, finding a significant negative effect on small creditors, but not others. Our results highlight the impact of delay and the importance of structuring bankruptcy procedures, to rapidly resolve uncertainty about firms’ future prospects.
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