European Firm Concentration and Aggregate Productivity
Journal of the European Economic Association,
This paper derives a European Herfindahl–Hirschman concentration index from 15 micro-aggregated country datasets. In the last decade, European concentration rose due to a reallocation of economic activity toward large and concentrated industries. Over the same period, productivity gains from an increasing allocative efficiency of the European market accounted for 50% of European productivity growth while markups stayed constant. Using country-industry variation, we show that changes in concentration are positively associated with changes in productivity and allocative efficiency. This holds across most sectors and countries and supports the notion that rising concentration in Europe reflects a more efficient market environment rather than weak competition and rising market power.
Active Driver or Passive Victim - On the Role of International Monetary Policy Transmission
IWH Discussion Papers,
We provide new insights into determinants of international interest rates spillovers across seven advanced economies. To disentangle and quantify their respective importance, we identify country-specific structural monetary policy, demand, and supply equations in a Bayesian structural panel vector autoregressive model. We formulate prior beliefs on magnitudes and signs of contemporaneous structural coefficients (i.e., (semi-)elasticities), based on a standard theoretical multi-country open economy model from the literature. Our findings show that interest rate spillovers occur via an aggregated demand channel. Unexpected monetary tightening causes modest declines in most foreign interest rates, while demand and supply shocks result in increased foreign interest rates. Our results support that central banks respond to changes in the domestic macroeconomic environment induced by domestic or foreign shocks rather than directly reacting to foreign shocks. Spillovers are quantitatively stronger for shocks originating in economically large areas with strong trade linkages.
Cross-country Evidence on the Allocation of COVID-19 Government Subsidies and Consequences for Productivity
Journal of the Japanese and International Economies,
We study the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and related policy support on productivity. We employ an extensive micro-distributed exercise to access otherwise unavailable individual data on firm performance and government subsidies. Our cross-country evidence for five EU countries shows that the pandemic led to a significant short-term decline in aggregate productivity and the direct support to firms had only a limited positive effect on productivity developments. A thorough comparative analysis of the distribution of employment and overall direct subsidies, considering separately also relative firm-level size of support and the probability of being supported, reveals ambiguous cross-country results related to the firm-level productivity and points to the decisive role of other firm characteristics.
20.12.2022 • 31/2022
No deep recession despite energy crisis and rise in interest rates
High energy prices and deteriorating financial conditions are weighing on the German economy. However, the period of weakness over the winter is likely to be moderate, partly because the energy price brakes are supporting private incomes. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that due to the recovery from the pandemic in the first three quarters, gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have increased by 1.8% in 2022. Due to high energy prices, however, GDP will slightly decline in the winter months and stagnate on average in 2023. Inflation will fall from 7.8% in 2022 to 6.5% in 2023.
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29.09.2022 • 24/2022
The East German economy expanded strongly in the first half of 2022, but falls into recession in the second half of the year ‒ Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2022 and of Länder data from recent publications of the Statistical Office
The energy crisis is pushing the German economy into recession. This also affects the economy in East Germany. According to the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), East German production will expand at a slightly stronger rate of 1.5% than in Germany as a whole. For the coming year, the decline in East Germany is expected to be less pronounced than in the west at 0.1% (Germany: ‒0.4%). For 2024, the economists forecast a growth of 1.7% (Germany: 1.9%).
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29.09.2022 • 23/2022
Joint Economic Forecast 2/2022: Energy crisis: inflation, recession, welfare loss
The crisis on the gas markets is having a severe impact on the German economy. Soaring gas prices are drastically increasing energy costs, leading to a massive reduction of the purchasing power. Despite a decline in the second half of the year, gross domestic product is expected to expand by 1.4% this year. For the coming year, the institutes expect a contraction by 0.4%, followed by an increase of 1.9% in 2024.
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Do Banks Value Borrowers' Environmental Record? Evidence from Financial Contracts
Journal of Business Ethics,
Banks play a unique role in society. They not only maximize profits but also consider the interests of stakeholders. We investigate whether banks consider firms’ pollution records in their lending decisions. The evidence shows that banks offer significantly higher loan spreads, higher total borrowing costs, shorter loan maturities, and greater collateral to firms with higher levels of chemical pollution. The costly effects are stronger for borrowers with greater risk and weaker corporate governance. Further, the results show that banks with higher social responsibility account for their borrowers’ environmental performance and charge higher loan spreads to those with poor performance. These results support the idea that banks with higher social responsibility can promote the practice of business ethics in 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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Productivity, Managers’ Social Connections and the Financial Crisis
Journal of Banking and Finance,
This paper investigates whether managers’ personal connections help corporate productivity to recover after a negative economic shock. Leveraging the heterogeneity in the severity of the financial crisis across different sectors, the paper reports that (i) the financial crisis had a negative effect on within-firm productivity, (ii) the effect was long-lasting and persistent, supporting a productivity-hysteresis hypothesis, and (iii) managers’ personal connections allowed corporations to recover from this productivity slowdown. Among the possible mechanisms, we show that connected managers operating in affected sectors foster productivity recovery through higher input cost efficiency and better access to the credit market, as well as more efficient use of labour and capital.
21.06.2022 • 14/2022
War drives up energy prices ‒ High inflation weighs on economy
While the lifting of nationwide coronavirus regulations boosts many service sectors such as the hospitality industry, supply bottlenecks are likely to weigh on the manufacturing sector throughout the summer and high inflation will dampen private consumption. Gross domestic product (GDP) in Germany is expected to decline slightly in the second quarter of 2022. The situation in the manufacturing sector is expected to ease towards the end of the year. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that GDP will increase by 1.5% in 2022, following an increase by 2.9% in 2021. In East Germany, GDP will increase by 1%.
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