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.
Transferability of Skills across Sectors and Heterogeneous Displacement Costs
American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings,
We use rich German administrative data to estimate new measures of skill transferability between manufacturing and other sectors. These measures capture the value of workers' human capital when applied in different sectors and are directly related to workers' displacement costs. We estimate these transferability measures using a selection correction model, which addresses workers' endogenous mobility, and a novel selection instrument based on the social network of workers. Our results indicate substantial heterogeneity in how workers can transfer their skills when they move across sectors, which implies heterogeneous displacement costs that depend on the sector to which workers reallocate.
Economic Failure and the Role of Plant Age and Size
Small Business Economics,
This paper introduces a large-scale administrative panel data set on corporate bankruptcy in Germany that allows for an econometric analysis of involuntary exits where previous studies mixed voluntary and involuntary exits. Approximately 83 % of all bankruptcies occur in plants with not more than 10 employees, and 61 % of all bankrupt plants are not older than 5 years. The descriptive statistics and regression analysis indicate substantial negative age dependence with respect to bankruptcy risk but confirm negative size dependence for mature plants only. Our results corroborate hypotheses stressing increasing capabilities and positional advantage, both predicting negative age dependence with respect to bankruptcy risk due to productivity improvements. The results are not consistent with the theories explaining age dependence via imprinting or structural inertia.
The Emergence of Wage Coordination in the Central Western European Metal Sector and its Relationship to European Economic Policy
IWH Discussion Papers,
In the European Monetary Union the transnational coordination of collective wage bargaining has acquired increased importance on the trade union agenda. The metal sector has been at the forefront of these developments. This paper addresses the issue of crossborder coordination of wage setting in the metal sector in the central western European region, that is, in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, where coordination practices have become firmly established in comparison to other sectors. When testing the interaction of wage developments in the metal sector of these three countries, relevant macroeconomic (inflation and labour productivity) and sector-related variables (employment, export-dependence) are considered with reference to the wage policy guidelines of the European Commission and the European Metalworkers’ Federation. Empirical evidence can be found for a wage coordination effect in the form of increasing compliance with the wage policy guidelines of the European Metalworkers’ Federation. The evidence for compliance with the stability-oriented wage guideline of the European Commission is weaker.