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.
Organised Labour, Labour Market Imperfections, and Employer Wage Premia
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper examines how collective bargaining through unions and workplace codetermination through works councils shape labour market imperfections and how labour market imperfections matter for employer wage premia. Based on representative German plant data for the years 1999–2016, we document that employer monopsony involving below competitive wages is far more prevalent than the contrary worker monopoly. We further find a smaller prevalence and intensity of employer monopsony when unions or works councils are present and the opposite for worker monopoly. Finally, we document a close link between labour market imperfections and employer wage premia. The presence and intensity of employer monopsony are associated with a lower level and larger dispersion of premia, whereas more intense worker monopoly is accompanied by a higher level only.
17.08.2022 • 19/2022
Arbeitsmobilität gehört zum Strukturwandel
Der Kohleausstieg wird die betroffenen Regionen auch dadurch verändern, dass ein Teil der Beschäftigten abwandert. Die Politik sollte diesen Prozess bei der Strukturpolitik berücksichtigen, denn vollständig verhindern lässt er sich nicht. Das verdeutlicht eine vom Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH) veröffentlichte Studie an einem historischen Beispiel.
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.
Offshoring, Domestic Employment and Production. Evidence from the German International Sourcing Survey
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyses the effect of offshoring (i.e., the relocation of activities previously performed in-house to foreign countries) on various firm outcomes (domestic employment, production, and productivity). It uses data from the International Sourcing Survey (ISS) 2017 for Germany, linked to other firm level data such as business register and ITGS data. First, we find that offshoring is a rare event: In the sample of firms with 50 or more persons employed, only about 3% of manufacturing firms and 1% of business service firms have performed offshoring in the period 2014-2016. Second, difference-in-differences propensity score matching estimates reveal a negative effect of offshoring on domestic employment and production. Most of this negative effect is not because the offshoring firms shrink, but rather because they don’t grow as fast as the non-offshoring firms. We further decompose the underlying employment dynamics by using direct survey evidence on how many jobs the firms destroyed/created due to offshoring. Moreover, we do not find an effect on labour productivity, since the negative effect on domestic employment and production are more or less of the same size. Third, the German data confirm previous findings for Denmark that offshoring is associated with an increase in the share of ‘produced goods imports’, i.e. offshoring firms increase their imports for the same goods they continue to produce domestically. In contrast, it is not the case that offshoring firms increase the share of intermediate goods imports (a commonly used proxy for offshoring), as defined by the BEC Rev. 5 classification.
Firm-level Employment, Labour Market Reforms, and Bank Distress
Journal of International Money and Finance,
We explore the impact of financial frictions on the employment effect of labour market reforms. Our study combines a new cross-country reform database on labour market reforms with matched firm-bank data for nine euro area countries over the period 1999 to 2013. While we find that labour market reforms are overall effective in increasing employment, restricted access to bank credit can undo up to half of medium to long-term employment gains at the firm-level. Entrepreneurs without sufficient access to credit cannot reap the full benefits of more flexible employment regulation.
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