The CompNet Competitiveness Database The Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet)...
The Efficiency of Local Public-service Production: The Effect of Political Institutions
Reforms replacing municipal cooperations by centralized municipalities often aim at increasing municipal efficiency. Empirical evidence supporting this aim, however, is ambiguous. Our paper analyzes the effect of institutions on municipal efficiency. In particular, we distinguish two archetypal institutional settings, a centralized and a confederal one, and argue that bureaucrats in a centralized setting are able to increase the fiscal residual. Our empirical test case is the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. We test the effect of the institutional setup using the bootstrap approach suggested by Simar and Wilson (2007), concluding that a decentralized institutional setting improves the efficiency of municipal production.
Wage Bargaining Regimes and Firms‘ Adjustments to the Great Recession
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
The paper aims at investigating to what extent wage negotiation set-ups have shaped up firms’ response to the Great Recession, taking a firm-level cross-country perspective. We contribute to the literature by building a new micro-distributed database which merges data related to wage bargaining institutions (Wage Dynamic Network, WDN) with data on firm productivity and other relevant firm characteristics (CompNet). We use the database to study how firms reacted to the Great Recession in terms of variation in profits, wages, and employment. The paper shows that, in line with the theoretical predictions, centralized bargaining systems – as opposed to decentralized/firm level based ones – were accompanied by stronger downward wage rigidity, as well as cuts in employment and profits.
The Role of Information in Innovation and Competition
Journal of the European Economic Association,
Innovation is typically a trial‐and‐error process. While some research paths lead to the innovation sought, others result in dead ends. Because firms benefit from their competitors working in the wrong direction, they do not reveal their dead‐end findings. Time and resources are wasted on projects that other firms have already found to be fruitless. We offer a simple model with two firms and two research lines to study this prevalent problem. We characterize the equilibrium in a decentralized environment that necessarily entails significant efficiency losses due to wasteful dead‐end replication and an information externality that leads to an early abandonment of the risky project. We show that different types of firms follow different innovation strategies and create different kinds of welfare losses. In an extension of the core model, we also study a centralized mechanism whereby firms are incentivized to disclose their actions and share their private information in a timely manner.
(De-)Centralization and Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence from German Municipalities
A vast academic literature illustrates that voter turnout is affected by the institutional design of elections (e.g., compulsory voting, electoral system, postal or Sunday voting). In this article, we exploit a simple Downsian theoretical framework to argue that the institutional framework of public good provision – and, in particular, the distribution of political and administrative competences across government levels – likewise affects voters’ turnout decisions by influencing the expected net benefit of voting. Empirically, we exploit the institutional variation across German municipalities to test this proposition, and find supportive evidence.
Sovereign Default Risk and Decentralization: Evidence for Emerging Markets
European Journal of Political Economy,
We study the impact of decentralization on sovereign default risk. Theory predicts that decentralization deteriorates fiscal discipline since subnational governments undertax/overspend, anticipating that, in the case of overindebtedness, the federal government will bail them out. We analyze whether investors account for this common pool problem by attaching higher sovereign yield spreads to more decentralized countries. Using panel data on up to 30 emerging markets in the period 1993–2008 we confirm this hypothesis. Higher levels of fiscal and political decentralization increase sovereign default risk. Moreover, higher levels of intergovernmental transfers and a larger number of veto players aggravate the common pool problem.