Dr. Matthias Mertens

Dr. Matthias Mertens
Aktuelle Position

seit 2/21

Leiter der Forschungsgruppe Innovation, Produktivität und wirtschaftliche Dynamik

Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH)

seit 10/19

Leiter IWH-CompNet-Team

Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH)

seit 10/15

Mitglied der Abteilung Strukturwandel und Produktivität

Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH)

Forschungsschwerpunkte

  • Firmenproduktivität
  • Produkt- und Faktormarktmacht
  • Allokation von Produktionsfaktoren

Matthias Mertens ist seit Oktober 2015 Mitarbeiter in der Abteilung Strukturwandel und Produktivität. Sein Forschungsfeld umfasst Fragen zu den Themen Produktivität von Firmen, Produkt- und Faktormarktmacht und Faktorallokation.

Sein Studium der Volkswirtschaftslehre absolvierte Matthias Mertens an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. Promoviert hat er an der Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg.

Ihr Kontakt

Dr. Matthias Mertens
Dr. Matthias Mertens
Mitglied - Abteilung Strukturwandel und Produktivität
Nachricht senden +49 345 7753-707 Persönliche Seite

Publikationen

cover_journal-of-comparative-economics.jpg

The East-West German Gap in Revenue Productivity: Just a Tale of Output Prices?

Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: Journal of Comparative Economics, im Erscheinen

Abstract

East German manufacturers’ revenue productivity is substantially below West German levels, even three decades after German unification. Using firm-product-level data with product quantities and prices, we analyze the role of product specialization and show that the prominent “extended work bench hypothesis” cannot explain these sustained productivity differences. Eastern firms specialize in simpler product varieties generating less consumer value and being manufactured with less or cheaper inputs. Yet, such specialization cannot explain the productivity gap because Eastern firms are physically less productive for given product prices. Hence, there is a genuine price-adjusted physical productivity disadvantage of Eastern compared to Western firms.

Publikation lesen

Micro-mechanisms behind Declining Labor Shares: Rising Market Power and Changing Modes of Production

Matthias Mertens

in: International Journal of Industrial Organization, March 2022

Abstract

I derive a micro-founded framework showing how rising firm market power on product and labor markets and falling aggregate labor output elasticities provide three competing explanations for falling labor shares. I apply my framework to 20 years of German manufacturing sector micro data containing firm-specific price information to study these three distinct drivers of declining labor shares. I document a severe increase in firms’ labor market power, whereas firms’ product market power stayed comparably low. Changes in firm market power and a falling aggregate labor output elasticity each account for one half of the decline in labor's share.

Publikation lesen

cover_International_Journal_of_industrial_organisation_70_2020.png

Labor Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade

Matthias Mertens

in: International Journal of Industrial Organization, January 2020

Abstract

This article examines how final product trade with China shapes and interacts with labor market imperfections that create market power in labor markets and prevent an efficient market outcome. I develop a framework for measuring such labor market power distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of these distortions in Germany's manufacturing sector. Import competition only exerts labor market disciplining effects if firms, rather than employees, possess labor market power. Otherwise, increasing export demand and import competition both fortify existing distortions, which decreases labor market efficiency. This widens the gap between potential and realized output and thus diminishes classical gains from trade.

Publikation lesen

Arbeitspapiere

cover_DP_2021-5.jpg

European Firm Concentration and Aggregate Productivity

Tommaso Bighelli Filippo di Mauro Marc Melitz Matthias Mertens

in: IWH Discussion Papers, Nr. 5, 2021

Abstract

This article 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 towards large and concentrated industries. Over the same period, productivity gains from reallocation accounted for 50% of European productivity growth and 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.

Publikation lesen

cover_DP_2020-13.jpg

Labour Market Power and Between-Firm Wage (In)Equality

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH Discussion Papers, Nr. 13, 2020

Abstract

I study how labour market power affects firm wage differences using German manufacturing sector firm-level data (1995-2016). In past decades, labour market power increasingly moderated rising between-firm wage inequality. This is because high-paying firms possess high and increasing labour market power and pay wages below competitive levels, whereas low-wage firms pay competitive wages. Over time, large, high-wage, high-productivity firms generate increasingly large labour market rents while selling on competitive product markets. This provides novel insights on why such “superstar firms” are profitable and successful. Using micro-aggregated data covering most economic sectors, I validate my results for ten other European countries.

Publikation lesen

cover_DP_2019-20.jpg

Import Competition and Firm Productivity: Evidence from German Manufacturing

Richard Bräuer Matthias Mertens Viktor Slavtchev

in: IWH Discussion Papers, Nr. 20, 2019

Abstract

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.

Publikation lesen
Mitglied der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft LogoTotal-Equality-LogoWeltoffen Logo