Skill-biased acquisitions? Human capital and target employee mobility in small technology firms

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between acquisitions and mobility of knowledge workers and managers in small technology companies and how individual skills and capabilities moderate the relationship. Relying on the matched employer-employee data of the Swedish high-tech sectors from 2007 to 2015, we find that acquisitions increase the likelihood of employee departures, mainly in the form of switching to another employer, but that these acquisition effects are weaker for employees with technological competences. Moreover, we also find that managers, compared to other employees, are more likely to exit from the (national) labor market after acquisitions. Our result..

Business Economics

Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth

Applying the Foster, Haltiwanger and Krizan (FHK) (2001) decomposition to plant-level manufacturing data from Chile and Korea, we find that the entry and exit of plants account for a larger fraction of aggregate productivity growth during periods of fast GDP growth. To analyze this relationship, we develop a model of firm entry and exit based on Hopenhayn (1992). When we introduce reforms that reduce entry costs or reduce barriers to technology adoption into a calibrated model, we find that the entry and exit terms in the FHK decomposition become more important as GDP grows rapidly, just as they do in the data from Chile and Korea.

Business Economics

Firm Dynamics and SOE Transformation During China's Economic Reform

We study China’s state-owned enterprises (SOE) reform with a focus on the corporatization of SOEs. We first empirically document that small SOEs are more likely to exit or become privatized, whereas big SOEs are more likely to be corporatized while remaining under state ownership. We then build a heterogeneous-firm model featuring financial frictions, endogenous entry and exit, and optimal firm-type choices. Our calibrated model suggests that in the long run, the SOE reform increases the aggregate output by facilitating resource reallocation to the private sector. Along the transition, the corporatization option leads to higher aggregate output than the privatization-only policy by giving ..

Business Economics

Productivity-wage nexus at the firm-level in Portugal: Decoupling and divergences

There is a growing international concern about the slowdown in productivity growth, especially as labor productivity enhancements are important drivers of higher general-ised living standards.Using administrative data of firms in Portugal between 2010 and 2016, we analyse the relationships between productivity and wages. At odds with neoclassical theory of mar-ginal productivity of labor, we find that two thirds of firms insufficiently raised wages giv-en observed productivity growth. Employing unconditional quantile regressions, we in-vestigate some quantifiable determinants of the productivity-wage gap at different parts of the distributions. Most of the documented dynamics contributed not..

Business Economics

Behavior-based Price Discrimination in the Domestic and International Mixed duopoly

We investigate mixed markets in which a social welfare-maximizing public firm and a private firm engage in behavior-based price discrimination. We consider two cases: one where the private firm is completely owned by domestic shareholders and one where it is completely owned by foreign shareholders. In the domestic mixed duopoly, BBPD is irrelevant from the viewpoint of social welfare. This is because poaching does not occur. In the international mixed duopoly, BBPD reduces the public firm’s market share but improves domestic social welfare. This is because the outflow to foreign shareholders decreases. We also consider domestic and international pure duopoly and find that the presence of ..

Business Economics

Are online platforms killing the offline star? Platform diffusion and the productivity of traditional firms

Online platform use has grown remarkably in the last decade. Despite this, our understanding of its implications for economic outcomes is scarce and often limited to case studies and advanced countries. Using a newly built harmonised international dataset of online platforms and their use across 43 countries, covering the 2013-18 period and seven areas of activity, we contribute to filling this gap. Specifically, we investigate whether and under which market conditions platform uptake leads to changes in incumbent firms’ productivity. We find that platform use increases labour productivity growth in firms operating in the same sector, and that this takes place through increases in value ad..

Business Economics

Making digital transformation work for all in Chile

The sanitary crisis, created by the outbreak COVID-19, is accelerating Chile’s digital transformation, which has seen a surge in e-learning, streaming, online shopping and marketing and teleworking. The digital transformation has the potential to revamp productivity and inclusiveness, although it comes with adoption barriers and transition costs. Connectivity has increased substantially in the last decades, and the country is ahead of the region. However, fixed high-speed broadband adoption, essential for the digital transformation, lags behind. Firms have started to adopt digital technologies but micro firms and SMEs are well behind. Rural areas have lower connectivity and many workers la..

Business Economics

The ambiguous competitive effects of passive partial forward integration

In a two-tier industry with an upstream monopolist supplier and downstream competition with differentiated goods, we show that passive partial forward integration (PPFI) has ambiguous effects on competition and welfare. When vertical trading is conducted via linear tariffs, PPFI is pro-competitive and welfare-increasing. While under two-part tariffs, it is anti-competitive and welfare-decreasing. These hold irrespectively of the degree of product differentiation, the observability or secrecy of contract terms, the mode of downstream competition, and the distribution of bargaining power between firms.

Business Economics

The granular economy of Kazakhstan

This paper analyzes the importance of idiosyncratic firm specific shocks for explaining macroeconomic fluctuations in an emerging economy. To this end, we use detailed quarterly firm level data to document that the firm size distribution is fat-tailed and that idiosyncratic shocks of the largest 30 firms appear to explain nearly 80% of the growth in aggregate total factor productivity. This confirms earlier research for the U.S. of the "granular hypothesis" (Gabaix, 2011). Thus individual firm shocks do not average out in the aggregate as is assumed in most of the macroeconomic literature, instead, macroeconomic questions can be answered by analyzing the behavior of the largest firms.

Business Economics

Selecting valuation distributions: non-price decisions of multi-product firms

This paper analyzes decisions of multi-product firms regarding product selection, innovation and advertising as choices of consumer valuation distributions. We show that a profit-maximizing monopolist chooses these distributions so as to maximize the dispersion of the valuation differences between goods across consumers. By contrast, she chooses the willingness-to-pay to be maximally or minimally dispersed, depending on the set of available distributions. In our benchmark model with uniform valuation differences, prices are increasing in valuation difference heterogeneity, but in more general settings this is not necessarily true. Moreover, the relation between willingness-to-pay heterogenei..

Business Economics

Preemptive Entry and Technology Diffusion: The Market for Drive-in Theaters

This paper studies the role and incidence of entry preemption strategic motives on the dynamics of new industries, while providing an empirical test for entry preemption, and quantifying its impact on market structure. The empirical context is the evolution of the U.S. drive-in theater market between 1945 and 1957. We exploit a robust prediction of dynamic entry games to test for preemption incentives: the deterrence effect of entering early is only relevant for firms in markets of intermediate size. Potential entrants in small and large markets face little uncertainty about the actual number of firms that will eventually enter. This leads to a non-monotonic relationship between market size ..

Business Economics

Measuring the systemic importance of large US banks

The failure of large and connected financial institutions often leads to system-wide financial crises and economic downturns (Labonte 2015). Even absent outright failure and bankruptcy, perceived weakness of a large and connected financial firm can result in decrease valuation of other firms – due to perceived linkages – and overall decrease in market liquidity.

Business Economics

Intangibles and industry concentration: Supersize me

This paper presents new evidence on the growing scale of big businesses in the United States, Japan, and Europe. It finds broad evidence of rising industry concentration across the majority of countries and sectors over the period 2002 to 2014. Rising concentration is strongly associated with intensive investment in intangibles, particularly innovative assets, software, and data. This relationship appears to be stronger in more globalised and digital-intensive industries. The results are consistent with intangibles disproportionately benefiting large firms and enabling them to scale up and increase market shares. We find nuanced implications of these new business models for competition – r..

Business Economics

The impact of digitalisation on productivity: Firm-level evidence from the Netherlands

This paper analyses the role of intangibles and digital adoption for firm-level productivity in the Netherlands drawing on a newly constructed panel data set of Dutch enterprises. It provides robust evidence on productivity effects of intangibles and digital adoption using firms’ exposure to sector-wide advances in intangible intensity and digital adoption as an instrument. Results show that intangibles as measured by levels of digital skill intensity have a positive and statistically significant impact on firm-level productivity growth in the service sector and for younger firms. Productivity benefits from software investment are strong for low productivity firms. Together, these findings..

Business Economics

Turbulent Business Cycles

Recessions are associated with sharp increases in turbulence that reshuffles firms' productivity rankings. To study the business cycle implications of turbulence shocks, we use Compustat data to construct a measure of turbulence based on the (inverse of) Spearman correlations of firms' productivity rankings between adjacent years. We document evidence that turbulence rises in recessions, reallocating labor and capital from high-to low-productivity firms and reducing aggregate TFP and the stock market value of firms. A real business cycle model with heterogeneous firms and financial frictions can generate the observed macroeconomic and reallocation effects of turbulence. In the model, increas..

Business Economics

Sorting with Team Formation

We fully solve an assignment problem with heterogeneous firms and multiple heterogeneous workers whose skills are imperfect substitutes, that is, when production is submodular. We show that sorting is neither positive nor negative and is characterized sufficiently by two regions. In the first region, mediocre firms sort with mediocre workers and coworkers such that output losses are equal across all these pairings (complete mixing). In the second region, high skill workers sort with a low skill coworker and a high productivity firm, while high productivity firms employ a low skill worker and a high skill coworker (pairwise countermonotonicity). The equilibrium assignment is also necessarily ..

Business Economics

The Dynamics of Referral Hiring and Racial Inequality: Evidence from Brazil

We study how referral hiring contributes to racial inequality in firm-level labor demand over the firm's life cycle using data from Brazil. We consider a search model where referral networks are segregated, firms are more informed about the match quality of referred candidates, and some referrals are made by non-referred employees. Consistent with the model, we find that firms are more likely to hire candidates and less likely to dismiss employees of the same race as the founder, but these differences diminish as firms' cumulative hires increase. Referral hiring helps to explain racial differences in dismissals, seniority, and employer size.

Business Economics

The Effects of Going Public on Firm Performance and Commercialization Strategy: Evidence from International IPOs

We study the effects of going public using a unique panel of firms in 16 European countries for which we observe financial data before and after firms' initial-public-offering (IPO) attempts. We compare firms that complete their IPO with firms that withdraw their IPO. We instrument the going public decision using prior market returns. We find that firm profitability goes up after going public—contrary to previous results in the literature. We also find an post-IPO expansion in the number of subsidiaries and countries in which IPO firms operate. Our results are stronger for firms in financially dependent industries and in countries with higher investor protection consistent with going publi..

Business Economics

She Innovates- Female owner and firm innovation in India

Using data from World Bank Enterprises Survey 2014, we find that having a female owner in India increases firm innovation probability using both input and output indicators of innovation. We account for possible endogeneity of female owner variable using a two stage instrumental variable probit model. We find that the positive effect of female owner variable is observed in the sub-samples of firms with more access to internal funding, young firms and firms located in regions with no or less crime This study highlights the need to promote female entrepreneurship as a potential channel for promoting firm innovation in India.

Business Economics

Sorting with Team Formation

We fully solve an assignment problem with heterogeneous firms and multiple heterogeneous workers whose skills are imperfect substitutes, that is, when production is submodular. We show that sorting is neither positive nor negative and is characterized sufficiently by two regions. In the first region, mediocre firms sort with mediocre workers and coworkers such that output losses are equal across all these pairings (complete mixing). In the second region, high skill workers sort with a low skill coworker and a high productivity firm, while high productivity firms employ a low skill worker and a high skill coworker (pairwise countermonotonicity). The equilibrium assignment is also necessarily ..

Business Economics

Price Discrimination in the Transport Industry and the Gains from Trade

This paper shows that the shipping industry could hamper the endogenous firm selection into production which is conducive to the overall productivity enhancement and welfare gains, through its discriminatory price. Naturally, if the shipping industry charges a higher transport price to the more productive manufacturing firms, sabotaging their competitive edges, those productive firms would not be capable of expanding as well as they otherwise would do under uniform transport fees, leaving enough space for the less productive firms to survive. Therefore, the effect from another source of gains from trade, firm selection is dampened. Elimination of this discriminatory practice could potentiall..

Business Economics

Inward FDI, outward FDI, and firm-level performance in India

In recent years, India has emerged as a leading foreign direct investment (FDI) player, featuring prominently as both an origin and a destination of FDI. This study takes a firm-level perspective to empirically address the relationship between inward FDI, outward FDI, and firm-level performance in India. Using the Orbis database, our estimates reveal that Indian firms that have at least one foreign shareholder and/or one foreign subsidiary outperform those that do not. Controlling for endogeneity through propensity score matching and difference-in-difference techniques, we show that the deeper the FDI involvement, the larger the performance differentials. Moreover, compared with investing ab..

Business Economics

Import Competition and Firms’ Internal Networks

Using administrative data on U.S. multisector firms, we document a cross-sectoral propagation of the import competition from China (“China shock”) through firms’ internal networks: Employment of an establishment in a given industry is negatively affected by China shock that hits establishments in other industries within the same firm. This indirect propagation channel impacts both manufacturing and non-manufacturing establishments, and it operates primarily through the establishment exit. We explore a range of explanations for our findings, highlighting the role of within-firm trade across sectors, scope of production, and establishment size. At the sectoral aggregate level, China shoc..

Business Economics

Does the gender mix influence collective bargaining on gender equality? Evidence from France

Gender equality at work has become in recent years a priority for governments. In France, collective bargaining is a main lever to achieve progress on gender equality issues. In a two-tier bargaining framework, industries and firms are required by law to negotiate on the reduction of gender inequalities. Using firm-level survey data on labor relations issues combined with administrative data, this paper seeks to better understand the dynamics of collective bargaining on gender equality at the firm level by questioning the role played by the gender mix. We find that gender diversity favors gender equality bargaining at the firm level. Under-representation and over-representation of women redu..

Business Economics

Technical Barriers to Trade and the Performance of Indian Exporters

We study the effects of technical barriers to trade (TBTs) imposed by destination markets on prices, marginal costs, and markups of Indian manufacturing exporters. Using detailed firm-product-level data on prices and production from PROWESS, we first identify the underlying component of prices (i.e. marginal costs and markups), and use those as our outcomes of interest in the second stage. We find that (i) introduction of TBTs by importing countries increases marginal costs by 5% and prices by 4%, (ii) there is considerable heterogeneity based on exporters’ initial productivity, (iii) productive exporters (those belonging to the lower deciles) experienced an increase in marginal costs and ..

Business Economics

Private equity buyouts and firm exports: evidence from UK firms

This paper examines the impact of private equity buyouts on the export activity of target firms. We exploit data on UK firms over the 2004-2017 period, and use difference-in-differences estimations on matched target versus non-target firms. Following private equity buyouts, non-exporting firms are more likely to begin exporting, and target firms are likewise more likely to increase their value of exports and their export intensity. Evidence from split-sample analysis further suggests that these patterns are consistent with private equity investors relaxing financial constraints and inducing productivity improvements.

Business Economics

Contract Labor and Firm Growth in India

India's Industrial Disputes Act (IDA) of 1947 requires firm with more than 100 workers to pay large costs if they shrink their employment. Since the early 2000s, large Indian manufacturing firms have increasingly relied on contract workers who are not subject to the IDA. By 2015, contract workers accounted for 38% of total employment at firms with more than 100 workers compared to 20% in 2000. Over the same time period, the thickness of the right tail of the firm size distribution in formal Indian manufacturing plants increased, the average product of labor for large firms declined, the job creation rate for large firms increased, and the probability that large firms introduce new products r..

Business Economics

Opposing firm-level Responses to the China Shock: Horizontal Competition Versus Vertical Relationships?

We decompose the “China shock” into two components that induce different adjustments for firms exposed to Chinese exports: a horizontal shock affecting firms selling goods that compete with similar imported Chinese goods, and a vertical shock affecting firms using inputs similar to the imported Chinese goods. Combining French accounting, customs, and patent information at the firm-level, we show that the horizontal shock is detrimental to firms’ sales, employment, and innovation. Moreover, this negative impact is concentrated on low-productivity firms. By contrast, we find a positive effect - although often not significant - of the vertical shock on firms’ sales, employment, and inno..

Business Economics

Project Aid and Firm Performance

This paper evaluates the effect of development project aid from the World Bank and China on firms' sales growth, using a large dataset of 110864 firms spanning 121 countries between 2001 and 2016. We find that, contrary to the World Bank, Chinese ODA projects increase, on average, firm sales and, compared to sector-specific, Chinese region-specific aid positively affect firm performance. Finally, we show that the positive effect of Chinese aid is stronger for firms lacking transport infrastructure (and with better electricity provision), suggesting that aid may improve firm performance by releasing their infrastructure constraints.

Business Economics

Wage Differences According to Workers' Origin: The Role of Working More Upstream in GVCs

This paper is the first to investigate the role of firm-level upstreamness (i.e. the number of steps before the production of a firm meets final demand) in explaining wage differences according to workers' origin. Using unique linked employer-employee data relative to the Belgian manufacturing industry for the period 2002-2010, our estimates show that firms that are further up in the value chain pay significantly higher wages. However, the wage premium associated with upstreamness is also found to vary substantially depending on the origin of the workers. Unconditional quantile estimates suggest that those who benefit the most from being employed in more upstream firms are high-wage workers ..

Business Economics