nep-bec New Economics Papers
on Business Economics
Issue of 2021‒12‒06
nine papers chosen by
Vasileios Bougioukos
London South Bank University

  1. The human side of productivity: Uncovering the role of skills and diversity for firm productivity By Chiara Criscuolo; Peter Gal; Timo Leidecker; Giuseppe Nicoletti
  2. Is the patent system a level playing field? The effect of patent attorney firms By Gaetan de Rassenfosse; Paul Jensen; T'Mir Julius; Alfons Palangkaraya; Elizabeth Webster
  3. Does Firm Exit Increase Prices? By Suveg, Melinda
  4. Colocation of Entrepreneurs and New Firm Survival: Role of New Firm Founder’s Experiential Relatedness to Local Entrepreneurs By Tavassoli, Sam; Jienwatcharamongkhol, Viroj; Arenius, Pia
  5. Membership in Employers' Associations and Collective Bargaining Coverage in Germany By Jirjahn, Uwe
  6. Does gender diversity in the workplace mitigate climate change? By Yener Altunbas; Leonardo Gambacorta; Alessio Reghezza; Giulio Velliscig
  7. The Division of Unexpected Revenue Shocks By Paulo Bastos; Natália P. Monteiro; Odd Rune Straume
  8. A Post M&A Innovation in Family Firms By Abdul-Basit Issah
  9. How Does Basic Research Improve Innovation Performance in the World’s Major Pharmaceutical Firms? By Bart Leten; Stijn Kelchtermans; Rene Belderbos

  1. By: Chiara Criscuolo; Peter Gal; Timo Leidecker; Giuseppe Nicoletti
    Abstract: Relying on linked employer-employee datasets from 10 countries, this paper documents that the skills and the diversity of the workforce and of managers – the human side of businesses – account on average for about one third of the labour productivity gap between firms at the productivity “frontier” (the top 10% within each detailed industry) and medium performers at the 40-60 percentile of the productivity distribution. The composition of skills, especially the share of high skills, varies the most along the productivity distribution, but low and medium skilled employees make up a substantial share of the workforce even at the frontier.High skills show positive but decreasing productivity returns. Moreover, the skill mix of top firms varies markedly across countries, pointing to the role of different strategies pursued by firms in different policy environments. We also find that managerial skills play a particularly important role, also through complementarities with worker skills. Gender and cultural diversity among managers – and to a lesser extent, among workers – is positively related to firm productivity as well. We discuss public policies that can facilitate the catch-up of firms below the frontier through skills and diversity. These cover a wide range of areas, exerting their influence through three main channels: the supply, upgrading and the matching across firms (the SUM) of skills and other human factors.
    Keywords: diversity, linked employer-employee data, managers, productivity, skills
    JEL: D24 J24 M14
    Date: 2021–12–06
  2. By: Gaetan de Rassenfosse (Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne); Paul Jensen (University of Melbourne); T'Mir Julius (University of Melbourne); Alfons Palangkaraya (Swinburne University of Technology); Elizabeth Webster (Swinburne University of Technology)
    Abstract: The patent system underpins the business model of some of the fastest-growing companies. Used appropriately, it should support frontier technologies and nurture new firms. Used perniciously, it can stifle innovation and protect established technological behemoths. We analyse patent examination decisions at the American, European, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese patent offices and find evidence that patent attorney firms have a surprisingly large role in the patent system. Patent attorney firm quality is most important, vis-Ã -vis invention quality, in less codified and more rapidly changing technology areas such as software and ICT. Moreover, patent attorney firm quality matters more when invention quality is low. Finally, there is a significant inter-patent office variation, with a greater patent attorney firm quality effect at the USPTO.
    Keywords: appropriation; innovation; patent attorney firm; patent system
    JEL: K20 L43 O34
    Date: 2021–11
  3. By: Suveg, Melinda (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper examines how changes in product market concentration, specifically firm exit, affect prices. I develop a model where firms have variable markups to show that the remaining firms increase their markups and prices after their competitors’ exit. The model predictions are tested using micro-data on Swedish firms. I use the exposure of firms to a bank, which was severely affected by the financial crisis abroad, as an instrument to identify the causal relationship between firm exit and prices. I find that the remaining firms increase their prices by 0.3 percent when firms with a combined market share of one percent exit.
    Keywords: Price setting; Market structure; Financial shocks; Firm exit
    JEL: D43 E31 E32 L13 L16 L60
    Date: 2021–11–08
  4. By: Tavassoli, Sam (CIRCLE, Lund University); Jienwatcharamongkhol, Viroj (Blekinge Institute of Technology); Arenius, Pia (RMIT University)
    Abstract: Geographical clustering (colocation) influences new firm survival; however, not all new firms within a cluster are impacted equally. In this paper, we elaborate on how the colocation of local entrepreneurs may have different influences on new firm founder’s learning depending on his/her fit, in terms of his/her experiential relatedness, to that of local entrepreneurs. We then associate such founder’s learning with the higher survival of his/her new firm. We test our hypotheses using a matched founder-firm dataset that covers the population of the knowledge-intensive business service sector in Sweden during 2001-2012. We find support for our propositions concerning the relatedness of new firm founders’ experiential background to that of local entrepreneurs. Specifically, we find that high level of relatedness to local entrepreneurs enhances the survival rate of a new firm started by a novice founder, whereas intermediate level of relatedness suits better for a new firm started by an experienced founder.
    Keywords: Colocation; Entrepreneurial learning; New firm survival; Experiential relatedness; Entrepreneurial performance
    JEL: M13
    Date: 2021–11–24
  5. By: Jirjahn, Uwe (University of Trier)
    Abstract: While there is a strong overlap between membership in employers' associations and collective bargaining coverage, the overlap is far from being perfect. Using unique firm-level data from Germany, this study estimates the determinants of the membership in employers' associations and the coverage by industry-level or firm-level agreements. The analysis particularly focuses on the various constellations of membership and collective bargaining status. The results show that firm-level worker representation, foreign ownership, work organization, firm size, age and East-West differences are important determinants. Altogether, the analysis demonstrates that a more differentiated picture of industrial relations can be obtained by considering both membership in employers' associations and collective bargaining coverage.
    Keywords: employers’ associations, industry-level bargaining, firm-level bargaining, foreign ownership, works councils, union density
    JEL: F23 F66 J51 J52
    Date: 2021–10
  6. By: Yener Altunbas; Leonardo Gambacorta; Alessio Reghezza; Giulio Velliscig
    Abstract: Does having more women in managerial positions improve firm environmental performance? We match firm-corporate governance characteristics with firm-level carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the period 2009-2019 to study the relationship between gender diversity in the workplace and firm carbon emissions. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the percentage of female managers within the firm leads to a 0.5% decrease in CO2 emissions. We document that this effect is statically significant, also when controlling for institutional differences caused by more patriarchal and hierarchical cultures and religions. At the same time, we show that gender diversity at the managerial level has stronger mitigating effects on climate change if females are also well-represented outside the organization, e.g. in political institutions and civil society organizations. Finally, we find that, after the Paris Agreement, firms with greater gender diversity reduced their CO2 emissions by about 5% more than firms with more male managers. Overall, our results indicate that gender diversity within organizations can have a significant impact in combating climate change.
    JEL: G12 G23 G30 D62 Q54
    Date: 2021–11
  7. By: Paulo Bastos (World Bank); Natália P. Monteiro (Department of Economics/NIPE, University of Minho); Odd Rune Straume (Department of Economics/NIPE, University of Minho and Department of Economics, University of Bergen)
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of unexpected revenue shocks on worker compensation. We propose a new methodology to identify the unexpected component of demand shocks at the firm-level, which uses gaps between observed and recently forecasted GDP growth in export destinations (weighted by the initial share of destinations in firms' total sales). Using employer-employee panel data, we find that unexpected demand shocks are partly transmitted to workers in the form of higher average wages, with most of the rises occurring close to the top of the within-firm wage distribution. We find little evidence of adjustments in the skill composition of the workforce. The unequal average distribution of rents is mainly driven by wage effects in firms managed by high-skilled managers, and by changes in overtime and other pay. This suggests that different types of managers implement different pay systems in the firm.
    Keywords: Unexpected revenue shocks, firm performance, exports, rent sharing, managers.
    JEL: F16 F66 J6
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Abdul-Basit Issah (WIFU/Herdecke University)
    Abstract: The paper empirically investigates how family firms appropriate acquired resources to become more innovative in the context of merger waves. It draws on resource-based view and the theory of first mover (dis)advantages to examine the implications of the timing of acquisitions on innovation in family firms. Using a panel dataset of manufacturing firms in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 followed over a period of 31 years, the study finds empirical support for the predictions that targets acquired during the upswing of a merger wave are more valuable to family firms and associated with more innovation than for non-family firms.
    Keywords: Acquisitions; innovation; resource-based view; family firms; merger waves.
    JEL: G34 L10 L20 M20
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Bart Leten; Stijn Kelchtermans; Rene Belderbos
    Abstract: Employing a panel (1995-2015) of large R&D spending pharmaceutical firms, we investigate how internal basic research increases a firm’s innovative performance. We disentangle two mechanisms through which internal basic research affects technology development: (1) as strengthening of the firm’s absorptive capacity to build on externally conducted science, and (2) as a direct source of the firm’s innovation. We find that the positive relationship between internal basic research and innovation performance is significantly mediated by these two mechanisms, with the absorptive capacity mechanism relatively more important. The mediation relationships are more pronounced in recent years, with basic research as a direct source of innovation increasing in importance. This pattern is associated with a decline of corporate investments in basic research over time, and suggests that firms have adopted a more judicious and targeted approach to basic research aimed at getting more leverage out of a smaller commitment to basic research.
    Date: 2021–11–19

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