nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industrial Dynamics
Issue of 2020‒12‒21
ten papers chosen by
Fulvio Castellacci
Universitetet i Oslo

  1. The Importance of regional Spill-over Effects for Eco-Innovations in German Start-ups By Jens Horbach
  2. The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in Global Value Chains: Evidence from Occupation-Level Employment Data By Gábor Márk Pellényi
  3. The effect of climate policy on productivity and cost pass-through in the German manufacturing sector By Hintermann, Beat; Zarkovic, Maja; di Maria, Corrado; Wagner, Ulrich J.
  4. Back to the past: the historical roots of labour-saving automation By Jacopo Staccioli; Maria Enrica Virgillito
  5. Firm growth in developing countries: Driven by external shocks or internal characteristics? By Florian Léon
  6. New Technologies, Productivity, and Jobs: The (Heterogeneous) Effects of Electrification on US Manufacturing By Martin Fiszbein; Jeanne Lafortune; Ethan G. Lewis; José Tessada
  7. How do you design an experimental economy? By Carlsson, Bo
  8. How labor market institutions affect technological choices By Samwer, Julia; Chen, Chinchih
  9. The Impact of ICTs and Digitalization on Productivity and Labor Share: Evidence from French firms By Cette Gilbert; Nevoux Sandra; Py Loriane
  10. Evaluating Public Supports to the Investment Activities of Business Firms: A Multilevel Meta-Regression Analysis of Italian Studies By Chiara Bocci; Annalisa Caloffi; Marco Mariani; Alessandro Sterlacchini

  1. By: Jens Horbach (Faculty of Business, University of Applied Sciences Augsburg)
    Abstract: Eco-innovation activities are crucial for the mitigation of climate change and further envi-ronmental problems. Start-up firms might play an important role for this relatively new in-novation field as they are predestinated for realizing completely new ideas compared to in-cumbent firms that are not willing to abandon their established innovation paths. On the oth-er side, start-ups have limited resources and need external regionally available input of knowledge. Based on data of the German IAB/ZEW Start-up Panel in combination with re-gional data at the NUTS 3 level, the paper analyzes the determinants of eco-innovation in start-up firms. The econometric results show that regional spill-over effects seem to be very important for eco-innovation activities of start-up firms. In regions where the existing stock of environmentally related patents is already high, the probability that a start-up firm realiz-es eco-innovations is significantly higher. Furthermore, eco-innovative start-ups show dis-proportionally more difficulties to get financing from external investors.
    Keywords: Regional spill-over effects, environmental innovation, probit models
    JEL: Q55 R11 C25
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Gábor Márk Pellényi
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of Central Eastern European economies within global value chains. Occupation-level employment data are combined with an input-output model to analyse the types of jobs sustained by exporting industries. Based on its initial comparative advantage of low wages, the region remains specialised in fabrication tasks, which limits the domestic value added content of exports. Functional upgrading – the acquisition of more sophisticated service tasks within firms – could improve value capture, but it progressed slowly between 2011-2018. It could be boosted by raising the supply of high-skilled workers and improving local R&D and innovation capabilities.
    Keywords: value chain, Central Eastern Europe, upgrading, value capture, input-output model, The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in Global Value Chains: Evidence from Occupation-Level Employment Data, Pellényi
    JEL: F16 F23 F66 J24 O11 O14
    Date: 2020–12
  3. By: Hintermann, Beat (University of Basel); Zarkovic, Maja (University of Basel); di Maria, Corrado; Wagner, Ulrich J.
    Abstract: We investigate productivity and cost pass-through of German manufacturing firms using administrative data from 2001 to 2014. Our framework allows for the estimation of quantity-based production functions for multi-product firms while controlling for unobserved productivity shocks and unobserved input quality. Using our parameter estimates, we can compute total factor productivity, markups and marginal costs. We find no effect of the EU ETS on firm productivity or profits for the whole sector, and a positive effect for some industries. Firms pass on shocks to materials costs completely, or even more than completely, whereas pass-through of energy costs is around 35-60%. Although pass-through of energy costs is incomplete, it nevertheless allowed firms to recover more than their total carbon costs due to generous free allocation of allowances. Our results add to the recent literature concerning the causal effects of climate policy on firms and are relevant for policy makers when defining the level of free allowance allocation to industry.
    Keywords: Productivity; production function; markup; cost pass-through; EU ETS; climate policy
    JEL: D24 H23 Q52 Q54
    Date: 2020–09–30
  4. By: Jacopo Staccioli (Dipartimento di Politica Economica, DISCE, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Institute of Economics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa); Maria Enrica Virgillito (Institute of Economics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa – Dipartimento di Politica Economica, DISCE, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: This paper, relying on a still relatively unexplored long-term dataset on U.S. patenting activity, provides empirical evidence on the history of labour-saving innovations back to early 19th century. The identification of mechanisation/automation heuristics, retrieved via textual content analysis on current robotic technologies by Montobbio et al. (2020), allows to focus on a limited set of CPC codes where mechanisation and automation technologies are more prevalent. We track their time evolution, clustering, eventual emergence of wavy behaviour, and their comovements with long-term GDP growth. Our results challenge both the general-purpose technology approach and the strict 50-year Kondratiev cycle, while provide evidence of the emergence of erratic constellations of heterogeneous technological artefacts, in line with the development-block approach enabled by autocatalytic systems.
    Keywords: Labour-Saving Technologies, Search Heuristics, Industrial Revolutions, Wavelet analysis
    JEL: O3 C38 J24
    Date: 2020–11
  5. By: Florian Léon (FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to assess the importance of external shocks relative to internal characteristics in explaining variation of firm growth in developing countries. To do so, we compile firm-level panel data covering 12,562 firms operating in 72 low-income and middle-income countries. Our statistical analysis reveals that, on average, firm characteristics account for a half of difference in growth rate across firms. However, the importance of internal factors is halved when we exclude firms in the tails of the distribution (top performers and worst performers). On the other hand, external shocks account for less than one tenth of variance. The role of external shocks is, however, stronger for young firms and for firms operating in unstable environments. Finally, our findings suggest that the external context is more crucial for exit than for growth.
    Keywords: Firm growth,Developing countries,Firm characteristics,External shocks
    Date: 2020–11–13
  6. By: Martin Fiszbein; Jeanne Lafortune; Ethan G. Lewis; José Tessada
    Abstract: We use city-industry data from 1890 to 1940 to identify the impact of electricity on manufacturing. We exploit cross-industry variation in pre-electricity energy intensity combined with geographic variation in proximity to early hydroelectric power plants. Labor productivity gains from the arrival of electricity were rapid and long-lasting. Electricity was labor-saving, induced capital deepening, and a hollowing out of the labor skills distribution. We document significant heterogeneity in electricity's effects: in sector-county pairs where the average firm was initially large, we find no significant expansion in employment, while in markets with relatively small firms, output and employment increased.
    JEL: J24 L11 O33
    Date: 2020–11
  7. By: Carlsson, Bo (Case Western Reserve University)
    Abstract: How do you design an organization, an innovation system made up of multiple organizations, or a whole economy to encourage entrepreneurial experimentation? We know a good deal about entrepreneurial experimentation when it comes to individuals and firms (organizations), much less concerning innovation systems and even less for whole economies. The purpose of the paper is (1) to briefly examine the organization of entrepreneurial activity at three of the world’s largest and most innovative companies (Amazon, Apple, and Google), and (2) to explore the extent to which the findings at the corporate level can be applied at the more general innovation system (meso) and economy (macro) levels.
    Keywords: Experimentation; organization; innovation
    JEL: L22 L26 O31 O32 O33
    Date: 2020–12–10
  8. By: Samwer, Julia; Chen, Chinchih
    Abstract: Does the adoption of technological change depend on labor market institutions? The disparities in technology adoption across countries are enormous and are a major factor in explaining poverty. The returns to introducing new technology differ across countries since they depend not only on skill-levels but also on incentives provided by labor market institutions. Wage compression through unions and minimum wage laws indirectly induce investment into technology. The employer is incenitivized to increase the productivity of employees and he can claim the full extra rent. The magnitude of the technological advancement also defines adoption rates. Small and cheaper technical changes are adopted in any institutional environment whereas larger technical progress is more likely to be integrated in rigid institutional settings. Using data on industrial robots and information and communication technology an empirical cross-country analysis explores the impact of institutional labor market patterns on technological choices and hence their influence on wage patterns, unemployment and inequality trends. It is shown that countries with strong individual labor protection adapt new technologies at higher rates, while at the same time the existence of strong unions and collective labor rights has a counter-effect.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption,Labor market Institutions,Robot intensity
    JEL: O33 K31 P48
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Cette Gilbert; Nevoux Sandra; Py Loriane
    Abstract: Taking advantage of an original firm-level survey carried out by the Banque de France, we empirically investigate how the employment of ICT specialists (in-house and external) and the use of digital technologies (cloud and big data) have an impact on firm productivity and labor share. Our analysis relies on the survey responses in 2018 of 1,065 French firms belonging to the manufacturing sector and with at least 20 employees. To tackle potential endogeneity issues, we adopt an instrumental variable approach as proposed by Bartik (1991). The results of our crosssection estimations point to a large effect: ceteris paribus, the employment of ICT specialists and the use of digital technologies improve a firm’s labor productivity by about 23% and its total factor productivity by about 17%. Conversely, the employment of in-house ICT specialists and the use of big data both have a detrimental impact on labor share, of about 2.5 percentage points respectively.
    Keywords: Productivity, ICT, digitalization
    JEL: O3 O4 J24 L11
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Chiara Bocci; Annalisa Caloffi; Marco Mariani; Alessandro Sterlacchini
    Abstract: We conduct an extensive meta-regression analysis of counterfactual programme evaluations from Italy, considering both published and grey literature on enterprise and innovation policies. We specify a multilevel model for the probability of finding positive effect estimates, also assessing correlation possibly induced by co-authorship networks. We find that the probability of positive effects is considerable, especially for weaker firms and outcomes that are directly targeted by public programmes. However, these policies are less likely to trigger change in the long run.
    Date: 2020–06

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