Welcome to my website

I am a Professor of Economics at the University of Mannheim and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), London. I hold a PhD in Economics (2009) from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona. My main research interests are international trade, international economics, macroeconomics, and organizational economics.
For further information see my curriculum vitae.

Contact information

Harald Fadinger
Department of Economics
University of Mannheim
L7 3-5
D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

firstname.lastname[at]uni-mannheim.de
+49 (0) 621 181 3505
4.19

Current research

Income Differences, Productivity and Input-Output Networks

with Mariya Teteryatnikova and Christian Ghiglino. Conditionally accepted for publication at American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics. Current version: September 2020. Older version available as CEPR Discussion Paper 11547, September 2016.
Video of my presentation at the CEPR-Worldbank Conference on Global Value Chains
Featured in VOX.

We study the importance of input-output (IO) linkages and sectoral productivity (TFP) levels in determining cross-country income differences. Using data on IO tables and sectoral TFP levels for 38 countries, we uncover important differences in the interaction of IO structure with sectoral TFP levels across countries: while highly connected sectors are more productive than the typical sector in poor countries, the opposite is true in rich ones. To assess the quantitative role of linkages and sectoral TFP differences in cross-country income differences, we decompose cross-country variation in real GDP per worker using a multi-sector general equilibrium model. We find that (i) IO linkages substantially amplify fundamental sectoral TFP variation but that (ii) this amplification is significantly weaker than the one suggested by a simple IO model with an aggregate intermediate good that abstracts from the details of the interaction between sectoral TFPs and countries' IO structure.

My Home is My Castle: The Benefits of Working from Home During a Pandemic Crisis -- Evidence from Germany

with Jean-Victor Alipour and Jan Schymik. Current version: June 2020. CEPR Discussion Paper 14871, June 2020.

This paper studies the impact of working from home (WFH) on work relations and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. Combining administrative data on SARS-CoV-2 infections and short-time work registrations, firm- and worker-level surveys and cell phone tracking data on mobility patterns, we find that working from home effectively shields workers from short-time work, firms from COVID-19 distress and substantially reduces infection risks. Counties whose occupation structure allows for a larger fraction of work to be done from home experience (i) fewer short-time work registrations and (ii) less SARS-CoV-2 cases. At the firm level, an exogenous increase in the take-up of WFH reduces the probability to file for short-time work by up to 71 p.p. and the probability of being very negatively affected by the crisis by up to 77 p.p. Much of the changes in the organization of work relations are likely to be permanent and to have effects well beyond the crisis. Health benefits of WFH appeared mostly in the early stage of the pandemic and became smaller once tight confinement rules were implemented. Before confinement, mobility levels were lower in counties with more WFH jobs and counties experienced a convergence in traffic levels once confinement was in place.

Robot Imports and Firm-level Outcomes

with Alessandra Bonfiglioli, Rosario Crino and Gino Gancia. Current version: October 2020. CEPR Discussion Paper 14593, April 2020.

We use French data over the period 1994-2013 to study how imports of industrial robots affect firm-level outcomes. Compared to other firms operating in the same 5-digit sector, robot importers are larger, more productive, and employ a higher share of managers and engineers. Over time, robot import occurs after periods of expansion in firm size, and is followed by improvements in efficiency and a fall in demand for labor. Guided by a simple model, we then develop various empirical strategies to identify the causal effects of robot adoption. Our results suggest that, while demand shocks generate a positive correlation between robot imports and employment, exogenous changes in automation lead to job losses. We also find that robot imports increase sales per worker and the employment share of high-skill professions, but have a weak effect on total sales. The latter result suggests that productivity gains from automation may not be entirely passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices.

Trade and Domestic Policies under Monopolistic Competition

with Alessia Campolmi and Chiara Forlati. Current version: May 2020. CEPR Discussion Paper 13219, October 2018.

Should trade agreements also constrain domestic policies? We analyze this question from the perspective of heterogeneous-firm models with monopolistic-competition and multiple sectors. We propose a welfare decomposition based on principles from welfare economics to show that, in a very broad class of models, welfare changes induced by trade and domestic policies can be exactly decomposed into consumption-efficiency, production-efficiency and terms-of-trade effects. Using this decomposition, we compare trade agreements with different degrees of cooperation on domestic policies and show how their performance is affected by the interaction between firm heterogeneity and the relative importance of production efficiency versus terms-of-trade effects.

The Real Exchange Rate, Innovation and Productivity

with Laura Alfaro, Alejandro Cuñat and Yanping Liu. Current version: April 2020. Also NBER Working Paper No. 24633 and CEPR Discussion Paper 12943, May 2018. First version: November 2017.

We evaluate manufacturing firms' responses to changes in the real exchange rate (RER) using detailed firm-level data for a large set of countries for the period 2001-2010. We uncover the following stylized facts about regional variation of manufacturing firms' integration into global value chains: firms in emerging Asia are very export oriented relative to their dependence on imported intermediates; firms from Latin America and Eastern Europe depend heavily on imported intermediates compared to their export orientation; firms from high-income countries export on average as much as they import. Motivated by these facts, we build a dynamic model in which real depreciations raise the cost of importing intermediates, affect export demand, borrowing-constraints and the profitability of engaging in innovation (R&D). We decompose the effects of RER changes on average firm-level productivity growth across regions into these channels. We then structurally estimate the model and quantitatively evaluate the different mechanisms by providing counterfactual simulations of temporary RER movements. In export-oriented emerging Asia, real depreciations are on average associated with higher firm-level probabilities to engage in R\&D, faster growth of firm-level productivity and cash-flow and higher export entry rates. We find negative average effects for firms in other emerging economies, which are relatively more import dependent, and no significant average effects for firms in industrialized economies. Effects on physical TFP growth, while different across regions, are non-linear and asymmetric.

Come Together: Firm Boundaries and Delegation

with Laura Alfaro, Nick Bloom, Paola Conconi, Patrick Legros, Andrew Newman, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen. Current Version: October 2020. Also NBER Working Paper No. 24603 and CEPR Discussion Paper 12923, May 2018.

We develop an incomplete-contracts model to jointly study firm boundaries and the allocation of decision rights within them. Integration has an option value: it gives firm owners authority to delegate or centralize decision rights, depending on who can best solve problems that may arise in the course of an uncertain production process. To examine the evidence, we construct measures of vertical integration and delegation for thousands of firms in different countries and industries. In line with the model's predictions, we find that input value and supplier uncertainty play a key role in shaping both integration and delegation choices.

Gravity with Granularity

with Holger Breinlich, Volker Nocke and Nicolas Schutz. Current version: October 2020. CEPR Discussion Paper 15374, October 2020.

We evaluate the consequences of oligopolistic behavior for the estimation of gravity equations for trade flows. With oligopolistic competition, firm-level gravity equations based on a standard CES demand framework need to be augmented by markup terms that are functions of firms' market shares. At the aggregate level, the additional term takes the form of the exporting country's market share in the destination country multiplied by an exporter-destination-specific Herfindahl-Hirschman index. For both cases, we show how to construct appropriate correction terms that can be used to avoid problems of omitted variable bias. We illustrate the quantitative importance of our results for combined French and Chinese firm-level export data as well as for a sample of product-level imports by European countries. Our results show that correcting for oligopoly bias can lead to substantial changes in the coefficients on standard gravity regressors such as distance or the impact of currency unions.

Publications

The Costs and Benefits of Home Office During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Infections and an Input-Output Model for Germany

with Jan Schymik.
COVID Economics, 2020, 9, pp. 107-131

We study the impact of working from home on (i) infection risk in German regions and (ii) output using an input-output (IO) model of the German economy. We find that working from home is very effective in reducing infection risk: regions whose industry structure allows for a larger fraction of work to be done from home experienced much fewer Covid-19 cases and fatalities. Moreover, confinement is significantly more costly in terms of induced output loss in regions where the share of workers who can work from home is lower. When phasing out confinement, home office should be maintained as long as possible, to allow those workers who cannot work from home to go back to work, while keeping infection risk minimal. Finally, systemic industries (with high multipliers and/or high value added per worker) should be given priority, especially those where home office is not possible

» Dataset for replication

Spatial Agglomeration and Superstar firms: Firm-level Patterns from Europe and U.S.

with Laura Alfaro and Maggie Chen.
Conference Proceedings of the ECB Sintra Forum on Central Banking 2019

We characterize the agglomeration patterns of industries and plants in Europe, distinguishing Eurozone countries and the U.S. Using a micro-level index, we quantify the degree of geographic concentration in industrial activities and explore how firm heterogeneity, industry attributes, and location fundamentals jointly explain the observed patterns. Our analysis shows that there is a clear hub-and-spoke structure in the geographic distribution. Larger and more productive plants, especially the superstars of each industry, are more centred than their smaller, less productive counterparts. The greater agglomeration surrounding superstars is particularly pronounced in the Eurozone but not present in the rest of Europe. Location fundamentals also play an important role and can sometimes mitigate the importance of agglomeration economies around large firms. Regions with different levels of economic development, including in education and technology, exhibit distinct agglomeration patterns. The findings suggest heterogeneity in the ability of regional policies to build superstar-centred industry clusters.

Offshoring and Skill-Upgrading in French Manufacturing

with Juan Carluccio, Alejandro Cuñat and Christian Fons-Rosen.
Journal of International Economics, 2019, 118, pp. 138-159.
Older version available as CEPR Discussion Paper 10864, October 2015.
Featured in VOX, in Rue de la Banque and in Le Figaro.

Using French manufacturing firm-level data for the years 1996 to 2007, we uncover a novel set of stylized facts about offshoring behavior: (i) Low-productivity firms obtain most of their inputs domestically. (ii) Firms with higher productivity offshore skill-intensive inputs to skill-abundant countries and are more labor intensive than non-importers in their domestic production. (iii) Firms with even higher productivity also import labor-intensive inputs from labor-abundant countries and are more skill intensive than non-importers. Inspired by these findings, we produce a model in which heterogeneous firms, subject to fixed costs, can offshore intermediate inputs of different skill intensities to countries with different skill premia. Heckscher-Ohlin-like forces operate at the within-industry level, leading to endogenous variation in domestic skill intensities across firms. We provide econometric evidence supporting the factor-proportions channel through which reductions in offshoring costs to labor-abundant countries have increased firm-level skill intensities of French manufacturers.

A Heckscher-Ohlin Model of Offshoring and Exporting

with Alejandro Cunat, forthcoming in Kohler, W. Yalcin, E., eds.,
New Developments in Global Sourcing , MIT Press, 2018.

Do Prices Determine Vertical Integration?

with Laura Alfaro, Paola Conconi and Andrew Newman.
Review of Economic Studies, 2016, 83 (3), pp. 855-888 (lead article).

A number of theories in organizational economics and industrial organization suggest that vertical integration, while costly, increases productivity. It follows from firms' maximizing behaviour that higher prices in the product market ought to induce more integration. Trade policy provides a source of exogenous price variation to assess this prediction: higher tariffs should lead to higher prices and, therefore, to more integration. We construct firm-level vertical integration indices for a large set of countries and industries and exploit variation in applied most-favoured-nation tariffs to examine the impact of tariffs on firm boundaries. The empirical results provide strong support for the view that higher output prices generate more vertical integration. Our estimates of the average price elasticity of vertical integration are in the range 0.4-2.

Skill-biased Technological Change, Unemployment and Brain Drain

with Karin Mayr. Journal of the European Economic Association, 2014, 12(2), pp. 397-431.

We develop a model of directed technology adoption, frictional unemployment and migration to examine the effects of a change in skill endowments on wages, employment rates and emigration rates of skilled and unskilled workers. We find that, depending on the elasticity of substitution between skilled and unskilled workers and the elasticity of the matching function, an increase in the skill ratio can reduce the relative unemployment rate of skilled workers and decrease the relative emigration rate of skilled workers (brain drain). We provide empirical estimates and simulations to support our findings and show that effects are empirically relevant and potentially sizable.

Trade Policy: Home Market Effect versus Terms-of-Trade Externality

with Alessia Campolmi and Chiara Forlati.
Journal of International Economics, 2014, 93(1), 92-107.

We study trade policy in a two-sector Krugman (1980) trade model, allowing for wage, import and export subsidies/taxes. We study non-cooperative trade policies, first for each individual instrument and then for the situation where all instruments can be set simultaneously, and contrast those with the efficient allocation. We show that in this general context there are four motives for non-cooperative trade policies: the correction of monopolistic distortions; the terms-of-trade manipulation; the delocation motive for protection (home market effect); the fiscal-burden-shifting motive. The Nash equilibrium when all instruments are available is characterized by first-best-level wage subsidies, and inefficient import subsidies and export taxes, which aim at relocating firms to the other economy and improving terms of trade. Thus, the dominating incentives for non-cooperative trade policies are the fiscal-burden-shifting motives and terms-of-trade effects.

Check out the working paper version for a quite different perspective on the same issue.

Incomplete Contracts, Learning and Export Dynamics: Theory and Evidence from French Firms

with Romain Aeberhardt and Ines Buono
European Economic Review, 2014, 68, pp. 219-249.

We consider a model in which exporting requires finding a local partner in each market. Contracts are incomplete and exporters must learn the reliability of their partners through experience. Export behavior is state-dependent due to matching frictions. Better legal institutions alleviate contracting frictions especially in sectors with large contracting problems, thereby increasing state dependence and reducing hazard rates by more in those sectors. Moreover, hazard rates decline with the age of the relationship, as unreliable partners are weeded out. We find strong evidence in favor of the model's predictions when testing them with French firm-level data.

Trade and Sectoral Productivity

with Pablo Fleiss. The Economic Journal, 2011, 121 (554).
» Supplementary Appendix
» Dataset

Cross-country differences in sectoral total factor productivity (TFP) are at the heart of Ricardian trade theory and of many models of growth and development. Our knowledge of the magnitude and the characteristics of cross-country differences in sectoral TFP is still limited however. This study fills the gap by showing how sectoral TFP differences can be backed out from bilateral trade data using a hybrid Ricardo-Heckscher-Ohlin model. This approach allows us to overcome the data problems that constrained previous studies and to provide a comparable set of sectoral productivities for twenty-four manufacturing sectors in more than sixty countries at all stages of development. Our results imply that TFP differences in manufacturing sectors between rich and poor countries are substantial and far more pronounced in skilled labor and R&D intensive sectors than in others. We also apply our productivity estimates to test development theories that have implications for cross-country industry-level productivity patterns.

Productivity Differences in an Interdependent World

Journal of International Economics, 2011, 84 (2), pp. 221-232.
» Supplementary Appendix

This paper studies cross-country differences in productivity from an open economy perspective by using a Helpman-Krugman-Heckscher-Ohlin model that embraces the single-cone model and a one-sector economy with factor deepening as particular cases. To estimate the model, I combine tools from development accounting and the factor content of trade literature. When simultaneously fitting data on income, factor prices and the factor content of trade, I find that the one-sector model is by far better supported by the data than the single-cone model. Rich countries have far higher productivities of human capital than poor ones, while differences in physical capital productivity are not related to income per worker. Finally, I estimate an aggregate elasticity of substitution between human and physical capital that is significantly below one.

The Micro Dynamics of Exporting: Evidence from French Firms

with Ines Buono. Banca d'Italia - Temi di Discussione, 2012, Nr. 880.

This paper investigates the dynamics of export relationships -- defined as shipments by a given firm to a given destination in a given year -- using a panel of almost 25,000 French exporters over the five-year period 1995-1999. We describe how these export relationships evolve over time and present a number of stylized facts, which we relate to different theories of export dynamics, such as a dynamic sunk-cost model and the recent literature on exporting and learning.
We find that export relationships are very dynamic: a large fraction of export relationships are created or destroyed every year and export values within relationships fluctuate substantially. Most of these dynamics are explained by relationship-specific shocks rather than by supply and/or demand shocks. Moreover, upon entry, export values are small but they gradually expand as relationships mature. Finally, while many export relationships are volatile, others are persistent. Having previously exported to a given destination substantially increases the probability of exporting there in the current period. We argue that, taken together, these facts are more in line with a learning model than with the sunk-cost hypothesis.

Policy

Homeoffice ein Allheilmittel in der Coronakrise und auch danach?

with Jean-Victor Alipour and Jan Schymik, Oekonomenstimme.org , July 9, 2020

Piece on telework during the COVID-19 pandemic in Oekonomenstimme.

Ab ins Homeoffice!

with Jean-Victor Alipour and Jan Schymik, FAZ , June 22, 2020

Article about my research on telework, labor relations and infections during the COVID-19 pandemic in German newspaper FAZ.

In welchen Regionen und Branchen der Shutdown zuerst gelockert werden sollte.

Der Spiegel , April 15, 2020

Article about the sectoral and regional economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown based on my research in German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

Corona Anleihen - warum wir sie jetzt brauchen

with Alejandro Cunat, Die Presse , April 3, 2020

Article on the European dimension of the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and Corona bonds in Austrian newspaper Die Presse.

Superstar Firms

Bloomberg , June 17, 2019.

Article about my work on agglomeration of economic activity around superstar firms presented at the ECB Sintra Forum on Central Banking.

Das Gesicht der Verlierer

Die Zeit , April 11, 2019.

Article on globalization and populism in German newspaper Die Zeit (in German).

Der Westen - (noch) Gemeinschaft der Weltmarktführer?

Hambacher Gespräche, November 2018 (in German).

Public lecture on the impact of trade with low-income countries on labor markets and inequality, voting for populist parties in industrialized economies and the globalization backlash (in German).


Ownership and power structure: Together at last

with Laura Alfaro, Nicholas Bloom, Paola Conconi, Patrick Legros, Andrew Newman, Raffaella Sadun, John Van Reenen. www.voxeu.org, 01 October 2018.

Economists have largely ignored the deep interdependency between integration and delegation. This column describes a new theory of integration and delegation choices aimed at shedding light on how these distinct elements of organisational design interact. Contrary to what is suggested by a naive one-dimensional approach, the model predicts that delegation and outsourcing should be negatively correlated, a prediction that holds up well when the model is applied to data for thousands of firms across many industries and countries.


You can't always get what you want: The real exchange rate and manufacturing performance in a world of global value chains

with Laura Alfaro, Alejandro Cunat and Yanping Liu. www.voxeu.org, 26 September 2018.

Real exchange rate devaluations are typically seen as a viable development strategy, but the effectiveness of the approach may vary over time and across countries. This column explores this issue by focusing on the microeconomics of firm-level responses to exchange rate fluctuations. Results show varying patterns of responses to fluctuations by region and by import/export orientation. These results highlight the crucial role of a firm's integration in global value chains.


La mondialisation a pénaliseé les travailleurs non qualifiés

Le Figaro, November 2017.

Article based on my research "Offshoring and Skill-Upgrading in French Manufacturing" in French newspaper Le Figaro (in French).


Les gagnants et les perdants de la mondialisation : la délocalisation profite aux travailleurs qualifiés et nuit aux travailleurs moins qualifiés. (Winners and losers from globalization: offshoring benefits skilled workers and hurts unskilled workers)

with Juan Carluccio, Alejandro Cunat and Christian Fons-Rosen. Rue de la Banque 51, Banque de France, November 2017.

Ce Rue de la Banque, fondé sur l'exploitation de données détaillées relatives à l'industrie manufacturière francaise, démontre que la délocalisation vers des pays à bas salaires a largement déterminé la situation des travailleurs peu qualifiés sur le marché du travail en France au cours de la période allant de 1995 à 2007. Les résultats confirment la vision largement répandue selon laquelle le commerce international engendre des gains de productivité, en permettant notamment d'obtenir des biens intermédiaires moins chers, ces gains n'étant toutefois pas répartis de facon égale entre les différents acteurs économiques. Pour tirer le meilleur parti de la mondialisation, il est par conséquent nécessaire de mettre en oeuvre des politiques publiques, en matière notamment de formation professionnelle afin d'accompagner la transition vers des emplois plus qualifiés.


Trump.... Na und?!

KALKÜL, September 2017.

Interview on the potential impact of the planned U.S. border adjustment tax on German exporters with German magazine KALKÜL (in German).


Input-output linkages and income differences across countries: New evidence

with Christian Ghiglino and Mariya Teteryatnikova. www.voxeu.org, 24 December 2016.

Economists are just starting to understand how observed input-output linkages and productivity differences are connected. This column investigates how differences in the distribution of sectoral input-output multipliers interact with sectoral productivities to determine cross-country differences in aggregate income. It finds that the impact of the linkages on productivity are substantial, which in turn has significant implications for policy.


Macht, Kontrolle und die Optionen der ÖVP

Commentary on the Austrian presidential election in the Austrian newspaper der Standard (in German).
der Standard, 24 November 2016.

Britisches Rosinenpicken kann die EU nicht zulassen

Commentary on Brexit in the Austrian newspaper die Presse (in German).
die Presse, 30 June 2016.

Offshoring and unskilled labour demand: new evidence

with Juan Carluccio, Alejandro Cunat and Christian Fons-Rosen. www.voxeu.org, 14 December 2015.

The increase in the skill premium - wages of skilled workers relative to unskilled workers - has prompted research on its causes and potential remedies. This column presents new evidence suggesting that the impact of globalisation on the income distribution in industrialised countries is much stronger than initially thought. The productivity gains from having access to cheaper inputs through offshoring are not being distributed equally between the different economic actors in our rich societies.

Die Troika muss Griechenland mehr anbieten

Commentary on the economic crisis in Greece in the Austrian newspaper derStandard (in German).
derStandard, 9 July 2015.

Public Lecture on the Eurozone crisis

University of Mannheim, March 2015 (in German).

TTIP - eine Analyse aus europäischer Perspektive

Policy article on the economic effects of TTIP for the Austrian Society for European Politics (in German). OeGfE Policy Brief, 2015.08, 26 February 2015. Also featured on euractiv.de

Der vorliegene Policy Brief argumentiert, dass die direkten ökonomischen Effekte von TTIP unsicher sind und diese sich erst über einen Zeitraum von 10 bis 20 Jahren einstellen würden. Trotzdem handelt es sich um ein wichtiges strategisches Projekt, da TTIP gleichzeitig die bilateralen Beziehungen zu den USA stärken und neue internationale Standards für Freihandelsabkommen schaffen würde. Damit könnten potentiell Produkt-, Umwelt-, und Investitionsstandards in vielen Teilen der Welt positiv beeinflußt werden.

Nicht blind der EU-Kommission vertrauen

Interview on the consequences of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Austrian newspaper derStandard.at (in German).
derStandard.at, 27 March 2014.

Firm organisation: What we know and why we should care

with Laura Alfaro, Paola Conconi, Patrick Legros and Andrew Newman. www.voxeu.org, 02 December 2012.

Increasingly, people are pointing the finger of blame for economic woe at large firms. This column argues that organisation design is often affected by government trade policy. If firm organisation design has implications for consumer welfare (in terms of prices and quality of product), evidence suggests that governments should make sure that in future, trade policy and corporate governance policy are more complementary.