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Are Firms in Business Groups More Productive? An empirical analysis based on German micro-level data with a special emphasis on the roles of regional and sectoral diversity


  • Andreas Koch


  • Elena Biewen


The present paper analyses whether and how the affiliation of a firm to a business group affects its productivity. Based on novel data consisting of official firm data from the German Business Register including ownership information from Bureau van Dijk’s MARKUS database and from the Cost Structure Panel we assess differences in productivity (1) between independent firms and firms affiliated to groups and (2) affiliated firms controlled by German owners and affiliated firms controlled by foreign owners. Controlling for a series of determinants like, for example, the internal diversity of firms and groups, region, sector and size of firms, it is shown that group members have a productivity premium between 6 and 28% depending on the considered subsample. Furthermore, affiliates under foreign control are more productive than firms controlled by domestic owners.

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  • Andreas Koch & Elena Biewen, 2012. "Are Firms in Business Groups More Productive? An empirical analysis based on German micro-level data with a special emphasis on the roles of regional and sectoral diversity," ERSA conference papers ersa12p795, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p795

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    1. Joachim Wagner, 2010. "The Research Potential of New Types of Enterprise Data based on Surveys from Official Statistics in Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 130(1), pages 133-142.
    2. Jacquemin, Alexis P & Berry, Charles H, 1979. "Entropy Measure of Diversification and Corporate Growth," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 359-369, June.
    3. Kim, Sukkoo, 1999. "The Rise of Multiunit Firms in U.S. Manufacturing," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 360-386, October.
    4. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith, 2009. "ICT, corporate restructuring and productivity," IFS Working Papers W09/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Benfratello, Luigi & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2006. "Foreign ownership and productivity: Is the direction of causality so obvious?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 733-751, July.
    6. Christian Bellak & Michael Pfaffermayr & Michael Wild, 2006. "Firm Performance after Ownership Change: A Matching Estimator Approach," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(1), pages 29-54.
    7. Yama Temouri & Nigel L. Driffield & Dolores Añón Higón, 2008. "Analysis of Productivity Differences among Foreign and Domestic Firms: Evidence from Germany," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 144(1), pages 32-54, April.
    8. Antoinette Schoar, 2002. "Effects of Corporate Diversification on Productivity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2379-2403, December.
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