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Cluster externalities, firm capabilities, and the recessionary shock: How the macro-to-micro-transition shapes firm performance during stable times and times of crisis

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  • Hundt, Christian
  • Holtermann, Linus
  • Steeger, Jonas
  • Bersch, Johannes

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the macro-to-micro-transition of cluster externalities to firms and how it is affected by the macroeconomic instability caused by the recessionary shock of 2008/2009. Using data from 16,166 manufacturing and business services firms nested in 390 German regions, we employ within-firm regression techniques to estimate the impact of crosslevel interactions between firm- and cluster-level determinants on phase-related differences in firm performance between a pre-crisis (2004-2007) and a crisis period (2009-2011). The empirical results validate the existence of a macro-to-micro-transition that evolves best in the case of broad firm-level capabilities and variety-driven externalities. Furthermore, the results indicate that the transition strongly depends on the macroeconomic cycle. While the transition particularly benefits from a stable macroeconomic environment (2004-2007), its mechanisms are interrupted when being exposed to economic turmoil (2009-2011). Yet, the crisisinduced interruption of the transition is mainly restricted to the national recession in 2009. As soon as the macroeconomic pressure diminishes (2010-2011), we observe a reversion of the transmission mechanisms to the pre-crisis level. Our study contributes to the existing literature by corroborating previous findings that the economic performance of firms depends on a working macro-to-micro transition of external resources, which presupposes sufficient cluster externalities and adequate firm-level combinative capabilities. In contrast to previous studies on this topic, the transition mechanism is not modeled as time-invariant. Instead, it is coupled to the prevailing macroeconomic regime.

Suggested Citation

  • Hundt, Christian & Holtermann, Linus & Steeger, Jonas & Bersch, Johannes, 2019. "Cluster externalities, firm capabilities, and the recessionary shock: How the macro-to-micro-transition shapes firm performance during stable times and times of crisis," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-008, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:19008
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    Keywords

    macro-to-micro-transition; combinative capabilities; agglomeration economies; cluster-level externalities; unrelated variety; related variety; macroeconomic regimes; Great Recession; economic resilience;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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