Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet)

Annual Conference 2018


Economic Growth, Trade and Productivity Dispersion


June 21-22, 2018, Halle (Saale), Germany


Conference Program

Research has documented that productivity varies considerably across firms. These differences are large and persistent, and exist not only across countries but even within comparably narrowly defined sectors and industries. Why does productivity differ so much across firms? If correctly measured, the ubiquitous differences in productivity post many questions to our understanding of markets: Is competition on output and input markets not functioning? Which internal and external (e.g., institutional) factors to the firm hamper the reallocation of factors of production and the diffusion and adoption of new knowledge and technologies? And what do such barriers imply for welfare and economic growth policies? What role do globalization, trade and new technologies play for productivity and its dispersion?

Questions like these will be discussed at the 14th Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet) conference hosted by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) to be held on June 21-22 2018, in Halle (Saale), Germany. We are calling for papers addressing one or more of these questions. In particular, we encourage submissions of original academic work regarding:

-    measurement of firm productivity, productivity dispersion, and their development over time;
-    firm internal determinants of productivity and productivity dispersion;
-    impact of external factors (e.g., institutions) on productivity and productivity dispersion;
-    impact of globalization of production and GVCs on productivity and productivity dispersion;
-    two-way link between productivity and trade;
-    misallocation of factors of production and barriers to reallocation;
-    impact of innovation and diffusion of knowledge and technologies on productivity and its dispersion;
-    competition and its impact on heterogeneous firms (productivity, R&D and innovation, restructuring, organizational and management changes);
-    price and non-price (e.g., technological) competition;
-    barriers to competition, market selection and productivity growth;
-    competition and market structure;
-    market power, its determinants and its implications for economic growth;
-    the role of financial frictions in productivity, market power and competition.        

Both, empirical cross-country studies, particularly using CompNet data, as well as firm-level research on productivity, competitiveness and misallocation will be given priority.

Confirmed participants include Prof. Ufuk Akcigit (University of Chicago), Prof. Eric Bartelsman (Tinbergen Institute), Prof. Jan De Loecker (KU Leuven) and Prof. Gianmarco Ottaviano (London School of Economics).

Important deadlines:
April 15st, 2018 paper submission (
April 30th, 2018 acceptance decision
May 15st, 2018 final conference program





September 3-4, 2018, NUS Business School, Singapore


 Automation is sweeping across all fields of economic activity and on a global scale. As automated technical solutions take over tasks previously performed by human labour, the skill requirements for the remaining labour force increase. As a result, high-skill labour is scarce and trades at a premium, which exposes companies to unprecedented governance and risk management challenges. Is automation introduced too early or too late? Are the transformation and labour displacement rate excessive, possibly to the detriment of more traditional productivity-enhancing alternatives? How do the equilibrium distribution of wages and labour turnover feedback into the companies’ governance structures? What is the role of financial asset management and capital structure decisions in the emerging era of disruptive technologies? Finally, can structural labour market reforms and active innovation policies support the transformation process and help consolidate productivity gains?

To explore questions in these emerging areas of academic and policy research, PRN is organising its third technical workshop next September 3-4, 2018 at the NUS Business School in Singapore. The workshop – cosponsored by the Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI), the Centre for Governance, Institutions & Organisations (CGIO), the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER) – is intended to allow regional researchers to learn about existing applied work focusing particularly on the Asia-Pacific region and generate research spill-overs and potential collaborations. The workshop is expected to provide an opportunity to discuss how the Productivity Research Network (PRN) can provide an impetus for enhancing data collection within the region, aimed at allowing the development of solid research and policy analyses.

Associate Professor Kalina MANOVA, University College London will be holding a key-note address.

Call for Papers:

The organising committee invites selected researchers to submit papers for presentation to the 3-4 September, 2018 Workshop in Singapore. The papers can be either theoretical or empirically based on firm level data, and address one or more of the following topics. Empirical works using the cross-country (Asia/Pacific) PRN firm-level based dataset will be given priority:

  1. Cross-country comparable productivity measures and methodologies
  2. Technological drivers of productivity growth
  3. The link between productivity and employment at the firm level
  4. Dispersion of labour costs across sectors
  5. The role of technology in the diffusion of ideas and adoption of productivity innovations
  6. The effects of technological transformation on global value chains
  7. Corporate governance, artificial intelligence (AI), and privacy issues
  8. Corporate governance and executive compensation in labour-intensive sectors
  9. Decentralisation decisions of firms
  10. Enabling technological transformation through financial risk management
  11. Capital structure decisions for start-ups and high-growth firms

The extended abstracts or papers should be submitted electronically in PDF to
(please indicate in the subject title PRN Workshop 3-4 September 2018) by 31 May 2018.

The organising committee is composed by:

  • Cristian BADARINZA (NUS)
  • Lawrence LOH (NUS)
  • Filippo di MAURO (NUS)
  • Peter MORGAN (ADBI-Tokyo)
  • Johan SULAEMAN (NUS)

The program of the Workshop will be circulated by the 30 June 2018. There will be only very limited financing available to attend the Workshop, and participants are expected to take care of their own travel and accommodation expenses. ABFER will host a dinner for the participants on 3 September 2018.






Call for Papers



Localisation can be described as organising business or industry in local areas rather than nationally. It is a type of external economy of scale that translates into productivity gains for companies that are located close to each other. Such productivity-enhancing externalities arise from input sharing, a common labour market, knowledge spillovers, and high-quality infrastructure.

The aim of the next workshop of the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to dig deeper into localisation economies and associated productivity gains.

The increasing availability of new cross-border databases at the firm level, e.g. the CompNet database, and of micro-level databases at the firm and individual levels creates the opportunity to analyse localisation economies in novel settings. Consequently, we are especially looking for researchers interested in presenting their work based on such databases.

We also want to encourage researchers to submit papers taking different perspectives on localisation. On the one hand, a firm’s decision to locate in a certain area can affect its exposure to localisation economies and be driven by existing policies and the local competitive environment. On the other hand, strategic interactions between firms may have implications on local labour markets and the ability of local infrastructure to cope. We are interested in understanding how localisation can help aggregate productivity growth as well as identifying the potential pitfalls for policy.

The workshop will be divided into three sessions with each of them addressing a different dimension of localisation economies: innovation, global value chains and migration. Consequently, we are looking for papers addressing localisation economies in the context of at least one of these three main topics.

Innovation This session is dedicated to the links and relationships between localisation, innovation, management practices, and productivity. Are companies more likely to innovate or adopt industry-best management practices in localised economies? When does the adoption of new technologies and production processes lead to more productivity gains? Do innovation spillovers occur through mobility of inventors and managers, or does local product market competition play a bigger role? Is productivity of domestic firms, especially SMEs, enhanced by FDI spillovers in the context of geographical proximity? Are there any different influences of distance decaying effects from FDI in services and FDI in manufacturing on domestic firm’s productivity? Does social and economic network matter to innovation and technical change?

Global value chains Localisation economies play a big role across the whole value chain and especially in helping original equipment manufacturers increase their scale. How can local agglomeration help suppliers move higher up in their contribution to value added? Should

policy focus on horizontal policies such as the quality of infrastructure that affects all firms similarly, or is there room for more targeted policy-making?

Migration This session will explore insights on how local geography, cities, infrastructure and economies of agglomeration affect or are affected by internal and external migration. How can companies best leverage human capital in cities with different levels of population density and composition of skills? What are the best ways to equip cities for absorbing internal and external migrants? Can local geography and urban development explain variations in productivity and incomes?

Beata Javorcik (University of Oxford) and Bob Koopman (WTO) already confirmed their participation.

Paper Submission

            -  Call out (5 March 2018)

            -  Papers submission by 15 July 2018

            -  Accepted papers notification by 31 July 2018

            -  Draft program by 15 August 2018

Mode of the Conference Presentation of Paper (max 30 min), Discussions in the end of every session

Organisation Committee Marco Christophori, Filippo di Mauro, Lucie Newman, Daisy Nguyen


Programme Committee Çağatay BIRCAN, Ralph DE HAAS, Filippo DI MAURO, Steffen MUELLER (TBC)



Most recent

Second Workshop - Empirical research on productivity and innovation

ABDI, January 11-12 2018, Tokyo, Japan


Past events

Since its inception, CompNet has hosted and organized several events, conferences and workshops that have seen the participation of prominent scholars and policy-makers. Please find a detailed list at the following link: 

CompNet past events