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Mr. Federico J Diez, Mr. Daniel Leigh, and Suchanan Tambunlertchai
We estimate the evolution of markups of publicly traded firms in 74 economies from 1980-2016. In advanced economies, markups have increased by an average of 39 percent since 1980. The increase is broad-based across industries and countries, and driven by the highest markup firms in each economic sector. For emerging markets and developing economies, there is less evidence of a rise in markups. We find a positive relation between firm markups and other indicators of market power, such as profits or industry concentration. Focusing on advanced economies, we investigate the relation between markups and investment, innovation, and the labor share at the firm level. We find evidence of a non-monotonic relation, with higher markups being correlated initially with increasing and then with decreasing investment and innovation rates. This non-monotonicity is more pronounced for firms that are closer to the technological frontier. More concentrated industries also feature a more negative relation between markups and investment and innovation. The association between markups and the labor share is generally negative.
Mr. Federico J Diez, Mr. Daniel Leigh, and Suchanan Tambunlertchai
Mr. Federico J Diez, Mr. Daniel Leigh, and Suchanan Tambunlertchai

We estimate the evolution of markups of publicly traded firms in 74 economies from 1980-2016. In advanced economies, markups have increased by an average of 39 percent since 1980. The increase is broad-based across industries and countries, and driven by the highest markup firms in each economic sector. For emerging markets and developing economies, there is less evidence of a rise in markups. We find a positive relation between firm markups and other indicators of market power, such as profits or industry concentration. Focusing on advanced economies, we investigate the relation between markups and investment, innovation, and the labor share at the firm level. We find evidence of a non-monotonic relation, with higher markups being correlated initially with increasing and then with decreasing investment and innovation rates. This non-monotonicity is more pronounced for firms that are closer to the technological frontier. More concentrated industries also feature a more negative relation between markups and investment and innovation. The association between markups and the labor share is generally negative.

Mr. Federico J Diez, Jiayue Fan, and Carolina Villegas-Sánchez

Using a new firm-level dataset on private and listed firms from 20 countries, we document five stylized facts on market power in global markets. First, competition has declined around the world, measured as a moderate increase in average firm markups during 2000- 2015. Second, the markup increase is driven by already high-markup firms (top decile of the markup distribution) that charge increasing markups. Third, markups increased mostly among advanced economies but not in emerging markets. Fourth, there is a non-monotonic relation between firm size and markups that is first decreasing and then increasing. Finally, the increase is mostly driven by increases within incumbents and also by market share reallocation towards high-markup entrants.

Mr. Federico J Diez, Jiayue Fan, and Carolina Villegas-Sánchez
Mr. Federico J Diez, Jiayue Fan, and Carolina Villegas-Sánchez
Using a new firm-level dataset on private and listed firms from 20 countries, we document five stylized facts on market power in global markets. First, competition has declined around the world, measured as a moderate increase in average firm markups during 2000- 2015. Second, the markup increase is driven by already high-markup firms (top decile of the markup distribution) that charge increasing markups. Third, markups increased mostly among advanced economies but not in emerging markets. Fourth, there is a non-monotonic relation between firm size and markups that is first decreasing and then increasing. Finally, the increase is mostly driven by increases within incumbents and also by market share reallocation towards high-markup entrants.
Camila Casas, Mr. Federico J Diez, Ms. Gita Gopinath, and Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
Most trade is invoiced in very few currencies. Despite this, the Mundell-Fleming benchmark and its variants focus on pricing in the producer’s currency or in local currency. We model instead a ‘dominant currency paradigm’ for small open economies characterized by three features: pricing in a dominant currency; pricing complementarities, and imported input use in production. Under this paradigm: (a) the terms-of-trade is stable; (b) dominant currency exchange rate pass-through into export and import prices is high regardless of destination or origin of goods; (c) exchange rate pass-through of non-dominant currencies is small; (d) expenditure switching occurs mostly via imports, driven by the dollar exchange rate while exports respond weakly, if at all; (e) strengthening of the dominant currency relative to non-dominant ones can negatively impact global trade; (f) optimal monetary policy targets deviations from the law of one price arising from dominant currency fluctuations, in addition to the inflation and output gap. Using data from Colombia we document strong support for the dominant currency paradigm.
Camila Casas, Mr. Federico J Diez, Ms. Gita Gopinath, and Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
Camila Casas, Mr. Federico J Diez, Ms. Gita Gopinath, and Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas

Most trade is invoiced in very few currencies. Despite this, the Mundell-Fleming benchmark and its variants focus on pricing in the producer’s currency or in local currency. We model instead a ‘dominant currency paradigm’ for small open economies characterized by three features: pricing in a dominant currency; pricing complementarities, and imported input use in production. Under this paradigm: (a) the terms-of-trade is stable; (b) dominant currency exchange rate pass-through into export and import prices is high regardless of destination or origin of goods; (c) exchange rate pass-through of non-dominant currencies is small; (d) expenditure switching occurs mostly via imports, driven by the dollar exchange rate while exports respond weakly, if at all; (e) strengthening of the dominant currency relative to non-dominant ones can negatively impact global trade; (f) optimal monetary policy targets deviations from the law of one price arising from dominant currency fluctuations, in addition to the inflation and output gap. Using data from Colombia we document strong support for the dominant currency paradigm.

Mr. Federico J Diez, Mr. Romain A Duval, Jiayue Fan, Jose M Garrido, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Chiara Maggi, Mr. Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, and Mr. Nicola Pierri
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased insolvency risks, especially among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are vastly overrepresented in hard-hit sectors. Without government intervention, even firms that are viable a priori could end up being liquidated—particularly in sectors characterized by labor-intensive technologies, threatening both macroeconomic and social stability. This staff discussion note assesses the impact of the pandemic on SME insolvency risks and policy options to address them. It quantifies the impact of weaker aggregate demand, changes in sectoral consumption patterns, and lockdowns on firm balance sheets and estimates the impact of a range of policy options, for a large sample of SMEs in (mostly) advanced economies.