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Firm Dynamics and Structural Change

The aim of the research area "firm dynamics and structural change" is to describe and analyze economic processes of change. These include the economic consequences of new technological developments in fields such as mobility, information and communication technologies, biotechnologies and the environmental technologies. In addition, influences from foreign markets, new organizational forms and changes on the labor market have to be taken into account. These long-term processes of change are amplified or dampened by short-term economic shocks. Basic questions for analysis include

  • which areas are affected by structural change
  • how structural change affects firm dynamics and employment
  • which causes for change can be identified
  • to what extent the institutional framework should be modified by economic policy.


New businesses are often regarded as a particularly dynamic segment of the economy, generating innovations and employment. Studies on the start-up activity, survival and growth of newly established enterprises and their role for structural change and employment play an important role within this research area. Another focus is on the small and medium enterprises, which continue to be a particularly salient element of the German corporate landscape.

The methods used in this research area consist of econometric analysis of data on companies, businesses and employees. In addition to data at an aggregate level, micro data on individual companies and establishments are widely used, as these are increasingly available from the official statistics. In this context, several research projects deal with the remaining problems in generating research data from official sources. In addition, own standardized surveys and qualitative expert interviews are carried out.

Most projects in this research area are concerned with the manufacturing industry and the service sector. Others deal with cross-cutting sectors that are not precisely delineated in official statistics, such as the environmental goods and services industry or the health sector. The tendency of a growth of the tertiary sector is another research topic of particular interest to the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, where the industrial sector is stronger than in other German regions and industrial countries.