Portrait: Marcus Biermann

Marcus Biermann

I am a postdoctoral researcher at IRES, Université catholique de Louvain. I obtained my PhD from the LSE and I am affiliated with the Centre for Economic Performance. My primary research field is international trade. My secondary research interests are in financial economics.


email: marcus.biermann@uclouvain.be
IRES - Université catholique de Louvain
3 Place Montesquieu
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium


Working Papers

Remote Talks: Changes to Economics Seminars during COVID-19
April 2021

This paper documents the changing nature of seminars in economics organized by institutions worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of seminars held decreased by approximately 20 percent. The composition of seminar speakers changed significantly. Leading top economists in terms of overall output gave relatively fewer seminars, whereas the share of seminars held by top young economists increased. The share of seminars held by women increased in relative terms, but not in absolute terms. Moving from in person seminar delivery to online delivery of seminars caused a significant shift in the geography of knowledge dissemination. The distance between host and speaker institutions increased on average by 20 percent. The share of seminars held across countries’ borders increased modestly by 2.9 percent.

Tracing the International Transmission of a Crisis Through Multinational Firms
(with Kilian Huber), February 2021

This paper shows that idiosyncratic shocks to individual firms can affect growth all over the world, even if shocked firms have no direct foreign connections and no operations abroad. We identify an idiosyncratic shock to a German bank, which caused the bank to cut lending to German borrowers. Multinational parent firms located in Germany became financially constrained. In response, international affiliates of affected parents supported their parent by lending through internal capital markets and became constrained themselves. The real growth of affiliates fell sharply and took three years to fully recover. Though the initial shock only hit the domestic activities of a firm in Germany, the impact in other countries was sizable (for instance, around 0.4 percent of aggregate sales in Austria and the Czech Republic). The findings reveal that idiosyncratic shocks to individual firms influence economic outcomes far beyond firms’ direct scope of operation.

The Role of Management Practices in Acquisitions and the FDI Location Decision
Review of International Economics, Forthcoming

This paper investigates how management practices as intangible transfers are associated with the performance of multinational business groups. Differences in the management level across source countries are predictive for multinationals’ entry patterns for a given destination country. This study uses acquisitions as a means to transplant management practices from parents to affiliates abroad. It finds that better-managed parents decrease employment and increase productivity post-acquisition. The productivity gains are driven by targets with less developed management practices and by targets of larger parents. Better-managed parents are also more likely to install or retain a manager from the parent country post-acquisition.

Trade and the Size Distribution of Firms: Evidence from the German Empire
German Economic Review, Vol. 22(3), August 2021, pp. 289-322.

What effect did trade have on the size distribution of firms during the first wave of globalization? Three historical datasets from the German Empire between 1875 and 1907 were collected and harmonized to answer this question. This paper combines industry census and bilateral railway trade data from the same industry and region along with industry-level tariff data. The evidence shows that increases in aggregate trade caused the share of firms to shift from smaller to larger firms. Exogenous decreases in tariffs caused an increase in the share of the largest firms. The regional distributive effects of trade on inequality between firms that are discussed in the contemporaneous literature were already present during the first wave globalization.

Work in Progress

Environmental Preferences and Deep Trade Agreements (with Gonzague Vannoorenberghe)

Financing Service Trade (with Peter Eppinger and Karol Paludkiewicz)


Full CV (pdf)

Short CV

Primary Research Field:
International Trade

Secondary Research Fields:
Economic History, Finance

PhD in Economics, London School of Economics (LSE), 2019
Master of Research in Economics, LSE, 2013
Master of Science in Economics (with distinction), LSE, 2012
Bachelor of Science in Economics, University of Bonn, 2011


London School of Economics

2017-2018 International Economics (EC421), MSc course
2016 International Economics (EC351), Summer school
2013-2014, 2015-2017 International Economics (EC315), 3rd-year undergraduate level

Teaching Certification

2016-2017 Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (Associate Level)

University of Bonn

2010-2011 Statistics and Econometrics (undergraduate)