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 economic history and finance.


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


Working Paper

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

We study whether multinational corporations transmit the effects of a localized banking crisis to countries all over the world. We identify an exogenous shock to the credit supply of multinational parent corporations located in Germany. The shock to parents caused a reduction in the sales of their international affiliates for three years. We use unique data on linkages between parents and affiliates to study the transmission mechanism from parents’ credit supply to affiliates’ sales. Both financial constraints and intrafirm trade played a role: Parents withdrew equity from their affiliates, required more long-term lending from the affiliates, and traded less with their affiliates. The results improve our understanding of the internal operations of multinational firms and suggest that multinationals contribute to global business cycle synchronization.

Trade and the Size Distribution of Firms: Evidence from the German Empire
(Revise and resubmit at the Canadian Journal of Economics)

What is the effect of supply potential on the size distribution of firms? I collected historical data between 1882 and 1907 from the German Empire to address this question. I can then match two data sets according to the same geographic boundaries: industry census data and bilateral railway trade data. The key findings are that supply potential impacts the firm size distribution heterogeneously across five size categories. I find evidence of a hierarchical and stark shift in employment and firm share from the smallest toward larger firm size categories. A distance instrument is proposed to argue that the correlations described are indeed causal. I provide evidence for a fall in trade costs and technology adoption as mechanisms to explain the stylized facts observed in the data.

The Role of Management Practices in Acquisitions and FDI

This paper investigates how management practices as intangible assets are associated with performance of multinational business groups. I show that management practices of parents and affiliates are positively correlated. In the cross-section, better parent management practices are positively correlated with affiliate size and productivity. I use acquisitions as an event-study and find that better managed parents decrease employment post-acquisition. The positive correlation of parent management practices and affiliate productivity is strengthened, when the affiliate is in the first level of the corporate hierarchy or when the source country is more developed than the destination country in terms of income.

Work in Progress

International Trade and Business Cycle Comovement: Causal Evidence

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)