Competitiveness and Firm Productivity in a Disintegrating Global Economy


Co-sponsored by the CEPR, Central Bank of Malta, National Statistical Office Malta & Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH)

20-21 June 2024, Central Bank of Malta

Organisers: CompNet, CEPR, Central Bank of Malta, National Statistics Office of Malta & IWH (Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle)

Scientific Committee:
Filippo di Mauro (CompNet and CEPR)

Etienne Caruana(NSO Malta)
Aaron Grech (Central Bank of Malta)
Javier Miranda (IWH and CompNet)
Lawrence Schembri (Fraser Institute and formerly Bank of Canada)

Keynote Speaker: Gianmarco Ottaviano (Bocconi University and CEPR), Jonathan Haskel (Bank of England, Imperial College Business School and CEPR)

Their expertise and perspectives will undoubtedly enrich our dialogue on competitiveness, firm dynamism, resilience, and productivity, particularly within the context of the European Union.


The European Union’s (EU) has placed competitiveness at the heart of its policy agenda, recognizing its crucial role in driving economic growth and prosperity. However, the debate has just started on the way to tackle this issue. On the one hand there is a call for fostering innovation, efficiency, and productivity within firms, enabling them to compete effectively on the global stage. On the other, there are increasing concerns that the international environment is far from ensuring a fair playing field, ridden as it is from uncompetitive practices and more aggressive and generalised industrial policies. There is therefore a risk that enhancing EU competitiveness could equate to raising trade protection barriers.
These dynamics are likely to take added complexity, as we are living in a world increasingly affected by geopolitical tensions and conflict that are causing further disintegration of the global economy. The resulting disruptions to global investment, production and trade can adversely affect the normal functioning of firms, posing significant challenges to their productivity and competitiveness. Understanding how firms navigate these challenges, adapt their production processes, and manage resources is key. Equally important is the role of policy interventions in supporting firms to maintain their competitiveness, particularly when they are more exposed to the disruptions to economic activity and increasing obstacles to trade caused by geopolitical tensions and conflict.
This conference seeks to explore these issues and their implications for firm dynamism, resilience and productivity, competitiveness, investment and employment and earnings, with a particular but not exclusive focus on the EU context. The insights gained will not only contribute to academic discourse but also inform policy decisions, ensuring that the drive for competitiveness aligns with the principles of open and fair trade.
The submission deadline was February 1st, 2024.

Local organization: Brandon Sacco (NSO Malta), Massimo Giovannini (Central Bank of Malta)
Administrative organization: Tanja Grochowski (CompNet), Elena Sponga (CompNet)