The Research Group analyses the structure and dynamics of markets, internationalisation strategies, the innovation system and productivity of enterprises, sectors and countries against a background of international competition and structural change. The Group focuses especially on the micro- and meso-economic determinants of growth and development. Empirical analyses are based on state-of-the-art theory, especially industrial economics, innovation theory, international trade theory and growth theory. Its major strength is to link together central topics of industrial economics, innovation research and foreign trade analysis.
The Research Group focuses on the analysis of competition and competitiveness in different markets. It studies the determinants of the process of economic development along the dimensions of firm entry, firm survival innovation, finance, firm growth and productivity. These performance indicators are analysed against a policy background with a focus on the functioning and design of competition, industrial and business policies.
The Research Group's work concentrates on empirical analyses of innovation and economic performance at the enterprise, industry and country level, as well as on the associated framework conditions and economic policies. The integration of findings from adjoining competence fields such as regulation, financing and human capital, allows analysing the efficiency and effectiveness of innovation systems. The long-term development of innovation systems is shaped by an ongoing convergence of entrepreneurial innovation, science and basic research, and the growing internationalisation of innovation. The Research Group also analyses the effects of current technological trends, such as various aspects of "digital transformation". All these aspects are incorporated in the analysis of developments in Austria, including the identification of possible inconsistencies and the provision of economic policy advice.
The Group's work focuses on the empirical analysis of foreign trade, foreign direct investments and international outsourcing at the country, sector and company level. It includes the analysis of effects of economic integration and globalisation, specialisation patterns in foreign trade, competitiveness and of foreign market potentials. Based on micro and sector data the Group investigates decisions of firms to serve foreign markets via alternative modes of supply (FDI, exports), the decisions to expand foreign market coverage as well as their choice of destinations and lastly the impact of internationalisation on domestic performance (productivity, growth, innovation or employment). A key focus is on the analysis of trade in services. Another important aspect of the Group's work is its contribution to and collaboration on the international economics project "FIW – Research Centre International Economics" as a competence centre for economic policy consulting, scientific analysis, data collection and the organisation of workshops and research conferences.
The Research Group contributes to WIFO's ongoing business cycle analyses. Within the framework of the quarterly WIFO Economic Outlook, expert forecasts are prepared for the foreign goods trade and investment, as well as for the manufacturing and the business service sector. The scientific coordination of the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle surveys) is also located in the Research Group.
The Research Group has been conducting the WIFO Industry Survey at regular intervals since 2016. This survey focuses on the medium- to long-term strategies and positioning of Austrian companies in international competition and on the importance of different location factors in the implementation of these strategies.