Tallinn University of Technology

Research Groups

Companies’ Productivity, Investments and Export Competitiveness

Head of the research group: Professor Kadri Männasoo, kadri.mannasoo@taltech.ee; Phone +372 620 4051

Members: Juan Carlos Cuestas, Hakan Berber, Simona Ferraro, Kaja Lutsoja, Jelena Matina, Kirsti Rumma, Tõnn Talpsepp

Doctoral students: Heili Hein, Kaido Kepp, Katriin Ranniku, Svetlana Ridala (defended 2021), Artjom Saia, Helery Tasane

Post-doctoral students: Rachatar Nilavongse

Topics and Competences

Keywords: productivity, innovation, R&D, investments, export, digital economy

The line of research pursues micro-level or regional comparative empirical studies. The main research focuses relate to capital and labour productivity, human capital, innovation, investments and competitiveness for explaining the economic growth in small, open and export-oriented economies. The aim is to investigate the drivers and obstacles of productivity enhancing investments into adoption of new technologies and production processes, human capital accumulation, R&D and innovation.

One line of investigation seeks for a better understanding on regional convergence issues while integrating the spatial aspects and institutional factors into the research framework. The research aims at new evidence on digital innovation and digital empowerment and on their effect on productivity growth and economic welfare. The research employs contemporary quantitative economic research techniques and econometric estimations and contributes to policy making while providing evidence based policy implications with respect to the macro- and business-environmental factors and individuals’ and companies’ decisions and incentives that have an effect on productivity, innovation and export competitiveness.

Selected projects:

Selected articles:

TalTech Academic Development Plan priority area: Innovative SME-s and digital economy

Applications in business, economics, society:

  • Project LMEAE20102 consultation of Estonian Land Board 2020-2021 on statistical modeling for real-property mass appraisal for 2022 revaluation of built/residential land and rural/agricultural land.
  • RiTa (LEP19010ME) project results dissemination. Somp, M.; Hazak, A.; Männasoo, K. (2021). Põlevkivielektri ja -õli väljavaated, kliimamuutus ja tulevikutehingud. Riigikogu Toimetised, 44, 105−114.
Kadri uurimisgrupp

From left Artjom Saia, Heili Hein, Jelena Matina, Simona Ferraro, Katriin Ranniku, Kadri Männasoo, Hakan Berber, Helery Tasane, Juan Carlos Cuestas

Economic performance: integration, governance and policy

Head of the research group: Professor Karsten Staehr, karsten.staehr@taltech.ee

Members: Tairi Rõõm, Natalia Levenko

Postdoctoral researcher: Rachatar Nilavongse (until 31 July 2021)

Doctoral students: Kersti Harkmann (until 31 Mar. 2021), Krista Kollo*, Liina Rebane*, Nicolas Reigl, Orsolya Soosaar, Katri Urke
*academic leave in 2021

Topics and competencies

Keywords: macroeconomics, international integration, international finance, public economics, labour economics, household economics, economic governance

The members of the research group study contemporary and policy-relevant issues that affect the economic performance in a rapidly changing economic environment. The group seeks to identify key relationships at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels, to ascertain new policy challenges, and to devise policy measures to improve economic performance.

The group members with a doctoral degree work individually, together with other members of the group or with researchers outside the group. The research is typically empirical and with a clear applied focus. The research typically uses contemporary econometric methodologies and public or proprietary datasets. The senior group members all have doctoral degrees from reputed universities, and they are active researchers who publish regularly in well-ascribed international journals. Their competences are partly complementary as some focus on advanced econometric methodology, some on contemporary economic analysis, and some on policy-oriented studies. The group members with doctoral degrees are among the most productive and cited research economists in Estonia as witnessed by their research output and REPEC/Ideas rankings.

The research group prioritises the supervision of doctoral candidates; Levenko graduated in 2020, Harkmann graduated in 2021 and Reigl is expected to graduate in 2022. The doctoral candidates typically work on independent research projects under the supervision of Staehr or Rõõm, but they also cooperate with their supervisors on various projects.

Selected outstanding research results (published or accepted in 2021):

Priority area: Future governance

International R&D:

Income, Wealth and Gender, Horizon2020 project InWeGe (Rõõm, Soosaar)

Institutions for Knowledge Intensive Development: Economic and Regulatory Aspects in South-East Asian Transition Economies VFP16057 (Levenko, Staehr)

Individual Behaviour and Economic Performance: Methodological Challenges and Institutional Context VFP20046 (Nilavongse).

Applied research:

Most of the research group members (Staehr, Rõõm, Levenko, Harkmann, Reigl, Soosaar, Urke, Kollo, Rebane) are affiliated with the Bank of Estonia and carry out analysis or applied research at this institution.

Finance and the Digital Economy: Financial Behaviour, Markets, and Competitiveness

Head of the research group: Associate Professor Laivi Laidroo, laivi.laidroo@taltech.ee; Tel +372 620 4056

Members: Karin Jõeveer, Mari Avarmaa, Kristjan Liivamägi, Tõnn Talpsepp, Enn Listra, Kalle Ahi

Doctoral students: Mari-Liis Kukk, Pavlo Illiashenko, Kaido Kepp, Triinu Tapver

Topics and Competences

Keywords: FinTech, financial intermediation, digital economy, financial economics, behavioural finance

The research group seeks to contribute to the international academic literature that deals with contemporary topics in financial economics. Special attention is paid to the emerging topics related to the digitalisation in finance (e.g., crowdfunding, ICOs, cryptocurrencies, digital wallets, robo-advisory) as well as to the business models and ecosystems of FinTechs and sustainable finance. The research is also linked to the fields of industrial organisation and economic development, innovation, technological change and growth.

Traditional and behavioural finance theories are utilised to investigate topics related to corporate finance, household finance, financial markets, and banking with the aim of enhancing the understanding of the financial behaviour of individuals, firms and financial intermediaries, and the linkages between them (mainly in the European context). Interdisciplinary approach is used to address questions related to business, legal and technological aspects of green turn and digitalisation in finance and its economic impact for determining the factors needed for improving the competitiveness and performance of the national economies through the employment of suitable regulative measures.

Selected projects:

Participation in a network: COST Action - Fintech and Artificial Intelligence in Finance

Selected articles:

TalTech Academic Development Plan priority area: Innovative SME-s and digital economy

Applications in business, economics, society:
In co-operation with FinanceEstoniaga the second FinTech Report Estonia 2021 was prepared. It reflects the current status of the Estonian FinTech landscape and future outlook. Its results have been presented by different parties involved in the preparation of the report at events introducing the sector and it has also been covered in an article in a local business newspaper Äripäev.

Laivi uurimisgrupp

From left Pavlo Illiashenko, Kaido Kepp, Laivi Laidroo, Enn Listra, Shaun Deanesh, Mari-Liis Kukk, Mari Avarmaa, Triinu Tapver

Knowledge intensity and socio-economic inclusion for promoting sustained development

Head of the research group: Professor Aaro Hazak, aaro.hazak@taltech.ee, +372 620 4050

Members: Hakan Berber, Simona Ferraro, Merike Kukk, Marit Rebane, Kirsti Rumma, Ako Sauga, Tõnn Talpsepp

Doctoral students: Helery Tasane, Risto Uuk*, Heili Hein, Artjom Saia, Triinu Tapver,
*academic leave in 2021

Visiting postdoctoral scholars (not employees; supervised by Aaro Hazak): Leonardo Ivarola (2019-2021); “Institutions and Social Behavior in Complex Systems”; PhD Buenos Aires University (Argentina),

Topics and Competences

Keywords: Institutions, sustainable economic development, efficiency, wellbeing, human capital, individual behaviour

This research group sought to investigate various micro and macro level forces and behavioural and institutional incentives, which could speed up the convergence of emerging economies with frontier knowledge based economies and lead to sustained socio-economic development (JEL: O). We addressed the obstacles in developing knowledge absorptive capacities and overcoming the prevailing regional disparities (JEL: P2), as well as sustainable development problems related to climate change. The results shall cast light to the possibly latent or underestimated reasons for development and wellbeing issues and for inefficiencies in human capital and modern technology use in (emerging) economies. In particular, human capital endowment, the relationship between health and economic performance, stimuli for capital allocation into intellectual investments, R&D activities (JEL: I2), efficient implementation of modern technologies and work regulation/practices were in focus of the studies, particularly in an interdisciplinary context.

Selected projects:

Selected articles:

Nurk, Gunnar; Loog, Mart; Valgepea, Kaspar; Mäeorg, Uno; Kollist, Hannes; Hazak, Aaro; Männasoo, Kadri; Sander, Priit; Kask, Kaia; Siirde, Andres; Järvik, Oliver; Nešumajev, Dmitri; Gušča, Jūlija; Uibu, Mai; Trikkel, Andres; Pihu, Tõnu; Konist, Alar; Maaten, Birgit; Liira, Martin (2021). Kliimamuutuste leevendamine läbi CCS ja CCU tehnoloogiate (ClimMit). Final report of the project 'Climate change mitigation through CCS and CCU technologies' (1-66).

Kukk, M. (2021). What are the triggers for arrears on debt over a business cycle? Evidence from panel data. International Journal of Finance Economics. DOI: 10.1002/ijfe.2565.

Meriküll, J.; Kukk, M.; Rõõm, T. (2021). What explains the gender gap in wealth? Evidence from administrative data. Review of Economics of the Household, 19,  501−547. DOI: 10.1007/s11150-020-09522-x.

Kukk, M., & van Raaij, W. F. (2021). Joint and individual savings within families: evidence from bank accounts. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 1-23. DOI: 10.1007/s10834-021-09783-3

Ferraro, S., Agasisti, T., Porcelli, F., & Soncin, M. (2021). Local governments’ efficiency and educational results: empirical evidence from Italian primary schools. Applied Economics, 1-23. DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2021.1896672

TalTech Academic Development Plan priority area: Innovative SME-s and digital economy

Applications in business, economics, society: Presentations, discussions and media coverage of the applied results of the RiTa project ClimMit in Estonia