nep-bec New Economics Papers
on Business Economics
Issue of 2005‒02‒20
eighteen papers chosen by
Christian Calmes
Universite du Quebec en Outaouais

  1. Global Aging: Issues, Answers, More Questions By Axel Börsch-Supan
  2. Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up? By Edward L. Glaeser; Joseph Gyourko; Raven Saks
  3. The U.S. Current Account and the Dollar By Oliver Blanchard; Francesco Giavazzi; Filipa Sa
  4. Why Only Some Industries Unionize: Insights from Reciprocity Theory By Flynn, Sean Masaki
  5. Back to Work: Expectations and Realizations of Work After Retirement By Nicole Maestas
  6. A Framework for Exploring the Macroeconomic Determinants of Systematic Risk By Torben G. Andersen; Tim Bollerslev; Francis X. Diebold; Jin (Ginger) Wu
  7. Efficiency in Negotiation: Complexity and Costly Bargaining By Jihong Lee; Hamid Sabourian
  8. Weird Ties? Growth, Cycles and Firm Dynamics in an Agent-Based Model with Financial-Market Imperfections By Mauro Napoletano, Domenico Delli Gatti, Giorgio Fagiolo, Mauro Gallegati
  9. An Assessment of Measurement Invariance between Online and Mail Surveys By Deutskens,Elisabeth; Ruyter,Ko,de; Wetzels,Martin
  10. Incorporating sequential information into traditional classification models by using an element/position- sensitive SAM By A. PRINZIE; D. VAN DEN POEL
  11. Performance Improvement Through Supply Chain Collaboration: Conventional Wisdom Versus Empirical Findings By A. VEREECKE; S. MUYLLE
  12. Foreign outsourcing and firm-level characteristics: evidence from Japanese manufacturers By Eiichi Tomiura
  13. Constraining Managers without Owners: Governance of the Not-for-Profit Enterprise By Mihir A. Desai; Robert J. Yetman
  15. Obesity, Disability, and Movement Onto the Disability Insurance Rolls By Richard V. Burkhauser; John Cawley
  16. Paradoxes of Modernist Consumption – Reading Fashions By Dolfsma, W.
  17. The manufacturing profile of flexible and low-cost producers: an empiral study By Vereecke, A.; Pandelaere, E.
  18. The interface between Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility and its relevance for the financial and insurance sector By Van den Berghe, L.; Louche, C.

  1. By: Axel Börsch-Supan (University of Mannheim and NBER)
    Abstract: Global aging will be a major determinant of long run economic development in industrial and developing countries. The extent of the demographic changes is dramatic and will deeply affect future labor, financial and goods markets. The expected strain on public budgets and especially social security has already received prominent attention, but the aging poses many other economic challenges that threaten productivity and growth if they remain unaddressed. While aging is global, there are marked differences in the speed and the extent of the aging processes across countries. These differences are likely to generate different growth paths and change the international pecking order, e.g. within the G8 countries. Due to the globalization of labor, financial and goods markets, however, these differential demographic developments will also precipitate trade and factor movements. Exploiting these movements offers large chances during the aging process. The purpose of this paper is to review the most important economic chances and challenges due to global aging. It summarizes what we know and identifies research areas where it is important to know more.
    Date: 2004–06
  2. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Joseph Gyourko; Raven Saks
    Abstract: Since 1950, housing prices have risen regularly by almost two percent per year. Between 1950 and 1970, this increase reflects rising housing quality and construction costs. Since 1970, this increase reflects the increasing difficulty of obtaining regulatory approval for building new homes. In this paper, we present a simple model of regulatory approval that suggests a number of explanations for this change including changing judicial tastes, decreasing ability to bribe regulators, rising incomes and greater tastes for amenities, and improvements in the ability of homeowners to organize and influence local decisions. Our preliminary evidence suggests that there was a significant increase in the ability of local residents to block new projects and a change of cities from urban growth machines to homeowners' cooperatives.
    JEL: O2
    Date: 2005–02
  3. By: Oliver Blanchard; Francesco Giavazzi; Filipa Sa
    Abstract: There are two main forces behind the large U.S. current account deficits. First, an increase in the U.S. demand for foreign goods. Second, an increase in the foreign demand for U.S. assets. Both forces have contributed to steadily increasing current account deficits since the mid--1990s. This increase has been accompanied by a real dollar appreciation until late 2001, and a real depreciation since. The depreciation has accelerated recently, raising the questions of whether and how much more is to come, and if so, against which currencies, the euro, the yen, or the renminbi. Our purpose in this paper is to explore these issues. Our theoretical contribution is to develop a simple portfolio model of exchange rate and current account determination, and to use it to interpret the past and explore alternative scenarios for the future. Our practical conclusions are that substantially more depreciation is to come, surely against the yen and the renminbi, and probably against the euro.
    JEL: E3 F21 F32 F41
    Date: 2005–02
  4. By: Flynn, Sean Masaki (Vassar College Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper argues that the degree to which a given industry’s labor contracts are complete or incomplete is the major factor determining whether its workforce will be unionized. For instance, assembly line industries feature complete labor contracts because of the nature of the production technology: Either a worker keeps up with the line, or he does not. In such a situation, there is no chance for a reciprocal gift exchange under which firms offer high wages in exchange for high effort levels. The result is low wages that make workers prone to unionization. By contrast, jobs that feature incomplete contracts (lawyers, computer programmers, economists) already have reciprocity and gift exchange in place. Such benefits guarantee to workers that their better interests will be looked after by a management that wishes to maintain a positive and productive labor-management interaction.
    Date: 2004–11
  5. By: Nicole Maestas (RAND)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes labor force re-entry after retirement in an effort to understand whether these “unretirement” transitions are largely unexpected (perhaps resulting from failures in planning or unexpected financial shocks) or planned (perhaps representing a more complex retirement process). Nearly one-half of retirees follow a nontraditional retirement path that involves partial retirement and/or unretirement, and the unretirement rate among those observed at least five years after their first retirement is 24 percent. The unretirement rate is even higher among those retiring at younger ages (as high as 36 percent among those retiring at ages 51-52). I find that unretirement was anticipated for all but nine percent of retirees. If anything, expectations err on the side of excessive pessimism about the future rather than unwarranted optimism. Unretirement appears to be qualitatively similar to partial retirement and there is some evidence of a substantial correlation in the post-retirement labor supply transitions of married couples.
    Date: 2004–07
  6. By: Torben G. Andersen; Tim Bollerslev; Francis X. Diebold; Jin (Ginger) Wu
    Abstract: We selectively survey, unify and extend the literature on realized volatility of financial asset returns. Rather than focusing exclusively on characterizing the properties of realized volatility, we progress by examining economically interesting functions of realized volatility, namely realized betas for equity portfolios, relating them both to their underlying realized variance and covariance parts and to underlying macroeconomic fundamentals.
    JEL: G12
    Date: 2005–02
  7. By: Jihong Lee (School of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck College); Hamid Sabourian
    Abstract: Even with complete information, two-person bargaining can generate a large number of equilibria, involving disagreements and inefficiencies, in (i) negotiation games where disagreement payoffs are endogenously determined (Busch and Wen, 1995) and (ii) costly bargaining games where there are transaction/participation costs (Anderlini and Felli, 2001). We show that when the players have (at the margin) a preference for less complex strategies only efficient equilibria survive in negotiation games (with sufficiently patient players) while, in sharp contrast, it is only the most inefficient outcome involving perpetual disagreement that survives in costly bargaining games. We also find that introducing small transaction costs to negotiation games dramatically alters the selection result: perpetual disagreement becomes the only feasible equilibrium outcome. Thus, in both alternating-offers bargaining games and repeated games with exit options (via bargaining and contracts), complexity considerations establish that the Coase Theorem is valid if and only if there are no transaction/participation costs.
    Keywords: Bargaining, Repeated Game, Coase Theorem, Transaction Cost, Complexity, Bounded Rationality, Automaton
    JEL: C72 C78
    Date: 2005–02
  8. By: Mauro Napoletano, Domenico Delli Gatti, Giorgio Fagiolo, Mauro Gallegati
    Abstract: This paper studies how the interplay between technological shocks and financial variables shapes the properties of macroeconomic dynamics. Most of the existing literature has based the analysis of aggregate macroeconomic regularities on the representative agent hypothesis (RAH). However, recent empirical research on longitudinal micro data sets has revealed a picture of business cycles and growth dynamics that is very far from the homogeneous one postulated in models based on the RAH. In this work, we make a preliminary step in bridging this empirical evidence with theoretical explanations. We propose an agent-based model with heterogeneous firms, which interact in an economy characterized by financial-market imperfections and costly adoption of new technologies. Monte-Carlo simulations show that the model is able jointly to replicate a wide range of stylised facts characterizing both macroeconomic time-series (e.g. output and investment) and firms' microeconomic dynamics (e.g. size, growth, and productivity).
    Keywords: Financial Market Imperfections, Business Fluctuations, Economic Growth, Firm Size, Firm Growth, Productivity Growth, Agent-Based Models.
  9. By: Deutskens,Elisabeth; Ruyter,Ko,de; Wetzels,Martin (METEOR)
    Abstract: One of the latest trends in marketing research is the increasing use of online surveys, which offer lower costs and faster responses. Yet, critics question whether data collected via online surveys are equivalent to data collected via traditional mail surveys. Since existing evidence from the comparison of Web-based and paper-and-pencil surveys is inconclusive, we empirically examine the equivalence of online and traditional mail surveys in a marketing context.
    Keywords: marketing ;
    Date: 2005
    Abstract: The inability to capture sequential patterns is a typical drawback of predictive classification methods. This caveat might be overcome by modeling sequential independent variables by sequence-analysis methods. Combining classification methods with sequenceanalysis methods enables classification models to incorporate non-time varying as well as sequential independent variables. In this paper, we precede a classification model by an element/position-sensitive Sequence-Alignment Method (SAM) followed by the asymmetric, disjoint Taylor-Butina clustering algorithm with the aim to distinguish clusters with respect to the sequential dimension. We illustrate this procedure on a customer-attrition model as a decisionsupport system for customer retention of an International Financial-Services Provider (IFSP). The binary customer-churn classification model following the new approach significantly outperforms an attrition model which incorporates the sequential information directly into the classification method.
    Keywords: sequence analysis, binary classification methods, Sequence-Alignment Method, asymmetric clustering, customer-relationship management, churn analysis
    Date: 2005–02
    Abstract: Supply chain collaboration is claimed to yield significant improvements in multiple performance areas: it is believed to reduce costs, to increase quality, to improve delivery, to augment flexibility, to cut procurement cost and lead time, and to stimulate innovativeness. Yet empirical support for the relationship between supply chain collaboration and performance improvement is scarce. Our research adds to this emerging stream of research by providing empirical evidence from the engineering/assembly industries, based on data collected through the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS) in Europe. The study reveals that supply chain collaboration is no guarantee for success: performance improvement is only weakly related to the extent of collaboration with customers or suppliers. However, strong improvers in multiple performance areas are found to be heavily engaged in collaboration projects with customers and suppliers, through extensive information exchange and higher levels of structural coordination.
    Keywords: supply chain management, collaboration, performance improvement
    Date: 2005–02
  12. By: Eiichi Tomiura
    Abstract: Based on micro data of 118,300 firms without firm-size thresholds covering all manufacturing industries in Japan, this paper investigates the foreign outsourcing, distinguished explicitly from domestic outsourcing, at the firm level. Less than three percent of the firms are outsourcing their production across national borders. The fixed entry cost for foreign outsourcing is significant and related with the firm's human skills and foreign business experience. The firms tend to outsource more of their activities overseas when their productivity is higher or when their products are more labor-intensive.
    Keywords: Foreign outsourcing, Firm-level data, Productivity, Capital-labor ratio
    JEL: F1 F23 J31
    Date: 2004–12
  13. By: Mihir A. Desai; Robert J. Yetman
    Abstract: In the absence of owners, how effective are the constraints imposed by the state in promoting effective firm governance? This paper develops state-level indices of the legal and reporting rules facing not-for-profits and examines the effects of these rules on not-for-profit behavior. Stronger non-distribution constraints are associated with greater charitable expenditures and foundation payouts while more stringent reporting requirements are associated with lower insider compensation. The paper also examines how governance influences an alternative metric of not-for-profit performance %uF818 the provision of social insurance. Stronger governance measures are associated with intertemporal smoothing of resources and greater activity in response to negative economic shocks.
    JEL: L30 G30 H40 K20
    Date: 2005–02
  14. By: Maria Jose Alvarez Gil; Pascual Berrone; F. Javier Husillos; Nora Lado
    Abstract: There is a growing awareness among practitioners and scholars regarding the importance of Relationship Marketing and its advantages in the supply chain management context. This is particularly appropriate for Reverse Logistics (RL) activities, which are characterized by several relationships between different stakeholders and the firm. Drawing on multiple theoretical approaches, we propose that RL programs result from the combination of external, organizational, and individual factors. We emphasize the role of trust and commitment as key influential elements on the RL systems implementation and their subsequent performance.
    Date: 2005–02
  15. By: Richard V. Burkhauser (Cornell University); John Cawley (Cornell University)
    Abstract: Between the early 1980s and 2002, both the prevalence of obesity and the number of beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance program doubled. We test whether these trends are related; specifically, we test whether obesity causes disability and movement onto the disability rolls. We estimate models of instrumental variables using two nationally representative data sets, the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 Cohort. The results are mixed but we find evidence that weight increases the probability of health-related work limitations and the probability of receiving disability related income. Our results suggest that the failure to treat obesity as endogenous leads to dramatic underestimates of the link between obesity and disability outcomes. Authors’ Acknowledgements We thank seminar participants at Ohio State University and the 2004 Conference of the Social Security Retirement Research Consortium for their helpful comments. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the University of Michigan Retirement Research Consortium and the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center at Cornell University. We thank Shuaizhang Feng for expert research assistance.
    Date: 2004–10
  16. By: Dolfsma, W. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: Fashion is the quintessential post-modernist consumer practice, or so many hold. In this contribution, I argue that, on the contrary, fashion should be understood as a means of communicating one's commitment to modernist values. I introduce the framework of the Social Value Network, to relate such values to institutionalised consumption behaviour, allowing one to signal to others. Modernist values are not homogenous, and are in important ways contradictory, giving rise to the dynamics of fashion that can be observed.
    Keywords: consumption;modernism;fashion;identity;symbolic goods;
    Date: 2004–06–23
  17. By: Vereecke, A.; Pandelaere, E.
    Abstract: Since the introduction of the concepts of lean manufacturing, agility and mass customization it is questioned to what extent the trade-off between cost and flexibility still holds. It has been the objective of our research to test the trade-off theory empirically using the data of the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS). Our research confirms the well accepted manufacturing profile of low cost producers, which typically use a line process, and of flexible producers, which typically produce in a job shop. However, we also observe that some companies manage to overcome the cost/flexibility trade-off, by introducing the concept of postponed manufacturing. These companies are characterized by an assembly-to-order policy of standardized semi-finished products, produced in a line process. Flexibility and low cost are thus obtained by playing with the position of the decoupling point.
    Keywords: manufacturing strategy, mass customization, flexibility Note
    Date: 2005–01–14
  18. By: Van den Berghe, L.; Louche, C.
    Abstract: Based on the argument that Corporate Social Responsibility is not just a fashion but rather the future from another angle, this paper explores the link between corporate governance and corporate social responsibility in insurance. Although insurance industries have been less exposed to criticisms than other sectors, like any other business, they are subject to increasing societal scrutiny. After a reconsideration of the corporate governance paradigms and mechanisms, the paper analyses the relevance of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance for the insurance sector. It explores its positive and negative externalities and its role as institutional investor. The paper also provides policy recommendations for mainstreaming corporate social responsibility within the sector.
    Keywords: Note
    Date: 2005–01–17

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