nep-bec New Economics Papers
on Business Economics
Issue of 2008‒05‒24
thirteen papers chosen by
Christian Calmes
University of Quebec in Ottawa

  1. Rent Sharing Before and After the Wage Bill By Pedro S. Martins
  2. On the Economics of Corporate Responsibility By Lundgren, Tommy
  3. Excessive entry in a bilateral oligopoly By Arijit Mukherjee
  4. Adapting to Import Competition: Effects of Low-wage Trade on Commodity Mix in Canadian Manufacturing Plants By Baldwin, John R.; Lileeva, Alla
  5. Rémunération à l’ancienneté et ajustement du marché du travail By Ali Béjaoui; Claude Montmarquette
  6. Inequality and a Repeated Joint Project By Olivier Dagnelie
  7. Regulatory design under asymmetric information about demand By Paula Sarmento; António Brandão
  8. Job Competition and the Wage Curve By Simonetta Longhi
  9. Is volatility good for growth? Evidence from the G7. By Andreou Elena; Pelloni Alessandra; Sensier Marianne
  10. Bank runs, liquidity and credit risk By Topi, Jukka
  11. The Behaviour of Corporate Actors. A Survey of the Empirical Literature By Christoph Engel
  12. The evolution of the productivity dispersion of firms - A reevaluation of its determinants in the case of Japan By ITO Keiko; Sebastien LECHEVALIER
  13. Labour mobility, related variety and the performance of plants: A Swedish study By Ron Boschma; Rikard Eriksson; Urban Lindgren

  1. By: Pedro S. Martins
    Abstract: Many biases plague the analysis of whether employers share rents with their employees, unlike what is predicted by the competitive labour market model. Using a Portuguese matched employer-employee panel, these biases are addressed here in three complementary ways: 1) Controlling directly for the fact that firms that share more rents will, ceteris paribus, have lower net-of-wages profits. 2) Instrumenting profits via interactions between the exchange rate and the share of exports in firms’ total sales. 3) Considering firm or firm/worker spell fixed effects and highlighting the role of downward wage rigidity. These approaches clarify conflicting findings in the literature and result, in our preferred specifications, in significant evidence of rent sharing (a Lester range of pay dispersion of 56%), also shown to be robust to a number of competitive interpretations.
    Keywords: Rent Sharing, Instrumental Variables, Matched Employer-Employee Data, Fixed Effects.
    JEL: C33 J31 J41
    Date: 2008–05
  2. By: Lundgren, Tommy (Umeå School of Business)
    Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the economic mechanisms behind corporate social responsibility (CSR) in a micro-economic model of the firm. The motivation of this study is to shed some light on the potential causes of the observed phenomena of voluntary over-compliance among firms. We consider a few diferent models, both static and dynamic, to investigate how various assumptions about costs and benefits may aspect CSR behavior through a stock of goodwill capital. Our analysis show that in optimum, the profit maximizing firm must balance costs and benefits of CSR. From a cursory look into the CSR literature, we find evidence that some of the hypotheses that can be derived from the models in this paper can be verified empirically.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility; dynamics; goodwill; uncertainty
    Date: 2007–11–22
  3. By: Arijit Mukherjee
    Abstract: In a bilateral oligopoly, Ghosh and Morita (‘Social desirability of free entry: a bilateral oligopoly analysis, 2007, IJIO) show that entry is always socially insufficient if the upstream agents have sufficiently strong bargaining power. We show that this conclusion is very much dependent on the use of “efficient bargaining” model in their analysis. Using a “right-to-manage” model, we show that, even if the upstream agents have full bargaining power, entry is excessive in a bilateral oligopoly if the cost of entry is not very high. Hence, whether the anti-competitive entry regulation is justified under bilateral oligopoly depends on the bargaining structure between the upstream and the downstream agents.
    Keywords: Bilateral oligopoly; Excessive entry; Free entry; Insufficient entry
  4. By: Baldwin, John R.; Lileeva, Alla
    Abstract: The paper investigates how Canadian manufacturing plants adjust to an increase in low-wage import competition by changing their commodity portfolios. At the commodity level, we distinguish between 'core' versus 'peripheral' and differentiated versus homogeneous commodities. We also account for cost and technological complementarities using input-output linkages between commodities produced by a plant. We document large commodity turnover within plants over the period from 1988 to 1996. The largest changes happened in multi-commodity plants and involved peripheral commodities. The commodities that were affected the most were those commodities that are potentially used as inputs in production of the 'core' commodity; homogeneous (rather than differentiated) commodities; and, commodities with relatively weak input complementarities with the core product. Plants experiencing large import competition shifted their output toward production of their core commodity and away from production of unrelated peripheral commodities.
    Keywords: Manufacturing, Business performance and ownership, Business adaptation and adjustment
    Date: 2008–05–16
  5. By: Ali Béjaoui; Claude Montmarquette
    Abstract: The labour market’s ability to adjust to the current demographic shock is a central concern for labour market policies. An aging population could affect the economy’s ability to adjust, not only to the aging population shock itself, but also to those associated with the business cycle, international trade and technological changes (Kuhn, 2003). This study contributes to discussions about the ways in which organizations adjust to such an increasingly turbulent environment. Among others, seniority-based pay has been identified as a factor that could potentially hinder an organization’s ability to adjust to the market, within the context of an aging workforce. This study focuses on the use of non-standard jobs (or numerical flexibility) and variable compensation as strategies to avoid seniority-based pay. Using unique data that match employers and employees at the micro level, we investigated the link between the demographic composition of workplaces and the adoption of either or both « flexibilization » strategies. Consequently, we conclude that there is no link between workplace demographics and the adoption of variable compensation. However, a high proportion of older workers (45 years and older) in the workplace is positively related to the use of numerical flexibility. Moreover, a complementarity in the use of both strategies emerged from our study. The implications of these results on policies are numerous. If organizations continue experiencing difficulties in resorting to flexible compensation, they will likely continue to adjust by relying on numerical flexibility. While this type of flexibility allows older workers to ease into retirement gradually, women to cope with both working and caring for children or aging parents, and youths to combine work and studies, it can also have detrimental effects. Over time, this flexibilization strategy can lead to an underinvestment in training, a lack of savings for retirement and an increase in wage inequalities. The main challenge of the new generation of public policies lies in the identification of an effective compromise between incentives and activation programs that would allow a balance between economic imperatives (flexibility) and social aspirations (security). <P>La manière dont le marché du travail s’ajuste au choc démographique est au centre des préoccupations des politiques du marché du travail. En effet, le vieillissement de la population pourrait affecter la capacité de l’économie à s’ajuster, non seulement au choc de vieillissement lui-même, mais aussi aux chocs engendrés par les cycles économiques, le commerce international et les changements technologiques (Kuhn, 2003). La présente étude contribue au débat portant sur la manière dont les entreprises s’ajustent à un environnement devenu de plus en plus turbulent. Entre autres, le salaire à l’ancienneté a été identifié comme l’un des facteurs qui pourraient freiner la capacité des entreprises à s’ajuster au marché, dans un contexte de vieillissement de la main-d’œuvre. Cette étude se penche sur le recours aux emplois non standards (ou la flexibilité numérique) et l’adoption de la rémunération variable comme stratégies d’évitement du salaire à l’ancienneté. En utilisant des données uniques qui apparient les employeurs et les employés au niveau des établissements, nous avons estimé l’impact de la composition démographique des établissements sur le recours à l’une ou l’autre des stratégies de flexibilisation. Nous concluons que la composition démographique des établissements n’est pas associée à la probabilité de recours à la rémunération variable. Par contre, la proportion des travailleurs âgés (45 ans et plus) dans un établissement est associée positivement à la probabilité de recourir à la flexibilité numérique. De même, une complémentarité entre les deux stratégies de flexibilisation a été mise en évidence. Les implications politiques de ces résultats sont multiples. Si les entreprises continuent à avoir des difficultés à instaurer des systèmes de rémunération flexible, elles continueront de s’ajuster en recourant à la flexibilité numérique. Bien que cette flexibilité ait permis aux travailleurs âgés de combiner le travail avec une retraite progressive, aux femmes de combiner le travail avec les soins des enfants et des parents, et aux jeunes de combiner le travail et les études, elle peut avoir des effets néfastes à long terme. Cette stratégie de flexibilisation peut entraîner, à long terme, un sous investissement dans la formation, un manque d’épargne-retraite ainsi qu’une accentuation des inégalités salariales. Le défi de la nouvelle génération des politiques publiques consiste à identifier le compromis entre les incitatifs et les programmes d’activation qui permettrait d’atteindre un équilibre entre les impératifs économiques (la flexibilité) et les aspirations sociales (la sécurité).
    Keywords: labour market, remuneration, flexibility and security, aging population, marché du travail, rémunération, flexibilité et sécurité, vieillissement
    JEL: J26 J33 J81
    Date: 2008–05–01
  6. By: Olivier Dagnelie
    Abstract: Agents voluntarily contribute to an infinitely repeated joint project. We investigate the conditions for cooperation to be a renegotiation-proof and coalition-proof equilibrium before examining the influence of output share inequality on the sustainability of cooperation. When shares are not equally distributed, cooperation requires agents to be more patient than under perfect equality. Beyond a certain degree of share inequality, full efficiency cannot be reached without redistribution. This model also explains the coexistence of one cooperating and one free-riding coalition. In this case, increasing inequality can have a positive or negative impact on the aggregate level of effort.
    Date: 2008–05–10
  7. By: Paula Sarmento (CETE and Faculty of Economics, University of Porto); António Brandão (CETE and Faculty of Economics, University of Porto)
    Abstract: In this paper we compare the costs of two regulatory policies about the entry of new firms. We consider an incumbent firm that has more information about the market demand than the regulator. Then, the incumbent firm can use this advantage to persuade the regulator to make entry more difficult. With the first regulatory policy the regulator uses the incumbent price pre-regulation to get information about the demand. With the second regulatory policy the regulator design a mechanism to motivate the incumbent firm to price truthfully. We conclude that, for enough high values of the probability of low demand, the welfare is higher with the second (more active) regulatory policy.
    Keywords: asymmetric information, entry regulation, signalling, adverse selection
    JEL: C73 D82 L13 L51
    Date: 2008–05
  8. By: Simonetta Longhi (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: The wage curve literature suggests a negative relationship between regional unemployment rates and regional wages; the most widely accepted explanations are efficiency wage and labour turnover costs theories in which the unemployment rate is a measure of job competition. Since it fails to correctly measure labour supply and demand, however, the unemployment rate is likely to be a biased measure of job competition. This paper analyses the robustness of the wage curve to different ways of measuring job competition using data for the UK over the period 1997-2005 and concludes that efficiency wage and labour turnover costs theories do not seem to offer satisfactory explanations of the wage curve phenomenon.
    Keywords: job search, unemployment, wages
    Date: 2007–10
  9. By: Andreou Elena; Pelloni Alessandra; Sensier Marianne
    Abstract: We provide empirical support for a DSGE model with nominal wage stickiness where growth is driven by learning-by-doing and money shocks and their variance are allowed to impact on long-run output growth. In our theoretical model the variance of monetary shocks has a negative effect on growth, while output volatility is good for growth as a positive relationship exists. Utilising a bivariate GARCH-M model we test the empirical conditional mean and variance relationships of nominal money and production growth rates in the G7 countries. We corroborate the theoretical model predictions with evidence from Bonferroni multiple tests across the G7.
    JEL: C32 E32 O42
    Date: 2008–04
  10. By: Topi, Jukka (Bank of Finland Research)
    Abstract: In this paper, I develop a model that addresses the links between banks’ liquidity outlook and their incentives to take credit risk. Assuming that both bank-specific liquidity shocks and credit losses are necessary to provoke bank runs, the model predicts that a bank’s incentives to mitigate its credit risk by screening decrease if the probability of a bank-specific liquidity shock declines. This suggests that the benign liquidity outlook prevailing prior to the subprime crisis may have contributed to the lack of screening by banks that has been an important causal factor in the crisis.
    Keywords: liquidity; credit risk screening; bank runs
    JEL: G12 G21 G28
    Date: 2008–05–14
  11. By: Christoph Engel (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: Much of behavioural research, both in economics and in psychology, is limited in one respect: it tests isolated individuals. In many practically relevant situations, there are discernible actors, but these actors are not individuals. Rather firms, regulatory bodies, associations, countries or international organisations become active. The social problem at hand is best understood if one attributes judgement and decision making to higher level aggregates of individuals. Which elements from the rich body of behavioural evidence transfer to these corporate actors? Are there other deviations from the predictions of the rational choice model, not present or studied in individuals? This paper surveys the empirical literature from experimental economics, psychology, sociology and law. While some building blocks, like the behaviour of managers and of ad hoc groups, are relatively well understood, our knowledge about the effects of more elaborate internal structure on the dealings of corporate actors with the outer world is still relatively limited.
    Keywords: Behaviour, Firms, Organizations, Associations, Groups
    JEL: C92 D21 D23 K22 L20
    Date: 2008–05
  12. By: ITO Keiko; Sebastien LECHEVALIER
    Abstract: There is a growing body of literature analyzing empirically the evolution of productivity dispersion at the firm level and its determinants. This paper contributes to this literature by investigating the case of Japanese firms during the so-called gLost Decadeh (1992-2005), which is still under-analyzed. We use a firm-level panel dataset taken from a large-scale administrative survey, the Basic Survey of Japanese Business Structure and Activities (BSBSA) for the years 1994-2003. Our results can be summarized as follows. First, we confirm that there was an overall increase in both labor productivity and total factor productivity dispersion, especially in the manufacturing sector from 1998 onward. Second, in the case of Japanese firms during the Lost Decade, and contrary to what has been found for some other countries, we find no significant impact of the introduction of information and communication technologies (ICT) on productivity dispersion. On the other hand, we do find evidence of a significant and positive impact of internationalization on productivity dispersion. In addition, the evolution of the competitive environment appears to play a role: we find that the increase in the Hershman-Herfindahl index observed in some sectors, which characterizes a more oligopolistic environment, is associated with an increase in productivity dispersion.
    Date: 2008–05
  13. By: Ron Boschma; Rikard Eriksson; Urban Lindgren
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of skill portfolios and labour mobility on plant performance by means of a unique database that connects attributes of individuals to features of plants for the whole Swedish economy. We found that a portfolio of related competences at the plant level increases significantly productivity growth of plants, in contrast to plant portfolios consisting of either similar or unrelated competences. Based on the analysis of 101,093 job moves, we found that inflows of skills that are related to the existing knowledge base of the plant had a positive effect on plant performance, while the inflow of new employees with skills that are already present in the plant had a negative impact. Our analyses show that inflows of unrelated skills only contribute positively to plant performance when these are recruited in the same region. Labour mobility across regions only has a positive effect on productivity growth of plants when this concerns new employees with related skills.
    Keywords: labour mobility, related variety, skill portfolio, plant performance, geographical proximity
    JEL: R11 R12 O18
    Date: 2008–05

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