nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2005‒03‒06
ten papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Asset allocation in the euro-zone: industry or country based? By Eiling,Esther; Gerad,Bruno; Roon,Frans de
  2. Altneuland : The EU Constitution in a Contextual Perspective By Neil Walker;Philip Pettit; Andras Sajo; Mark Tushnet; Ran Hirschl; Antje Wiener; Armin von Bogdandy; Miguel Poiares Maduro; Gianluigi Palombella; Otto Pfersmann; Luis Diez-Picazo; Paul Craig; George Bermann; Damian Chalmers; Mattias Kumm; Victor Ferreres Comella; Franz Mayer; Wolfgang Wessels
  3. Fiscal gimmickry in Europe: one-off measures and creative accounting By Vincent Koen; Paul van den Noord
  4. Environmental Kuznetz curves for CO2 : heterogeneity versus homogeneity By Vollebergh,Herman R.J.; Dijkgraag,Elbert; Melenberg,Bertrand
  5. Child Poverty and Family Transfers in Southern Europe By Matsaganis, Manos; Levy, Horacio; Mercader-Prats, Magda; Toso, Stefano; O’Donoghue, Cathal; Coromaldi, Manuela; Rodrigues, Carlos Farinha; Tsakloglou, Panos
  6. Child poverty and changes in child poverty in rich countries since 1990 By Miles Corak; Wen-Hao Chen
  7. The impact of tax and transfer systems on children in the European Union By Holly Sutherland; Miles Corak; Christine Lietz
  8. Measuring lifetime redistribution in Dutch collective arrangements By Harry ter Rele
  9. The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment in Germany By Fertig, Michael; Kluve, Jochen
  10. Incentives to Work: The Case of Germany By Alfred Boss; Thomas Elendner

  1. By: Eiling,Esther; Gerad,Bruno; Roon,Frans de (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We investigate the relative importance of country and industry factors as determinants of international equity returns in the Euro-zone over the period 1990 to 2003. We conduct our analysis from a portfolio performance perspective, using mean-variance spanning and efficiency tests as well as style analysis, and show how to adjust the tests for time varying market wide volatility. Although unconditional analysis over the full sample suggests that country-based or industry-based EMU-wide portfolios provide similar risk-return trade-offs, a rolling window analysis indicates a striking change in the structure of equity returns in the Euro-zone over the last decade. From 1992 to 1998 country-based strategies outperform industry-based strategies: country based strategies offer higher Sharpe ratios and higher diversification potential as indicated by both spanning tests and style analysis. In the preconvergence period, equity returns in the EMU-zone clearly had a country structure. In contrast, after the introduction of the Euro the country outperformance has disappeared, both in terms of mean-variance efficiency and in terms of mimicking abilities. Industry factors and country factors are now equally important. Our findings suggest that following the adoption of the single currency, Euro-zone sector-based strategies, while not dominating country-based strategies, offer similar risk return trade-offs and diversification benefits.
    JEL: G11 G15
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Neil Walker;Philip Pettit; Andras Sajo; Mark Tushnet; Ran Hirschl; Antje Wiener; Armin von Bogdandy; Miguel Poiares Maduro; Gianluigi Palombella; Otto Pfersmann; Luis Diez-Picazo; Paul Craig; George Bermann; Damian Chalmers; Mattias Kumm; Victor Ferreres Comella; Franz Mayer; Wolfgang Wessels
    Abstract: Altneuland: The European Constitutional Terrain It is in many respects a New Land - for the first time the Union is openly, officially using the word Constitution in its formal self-understanding. But this, in turn, places it, at least lexically, in the age old terrain of constitutionalism which has been around in its modern guise at least since the American and French Revolutions. Altneuland captures another sense of the current constitutional moment. For some, to judge from the hype, we are at the dawn of a monumental change, historic in its implications. For others, if we were to strike the odd word "Constitution" from the text of the Pending Draft, what we would find is just the latest, quite (but not very) important Treaty revision, in a series of revisions which has characterized the European Union for some time. Indeed, it could be argued, that there is nothing in the content of this Draft to justify the appellation "Constitution," all the more so, after the cannibalism of the June IGC. Not, then, a New Land but Old Hat. There is no Old Hat in the series of Papers which we present here, the results of a collaboration of NYU Law and Princeton. These are not 'Reports' on the various developments to be found in the Draft which will now go before the European peoples. Practicing lawyers will not reach out to these Working Papers when they ponder the significance of Article X or Y. We invited the contributors to engage in a reflection au fond , critically to examine the broader and deeper meanings of the process and its resulting text. We then seduced them to New York City and Princeton and once here threw them into a Lion's Den of American and European political scientists, comparative constitutionalists and historians who all had the instruction to go for the jugular. The results, I believe, vindicate the ordeal. The papers are arranged in three sections. In Part One, we included papers that looked at the project as a whole in a comparative, historical and/or political context. Part Two includes the papers that examined some broad, horizontal constitutional items within the text itself. Part Three is given to papers which look at the architectural, institutional and constitutional landmarks within the text. All repay careful study.
    Keywords: constitution building; constitutional change; democracy; democratization; democratization; European identity; Europeanization; Europeanization; governance; multilevel governance; multilevel governance; national autonomy; Nation-state; Nation-state; participation; pluralism; policy coordination; policy coordination; policy coordination; polity building; polity building; public administration; regulation; social democracy; supranationalism; competences; European citizenship; European law; subsidiarity; transparency; supremacy; Amsterdam Treaty; Constitution for Europe; enlargement; European Convention; founding Treaties; IGC 1996; IGC 2000; intergovernmental conferences; Maastricht Social Protocol; Maastricht Treaty; Nice Treaty; Social Charter; Treaty on European Union; treaty reform; institutions; legislative procedure; national parliaments; European Commission; European Council; European Court of Justice; European Parliament; history; law; political science
    Date: 2004–09–13
  3. By: Vincent Koen; Paul van den Noord
    Abstract: Accounting conventions usually leave some room for judgment, which governments may be tempted to take advantage of, especially when fiscal rules bite or threaten to do so. The European experience over the past decade documented here in great detail illustrates that fiscal gimmicks come in many different guises, but also that some are less mischievous than others. Logit regression analysis confirms that when deficit rules or, to a lesser extent, debt thresholds tend to become more binding, recourse to gimmicks is more likely. It also suggests that more centralised budget systems are less prone to such gimmickry. The policy implications are clear as regards the virtues of transparent and consistent accounting practices, but more ambiguous regarding the merits or otherwise of one-off measures. <p> Astuces budgétaires en Europe: mesures non récurrentes et créativité comptable <p> En général, les conventions comptables sont sujettes à interprétation, et les gouvernements peuvent être tentés d'en profiter, notamment lorsqu'ils sont contraints, ou en voie de l'être, par des règles budgétaires. L'expérience européenne au cours de la décennie écoulée décrite ici avec force détails montre que les astuces budgétaires sont protéiformes, mais aussi que certaines posent moins de problèmes que d'autres. Des régressions logit confirment que lorsque les règles sur les déficits ou, dans une moindre mesure, les seuils d'endettement deviennent plus contraignants, la probabilité d'un recours à des astuces augmente. Elles corroborent également l'idée que les astuces tendent à être moins employées dans des systèmes budgétaires plus centralisés. Les implications de politique économique sont claires s'agissant des vertus de la transparence et de la cohérence des comptes, mais plus ambiguës concernant les mérites ou inconvénients des mesures non récurrentes.
    Keywords: Budgets; Economic and Monetary Union; fiscal deficit; fiscal rules; fiscal gimmicks; national accounts; political economy; public debt; Stability and Growth Pact
    JEL: D78 E61 H6 H27 H74 H81 H82 H87
    Date: 2005–02–10
  4. By: Vollebergh,Herman R.J.; Dijkgraag,Elbert; Melenberg,Bertrand (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We explore the emissions income relationship for CO2 in OECD countries using various modelling strategies. Even for this relatively homogeneous sample, we find that the inverted-U-shaped curve is quite sensitive to the degree of heterogeneity included in the panel estimations. This finding is robust, not only across different model specifications but also across estimation techniques, including the more flexible non-parametric approach. Differences in restrictions applied in panel estimations are therefore responsible for the widely divergent findings for an inverted-U shape for CO2. Our findings suggest that allowing for enough heterogeneity is essential to prevent spurious correlation from reduced-form panel estimations. Moreover, this inverted U for CO2 is likely to exist for many, but not for all, countries.
    JEL: C33 Q50 Q50 O50
    Date: 2005
  5. By: Matsaganis, Manos (Matsaganis); Levy, Horacio (Autonomous University of Barcelona); Mercader-Prats, Magda (Autonomous University of Barcelona); Toso, Stefano (University of Bologna); O’Donoghue, Cathal (National University of Ireland at Galway and IZA Bonn); Coromaldi, Manuela (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Rodrigues, Carlos Farinha (Technical University of Lisbon); Tsakloglou, Panos (Athens University of Economics & Business and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: The drive to reduce child poverty is of particular interest in southern Europe, where the subsidiary role of the State in matters of family policy has implied that programmes of public assistance to poor families with children are often meagre or not available at all. The paper examines the effect of family transfers (used broadly to include contributory family allowances, non-contributory child benefits and tax credits or allowances) on child poverty in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Using the European microsimulation model EUROMOD, the paper first assesses the distributional impact of existing family transfers and then explores the scope for policy reforms. By way of illustration, the effects of universal child benefit schemes similar to those in Britain, Denmark and Sweden are simulated. The paper concludes with a discussion of key findings and policy implications.
    Keywords: child poverty, social transfers, fiscal benefits, south Europe, microsimulation
    JEL: C81 D31 I38
    Date: 2005–03
  6. By: Miles Corak; Wen-Hao Chen
    Abstract: This paper documents levels and changes in child poverty rates in 12 OECD countries using data from the Luxembourg Income Study project, and focusing upon an analysis of the reasons for changes over the 1990s. The objective is to uncover the relative role of income transfers from the state in determining the magnitude and direction of change in child poverty rates, holding other demographic and labour market factors constant. As such the paper offers a cross-country overview of child poverty, changes in child poverty and the impact of public policy in North America and Europe. The paper offers a set of country specific results, and also attempts to draw general lessons. First, family and demographic forces play only a limited role in determining changes in child poverty rates. These forces change only gradually and are limited in their ability to cushion children from detrimental shocks originating in the labour market or in the government sector, which are the sources of the major forces determining the direction of change in child poverty. Second, in countries facing severe economic crises it does not appear that the amount of social transfers available were increased in a way to cushion children from these changes and put a backstop on their risk of low income. Indeed, just the opposite appears to have occurred in countries experiencing the largest increases in child poverty. Third, there is no single road to lower child poverty rates. Changes in income transfers need to be thought through in conjunction with the nature of labour markets. Reforms intended to increase the labour supply and labour market engagement of adults may or may not end up lowering child poverty rates. At the same time increases in the level of support have also been shown to be a central ingredient in lowering the child poverty rate both when it is very high and when it is already quite low. In the majority of the countries analyzed there has been little progress in reducing child poverty rates. Child poverty unambiguously fell in only three of the twelve countries under study, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Norway. In the remaining seven countries child poverty rates were essentially unchanged since 1990 or rose significantly. The analytical approach does not aim to consider the behavioural interactions between the various variables on incomes. Nonetheless the analysis might be seen as a starting point for discussions of the extent to which children in some relatively rich countries have experienced changes in the risk of living in low income given the standards prevailing during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
    Keywords: Child Poverty; Child-Related Policies;; Developed Countries;
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Holly Sutherland; Miles Corak; Christine Lietz
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to analyse the impact of fiscal policy on the economic resources available to children, and on the child poverty rate. A static microsimulation model specifically designed for the purposes of comparative fiscal analysis in the European Union, EUROMOD, is used to study the age incidence of government taxes and transfers in 2001 in 15 EU countries. Three related questions are addressed. First, what priorities are currently embodied in government budgets across age groups, and in particular to what degree do cash transfer and tax systems benefit children relative to older groups? We find that in most countries children receive a higher proportion of their share of household income from government transfers than young and middle-aged adults, but this is not universally the case. Low income children receive 60 per cent to 80 per cent of their income from transfers in all countries with child poverty rates lower than 10 pr cent. But the proportion is much lower, 20 per cent to 30 per cent, in countries with higher child poverty rates. Further, in many high child poverty countries the low income population in their 50s receive a higher proportion of household disposable income from state transfers than those younger than 18. These results are based on the broadest possible measure of public resources for children, one influenced not only by government budgets but also by the number of co-resident adults, transfer payments directed to them, and their labour market behaviour. For this reason we also examine only those payments from the state depending on the presence of children, and ask: what fraction of the needs of children are supported by elements of the tax and transfer systems directed explicitly to them? There is considerable cross-country variation in the fraction of the additional household needs arising from having children which is supported through government transfers. It is higher than 30 per cent in 10 out of the 15 countries we study, but in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent in others, and in some cases close to only 10 per cent. We also find that tax concessions are an important component in many countries and cannot be ignored in measuring public resources for children. Our third set of findings has to do with the relationship between the measures of public resources we calculate and child poverty: what impact do measures of public resources for children have on child poverty rates? We find that poverty rates would be much higher in all countries if there were no child contingent transfers being made. But countries with the lowest poverty rates are those in which children benefit a good deal from other transfers not necessarily directed to them. In some cases this is because of public support to working mothers and fathers, in others because of intra-household transfers from co-resident adults. In another set of countries with low poverty rates child contingent payments make a large contribution to child poverty reduction. These countries mainly make use of universal benefits and tax concessions. Though their systems are not particularly targeted on low income children they nevertheless perform well in protecting children from poverty. This is in contrast with countries targeting income to children in poverty, where levels of spending may be comparable but child poverty rates are higher.
    Keywords: Child Poverty; Child-Related Policies;; European Community;
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2005
  8. By: Harry ter Rele
    Abstract: This paper assesses how the system of Dutch collective arrangements redistributes between the rich and the poor. Its approach deviates from the way these issues are commonly dealt with by incorporating the full life cycle in the measurements rather than only the annual effects, and by including a larger part of the arrangements than is usually the case. <P> The measurements on redistribution are carried out using the level of educational attainment to classify the population. For an average, representative person of each level of education we measure, in terms of present values, the average net benefit from government. <P> The results show that the net benefits are positive for the lower levels of education and negative for the higher levels. The figures indicate a sizable redistribution from the rich to the poor and a significant reduction of welfare inequality. The net effect on income inequality is, however, substantially smaller than when it is measured on an annual basis.
    Keywords: redistribution; lifetime redistribution; comprehensive measurement; government; tax; taxes; social security; health insurance; pension; pensions; disability; unemployment; education
    JEL: D31 H24 H52 H53
    Date: 2005–02
  9. By: Fertig, Michael (RWI Essen and IZA Bonn); Kluve, Jochen (RWI Essen and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Determining the optimal age at which a child should enter school is a controversial topic in education policy. In particular, German policy makers, pedagogues, parents, and teachers have since long discussed whether the traditional, established age of school entry at 6 years remains appropriate. Policies of encouraging early school entry or increased consideration of a particular child's competency for school ("Schulfähigkeit") have been suggested. Using a dataset capturing children who entered school in the late 1960s through the late 1970s, a time when delaying enrolment was common, we investigate the effect of age at school entry on educational attainment for West and East Germany. Empirical results from linear probability models and matching suggest a qualitatively negative relation between the age at school entry and educational outcomes both in terms of schooling degree and probability of having to repeat a grade. These findings are likely driven by unobserved ability differences between early and late entrants. We therefore use a cut-off date rule and the corresponding age at school entry according to the regulation to instrument the actual age at school entry. The IV estimates suggest there is no effect of age at school entry on educational performance.
    Keywords: schooling, matching, instrumental variables
    JEL: I21 J13
    Date: 2005–03
  10. By: Alfred Boss; Thomas Elendner
    Abstract: Based on a description of the German system of taxes and transfers, the incentives to work are analyzed for several groups of the labor force. The effects of the “Hartz IV” reform (effective from 2005 onwards) on the incentives receive particular attention. It turns out that the marginal (explicit and implicit) tax rates for most groups of the labor force remain high. It is concluded that employment probably will not be affected significantly by that part of the reform which aims at strengthening the incentives to work. Other elements of “Hartz IV” are only touched on.
    Keywords: Income tax rates, contributions to social security, unemployment benefits, implicit tax rates, incentives to work
    JEL: H24
    Date: 2005–02

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