nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2005‒05‒29
sixteen papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Liberalising the Dutch Electricity Market: 1998-2004 By Eric van Damme
  2. Productivity differentials in the U.S. and EU distributive trade sector: Statistical myth or reality? By Timmer, M.P.; Inklaar, R.
  3. Putting new economic geography to the test: Free-ness of trade and agglomeration in the EU regions By Brakman, S.; Garretsen, H.; Schramm, M.
  4. Cyclical productivity in Europe and the United States, evaluating the evidence on returns to scale and input utilization By Inklaar, R.
  5. Air pollution and the macroeconomy across European countries By Francisco Alvarez; Gustavo A. Marrero; Luis A. Puch
  6. Wellbeing and dependency among European elderly: The role of social integration By Corinne Mette
  7. Tax evasion and labour supply in Norway in 2003: Structural models versus flexible functional form models By Due-Andresen, Kari
  8. Do Government Subsidies Stimulate Training Expenditure? Microeconometric Evidence from Plant Level Data By Holger Görg; Eric Strobl
  9. When and how to create a job: The survival of new jobs in Austrian firms By René Böheim; Alfred Stiglbauer; Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
  10. Boosting growth through greater competition in Denmark By Martin Jørgensen
  11. Start-ups, firm growth and the consolidation of the French biotech industry By Avenel, E.; Corolleur, F.; Gauthier, C.; Rieu, C.
  12. Labour Market Policy in Germany: Institutions, Instruments and Reforms since Unification By Conny Wunsch
  13. Why Forcing People to Save for Retirement May Backfire By Monika Bütler; Olivia Huguenin; Federica Teppa
  14. Is Bank Portfolio Riskiness Procyclical? Evidence from Italy using a Vector Autoregression By Juri Marcucci; Mario Quagliariello
  15. Noname – A new quarterly model for Belgium By Philippe Jeanfils; Koen Burggraeve
  16. Do non-financial firms react to monetary policy actions as banks do? By Santiago Carbó Valverde; Rafael López del Paso

  1. By: Eric van Damme
    Date: 2005–05
  2. By: Timmer, M.P.; Inklaar, R. (Groningen University)
    Abstract: In this paper we asses whether productivity growth differentials between the U.S. and Europe in the distributive trade sector are real or mainly a statistical myth. New estimates of retail trade productivity are constructed, taking into account purchase prices of goods sold. We also adjust U.S. wholesale productivity growth for the upward bias due to the use of constant-quality prices of ICT-goods sales. We find that multifactor productivity growth in the U.S. has been higher than in Europe after 1995, but that this lead is smaller than suggested by national accounts based estimates. This finding is robust for various productivity measurement models.
    Date: 2005
  3. By: Brakman, S.; Garretsen, H.; Schramm, M. (Groningen University)
    Abstract: Based on a new economic geography model by Puga (1999), we use the equilibrium wage equation to estimate two key structural model parameters for the NUTS II EU regions. The estimation of these parameters enables us to come up with an empirically based free-ness of trade parameter. We then confront the empirically grounded free-ness of trade parameter with the theoretical relationship between this parameter and the degree of agglomeration. This is done for two versions of our model: one in which labor is immobile between regions, and one in which labor is mobile between regions. Overall, and in line with related studies, our main finding is that agglomeration forces still have only a limited geographical reach in the EU. Agglomeration forces appear to be rather localized
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Inklaar, R. (Groningen University)
    Abstract: This paper studies procyclical productivity growth at the industry level in the U.S. and in three European countries (France, Germany and the Netherlands). Industry-specific demand-side instruments are used to examine the prevalence of non-constant returns to scale and unmeasured input utilization. For the aggregate U.S. economy, unmeasured input utilization seems to explain procyclical productivity. However, this correction still leaves one in three U.S. industries with procyclical productivity. This failure of the model can also be seen in Europe and is mostly concentrated in services industries.
    Date: 2005
  5. By: Francisco Alvarez; Gustavo A. Marrero; Luis A. Puch
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of macroeconomic performance in shaping the evolution of air pollutants in a panel of European countries from 1990 to 2000. The analysis is addressed in connection with EU environmental regulation. We start by documenting the patterns of cross-country differences among different pollutants. We then interpret these differences within a neoclassical growth model with pollution. Three main pieces of evidence are presented. First, we analyze the existence of convergence of pollution levels within European economies. Second, we rank countries according to its performance in terms of emissions and growth. Third, we evaluate the evolution of emissions in terms of the targets signed for 2010.
  6. By: Corinne Mette
    Abstract: This study aims at highlighting the importance of social integration on the well-being of dependent elderly living at home. This question is important because, as we can observe, favouring social activities is not a priority for social policies regarding dependent elderly in Europe. Now, social activities and contacts improve dependent elderly’s well-being. Therefore, as depression is one of the factors leading to a dependency situation, to attach greater importance to social measures favouring dependent elderly social integration should allow to decrease their depression rate and, consequently, should allow to decrease their demand for care too. The data used in this study stem from the European Community Household Panel (ECHP). Major results are: health perception is strongly and positively correlated with satisfaction with the main activity. The importance of the correlation decreases however a little when social integration variables are included in the model. Except for “owning a phone”, these latter variables have equally significant effects on satisfaction with the main activity. Dependent elderly who are member of a club, those who often meet their friends and relatives and those who often talk with their neighbours declare a higher satisfaction than the rest. Satisfaction is largely correlated with the country of residence. Dependent elderly from Southern countries and from Ireland declare to be less satisfied with their main activity than those from North or Central Europe. In terms of housing situation, having a comfortable dwelling leads to a higher satisfaction while living in a household composed by several persons leads to a lower satisfaction. The standard of living is linked with satisfaction: both household and personal income increase satisfaction. Lastly, dependency-related social transfers have no effect on satisfaction with the main activity.
  7. By: Due-Andresen, Kari (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: A Box-Cox structural utility model is estimated on tax evasion survey data and it is shown that this model gives a better representation of individual utility maximizing behavior than a flexible model, represented by a polynomial of degree 3. It is found that an overall wage increase has a positive impact on hours worked in the regular part of the economy and a negative impact on hours work in the irregular part.
    Keywords: Labor Supply; Tax Evasion; Survey Data; Microeconometrics
    JEL: C25 D12 D81 H26 J22
    Date: 2005–05–10
  8. By: Holger Görg (University of Nottingham, DIW Berlin and IZA Bonn); Eric Strobl (Université de Paris X-Nanterre and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether financial assistance provided by government induces firms to spend more of their own funds on training expenditures, using plant level data for the Republic of Ireland. We pay particular attention to the potential problems in such an evaluation study, namely selectivity and endogeneity, by first identifying a valid counterfactual for grant receiving plants via a matching estimator and then employing a difference-indifferences technique on this matched sample. Our results show that there are differences in causal effects between domestic and foreign owned plants. For the former we find clear evidence that grant receipt stimulates private expenditure, while there are no statistically significant effects for foreign-owned plants based in Ireland.
    Keywords: training, government grants, matching, difference-in-differences
    JEL: J24 H25
    Date: 2005–05
  9. By: René Böheim (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria); Alfred Stiglbauer (Oesterreichische Nationalbank); Rudolf Winter-Ebmer (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria)
    Abstract: While the volatility of job creations has been studied extensively, the survival chances of new jobs are less researched. The question when and how to expand a firm is of importance, both from the firm’s and from a macro perspective. Adjustment cost theories and arguments about option values of investment in firm expansion make predictions about the timing, sequencing and form of firm expansions. When we analyze 21 years of job creation in Austria, we find that the survival of new jobs (and of new firms) depends upon the state of the business cycle at the time of job creation, on the number of jobs created, and on firm age. Jobs in new firms last longer than new jobs in continuing firms.
    Keywords: job creation; business cycle; reallocation; persistence
    JEL: J23 J63 E24 E32
    Date: 2005–05
  10. By: Martin Jørgensen
    Abstract: This paper discusses ways of strengthening the competitive environment in order to help boost productivity performance in various sectors of the Danish economy. It looks at a number of indicators of the strength of competition - including price levels, industrial concentration and product market regulation - and it discusses the appropriateness of the competition legislation framework. The paper then focuses on the large public sector, which has been slow to open up to competition, partly because of regulatory restrictions but also because some local governments are too small to handle tenders and provide an attractive market for private providers. The paper also looks at the process of liberalising network industries and at various regulations that still impede effective competition in a number of other sectors, including construction, housing, distribution and professional services. <p> Dynamiser la croissance en stimulant la concurrence au Danemark <p> Ce document examine les moyens de renforcer le cadre concurrentiel pour stimuler la productivité dans divers secteurs de l'économie du Danemark. Il passe en revue un certain nombre d'indicateurs de la vigueur de la concurrence - notamment le niveau des prix, la concentration industrielle et la réglementation des marchés de produits - et évalue l'adéquation du cadre législatif de la concurrence. L'analyse se porte ensuite sur le vaste secteur public, qui a tardé à s'ouvrir à la concurrence, du fait de restrictions réglementaires mais aussi parce que certaines collectivités locales sont trop petites pour gérer des appels d'offres et offrir un marché attractif à des prestataires privés. Ce document examine aussi le processus de libéralisation des industries de réseau ainsi que différentes réglementations qui font encore obstacle à une concurrence efficace dans plusieurs autres secteurs, dont la construction, le logement, la distribution et les services professionnels.
    Keywords: Denmark;competition; regulation; product markets; network industries; retail distribution; construction; public sector; competitive neutrality; public procurement; privatisation
    JEL: H4 K21 L1 L32 L33 L41 L43 L44 L8 L9 O52
    Date: 2005–05–18
  11. By: Avenel, E.; Corolleur, F.; Gauthier, C.; Rieu, C.
    Abstract: Based on an original dataset, we analyze empirically the determinants of firm growth in the French biotech industry during two periods, 1996-1999 and 1999-2002. We have two main results. First, Gibrat's law is violated. The growth of annual turnover is influenced by teh initial size of the firm. The effect is non-linear, negative for small firms. Second, location has a significant impact on growth. We use different sets of dummies to characterize location and different measures of firm growth. As a whole, our results point at Marseilles (and its region) and Nanterre (but not Paris and Evry) as favorable places for the growth of firms between 1999 and 2002. For the 1996-1999, the favorable places are Strasbourg (and Alsace) and Rhône-Alpes (Lyon/Grenoble). Our analysis thus suggests that the changes in the (notably legal) environment of French biotech firms that took place in 1999 had a drastic effect of the comparative advantages of locations for biotech firms.
    JEL: L25 L65 R30
    Date: 2005
  12. By: Conny Wunsch
    Abstract: Almost 15 years after Unification in 1990, Germany is still struggling with the economic consequences of this event. Although the East German economy has made considerable progress since its near-collapse after the German monetary, economic and social union in July 1990, the East German labour market has not yet recovered. Western Germany, which had to bear a substantial part of the fiscal cost of German Unification, is also faced with high unemployment though the rate is considerably lower than in the Eastern part. Expenditure for activation measures and income support during unemployment is substantial and one of the highest among OECD countries. In response to exploding cost of unemployment and continuing public pressure to solve the unemployment problem, the German Federal Government has started the largest social policy reform in the history of the Federal Republic. This paper reconstructs the development of the German labour market and the stepwise reform of German labour market policy since German Unification in 1990. It provides a detailed description of the instruments of German active labour market policy and reviews the existing econometric evidence on their effectiveness.
    JEL: J68
    Date: 2005–03
  13. By: Monika Bütler; Olivia Huguenin; Federica Teppa
    Abstract: Early retirement is predominantly considered to be the result of incentives set by social security and the tax system. But the Swiss example demonstrates that the incidence of early retirement has dramatically increased even in the absence of institutional changes. We argue that an actuarially fair, but mandatory funded system may also distort optimal individual allocation. If individuals are credit constraint (or just reluctant to borrow), a higher than desired retirement capital induces people to retire earlier than they would have in the absence of such a scheme. Individuals thus retire as soon as the retirement income is deemed sufficient the pension plan avails withdrawal of benefits. We provide evidence using individual data from a selection of Swiss pension funds, allowing us to perfectly control for pension scheme details. Our findings suggest that affordability is indeed a key determinant in the retirement decisions. The fact that early retirement has become much more prevalent in the last 15 years is a strong indicator for the importance of affordability as the maturing the Swiss mandatory funded pension system over that period has led to an increase in the already high effective replacement rates. Moreover, even after controlling for the time trend, the higher the accumulated pension capital, the earlier men, and - to a smaller extent - women, tend to leave the work force.
    JEL: D91 H31 J26
    Date: 2005–04
  14. By: Juri Marcucci; Mario Quagliariello
    Abstract: This study analyzes the cyclical behaviour of the default rates of Italian bank borrowers over the last two decades. A vector autoregression (VAR) modelling technique is employed to assess the extent to which macroeconomic shocks affect the banking sector (first round effect). The VAR also helps to disentangle the feedback effects from the financial system to the real side of the economy. We find evidence of the first round effect and some support for the feedback effect which operates via the bank capital channel.
    Keywords: First-round effect; procyclicality; feedback effects; VAR; banks; default rate
    JEL: C32 E30 E32 E44 G28
  15. By: Philippe Jeanfils (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department); Koen Burggraeve (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)
    Abstract: This paper gives an overview of the present version of the quarterly model for the Belgian economy built at the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). This model can provide quantitative input into the policy analysis and projection processes within a framework that has explicit micro-foundations and expectations. This new version is also compatible with the ESA95 national accounts. This model called Noname is relatively compact. The intertemporal optimisation problem of households and firms is subject to polynomial adjustment costs, which yields richer dynamic specifications than the more usual quadratic cost function. Other characteristics are: pricing-to-market and hence flexible mark-ups and incomplete pass-through, a CES production function with an elasticity of substitution between capital and labour below one, time-dependent wage contracting à la Dotsey, King and Wollman. Most of the equations taken individually have acceptable statistical properties and diagnostic simulations suggest that the impulse responses of the model to exogenous shocks are reasonable. Its structure allows simulations to be conducted under the assumption of rational expectations as well as under alternative expectations formations.
    Keywords: Econometric modelling, Pricing-to-market, CES production function, Wage bargaining, Polynomial adjustment costs, Rational expectations.
    JEL: C5 E2 E3 F41
    Date: 2005–05
  16. By: Santiago Carbó Valverde (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada); Rafael López del Paso (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)
    Abstract: The theory of the bank lending channel indicates that financial institutions with larger size, higher capitalisation and higher liquidity present a greater capacity to maintain their levels of credit supply in a situation of monetary contraction. However, there is a paucity of (European) studies that analyse the bank lending channel from the non-financial firms’ perspective. This paper analyzes the impact of monetary policy actions on a large sample of Spanish firms. The empirical evidence for Spain shows that the impact of size, solvency and liquidity are similar for banks and non-financial firms.
    Keywords: monetary policy transmission, bank lending channel, liquidity, non-financial firms, banks.
    JEL: E51 G21 D21
    Date: 2005–05–22

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