nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2005‒09‒11
twenty-one papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Employment Dynamics of Married Women in Europe By Pierre-Carl Michaud; Konstantinos Tatsiramos
  2. Trade Spillovers of Fiscal Policy in the European Union: A Panel Analysis By Roel Beetsma; Massimo Giuliodori; Franc Klaassen
  3. A Structural Estimation to Evaluate the Wage Penalty after Unemployment in Europe By José Ignacio García Pérez; Yolanda Rebollo Sanz
  4. Subjective Expectations and New Keynesian Phillips Curves in Europe By Janko Gorter
  5. Long-term ve. Short-term Contracts; A European perspective on natural gas By Karsten Neuhoff; Christian von Hirschhausen
  6. Job Creation and Destruction over the Business Cycles and the Impact on Individual Job Flows in Denmark 1980-2001 By Ibsen, Rikke; Westergaard-Nielsen, Niels
  7. At the Lower End of the Table: Determinants of Poverty among Immigrants to Denmark and Sweden By Blume, Kræn; Gustafsson, Björn; Pedersen, Peder J.; Verner, Mette
  8. Does Foreign Bank Entry Reduce Small Firms' Access to Credit? Evidence from European Transition Economies By Ralph de Haas; Ilko Naaborg
  9. The Interaction of Labor Market Regulation and Labor Market Policies in Welfare State Reform By Werner Eichhorst; Regina Konle-Seidl
  10. Work Disability is a Pain in the *****, Especially in England, The Netherlands, and the United States By James Banks; Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur van Soest
  11. Internal Capital Markets in Multinational Banks: Implications for European Transition Countries By Ralph de Haas; Ilko Naaborg
  12. Top Incomes in Sweden over the Twentieth Century By Roine, Jesper; Waldenström, Daniel
  13. On the Estimation and Forecasting of International Migration: How Relevant Is Heterogeneity Across Countries? By Herbert Brücker; Boriss Siliverstovs
  14. O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Effects of Having a Sibling on Geographic Mobility and Labor Market Outcomes By Helmut Rainer; Thomas Siedler
  15. Increasing role of foreign capital in Polish economy since 1993 By Pawlik, Konrad
  16. The use of permanent and temporary jobs across Spanish regions: Do unit labour cost differentials offer an explanation? By José Ignacio García Pérez; Yolanda Rebollo Sanz
  17. Discretionary Policy Interactions and the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level: A SVAR Analysis on French Data By Jerome Creel; Paola Monperrus-Veroni; Francesco Saraceno
  18. Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic By Zsolt Darvas; Andrew K. Rose; György Szapáry
  19. What Buys Happiness? Analyzing Trends in Subjective Well-Being in 15 European Countries, 1973-2002 By Christian Bjørnskov; Nabanita Datta Gupta; Peder J. Pedersen
  20. Did Political Constraints Bind During Transition? Evidence from Czech Elections 1990-2002 By Orla Doyle; Patrick Paul Walsh
  21. How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence From Micro Data By John Y. Campbell; João F. Cocco

  1. By: Pierre-Carl Michaud (RAND Corporation and IZA Bonn); Konstantinos Tatsiramos (IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We use eight waves from the European Community Household Panel (1994-2001) to analyze the intertemporal labor supply behavior of married women in six European countries (Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and United Kingdom) using dynamic binary choice models with different initial condition solutions and non parametric distributions of unobserved heterogeneity. Results are used to relate cross-country differences in the employment rate to the estimated dynamic regimes. We find that cross-country differences in the employment rate and the persistence of employment transitions of married women are mostly due to composition effects related to education and unobserved characteristics rather than state-dependence effects or the dynamic effect of fertility.
    Keywords: intertemporal labor supply, female employment, dynamic binary choice models, initial conditions
    JEL: C23 C25 D91 J22
    Date: 2005–07
  2. By: Roel Beetsma; Massimo Giuliodori; Franc Klaassen
    Abstract: We explore the international spillovers from fiscal policy shocks via trade in Europe. A fiscal expansion stimulates domestic activity, which leads to more foreign exports and, hence, higher foreign output. To quantify this, we combine a panel VAR model in government spending, net taxes and GDP with a panel trade model. On average, a public spending increase equal to 1% of GDP implies 2.3% more foreign exports over the first two years. The corresponding figure for an equal-size net tax reduction is 0.6%. Both estimates are statistically significant. As far as the effect on foreign activity is concerned, a 1% of GDP spending increase (net tax reduction) in Germany on average raises GDP of trading partners by 0.23% (0.06%) over the first two years. These figures are likely to form lower bounds for the actual effects and suggest that it may be worthwhile to further investigate the benefits from coordinated fiscal expansions (contractions) in response to European-wide cyclical downturns (upswings).
    Keywords: Fiscal shocks; trade spillovers; European Union; coordination; impulse responses.
    JEL: E62 F41 F42
    Date: 2005–08
  3. By: José Ignacio García Pérez (Centro de Estudios Andaluces); Yolanda Rebollo Sanz (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: We develop a partial equilibrium job search model to analyse wage mobility and its relation to job mobility. The basic job search model is generalized by introducing wage renegotiation at the firm level, on-the-job search and heterogeneity of individuals through the value of time while unemployed. Transitions into and out of unemployment, movement from one job to another without passing through unemployment, and wage growth on the job are all outcomes of this model. We estimate the model structurally in order to identify the sources of wage mobility in four European countries: Spain, Germany, France and Portugal. We find that German and Spanish workers tend to suffer larger wage penalties after unemployment than their French and Portuguese counterparts. Wage losses in Germany are larger and mainly related to better wage opportunities when employed, while in Spain wage losses are lower but tend to remain longer since wage growth while employed is lower than in Germany. We also use the model's structural parameters to evaluate the effect that different changes in the Unemployment Benefit system may have on wage changes after unemployment. We determine that a sole level for unemployment benefits (dependent on the national average wage level) reduces wage penalties for all workers with the exception of the highly educated.
    Keywords: Structural estimation, wage mobility, job mobility
    JEL: J60 J64 J31
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Janko Gorter
    Abstract: This paper assesses the empirical performance of the forward-looking new Keynesian Phillips curve (NKPC) in France, Germany and Italy for the period 1991.3-2004.4. Instead of imposing rational expectations, I use direct measures of inflation expectations constructed from Consensus Economics survey data. Dependent on the real marginal costs measure, I obtain significant and plausible estimates for the quarterly discount factor and the price rigidity parameter. When analyzing the role of lagged inflation, I find that only in France lagged inflation does not have explanatory power beyond predicting expected inflation. This suggests that only in France the standard forward-looking NKPC effectively captures quarterly inflation dynamics.
    Keywords: Inflation; Phillips Curve; Subjective Expectations
    JEL: E31
    Date: 2005–08
  5. By: Karsten Neuhoff; Christian von Hirschhausen
    Abstract: This paper analyses the economics of long-term gas contracts under changing institutional conditions, mainly gas sector liberalisation. The paper is motivated by the increasingly tense debate in continental Europe, UK and the US on the security of long-term gas supply. We discuss the main issues regarding long-term contracts, i.e. the changing role of the flexibility clause, the effect of abandoning the destination clause, and the strategic behaviour of producers between long-term sales and spot-sales. The literature suggests consumers and producers benefit from risk hedging through long-term contracts. Furthermore long-term contracts may reduce exercise of market power. This was argued to benefit consumers at the ‘expense’ of producers’ profits. Our analysis shows if the long-run demand elasticity is significantly lower than the short-run elasticity, both strategic producers and consumers benefit from lower prices and larger market volume. Some policy implications of the findings are also discussed.
    Keywords: contracts, gas, market power, demand elasticity, liberalisation, Europe
    JEL: L22 D L95
    Date: 2005–09
  6. By: Ibsen, Rikke (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business); Westergaard-Nielsen, Niels (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: Job creation and destruction should be considered as key success or failure criteria of the economic policy. Job creation and destruction are both effects of economic policy, the degree of out- and in-sourcing, and the ability to create new ideas that can be transformed into jobs. Job creation and destruction are results of businesses attempting to maximize their economic outcome. One of the costs of this process is that employees have to move from destroyed jobs to created jobs. The development of this process probably depends on labor protection laws, habits, the educational system, and the whole UI-system. A flexible labor market ensures that scarce labor resources are used where they are most in demand. Thus, labor turnover is an essential factor in a well-functioning economy. <p> This paper uses employer-employee data from the Danish registers of persons and workplaces to show where jobs have been destroyed and where they have been created over the last couple of business cycles. Jobs are in general destroyed and created simultaneously within each industry, but at the same time a major restructuring has taken place, so that jobs have been lost in Textile and Clothing, Manufacturing and the other “old industries”, while jobs have been created in Trade and Service industries. Out-sourcing has been one of the causes. This restructuring has caused a tremendous pressure on workers and their ability to find employment in expanding sectors. The paper shows how this has been accomplished. Especially, the paper shows what has happened to employees involved. Have they become unemployed, employed in the welfare sector or where?
    Keywords: job creation and job destruction; turnover of personnel; duration of unemployment; and impact of business cycles
    JEL: J63 M51 O51
    Date: 2005–09–02
  7. By: Blume, Kræn (Institute for Local Government Studies, Copenhagen); Gustafsson, Björn (University of Gothenburg and IZA Bonn); Pedersen, Peder J. (University of Aarhus, National Institute of Social Research, Copenhagen and IZA Bonn); Verner, Mette (Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: In this paper we study determinants of relative poverty among immigrants and natives in Denmark and Sweden during the 1980s and 1990s. Denmark and Sweden share the same properties in a range of labour market and welfare state characteristics. At the same time they differ very much in cyclical profiles and immigration experiences during recent decades. Both countries have followed the same principles regarding immigration policy, i.e. immigration from low income countries has been restricted to tied movers and refugees. We use 60 percent of the median in the distribution of equivalent disposable as poverty line. Data comes from two large panels based on administrative data. We find that immigrants have higher poverty rates than natives in both countries and that this difference has clearly increased in both countries. The paper reports results based on running probability models of poverty incidence. Explanatory variables include measures of years since immigration, demographic characteristics, and variables measuring country of origin. We conclude that a significant part of the difference in aggregate immigrant poverty rates reflect differences in composition by country of origin and differences in the structure of benefits to families with children.
    Keywords: poverty, immigrants, panel data
    JEL: F22 J15
    Date: 2005–03
  8. By: Ralph de Haas; Ilko Naaborg
    Abstract: On the basis of focused interviews with managers of foreign parent banks and their affiliates in Central Europe and the Baltic States, the development of small-business lending by foreign banks is analysed. Our approach allows us to complement the standard empirical literature, which has difficulty in analysing qualitative issues such as the role of changing lending technologies. It is found that the acquisition of local banks by foreign banks has not led to a persistent bias in these banks' credit supply towards large multinational corporations. Instead, increased competition and the improvement of subsidiaries' lending technologies have led foreign banks to gradually expand into the SME and retail markets.
    Keywords: foreign banks; transition economies; small-business lending
    JEL: F23 F36 G21
    Date: 2005–08
  9. By: Werner Eichhorst (IZA Bonn); Regina Konle-Seidl (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))
    Abstract: Employment protection legislation, unemployment benefits and active labor market policy are Janus-faced institutions. On the one hand they are devices of insurance against labor market risk that provide income and employment security. On the other hand they influence the capacities of labor markets to adapt to changing economic conditions since institutional features of the welfare state also affect actors’ economic adaptation strategies. Insufficient labor market adaptability results in higher and more persistent unemployment. Hence, in order to in-crease the adaptability of European labor markets, reforms had to address these closely inter-acting policy areas. The first aim of the paper is to describe recent reforms of employment protection, unemployment insurance and active labor market policies in different European welfare states (Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany). The paper shows whether and to what extent national policy patterns converge in the direction of a new balance of flexibility and security with employment protection being eased and labor market policies being "activated" through a combination of "carrots and sticks". Secondly, in terms of the political economy of welfare state reforms, the paper will answer the question whether consistent reforms of the three institutions are more likely in political systems characterized by relative strong government and/or social partnership since such institutional prerequisites may favor "package deals" across policy areas.
    Keywords: employment protection, labor market policy, unemployment insurance, labor market reform
    JEL: J58 J68 J65
    Date: 2005–07
  10. By: James Banks; Arie Kapteyn; James P. Smith; Arthur van Soest
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of pain in determining self-reported work disability in the US, the UK and The Netherlands. Even if identical questions are asked, cross-country differences in reported work disability remain substantial. In the US and the Netherlands, respondent evaluations of work limitations of hypothetical persons described in pain vignettes are used to identify the extent to which differences in self-reports between countries or socio-economic groups are due to systematic variation in the response scales.
    JEL: J28 I12 C81
    Date: 2005–08
  11. By: Ralph de Haas; Ilko Naaborg
    Abstract: We use focused interviews with bank managers to analyse how multinational banks use internal capital markets to control their subsidiaries. It is found that foreign bank affiliates are strongly influenced by the capital allocation and credit steering mechanisms of the parent bank. Parent banks generally set credit growth targets, which may then be supported by book capital and debt funding. This passive approach establishes a minimum amount of local book capital and is driven by regulatory considerations. In addition, some banks have started to use semi-active economic capital models. By charging subsidiaries for the use of economic capital, parent banks introduce a constraint at the individual loan level. This bottom-up approach determines the pace at which subsidiaries are able to meet their credit growth targets. Our findings suggest that the credit growth of subsidiaries may critically depend on the financial position of the parent bank.
    Keywords: foreign banks; transition economies; internal capital markets
    JEL: F23 F36 G21 G31 G32
    Date: 2005–08
  12. By: Roine, Jesper (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); Waldenström, Daniel (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper presents homogenous series of top income shares in Sweden from 1903 to 2003 using individual tax returns data. We find that Swedish top incomes have developed more similarly to the US, Canada and the UK than to other continental European countries when capital gains are included. The top income shares are U-shaped over time, falling steadily until around 1980 when they start increasing again. Around 2000 they reach levels similar to those found around 1950, before the expansion of the Swedish welfare state. However, unlike the Anglo-Saxon countries, where the recent increases were mainly driven by increased wage earnings inequality, Swedish top income shares have risen almost exclusively due to capital gains, a finding consistent with relatively high marginal wage taxes and internationally high price increases in financial and real estate markets since 1980. When excluding capital gains the increase in top income shares since 1980 almost disappears and the Swedish experience looks more like that of continental Europe. Furthermore, we also find that the largest decrease of top income shares happens between 1935 and the beginning of the 1950s, but not (as in the US and in France) during the war years, but before 1939 and after 1945 suggesting that the Swedish development was more driven by policy than by exogenous shocks.
    Keywords: Income inequality; Top incomes; Sweden; Taxation
    JEL: D31 H20 J30 N30
    Date: 2005–08–15
  13. By: Herbert Brücker (DIW Berlin and IZA Bonn); Boriss Siliverstovs (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: This paper performs a comparative analysis of estimation as well as of out-of-sample forecasting results of more than 20 estimators common in the panel data literature using the data on migration to Germany from 18 source countries in the period 1967-2001. Our results suggest that the choice of an estimation procedure has a substantial impact on the parameter estimates of the migration function. Out-of-sample forecasting results indicate the following: (i) the standard fixed effects estimators clearly outperforms the pooled OLS estimator, (ii) both the fixed effects estimators and the hierarchical Bayes estimator exhibit the superior forecast performance, (iii) the fixed effects estimators outperform GMM and other instrumental variables estimators, (iv) forecasting performance of heterogenous estimators is mediocre in our data set.
    Keywords: international migration, panel data, forecasting
    JEL: C23 C53 F22
    Date: 2005–07
  14. By: Helmut Rainer; Thomas Siedler
    Abstract: In most industrialized countries, more people than ever are having to cope with the burden of caring for elderly parents. This paper formulates a model to explain how parental care responsibilities and family structure interact in affecting children's mobility characteristics. A key insight we obtain is that the mobility of young adults crucially depends on the presence of a sibling. Our explanation is mainly, but not exclusively, based on a sibling power effect. Siblings compete in location and employment decisions so as to direct parental care decisions at later stages towards their preferred outcome. Only children are not exposed to this kind of competition. This causes an equilibrium in which siblings not only exhibit higher mobility than only children, but also have better labor market outcomes. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and from the American National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), we find strong evidence that confirms these patterns. The implications of our results are then discussed in the context of current population trends in Europe and the United States.
    Date: 2005–09–05
  15. By: Pawlik, Konrad (Department of Organisation and Management, Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: The regional integration and increasing role of the Central European Countries in globalization <p> processes raised the question of foreign direct investments inflow and its role in these Economies. <p> Poland, the first country that launched radical reforms and the largest country that joined recently <p> the European Union, pays special attention of the researchers in international economics and <p> business. This paper is introductory article opening up dissertation on technology transfer and <p> absorption to foreign affiliates in Poland in the years: 1993-2002. The paper carries out an analysis <p> of foreign companies and its role in different industries with regard to ownership control, <p> performance, and technology: transfer, absorption and complexity. The entire results are aggregated <p> and confronted in the comparative analysis with domestic private- and public- companies. The results <p> confirm significant increase of foreign control over their affiliates as well as the Polish market in <p> general. This implies larger amount of new greenfield investments that are mostly wholly owned <p> subsidiaries as well as using knowledge based view or transaction cost argumentation that there is <p> increasing transfer of tacit knowledge. Foreign companies invest more and implement more advanced <p> technical solutions than their domestic counterparts. Labour productivity and compensation per <p> employee are higher in foreign companies than in domestic firms, suggesting that employees in <p> foreign affiliates are more efficient, improving and absorbing new skills. Trends for profitability are <p> similar for domestic private companies, however foreign companies have the profits trend line flatter. <p> Foreign and intra-industry affiliates trade figures suggest growth in both aspects. The results <p> presented in this paper have clear policy implications for targeting of promotion activities to attract <p> FDI into Transition economies. Moreover, the paper open up the research ”box” for more profound <p> econometrical analysis that will be continued in the incoming dissertational articles.
    Keywords: Foreign capital; FDI; Polish Economy; technology; R&D activity; innovation
    Date: 2005–09–02
  16. By: José Ignacio García Pérez (Centro de Estudios Andaluces); Yolanda Rebollo Sanz (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: We study the use of permanent and temporary contracts across Spanish regions during the period 1995-2001. First we show that there are significant differences among the regional rates of permanent employment and that these differences tend to persist over time. To understand the underlying factors behind these observed differences we estimate a binary choice model for the individual probability of having a permanent contract, taking advantage of the panel data dimension of the Spanish Labour Force Survey. Our main results are that unit labour cost differentials, and thus labour productivity and total labour cost differentials, partially explain the divergence of regional permanent employment rates. Moreover, compared to the influence of regional fixed effects and other possible explanations such as sector specialisation or the presence of small firms in the region, unit labour costs explain more than two thirds of the observed variance in the permanent employment rate across Spanish regions, once all the relevant heterogeneity is taken into account .
    Keywords: Temporary Employment, Unit Labour Costs, Random Effects, Spanish Regions.
    JEL: C23 J23 J31 J41
    Date: 2005
  17. By: Jerome Creel (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques); Paola Monperrus-Veroni (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques); Francesco Saraceno (Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Économiques)
    Abstract: We estimate a SVAR model of the French economy. The econometric method originates in Blanchard and Perotti [Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2002] but owes also extensively to the fiscal theory of the price level (FTPL) that investigates the interactions between government surplus, debt accumulation and price dynamics. We have the objective, on the one hand, of assessing the effects of fiscal and monetary policy shocks on the economy; and, on the other, of studying the strategic interactions between fiscal and monetary authorities. As a consequence, the theoretical restrictions to identify our model are derived from a FTPL framework. Our estimations reveal so-called Keynesian features of fiscal and monetary shocks; meanwhile, they are consistent with the prediction of the FTPL as regards price dynamics. Although the first part of our findings agrees with most of the recent literature on the subject, the non-rejection of the FTPL is an originality.
    Keywords: Fiscal policy, Monetary policy, Fiscal theory of the price level, Structural VAR, France
    JEL: C32 E60 E63 H60
    Date: 2005
  18. By: Zsolt Darvas; Andrew K. Rose; György Szapáry
    Abstract: Using a panel of 21 OECD countries and 40 years of annual data, we find that countries with similar government budget positions tend to have business cycles that fluctuate more closely. That is, fiscal convergence (in the form of persistently similar ratios of government surplus/deficit to GDP) is systematically associated with more synchronized business cycles. We also find evidence that reduced fiscal deficits increase business cycle synchronization. The Maastricht “convergence criteria,” used to determine eligibility for EMU, encouraged fiscal convergence and deficit reduction. They may thus have indirectly moved Europe closer to an optimum currency area, by reducing countries’ abilities to create idiosyncratic fiscal shocks. Our empirical results are economically and statistically significant, and robust.
    JEL: F42
    Date: 2005–08
  19. By: Christian Bjørnskov (Aarhus School of Business); Nabanita Datta Gupta (Danish National Institute of Social Research and IZA Bonn); Peder J. Pedersen (University of Aarhus, Danish National Institute of Social Research and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Trends in life satisfaction are examined across 15 European countries employing a modified version of Kendall’s Tau. Analyses show that GDP growth relative to growth in the preceding period is a significant determinant of the trends; the same holds for the growth in life expectancy while the contemporaneous growth in the current account balance exerts a positive influence. Relative unemployment growth becomes significant when interacted with a measure of the long-run political ideology of the median voter. The effects of relative GDP growth vary with the political ideology variable.
    Keywords: subjective well-being, economic factors
    JEL: I31
    Date: 2005–07
  20. By: Orla Doyle (University College Dublin); Patrick Paul Walsh (Trinity College Dublin and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Many theoretical models of transition are driven by the assumption that economic decision making is subject to political constraints. In this paper we empirically test whether the winners and losers of economic reform determined voting behaviour in the first five national elections in the Czech Republic. We propose that voters, taking stock of endowments from the planning era, could predict whether they would become "winners" or "losers" of transition. Using survey data we measure the percentage of individuals by region who were "afraid" and "not afraid" of economic reform in 1990. We define the former as potential "winners" who should vote for pro-reform parties, while latter are potential "losers" who should support leftwing parties. Using national election results and regional economic indicators, we demonstrate that there is persistence in support for pro-reform and communist parties driven by prospective voting based on initial conditions in 1990. As a result, we show that regional unemployment rates in 2002 are good predictors of regional voting patterns in 1990.
    Keywords: political constraints, prospective economic voting, initial conditions
    JEL: D72 E24 E61
    Date: 2005–07
  21. By: John Y. Campbell; João F. Cocco
    Abstract: Housing is a major component of wealth. Since house prices fluctuate considerably over time, it is important to understand how these fluctuations affect households' consumption decisions. Rising house prices may stimulate consumption by increasing households' perceived wealth, or by relaxing borrowing constraints. This paper investigates the response of household consumption to house prices using UK micro data. We estimate the largest effect of house prices on consumption for older homeowners, and the smallest effect, insignificantly different from zero, for younger renters. This finding is consistent with heterogeneity in the wealth effect across these groups. In addition, we find that regional house prices affect regional consumption growth. Predictable changes in house prices are correlated with predictable changes in consumption, particularly for households that are more likely to be borrowing constrained, but this effect is driven by national rather than regional house prices and is important for renters as well as homeowners, suggesting that UK house prices are correlated with aggregate financial market conditions.
    JEL: D1 G1
    Date: 2005–08

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