nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2006‒09‒30
27 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Product market reform and innovation in the EU By Rachel Griffith; Rupert Harrison; Helen Simpson
  2. How do mergers and acquisitions affect bondholders in Europe? : evidence on the impact and spillover of governance and legal standards By Renneboog,Luc; Szilagyi,Peter G.
  3. The New Keynesian Phillips Curve in the United States and the euro area: aggregation bias, stability and robustness By Bergljot Barkbu; Vincenzo Cassino; Aileen Gosselin-Lotz; Laura Piscitelli
  4. The Wage Effects of Social Norms: Evidence of Deviations from Peers’ Body-Mass in Europe By René Fahr
  5. The Euro Changeover and its Effects on Price Transparency and Inflation. By Giovanni Mastrobuoni; Wioletta Dziuda
  6. Financial Structure and its Impact on the Convergence of Interest Rate Pass-through in Europe. A Time-varying Interest Rate Pass-through Model By Schwarzbauer, Wolfgang
  7. Intraday Margining of Central Counterparties: EU Practice and a Theoretical Evaluation of Benefits and Costs By Froukelien Wendt
  8. Wealth and consumption: an assessment of the international evidence By Vincent Labhard; Gabriel Sterne; Chris Young
  9. Estimating a collective household model with survey data on financial satisfaction By Rob Alessie; Thomas Crossley; Vincent Hildebrand
  10. Housing Satisfaction, Homeownership and Housing Mobility: A Panel Data Analysis for Twelve EU Countries By Luis Diaz-Serrano
  11. Business Cycle Regimes in CEECs Production: a Threshold SUR Approach By Nektarios Aslanidis
  12. The R&D drop in European utilities. Should we care about it? By Sterlacchini, Alessandro
  13. Enlargement and the EU Periphery: The Impact of Changing Market Potential By Marius Brülhart; Matthieu Crozet; Pamina Koenig
  14. The Impact of Institutional Settings on Learning Behavior by Venture Capitalists and Start-Ups By Gatti, Anna; Vendelø , Morten Thanning
  15. Seasonal Cycles in European Agricultural Commodity Prices By Jumah, Adusei; Kunst, Robert M.
  16. Health and labor force participation of the elderly in Europe : what do objective health measures add to the analysis? By Kalwij,Adriaan; Vermeulen,Frederic
  17. What caused the early millennium slowdown? Evidence based on vector autoregressions By Gert Peersman
  18. Self-Employment and The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital By Nathalie Colombier; David Masclet
  19. Has the European ICT sector a chance to be competitive ? By Christian Genthon; Godefroy Dang Nguyen
  20. Do corporate financial patterns in European countries converge and testitfy for disintermediation? By Rivaud-Danset, Dorothée; Oheix, Valérie
  21. Macroeconomic Aspects of Structural Labor Market Reforms in Germany By Jonas Dovern; Carsten-Patrick Meier
  22. Finland`s Experiences and Challenges in the Euro Zone By Markku Kotilainen
  23. Determinants of long-term interest rates in the Scandinavian countries By Suzan Hol
  24. Innovative Work Practices, Information Technologies and Working Conditions: Evidence for France By Philippe Askenazy; Eve Caroli
  25. The determinants of household debt and balance sheets in the United Kingdom By Merxe Tudela; Garry Young
  26. EU Enlargement and the Internal Geography of Countries By Matthieu Crozet; Pamina Koenig
  27. France's search for institutional schemes to promote innovation : the case of genomics By Anne Branciard

  1. By: Rachel Griffith (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Rupert Harrison (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Helen Simpson (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: European Union countries have implemented widespread reforms to product markets in order to stimulate competition, innovation and economic growth. We provide empirical evidence that the reforms carried out under the EU Single Market Programme (SMP) were associated with increased product market competition, as measured by a reduction in average profitability, and with a subsequent increase in innovation intensity and productivity growth for manufacturing sectors. In our analysis we exploit exogenous variation in the expected impact of the SMP across countries and industries to identify the effects of reforms on average profitability, and the effects of profitability on innovation and productivity growth.
    JEL: L1 O31 O47
    Date: 2006–09
  2. By: Renneboog,Luc; Szilagyi,Peter G. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the comparative corporate governance literature by showing how crosscountry differences in governance and legal standards affect the bondholder wealth effects of European merger and acquisitions (M&As). Using investment-grade Eurobonds, we find some remarkable results. Firstly, M&As involving European firms are considerably more bondholder-friendly than are US domestic deals. Bidding firm bondholders earn economically significant positive returns, while target bondholders incur positive but insignificant returns. Overall, acquisitions do generate value to European bidding firms, but most of the wealth effect is captured by the bondholders. Secondly, bondholder gains in both bidding and target firms are systematically higher in M&As that involve Continental European firms. Thirdly, bidder abnormal bond returns are lower in cross-border deals. However, this is counterbalanced if creditor rights and the efficiency of credit contract enforcement are stronger in the target country. There is also strong evidence that, consistent with cross-border spillovers, improved creditor protection redistributes wealth from shareholders to bondholders. Finally, we document that bondholder wealth changes are subject to changes in asset risk and to a negative listing effect similar to that previously reported for changes in shareholder wealth.
    Keywords: Bondholder returns;Eurobonds;Mergers and acquisitions;Creditor rights; Takeover;Corporate governance;Shareholder returns;M&A;Insolvency
    JEL: G34 G32 G12 G14
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Bergljot Barkbu; Vincenzo Cassino; Aileen Gosselin-Lotz; Laura Piscitelli
    Abstract: In the recent past, the empirical literature on the New Keynesian Phillips Curve (NKPC) has grown rapidly. The NKPC has been shown to describe satisfactorily the relationship between inflation and marginal cost both for the United States and the euro area. However, little attention has been given so far to the stability and robustness of the parameters in the estimated NKPC. In this paper, we aim to help fill this gap. After estimating hybrid NKPCs on US and euro-area data using the generalised method of moments and having found that our results are broadly in line with previous findings, we subject our estimated NKPCs to a thorough stability analysis. We find that the estimated coefficients for the United States are stable, whereas those for the euro area are considerably less stable. We then investigate the possible reasons for this instability. One explanation, explored using the Andrews' test, is the presence of structural breaks. Another possibility is the presence of an aggregation bias, which we investigate by estimating NKPCs for the three largest euro-area economies: Germany, France and Italy. At this disaggregated level, the fit of the NKPC improves, but the coefficients are still unstable. Furthermore, the disaggregated analysis indicates the presence of structural breaks in the three largest euro-area economies.
  4. By: René Fahr (University of Cologne and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We investigate wage effects of deviations from peer group body mass index (BMI) to evaluate the influence of social norms on wages. Our approach allows for disentangling the influence of the social norm from any (anticipated) productivity effects associated with deviations from a clinically recommended BMI. Estimates of between effects models for 9 European countries for the years 1998-2001 suggest that the influence of the social norm varies considerably between countries and wage penalties are rather found for upward deviations from the norm and for men.
    Keywords: social norms, discrimination, body-mass-index, cross-country evidence, wage effects
    JEL: I10 J30 J70 M51
    Date: 2006–09
  5. By: Giovanni Mastrobuoni; Wioletta Dziuda
    Abstract: Despite the expectations of economists that the euro changeover would have no effect on prices, we show that European consumers perceived the contrary. The data indicate that consumers based their perceptions about inflation on goods that are cheaper and more frequently purchased. We use this insight to develop and estimate a model of imperfect information that explains why these goods were subject to higher price growth after the changeover. The data indicate that some retailers, aware of the consumers' diffculties in adopting the new currency, used the changeover to increase profits by increasing prices. We also propose an explanation of why this effect was smaller in more concentrated retail markets.
    Keywords: euro, currency changeover, imperfect information, search costs, price setting.
    JEL: D83 F33 L11
    Date: 2005
  6. By: Schwarzbauer, Wolfgang (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: So far studies concerned with the interest pass-through of monetary policy have not taken into account one central issue that arose in Europe in the late 1990s: the importance of financial structure for the convergence of monetary transmission. This study addresses this shortcoming. We estimate a time varying interest pass-through allowing us to test for the importance of financial structure and its impact on the convergence of the effects of monetary policy. We find convergence in banks' reaction to money market movements, which is additionally reduced in groups of countries with similar financial structure. Furthermore, there is a significant impact of financial structure on the extent of transmission of monetary policy impulses within the same month. Thus, differences in financial structure between countries must not be ignored when considering convergence of monetary transmission in Europe.
    Keywords: Convergence, Interest rate pass-through, EMU, Financial structure, Money and bank interest rates, Transmission mechanism
    JEL: E43 G21 E52
    Date: 2006–09
  7. By: Froukelien Wendt
    Abstract: Intraday margin is a generally accepted risk management tool of central counterparties to cover increased risk exposure during the day. Central counterparties may call for intraday margin on a routine basis, but also in case of extreme price volatility or large changes in positions of clearing members. An increase in the use of a routine intraday margin call can be seen at central counterparties in the EU. Three central counterparties have recently introduced a routine intraday margin call and two central counterparties intend to do so. This article explores the concept of intraday margin and its role within the risk management framework of the central counterparty. In addition, an overview is given of the benefits, cost and side effects of intraday margining to the central counterparty, its clearing members and the capital market in general. Finally, the article examines the practice of intraday margining of central counterparties in the EU and the differences in intraday margining policies.
    Keywords: Clearinghouse; Central counterparty; Replacement cost risk; Intraday margin.
    JEL: G29 G30
    Date: 2006–08
  8. By: Vincent Labhard; Gabriel Sterne; Chris Young
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to offer a critique of the existing literature on the link between wealth and consumption, as captured by the long-run marginal propensity to consume from financial wealth (mpcw). The international evidence suggests that the mpcw varies considerably across countries, and new estimates are presented, based on structural vector autoregressions (VARs) for eleven OECD countries, which tend to confirm this finding. It is argued that there is little theoretical rationale for a wide cross-country dispersion of the mpcw, and that the cross-country differences in empirical estimates may in fact reflect difficulties in the measurement of wealth across countries and a failure to account for the shocks causing changes in both consumption and wealth. Using a suitable panel technique, it is found that the hypothesis of a common long-run mpcw across countries cannot be rejected consistently, and a plausible estimate is obtained for the cross-section of eleven OECD countries. This estimate is a little over 6%, broadly consistent with estimates used in a wide range of policy models.
  9. By: Rob Alessie; Thomas Crossley (Institute for Fiscal Studies and McMaster University); Vincent Hildebrand
    Abstract: We estimate a collective household model with survey data on financial satisfaction from the European Community Household Panel. Our estimates suggest that cohabitating individuals enjoy returns to scale in consumption that are towards the larger end of the range of estimates reported in the literature. They also suggest that the share of household income provided by the female partner is a significant determinant of her share of household consumption in most countries of the countries we study.
    Keywords: Consumption, returns to scale, collective household models
    JEL: D12 D13 I31
    Date: 2006–09
  10. By: Luis Diaz-Serrano (Universitat Rovira i Virgili and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We investigate the determinants of housing satisfaction in twelve EU countries. To do so, we use panel data covering the period 1994-2001, which allows us to control for individual heterogeneity. We carry out separate estimates on the determinants of housing satisfaction for homeowners and for renters and observe that: i) the tenure status is critical in determining the level of housing satisfaction; ii) housing satisfaction acts as trigger event of housing mobility, and; iii) dissatisfied renters are more likely to move than their homeowners counterparts. Our results also allow us to conclude that self-reported housing satisfaction is a meaningful variable able to explain individual’s objective economic behavior, since it is able to anticipate movements in the households’ demand for housing.
    Keywords: housing satisfaction, random-effects, fixed-effects, housing mobility, homeownership
    JEL: D1 R0 J0
    Date: 2006–09
  11. By: Nektarios Aslanidis
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to study economic activity in CEECs and to look at the transmission of economic activity between the euro area and CEECs. Econometric techniques appropriate for a threshold seemingly unrelated regressions specification are developed to take account of factors that are common to all CEECs. This methodology also allows for asymmetries in the activity of the CEECs governed by the overall euro area activity. The results show slow growth for most CEECs when the euro area economy decelerates, but high growth when the euro area economy grows.
    Keywords: threshold SUR, asymmetry, business cycles
    JEL: C50 E32
  12. By: Sterlacchini, Alessandro
    Abstract: By using accounting data from the largest utility companies of Europe, this note illustrates the recent R&D performance in energy and telecommunication. Although not all the companies under consideration behaved symmetrically, most of them reduced substantially their R&D investment. Over the period 2000-05, their total R&D expenditures at current prices decreased by 33%, while their R&D intensity (on sales) diminished from 1.1 to 0.7%. In discussing the above findings, it is argued that a drop of this size is hardly justifiable and weakens the EU economy in a non-negligible manner.
    Keywords: R&D performance; energy and telecommunication utilities
    JEL: O38 L97 O32
    Date: 2006–09–18
  13. By: Marius Brülhart (HEC - LAUSANNE - École des HEC, Université de Lausanne Département d'économétrie et économie politique - [Université de Lausanne]); Matthieu Crozet (TEAM - Théories et Applications en Microéconomie et Macroéconomie - [CNRS : UMR8059] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I]); Pamina Koenig (TEAM - Théories et Applications en Microéconomie et Macroéconomie - [CNRS : UMR8059] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I], CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - [INSEE] - [ École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique])
    Abstract: We study the impact of changing relative market access in an enlarged EU on the economies of incumbent Objective 1 regions. First, we track the impact of external opening on internal spatial configurations in a three-region economic geography model. External opening gives rise to potentially offsetting economic forces, but for most parameter configurations it is found to raise the locational attractiveness of the region that is close to the external market. Then, we explore the relation between market access and economic activity empirically, using data for European regions, and we simulate the impact of EU enlargement on Objective 1 regions. Our predicted market-access induced gains in regional GDP and manufacturing employment are up to seven times larger in regions proximate to the new accession countries than in “interior” EU regions. We also find that a future Balkans enlargement could be particularly effective in reducing economic inequalities among the EU periphery, due to the positive impact on relative market access of Greek regions.
    Keywords: New economic geography, Market potential, EU enlargement, Objective 1 regions
    Date: 2006–09–19
  14. By: Gatti, Anna (Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School); Vendelø , Morten Thanning (Department of Informatics, Copenhagen Business School)
    Abstract: Our paper reports research from the emerging institutional field of venture capitalists in Europe. In Europe venture capitalism began to emerge about ten years ago, and thus, in Europe the phenomenon has the characteristics of emergence and novelty, as a local in-dustry venture capitalists have yet to develop distinctive characteristics. The European countries do not constitute a homogeneous institutional environment, but must be per-ceived as different local settings, and thus, venture capitalism may evolve into different forms in the various parts of Europe. The objective is to understand if and how differen-ces in local institutional settings affect learning and adaptation by European venture ca-pitalists and start-ups, and thus, affect the processes of field formation. For example, it has been observed that institutional settings can facilitate or discourage learning from direct experience (Herriot et al., 1985). Thus, depending on the institutional settings venture capitalists and start-ups may rely on diffusion of experience in various degrees. Experiences can diffuse from the US, where venture capitalism as an entrepreneurial form evolved in Silicon Valley in the 1970s. In the US venture capitalists represent an institutionalized type of organization with formalized rules and standards, codified be-havior and roles (Suchman, 1995; Suchman et al., 2001). European venture capitalists and start-ups may imitate behavior and rules developed in Silicon Valley, and thus, a second research objective is to understand if and how US venture capitalism affect the evolvement of venture capitalism in Europe. We study the emergence of a venture capitalist industry in Denmark and Italy, and thus, by selecting two countries with distinctive differences in cultures and institutions, we study learning and adaptation by venture capitalists and start-ups in different institutio-nal settings. We suggest that venture capitalists and start-ups perceiving institutional settings as non venture-friendly are more likely to rely on learning by imitation than on trial-and-error learning.
    Keywords: None
    JEL: H00
    Date: 2005–09–18
  15. By: Jumah, Adusei (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria and Department of Economics, University of Vienna, Austria); Kunst, Robert M. (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria and Department of Economics, University of Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: This paper explores the seasonal cycles of European agricultural commodity prices. We focus on three food crops (barley, soft and durum wheat) and on beef. We investigate whether seasonality is deterministic or unit-root stochastic and whether seasonal cycle for specific agricultural commodities have converged over time. Finally, we develop time-series models that are capable of forecasting agricultural prices on a quarterly basis. Firstly, we find that seasonal cycles in agricultural commodity prices are mainly deterministic and that evidence on common cycles across countries varies over agricultural commodities. The prediction experiments, however, yield a ranking with respect to accuracy that does not always match the statistical in-sample evidence.
    Keywords: Seasonal cycles, Seasonal unit roots, Forecasting, Agricultural commodities
    JEL: C32 C53 Q11
    Date: 2006–09
  16. By: Kalwij,Adriaan; Vermeulen,Frederic (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study labour force participation behaviour of individuals aged 50-64 in 11 European countries. The data are drawn from the new Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We examine the value added of objective health variables in relation to potentially endogenous self-reported health. We approach the endogeneity of self-reported health as an omitted variables problem. In line with the literature on the reliability of self-reported health, ambiguous results are obtained. In some countries, self-reported health does a fairly good job: controlling for extra health related variables does not seem to add much to the analysis. In other countries, however, self-reported health is clearly endogenous with results that are in line with the justi.cation hypothesis. They illustrate the multidimensional nature of health and the need to control for objective health variables when analyzing labour force participation behaviour. This makes an instrumental variables approach to deal with endogenous self-reported health less appropriate.
    Keywords: SHARE;labour force participation;self-reported health;objective health; retirement
    JEL: I10 J22 J26
    Date: 2006
  17. By: Gert Peersman
    Abstract: This paper uses a number of simple VAR models for the industrialised world, the United States and the euro area respectively to analyse the underlying shocks that may have caused the recent slowdown. The results of two identification strategies are compared. One is based on traditional zero restrictions and, as an alternative, an identification scheme based on more recent sign restrictions is proposed. The main conclusion is that the recent slowdown was caused by a combination of several shocks: a negative aggregate supply and aggregate spending shock, the increase of oil prices in 1999, and restrictive monetary policy in 2000. These shocks were more pronounced in the United States than the euro area. The results are somewhat different depending on the identification strategy. It is illustrated that traditional zero restrictions can have an influence on the estimated impact of certain shocks.
  18. By: Nathalie Colombier; David Masclet
    Abstract: We use the European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP) to investigate the determinants of self-employment. More precisely, we consider the influence of immediate social environments and social networks on the choice of self-employment. We conjecture that self-employment is correlated across generations because parents may transmit two classes of informal human capital to their offspring: (1) specific skills for a specific occupation and (2) general managerial skills such as the capacity to acquire autonomy, irrespective of the specific occupation. Our data allow us to dissociate those individuals who are first-generation self-employed from second-generation self-employed (i.e. those whose parents are self-employed), and, among second-generation self-employed, those individuals whose parents are in the same occupation as their offspring. Consistent with our assumptions, we show that having parents who are self-employed increases the probability of being self-employed, even when the individuals do not have the same occupation as their parents. We also observe strong differences between first and second generation self-employed workers. First-generation self-employed are generally younger and more educated than second generation self-employed. Finally our results indicate that first-generation self-employed report higher job satisfaction than second-generation self-employed. <P>Nous étudions dans cet article les déterminants du travail indépendant à partir de l'enquête européenne des ménages (ECHP). Plus particulièrement, nous étudions le rôle joué par l'environnement familial de l'individu. L'originalité de cette étude est de montrer que les parents ne se contentent généralement pas de transmettre à leurs enfants des compétences spécifiques à un métier donné mais également certaines aptitudes managériales non spécifiques à une profession particulière, facilitant ainsi l'accès au statut d'indépendant quel que soit le métier exercé. Nos résultats montrent sans ambiguïté qu'au-delà de la transmission d'un « savoir-faire » favorisant l’accès à un métier spécifique, dans un grand nombre de cas, les parents travailleurs indépendants facilitent également l'accès de leurs enfants au statut d'indépendant et cela bien souvent, quel que soit le métier envisagé. Un autre résultat intéressant de notre étude est qu'’l existe des différences importantes au sein des travailleurs indépendants selon qu’ils ont bénéficié ou non de transmissions intergénérationnelles de la part de parents travailleurs indépendants. On observe par exemple que le niveau d’éducation formelle est davantage discriminant pour les premières générations de travailleurs indépendants (ceux dont les parents ne sont pas travailleurs indépendants) que pour les secondes générations de travailleurs indépendants (ceux dont les parents sont travailleurs indépendants).
    Keywords: human capital, intergenerational links, self-employment, social capital , capital humain, capital social, liens intergénérationnels, travail indépendant
    JEL: J00 J21 C23
    Date: 2006–09–01
  19. By: Christian Genthon (LEPII - Laboratoire d'Economie de la Production et de l'Intégration Internationale - [CNRS : FRE2664] - [Université Pierre Mendès-France - Grenoble II]); Godefroy Dang Nguyen
    Abstract: The ICT sector is featured by technical progress, convergence and systems integration. This leads to risks of monopolization regimes at the core with higher competition regimes at the periphery. Moreover, some specific component of the system may be essential for its evolution. In particular, networking to some extent creates the system, while software (notably operating systems) is the “glue” which holds it together. In this context, the European ICT industry is potentially smashed between the cost advantages of Asian countries such as China, and the inventiveness and dynamism of the US industry. The way out of this difficult situation is to create in Europe the conditions of restoring knowledge accumulation. By concentrating on an ambitious project of open source software production in embarked and domestic systems, Europe could reach several objectives: to make freely accessible an essential facility of networks, to stimulate competition, to help reaching the Lisbon objectives and to restore the European competitiveness in ICT.
    Keywords: information and communications technologies ; industrial policy ; competition regimes ; knowledge based society ; open source
    Date: 2006–09–19
  20. By: Rivaud-Danset, Dorothée; Oheix, Valérie
    Abstract: This paper provides a quantitative comparison of the financial patterns of non-financial European firms for seven Continental European countries and the period 1991-2001. Our analytical framework departs from the common one as we consider that long-term and short-term sources of funds have to be analysed separately. Using the BACH database, principal component analysis, cluster analysis and econometrical tests are carried out in order to test for two hypotheses : i) there is a tendency toward grouping around a common corporate financial pattern; ii) there is a general tendency across countries toward less bank financing. We find that differences between European countries remain highly significant so that the first hypothesis is not validated. The second hypothesis is rejected with the long-term intermediation ratio but validated with the short-term one. Indeed, econometrical tests lead to a strong conclusion : the existence of a common trend toward disintermediation of short-term financing. The banking function of allocating liquidity for day-to-day business and providing a certain liquidity insurance to firms is declining whatever the size of firms.
    Keywords: corporate financial structure; BACH database; European convergence; financial intermediation; liquidity insurance.
    JEL: G32
    Date: 2005
  21. By: Jonas Dovern; Carsten-Patrick Meier
    Abstract: Using a newly constructed macroeconometric model for Germany and the rest of the Euro area, we investigate the macroeconomic effects of structural labor market reforms in Germany. We find that neither the fact that Germany can no longer pursue an independent monetary policy nor the possibility that other countries in the Euro area might react to reforms in Germany by implementing labor market reforms themselves constitute impediments to successful reforms. Reforms would relative quickly bring down unemployment and increase GDP significantly. Even former labor market “insiders” would gain as net wages increase due to falling unemployment insurance contributions.
    Keywords: labor market reforms, macroeconometric model, Germany, Euro area
    JEL: E24 J64
    Date: 2006–09
  22. By: Markku Kotilainen
    Keywords: Economic and Monetary Union, EMU, Finland
    JEL: E30 E32 E42 E52 F33 F41 F42
    Date: 2006–09–27
  23. By: Suzan Hol (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: The financial markets in a small open economy like the Scandinavian countries are influenced by international economic developments, especially in their major trading partners. This paper investigates to which degree nominal long-term interest rates in Norway, Sweden and Denmark are determined by fundamental domestic macroeconomic variables and by international economic conditions. Relating the level of interest rates to international macroeconomic variables also sheds some light on the degree of financial marketintegration. In Norway the currency risk, exchange rate regime, international debt and unemployment in Europe are significant in explaining the interest rate differential. In Sweden domestic and US inflation are important, while for Denmark domestic debt, domestic and US money stock, and less significantly US inflation are determinants of the interest rate differential. In these three countries with quite different economies the expectations hypothesis, the effect of domestic growth and unemployment and of international growth are not supported as determinants of long-term interest rate differentials.
    Keywords: long-term interst rates; expectation hypothesis; international macroeconomic influence; crowding out
    JEL: E43 E44
    Date: 2006–08
  24. By: Philippe Askenazy (Paris Sciences Economiques and IZA Bonn); Eve Caroli (University Paris X, EconomiX and Paris Sciences Economiques)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of new work practices and information and communication technologies (ICT) on working conditions in France. We use a unique French dataset providing information on individual workers for the year 1998. New work practices include the use of quality norms, job rotation, collective discussions on work organization and working time flexibility. Working conditions are captured by occupational injuries as well as indicators of mental strain. We find that workers involved in the new practices face working conditions that are significantly worse than those of workers in non innovative work practices. But, the picture is mixed for ICT that seem to make the workplace safer and less risky.
    Keywords: new work practices, technology, working conditions, occupational injuries
    JEL: J28 L23
    Date: 2006–09
  25. By: Merxe Tudela; Garry Young
    Abstract: Household indebtedness has grown sharply in the United Kingdom in recent years. This paper proposes a framework for understanding this based on a model in which households are assumed to plan their lifetime spending rationally, allowing for bequests to future generations. The model is set up to be consistent with both aggregate and disaggregated balance sheet positions as revealed in the British Household Panel Survey. The paper goes on to outline the effect on debt and balance sheets of changes in interest rates, house prices, preferences and retirement income.
  26. By: Matthieu Crozet (TEAM - Théories et Applications en Microéconomie et Macroéconomie - [CNRS : UMR8059] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I]); Pamina Koenig (TEAM - Théories et Applications en Microéconomie et Macroéconomie - [CNRS : UMR8059] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I], CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - [INSEE] - [ École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique])
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the relation between trade openness and the location of economic<br />activity in a country. The problematic lies in the context of the EU enlargement process and of<br />its impact on the location of economic activity inside each of the accessing countries. We develop a new economic geography model based on the original Krugman (1991) model, and show that trade liberalization will foster agglomeration of economic activity in the location that has the lowest-cost access to foreign markets. Our results thus differ from Krugman and Livas's (1996) conclusions. We expect the CEECs' economies to shift economic activity towards EU markets. We provide empirical evidence of this result focusing on the post-1991 Romanian urban system.
    Keywords: economic integration; urban concentration; agglomeration; CEECs
    Date: 2006–09–20
  27. By: Anne Branciard (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - [CNRS : UMR6123] - [Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I][Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II])
    Abstract: The subject of this paper is the relationship between the policy-making and the innovation performance in genomics and biomedical related biotechnologies in the national research and innovation system in France in 1990'. The aim is to highlight the relative effectiveness of the different public policies and their instruments compared to the action of the non for profit sector. Government policy has recently supported a development of the biotechnology sector by encouraging start-ups and creating favourable framework conditions such as incubators, a specialised stock exchange, financial institutions or technopoles. <br />By studying the co-ordination mechanisms between the different organisations (non for profit organisations, public authorities, public sector research, biotech SMEs and large firms, especially in the biomedical sector), this paper shows that the path dependant institutions and the contradiction between the different policy tools to promote science base knowledge commercialisation can explain the poor development of biotech sector in France in the last few years, in spite of a high investment in the basic scientific researcb in life sciences.
    Keywords: innovation system; S§T policy; biotechnology; genomics; Triple Helix model; France; policy-making; diffusion-oriented policy; science base knowledge
    Date: 2006–09–24

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