nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2008‒06‒07
29 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

  1. The Fed and the ECB: Why such an apparent difference in reactivity? By Grégory Levieuge; Alexis Penot
  2. Ever Closer Union or Babylonian Discord? By Jan Fidrmuc; Victor Ginsburgh; Schlomo Weber
  3. What do we really know about fiscal sustainability in the EU? A panel data diagnostic By Christophe Rault; Antonio Alfonso
  4. The Euro and the Intensive and Extensive Margins of Trade: Evidence from French Firm Level Data By Antoine Berthou; Lionel Fontagne
  5. EMU and Financial Market Integration By Philip R. Lane
  6. Talking Less and Moving the Market More: Is this the Recipe for Monetary Policy Effectiveness? Evidence from the ECB and the Fed By Carlo Rosa
  7. Equilibrium Exchange Rates: a Guidebook for the Euro-Dollar Rate By Agnes Benassy-Quere; Sophie Bereau; Valérie Mignon
  8. Mind the Gap! Social Capital, East and West By Jan Fidrmuc; Klarita Gerxhani
  9. Effects of Flat Tax Reforms in Western Europe on Equity and Efficiency By Paulus A;
  10. Employment Outcomes in the Welfare State By Rachel Ngai; Christopher A. Pissarides
  11. The Ins and Outs of European Unemployment By Barbara Petrongolo; Christopher A. Pissarides
  12. A Comparative Analysis of the Legal Obstacles to Institutional Investor Activism in Europe and in the US By Santella, Paolo; Baffi, Enrico; Drago, Carlo; Lattuca, Dino
  13. Returns and Volatility of Eurozone Energy Stocks By Oberndorfer, Ulrich
  14. Définition et dénombrement statistique de la population des PME dans l’Union Européenne By Verena Mertins; Anja Sölter
  15. Real Convergence, Price Level Convergence and Inflation Differentials in Europe By Balazs Egert
  16. Determinants of House Prices in Central and Eastern Europe By Balazs Egert; Dubravko Mihaljek
  17. Does Regulation Hurt Pension Funds' Performance? Evidence from Strongly Regulated Pension Fund Industries By Martin T. Bohl, Judith Lischewski and Svitlana Voronkova
  18. Macroeconomic Sources of Foreign Exchange Risk in New EU Members By Tigran Poghosyan; Evzen Kocenda
  19. The impact of household capital income on income inequality: A factor decomposition analysis for Great Britain, Germany and the USA By Anna Fräßdorf; Markus M. Grabka; Johannes Schwarze
  20. New Workplace Practices and Firm Performance: A Comparative Study of Italy and Britain By Cristini, Annalisa; Pozzoli, Dario
  21. Who Gets the Money? The Dynamics of R&D Project Subsidies in Germany By Aschhoff, Birgit
  22. Recent Investments in Human Capital and its Effect on the Chances of Escaping from Low-Paid Jobs: The Spanish Case By Blázquez Cuesta, Maite; Ramos, Jose
  23. A Tale of Two Countries: Unions, Closures and Growth in Britain and Norway By Alex Bryson; Harald Dale-Olsen
  24. The Role of Firm Size in Training Provision Decisions: evidence from Spain. By Laia Castany
  25. Place et sens du travail en Europe: une singularité française? By Lucie Davoine; Dominique Méda
  26. "Mon père avait raison" : la transmission des valeurs entre les générations By Luc Arrondel
  27. Union Density and Varieties of Coverage: The Anatomy of Union Wage Effects in Germany By Bernd Fitzenberger; Karsten Kohn; Alexander C. Lembcke
  28. Income taxes and the probability to become self-employed: The case of Sweden By Hansson, Åsa
  29. Rentabilidad de los fondos de pensiones en España. 1991-2007 By Fernandez, Pablo; Bermejo, Vicente J.

  1. By: Grégory Levieuge (Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orléans (LEO), UMR CNRS 6221); Alexis Penot (GATE, University of Lyon, CNRS, ENS-LSH, Centre Léon Bérard, France,)
    Abstract: Compared with the U.S., the amplitude of the European monetary policy rate cycle is strikingly narrow. Is it an evidence of a less reactive ECB? This observation can certainly reflect the preferences and then the strategy of the ECB. But its greater inertia must also be assessed in the light of the singularity of the European structure and of the shocks hitting it. From this perspective, several contributions assert that the nature, size and persistence of shocks mainly explain the different interest rate setting. Therefore, they rely on the idea that both areas share the same monetary policy rule and, more surprising, the same structure. This paper aims at examining this conclusions with an alternative modelling. The results confirm that the euro area and U.S. monetary policy rules are not fundamentally different. But we reject the differences of nature and amplitude of shocks. What is often interpreted as such is in fact the consequence of how distinctly both economies absorb shocks. So differences in the amplitude of the interest rate cycles in both areas are basically explained by structural dissimilarities.
    Keywords: interest rate, macroeconomic shocks, monetary policy rules, policy activism, structural divergence
    JEL: C51 E52 E58
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Jan Fidrmuc; Victor Ginsburgh; Schlomo Weber
    Abstract: Extensive multilingualism is one of the most important and fundamental principles of the European Union. However, a large number of official languages (currently 23) hinders communication and imposes substantial financial and legal costs. We address the merits of multilingualism and formulate an analytical framework to determine the optimal number of official languages in the EU. Using the results of a 2005 Eurobarometer survey of languages in the EU 27, we first derive the sets of languages that minimize aggregate linguistic disenfranchisement of the Union’s citizens for any given number of languages. We then proceed by discussing the political-economy framework and feasibility of a potential linguistic reform in the EU under alternative voting rules. We argue that a six-language regime would be a reasonable intermediate choice: a lower number of official languages results in excessive linguistic disenfranchisement whereas adding further languages increases the costs but brings only limited benefits. We also show that even though a linguistic reform reducing the number of official languages to six is unlikely to gain sufficient support at the present, this may change in the future since young people are more proficient at speaking foreign languages.
    Keywords: Languages, Disenfranchisement, European Union, Linguistic standardization
    JEL: D70 O52 Z13
    Date: 2007–07–01
  3. By: Christophe Rault; Antonio Alfonso
    Abstract: We assess the sustainability of public finances in the EU15 over the period 1970-2006 using stationarity and cointegration analysis. Specifically, we use panel unit root tests of the first and second generation allowing in some cases for structural breaks. We also apply modern panel cointegration techniques developed by Pedroni (1999, 2004), generalized by Banerjee and Carrion-i-Silvestre (2006) and Westerlund and Edgerton (2007), to a structural long-run equation between general government expenditures and revenues. While estimations point to fiscal sustainability being an issue in some countries, fiscal policy was sustainable both for the EU15 panel set, and within sub-periods (1970-1991 and 1992-2006)
    Keywords: intertemporal budget constraint, fiscal sustainability, EU, panel unit root, panel cointegration
    JEL: C23 E62 H62 H63
    Date: 2007–10–01
  4. By: Antoine Berthou; Lionel Fontagne
    Abstract: We improve the study of the effects of a Currency Union on trade. Using data on French exports at the firm level, we compute an intensive and extensive margins of French exports - with a variety dimension - over the period 1998-2003. Estimation results indicate that nominal exchange rate volatility has a negative effect, which translates into the intensive and extensive margins. We also provide some evidence that the euro had an additional positive effect on the extensive margin; this effect is not related to the reduced nominal exchange rate volatility. This suggests a new varieties effect of the euro.
    Keywords: Trade; export margins; euro
    JEL: F15
    Date: 2008–04
  5. By: Philip R. Lane
    Abstract: The first decade of EMU has taught us much about the power of a single currency to integrate financial markets. In this review, I first discuss the quantitative impact of the euro on cross- border financial holdings before turning to the macroeconomic implications of enhanced financial integration.
    Date: 2008–05–23
  6. By: Carlo Rosa
    Abstract: This paper examines and compares the communication strategies of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, and their effectiveness. First we do a comparative study exercise. We find that on monetary policy committee meeting days both the ECB and the Fed can move market rates using either monetary policy or news shocks. However, the response of the long-end of the American term structure to the surprise component of Fed's statements is significantly larger than the reaction of European long-term yields to ECB's announcements. This result is intimately related to the higher transparency of U.S. Fed statements compared to ECB announcements rather than to the different institutional mandate of the two central banks. Second, we investigate the cross-effects i.e. the Fed's ability to move European interest rates and the corresponding ECB's capacity to move American rates. We find that the Fed has been more able to move the European interst rates of all maturities than the ECB to move American rates. This finding is tied to the predominance of dollar fixed income assets rather than to an attempt of the ECB to mimic the Fed.
    Keywords: European Central Bank, U.S. Federal Reserve, central bank communication, monetary policy and news shocks, term structure of interest rates
    JEL: E52 E58
    Date: 2008–02
  7. By: Agnes Benassy-Quere; Sophie Bereau; Valérie Mignon
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate different views of equilibrium exchange rates within a single, stock-flow adjustment framework. We then compare FEER and BEER estimations of equilibrium exchange rates based on the same, econometric model of the net foreign asset position, with special focus on the euro-dollar rate. These estimations suggest that, although more robust to alternative assumptions, the BEER approach may rely on excessive confidence on past behaviors in terms of portfolio allocation. Symmetrically, FEERs may underestimate the plasticity of international capital markets because they focus on the adjustment of the trade balance.
    Keywords: Equilibrium exchange rates; euro-dollar; FEER; BEER; global imbalances
    JEL: F31 C23
    Date: 2008–03
  8. By: Jan Fidrmuc; Klarita Gerxhani
    Abstract: Recent Eurobarometer survey data are used to document and explain the stock of social capital in 28 European countries. Social capital in Central and Eastern Europe – measured by civic participation and access to social networks – lags behind that in Western European countries. Using regression analysis of determinants of individual stock of social capital, we find that this gap persists when we account for individual characteristics and endowments of respondents but disappears completely after we control for aggregate measures of economic development and quality of institutions. Informal institutions such as prevalence of corruption in post-communist countries appear particularly important. With the enlargement of the European Union, the gap in social capital should gradually disappear as the new member states catch up (economically and institutionally) with the old ones.
    Keywords: social capital, institutions, capitalism, transition
    JEL: O17 O57 P37 Z13
    Date: 2007–06–01
  9. By: Paulus A (Institute for Social & Economic Research);
    Abstract: The flat income tax has become increasingly popular recently, yet its implementation is limited to Eastern Europe. We analyse the distributional and efficiency effects of flat tax scenarios for Western European countries. Our simulations show that flat tax rates required to attain revenue neutrality with existing basic allowances improve labour supply incentives. However, they result in higher inequality and polarisation. Flat rates necessary to keep the inequality levels unchanged allow for some scope for flat taxes to increase both equity and efficiency. Our analysis suggests that Mediterranean countries are more likely to benefit from flat taxes.
    Keywords: Flat tax reform, income distribution, work incentives, microsimulation
    JEL: C81 D31 H24
    Date: 2008–05
  10. By: Rachel Ngai; Christopher A. Pissarides
    Abstract: We examine the implications of tax and subsidy policies for employment in the "three worlds of welfare", Anglo-Saxon, Continental European and Scandinavian. We argue that home production is key to a proper evaluation of the employment outcomes. Anglo-Saxon low-support policies encourage more overall market employment. Continental transfer polilcies encourage more home production in services with close substitutes at home. Scandinavian policies give incentives to move home production in social services to the market but discourage other service activity. We find support for our claims in sectoral employment data for five representative countries, United States, Britain, France, Italy and Sweden.
    Keywords: welfare state, employment, social services, tax and subsidy, three worlds of welfare
    JEL: E24 I38 J22
    Date: 2008–02
  11. By: Barbara Petrongolo; Christopher A. Pissarides
    Abstract: In this paper we study the contribution of inflows and outflows to the dynamics of unemployment in three European countries, the United Kingdom, France and Spain. We compare performance in these three countries making use of both administrative and labor force survey data. We find that the impact of the 1980s reforms in Britain is evident in the contributions of the inflow and outflow rates. The inflow rate became a bigger contributor after the mid 1980s, although its significance subsided again in the late 1990s and 2000s. In France the dynamics of unemployment are driven virtually entirely by the outflow rate, which is consistent with a regime with strict employment protection legislation. In Spain, however, both rates contribute significantly to the dynamics, very likely as a consequence of the prominence of fixed-term contracts since the late 1980s.
    Keywords: unemployment dynamics, job finding rates, job separation rates
    JEL: E24 E32 J6
    Date: 2008–02
  12. By: Santella, Paolo; Baffi, Enrico; Drago, Carlo; Lattuca, Dino
    Abstract: Starting from the observation that at the multilateral level shareholder activism is considered as an important aspect of good corporate governance, this paper examines several legal and economic obstacles to institutional investor activism in the EU and in the US. We also examine the voting record of 76 institutional investors in the US and of several others in the EU. We find that US investors seem to have easier access to proxy voting than in the EU (although recent EU legislation should remove several of the present legal obstacles); that conflicts of interest seem to limit the activism of several categories of institutional investors both in the US and in the EU; that some national legislations limit the ability of institutional investors to coordinate their voting policies; and that recourse to stock lending and other forms of separation of financial risk from voting rights seems to be practiced more by controlling shareholders at the expense of institutional investors than the opposite. We also find that institutional investors in the US seem to have a more adversarial voting pattern vis-à-vis company managements than in the UK; this might be due to the fewer voting rights given to shareholders by the US regulatory framework. As for Europe, institutional investors' voting pattern is by far the most adversarial in France, where there is a high incidence of control-enhancing mechanisms. Institutional investors seem to have an adversarial voting stance also in Greece, Belgium and Sweden, where control-enhancing mechanisms are also present, while in Italy they tend to have a low voting turnout. More in general, EU investors’ voting pattern seems to be sensitive to the presence of control-enhancing mechanisms, ownership concentration, and to the origin of the national legal system.
    Keywords: Shareholder activism; shareholder voting; proxy voting; acting in concert; securities lending; institutional investors; legal origins; control-enhancing mechanisms; corporate governance; ownership concentration
    JEL: K2 G2 G34 G3 G24
    Date: 2008–05–26
  13. By: Oberndorfer, Ulrich
    Abstract: This paper constitutes a first analysis on stock returns and stock return volatility of energy corporations from the Eurozone. According to our results, the gas market does not play a role for the pricing of Eurozone energy stocks. However, changes in the Euro to U.S. Dollar exchange rate as well as developments at the money and especially at the oil market strongly affect returns of the energy stock portfolios analyzed. While oil price hikes negatively impact on stock returns of European utilities, they lead to an appreciation of oil and gas stocks. Most importantly, we show that oil market volatility negatively affects European oil and gas stocks. In contrast, energy stock volatility is not driven by volatility of the resource market, but only by its own dynamics.
    Keywords: Energy stocks, resource prices, volatility, asset pricing
    JEL: C13 G12 Q40 Q43
    Date: 2008
  14. By: Verena Mertins; Anja Sölter
    Abstract: Cette étude par ordre de la Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) fournit un aperçu préliminaire au sujet de la définition et du système statistique de l’Union Européenne concernant les PME. La définition européenne des PME est examinée en particulier relative à l’inclusion dans la population des PME des groupes spéciaux comme l’artisanat et les professions libérales. Ensuite, le cadre institutionnel du système statistique européen des PME et la mise en œuvre du dénombrement de ce groupe aux niveaux nationaux sont analysés en soulignant l’application de la définition communautaire des PME et, par conséquent, le degré de la représentation de la population des PME européennes dans les statistiques existantes. Pour illustrer des problèmes pratiques et des particularités nationales, le cas de l’Allemagne est utilisé comme exemple. This study by order of the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) provides an overview of the SME definition and the system of SME statistics in the European Union. The European SME definition is particularly examined with respect to the inclusion of specific groups such as the crafts as well as the professions. This serves as a basis for analysing the institutional design of the European SME statistics and the practical problems of collecting data at the national level. The analysis of the statistical system focuses both on the application of the European SME definition as well as the question in how far the whole population of European SME is represented in the existing statistics. Where necessary, the German case serves as an example to illustrate practical problems and national particularities.
    Keywords: SME, SME definition, SME statistics, EU, crafts, the professions
    JEL: C80 H83
    Date: 2008–06–03
  15. By: Balazs Egert
    Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive review of the factors that can cause price levels to diverge and which are at the root of different inflation rates in Europe including the EU-27. Among others, we study the structural and cyclical factors influencing market and non-marketbased service, house and goods prices, and we summarise some stylised facts emerging from descriptive statistics. Subsequently, we set out the possible mismatches between price level convergence and inflation rates. Having described in detail the underlying economic factors, we proceed to demonstrate the relative importance of these factors on observed inflation rates first in an accounting framework and then by relying on panel estimations. Our estimation results provide the obituary notice for the Balassa-Samuelson effect. Nevertheless, we show that other factors related to economic convergence may push up inflation rates in transition economies. Cyclical effects and regulated prices are found to be important drivers of inflation rates in an enlarged Europe. House prices matter to some extent in the euro area, whereas the exchange rate plays a prominent (but declining) role in transition economies.
    Keywords: price level, inflation, Balassa-Samuelson, tradables, house prices, regulated prices, Europe, transition
    JEL: C22 E43 E50 E52 G21 O52
    Date: 2007–11–01
  16. By: Balazs Egert; Dubravko Mihaljek
    Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of house prices in eight transition economies of central and eastern Europe (CEE) and 19 OECD countries. The main question addressed is whether the conventional fundamental determinants of house prices, such as GDP per capita, real interest rates, housing credit and demographic factors, have driven observed house prices in CEE. We show that house prices in CEE are determined to a large extent by the underlying conventional fundamentals and some transition-specific factors, in particular institutional development of housing markets and housing finance and quality effects.
    Keywords: house prices, housing market, transition economies, central and eastern Europe, OECD countries
    JEL: E20 E39 P25 R21 R31
    Date: 2007–10–01
  17. By: Martin T. Bohl, Judith Lischewski and Svitlana Voronkova
    Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of pension funds’ performance in Poland and Hungary as representative Eastern Central European countries. In the theoretical literature it is argued that investment limits and performance regulations may have a negative influence on the performance of funds. In particular for Poland, our empirical findings do not support this prediction. Consequently, strict regulations do not necessarily harm the performance of the pension funds.
    Date: 2008–05–06
  18. By: Tigran Poghosyan; Evzen Kocenda
    Abstract: We address the issue of foreign exchange risk and its macroeconomic determinants in several new EU members. The joint distribution of excess returns in the foreign exchange market and the observable macroeconomic factors is modeled using the stochastic discount factor (SDF) approach and a multivariate GARCH-in-mean model. We find that in post-transition economies real factors play a small role in determining foreign exchange risk, while nominal and monetary factors have a significant impact. Therefore, to contribute to the further stability of their domestic currencies, the central banks in the new EU member countries should continue stabilization policies aimed at achieving nominal convergence with the core EU members, as nominal factors play a crucial role in explaining the variability of the risk premium.
    Keywords: foreign exchange risk, time-varying risk premium, stochastic discount factor, multivariate GARCH-in-mean, post-transition and emerging markets
    JEL: C22 F31 G15 P59
    Date: 2007–11–01
  19. By: Anna Fräßdorf (University of Bamberg); Markus M. Grabka (German Institute for Economic Research, DIW Berlin / SOEP); Johannes Schwarze (University of Bamberg, DIW Berlin, and IZA, Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the contribution of capital income to income inequality in a cross-national comparison. Using micro-data from the Cross-National Equivalent File (CNEF) for three prominent panel studies, namely the BHPS for Great Britain, the SOEP for West Germany, and the PSID for the USA, a factor decomposition method described by Shorrocks (1982) is applied. The factor decomposition of disposable income into single income components shows that capital income is exceedingly volatile and its share in disposable income has risen in recent years. Moreover, capital income makes a disproportionately high contribution to overall inequality in relation to its share in disposable income. This applies to Germany and the USA in particular. Thus capital income accounts for a large part of disparity in all three countries.
    Keywords: Inequality, capital income, factor decomposition, CNEF
    JEL: D33 I31 F00
    Date: 2008
  20. By: Cristini, Annalisa (Department of Economics); Pozzoli, Dario (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: Using data from the 2004 Workplace Employee Relations Survey on British establishments and two surveys on manufacturing firms located in the North of Italy, we look at the diffusion of new workplace practices in the two countries and at their impact on the firm's value added. We find that the adoption of innovation practices has spread substantially more across the British manufacturing firms than across the Italian ones; however our results also indicate that the practices' association with the firms' VA is much lower in Britain than in Italy. The counterfactual analysis shows that had the Italian workplaces the same characteristics of the British ones, in terms of diffusion of practices, capital intensity and skills, their average predicted value added would triplicate. On the other hand, were the Italian establishments to move and operate in the British context, their performance would improve very modestly. For the British establishments, we also investigate whether management practices improve job satisfaction.
    Keywords: Workplace practices; Financial Performance; Italy; UK
    JEL: C33 J41 J53 L20
    Date: 2008–05–01
  21. By: Aschhoff, Birgit
    Abstract: The question of the allocation of public R&D funding is becoming particularly important when it comes to identifying the effects of state subsidies, in terms of input or output additionality. This analysis goes one important step further than the existing literature by including the time dimension. Using firm-level data on German manufacturing and knowledge-intensive service firms, this paper sheds light on the structure of the subsidy recipients over time. It turns out that participation in the funding scheme is quite stable. This is also confirmed by applying a multivariate approach. Firms having received funding in the past are more likely to be selected for public funding again. It is also important to control for the overall supply of subsidies. Besides, a firm’s size and knowledge capabilities increase the probability of entering the scheme.
    Keywords: R&D, Public Subsidies, Program Participation, Germany
    JEL: C20 H32 O38
    Date: 2008
  22. By: Blázquez Cuesta, Maite (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.); Ramos, Jose (Universidad Europea de Madrid)
    Abstract: General education and training are major forces determining earnings. According to the human capital model, wage differentials among individuals over the life-cycle are largely the result of different patterns of investment in human capital. This paper is intended to analyze the effects of recent investments in human capital – general education, vocational/training or language courses - on workers’ relative earnings and on the probability of making an upwards transition in the earnings distribution. The analysis is done for Spain, using the European Community Household Panel (1995-2001). Our results reveal that having been recently in education or training (mainly vocational/training courses) significantly increases the probability of escaping from low pay to better paid jobs, while decreases the risk of falling into low-wage employment. Furthermore, this positive effect is significantly higher among those workers with a third level of general education completed. A separate analysis for females also reveals these positive returns of recent investments in human capital relative earnings, although in this case they appear to be none statistically significant.
    Keywords: Education; on-the-job training; low pay; bivariate probit
    JEL: C33 J24 J31
    Date: 2008–05
  23. By: Alex Bryson; Harald Dale-Olsen
    Abstract: Using linked private sector employer-employee panel data for Britain and Norway weexplore the effects of unionization on workplace closure and employment growth over theperiod 1997-2004. Unions prolonged the life of low-wage workplaces in Britain, whereasNorwegian unions increased (reduced) closure hazards in high (low) waged workplaces.Contrary to earlier studies, unions had no effect on workplace growth in Britain. In Norway,union workplaces experienced 4 percent per annum lower growth. However, the estimation ofa dynamic panel data model for Norway indicates positive long-term causal effects of uniondensity on employment.
    Keywords: Unions, closure, employment growth, comparative, system-GMM
    JEL: J51
    Date: 2008–05
  24. By: Laia Castany (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: The level of training provided by small firms to their employees is below that provided by their larger counterparts. The provision of firm-related training is believed to be associated to certain characteristics of the firm. In this paper we argue that small firms provide fewer training opportunities as they are less likely to be associated with these characteristics than large firms. The suitability of estimating training decisions as a double-decision process is examined here: first, a firm has to decide whether to provide training or not and, second, having decided to do so, the amount of training to provide. The differences in training provision between small and large firms are decomposed in order to analyse the individual contribution of these characteristics to explaining the gap. The results show that small firms face greater obstacles in accessing training and that the main reasons for that are related to their technological activity and the geographical scope of the market in which they operate.
    Keywords: Continuous training, Firm size, Innovative activity.
    JEL: J21 L11 M53 L25
    Date: 2008–06
  25. By: Lucie Davoine (Ecole d'économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique); Dominique Méda (CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique, CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scinetifique)
    Abstract: L’examen des données françaises et européennes montre que les Français entretiennent un rapport singulier au travail. Plus encore que les autres européens, les Français déclarent que le travail est très important, mais plus que les autres, ils souhaitent que le travail prenne moins de place dans leur vie. Comment expliquer ce paradoxe ? L’objectif premier de ce travail est de comprendre la diversité des perceptions en Europe et de proposer des interprétations qui permettraient de résoudre ce paradoxe. L’originalité de ce travail provient en partie de la confrontation des résultats des diverses enquêtes françaises et internationales sur ces questions, qui restent aujourd’hui épars et peu diffusés. Dans un premier temps, nous démêlons les différents sens que revêt l’importance accordée au travail. Deux hypothèses permettent d’expliquer les réponses des Français. En France, en raison du fort taux de chômage, de la prégnance de l’emploi précaire, et d’un fort sentiment d’insécurité de l’emploi, d’une part, en raison également d’attentes plus fortes à l’égard de l’intérêt du travail, le travail apparaît comme très important. Les Français se distinguent en effet par de attentes de réalisation dans le travail plus intenses que celles de leurs voisins européens. Dans une seconde partie nous tentons de comprendre pourquoi les Français considèrent que ce serait une bonne chose que le travail occupe une place moins importante dans leur vie. Cette situation peut s’expliquer par la moindre qualité des relations sociales en France, ou par des conditions de travail et d’emploi dégradées, mais aussi par le souci des individus de consacrer plus de temps à leur vie personnelle et de mieux concilier leur vie professionnelle et leur vie familiale. Les Français sont d’ailleurs ceux qui déclarent le plus souvent éprouver des difficultés de conciliation, et des tensions entre les deux sphères. Nous soulignons également, tout au long de l’article, que les réponses moyennes des pays ne doivent pas occulter la grande diversité des opinions, liées notamment à la catégorie socioprofessionnelle et à la situation familiale.
    Keywords: comparaisons européennes, place du travail dans la vie et dans l'identité, attentes à l'égard du travail et de l'emploi, satisfaction vis-à-vis du travail et de l'emploi, évolution des valeurs, conciliation entre le travail et les autres sphères.
    Date: 2008–05–29
  26. By: Luc Arrondel
    Abstract: En France, l'influence des comportements patrimoniaux des parents sur celui de leurs enfants a souvent été mise en évidence. Comment expliquer alors ce "poids d'Anchise" ? Dans cet article, nous utilisons une enquête originale française et unique initiée par le Delta et TNS-Sofres en 2002 dans laquelle nous disposons à la fois d'informations patrimoniales et subjectives pour deux générations. En rapprochant les préférences vis-à-vis de l'épargne des parents et des enfants concernant leurs attitudes face au risque et à l'avenir, nous obtenons des corrélations intergénérationnelles significatives, de l'ordre de 0,25 qui ne justifient cependant pas une similarité parfaite. Par ailleurs, l'élasticité de la richesse des enfants par rapport à celle de leurs parents se situe autour de 0,22. Cette mesure est corrigée des effets d'âge et concerne les patrimoines de deux générations coexistantes, c'est-à-dire avant que le gros des transferts intergénérationnels ait eu lieu. Plus de 40% de cette élasticité peut être expliqué (directement ou indirectement) par les niveaux de revenu permanent des deux générations. Les niveaux d'éducation et les préférences y contribuent chacun pour un cinquième, les transferts intergénérationnels déjà effectués pour 13%. La contribution des goûts de l'épargnant est encore de 13% lorsque l'on tient compte également des revenus permanents. Même si elle n'est pas la seule, la transmission des préférences joue donc un rôle non négligeable dans la transmission des inégalités de patrimoine. ###[english_abstract: Research using French data has often found that parents' saving behaviour influences that of their children. This article attempts to explain this phenomenon using data from a unique French survey set up by Delta and TNS-Sofres in 2002. This survey contains information on both preference and saving information for two generations of respondents.Savings preferences of parents and children, concerning risk attitudes and time discounting, are significantly correlated. The correlation coefficient is 0.25, so that the concordance, while significant, is not complete. The analogous correlation between wealth levels is 0.22. This coefficient is corrected for the differences in age of the two generations, and concerns coexisting generations, i.e. before the most significant intergenerational transfers have taken place. Over 40% of this elasticity results (directly or indirectly) from the levels of permanent income of the two generations. Education and preferences further explain around 20% each, and intergenerational transfers that have already taken place around 13%. The contribution of savers' preferences is also around 13%, we control for the effect of permanent income. Even though it is only one of a number of channels of influence, the transmission of preferences therefore plays a non- negligible role in the transmission of wealth inequalities.]###
    Date: 2008
  27. By: Bernd Fitzenberger; Karsten Kohn; Alexander C. Lembcke
    Abstract: Collective bargaining in Germany takes place either at the industry level or at the firm level; collective bargaining coverage is much higher than union density; and not all employees in a covered firm are necessarily covered. This institutional setup suggests to distinguish explicitly union power as measured by net union density (NUD) in a labor market segment, coverage at the firm level, and coverage at the individual level. Using linked employer-employee data and applying quantile regressions, this is the first empirical paper which simultaneously analyzes these three dimensions of union influence on the structure of wages. Ceteris paribus, a higher share of employees in a firm covered by industry-wide or firm-level contracts is associated with higher wages. Yet, individual bargaining coverage in a covered firm shows a negative impact both on the wage level and on wage dispersion. A higher union density reinforces the effects of coverage, but the effect of union density is negative at all points in the wage distribution for uncovered employees. In line with an insurance motive, higher union density compresses the wage structure and, at the same time, it is associated with a uniform leftward movement of the distribution for uncovered employees.
    Keywords: union density, collective bargaining coverage, wage structure, quantile regression, linked employer-employee data, Structure of Earnings Survey 2001, Germany
    JEL: J31 J51 J52
    Date: 2008–03
  28. By: Hansson, Åsa (Department of Economics , Lund University and Ratio, Stockholm)
    Abstract: It is widely recognized that entrepreneurial activity plays an important role in promoting new product innovation, discovering new markets, and replacing inefficient incumbents in a process called “creative destruction”, all of which enhance economic growth. Given the importance of entrepreneurship and small business enterprises it is not surprising that policy makers worldwide (and especially in Europe) try to stimulate entrepreneurial activity. One public policy, frequently discussed, is how to design tax policies that stimulate start-ups and entrepreneurship. Existing knowledge about taxes’ effect on entrepreneurial activity and start-ups is relatively limited, however. Existing empirical studies are primarily based on US data and have until recently used aggregated tax measures (e.g., average national tax rates) or hypothetical marginal tax rates and time-series or cross-section data. This study, however, uses a particular rich longitudinal micro-level dataset based on Swedish tax-return information, which makes it possible to track a cohort of individuals over time periods during which tax rate changes took place, and thereby isolate whether real-life individual decisions about self-employment are affected by changes in the tax rates they actually face. In addition, as the tax structure in Sweden is neutral as opposed to the US that encourages risk taking and tax-driven self-employment, studying the effect of income taxes on the probability to become self-employed based on Swedish data provides information about how taxes on self-employment affect self-employment. Contrary to earlier studies based on US data, I find both average and marginal tax rates to negatively impact the probability to become self-employed.
    Keywords: Self-employment; entrepreneurship; small business; taxation; wealth
    JEL: H24 H26 J24
    Date: 2008–06–04
  29. By: Fernandez, Pablo (IESE Business School); Bermejo, Vicente J. (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: En los últimos 10 y 17 años, la rentabilidad promedio de los planes de pensiones fue inferior a la inversión en bonos del estado. Sólo 2 de los 170 planes con 17 años de historia tuvieron una rentabilidad superior a la de los bonos del Estado. Ninguno de los 170 planes con 17 años de historia; 3 de los 511 planes con 10 años de historia; 2 de los 1597 planes con 5 años de historia y 2 de los 2007 planes con 3 años de historia tuvieron una rentabilidad superior al Índice de la Bolsa de Madrid. A pesar de estos resultados, el 31 de diciembre de 2007, 10,4 millones de partícipes tenían un patrimonio de 86,6 millardos de euros en 3.185 planes de pensiones. En 2007, ¡el 64,6% del patrimonio de los fondos estaba invertido en renta fija y tesorería! El decepcionante resultado global de los fondos se debe a las elevadas comisiones, a la composición de la cartera y a la gestión activa. Las comisiones de los fondos en 2007 fueron 1 millardo de euros. El resultado global de los fondos no justifica en absoluto la discriminación fiscal a favor de los mismos. En muchos casos, los inversores perdieron la desgravación fiscal con la que el Estado les indujo a invertir en fondos de pensiones en menos de 5 años (vía comisiones e ineficiencias en inversión y gestión). Parece obvio que el Estado tiene alguna responsabilidad en las pérdidas que millones de contribuyentes han sufrido y siguen sufriendo.
    Keywords: fondos pensiones; fondos inversión; rentabilidad partícipes; benchmark;
    JEL: G12 G31 M21
    Date: 2008–04–01

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