nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2008‒06‒21
27 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

  1. How Important are Financial Frictions in the U.S. and the Euro Area? By Queijo von Heideken, Virginia
  2. Analysing Convergence in Europe Using a Non-linear Single Factor Model By Ulrich Fritsche; Vladimir Kuzin
  3. Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets - a pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise By Karim Barhoumi; Szilard Benk; Riccardo Cristadoro; Ard Den Reijer; Audrone Jakaitiene; Piotr Jelonek; António Rua; Gerhard Rünstler; Karsten Ruth; Christophe Van Nieuwenhuyze
  4. What are borders made of? An analysis of barriers to European banking integration By Massimiliano Affinito; Matteo Piazza
  5. Competitiveness in the Southern Euro Area: France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain By Yuan Xiao; Marialuz Moreno-Badia; Werner Schule; Herman Z. Bennett; Julio Escolano; Stefania Fabrizio; Eva Gutierrez; Bogdan Lissovolik; Stephen Tokarick; Iryna V. Ivaschenko
  6. Corporate Governance Reforms in the EU: Do They Matter and How? By Petya Koeva Brooks; Iryna V. Ivaschenko
  7. Health of Immigrants in European countries. By Aïda Solé-Auró; Eileen M.Crimmins
  8. Globalisation, Tax Competition and the Harmonisation of Corporate Tax Rates in Europe: A Case of Killing the Patient to Cure the Disease? By Brigitte Unger; Killian McCarthy; Frederik van Doorn
  9. The Law and Economics Debate about Secured Lending: Lessons for European LawMaking? By John Armour
  10. Measurement Equivalence and Extreme Response Bias in the Comparison of Attitudes across Europe By Kankaraš, Miloš; Moors, Guy
  11. Real convergence and the determinants of growth in EU candidate and potential candidate countries - a panel data approach By Magdalena Morgese Borys; Éva Katalin Polgár; Andrei Zlate
  12. Real convergence, financial markets, and the current account – Emerging Europe versus emerging Asia By Sabine Herrmann; Adalbert Winkler
  13. Optimal Portfolio Analysis for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland During 2001– 2006 Period By George Xanthos; Dikaios Tserkezos
  14. The Capital Markets of Emerging Europe: Institutions, Instruments and Investors By Li L. Ong; Silvia Iorgova
  15. Adult education in the European Union - with a focus on Hungary By Szilvia Hamori
  16. International Spillover of Labor Market Reforms By Mai Dao
  17. Unequal Chances on a Flexible Labor Market, The Case of the Netherlands By Govert E. Bijwaard; Justus Veenman
  18. The role of health and safety representatives in Sweden – The implementation of EEC Directive 89/391 By Trägårdh, Björn
  19. UK Welfare Reform 1996 to 2008 and beyond: A personalised and responsive welfare system? By Paul Gregg
  20. The Effect of Sanctions on the Job Finding Rate: Evidence from Denmark By Michael Svarer
  21. Decade of dissent: explaining the dissent voting behavior of Bank of England MPC members By Harris, Mark; Spencer, Christopher
  22. The Missing Link Between Financial Constraints and Productivity By Marialuz Moreno Badia; Veerle Slootmaekers
  23. Gender, Migration, Remittances : Evidence from Germany By Elke Holst; Andrea Schäfer; Mechthild Schrooten
  24. The Importance of Financial Incentives on Retirement Choices By Michele Belloni; Rob Alessie
  25. Does urban sprawl increase the costs of providing local public services? Evidence from Spanish municipalities By Albert Solé-Ollé; Miriam Hortas Rico
  26. Employment Assimilation of Immigrants in the Netherlands By Aslan Zorlu; Joop Hartog
  27. The effect of investment tax credit: Evidence from an atypical programme in Italy By Raffaello Bronzini; Guido de Blasio; Guido Pellegrini; Alessandro Scognamiglio

  1. By: Queijo von Heideken, Virginia (Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of Sweden)
    Abstract: This paper aims to evaluate if frictions in credit markets are important for business cycles in the U.S. and the Euro area. For this purpose, I modify the DSGE financial accelerator model developed by Bernanke, Gertler and Gilchrist (1999) by adding frictions such as price indexation to past inflation, sticky wages, consumption habits and variable capital utilization. When I estimate the model with Bayesian methods, I find that financial frictions are relevant in both areas. According to the posterior odds ratio, the data clearly favors the model with financial frictions both in the U.S. and the Euro area. Moreover, consistent with common perceptions, financial frictions are larger in the Euro area.
    Keywords: Financial frictions; DSGE models; Bayesian estimation
    JEL: C11 C15 E32 E40 E50 G10
    Date: 2008–05–01
  2. By: Ulrich Fritsche (Department for Economics and Politics, University of Hamburg, and DIW Berlin); Vladimir Kuzin (German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) Berlin)
    Abstract: We investigate convergence in European price level, unit labor cost, income, and productivity data over the period of 1960-2006 using the non-linear time-varying coefficients factor model proposed by Phillips and Sul (2007). This approach is extremely flexible on order to model a large number of transition paths to convergence. We find regional clusters in consumer price level data. GDP deflator data and unit labor cost data are far less clustered than CPI data. Income per capita data indicate the existence of three convergence clubs without strong regional linkages; Italy and Germany are not converging to any of those clubs. Total factor productivity data indicate the existence of a small club including fast-growing countries and a club consisting of all other countries.
    Keywords: Price level, Income, Productivity, Convergence, Factor Model, European Monetary Union
    JEL: E31 O47 C32 C33 E37
    Date: 2008–06
  3. By: Karim Barhoumi; Szilard Benk; Riccardo Cristadoro; Ard Den Reijer; Audrone Jakaitiene; Piotr Jelonek; António Rua; Gerhard Rünstler (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.); Karsten Ruth; Christophe Van Nieuwenhuyze
    Abstract: This paper evaluates different models for the short-term forecasting of real GDP growth in ten selected European countries and the euro area as a whole. Purely quarterly models are compared with models designed to exploit early releases of monthly indicators for the nowcast and forecast of quarterly GDP growth. Amongst the latter, we consider small bridge equations and forecast equations in which the bridging between monthly and quarterly data is achieved through a regression on factors extracted from large monthly datasets. The forecasting exercise is performed in a simulated real-time context, which takes account of publication lags in the individual series. In general, we find that models that exploit monthly information outperform models that use purely quarterly data and, amongst the former, factor models perform best. JEL Classification: E37, C53.
    Keywords: Bridge models, Dynamic factor models, real-time data flow.
    Date: 2008–04
  4. By: Massimiliano Affinito (Banca d'Italia); Matteo Piazza (Banca d'Italia)
    Abstract: Linguistic and cultural differences, different legal and supervisory frameworks, relationship lending have been repeatedly mentioned as barriers to European retail banking integration. We investigate whether these barriers have affected integration within national boundaries, using an index of localism of regional banking systems as a measure of market integration. If local banks are established and flourish because asymmetric information makes entry difficult for non-incumbents (DellÂ’Ariccia, 2001) or regulatory and governance rules prevent entry from outside (Berger et al., 1995), we should find a significant relationship between indicators of these barriers and measures of the localism of banking systems. Our results show that this is indeed the case for asymmetric information, while findings are more blurred for supervisory practices.
    Keywords: banking integration, barriers, asymmetric information
    JEL: G21 G28
    Date: 2008–04
  5. By: Yuan Xiao; Marialuz Moreno-Badia; Werner Schule; Herman Z. Bennett; Julio Escolano; Stefania Fabrizio; Eva Gutierrez; Bogdan Lissovolik; Stephen Tokarick; Iryna V. Ivaschenko
    Abstract: This collection of studies analyzes developments in nonprice external competitiveness of France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. While France, Italy, and Portugal have experienced substantial export market share losses, Greece and Spain performed relatively well. Export market share losses appear associated with rigidities in resource allocation (sectoral, geographical, technological) relative to peers and lower productivity gains in high value-added sectors. Disaggregated analysis of goods and services export markets provides insights on aspects such as quality, market concentration, growth of destination markets, and geographical and sectoral diversification. Also, increased import penetration, offshoring and FDI could improve productivity and export performance.
    Keywords: Working Paper , France , Greece , Italy , Portugal , Spain , Competition , Exports , Markets , International trade , Foreign investment , Exchange rates , Productivity , Resource allocation ,
    Date: 2008–05–01
  6. By: Petya Koeva Brooks; Iryna V. Ivaschenko
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new approach to quantifying the effects of corporate governance reforms, by focusing on the dynamics of the voting premiums, a measure of the private benefits of control in a corporation. The results indicate that the reforms have been successful in reducing the voting premiums EU-wide. Moreover, more intense and broad reform efforts (such as introducing national reforms beyond and above the EU-wide initiatives) bring higher and longer lasting benefits. Our findings also suggest that the market for corporate control in Europe has become more integrated, as illustrated by the lower dispersion in voting premiums across countries and over time.
    Date: 2008–04–17
  7. By: Aïda Solé-Auró (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona); Eileen M.Crimmins (Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California.)
    Abstract: The health of older immigrants can have important consequences for needed social support and demands placed on health systems. This paper examines health differences between immigrants and the nativeborn populations aged 50 years and older in 11 European countries. We examine differences in functional ability, disability, disease presence and behavioral risk factors, for immigrants and non-immigrants using data from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) database. Among the 11 European countries, migrants generally have worse health than the native population. In these countries, there is a little evidence of the “healthy migrant” at ages 50 years and over. In general, it appears that growing numbers of immigrants may portend more health problems in the population in subsequent years.
    Keywords: Immigrants, Mortality, Health, Disability,SHARE.
    Date: 2008–06
  8. By: Brigitte Unger; Killian McCarthy; Frederik van Doorn
    Abstract: This paper surveys the literature on tax competition, and uses it to analyse current European proposals to harmonise corporate tax rates. It begins, in the course of Section One, by introducing the phenomenon of international tax competition, and illustrates, with the use of secondary research, the reality of the regulatory "race to the bottom". Section Two, however, demonstrates the harmful consequences of tax competition - with reference to the immobile factors of production - and makes obvious the necessity of effective intervention. Section Three then introduces and evaluates the calibre of the current proposals to tackle tax competition through collusion and harmonisation, and concludes negatively in the process. As illustrated in this discussion, any efforts to harmonise corporate taxes above the international equilibrium will not only fail to solve the problem at hand, but will exacerbate them, and may even serve to undermine and destabilise the political Union. Section Four then introduce an alternative solution to the problem - in the form of the residence principle - and Section Five concludes.
    Keywords: International Competition, Europe, Public Finance, Taxation, Regulation
    JEL: E62 E65 F41 F42 H26 H87 O52
    Date: 2008–05
  9. By: John Armour
    Abstract: This review paper is a contribution to a symposium on the 'Future of Secured Credit in Europe'. Its theme is the way in which empirical research has shed light on earlier theoretical literature. These findings tend to suggest that the legal institution of secured credit is, on the whole, socially beneficial, and that such benefits are likely to outweigh any associated social costs. Having made this general claim, the paper then turns to consider the effects of four particular dimensions across which systems of secured credit may differ, and which may therefore be of interest to European law-makers. These are: (i) the scope of permissible collateral; (ii) the efficacy of enforcement; (iii) the priority treatment of secured creditors; and (iv) the mechanisms employed to assist third parties in discovering that security has been granted. In each case, consideration is paid first to the theoretical position, and then empirical findings. It is argued that perhaps the most difficult of these issues for European law-makers concerns the appropriate design of publicity mechanisms for third parties.
    Keywords: secured credit, European corporate finance, notice filing, enforcement, insolvency priorities
    JEL: G33 K22
    Date: 2008–03
  10. By: Kankaraš, Miloš (Tilburg University, CEPS/INSTEAD); Moors, Guy (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: It is generally accepted that both measurement inequivalence and extreme response bias can seriously distort measurement of attitudes and subsequent causal models. However, these two issues have rarely been investigated together. In this article we demonstrate the flexibility of a multigroup latent class factor approach in both analysing measurement equivalence and detecting extreme response bias. Using data from the European Value Survey from 1999/2000, we identified an extreme response bias in answering Likert type questions on attitudes towards morals of compatriots. Furthermore, we found measurement inequivalence in form of direct effects of countries on response variables. When only one of these two issues – either measurement inequivalence or extreme response bias - was included into measurement model estimated effects of countries on attitudinal dimension were different from those obtained with a model that includes both measurement issues. Using this all-inclusive model we have got more valid estimates of the differences between countries on measured attitude.
    Keywords: Measurement equivalence; extreme response bias ; attitudes ; LC factor analysis ; cross-cultural research
    Date: 2008–02
  11. By: Magdalena Morgese Borys (The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education of Charles University (CERGE-EI), P.O. Box 882, Politickych veznu 7, 111 21 Prague, Czech Republic.); Éva Katalin Polgár (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.); Andrei Zlate (Department of Economics, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02134, USA.)
    Abstract: The EU candidate and potential candidate countries have made considerable progress in economic transition and integration into the world economy within less than two decades. Nevertheless, gaps in terms of income per capita relative to the euro area remain large. This suggests that the challenges of real convergence will remain relevant for the region even in the medium and long term. This paper therefore focuses on real convergence and its determinants in the candidate and potential candidate countries. The analysis reveals that total factor productivity growth has been the main driver of convergence, followed by capital deepening, whereas labour has contributed only marginally to economic growth. There is evidence of conditional convergence in the transition countries of central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. More specifi cally, controlling for the quality of institutions, the extent of market reforms and macroeconomic policies, there is a significant and negative link between the initial level of GDP and subsequent growth. Labour productivity has improved in most countries, while employment and participation rates have been falling. Structural changes have resulted in, at least temporarily, increasing labour market mismatches. Investment rates have been rising rapidly in recent years, and foreign direct investment has been found to have a positive impact on total investment. Investment in human capital is still at a relatively low level compared with the euro area average. Thus, in order to sustain the positive developments observed in the past, further improvements are needed in terms of labour productivity and utilisation, as well as in terms of physical and human capital accumulation. JEL Classification: F15, F43, O16, O43, O47, O52.
    Keywords: Real convergence, conditional convergence, determinants of growth, total factor productivity, labour markets, capital accumulation, EU candidate and potential candidate countries.
    Date: 2008–06
  12. By: Sabine Herrmann (Deutsche Bundesbank, Wilhelmp-Epstein-Strasse 14, 60431 Frankfurt am Main.); Adalbert Winkler (European Central Bank, Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.)
    Abstract: Global financial integration has been associated with divergent patterns of real convergence and the current account in emerging markets. While countries in emerging Asia have been running sizeable current account surpluses, countries in emerging Europe have been facing large current account deficits. In this paper we test for the relevance of financial market characteristics in explaining this divergence in the catching-up process in Europe and Asia. We assume that the two regions constitute distinct convergence clubs, with the euro area and the United States respectively at their core. In line with the theoretical literature, we find that better developed and more integrated financial markets increase emerging markets’ ability to borrow abroad. Moreover, the degree of financial integration within the convergence clubs – as opposed to the state of financial integration in the global economy – and the extent of reserve accumulation are significant factors in explaining the divergent patterns of real convergence and the current account in the regions under review. JEL Classification: F15, F21, O16, O52, O53.
    Keywords: Real convergence, economic integration, saving and investment, current account developments, financial markets, emerging market economies.
    Date: 2008–06
  13. By: George Xanthos (Technical Institute of Crete); Dikaios Tserkezos (Department of Economics, University of Crete, Greece)
    Abstract: This paper examines the strategy of investing in selected East European stock markets: The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. These stocks markets are representative of the emerging stock markets of Eastern Europe and examined from the perspective of an investor who invests solely in the Eastern European markets. International Portfolio investment gradually increased during the late 2000’s in this region. Four portfolio construction techniques were used including the Markowitz mean-variance analysis. The optimal portfolios are evaluated using standard selection criteria and it is shown that possessing a diversified international portfolio which includes some of the aforementioned stock markets is beneficial.
    Keywords: Portfolio diversification; Markowitz Mean Variance Frontier; Eastern European Countries.
    Date: 2007
  14. By: Li L. Ong; Silvia Iorgova
    Abstract: Emerging European countries have made large strides in developing their local capital markets since the early-1990s. However, the rate of development has been widely disparate across countries and market segments, underpinned by the varying degrees of progress made in key areas such as establishing pricing benchmarks, adopting, implementing and enforcing securities laws and regulations, encouraging the growth of an institutional investor base, and providing adequate trading infrastructure. This paper provides an overview of the trends in the region's local capital markets, and examines the main factors that have contributed to their growth and effectiveness to date. It also discusses selected policy responses necessary to further improve the breadth and depth of these markets.
    Date: 2008–05–09
  15. By: Szilvia Hamori (Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: This paper examines adult education in Hungary for the years 1999, 2001 and 2003 along three dimensions: (a) the fraction of individuals participating in adult education, (b) their demographic and socio-economic characteristics and (c) the probability of participating in adult education / adult education lasting less than one year in the framework of a logit model. In a second step the paper focuses on a cross-country comparison of the three areas described above based on the European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS). The international comparison covers nine EU Member States, namely, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden.
    Keywords: Analysis of education, adult education, logit model
    JEL: I21 C35
    Date: 2008–05
  16. By: Mai Dao
    Abstract: This paper uses a dynamic economy model, with unionized labor markets, to analyze the effects of labor market reforms, similar to those recently introduced in Germany, on the domestic and trading partner economies. The model is calibrated on Germany and the rest of the Euro area. The results indicate that German labor market reforms have positive spillover effects on the rest of the Euro area, which operate through the channel of trade, relative price adjustment, and financial market integration. Compared to a competitive labor market, setting, unionization dampens the positive response of the domestic economy and magnifies the spillover effects.
    Keywords: Working Paper , Labor market reforms , Germany , Europe , Labor policy , Price adjustments , International capital markets , International trade ,
    Date: 2008–05–01
  17. By: Govert E. Bijwaard (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Justus Veenman (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Labor markets in Western countries are becoming more and more flexible, thereby meeting the needs of employers. Yet the new flexibility also offers opportunities to workers, while at the same time bears the risk of long-term exclusion. This paper deals with unequal chances on the contemporary Dutch labor market, in particular for workers with unfavorable human capital characteristics. As such we have chosen workers from the four largest immigrant groups: Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese and Antilleans. The data used are from the SPVA, the survey 'Social Position and Use of Public Utilities by Migrants' for the years 1998 and 2002. These are based on stock sampling. Since for some individuals labor market transitions occur at a very low rate, these individuals may stay in the current state till they reach the retirement age of 65. We estimate hazard rate models that account for both the stock-sampling and the possible maximum duration for the transitions from unemployment, household care and disability to employment. Then we decompose the differences in expected duration between the immigrant groups and the Dutch natives into the contribution of differences in observable characteristics, coefficient estimates and baseline hazard parameters. The main results of the analyses are that unequal chances exist, but to a different degree for the various groups and with variations per transition type. Labor market experience seems to protect from long-term exclusion.
    Keywords: Flexible labor market; duration; Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition
    JEL: C41 J64 J7
    Date: 2008–01–17
  18. By: Trägårdh, Björn (Studier av organisation och samhälle)
    Abstract: In Sweden, workers´ representatives have been involved in risk assessment at workplaces since the beginning of the 20th century. One of the main results is the development of a large net of health and safety representatives called “skyddsombud”; regional safety representatives (RSR) on many small workplaces and joint safety committees on large workplaces. One result of EU Directive 89/391 in Sweden seems to be a further development of both regulations and praxis, i.e. regulation AFS 2001:1 and the development of systematic work environment management (‘SWEM’). However, since the 1990’ies there has been some serious cutbacks. The report demonstrates a gap between a lack of praxis implementation and what is stated in EU Directive 89/391. The implementation of the Directive is normally weaker due to lack of control and workers’ representation in certain industries, as in the construction industry or in small companies with few or no organized workers and/or with foreign workers. Health and safety work still seems to be controversial. Trade unions worry about too little implementation of the Directive and want EU to step up their efforts, while employee organizations worry about too much implementation and warn for ‘gold plating’. Built on these findings, a neo-institutional analysis is made claiming to explain the results. The report ends with some policy recommendations.<p>
    Keywords: risk assessment; health and safety representatives; skyddsombud; EU Directive 89/391; implementation; neo-institutional analysis.
    Date: 2008–06–09
  19. By: Paul Gregg
    Abstract: The UK welfare system has undergone three very profound periods of reform of the post-war model laid down by Beveridge. The first was a move in the direction of (but never fully converged with) the Bismarkian model of a contributory social insurance model with time limited earnings related benefits with a low value means tested social assistance safety net. This occurred slowly through the 1960s and up to the mid-1970s. The second phase started in 1979 and involved a dramatic move to curtail the social insurance entitlements and end all earnings related benefits. The result was a residualist low value means tested social assistance model, which ended both the Beveridge model and completely reversed the drift toward a European Bismarkian approach. Finally from 1996 a new model has emerged based on an activational welfare model with greater emphasis on incentives, support services and conditionality. As a direction of travel from the previous regime(s) this represents an increase in the engagement and support functions, increases in the (disciplinary) required activity functions combined with increased financial support for children and pensioners and personalised support services. The emerging model is far from completion and the final make up of the system remains uncertain. However, it bears strong similarities with developments in New Zealand and to a degree Australia and Canada. Within Europe the model most closely resembles a less generous version of the welfare systems in Denmark or Holland, which are sometimes referred to as embodying Flex-security. This evolutionary process of reform had some antecedents prior to 1996 but has really come to the fore since that date. This paper discusses reform in depth from 1996 and looks at its current direction of evolutionary change.
    Keywords: welfare reform, tax credits, lone parents, disabled adults
    JEL: H21 J22 J13 I38
    Date: 2008–04
  20. By: Michael Svarer (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of sanctions of unemployment insurance benefits on the exit rate from unemployment for a sample of Danish unemployed. According to the findings are that even moderate sanctions have rather large effects. For both males and females the exit rate increases by more than 50% following imposition of a sanction. The paper exploits a rather large sample to elaborate on the basic findings. It is shown that harder sanctions have a larger effect, that the effect of sanctions wear out after around 3 months and that particular groups of unemployed are more responsive to sanctions than others. Finally, the analysis suggests that men react ex ante to the risk of being sanctioned in the sense that men who face higher sanction risk leave unemployment faster.
    Keywords: Sanctions, Unemployment hazard
    JEL: J6 C41
    Date: 2007–08–27
  21. By: Harris, Mark; Spencer, Christopher
    Abstract: We examine the dissent voting record of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in its first decade. Probit estimates indicate the impact of career experience on dissent voting is negligible, whereas the impact of forecast inflation is pronounced. In addition to finding a role for dynamics, we also find a role for unobserved heterogeneity in the form of member-specific fixed-effects, suggesting previous literature characterizing voting behavior as largely determined by whether members are appointed from within or outside the ranks of Bank of England staff (internal and external members respectively) is overly simplistic.
    Keywords: Bank of England; Monetary Policy Committee; career background effects; dissent voting; unobserved heterogeneity
    JEL: D7 E5 C35
    Date: 2008–06
  22. By: Marialuz Moreno Badia; Veerle Slootmaekers
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the link between finance and firm-level productivity focusing on the case of Estonia. We contribute to the literature in two important respects: (1) we look explicitly at the role of financial constraints; and (2) we develop a methodology that corrects for the misspecification problems of previous studies. Our results indicate that young and highly indebted firms tend to be more financially constrained. Overall, a large number of firms shows some degree of financial constraints, with firms in the primary sector being the most constrained. More importantly, we find that financial constraints do not lower productivity for most sectors with the exception of R&D, where the dampening effect of financial constraints on productivity is remarkably large. These results are robust to a variety of sensitivity tests.
    Keywords: financing constraints, productivity, SMEs
    JEL: D24 G32 O16 P27
    Date: 2008
  23. By: Elke Holst; Andrea Schäfer; Mechthild Schrooten
    Abstract: Gender-specific determinants of remittances are the subject of this study based on German SOEP data (2001-2006). In 2007, about 7.3 million foreigners were living in Germany. While the total number of foreigners has decreased over the last decade, female migration to Germany has increased. Today, women constitute 48.6% of migratory flows to Germany, although the proportion varies significantly by country of origin. A feminization of migration is observable all over the world, and is changing gender roles in the households of origin as well. To date, research has failed to address the gender-specific determinants of remittances from Germany. Here we attempt to fill this gap, focusing on gender roles and network effects. We distinguish between three different groups of migrants: foreigners, Germans with migration background, and all individuals with personal migration experience. Our main findings show, above all, that gender matters. However, the gender differences identified disappear after controlling for transnational (family) networks. Taking interaction terms into account reveals gender-specific network effects. In addition, different groups of migrants show remarkable differences in international networking. We find that female foreigners, but not female migrants with German citizenship, remit less than males if their children live abroad. Female migrants with German citizenship send more money home if their siblings remain in the home country. The reverse is true in the case of female migrants with foreign citizenship. Our findings show that female migrants tend to support their children first and foremost, while male migrants tend to support a wider network of more distant family members and friends. This finding is in sharp contrast to previous studies on remittances. It makes clear that there is little evidence supporting the assumption that remittances simply follow income-difference based altruism or that women are more altruistic than men. Furthermore, there seems to be evidence that the gender-specific differences detected in remittance behaviour might be due to gender-specific migration patterns and the relative role of the migrant within the transnational network.
    Keywords: Remittances, economics of gender, immigrant workers
    JEL: F24 J16 D13
    Date: 2008
  24. By: Michele Belloni (CeRP, Collegio Carlo Alberto); Rob Alessie (Utrecht University, and Netspar)
    Abstract: This study exploits a new dataset in order to quantify the effect of financial incentives on retirement choices. This dataset contains for the first time in Italy information on seniority. In accordance with the general finding in Gruber and Wise (2004), we find that financial incentives have an effect on retirement. The effect goes in the expected direction; when employees become eligible for pension benefits the change in financial incentives they experience is so high that their retirement probability increases in a sizable way. We also find that the procedure to impute seniority used in previous studies leads to a sizable measurement error. Due to this measurement error, the key parameters of the model are inconsistently estimated. Our sensitivity analysis suggests that the lack of appropriate information on seniority is an important reason for the unclear evidence so far obtained in retirement studies for Italy.
    Keywords: retirement; social security wealth; seniority; unobserved heterogeneity
    JEL: J2
    Date: 2008–05–22
  25. By: Albert Solé-Ollé (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Miriam Hortas Rico (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of urban sprawl, a phenomenon of particular interest in Spain, which is currently experiencing this process of rapid, low-density urban expansion. Many adverse consequences are attributed to urban sprawl (e.g., traffic congestion, air pollution and social segregation), though here we are concerned primarily with the rising costs of providing local public services. Our initial aim is to develop an accurate measure of urban sprawl so that we might empirically test its impact on municipal budgets. Then, we undertake an empirical analysis using a cross-sectional data set of 2,500 Spanish municipalities for the year 2003 and a piecewise linear function to account for the potentially nonlinear relationship between sprawl and local costs. The estimations derived from the expenditure equations for both aggregate and six disaggregated spending categories indicate that low-density development patterns lead to greater provision costs of local public services.
    Keywords: Urban sprawl, local public spending.
    JEL: H1 H72 R51
    Date: 2008
  26. By: Aslan Zorlu (University of Amsterdam, AIAS, AMIDst, and IZA Bonn); Joop Hartog (University of Amsterdam, AIAS and IZA)
    Abstract: Using two Dutch labour force surveys, employment assimilation of immigrants is examined. We observe marked differences between immigrants by source country. Non-western immigrants never reach parity with native Dutch. Even second generation immigrants never fully catch up. Caribbean immigrants, who share a colonial history with the Dutch, assimilate relatively quick compared to other non-western immigrants but they still suffer from high unemployment. The study also documents that the quality of jobs is significantly lower for immigrants, especially for those who are at larger cultural distance to Dutch society. Job quality of immigrants increases with the duration of stay but again, does not reach parity with natives. The western immigrants seem to face no considerable difficulties in the Dutch labour market. The most remarkable conclusion is the irrelevance of education for socio-economic position of immigrants once the country of origin has been controlled for.
    Keywords: immigration;assimilation;education
    JEL: J15 J21 J24
    Date: 2008–06–05
  27. By: Raffaello Bronzini (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department); Guido de Blasio (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department); Guido Pellegrini (University of Bologna); Alessandro Scognamiglio (Bank of Italy, Catanzaro Branch, Economic Research Unit)
    Abstract: This paper examines how business investment responds to investment tax credit, as enacted by ItalyÂ’s Law 388/2000. To assess whether the programme made investments possible that otherwise would not have been made, it exploits some features of the tax credit scheme, such as the fact that some Italian regions are not deemed eligible or that the amount of the bonus differs across eligible regions. Although the programme was fiscally unsustainable, and was therefore downsized well ahead of the expiry date, our findings suggest that it has been effective in stimulating investment.
    Keywords: investment incentives, state aid
    JEL: E22 H25
    Date: 2008–04

This nep-eec issue is ©2008 by Giuseppe Marotta. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.