nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2010‒08‒28
seventeen papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

  1. Projecting future health care expenditure at European level: drivers, methodology and main results. By Bartosz Przywara
  2. External Dimension of EU Social Policy By Werner Eichhorst; Michael J. Kendzia; Jonathan Benjamin Knudsen; Dorit Wahl-Brink
  3. Health at work - indicators and determinants : a revised literature and data review for Germany By Schneider, Julia; Beblo, Miriam
  4. Analysis of the Social Agendas By Werner Eichhorst; Stephanie Devisscher; Thomas Leoni; Paul Marx; Ulrike Mühlberger; Bernd Schulte; Barbara Vandeweghe
  5. What drives patent performance of German biotech firms? The impact of R&D subsidies, knowledge networks and their location By Dirk Fornahl; Tom Broekel; Ron Boschma
  6. Does university choice drive graduates’ employability? By Ciriaci, Daria; Muscio, Alessandro
  7. High-School Dropouts and Transitory Labor Market Shocks: The Case of the Spanish Housing Boom By Aparicio Fenoll, Ainhoa
  8. Generalized Nash Equilibrium and Market Coupling in the European Power System By Smeers, Y.; Oggioni, G.; Allevi, E.; Schaible, S.
  9. Consumption, retirement and life-cycle prices: Evidence from Spain By María José Luengo-Prado; Almudena Sevilla-Sanz
  10. Foreign Labour Migration and the Economic Crisis in the EU: Ongoing and Remaining Issues of the Migrant Workforce in Germany By Kim, Anna Myunghee
  11. Manufacturing employment and exchange rates in the Portuguese economy: the role of openness, technology and labour market rigidity By Fernando Alexandre; Pedro Bação; João Cerejeira; Miguel Portela
  12. Germany's Next Top Manager: Does Personality Explain the Gender Career Gap? By Fietze, Simon; Holst, Elke; Tobsch, Verena
  13. Extensive vs. Intensive Margin in Germany and the United States: Any Differences? By Merkl, Christian; Wesselbaum, Dennis
  14. Informed and uninformed traders at work: evidence from the French market By Ferriani, Fabrizio
  15. Interfuel Substitution and Energy Use in the UK Manufacturing Sector By Steinbuks, J.
  16. Towards a Green Post-Crisis Economy - The Position of Finland in Environmental Technologies By Christopher Palmberg; Tuomo Nikulainen
  17. Estimation of Search Frictions in the British Electricity Market By Giulietti, Monica; Waterson, Michael; Wildenbeest, Matthijs R.

  1. By: Bartosz Przywara
    Abstract: Summary for non-specialistsTo correctly assess the demography-related risks facing public finances in the EU over the next couple of decades and establish adequate policy responses to the demographic, social and economic developments, it is essential to devise a reliable method to estimate future health care expenditure. To tackle this issue, the European Commission and the Economic Policy Committee projected future public health care expenditure in all EU Member States over the period 2007-2060. A unique internationally comparable database has been established and a model built allowing to project health care spending in a common, coherent framework of macroeconomic variables. The model incorporates the most recent developments in demography and epidemiology and draws on new insights from health economics, allowing the comparison of the challenges facing both individual countries' health care systems and European society in its entirety.
    Keywords: Healths Ageing Demography Budgetary projection Public finances Health care expenditure
    JEL: H51 I18 J11 J14
    Date: 2010–07
  2. By: Werner Eichhorst (IZA); Michael J. Kendzia (IZA); Jonathan Benjamin Knudsen (NIRAS); Dorit Wahl-Brink (NIRAS)
    Abstract: Study conducted for the European Parliament, Bonn 2010 (151 pages)
    Date: 2010–07
  3. By: Schneider, Julia (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Beblo, Miriam
    Abstract: "In this paper, the current knowledge and issues regarding the economic impact of health at work in Germany is reviewed as a part of the EU project 'An inquiry into health and safety at work: a European Union perspective' (acronym: HEALTHat-WORK), After a description of the German institutional framework for occupational safety and health (OSH), it presents indicators of health and safety at work - such as sickness absences, occupational accidents and diseases, disability rents, working conditions, and OSH policy. The paper's major contribution is a review of economic research on the determinants of OSH indicators in Germany, and a review of the data sets that have been or may be used. The aim is to identify the main issues addressed in the literature, the approaches adopted, the data analyzed, and the research gaps that still exist with respect to analyzing health at work in Germany." (author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    JEL: I18 J80
    Date: 2010–08–18
  4. By: Werner Eichhorst (IZA); Stephanie Devisscher (IDEA); Thomas Leoni (WIFO); Paul Marx (IZA); Ulrike Mühlberger (WIFO); Bernd Schulte (MPISOC); Barbara Vandeweghe (IDEA)
    Abstract: Study conducted for the European Parliament, Bonn 2010 (135 pages)
    Date: 2010–04
  5. By: Dirk Fornahl; Tom Broekel; Ron Boschma
    Abstract: This paper aims to explain whether firm-specific features, their engagement in collaboration networks and their location influence patent activity of biotech firms in Germany in the period 1997-2004. First, we demonstrate that non-collaborative R&D subsidies do not increase patent intensity of biotech firms. Second, the number of knowledge links biotech firms is also not influencing their patent performance. However, strong and robust evidence is found that some but not too much cognitive distance between actors involved in R&D collaborations increases patent performance of firms. Third, being located in a biotech cluster does positively impact on patent performance.
    Keywords: relatedness, R&D subsidies, biotechnology, knowledge networks, proximity paradox
    JEL: O33 O38 R58
    Date: 2010–08
  6. By: Ciriaci, Daria; Muscio, Alessandro
    Abstract: Universities have come under increasing pressure to become key drivers of economic development in the age of the knowledge economy. Yet we know very little about the impact of university quality and scientific excellence on the probability of graduates finding jobs. This paper investigates the determinants of Italian graduates’ employability 1-year and 3-years after graduation, with special reference to university quality measured in terms of research performance. Our results confirm that the ‘better’ the university, the higher the likelihood that graduates will be employed. We also observe strong effects associated with field of study, and wide regional differences.
    Keywords: University quality; returns to education; labour market outcomes, employment
    JEL: I23 J24
    Date: 2010–05–05
  7. By: Aparicio Fenoll, Ainhoa (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the implications of transitory changes in labor market conditions for low versus high educated workers on the decision to acquire education. To identify this effect, I use the improvement in the labor market prospects of low educated workers motivated by the increases in employment and wages in the construction sector during the recent housing boom. The estimation strategy is based on the fact that changes in the labor market driven by the construction sector affect only men. Increases in construction activity are found to increase men's propensity to drop out of high-school, relative to women. According to this finding, policies promoting education should strengthen when in the presence of transitory shocks in the labor market that make dropping out more attractive.
    Keywords: high-school dropout, housing boom, Spain
    JEL: J24 J22 I20 L74
    Date: 2010–08
  8. By: Smeers, Y.; Oggioni, G.; Allevi, E.; Schaible, S.
    Abstract: "Market Coupling'' is currently seen as the most advanced market design in the restructuring of the European electricity market. Market coupling, by construction, introduces what is generally referred to as an incomplete market: it leaves several constraints out of the market and hence avoids pricing them. This may or may not have important consequences in practice depending on the case on hand. Quasi-Variational Inequality problems and the associated Generalized Nash Equilibrium can be used for representing incomplete markets. Recent papers propose methods for finding a set of solutions of QuasiVariational Inequality problems. We apply one of these methods to a subproblem of market coupling namely the coordination of counter-trading. This problem is an illustration of a more general question encountered for instance in hierarchical planning in production management. We first discuss the economic interpretation of the Quasi-Variational Inequality problem. We then apply the algorithmic approach to a set of stylized case studies in order to illustrate the impact of different organizations of counter-trading. The paper emphazises the structuring of the problem. A companion paper considers the full problem of market coupling and counter-trading and presents a more extensive numerical analysis.
    Keywords: Generalized Nash Equilibrium, Quasi-Variational Inequalities, Market Coupling, Counter-Trading, European Electricity Market
    JEL: D52 D58 Q40
    Date: 2010–08–16
  9. By: María José Luengo-Prado (IMDEA Social Sciences); Almudena Sevilla-Sanz (Oxford University)
    Abstract: Evidence from several countries reveals a substantial drop in household consumption around retirement age that some researchers believe is difficult to reconcile with standard life-cycle models. Using detailed expenditure data from a Spanish panel survey, we find no evidence of a consumption-retirement puzzle in Spain for the period of 1985–2004. However, we find a drop in food expenditure at home from 1998 to 2004 and evidence on households paying lower prices for the food they purchase after retirement in this latter period. Our findings are consistent with a household model that allows for home production whereby retirees substitute away from market goods to home production, as long as one accounts for the greater participation in housework by men after retirement coinciding with the latter period of the survey.
    JEL: E21
    Date: 2010–08–16
  10. By: Kim, Anna Myunghee (IZA)
    Abstract: This paper provides an evaluation of the status of migrant workers in Germany amidst the global financial crisis. Findings of the study are drawn from the latest available data on the labour market performance of native-German and non-German migrant workers as well as other socioeconomic integration measures of the receiving state. Compared to the experience of migrants in most of the major receiving states of the EU, the status of the predominantly low-skilled sector-employed migrant workers in Germany, where primarily the skilled-workforce concentrated industries of high-value products is affected, has remained unchanged during the crisis. On the other hand, marginalisation of the ethnic and national minority population appears to be a persistent phenomenon marked by long-standing labour market exclusion. This is manifested in over two decades of double-digit unemployment rates of the foreign migrant population in the former ‘guest-worker’ importing country. This implies for the economy the need to settle long-term problems and implement strategies towards a better labour market integration of the minority migrant population beyond the recent recession.
    Keywords: global financial crisis, low-skilled sector, migrant workers, guest-workers, labour market integration, minority migrant population
    JEL: F22 J61 O15
    Date: 2010–08
  11. By: Fernando Alexandre (Universidade do Minho - NIPE); Pedro Bação (GEMF and Universidade de Coimbra); João Cerejeira (Universidade do Minho - NIPE); Miguel Portela (Universidade do Minho - NIPE and IZA)
    Abstract: Integration into the world economy, specialization in low-technology sectors and labour market rigidity have been singled out as structural features of the Portuguese economy that are crucial for the understanding of its performance. In this paper, we explore empirically the role of openness, technology and labour market rigidity in the determination of the effect of the exchange rate on the dynamics of employment in Portugal. Our estimates indicate that employment in low-technology sectors with a high degree of trade openness and facing less rigidity in the labour market is more sensitive to movements in exchange rates. Therefore, our results provide additional evidence on the relevance of those structural features for explaining the evolution of the Portuguese economy in the last decades. In this paper the degree of labour market rigidity is measured at the sector level by means of a novel index. According to this index, high-technology sectors face less labour market rigidity. These sectors are also more exposed to international competition. However, the bulk of employment destruction has occurred in low-technology sectors. This suggests that productivity/technology may be the key variable to reduce the economy´s exposure to external shocks.
    Keywords: exchange rates, international trade, job flows, labour market rigidity, technology.
    JEL: J23 F16 F41
    Date: 2010
  12. By: Fietze, Simon (University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg); Holst, Elke (DIW Berlin); Tobsch, Verena (University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg)
    Abstract: The higher the hierarchical level, the fewer women are represented in management positions. Many studies have focused on the influence of human capital and other "objective" factors on career opportunities to explain this phenomenon. We are now looking at the impact of self-reported personality traits on gender differences in career chances and compare women and men in management positions and other white-collar employees in Germany's private sector 2007. While bivariate results based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) show that there are significant gender differences in personality traits, multivariate estimations and the decomposition of the gender career gap clearly indicate that these differences cannot account for gender differences in career opportunities. The decomposition shows that only 8.6 percent of the inequality of career chances between women and can be explained by differences in personality. Nevertheless, personality traits might indeed play a role, albeit more indirectly: Some of the stronger career effects, such as long working hours, and labour market segregation, can also reflect differences in personality traits. These might have been influenced at an early stage by a gender-biased environment. Our results strongly stress the need for a gender-neutral environment outside and inside companies in order to enforce equal career opportunities for women and men.
    Keywords: personality, gender, career, leadership
    JEL: J16 J44 J71 M12 M14
    Date: 2010–08
  13. By: Merkl, Christian (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg); Wesselbaum, Dennis (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of the extensive vis-à-vis the intensive margin of labor adjustment in Germany and in the United States. The contribution is twofold. First, we provide an update of older U.S. studies and confirm the view that the extensive margin (i.e., the adjustment in the number of workers) explains the largest part in the overall variability in aggregate hours. Second, although the German labor market structure is very different from its U.S. counterpart, the quantitative importance of the extensive margin is of similar magnitude.
    Keywords: business cycle, extensive and intensive margin, variance decomposition
    JEL: C10 E32 J21
    Date: 2010–08
  14. By: Ferriani, Fabrizio
    Abstract: The impact that informed and uninformed agents have on market prices is crucial for informational issues in financial markets. Informed trades are associated with institutional operators while uninformed trades are executed on behalf of retail investors. Using high-frequency data from Euronext Paris, I estimate a model where I take into account traders' identities at transaction level. The results show that when the identities of the traders are different on the two sides of the market, stock prices follow the direction indicated by institutional agents. This means that when the buyer is an informed operator and the seller is a retail one, the former transmits a positive pressure to the market. Conversely, when the seller is an institutional agent and the buyer is an uninformed one market prices depress. There is no significant effect when the agent types are the same on both market sides. Since traders' identities are concealed in Euronext Paris, the last part of the paper discusses the informational content implicitly provided by observed market variables. Institutional trading is found to increase throughout the day, whereas no evidence of informed trading is found during specific time periods of the continuous auction, except for the first thirty minutes of the day where there are more uninformed trades. Institutional trading is more common during periods of low price changes and high frequency of transactions. Price variations show that informed agents are usually able to trade at better price conditions. Finally, the tick-test algorithm strongly confirms that informed traders always act as initiators of market transactions.
    Keywords: High-frequency data; Euronext Paris; informational asymmetries.
    JEL: G14 C22 C25
    Date: 2010–08–18
  15. By: Steinbuks, J.
    Abstract: This paper investigates interfuel substitution in the UK manufacturing sector. Econometric models of interfuel substitution are applied to energy inputs aggregated by their energy use, and separately for thermal heating processes, where interfuel substitution is technologically feasible. Compared to aggregate data, estimated own-price fuel demand elasticities for all fuels and cross-price elasticities for fossil fuels are considerably higher for thermal heating processes. Nonetheless,electricity is found to be a poor substitute for other fuels based on both aggregate data and separately for the heating process. This study also finds that an increase in real fuel prices resulted in higher substitution elasticities based on aggregate data, and lower substitution elasticities for the heating process. The results of counterfactual decomposition of change in the estimated elasticities indicate that technological change was the major determinant of the differences in observed elasticities before and after the energy price increase.
    Keywords: climate change levy, elasticities, energy use, interfuel substitution, manufacturing sector, United Kingdom.
    JEL: H23 Q41
    Date: 2010–08–16
  16. By: Christopher Palmberg; Tuomo Nikulainen
    Abstract: Climate change is a major global challenge and governments around the world are now promoting environmental technologies to address both climate change and realize new employment and growth opportunities in this rapidly expanding area. Investments have reached unprecedented levels and stimulus packages to tackle the recent economic crisis also contain noticeable commitments to green technologies. Innovation policies are now under pressure to capitalize these investments and define priorities in the application of environmental technologies to both boost competitiveness and eco-innovation. The aim of this paper is to clarify foreseen impacts of growing environmental technology investments, ‘green’ components of economic stimulus packages and the ideas of a ‘Global Green New Deal’ and ‘Green Growth’ and to assess how Finland is positioned in environmental technologies. The paper reviews existing studies, analyzes global and Finnish patenting and considers the role of environmental technologies in its industrial context in Finland. The findings suggest that renewable energy is the most rapidly expanding environmental technology area, while the economic stimulus packages will play a lesser role than originally anticipated in transitions to low-carbon economies. Finland is comparatively well positioned in environmental technologies by overall levels of patenting activity. Nonetheless, Finland does not have a specific specialization profile in the area, neither a comparative advantage in renewable energy technologies as the most rapidly expanding fields globally. Environmental technologies are developed in the context of a broad range of Finnish industries whereby the application potentials of these technologies are manifold
    Keywords: environmental technologies, ‘Global Green New Deal’, ‘Green Growth’, investments, patenting, Finland
    Date: 2010–08–13
  17. By: Giulietti, Monica (Nottingham University Business School); Waterson, Michael (Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Wildenbeest, Matthijs R. (Kelley School of Business, Indiana University)
    Abstract: This paper studies consumer search and pricing behaviour in the British domestic electricity market following its opening to competition in 1999. We develop a sequential search model in which an incumbent and an entrant group compete for consumers who nd it costly to obtain information on prices other than from their current supplier. We use a large data set on prices and input costs to structurally estimate the model. Our estimates indicate that consumer search costs must be relatively high in order to rationalize observed pricing patterns. We confront our stimates with observed switching behaviour and nd they match well. Keywords:
    Keywords: electricity ; consumer search ; price competition JEL Classification: C14 ; D83 ; L13
    Date: 2010

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