nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2012‒07‒08
twenty papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

  1. Environmental fiscal reform and willingness to pay for the environment: an empirical analysis on European micro data By Ercolano, Salvatore; Gaeta, Giuseppe Lucio; Romano, Oriana
  2. Effects of Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage in Germany on European Electricity Exchange and Welfare By Dirk Rübbelke; Stefan Vögele
  3. Productivity Growth and Structural Reform in Bulgaria: Restarting the Convergence Engine By Pritha Mitra; Cyril Pouvelle
  4. Technological progress and efficiency change In Hungarian Agriculture By Fekete-Farkas, Maria; Szucs, Istvan; Varga, Tibor
  5. An empirical assessment of the 2004 EU merger policy reform By Duso, Tomaso; Gugler, Klaus; Szücs, Florian
  6. University Technology Transfer: How (in-)efficient are French universities? By Claudia Curi; Cinzia Daraio; Patrick Llerena
  7. Exports, R&D and Productivity: A test of the Bustos-model with German enterprise data By Joachim Wagner
  8. The value of domestic building energy efficiency - evidence from Ireland By Marie Hyland; Ronan C. Lyons; Sean Lyons
  9. Are European Banks in Economic Harmonay? An HLM Aproach By James P. Gander
  10. Inter-industrial relations and sectoral employment development in German regions By Kowalewski, Julia
  11. The intergenerational persistence of human capital: an empirical analysis of four generations By Lindahl, Mikael; Palme, Mårten; Sandgren Massih, Sofia; Sjögren, Anna
  12. The system-wide impacts of the external benefits to higher education on the Scottish economy: An exploratory “micro-to-macro†approach By Kristinn Hermannsson; Katerina Lisenkova; Patrizio Lecca; Peter McGregor; Kim Swales
  13. Foreign Banks and the Vienna Initiative: Turning Sinners into Saints? By Alexander Pivovarsky; Elena Loukoianova; Ralph De Haas; Yevgeniya Korniyenko
  14. Temporary Work as an Active Labor Market Policy: Evaluating an Innovative Program for Disadvantaged Youths By Ehlert, Christoph; Kluve, Jochen; Schaffner, Sandra
  15. Mandatory disclosure about environmental and employee matters in Italian listed corporate groups' reports By Marisa Agostini; Ericka Costa
  16. The Cycle of Earnings Inequality: Evidence from Spanish Social Security Data By Bonhomme, Stephane; Hospido, Laura
  17. Independent Schools and Long-Run Educational Outcomes - Evidence from Sweden’s Large Scale Voucher Reform By Böhlmark, Anders; Lindahl, Mikael
  18. From informal practices to formal conduct: Which ethical practices and issues for French lobbying consulting? By R. W. Major; Madina Rival
  19. Towards a More Inclusive Labour Market in Hungary By Rafał Kierzenkowski
  20. The Cost of Consumer Payments in Sweden By Segendorf, Björn; Jansson, Thomas

  1. By: Ercolano, Salvatore; Gaeta, Giuseppe Lucio; Romano, Oriana
    Abstract: This paper empirically investigates the determinants of willingness to pay (WTP) for the environment, employing micro data from the European Value Survey (EVS) over 2008-2010 in 27 European countries. Using ordered logit, logit and partially constrained generalized ordered logit models, we explore a wide set of individual and country level determinants. Our particular focus is on whether WTP is influenced by the Environmental Fiscal Reforms (EFR), carried out only in some countries of our sample. Our results show that WTP for the environment is lower in countries where an Environmental Fiscal Reform has been introduced. Moreover, analyses conducted on the role of information highlight that being presumably aware of the environmental fiscal reform does not affect positively the marginal willingness to pay for the environment.
    Keywords: Willingness to pay; environment; environmental fiscal reform
    JEL: Q50 R20 Z13 H23
    Date: 2012–06–26
  2. By: Dirk Rübbelke; Stefan Vögele
    Abstract: In the course of European efforts to mitigate global warming, the application of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies is discussed as a potential option. Some political opposition was raised – inter alia – by uncertainties about the effective cost of such technologies. Because of the cost structure of CCS power plants with high ‘flat’ investment cost and – in case of high carbon allowance prices – comparable low variable cost, the application of CCS will induce a merit-order effect causing a decline in electricity prices on the spot market. On the one hand, the reduction of electricity supply cost raises suppliers’ rents, while the decline of electricity prices augments consumers’ surpluses. These positive welfare effects tend to mitigate political opposition against CCS. On the other hand, the merit-order effect reduces electricity suppliers’ revenues as the electricity prices decline. This mitigates their scope for additional investments in CCS capacity. In this study, we focus on the influence of CCS in Germany on electricity supplier and consumer surpluses and associated impacts on the scope for investments in additional CCS capacity. By means of the applied model of electricity markets, influences on European electricity exchange and welfare levels are investigated
    Keywords: Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), merit-order effect, redistribution of wealth
    Date: 2012–06
  3. By: Pritha Mitra; Cyril Pouvelle
    Abstract: Labor productivity levels in Bulgaria lag well behind that in the EU, weighing on the convergence process. Stronger productivity growth would allow Bulgaria to close the income gap with the EU average more quickly and to alleviate the structural problems in its labor market, reflected in its high long–term and youth unemployment. Our analysis of the drivers of labor productivity suggest that for Bulgaria closing the gap with EU standards in the areas of institutional and infrastructure quality, goods market efficiency, higher education, and innovation would permanently boost productivity growth by a total of 1 percentage point a year. This would be enough to close the income gap with the EU average by 2040, compared to the status quo where it would take an additional 10 years.
    Keywords: Cross country analysis , European Union , Fiscal reforms , Income , Labor markets , Labor productivity , Production growth , Unemployment ,
    Date: 2012–05–18
  4. By: Fekete-Farkas, Maria; Szucs, Istvan; Varga, Tibor
    Abstract: Hungary became the member of European Union in 2004. The authors want to show that, though, many sectors of Hungarian agriculture have been operating at low level of technology and efficiency; there was a big expectation about the fast catching up with accession to European Union. This paper investigates the effect of EU membership on the productivity performance of Hungarian agriculture based on the years 2005 and 2009 using Data Envelopment Analyses and Malmquist index. The analysis showed that there were considerable reserves of efficiency in the presented two main branches (wheat and pig fattening) of the Hungarian agriculture, and the reserves slightly decreased in wheat production, but they increased in the pig sector by EU accession. The implication for agricultural reform of future productivity growth has also been assessed.
    Keywords: total factor productivity, agriculture, EU membership, Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Farm Management, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, D24, Q16,
    Date: 2012–08–20
  5. By: Duso, Tomaso; Gugler, Klaus; Szücs, Florian
    Abstract: We propose a general framework to assess merger policy effectiveness based on standard oligopoly theory and stock market reactions. We focus on four different dimensions of effectiveness: 1) legal certainty, 2) decision errors, 3) reversion of anti-competitive rents, and 4) deterrence. We apply this framework to 368 merger cases scrutinized by the European Commission (EC) between 1990 and 2007. To evaluate the economic impact of the change in European merger legislation, we compare the results of the four tests before and after its introduction in 2004. Our results suggest that the 'more economic approach' resulted in improved ex-ante predictability of decisions and a reduction of the frequency of type I errors. Merger policy enforcement deters anti-competitive mergers without over-deterring pro-competitive transactions. Yet, the policy shift away from prohibitions, which are effective as a policy tool and as a deterrent mechanism, does not seem to be well-grounded. --
    Keywords: merger control,regulatory reform,EU Commission,event-study
    JEL: L4 K21 C13 D78
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Claudia Curi; Cinzia Daraio; Patrick Llerena
    Abstract: This paper assesses the efficiency of the technology transfer operated by the French university system and its main determinants. The analysis is based on a detailed and original database of 51 TTOs, categorized by type of university, over the period 2003-2007. Overall, we find low-level of efficiency and both intra-category and inter-categories efficiency variation. The analysis of determinants shows that French TTOs efficiency depends extensively on the nature of the category (with universities specialised in science and engineering resulting the most efficient ones), on institutional and environmental characteristics. We found that both the seniority of TTO and size of the university have a positive effect. In terms of environmental variables, the intensity of R&D activity (both private and public) has a positive impact; however, in terms of growth rate, only the Private R&D activity seems to be the main driver. Lastly, having a medical school related to a hospital is a source of inefficiency.
    Keywords: Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs), French University System, Technical Efficiency, DEA, Bootstrap.
    JEL: C34 C44 D24
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Joachim Wagner (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: This paper presents the first empirical test with German firm level data of a hypothesis derived by Bustos (AER 2011) in a model that explains the decision of heterogeneous firms to export and to engage in R&D. Using a non-parametric test for first order stochastic dominance it is shown that, in line with this hypothesis, the productivity distribution of firms with exports and R&D dominates that of exporters without R&D, which in turn dominates that of firms that neither export nor engage in R&D. These results are in line with findings for Argentina. The model, therefore, seems to be useful to guide empirical work on the relation between exports, R&D and productivity.
    Keywords: Exports, R&D, productivity, Germany
    JEL: F14
    Date: 2012–06
  8. By: Marie Hyland; Ronan C. Lyons; Sean Lyons
    Abstract: Following the transposition of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive into Irish law, all properties offered for sale or to let in Ireland are obliged to have an energy efficiency rating. This paper analyses the effect of energy efficiency ratings on the sale and rental prices of properties in the Republic of Ireland. Using the Heckman selection technique we model the decision to advertise the energy efficiency rating of a property and the effect of energy efficiency ratings on property values. Our results show that energy efficiency has a positive effect on both the sales and rental prices of properties, and that the effect is significantly stronger in the sales segment of the property market. We also analyse the effect of energy efficiency across different market conditions and we find that the effect of the energy rating is stronger where market conditions are worse.
    Keywords: Domestic building energy ratings, Hedonic valuation, Ireland
    JEL: Q51 R31 Q58
    Date: 2012
  9. By: James P. Gander
    Keywords: Bank behavior; Profit; Capital account ratios, Harmonization JEL Classification: C23; C40; C51; G21; G28 A reduced-form equation relating the log of the capital account ratio to several micro and macro variables, particularly the profitability variable, for the commercial banks in nine European countries over eleven years, 1991-2001, was constructed. The equation consisted of a fixed-effects part and a random-effects part. The Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM) approach was used to test the harmonization hypothesis relating the capital account ratio to the profit rate across the countries and over the years. The statistical results indicated that while some differences in bank behavior as indicated by the intercept and slope deviations across countries and over years did exist, by and large, most of the differences or deviations from the fixed-effects means were not significantly different from zero. The harmonization hypothesis was accepted. European bank behavior gave evidence of being in harmony and uniform over countries and years. Some policy implications are discussed briefly.
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Kowalewski, Julia
    Abstract: This paper aims to find evidence for the positive impact of cluster structures on employment development in Germany. It develops a new way of measuring the co-location of suppliers and buyers of intermediate goods in a region as well as the importance for the employment development in individual industries. The findings indicate that co-location of inter-connected industries did have a positive effect on employment growth in 16 out of 56 industries between 1998 and 2007 supporting the assumption that agglomeration advantages tend to occur within regional clusters rather than within single industries. However, for the majority of industries such advantages cannot be identified. --
    Keywords: input-output,shift-share,regional cluster,employment development
    JEL: R12 R15 J49
    Date: 2012
  11. By: Lindahl, Mikael (Department of Economics, Uppsala University); Palme, Mårten (Department of Economics, Stockholm University); Sandgren Massih, Sofia (Department of Economics, Uppsala University); Sjögren, Anna (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)
    Abstract: Most previous studies of intergenerational transmission of human capital are restricted to two generations – parents and their children. In this study we use a Swedish data set which enables us link individual measures of lifetime earnings for three generations and data on educational attainments of four generations. We investigate to what extent estimates based on income data from two generations accurately predicts earnings persistence beyond two generations. We also do a similar analysis for intergenerational persistence in educational attainments. We find two-generation studies to severely under-predict intergenerational persistence in earnings and educational attainment over three generations. Finally, we use our multigenerational data on educational attainment to estimate the structural parameters in the Becker-Tomes model. Our results suggest a small or no causal effect of parental education on children’s educational attainment.
    Keywords: Intergenerational income mobility; Human capital transmission; Multigenerational income mobility
    JEL: D31 J62
    Date: 2012–06–08
  12. By: Kristinn Hermannsson (Fraser of Allander Institute, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde); Katerina Lisenkova (Fraser of Allander Institute, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde); Patrizio Lecca (Fraser of Allander Institute, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde); Peter McGregor (Fraser of Allander Institute, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde); Kim Swales (Fraser of Allander Institute, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: The private market benefits of education, i.e. the wage premia of graduates, are widely studied at the micro level, although the magnitude of their macroeconomic impact is disputed. However, there are additional benefits of education, which are less well understood but could potentially drive significant macroeconomic impacts. Following the taxonomy of McMahon (2009) we identify four different types of benefits of education. These are: private market benefits (wage premia); private non market benefits (own health, happiness, etc.); external market benefits (productivity spillovers; and external non-market benefits (crime rates, civic society, democratisation, etc.). Drawing on available microeconometric evidence we use a micro-to-macro simulation approach (Hermannsson et al, 2010) to estimate the macroeconomic impacts of external benefits of higher education. We explore four cases: technology spillovers from HEIs; productivity spillovers from more skilled workers in the labour market; reduction in property crime; and the potential overall impact of external and private non-market benefits. Our results suggest that the external economic benefits of higher education could potentially be very large. However, given the dearth of microeconomic evidence this result should be seen as tentative. Our aim is to illustrate the links from education to the wider economy in principle and encourage further research in the field.
    Keywords: Supply side impact; higher education institutions; computable general equilibrium model; Social and external benefits; Crime
    JEL: I23 E17 D58 R13
    Date: 2012–06
  13. By: Alexander Pivovarsky; Elena Loukoianova; Ralph De Haas; Yevgeniya Korniyenko
    Abstract: We use data on 1,294 banks in Central and Eastern Europe to analyze how bank ownership and creditor coordination in the form of the Vienna Initiative affected credit growth during the 2008–09 crisis. As part of the Vienna Initiative western European banks signed country-specific commitment letters in which they pledged to maintain exposures and to support their subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe. We show that both domestic and foreign banks sharply curtailed credit during the crisis, but that foreign banks that participated in the Vienna Initiative were relatively stable lenders. We find no evidence of negative spillovers from countries where banks signed commitment letters to countries where they did not.
    Keywords: Bank supervision , Banks , Credit expansion , Eastern Europe , Global Financial Crisis 2008-2009 ,
    Date: 2012–05–09
  14. By: Ehlert, Christoph (RWI); Kluve, Jochen (Humboldt University Berlin, RWI); Schaffner, Sandra (RWI)
    Abstract: While high rates of youth unemployment are a severe problem in most European countries, the program evaluation literature shows that disadvantaged youths constitute a group that is particularly difficult to assist effectively. As innovative measures are thus needed, we evaluate a German pilot program that targets low-skilled young unemployed and combines three components: a) individual coaching, b) classroom training and c) temporary work. Using an ex-post quasi-randomization approach, our analysis shows that the program has a positive impact on the post-program employment probability of participants.
    Keywords: program evaluation, disadvantaged youths, temporary work, ALMP
    JEL: J08 J68
    Date: 2012–06
  15. By: Marisa Agostini (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia); Ericka Costa (Department of Computer and Management Sciences, Università di Trento)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of a new specific regulation on the disclosure of environmental and employee matters in both consolidated-annual reports and social-environmental reports. It represents the first comprehensive attempt, as far as we are aware, at evaluating the impact of the 2.2.2007 Italian legislative decree n.32, following the 51/2003/CE directive, in both the consolidated-annual and social-environmental reports. All the Italian corporate groups which have drawn up stand-alone social-environmental reports both in 2005 and in 2010 have been selected: for each one of them also the consolidated-annual reports have been analyzed according to the dictate of the examined regulation. The results show the differences in corporate disclosure between the reports issued in 2005 (i.e. IAS first year of adoption and before the examined regulation) and those issued in 2010 (i.e. after the implementation of D.Lgs. 32/2007 which imposed to apply the Directive 51/2003/CE): there is a twofold increase, both in the number of groups which have a section dedicated to environmental and employee matters in the report on operations and in the value relevance assigned to non-financial indicators.
    Keywords: Environmental and Employee Matters; Non-financial indicators; Social-Environmental Reports; Consolidated-annual reports; Content Analysis.
    JEL: M41 M48 Q56 Q58
    Date: 2012–07
  16. By: Bonhomme, Stephane (CEMFI, Madrid); Hospido, Laura (Bank of Spain)
    Abstract: We use detailed information on labor earnings and employment from social security records to document the evolution of earnings inequality in Spain from 1988 to 2010. Male earnings inequality was strongly countercyclical: it increased around the 1993 recession, showed a substantial decrease during the 1997-2007 expansion, and then a sharp increase during the recent recession. This evolution was partly driven by the cyclicality of employment and earnings in the lower-middle part of the distribution. We emphasize the importance of the housing boom and subsequent housing bust, and show that demand shocks in the construction sector had large effects on aggregate labor market outcomes.
    Keywords: earnings inequality, social security data, unemployment, business cycle
    JEL: D31 J21 J31
    Date: 2012–06
  17. By: Böhlmark, Anders (Swedish Institute for Social Research); Lindahl, Mikael (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates average educational performance effects of an expanding independentschool sector at the compulsory level by assessing a radical voucher reform that was implemented in Sweden in 1992. Starting from a situation where all public schools were essentially local monopolists, the degree of independent schools has developed very differently across municipalities over time as a result of this reform. We regress the change in educational performance outcomes on the increase in the share of independent-school students between Swedish municipalities. We find that an increase in the share of independent-school students improves average performance at the end of compulsory school as well as long-run educational outcomes. We show that these effects are very robust with respect to a number of potential issues, such as grade inflation and pre-reform trends. However, for most outcomes, we do not detect positive and statistically significant effects until approximately a decade after the reform. This is notable, but not surprising given that it took time for independent schools to become more than a marginal phenomenon in Sweden. We do not find positive effects on school expenditures. Hence, the educational performance effects are interpretable as positive effects on school productivity. We further find that the average effects primarily are due to external effects (e.g., school competition), and not that independent-school students gain significantly more than public-school students.
    Keywords: school choice; independent schools: educational performance; external effects
    JEL: H40 I20
    Date: 2012–06–19
  18. By: R. W. Major (CERGAM - Centre d'Études et de Recherche en Gestion d'Aix-Marseille - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Aix-en-Provence - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III : EA4225); Madina Rival (GREG - CRC - Groupe de recherche en économie et en gestion – Centre de recherche en comptabilité - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM))
    Abstract: In France, lobbying consulting is at the same time a recent and not well received activity, conversely to the United States. The influence of public decision making is certainly a particularly sensitive occupation, at both managerial and societal levels. This is why ethics as applied to business can play a central role in its establishment. This paper examines the practices and issues of ethics in lobbying consulting. The chosen field in this exploratory study is France. The case of a lobbying consultancy firm is more specifically developed. A three month participant observation research is complemented by secondary data on the profession in France and in the United States, as well as on French, European, American and Quebec institutions. The results of this research are developed along two lines: 1. The practice of lobbying ethics differs according to age and degree of institutionalization of the profession in the country. In France ethics is informal and based primarily on exemplary, with a particularly low regulatory potential. 2. The stakes of ethics are both internal to the lobbying consulting profession, in its structuring from an emerging to an established profession, as well as external in the clarifying of its relationship with its stakeholders including customers, government and the civil society.
    Keywords: Ethics, lobbying, management consulting
    Date: 2012–01–06
  19. By: Rafał Kierzenkowski
    Abstract: A rapid decrease in unemployment is a short-term priority to limit social problems and reduce the risk of rising structural unemployment. To this end, strengthening labour market policies to sustain labour demand is key. The public works programme should remain temporary and become more focused on training. The authorities should also refrain from further raising the minimum wage. Fundamental structural reforms are needed in the medium term to raise one of the lowest participation rates in the OECD. This challenge is acute in the context of a rapidly ageing population. The authorities have started restructuring the tax/benefit system to make work pay and increase labour supply, yet additional efforts are needed to foster the inclusiveness of the labour market. Groups which are significantly under-represented in the labour market include the low-skilled, youth, the elderly, women of childbearing age, the disabled and the Roma. Structural measures are needed to develop part-time and other flexible forms of employment, reform family policies, ease the integration of people with disability into the labour market, better attune the education system to labour market needs, enhance the level of qualifications and skills at different ages, diminish disincentives to work at older ages and break the segregation of the Roma. This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Survey of Hungary (<P>Vers un marché du travail plus inclusif en Hongrie<BR>L’une des priorités immédiates des pouvoirs publics consiste à faire reculer rapidement le chômage afin de limiter les problèmes sociaux et de réduire les risques d’une montée du chômage structurel. Pour y parvenir, il est indispensable de renforcer les politiques du marché du travail, capables de soutenir la demande de travail. Le programme de travaux publics doit rester temporaire et être davantage axé sur la formation. Les autorités devraient également s’abstenir de relever davantage le salaire minimum. Des réformes structurelles fondamentales sont nécessaires à moyen terme pour que le taux d’activité de la Hongrie ne figure plus parmi les plus bas de la zone OCDE. Il s’agit d’un enjeu majeur dans le contexte du vieillissement rapide de la population. Les pouvoirs publics ont commencé à restructurer le système de prélèvements et de prestations afin d’augmenter les incitations financières au travail et l’offre de main-d’oeuvre. Néanmoins, ils devront consentir des efforts supplémentaires pour veiller à ce que le marché du travail soit plus inclusif. En effet, plusieurs catégories de population sont significativement sous-représentées sur le marché du travail, comme les peu qualifiés, les jeunes, les seniors, les femmes en âge de procréer, les handicapés et les Roms. Des mesures structurelles s’imposent pour développer l’emploi à temps partiel et d’autres formes flexibles d’emploi, réformer les politiques familiales, faciliter l’insertion professionnelle des handicapés, adapter le système éducatif aux besoins du marché du travail, accroître le niveau de qualifications et de compétences à tous les âges, renforcer les incitations à la poursuite de l’activité à un âge avancé et lutter contre la discrimination à l’égard des Roms. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE de la Hongrie, 2012 (
    Keywords: unemployment, Hungary, labour market policies, labour force participation rates, minimum wage, benefit system, chômage, Hongrie, politique du marché du travail, salaire minimum, taux d’activité, système de prestations
    JEL: J13 J14 J21 J26 J32 J65
    Date: 2012–05–23
  20. By: Segendorf, Björn (Financial Stability Department, Central Bank of Sweden); Jansson, Thomas (Financial Stability Department, Central Bank of Sweden)
    Abstract: We estimate the social and private costs of consumer-to-business payments in Sweden in 2009. The combined social cost for these payments was 0.68 per cent of GDP. At the point of sale, cash is socially less costly than debit cards for payments below EUR 1.88 (SEK 20) and credit cards below EUR 42.37 (SEK 450). The corresponding thresholds for the individual consumer are higher for debit cards and much lower for credit cards. Using unique survey data we show that consumers’ payment behaviour is not consistent with what is socially optimal.
    Keywords: Cash payments; Card payments; Credit transfers; Direct debits; Social costs; Private costs
    JEL: D12 D23 D24
    Date: 2012–06–01

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