nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2013‒01‒26
twenty papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

  1. Who Earns Minimum Wages in Europe? New Evidence Based on Household Surveys By François Rycx; Stephan K. S. Kampelmann
  2. Characteristics and labour market performance of the new member state (NMS12) immigrants in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom By Mari Kangasniemi; Merja Kauhanen
  3. Active Ageing and Gender Equality By Marcella Corsi; Manuela Samek Lodovici
  4. Awareness and Attitudes towards Biotechnology Innovations among Farmers and Rural Population in the European Union By Toma, Luiza; Madureira, Livia Maria Costa; Hall, Clare; Barnes, Andrew P.; Renwick, Alan W.
  5. Backing out of private pension provision - Lessons from Germany By Ziegelmeyer, Michael; Nick, Julius
  6. A dynamic approach to measuring ecological-economic performance with directional distance functions: greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union By Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo; Juana Castillo; Mercedes Beltrán-Esteve
  7. Gender differences in German wage mobility By Aretz, Bodo
  8. Immigrant Homeownership and Immigration Status: Evidence from Spain By Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes; Kusum Mundra
  9. Age at immigration and crime. Findings for male immigrants in Norway By Synøve Nygaard Andersen and Torbjørn Skardhamar
  10. Which Short-Selling Regulation is the Least Damaging to Market Efficiency? Evidence from Europe By Oscar Bernal Diaz; Astrid Herinckx; Ariane Szafarz
  11. Links Between Transnationalism Integration and Duration of Residence: The Case of eastern European Migrants in Italy By Eralba CELA; Tineke FOKKEMA; Elena AMBROSETTI
  12. House Prices, Home Equity and Health By Fichera, E.;; Gathergood, J.;
  13. The impact of air pollution on Hospital admissions: evidence from Italy By Raffaele Lagravinese; Lee Habin; Francesco Moscone; Eliza Tosetti
  14. Absenteeism, Unemployment and Employment Protection Legislation: Evidence from Italy By Vincenzo Scoppa; Daniela Vuri
  15. Providing easy access to cross-country comparative contextual data for demographic research: concept and recent advances of the Generations & Gender Programme Contextual Database By Arianna Caporali; Sebastian Klüsener; Gerda R. Neyer; Sandra Krapf; Olga Grigorieva
  16. Innovation strategies of German firms: The effect of competition and intellectual property protection By Slivko, Olga
  17. Empirical Research on Households’ Saving and Retirement Security: First Steps towards an Innovative Triple‐Linked‐Dataset By Coppola, Michela; Lamla, Bettina
  18. Publicizing the results of standardized external tests : does it have an effect on school outcomes? By Brindusa Anghel; Antonio Cabrales; Jorge Sainz; Ismael Sanz
  19. Measuring Cultural Diversity and its Impact on Innovation: Longitudinal Evidence from Dutch firms By Ceren Ozgen; Peter Nijkamp; Jacques Poot
  20. Assesing the Impact of Competition on the Efficiency of Italian Airports By Tiziana D’Alfonso; Cinzia Daraio; Alberto Nastasi

  1. By: François Rycx; Stephan K. S. Kampelmann
    Abstract: This paper aims to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based, and up-to-date assessment of minimum wages in a range of European countries. A first step towards a better understanding of where Europe stands today on this issue requires to grasp the diversity of European minimum wage systems, a key objective of the paper at hand. The second objective is to document international differences in the so-called "bite" of the minimum wage. This leads to questions such as "how do national minimum wages compare to the overall wage distribution?" and "how many people earn minimum wages in each country?" that are assessed for a set of nine countries from Western, Central and Eastern Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This sample was designed to include countries for which recent evidence has been missing prior to this paper. What is more, the study also overcomes the narrow focus of extant overviews that have typically focussed only on full-time employment. Crucially, the study improves on existing work by looking beyond aggregate numbers; it provides a detailed panorama of the population of minimum wage earners in each country under investigation, notably by describing their composition in terms of a range of socio-demographic characteristics.
    Keywords: Minimum wage systems; Socio-economic consequences; Europe
    Date: 2013–01–10
  2. By: Mari Kangasniemi (Labour Institute for Economic Research); Merja Kauhanen (Labour Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: There is little previous comparative research on how new EU member state immigrant population (NMS) and their labour market performance differ across the old member states. This paper extends the earlier literature by investigating NMS immigrants’ composition and labour market performance in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom which are characterized by considerable differences in their labour market institutions. These institutional structures might also influence the labour market outcomes of NMS immigrants and these countries’ abilities to absorb immigrants. As measures of labour market performance we use labour force participation, employment, type of employment, and occupational attainment. We use pooled cross-sectional data from the European Union Labour Force Survey from years 2004-2009 in the analyses. We find that NMS12 immigrants had on average a lower probability of employment in comparison to natives in all other countries except for the UK during period 2004-2009. With the time spent in the host country the employment gap between NMS12 immigrants and natives narrows in Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. The type of employment and a higher risk of working in low skilled jobs NMS immigrants have in comparison to similar natives also indicate that the NMS immigrants have a more disadvantaged position in the host country labour market.
    Keywords: new EU member states, composition of immigrants, labour market outcomes, labour force participation, employment, self-employment, occupational attainment, role of institutions
    JEL: J61 F22
    Date: 2013–01
  3. By: Marcella Corsi; Manuela Samek Lodovici
    Abstract: Ageing is a distinctly gendered phenomenon, women being increasingly represented in the older cohorts of the European population, due to their longer life expectancy than men. Furthermore, gender differences and inequalities are a fundamental feature of social exclusion and poverty in old age. The twofold discrimination against older women workers based on gender and age stereotypes, combined with their greater vulnerability in the labour market caused by women-specific work trajectories (i.e. career breaks, part-time employment and the gender pay gap) compound with institutional arrangements in producing higher risks of poverty in old age for women than for men. While inadequate or obsolete skills remain the main barriers for older workers to remain in or re-enter the labour market, for women also unpaid work responsibilities (in particular care burdens) constitute severe constraints. Indeed crucial gender issues in old age relate to the role of older women as both major providers and users of care services.This paper discusses gender inequalities in old age and analyses measures implemented in the main policy areas of active ageing (employment; training and life-long learning; volunteer/community work; age-friendly environment and supportive services), in order to identify effective strategies in a gender equality perspective.
    Date: 2013–01–18
  4. By: Toma, Luiza; Madureira, Livia Maria Costa; Hall, Clare; Barnes, Andrew P.; Renwick, Alan W.
    Abstract: The paper analyses the impact that European Union (EU) farmers’ and rural population’s awareness of biotechnology innovations and access to/trust in information on these issues (amongst other a priori determinants) have on their perceptions of risks and benefits of the applications of biotechnology innovations, and attitudes towards their implementation in practice. We employ structural equation models (SEM) with observed and latent variables. SEM is a statistical technique for testing and estimating relationships amongst variables, using a combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions. We use an Eurobarometer dataset (2010) about awareness/acceptance of biotechnology innovations and run SEM models for ten EU countries, which include older and newer Member States. The variables included are socio-demographics, access to biotechnology information, trust in information sources on biotechnology innovations, attitudes towards the importance and impact of science and technology on society, perceptions of the risks and benefits of the applications of biotechnology innovations and attitudes towards their implementation in practice. Results between the different EU countries are comparable and, alongside other determinants, trust in information sources will significantly impact perceptions of risks and benefits of the applications of biotechnology innovations, and attitudes towards their implementation in practice. This underlines the importance of information and knowledge to acceptance of biotechnology innovations, which should be a key point on policy-makers’ agenda of developing the economic and environmental efficiency in the agricultural sector and rural sustainability in Europe. Increasing awareness of biotechnology innovations that safeguard people and the environment in order to enable informed debate and decisions will help enhance sustainability of rural areas.
    Keywords: biotechnology innovations, farmers and rural population, European Union, information and knowledge, biotechnology attitudes, structural equation models, Farm Management, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,
    Date: 2012–09
  5. By: Ziegelmeyer, Michael; Nick, Julius (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))
    Abstract: Financing pensions in the EU is a challenge. Many EU countries introduced private pension schemes to compensate declining public pension levels due to reforms made necessary by demographic change. In 2001, Germany introduced the Riester pension. Ten years after introduction the prevalence rate of this voluntary private pension scheme approximates 37%. However, numerous criticisms raise doubts that the market for Riester products is transparent. Using the 2010 German SAVE survey, this paper investigates for the first time terminated and dormant Riester contracts on a household level. Respectively 14.5% and 12.5% of households who own or have owned a Riester contract terminated it or stopped paying contributions. We find that around 45% of terminated or dormant Riester contracts are caused at least partly by product-related reasons, which is significantly higher than for endowment life insurance contracts. Uptake of a new contract after a termination is more likely if termination is productrelated. Nevertheless, after a termination 73% of households do not sign a new contract, which can have serious long-term consequences for old-age income. Households with low income, low financial wealth or low pension literacy are more likely to have terminated or dormant contracts. Low income and low financial wealth households also have the lowest prevalence rate of Riester contracts and are at higher risk of old-age poverty.
    JEL: D12 D91 D14 J26
    Date: 2012–08–20
  6. By: Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo (Departamento de Economía Aplicada II. Universidad de Valencia); Juana Castillo (Departamento de Economía Aplicada II. Universidad de Valencia); Mercedes Beltrán-Esteve (Departamento de Economía Aplicada II. Universidad de Valencia)
    Abstract: The impact of economic activity on the environment is a matter of growing concern for firm managers, policymakers, researchers and society as a whole. Building on previous work by Kortelainen [Kortelainen, M., 2008. Dynamic environmental performance analysis: A Malmquist index approach. Ecological Economics 64, 701-715], we contribute an approach to assessing dynamic ecological- economic performance, or simply dynamic eco-performance, and its two determinants, ecologicaleconomic efficiency change and technical change, at specific-environmental-pressure level. In doing so, we use Data Envelopment Analysis techniques, directional distance functions and Luenberger indices. Our approach is employed to assess dynamic eco-performance in the emission of greenhouse gases in the European Union-27 over the period 1990-2010. The main result is that eco-performance has been boosted by technical change rather than by increases in eco-efficiency. Accordingly, policy measures aimed at enhancing eco-efficiency are recommended to improve eco-performance in European countries regarding greenhouse gas emissions.
    Keywords: Dynamic eco-performance; directional distance functions; Data Envelopment Analysis; greenhouse gases emissions; European Union
    JEL: C61 O44 Q01 Q54
    Date: 2013–01
  7. By: Aretz, Bodo
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the evolution of wage inequality and wage mobility separately for men and women in West and East Germany over the last four decades. Using a large administrative data set which covers the years 1975 to 2008, I find that wage inequality increased and wage mobility decreased for male and female workers in East and West Germany. Women faced a higher level of wage inequality and a lower level of wage mobility than men in both parts of the country throughout the entire observation period. The mobility decline was sharper in East Germany so that the level of wage mobility has fallen below that of West Germany over time. Looking at long-term mobility, a slowly closing gap between men and women is observed. --
    Keywords: Wage Mobility,Wage Inequality,Administrative Data
    JEL: J31 D63
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes (San Diego State University); Kusum Mundra (Rutgers University)
    Abstract: Because of the many advantages of homeownership for immigrants and for the communities where immigrants reside, a variety of countries have implemented policies that facilitate immigrant homeownership. Although these policies hinge on immigration status, the link between immigration status and homeownership is yet to be carefully explored. Using a recent survey of immigrants in Spain, we find that permanent residents from the EU15 enjoy the highest homeownership rates, even after accounting for a wide range of individual and family characteristics known to impact housing ownership. Permanent residents from countries outside the EU15, temporary residents and undocumented immigrants are, respectively, 12 percentagepoints, 29 percentage-points and 33 percentagepoints less likely to own a home than permanent residents from the EU15. Overall, the findings highlight the differences in homeownership by immigrant status, possibly reflecting differences in cultural adaptation and integration across immigrants in host country.
    Keywords: Immigrant Homeownership, Immigration Status, Spain.
    JEL: R21 J61
    Date: 2013–01
  9. By: Synøve Nygaard Andersen and Torbjørn Skardhamar (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: Previous studies have identified an “immigrant paradox” in crime in which crime rates are highest among immigrants who are young when they arrive in the host country, even though social capital and integration in the labour market and social networks favour the young. We use Norwegian registry data to estimate the probability of committing at least one crime in any year after the year of immigration, and we include interaction terms between age and age at immigration to explore the troublesome temporal association between age, age at immigration and duration of residence. The results suggest an overall negative association between age at immigration and registered crime, which seems to be exaggerated by the residual effect of the omitted duration of residence variable. Comparability of results between studies depends crucially on how age at immigration is measured.
    Keywords: Crime; Immigrants; Age at immigration; Duration of residence
    Date: 2012–12
  10. By: Oscar Bernal Diaz; Astrid Herinckx; Ariane Szafarz
    Abstract: Exploiting cross-sectional and time-series variations in European regulations during the July 2008 – June 2009 period, we show that: 1) Prohibition on covered short selling raises bid-ask spread and reduces trading volume, 2) Prohibition on naked short selling raises both volatility and bid-ask spread, 3) Disclosure requirements raise volatility and reduce trading volume, and 4) No regulation is effective against price decline. Overall, all short-sale regulations harm market efficiency. However, naked short-selling prohibition is the only regulation that leaves volumes unchanged while addressing the failure to deliver. Therefore, we argue that this is the least damaging to market efficiency.
    Keywords: short selling; disclosure requirement; market efficiency; regulation; volatility
    JEL: G18 G14 G00 K20 O52
    Date: 2013–01–09
  11. By: Eralba CELA (Universit… Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali); Tineke FOKKEMA (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)); Elena AMBROSETTI (Universir… La Sapienza, Roma)
    Abstract: Transnationalism of first-generation migrants, usually considered as the core element of their migratory projects, is taken nowadays to some extent for granted. Several migration scholars have mainly focused their research on demonstrating the complementarity or dualism between integration and transnationalism and the degree of persistence of the latter over one's life course and generations. In line with this research, the aim of the present study is to examine empirically the relations of transnationalism with duration of residence and integration of Eastern Europe communities in the specific case of Italy. Data come from the Integrometro survey 2008-2009, encompassing more than 4500 Eastern European migrants, currently representing half of the foreign population in Italy, allowing us to study nationalities that have been overlooked by migration research in transnational topics. Our results clearly show a positive relationship between migrants' economic integration and transnationalism, suggesting that economic resources facilitate the maintenance and development of cross-border ties. Being more integrated socio-culturally, however, is accompanied with weaker transnational practices. Moreover, the level of transnational behaviour decreases the more years Eastern European migrants spend in Italy, which cannot be fully attributed to a higher level of socio-cultural integration.
    Keywords: integration, migration, transnationalism
    JEL: F22 F24
    Date: 2012–11
  12. By: Fichera, E.;; Gathergood, J.;
    Abstract: Home equity has a strong impact on individual health. In UK household panel data home equity lowers the likelihood of home owners exhibiting a broad range of medical conditions. This is due to increased use of private health care, reduced hours of work and increased exercise. Home equity, unlike income, does not increase risky health behaviours such as smoking and drinking.Home equity is highly pro-cyclical. The positive health effects of home equity gains on home owner health over the business cycle offset the negative effects of labour market conditions and work intensity as shown in US data by Ruhm (2000).
    Keywords: Health, wealth
    JEL: I10
    Date: 2013–01
  13. By: Raffaele Lagravinese; Lee Habin; Francesco Moscone; Eliza Tosetti
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the relationship between air pollution and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Italy, at province level, over the period 2004- 2009. To this end, we use information on annual mean concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone measured at monitoring station level to build province-level indicators. In our model for hospital admissions, we allow pollution measures to be subject to measurement error and possibly correlated with the error term. By adopting an instrumental variables approach, we find that higher levels of particulate matter and carbon monoxide are associated with higher hospitalisation for children, while ozone has an influence on hospital admissions of the elderly. Other factors that appear to have an important role are the rainfall and the level of education.
    Keywords: airborne pollutants; hospital admission; instrumental variables.
    JEL: I12 I18 Q53
    Date: 2013–01
  14. By: Vincenzo Scoppa (Department of Economics, Statistics and FInance, University of Calabria); Daniela Vuri (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: Efficiency wages theories argue that the threat of firing, coupled with a high unemployment rate, is a mechanism that discourages employee shirking in asymmetric information contexts. Our empirical analysis aims to verify the role of unemployment as a worker discipline device, considering the different degree of job security offered by the Italian Employment Protection Legislation to workers employed in small and large firms. We use a panel of administrative data (WHIP) and consider sickness absences as an empirical proxy for employee shirking. Controlling for a number of individual and firm characteristics, we investigate the relationship between worker's absences and local unemployment rate (at the provincial level). We find a strong negative impact of unemployment on absenteeism rate, which is considerable larger in small firms due to a significantly lower protection from dismissals in these firms. We also find that workers who are absent more frequently face higher risks of dismissal. As an indirect test of the role of unemployment as worker's discipline device we show that public sector employees, almost impossible to fire, do not react to the local unemployment.
    Keywords: Shirking; Absenteeism; Employment Protection Legislation; Unemployment.
    JEL: J41 M51 J45
    Date: 2013–01–07
  15. By: Arianna Caporali (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sebastian Klüsener (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Gerda R. Neyer (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sandra Krapf (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Olga Grigorieva (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Demographic behaviour is shaped not only by characteristics at the individual level, but also by the context in which individuals are embedded. The Contextual Database of the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) supports research on these micro-macro links by providing cross-country comparative contextual data on demographic, socio-economic, and policy developments covering up to 60 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania. This paper presents conceptual considerations and recent advances in the implementation of this database. Although conceptually linked to the Generations and Gender Survey, the GGP Contextual Database can also be used for the analysis of data from other surveys or to study macro-developments. With its unique combination of features, this database could serve as a model for the development of contextual databases linked to other surveys. These features include the provision of harmonised national and sub-national regional time series of indicators in a dynamic web environment with innovative functionalities, such as metadata documentation by single data entry and automatic geocoding.
    Keywords: Europe, data banks, fertility, gender, generations
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2013–01
  16. By: Slivko, Olga
    Abstract: This article analyzes how the perceived effectiveness of intellectual property protection and competitive pressure affect firms' innovation strategy choices, concretely, whether to abstain from innovation, to introduce products that are known in the market but new to the firm (imitation) or to introduce market novelties (innovation). Using a sample of 1253 German firms from manufacturing and services sectors I show that the perceived effectiveness of patent protection positively affects firms' propensity to imitate and to innovate. Having a small or a medium number of competitors positively affects firms' propensity to imitate and to innovate as compared to being a monopolist or having a large number of competitors. However, this effect varies with the perceived patent protection effectiveness. If the perceived patent protection effectiveness is low or medium, both innovation and imitation are enhanced, whereas if it is high, only innovation is enhanced. --
    Keywords: Innovation,imitation,competitive pressure,intellectual property protection
    JEL: C35 L13 O31 O34
    Date: 2012
  17. By: Coppola, Michela; Lamla, Bettina (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))
    Abstract: There is an increasing interest among social scientists in merging survey data with administrative records from social security institutions. Record linkage represents one way to combine different sources using a unique identifier such as the Social Security number. The informed consent of the respondents however is required, which in turn might induce bias to the consent question and even threaten stability in a panel study. Data from the longitudinal household survey “Saving and old‐age Provision in Germany” (SAVE) are used for analysis of consent rates and patterns. In the latest wave of the study participants have been asked to provide their written consent to link their answers to administrative data from the Federal Employment Agency which also includes information on the respondents’ employers. The combined data set will open new avenues for research on the link between institutions, saving behavior and old‐age provision: The survey data contains information on private pension and non‐pension wealth which will be complemented by complete employment histories. Moreover, from the administrative data entitlements to public pensions can be derived, while an employer survey will shed more light on the diffusion of occupational pensions. SAVE is mainly conducted as a self‐administered paper and pencil (P&P) questionnaire, while existing research is based on personal interviews. Given a response rate of 81% of the participants and a consent rate of 58%, asking for consent appears feasible in a P&P design. There is evidence for mild consent bias. However, considering correlations between giving the consent and a series of socio‐demographic variables, as well as variables capturing respondents’ motivation and willingness can explain variation in the consent only to a small extent. We conclude that most of the variation is random.
    Date: 2012–07–17
  18. By: Brindusa Anghel; Antonio Cabrales; Jorge Sainz; Ismael Sanz
    Abstract: We study the effect of standardized external tests on students’ academic outcomes. We exploit the fact that only one of the 17 Spanish regions started doing and publishing the results of standardized tests in 2005 to apply a difference-in-difference methodology, using outcomes of the PISA study from 2000 to 2009. We later confirm our results using synthetic control methods. Using data from a single country allows us to minimize biases arising from differences in legal frameworks, social or cultural environments. Our econometric analysis lends plausibility to the hypothesis that this type of test significantly improves student outcomes. A key novelty is that our exams do not have academic consequences for the students, so that effects have to come directly from the impact on teachers and administrators
    Keywords: External and standardized tests, PISA, Difference-in-difference, Synthetic control methods
    Date: 2012–12
  19. By: Ceren Ozgen (Department of Spatial Economics, VU University Amsterdam); Peter Nijkamp (Department of Spatial Economics, VU University Amsterdam); Jacques Poot (National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato)
    Abstract: To investigate econometrically whether cultural diversity of a firm’s employees boosts innovation, we create a unique linked employer-employee dataset that combines data from two innovation surveys in The Netherlands with administrative and tax data. We calculate three distinct measures of diversity. We find that firms that employ fewer foreign workers are generally more innovative, but that diversity among a firm’s foreign workers is positively associated with innovation activity. The positive impact of diversity on product or process innovations is greater among firms in knowledge-intensive sectors and in internationally-oriented sectors. The impact is robust to accounting for endogeneity of foreign employment.
    Keywords: immigration, innovation, cultural diversity, knowledge spillovers, linked administrative and survey data
    JEL: D22 F22 O31
    Date: 2013–01
  20. By: Tiziana D’Alfonso (Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"); Cinzia Daraio (Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"); Alberto Nastasi (Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza")
    Abstract: This paper provides new empirical evidence on the efficiency of Italian airports. Analysing data on 2010 trough conditional e?ciency measures, we find that competition affects mostly the frontier of best performers, whilst airports that are lagging behind are less influenced by it. By applying a novel two stage approach, we show that competition has an inverse U-shape impact. Finally, the bi-modal shape of the distribution of pure efficiency indicates the existence of two differently managed groups of airports.
    Keywords: Italian airports; competition; DEA; conditional efficiency; two stage analysis
    Date: 2013–01

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