nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2015‒11‒01
twenty papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Macro and Micro Determinants of Well-being in European Regions from a Social Capital Perspective By Fernando Bruna; Isabel Neira; Marta Portela; Adela García-Aracil
  2. The impact of citizenship on intermarriages. Quasi-experimental evidence from two European Union Eastern Enlargements By Davide Azzolini; Raffaele Guetto
  3. Housing Transfer Taxes and Household Mobility: Distortion on the Housing or Labour Market? By Christian Hilber; Teemu Lyytikainen
  4. Return migration to East Germany: Spatial patterns and the relevance for regional labor markets By Michaela Fuchs; Antje Weyh
  5. Does public transit reduce car travel externalities? Quasi-natural experiments' evidence from transit strikes By Jos Van Ommeren; Martin Adler
  6. Regional Commuting in Italy: Do Temporary Contracts Affect the Decision? By Angela Parenti; Cristina Tealdi
  7. The Dynamics of Earnings in Germany: Evidence from Social Security Records By Timm Bönke; Matthias Giesecke; Holger Lüthen
  8. Regional dynamics of growth in the European Union: To what extent spatial spillovers matter? By Selin Ozyurt; Stephane Dees
  9. Barriers to cross-region research and development collaborations in Europe. Evidence from the fi_x000C_fth European Framework Programme By Aurélien Fichet de Clairfontaine; Manfred M. Fischer; Rafael Lata; Manfred Paier
  10. Education Mismatch, Human Capital and Labour Status of Young People across European Union Countries By Fabrizio Pompei; Ekaterina Selezneva
  11. Looking beyond the R&D effects on innovation: The contribution of non-R&D activities to total factor productivity growth in the EU_x0003_ By jesus lopez-rodriguez; Diego Martinez
  12. Evolution of long distance students? mobility: the role of transport infrastructures in Italy By Mattia Cattaneo; Paolo Malighetti; Stefano Paleari; Renato Redondi
  13. Women entrepreneurship. Changes in access to credit and business results (2003-2013) By Antonio Garcia-Tabuenca; Federico Pablo-Martí; Fernando Crecente-Romero
  14. Regional convergence and economic development in the EU: the relation between national growth and regional disparities within the old and the new member states By Hans Kramar
  15. Information for Sale in the European Union By Marianna Belloc
  16. Counterfactual Impact Evaluation of Enterprise Support Programmes. Evidence from a Decade of Subsidies to Italian Firm By Federico Biagi; Daniele Bondonio; Alberto Martini
  17. Ageing by feet? Regional migration, neighbourhood choice and local demographic change in German cities By Uwe Neumann
  18. New joints: private providers and rising demand in the English National Health Service By Elaine Kelly; George Stoye
  19. Speculative Bubbles in Urban Housing Markets in Germany By Konstantin Kholodilin
  20. Female directors, key committees, and firm performance By Colin Green; Swarnodeep Homroy

  1. By: Fernando Bruna; Isabel Neira; Marta Portela; Adela García-Aracil
    Abstract: During the last years, happiness has received an increasing attention in the empirical literatures of Psychology, Sociology and Economics. In addition, a growing number of studies have focused on social capital. Most of this research analyzes survey data on life satisfaction and/or happiness at the individual level, some of them study the regional and national happiness, alternatively, both micro and macro determinants of individual happiness can be jointly studied through multilevel (or hierarchical) modelling. The lack of geographically referenced data hampers the use of methodologies, which control space effects, without highlighting elements related to the territory. Few previous works have estimated spatial econometric models of happiness at the macro level, by aggregation for regions. This paper provides theoretical arguments to consider regional heterogeneity and interdependence when modelling the effects of social capital on life satisfaction and happiness. The novel hypothesis in this paper is that the impact of the individual endowments of social capital on individual happiness can be different depending on latent variables, such as a social and cultural environment, which are spatially defined. The goal of this paper is to analyse the hierarchical modelling of spatial and social factors conditioning the individual happiness of Europeans. The paper compares alternative multilevel specifications for personal wellbeing, including different effects and measures for the dependent and independent variables. Using individual European data from the ESS 2012, and following a multilevel approach, the paper focuses on studying whether models of happiness with random slopes are able to capture the regional spatial dependence that appears when the individual data is aggregated. The results of random slopes models are compared to those of alternative specifications previously proposed in the literature, such as the use of regional means. Moreover, the paper also analyses whether these models are able to capture the residual spatial dependence appearing when the individual data is aggregated at the regional level. In case of existing possible remaining residual spatial autocorrelation, spatial hierarchical models with interregional effects allow capturing it. Our preliminary results show that individual well-being is affected by regional averages of social capital. Additionally, the random slope specification confirms the hypothesis of a different regional impact of the individual social capital depending on location. This evidence might indicate that the social and cultural environment where people lives make individuals to attach different relevance to the role of social and institutional trust, social norms and networks as determinants of individual wellbeing.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction; social capital; multilevel models; random slopes
    JEL: C50 I31 Z13
    Date: 2015–10
  2. By: Davide Azzolini; Raffaele Guetto
    Abstract: According to the assimilation theory, immigrants’ acquisition of the citizenship of the destination country should increase the number of intermarriages as a result of immigrants' enhanced integration. Status exchange theory, instead, would predict a negative impact of citizenship acquisition, as the latter eliminates one of the possible ‘rewards’ that immigrants obtain in marrying a member of the native population. This paper provides a causal assessment of the impact of immigrants' citizenship acquisition on intermarriages exploiting the 2004 and 2007 European Union Eastern Enlargements, following which citizens of new EU member countries became EU citizens. The study focuses on intermarriages between Italian men and foreign women and applies the Synthetic Control Method to data of the Italian Register of Marriages. Our findings support the status exchange theory and are explained by the particularly difficult socioeconomic integration of immigrant women in Italy. Results point to the existence of heterogeneous effects of EU enlargement across immigrant groups, being larger for the least socioeconomically integrated groups.
    Keywords: assimilation, citizenship, European Union enlargement, intermarriage, quasi-experiment
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Christian Hilber; Teemu Lyytikainen
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of the UK Stamp Duty Land Tax on household mobility using micro data. The UK (until 2014) provided an ideal setting to explore the impact of housing transfer taxes on mobility decisions. This is partly because the stamp duty liability is quite substantial, at least for more expensive housing (the top rate is currently 7 percent of the purchase price), and partly because the stamp duty liability, until December 3 of 2014, jumped sharply at various cut-off values, providing various ?discontinuities? that can be exploited empirically. Our analysis focuses on a discontinuity where the stamp duty jumps particularly strongly from 1 percent to 3 percent of the purchase price. This discontinuity allows us to isolate the impact of the stamp duty from other determinants of mobility. In our core analysis we use data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and compare homeowners with self-assessed house values on either side of the cut-off, while controlling for flexible but smooth functions of house values. We find that the stamp duty has a significant negative effect on household mobility and that this effect is confined to short-distance moves and to moves that are housing- rather than job-related. Our core estimates indicate that the 2 percentage-point increase in the stamp duty reduces the annual rate of mobility by between 2 and 3 percentage points. This is a very substantive effect given that in the UK about 5 percent of all owner-occupier households move each year. To further assess the validity and quantitative significance of the response of households to the stamp duty, we turn our attention to a different dataset from the Land Registry that consists of actual transaction prices. Analysing the distribution of transaction prices of all housing sales in England and Wales, we find additional evidence of a strong behavioural response. We document bunching of observed transaction prices at the cut-offs where the tax rate increases and, consistent with the results of our core analysis, we find that a 2 percentage point increase in the tax rate decreases the volume of sales by roughly 30 percent. The contribution of our study to the existing literature is twofold. Firstly, we identify the long-term (equilibrium) effects of the stamp duty on actual household mobility. Secondly, we are able to distinguish between different types of moves. In particular, our analysis distinguishes between short- and long-distance moves and between housing- and job-related moves. This paper is to our knowledge the first quasi-experimental study that directly evaluates the effect of a real estate transfer tax on actual household mobility.
    Keywords: Stamp duty; housing transfer taxes; transaction costs; homeownership; mobility
    JEL: D23 H21 H27 J61 R21 R31 R38
    Date: 2015–10
  4. By: Michaela Fuchs; Antje Weyh
    Abstract: Against the background of bad labor market conditions with high unemployment, poor job prospects, and low wages, East Germany used to experience long-standing high net migration outflows. During the last years, however, the situation on the East German labor market changed fundamentally, and employers nowadays increasingly experience problems with the recruitment of qualified workers. One popular way to stabilize labor supply has become the systematic approach of East Germans who migrated to West Germany to induce their return. So far, however, the few empirical studies on this topic have relied on survey data or case studies, thereby providing only selective insights on return migration to East Germany. It is thus still an open question how many return migrants there are, which regions they return to, and how relevant their return would be for the local labor markets. In this paper, we analyze labor-market related return migration from West to East Germany and provide some answers to the question on the relevance for local labor markets. Using a unique data set that covers all labor market participants in Germany, we trace the migration and employment history of East Germans as of December 31st, 2012 from 1999 onwards. Our research adds to the existing literature in several ways. First, complementing survey-based findings, we provide detailed and comprehensive descriptive evidence on migration from West to East Germany. Second, we map the spatial migration patterns of the return migrants on the level of NUTS3-regions. Special emphasis is given to the relocation of the place of living only against the simultaneous relocation of the place of work. Third, we take a detailed look at all labor market participants. Apart from employees liable to social security, we consider unemployed, apprentices, and marginally employed. For all four groups, we investigate whether they maintained or improved their labor market status by migration. This way, we contribute to the discussion on the relevance of economic motives versus social ties as motives for return migration. Our results provide good news for the East German districts directly at the former intra-German border, the larger cities and the regions surrounding Berlin that might well profit from return migration for the stabilization of regional labor supply. However, for the remaining mostly rural regions they rather provide bad news.
    Keywords: return migration; regional labor markets; East Germany
    JEL: J30 R23
    Date: 2015–10
  5. By: Jos Van Ommeren; Martin Adler
    Abstract: The provision of public transit is thought to reduce travel time losses that are due to car congestion. For this reason, it is economically justified to subsidise public transit from a welfare perspective as it creates a congestion-relief benefit. The main goal of this paper is to quantify the congestion-relief benefit of public transit for Rotterdam by analysing car speed during public transit strikes. Arguably, strikes can be interpreted as exogenous transit supply shocks and therefore as a quasi-natural experiment. We are aware of two other papers that use the same methodology. Lo and Hall (2006) and, more recently, Anderson (2014) both analyse the effect of (the same) single transit strike lasting 35 days on highway speed for Los Angeles. Anderson (2014) finds a substantial congestion relief benefit with a decrease in time delays experienced by car drivers of 0.12 minutes per kilometer traveled. It is unknown to what extent this result can be generalised to cities where the share of public transit use is much higher or to cities where bicycle use might be a viable alternative. Our analysis differs from Anderson (2014) and Lo and Hall (2006) in a number of ways. First, we focus on a city, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which, as we will document, is only mildly congested. Second, we analyse the effect of multiple strikes of various public transit modes (e.g. bus, light rail) that are citywide. Third, we examine the strike effect on car speed (and flow) both for the highway ring road as well as within the inner-city of Rotterdam. Finally, by examining heterogeneity in the effects of strikes, we are able to improve our understanding when the public transit relief benefit is particularly pronounced. For example, as one may expect, we find a particularly strong effect of strikes on car speed during weekday rush hours (but no clear effect during weekends and outside rush hours). In addition, our results suggest that the speed effects of strikes that last a few hours are similar to full-day strikes indicating that a continuous supply of public transit during the day is essential for travelers. We show that the congestion relief impact in Rotterdam is by a factor ten larger for inner city roads than for highway ring roads. For the latter we found a several times smaller effect than Anderson (2014). It turns out that the congestion relief benefit of public transit for Rotterdam is substantial, and about 50% of the current subsidy level. This result is particularly noteworthy as we focus on what can be considered an uncongested city. This suggests that subsidies to public transit are welfare improving, even for cities that exhibit low congestion levels.
    Keywords: transit subsidies; public transit; traffic congestion; congestion relief benefit
    JEL: H76 J52 L92 R41
    Date: 2015–10
  6. By: Angela Parenti; Cristina Tealdi
    Abstract: In this paper we study how the determinants of regional commuting in Italy have evolved in the past fifteen years. Using labour force data from 1992 to 2008 we estimate a model where the probability of commuting is regressed on a wide set of individual, job, firm and regional characteristics. Specifically, we focus on understanding how the increased exibility of the labour market in the late nineties/early twenties have affected the individual decision to commute across regions. Consistent with the previous literature, we identify specific types of individual working in firms with well-defined features who are more keen to commute. However, even though temporary employees tend to commute more than permanent employees, the increased utilization of temporary contracts did not have a strong impact on the commuting decisions of Italian workers.
    Keywords: Commuting; Mobility; Regional studies; Labour market
    JEL: J41 J61 R23
    Date: 2015–10
  7. By: Timm Bönke; Matthias Giesecke; Holger Lüthen
    Abstract: This paper uncovers ongoing trends in idiosyncratic earnings volatility across generations by decomposing residual earnings auto-covariances into a permanent and a transitory component. We employ data on complete earnings life cycles forprime age men born 1935 through 1974 that covers earnings between 1960 and 2009. Over this period, the German labor market undergoes a heavy transformation and experiences strong deregulation, deunionization and a shift in employment from the industrial to the service sector. Our findings of increases in both components reflect the distinct phases of this transformation process. In magnitude, the transitory component increases most strongly in the early 1970s and the 1990s for young workers, whereas the permanent component displays the strongest increases for older workers in the early 1980 and the 2000s. Thus, the changes complicate the labor market entry for young workers while widening wage differences for established workers.
    Keywords: Earnings dynamics, Life cycle, Earnings distribution, Inequality, Earnings volatility
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Selin Ozyurt; Stephane Dees
    Abstract: This paper investigates the main determinants of economic growth in the European Union from a regional perspective. The analysis is based on a recently available dataset from the European Cluster Observatory covering 253 European regions over the period 2002-2008. In addition to the traditional determinants of regional growth (such as investment, human capital developments, innovation and infrastructure endowment), the growth analysis accounts for spatial effects related to the existence of externalities from neighbouring regions. The spatial Durbin fixed-effect panel specification captures spatial feedback effects from the neighbours through spatially lagged dependent and independent variables. Social-economic environment and traditional determinants of growth are found to be significant. In particular, investment, infrastructure and human capital endowment, accessibility and innovation capacity explain both growth dynamics and cross regional differences. We do not find evidence of convergence among regions over the study period. By contrast, we detect a regional cluster in the core of Europe specialised in activities with high growth potential. Our findings confirm the significance of spatial spillovers. Specifically, business investment and skilled workforce migration have a positive ? direct and indirect ? impact on economic growth of the European regions.
    Keywords: Spatial Durbin Panel Models; Economic Growth; Cluster Analysis; European Union;
    JEL: R12
    Date: 2015–10
  9. By: Aurélien Fichet de Clairfontaine; Manfred M. Fischer; Rafael Lata; Manfred Paier
    Abstract: The focus of this paper is on cross-region R&D collaboration funded by the 5th EU Framework Programme (FP5). The objective is to measure distance, institutional, language and technological barrier effects that may hamper collaborative activities between European regions. Particular emphasis is laid on measuring discrepancies between two types of collaborative R&D activities, those generating output in terms of scientific publications and those that do not. The study area is composed of 255 NUTS-2 regions that cover the pre-2007 member states of the European Union (excluding Malta and Cyprus) as well as Norway and Switzerland. We employ a negative binomial spatial interaction model specification to address the research question, along with an eigenvector spatial filtering technique suggested by Fischer and Griffith (2008) to account for the presence of network autocorrelation in the origin-destination cooperation data. The study provides evidence that the role of geographic distance as collaborative deterrent is significantly lower if collaborations generate scientific output. Institutional barriers do not play a significant role for collaborations with scientific output. Language and technological barriers are smaller but the estimates indicate no significant discrepancies between the two types of collaborative R&D activities that are in focus of this study.
    Keywords: research collaboration; eu framework programme; _x0001_european regions
    JEL: C31 O39 R15
    Date: 2015–10
  10. By: Fabrizio Pompei (University of Perugia); Ekaterina Selezneva
    Abstract: This paper analyses the influence of country-level education mismatch on the individual-level relationship between education and the probability of being unemployed or staying in alternative labour statuses, for young people aged 15–34 in 2006, 2008 and 2010, living in 21 EU countries. We assume that young people may fall in five labour market statuses: 1) Employee;2) Self-employed; 3) Unemployed; 4) In Education; 5) Inactive, and perform a multinomial logit model to study the effects of years of education on relative probability of being in labour statuses 2, 3, 4, or 5, compared to the base category (Employee). Afterwards, we interact the individual-level years of education with a country-level indicator of education mismatch in order to identify the heterogeneous effects of the aggregate mismatch among people with different educational attainments. Results show that more years of education: i) reduce the relative probability of being unemployed; ii) have a cumulative effect by extending the period of education; iii) slightly raise the relative probability to be self-employed. As regards country-level education mismatch, we found that only after 2008 it produces an additional effect on better educated young people by further reducing their relative unemployment risk when it is compared to that of low educated youngsters. This outcome tells us that improving access to university degrees remains the main road to tackle youth unemployment caused by education mismatch, even after the outburst of the current financial and economic crisis.
    Keywords: youth unemployment, education mismatch, multinomial logit mode
    JEL: I20 J24 Z13
    Date: 2015–07
  11. By: jesus lopez-rodriguez; Diego Martinez
    Abstract: Although non-R&D innovation activities account for a significant portion of innovation efforts carried out across very heterogeneous economies in Europe, how to incorporate them in to economic models is not always straightforward. For instance, the traditional macro approach to estimating the determinants of total factor productivity (TFP) does not handle them well. To counter these problems, this paper proposes applying an augmented macro-theoretical model to estimate the determinants of TFP by jointly considering the effects of R&D and the impact of non-R&D innova- tion activities on the productivity levels of ?firms. Estimations from a model of a sample of EU-26 countries covering the period 2004-2008 show that the distinction between R&D and non-R&D e¤ects is significant for a number of diffffrent issues. First, the results show a sizable impact on TFP growth, as the impact of R&D is twice that of non-R&D. Second, absorptive capacity is only linked to R&D endowments. And third, the two types of endowments cannot strictly been seen as complementary, at least for the case of countries with high R&D intensities or high non-R&D intensities.
    Keywords: TFP; R&D; non-R&D expenditures; EU countries.
    JEL: O0 O3 O4
    Date: 2015–10
  12. By: Mattia Cattaneo; Paolo Malighetti; Stefano Paleari; Renato Redondi
    Abstract: Introduction There is a large consensus that the amount of human capital in areas plays a crucial role for regional economic development. Previous evidence on regional economics highlight that a higher concentration of human capital is associated with more population, employment growth, income and ability to innovate (e.g., Carlino et al., 2007; Glaeser and Saiz, 2004; Glaeser, 2005). Therefore, it is crucial to identify the factors that drives differences in human capital accumulation in specific areas (e.g., Boschma at al., 2013). Among others, universities have been identified as focal institutions for the attraction of highly skilled human capital toward specific areas, being firstly responsible for the attractiveness to students from different areas. Although some recent contributions have already investigated whether universities are able to affect the distribution of human capital at a regional level (Ciriaci, 2013; Abel and Deitz, 2012), less attention has been paid to the effects that the evolution of transport infrastructures play in this respect. Due to the growth of interest in the concept and the few attempts to deal with this topic, this paper aims to investigate how the Italian higher education system and transport infrastructures co-evolve over time, mainly focusing on the impact of transports infrastructures? changes on the long distance mobility of students. In the last decade, students aiming to increase their opportunities in the labour market and enhance their social status have become more prone to move, relocating in wealthier areas, whereas, at the same time, long distance students? mobility has been facilitated by the decrease of travel costs (e.g. Ryanair, Freccia Rossa). Data and Methodology Relying on the population of 75 private and public universities in Italy over the period 2002-2012 and the changes that affected both the air transportation and the high-speed rail system we investigate the long distance mobility of first-time first-year university students (more than 300 km from their households) departing from each Italian province. Consistently with the literature on spatial interaction analyses, we investigate the effects of transport infrastructures rely on a competition destinations model (e.g., Sà et al. 2004, Cattaneo et al. 2014). Results Preliminary results suggest that long distance students? mobility has been affected by the evolution of transport infrastructures with an important impact of low cost airlines from Southern to Northern Italian regions. The change in the distribution of Italian students that has been occurred in the last years (Cattaneo et al. 2014; Long 2013) is found to be facilitated by the presence of more developed transport infrastructures, which have decreased the costs associated to long distance mobility.
    Keywords: University students; transport infrastructures; attractiveness to students
    JEL: L9 O1 I2
    Date: 2015–10
  13. By: Antonio Garcia-Tabuenca; Federico Pablo-Martí; Fernando Crecente-Romero
    Abstract: The research on women entrepreneurship has mainly studied these topics: i) the characteristics and motivations (Brush and Hisrich, 1991; Pablo-Martí et al., 2014), ii) the strategic choice (Verheul et al., 2008), iii) the role of leadership (Schwartz, 1976; Justo et al. 2006)), iv) the entry barriers (Brush and Gatewood, 2008), mainly access to funding (Klapper and Parker, 2010), and v) the performance and achieved results (Coleman and Robb, 2009; Díaz and Jiménez, 2010; Crespo-Espert et al., 2012). These topics have been well studied. However, further research on this field is required. The long period of crisis from 2007 on has changed some of the findings related to these issues. This is especially significant in the most affected economies such as those of the southern countries of the EU. In these countries the severity of the crisis has had significant consequences for the productive sector (destruction of companies, high unemployment, credit restrictions) and on public finances under severe uncertainty (sovereign debt crisis, banking crisis). This is generating major changes in productive activity and business competitiveness, which is associated with the deleveraging of companies, as well as the varying prevalence of smaller companies (SMEs) in the economies. In this context, it may be hypothesized that the progress and results of activities led by women entrepreneurs had significant changes between the period before the crisis and the current stage of uncertain recovery. In this paper we analysed the dynamics and evolution of entrepreneurial activity of women in Spain in the period 2003-2013. It includes a stage of strong expansion and other recessive. Also, the research focuses on the differences found in two of the topics listed above: a) the obstacles in accessing to funding and b) the results of businesses women-owned compared to those of male-owned businesses. We made use of the SABI database. It includes information from the commercial registers. It has over one million companies with employees that represent most of the Spanish companies. The samples for this study differentiate whether the company is owned by a man or a woman. These samples are representative for company sizes, sectors and regions. Thus the results that adopt a regional approach can be segmented for a better understanding of the different types of women's businesses. The variables of the study are some financial indicators: credit ratio, debt ratio, productivity, EBITDA over assets, EBITDA over turnover, economic profitability and financial profitability. We employ various dummies to control for differences in size, sector and location of firms. The results allow understanding the different behaviour of women entrepreneurs and its reasons. They can also serve to develop new entrepreneurship policies related to gender in economic recovery.
    Keywords: women entrepreneurs; credit; debt; business results; SMEs; business cycle
    JEL: B54 M21 G30
    Date: 2015–10
  14. By: Hans Kramar
    Abstract: While European integration has substantially contributed to economic convergence between the member states of the EU, the diverging development of highly developed metropolitan regions and lagging rural areas has become a growing challenge especially for the new member states in Central and Eastern Europe. In this context the paper inquires to which degree the process of economic restructuring and catching-up in European countries was accompanied by increasing spatial disparities. Although a lot of research implicitly assumes that economically growing countries tend to face a trend towards increasing spatial inequalities, the question, whether there is a direct relation between total economic growth and spatial divergence, has not been answered sufficiently yet. The empirical investigation of regional and national GDP data confirms the trend towards economic convergence on a national scale between 2000 and 2011, mainly caused by the rapid growth of the most lagging countries. On a regional scale, however, the process of convergence was much slower and almost came to an end after the beginning of the global economic crises in 2008. The reason for these diverging results can be found in the change of disparities within the countries: While regional inequalities largely remained unchanged in the majority of the old member states, the gap between rich and poor regions widened in most countries which accessed the EU since 2004. This trend, however, slowed down or even reversed after 2008, which seems to confirm the assumption that economic growth intensifies spatial divergence. A detailed analysis of the correlation between national growth rates and the change of regional disparities, however, indicates that growing divergence in the new member states can hardly be explained by the speed of total economic growth, but rather has to be attributed to other specific conditions there. A reflection on the mechanisms of agglomeration economies suggests three arguments for the strong diverging effect of the catching-up processes in the new member states, which await to be tested empirically in future research.
    Keywords: regional disparities; convergence; cohesion policy
    JEL: O R
    Date: 2015–10
  15. By: Marianna Belloc
    Abstract: This paper empirically explores the role of informational lobbying in shaping the EU trade policy. To this purpose, we construct an original dataset by collecting information on the participation of national and international organizations in the European Commission consultations on trade issues and by merging it with newly released data on non-tariff measures aggregated at the tariff-line level between 1999 and 2007. Our results suggest that European lobbies exert a major influence on policy-makers. Drawing upon the panel structure of the dataset, we find that participation in consultation meetings increases the probability of a protectionist policy, even after controlling for product fixed effects and a number of control variables. Moreover, actual attendance turns out to be more effective than simple registration and organizations representing more than one industrial category are more likely to obtain protection than single sector organizations. These findings are interpreted in light of a political economy model of lobbying with (possibly endogenous) costs.
    Keywords: Informational Lobbying, Trade policy, European Union
    JEL: D72 D80 F13 F14
    Date: 2015–09
  16. By: Federico Biagi; Daniele Bondonio; Alberto Martini
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to offer empirical evidence on the impact generated by investment subsidies awarded to industrial firms on employment, sales, investments and labor productivity. The analysis is based on unique firm-level administrative data provided by the Italian National Statistical Agency on the universe of both treated- and non-treated applicant firms. For employment and sales outcomes such data derive directly from the National Social Security Agency of Italy and from the Internal Revenue Service Agency. The paper focuses on a decade (2000-2009) of subsidies awarded by a large-scale national Italian programme co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and by the universe of smaller regional programmes available to all SMEs in the Northwestern Italian region (Piedmont). The analysis produces differential impacts based on different levels of the economic value of the incentives, different types of incentives (distinguishing between non-repayable grants, ?soft-loans? and ?interest rate grants?), different sizes and geographic location of the assisted firms. For the large scale national programme, the analysis exploit the existence of a natural experiment in the form of the existence of viable applicant firms that were denied the subsidy due to an exogenous, budget induced, cut-off point in the programme rankings of each wave of regional calls for applications. Impact estimates are then retrieved with a discontinuity designed within a difference in difference scheme that ensures exact matching of crucial firm characteristics. For the regional programmes, the analysis is implemented with a conditional difference in difference model that pre-processes the data based on a propensity score estimate to ensure common support between treated and non-treated firms. The results of our analysis show that: -Large non-repayable grants, particularly when given to large firms (and in underdeveloped regions), represent an ineffective way to stimulate additional private investment and to improve the performance of the subsidized firms; -Small grants given to small firms (not in the context of severely distressed socio-economic areas) have small impacts, but when all the dimensions are taken into account, they are more cost-effective; - Non-repayable grants are outperformed by repayable soft loans and interest rate subsidies as most effective tools for assistance; -For SMEs, soft-loans and interest rate grants are the most cost-effective form of support.
    Keywords: Counterfactual impact evaluation; enterprise support; capital grants; soft loans
    JEL: O1 R5 C23
    Date: 2015–10
  17. By: Uwe Neumann
    Abstract: In the literature on the economics of demographic change so far the regional and neighbourhood-level consequences were out of the main focus. Yet, regional migration accentuates diversity in the progress of ageing. In fact, while households are known to ?vote with their feet? when they choose a residential location, neighbourhood populations may experience ?ageing by feet? as an outcome of a multitude of individual location decisions. This paper examines at what pace demographic change proceeds at the neighbourhood level in an ageing region and to what extent regional migration and neighbourhood choice during the past two decades reinforced or changed patterns of residential segregation among urban neighbourhoods. German cities differ from those in many other highly developed countries in that their population has stagnated or even begun to decline during the past decades. Apart from Eastern Germany, due to decades of net migration to more prosperous regions, the old-industrialised Ruhr in North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the German regions, which have already been affected by a severe loss in population and fundamental population change over the past decades. Drawing on municipal data at the sub-city level and microdata from a representative survey, this paper examines how change in the composition of neighbourhood populations relates to regional migration. The first step of the analysis focuses on the pace of neighbourhood-level demographic change during the period from 1998 to 2008. The second step examines household preferences relating to residential locations in the Ruhr, based on microdata from a representative survey carried out in 2010. The identification strategy is adopted from the recent literature on the microeconomics of discrete choice. In the Ruhr region, over the past decades out-migration and demographic ageing coincided with changes in intra-regional migration. After several decades of suburbanisation, in the 1990s net migration to suburban municipalities came to a halt. The micro-level analysis finds that among household preference apparently the desire for centrality took over from preference of low-density surroundings, which had dominated for decades. Within urban areas, migration now concentrates more on selected neighbourhoods in close vicinity to the city centres. In other neighbourhoods, due to low fertility and a comparatively low influx of young inhabitants, the average age has begun to increase. It is a specific characteristic of the Ruhr, which is an amalgam of neighbouring cities, to be less densely populated than other large urban agglomerations in Germany. Lower overall density here combines with a comparatively less pronounced agglomeration of working-age adults in central areas. As a whole, local demographic change implies new challenges for urban policy in many neighbourhoods, both in those not providing the characteristics favoured by most mobile households and in those with a high influx.
    Keywords: demographic change; neighbourhood choice; regional migration; segregation
    JEL: C21 C25 O18 R23
    Date: 2015–10
  18. By: Elaine Kelly (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); George Stoye (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how changes in hospital choice sets affect levels of patient demand for elective hospital care. We exploit a set of reforms in England that opened up the market for publicly-funded patients to private hospitals. Impacts on demand are estimated using variation in distance to these private hospitals, within regions where supply constraints are fixed. We find that the reforms increased demand for publicly-funded procedures. For public hospitals, volumes remained unchanged but waiting times fell. Taken together, our results provide new insights into how individuals make choices about their care and the scope of competition between hospitals.
    Keywords: Healthcare; demand; competition
    JEL: I11 I14 I18 L33
    Date: 2015–08
  19. By: Konstantin Kholodilin
    Abstract: In the light of the unconventional monetary policies conducted by the majority of large central banks around the world, there is an intense debate about their potential impact on the prices of capital assets. Particularly in Germany, skepticism about the sustainability of the recent policy by the European Central Bank is widely spread and concerns about the emergence of a speculative price bubble are raised. However, studies on bubbles in house prices are scarce and provide mixed results. Moreover, the evidence on German property prices is either based on national indices, which are neglecting city-level heterogeneity, or based on a non-representative sample of cities, or refers to a time period that is relatively short. The present study analyzes a comprehensive data set covering 127 large German cities over the last 20 years. Using state-of-the-art methodology we test for speculative bubbles both at a national and at the city level. Furthermore, we apply two new testing approaches: panel data and principal components versions of Chow type explosive root tests. In addition, we use a more precise definition of a speculative bubble: We define price movements as bubbles when explosive growth of prices is not supported by explosive increases of rents. We find evidence for explosive price increases in many cities, especially for newly built housing. However, only in some urban housing markets, prices decouple from their fundamental values as represented by rents. On the national level, no speculative price movements could be detected. Overall, our findings indicate that the threat of a speculative price bubble in the German housing market is moderate. While we find first evidence for speculative bubbles in selected urban markets, our results indicate that the German housing market overall still appears to be in good condition. Only the small market segment of newly built apartments is affected by potentially speculative investment behavior. Indeed, when accumulated over the period 2009-2013, the newly built housing makes up only 2.2% of the housing stock in 2013. Our results are largely in line with the assessment of most housing market analysts who find that the German housing market is quite stable. However, while most discussants argue that there is no need to worry at all, we conclude that decision makers are well advised to have a close eye on the housing market and to keep track of regional market developments. While it is true that unlike in Spain or the United States, the boom in the German housing market is not credit driven on aggregate, this does not necessarily mean that housing lending on the regional level has not increased substantially.
    Keywords: housing prices; speculative bubble; explosive root; German cities
    JEL: C21 C23 C53
    Date: 2015–10
  20. By: Colin Green; Swarnodeep Homroy
    Abstract: There is pressure to increase female representation on corporate boards. A number of studies have found no, or in some cases a negative, effect of female representation on boards and firm performance. We demonstrate robust positive and economically meaningful effects on firm performance of female representation on European boards.<br/>Moreover, while previous work has considered female representation broadly, we focus on membership of committees involved explicitly in firm governance. We demonstrate marked, larger, e¤ects on performance of having female representation on these committees. Finally, we reconcile this evidence with prior US and UK evidence and demonstrate a positive performance impact of female committee memberships. Our evidence is supportive of the expansion of female involvement in corporate governance from a financial performance perspective.
    Keywords: Board of directors, Female director, Diversity, Performance
    JEL: G30 G34 J16
    Date: 2015

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