nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2016‒04‒09
24 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. The distributive effects of work-family life policies in European welfare states By Tine Hufkens; Gerlinde Verbist
  2. Forty years of immigrant segregation in France, 1968-2007 How different is the new immigration? By Jean-Louis Pan Ké Shon; Gregory Verdugo
  3. Rich regions, poor regions and bank branch deregulation in Spain By José Manuel Pastor; José Manuel Pavía; Lorenzo Serrano; Emili Tortosa-Ausina
  4. A cross-country comparison of gender differences in job-related training: The role of working hours and the household context By Boll, Christina; Bublitz, Elisabeth
  5. Segregated Integration: Recent Trends in the Austrian Gender Division of Labor By Margareta Kreimer; Ricardo Mora
  6. Impact of funding targeted pre-school interventions on school readiness: Evidence from the Netherlands By Emre Akgunduz; Suzanne Heijnen
  7. Effects of Taxes on Youth Self-Employment and Income By Egebark, Johan
  8. Renewable energy targets in the context of the EU ETS: Whom do they benefit exactly? By Landis, Florian; Heindl, Peter
  9. Politics in the Family: Nepotism and the Hiring Decisions of Italian Firms By Gagliarducci, Stefano; Manacorda, Marco
  10. The Diversity of Entrepreneurial Regimes in Europe By Dilli, Selin; Elert, Niklas
  11. Rent sharing to control non-cartel supply in the German cement market By Harrington, Joseph E.; Hüschelrath, Kai; Laitenberger, Ulrich
  12. Media coverage and car manufacturers' sales By Dewenter, Ralf; Heimeshoff, Ulrich; Thomas, Tobias
  13. Legal insider trading and stock market liquidity By Degryse, Hans; de Jong, Frank; Lefebvre, J.J.G.
  14. The Linked Employer-Employee Study of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP-LEE): Project Report By Michael Weinhardt; Alexia Meyermann; Stefan Liebig; Jürgen Schupp
  15. Avoiding Taxes by Transfers Within the Family By Edoardo Di Porto; Henry Ohlsson
  16. Residential Segregation from Generation to Generation: Intergenerational Association in Socio-Spatial Context among Visible Minorities and the Majority Population in Metropolitan Sweden By Gustafsson, Björn Anders; Katz, Katarina; Österberg, Torun
  17. How Does Maternal Pension Wealth Affect Family Old-Age Savings in Germany? By Andreas Thiemann
  18. The Market for Paid Sick Leave By Markussen, Simen; Røed, Knut
  19. Labour Supply after Inheritances and the Role of Expectations By Doorley, Karina; Pestel, Nico
  20. Local governments' indebtedness and its impact on real estate prices By Micheli, Martin
  21. Bridging the Industrial Energy Efficiency Gap: Assessing the Evidence from the Italian White Certificate Scheme By Jan Stede
  22. Social Comparisons and Attitudes towards Foreigners. Evidence from the ‘Fall of the Iron Curtain’ By Walter Hyll; Lutz Schneider
  23. Education and equality of opportunity: what have we learned from educational reforms? By Holmlund, Helena
  24. What’s the price of consulting? Effects of public and private sector consulting on academic research. By Fudickar, Roman; Hottenrott, Hanna; Lawson, Cornelia

  1. By: Tine Hufkens; Gerlinde Verbist
    Abstract: An aspect that has only recently received attention in the study of policy measures aimed at supporting families with young children in their work-family life balance is its distributive impact. Are these measures used by poor and rich families alike, or is there a ‘Matthew effect’ at play, in the sense that poor families are underrepresented in using such measures? In order to perform such an evaluation one needs to have a measure of both cash and in-kind benefits related to policies that help families cope with the care of young children and job expectations. In-kind benefits are offered mainly in the form of subsidized early childhood education and care (ECEC), for which an appropriate cash equivalent has to be derived. As the value of in-kind benefits from publicly provided services is not included in the EU-SILC data, we derive them for this paper in line with earlier studies (e.g. Matsaganis and Verbist, 2009; Vaalavuo, 2011; Förster and Verbist, 2012; Van Lancker, 2014; Van Lancker and Ghysels, 2014). In comparison to these earlier studies, however, our analysis is much more fine-grained as we use the microsimulation model EUROMOD to include more precise estimates of parental fees and related tax-benefit policies; thus, we will have a better estimate of the net in-kind benefit households derive from ECEC services. We focus on policy measures going to children under compulsory schooling age for a selection of seven EU-countries. These improved estimates allow us to analyze the work-family polices from three perspectives: 1) how do the distributive characteristics of cash and in-kind benefits compare to one another in this domain?; 2) how do countries compare to one another in their policy perspective in terms of supporting outsourcing or home-based care for young children?; 3) what is the balance between private and public efforts for outsourced childcare across countries? Our results show that including net fees in the analysis attenuates the Matthew effect, in the sense that net fees are relatively more heavy for richer households than for the poor. There is, however, considerable cross-country variation.
    Keywords: Family policy, child care, in-kind benefits, income distribution, microsimulation
    JEL: H23 I38 J13 C53
  2. By: Jean-Louis Pan Ké Shon (LSQ - Laboratoire de sociologie quantitative - Centre de Recherche en Économie et STatistique (CREST)); Gregory Verdugo (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, OFCE - OFCE - Sciences Po)
    Abstract: Analysing restricted access census data, this paper examines the long-term trends of immigrant segregation in France from 1968 to 2007. Similar to other European countries, France experienced a rise in the proportion of immigrants in its population that was characterised by a new predominance of non-European immigration. Despite this, average segregation levels remained moderate. While the number of immigrant enclaves increased, particularly during the 2000s, the average concentration for most groups decreased because of a reduction of heavily concentrated census tracts and census tracts with few immigrants. Contradicting frequent assertions, neither mono-ethnic census tract nor ghettoes exist in France. By contrast, many immigrants live in census tracts characterised by a low proportion of immigrants from their own group and from all origins. A long residential period in France is correlated with lower concentrations and proportion of immigrants in the census tract for most groups, though these effects are sometimes modest. 1 The authors accessed the Census data via the Centre d'accès sécurisé distant (CASD), dedicated to the use of authorized researchers, following the approval of the Comité français du secret statistique. This research was partially supported by a French State grant ANR-10-EQPX-17 (Centre d'accès sécurisé aux données-CASD). We thank three anonymous referees for insightful comments. Jean-Louis Pan Ké Shon would also like to thank Loïc Wacquant for his comments during discussions in the early stage of this project. This paper does not necessarily reflect the views of the Banque de France.
    Keywords: France,Segregation,Immigration
    Date: 2015
  3. By: José Manuel Pastor (Ivie, Valencia and Department of Economic Analysis, Universitat de València); José Manuel Pavía (Department of Applied Economics, Universitat de València); Lorenzo Serrano (Ivie, Valencia and Department of Economic Analysis, Universitat de València); Emili Tortosa-Ausina (IVIE, Valencia and Department of Economics, Universidad Jaume I, Castellón, Spain)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the links between financial deregulation and economic performance in a European context. Specifically, we study the relaxation of bank branching restrictions in Spain, which triggered a remarkable inter-regional expansion of savings banks that coincided with an unprecedented period of sustained economic expansion. Although related questions have been widely investigated for the US, experiences in Europe have received far less research attention. An additional contribution of the paper lies in its use of quantile regression, which allows us to investigate the possibility of economic effects taking into account the degree of regional development and we also explicitly consider the potential endogeneity of some of the regressors. Our results do not support the case for a positive effect of bank branch deregulation in Spain. Out-ofregion entry, in particular, does not seem to have had any specific positive effect on regional development and this result is quite homogeneous across provinces regardless of their relative wealth.
    Keywords: bank, branch, development, province, quantile regression
    JEL: C21 D40 G21 L11
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Boll, Christina; Bublitz, Elisabeth
    Abstract: Regarding gender differences, theory suggests that in a partnership the individual with the lower working hours and earnings position should exhibit lower training participation rates. Since women are more likely to match this description, we investigate whether systematic group differences explain gender variation. Across all countries, male workers are not affected by their earnings position. For female workers in Germany, but not Italy or the Netherlands, working part-time instead of full-time corresponds with a decrease in course length by 5.5 hours. Also, regarding German parttime employed women, single earners train 5.6 hours more than secondary earners. The findings of our study hold at the extensive and the intensive margin, suggesting that Germany faces particular household-related obstacles regarding gender differences in job-related training.
    Keywords: further education and training,gender differences,country comparisons
    JEL: J16 J24 M53
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Margareta Kreimer (University of Graz); Ricardo Mora (Universidad Carlos III)
    Abstract: Using micro data from the Austrian Labor Force Survey from 1996 to 2010, this paper explores the effects on gender segregation of two opposing trends in gender differentials: decreasing gender differentials in participation rates and increasing gender differentials in the incidence of part-time jobs. To do so, we propose an index for the gender division of labor and look at the contributions of gender differences in participation, the incidence of part-time jobs, and in occupational choices to its evolution. Our main results show that the gender division of labor is very stable over the 15-year period. This is because the positive effects from the rising female labor force participation rates are counterbalanced by the negative effects from increasing gender differences in the incidence of part-time jobs. We also find that occupational segregation is the most important source of the gender division of labor and that its contribution remains stable throughout the entire period. These results are robust to alternative definitions of economic activity and labor market involvement and are also found after controlling for educational levels and fields.
    Keywords: Gender Division of Labor; Sources of Gender Segregation; Segregation Indexes, Mutual Information
    JEL: J16 J24 J62
    Date: 2016–04
  6. By: Emre Akgunduz; Suzanne Heijnen
    Abstract: We analyze the effectiveness of the early childhood programme (ECP) in the Netherlands. The programme is designed for 2.5 to 4 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. 37 municipalities received an additional subsidy to expand ECP programmes, which allows us to analyze the effects of the programme within a difference-in-difference-in-differences framework. Most children first enroll in primary schools at age 4 in the Netherlands, but pupils begin to learn reading and mathematics in grade 3 at age 6. We use grade repetition constructed from school registry data from 2008 to 2015 in the first two grades as an indicator of school readiness. Our results show significantly lower grade repetition rates for targeted boys who are in regions that receive the subsidy. Grade repetition drops by 1 to 3 percentage points from a mean of 10.5 percent for the disadvantaged group targeted by the programme.
    JEL: C21 I28 I21 J13
    Date: 2016–03
  7. By: Egebark, Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: I study the link between taxes and youth self-employment. I make use of a Swedish reform, implemented in 2007–09, which suddenly made the payroll tax and the self-employment tax vary by age. The results suggest that youth self-employment is insensitive to tax reductions, both in the short run and in the somewhat longer run. I also study the effect of the tax reductions on income. For those that are defined as self-employed, I find positive effects on income from self-employment, and negative effects on income from wage employment. This finding suggests that the lower taxes caused the self-employed to reallocate time from employment to self-employment.
    Keywords: Youth unemployment; Self-employment tax; Tax subsidy; Self-employment
    JEL: H25 H32 J23 J38 J68
    Date: 2016–03–10
  8. By: Landis, Florian; Heindl, Peter
    Abstract: We study how European climate and energy policy targets affect different member states and households of different income quintiles within the member states. We find that renewable energy targets in power generation, by reducing EU ETS permit prices, may make net permit exporters worse off and net permit importers better off. This effect appears to dominate the effciency cost of increasing the share of energy provided by renewable energy sources in the countries that adopt such targets. While an increase in prices for energy commodities, which is entailed by the policies in question, affects households in low income quintiles the most, recycling revenues from climate policy allows governments to compensate them for the losses. If renewable targets reduce the revenues from ets permit auctions, member states with large allocations of auctionable permits will lose some of the ability to do so.
    Keywords: distributional effects,EU climate policy,renewable energy target
    JEL: H23 Q52 Q54
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Gagliarducci, Stefano (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Manacorda, Marco (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the effect of family connections to politicians on individuals' labor market outcomes. We combine data for Italy over almost three decades from longitudinal social security records on a random sample of around 1 million private sector employees with the universe of around 500,000 individuals ever holding political office, and we exploit information available in both datasets on a substring of each individual's last name and municipality of birth in order to identify family ties. Using a diff-in-diff analysis that follows individuals as their family members enter and leave office, and correcting for the measurement error induced by our fuzzy matching method, we estimate that the monetary return to having a politician in the family is around 3.5 percent worth of private sector earnings and that each politician is able to extract rents for his family worth between one fourth and one full private sector job per year. The effect of nepotism is long lasting, extending well beyond the period in office. Consistent with the view that this is a technology of rent appropriation on the part of politicians, the effect increases with politicians' clout and with the resources available in the administration where they serve.
    Keywords: Nepotism, family connections, politics, rent appropriation
    JEL: D72 D73 H72 J24 J30 M51
    Date: 2016–03
  10. By: Dilli, Selin (Economic and Social History); Elert, Niklas (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: Although institutional reforms are necessary to increase rates of entrepreneurship in European countries, we argue that one-size-fits-all reform strategies are unlikely to be successful. Reform strategies must be informed by a better knowledge of the varieties of European capitalism and the institutional complementarities that drive these differences. We investigate these issues by gathering a number of potentially relevant entrepreneurial regime measurements as well as indicators of formal and informal institutions based on data available from the 2000s onward. We employ principal component analysis, factor analysis and cluster analysis to examine how 21 European countries and the United States cluster in the entrepreneurial and institutional dimensions. Our results reveal six country clusters, or entrepreneurial regimes, with a distinct bundle of entrepreneurial characteristics and institutional attributes. The main implication is that different reform strategies are appropriate to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth in European countries in different clusters.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Innovation; Institutions; Regulation
    JEL: L50 M13 O31 P14
    Date: 2016–03–21
  11. By: Harrington, Joseph E.; Hüschelrath, Kai; Laitenberger, Ulrich
    Abstract: A challenge for many cartels is avoiding a destabilizing increase in non-cartel supply in response to having raised price. In the case of the German cement cartel that operated over 1991-2002, the primary source of non-cartel supply was imports from Eastern European cement manufacturers. Industry sources have claimed that the cartel sought to control imports by sharing rents with intermediaries in order to discourage them from sourcing foreign supply. Specifically, cartel members would allow an intermediary to issue the invoice for a transaction and charge a fee even though the output went directly from the cartel member's plant to the customer. We investigate this claim by first developing a theory of collusive pricing that takes account of the option of bribing intermediaries. The theory predicts that the cement cartel members are more likely to share rents with an intermediary when the nearest Eastern European plant is closer and there is more Eastern European capacity outside of the control of the cartel. Estimating a logit model that predicts when a cartel member sells through an intermediary, the empirical analysis supports both predictions.
    Keywords: collusion,cartel,non-cartel supply,cement,distribution channels,intermediary
    JEL: L41 K21
    Date: 2016
  12. By: Dewenter, Ralf; Heimeshoff, Ulrich; Thomas, Tobias
    Abstract: A wide range of media provide information on many products based on reviews or expert opinions. The effects of such information on product sales is analyzed in a small but growing literature in economics and marketing science. However, there is much more coverage on companies and products in the media than product reviews and expert opinions. Based on a unique dataset, we test whether coverage of car manufacturers in opinion leading media have significant impact on registrations of new cars in Germany. We find that positive (or at least neutral) media coverage has statistically significant effect on the number of new cars sold by several leading manufacturers on the German car market.
    Date: 2016
  13. By: Degryse, Hans (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); de Jong, Frank (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Lefebvre, J.J.G. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of legal trades by corporate insiders on the liquidity of the firm’s stock. For this purpose, we analyze two liquidity measures and one information asymmetry measure. The analysis allows us to study as well the effect of a change in insider trading regulation, namely the implementation of the Market Abuse Directive (European Union Directive 2003/6/EC) on the Dutch stock market. The first set of results shows that, in accordance with theories of asymmetric information, the intensity of legal insider trading in a given company is positively related to the bid-ask spread and to the information asymmetry measure. We also find that the Market Abuse Directive did not reduce significantly this effect. Secondly, analyzing liquidity and information asymmetry around the days of legal insider trading, we find that small and large capitalization stocks see their bid-ask spread and the permanent price impact increase when insiders trade. For mid-cap stocks, only the permanent price impact increases. Finally, we could not detect a significant improvement of these results following the change in regulation.
    Date: 2016
  14. By: Michael Weinhardt; Alexia Meyermann; Stefan Liebig; Jürgen Schupp
    Abstract: In 2012/13, a survey of German employers was conducted using face-to-face and paper-and-pencil interviews (N = 1,708; response rate = 30.1%). Establishments were sampled based on address information provided by employed participants in the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study. The information obtained from both surveys can be linked in order to create a linked employer–employee data set concerning organizational strategies and labor market outcomes (N = 1,834). Paradata were collected regarding several aspects of the survey: contact forms informed about the fieldwork process; an interviewer survey provided information about the interviewer staff; every interview situation was evaluated separately by interviewers to learn more about the response process in establishments; the editing process was reassessed; and 31 interviews were audiotaped to gain insights into the interviewing process. This project report covers the design of the study, the data collection stage, and field outcomes. It evaluates the establishment survey itself, as well as the linked SOEP-LEE data set, by looking at selectivity in nonresponse and at measurement errors overall. The establishment data and the linked SOEP-LEE data are available for secondary use at the research data centers of the SOEP at DIW Berlin and at the Data Service Center for Business and Organizational Data (DSC-BO) at Bielefeld University (DOI:10.7478/s0549.1.v1).
    Date: 2016
  15. By: Edoardo Di Porto (Università di Napoli Federico II, CSEF and UCFS, Uppsala University); Henry Ohlsson (Uppsala University and Sveriges Riksbank)
    Abstract: We document an episode with considerable tax avoidance that occurred in Italy after 2008 when the Italian government reformed the property taxation by abolishing taxation on principal residences and increasing taxation on secondary properties. In presence of a very low inter vivos gift tax, Italian families found it beneficial to redistribute properties among their members. Difference-in-difference estimates indicate that property tax reform increased the probability that high-wealth donors made an inter vivos property gift by 3 percentage points and the size transferred by 4 square meters relative to less wealthy donors. Our estimates allow us to compute (back of the envelope) the amount of tax avoidance due to inter vivos transfer. The amount is around 78 million euros, or 4 percent of the annual tax revenue from principal residences.
    Keywords: Tax avoidance, property taxes, inter vivos gifts
    JEL: H27 D31 D11
    Date: 2016–04–04
  16. By: Gustafsson, Björn Anders (University of Gothenburg); Katz, Katarina (Karlstad University); Österberg, Torun (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate to what degree young adults live in neighbourhoods that are similar, in terms of relative average household income, to the neighbourhoods in which they grew up. We use regression analysis on register data for all individuals who were born in 1974 and lived in metropolitan Sweden in both 1990 and 2006. During this period, the distribution of income in Sweden became far more unequal, unemployment rose dramatically, earlier housing policies were dismantled, the share of "visible minorities" increased dramatically and residential segregation increased very considerably. We find a correlation between average neighbourhood incomes at these two points in the sample's life cycle of 0.44, which is more than three times as high as the household income correlation. We find that half of the children of "visible minorities" grew up in the poorer quartile of neighbourhoods, and of these almost two-thirds remained in the poorest quartile of neighbourhoods as adults. Several measures indicate that intergenerational persistency in context is lower in metropolitan Sweden than was found in a similar study in the United States. However, it appears, that if visible minority individuals lived in a neighbourhood in the lowest part of the distribution in Sweden as a child, the probability that they will do so also as adults is as high as the corresponding probability for a African-American person in the US.
    Keywords: Sweden, residential segregation, immigrants, intergenerational persistence
    JEL: J15 J62 R23
    Date: 2016–03
  17. By: Andreas Thiemann
    Abstract: This paper examines how families adjust their private old-age savings in response to a change in individual pension wealth. The regression discontinuity approach exploits two expansions of the child care pension benefit, in 1992 and in 1999, as natural experiments. The empirical analysis is based on three waves of the Survey of Income and Expenditure (EVS): 1998, 2003 and 2008. All results indicate that families do not adjust their private old-age savings in response to the increase in their pension wealth. From a political point of view, this suggests that the increase in individual pension wealth does not crowd-out old-age private savings. Hence, child care pension benefits increase a mother's old-age income without causing negative savings effects.
    Keywords: Old-age savings, pension wealth, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: D14 E21 H55
    Date: 2016
  18. By: Markussen, Simen (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Røed, Knut (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)
    Abstract: In many countries, general practitioners (GPs) are assigned the task of controlling the validity of their own patients' insurance claims. At the same time, they operate in a market where patients are customers free to choose their GP. Are these roles compatible? Can we trust that the gatekeeping decisions are untainted by private economic interests? Based on administrative registers from Norway with records on sick pay certification and GP-patient relationships, we present evidence to the contrary: GPs are more lenient gatekeepers the more competitive is the physician market, and a reputation for lenient gatekeeping increases the demand for their services.
    Keywords: absenteeism, gatekeeping, competition, role-conflicts
    JEL: H55 I11 I18
    Date: 2016–03
  19. By: Doorley, Karina (LISER (CEPS/INSTEAD)); Pestel, Nico (IZA)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of wealth on labour market behaviour. Providing convincing evidence on this relationship is challenging since wealth and labour supply may be endogenously determined. We overcome this by looking at wealth shocks in the form of inheritances, distinguishing between unanticipated and anticipated inheritances. We provide a theoretical framework which outlines how an individual's labour market behaviour may be expected to react to a wealth shock under different circumstances including perfect/imperfect anticipation and a credit constrained environment. We test our model predictions using rich household and individual level micro-data for Germany. We find that women decrease their hours of work in response to an inheritance. Both men and women are more likely to stay self-employed after a large inheritance and male entrepreneurs are also more likely to recruit. The effect of inheritances on the self-employed is amplified for those who are credit constrained. The magnitude of these effects is similar for anticipated and unanticipated inheritances but the timing varies, with effects visible before the event in the case of anticipated inheritances.
    Keywords: inheritance, wealth, labour supply, self-employment, Germany
    JEL: D31 J22 L26
    Date: 2016–03
  20. By: Micheli, Martin
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the causal effect of public debt on real estate prices and rental prices. We identify shocks to investment credits of self-governed cities in Germany and control for potential benefits such as an increased supply of public goods, which might come in hand with increased indebtedness. Using spatial variation across self-governed cities allows us to estimate this effect. We find that shocks to public debt have a significant negative effect on apartment prices. Rental prices, on the other hand, do not seem to be affected by public debt. Tenants care more about the current and less about the future tax burden.
    Abstract: In diesem Papier untersuchen wir den kausalen Effekt öffentlicher Verschuldung auf Immobilienpreise. Hierfür identifizieren wir zuerst Schocks der Investitionskreditposition kreisfreier Städte. Um für potenziell positive Effekte, welche mit einem Anstieg der öffentlichen Verschuldung einhergehen können, zu kontrollieren, nutzen wir den Standort der beobachteten Immobilien. Wir finden einen signifikant negativen Effekt öffentlicher Verschuldung auf Wohnungspreise. Für Wohnungsmieten finden wir keinen signifikanten Einfluss der Verschuldung. Mieten scheinen mehr von der aktuellen als von der zukünftigen Steuerbelastung abzuhängen.
    Keywords: real estate prices,local government debt
    JEL: R30 R51
    Date: 2016
  21. By: Jan Stede
    Abstract: The Italian white certificate scheme is the main national policy instrument to incentivise energy efficiency of the industrial sector. The mechanism sets binding energy-saving targets on electricity and gas distributors with at least 50,000 clients and includes a voluntary opt-in model for participation from other parties. This paper investigates and assesses the elements of the scheme that help overcome several barriers to deliver industrial energy efficiency. Results from a survey conducted among leading experts indicate that the Italian system provides a strong financial incentive to energy efficiency investments, covering a significant share of investment costs and thus reducing payback time. Moreover, the scheme fosters the development of energy service companies (ESCOs), which are key to developing, installing and arranging finance for projects on the ground. In conjunction with other policies, the mechanism also raises awareness of energy efficiency investment opportunities, thus helping overcome the market failure of insufficient information. Core challenges remain, including tackling regulatory uncertainty and improving access to finance.
    Keywords: White certificates, energy efficiency obligations, financial incentives, policy evaluation, ESCOs, industrial energy savings, market barriers
    JEL: D22 D82 L14 L97 Q48
    Date: 2016
  22. By: Walter Hyll; Lutz Schneider
    Abstract: We exploit the natural experiment of German re-unification to address the question whether distress from social (income) comparisons results in negative attitudes towards foreigners. Our empirical approach rests upon East German individuals who have West German peers. We use the exogenous variation of wealth of West German peers shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall as an instrument to identify the effect of distress from social comparisons on East Germans’ attitudes. We find robust evidence that East Germans expose strong negative attitudes towards foreigners, particularly from low-wage countries, if they worry about their economic status compared to better-off peers.
    Keywords: social comparisons, attitudes towards foreigners, natural experiment
    JEL: D31 J61 N34
    Date: 2016–03
  23. By: Holmlund, Helena (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)
    Abstract: Equality of opportunity has been one of the central ideas governing education policy in the Nordic welfare state. This paper takes its starting point in the shared history of educational reform in the Nordic countries, and presents evidence that the comprehensive school reforms that implied a shift from selective two-tier schooling systems to unified compulsory schools were beneficial for equality of opportunity. This evidence is compared to a choice and voucher reform that in the 1990's introduced pedagogical as well as organizational variety in the education system in Sweden. The Swedish choice reform is unique in an international perspective, and has reshaped the education sector dramatically as a growing number of pupils attend non-public independent schools. The current education debate shows a widespread concern that the introduction of choice has led to a backlash for equality of opportunity. Parental background remains a strong determinant of pupil performance. However, recent research finds no indication that family background has become more important over time in explaining pupil outcomes. The Swedish education system nevertheless faces a number of challenges if it is to level the playing field and create equal opportunities for all pupils: schools are becoming increasingly more segregated, much as a consequence of immigration, and disadvantaged pupils are less likely to exercise school choice compared to their more advantaged peers.
    Keywords: educational reform; equality of opportunity
    JEL: I20 I24
    Date: 2016–03–14
  24. By: Fudickar, Roman; Hottenrott, Hanna; Lawson, Cornelia (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Academic consulting is recognised as an important and effective means of knowledge transfer with the public and private sectors. These interactions with external sectors offer opportunities for research application but also raise concerns over their potentially negative consequences for academic research and its dissemination. For a sample of social, natural and engineering science academics in Germany, we find consulting to be widespread, undertaken by academics at all seniority levels and in all disciplines, with academics in the social sciences more likely to provide advice to the public sector and those in engineering to the private sector. Controlling for the selection into consulting, we then investigate its effect on research performance. While previous research suggested that consulting activities might come at the cost of reduced research output, our analysis does not confirm this concern. The results, however, suggest that stronger engagement in consulting increases the probability to cease publishing research altogether. This may point to a flight of consulting-active academics from active research. Moreover, public sector consulting comes with lower average citations which may suggest a move towards context-specific publications that attract fewer citations. We draw lessons for research institutions and policy about the promotion of academic consulting.
    Date: 2016–03

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