nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2016‒08‒21
twelve papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Caring Alone? Social Capital and the Mental Health of Caregivers By Lars Thiel
  2. The Family Working Time Model - Toward More Gender Equality in Work and Care By Kai-Uwe Müller; Michael Neumann; Katharina Wrohlich
  3. Fertility Effects of Child Benefits By Regina T. Riphahn; Frederik Wiynck
  4. Collusive Upward Gasoline Price Movements in Medium-Sized German Cities By Arne Neukirch; Thomas Wein
  5. The Distribution of Technological Activities in Europe: A Regional Perspective By Rinaldo Evangelista; Valentina Meliciani; Antonio Vezzani
  6. The Lumpiness of German Exports and Imports of Goods By Joachim Wagner
  7. Does personality matter? : The impact of the big five on the migrant and gender wage gaps By Brenzel, Hanna; Laible, Marie-Christine
  8. Education, Cognitive Ability and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Structural Approach By Bijwaard, Govert; Myrskylä, Mikko; Tynelius, Per; Rasmussen, Finn
  9. Pay less, consume more? Estimating the price elasticity of demand for home care services of the disabled elderly By Roquebert, Q.; Tenand, M.
  10. Do age complementarities affect labor productivity? Evidence from German firm level data By Peters, Jan Cornelius
  11. The Efficiency Cost of Protective Measures in Climate Policy By Christoph Böhringer; Xaquin Garcia-Muros; Ignacio Cazcarro; Iñaki Arto
  12. Access to Education and Teenage Pregnancy By Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner; Jesse Matheson

  1. By: Lars Thiel
    Abstract: This study analyzes the role of social capital in buffering the negative relationship between informal-care provision and mental health. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and fixed-effect regression models, we show that those individuals who socialize more frequently enjoy better mental health. We also find that stronger social ties moderate the negative association between caregiving and mental well-being. The protective role of social capital appears to be particularly strong for caregivers with high time commitments or those who regularly perform voluntary work. The moderating role of social activities can neither be explained by the caregiver's observed characteristics correlated with social capital, nor by features of the caregiving process. However, the results might be driven by insuficient overlap in covariates between carers and non-carers, and the simultaneity between caring decisions and social activities. We relate our results to recent policy initiatives that aim to improve the carer's well-being. Utilization of caregiver-support services is still rather low. Our findings suggest that caregivers may prefer informal support provided by family, friends, or neighbors to public caregiver benefits. To corroborate this hypothesis, further research regarding the (causal) buffering effects of social capital in the context of informal care is needed.
    Keywords: Informal care, social capital, mental health
    JEL: I10 J14 Z13
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Kai-Uwe Müller; Michael Neumann; Katharina Wrohlich
    Abstract: Since the millennium, the labor market participation of women and mothers is increasing across European countries. Several work/care policy measures underlie this evolution. At the same time, the labor market behavior of men and fathers, as well as their involvement in care work, is relatively unchanging, meaning that employed mothers are facing an increased burden with respect to gainful employment and providing care. We propose a family working time model that incentivizes fathers and mothers to both work in extended part-time employment. It provides a benefit in form of a lumpsum transfer or income replacement for each parent if, and only if, both parents work 30 hours per week. Thus, it explicitly addresses fathers and – contrary to most conventional family policies – actively promotes the dual earner/dual carer paradigm. Combining microsimulation and labor supply estimation, we empirically analyze the potential of the family working time model in the German context. The relatively small share of families already choosing the symmetric distribution of about 30 working hours would increase by 60 per cent. By showing that a lump-sum transfer especially benefits low-income families, we contribute to the debate about redistributive implications of family policies. The basic principles of the model generalize to other European countries where families increasingly desire an equal distribution of employment and care. In order to enhance the impact of such a policy, employers’ norms and workplace culture as well as the supply of high-quality childcare must catch-up with changing workforce preferences.
    Keywords: care work, gender equality, family policy, labor supply
    JEL: J22 J16 J38
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Regina T. Riphahn; Frederik Wiynck
    Abstract: We exploit the 1996 reform of the German child benefit program to identify the causal effect of heterogeneous child benefits on fertility. While generally the reform increased child benefits, the exact amount of the increase varied substantially by household income and sibship size. We use these heterogeneities to identify their causal effects on fertility in a difference-in-differences setting. We apply the large samples of the German Mikrozensus and the rich data of the German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP). The reform effects on low income couples are not robust or statistically significant. We find some support for positive fertility effects for higher as opposed to lower income couples deciding on a second birth.
    Keywords: child benefits, fertility, tax allowance, causal effect, difference-in-differences, Mikrozensus, SOEP
    JEL: J13 I38 C54
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Arne Neukirch (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany); Thomas Wein (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: Do we have effective competition between the gasoline's big five oligopolists (Aral, Shell, Esso, Total and Jet) and fringe gasoline stations? Using 2014 Market Transparency price data from 66 cities with populations between 60,000 and 100,000, we analyze which brands lead price increases, the first average price mark-up in the evening, and the trend on price increases until midnight. Furthermore, we measure the response time it takes for competitors to react to these price increases, and how much prices change from the beginning to the end of a day. By watching local activities of the big brands, it is possible to measure how smaller businesses, such as Jet or independent retailers, react to Aral's and Shell's price changes. Multivariate estimations allows to control for gasoline type (regular or diesel), school holidays, weekends, weekdays, location -such as East or West Germany-, wholesale and starting prices. Descriptive results show the typical patterns. Aral (or Shell) will start a price increase round, and then Shell (or Aral) will more or less immediately follow. Total, Esso and Non-Oligopolists react within one or two hours. Jet behaves more as an "outsider" with later reaction times and lower price mark-ups. Multivariate estimation indicates that the single cause "price change by competitors" is less important and nearly irrelevant for Jet.
    Keywords: Market power, collusive behavior, gasoline market
    JEL: L13 L41 L81
    Date: 2016–06
  5. By: Rinaldo Evangelista (University of Camerino); Valentina Meliciani (University of LLUIS Carli); Antonio Vezzani (European Commission – JRC)
    Abstract: This study analyses the major patterns and trends in the spatial distribution of technological capacities in the EU area over the 1996-2011 period, adopting a regional perspective. More specifically, the study aims at: a) assessing the level of technological polarization in the EU area and its dynamics; b) highlighting major changes in the patterns of technological specialization of EU regions; c) identifying the technological trajectories that have been more effective, that is able to sustain long-term economic growth and facilitate catching-up processes of EU laggard regions.
    Keywords: technological specialization, technical change, regions, innovation
    Date: 2016–08
  6. By: Joachim Wagner (Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: This paper looks at a hitherto neglected extensive margin of international trade by investigating for the first time the frequency at which German exporters and importers trade a given good with a given country. Imports and exports show a high degree of lumpiness. In a given year about half of all firm-good-country combinations are recorded only once or twice for trade with EU-countries, and this is the case for more than 60 percent of all firm-goodcountry combinations in trade with non-EU countries. The frequency of recorded transactions tends to decline with an increase in the number of transactions per year. This is in accordance with the presence of per-shipment fixed costs that provide an incentive for trading firms to engage in cross-border transactions infrequently. Empirical models show that for Germany the frequency of transactions at the firm-good-country level tends to decrease with an increase in per-shipment costs when unobserved firm and goods characteristics are controlled for.
    Keywords: Lumpiness of trade, imports, exports, Germany
    JEL: F14
    Date: 2016–04
  7. By: Brenzel, Hanna (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Laible, Marie-Christine (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "We investigate whether the Big Five Personality Dimensions contribute to explaining gender and migrant wage gaps by using a linked employer-employee dataset. We expand the scarce literature concerning personality traits and gender wage gaps in Germany and we provide first evidence for the relationship between the Big Five and the migrant wage gap. Our results reveal that the genders differ in their average personality traits, as do migrants and natives. Further, we find significant associations between the Big Five and wages. The magnitude of this relationship varies across the gender and the migratory status. The results of Oaxaca-Blinder wage decompositions suggest that the Big Five significantly contribute to explaining gender and migrant wage gaps." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    JEL: J15 J16 J24 J31
    Date: 2016–08–15
  8. By: Bijwaard, Govert (NIDI - Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute); Myrskylä, Mikko (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research); Tynelius, Per (Karolinska Institutet); Rasmussen, Finn (Karolinska Institutet)
    Abstract: Education is negatively associated with mortality for most major causes of death. The literature ignores that cause-specific hazard rates are interdependent and that education and mortality both depend on cognitive ability. We analyze the education-mortality gradient at ages 18-63 using Swedish register data. We focus on months lost due to a specific cause of death which solves the interdependence problem, and use a structural model that derives cognitive ability from military conscription IQ scores. We derive the educational gains in months lost and the selection effects for each cause of death, and quantify the selection contribution of observed characteristics and unobserved cognitive ability. In a standard Cox model that controls for observed IQ, primary education was associated with 6 months lost when compared to secondary education. In a structural model that accounts for cognitive ability the difference was 43% larger. In addition, the largest educational gains were achieved for the lowest education group in the reduction of external cause mortality. The educational gains in cardiovascular mortality was small, mainly due to large selection effects. These results suggest that educational differences in cause specific mortality may be biased by conventional Cox regression analyses.
    Keywords: cause specific mortality, causal effect of educational, cognitive ability
    JEL: C41 C32 I14 I24
    Date: 2016–08
  9. By: Roquebert, Q.; Tenand, M.
    Abstract: Although the consumption of home care is increasing with population ageing, little is known about its price sensitivity. This paper estimates the price elasticity of the demand for home care of the disabled elderly, using the French home care subsidy program ("APA"). We use an original dataset collected from a French District Council with administrative records of APA out-of-pocket payments and home care consumption. Identification primarily relies on inter-individual variations in producer prices. We use the unequal spatial distribution of producers to address the potential price endogeneity arising from non-random selection into a producer. Our results point to a price elasticity around -0.4: a 10% increase in the out-of-pocket price is predicted to lower consumption by 4%, or 37 minutes per month for the median consumer. Copayment rates thus matter for allocative and dynamic efficiencies, while the generosity of home care subsidies also entails redistributive effects.
    Keywords: long-term care; price elasticity; public policy;
    JEL: C24 D12 I18 J14
    Date: 2016–08
  10. By: Peters, Jan Cornelius
    Abstract: In Germany, as in many other European countries, there will be a shift in the workforce age structure in the next decades. The number of older workers will increase, and the number of younger and middle aged workers will decline. This paper provides evidence how the shift in the relative labor supply affects labor productivity, taking into account that differently aged workers are suggested to be imperfect substitutes. Using a cross sectional linked employer-employee data set from 2012, translog cost functions are estimated. To control for the skill level of the workers a nested production structure is applied. This allows to analyze age complementarities within groups of workers that have a comparable skill level. Based on the estimated parameters, pairwise elasticities of complementarity and factor price elasticities are computed. The results indicate that workers that belong to different age groups are complementary factors. But the degree of complementarity differs, depending on the age and the skill level of the workers. The complementarities especially arise between younger and middle aged workers. The highest degree of complementarity is observed between younger and middle aged high skilled labor. Simulating how the expected shift in the age structure affects labor productivity indicates that the productivity of younger and middle aged workers will increase. In contrast, the productivity of older workers will significantly decline caused by their increasing share in the workforce.
    Keywords: age complementarities,demographic change,labor-labor substitution,linked employer-employee,translog
    JEL: C31 D24 J11 J31
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Christoph Böhringer (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics); Xaquin Garcia-Muros (Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain); Ignacio Cazcarro (Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain); Iñaki Arto (Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain)
    Abstract: Despite recent achievements towards a global climate agreement, climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions remains quite heterogeneous across countries. Energy-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE) industries in industrialized countries are particularly concerned on stringent domestic emission pricing that may put them at a competitive disadvantage with respect to producers of similar goods in other countries without or only quite lenient emission regulation. This paper focuses on climate policy analysis for the United States of America (US) and compares the economic implications of four alternative protective measures for US EITE industries: (i) output-based rebates, (ii) exemptions from emission pricing, (iii) energy intensity standards, and (iv) carbon intensity standards. Based on simulations with a large-scale computable general equilibrium model for the global economy we quantify how these protective measures affect competitiveness of US EITE industries. We find that while protective measures can attenuate adverse competitiveness impacts measured in terms of common sector-specific competitiveness indicators, they run the risk of making US emission reduction much more costly than uniform emission pricing stand-alone. In fact, the cost increase is associated with negative income effects such that the gains of protective measures for EITE exports may be more than compensated through losses in domestic EITE demand.
    Keywords: Unilateral climate policy; competitiveness; computable general equilibrium
    JEL: D21 H23 D58
    Date: 2016–08
  12. By: Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner (Department of Economics at the University of Leicester); Jesse Matheson (Department of Economics at the University of Leicester)
    Abstract: Little is known about the causal impact of education opportunities on the decision of young women to have children. Expanding education opportunities may lead to a greater number of young women putting off childbearing until after their teenage years. In this study we look at the effect of one of the largest secondary school expansions on record, providing quasi-experimental evidence to uncover the causal impact of education opportunity on teenage fertility. After achieving near universal enrolment in primary education in the mid- 1990s, Brazil went through an ambitious program of expanding secondary schooling. Between 1996 and 2009 more than 10,269 secondary schools were introduced, increasing the average enrolment rate for teens age 15 to 19 from 21% to 48%. We combine data from the Brazilian School Census, and Brazilian Vital Statistics data capturing 45 million live births by age of mother into an extraordinarily rich data set. Plausibly exogenous variation in the introduction of schools across municipalities over time is used to estimate the effect of education opportunity on teenage births. We find a significant negative effect of secondary school availability on teenage pregnancy. Our results suggest that the addition of one school at age 15 will reduce average cumulative births by 19 by, on average, 4.4 births or 4.6% relative to the mean. These results suggest that the expansion in secondary schools across Brazil can account for roughly 27% of the large decline in teenage childbearing observed between 1997 and 2009 in Brazil.
    Keywords: Secondary education, teenage pregnancy, Brazil
    JEL: I20 I26 J13
    Date: 2016–08

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