nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2017‒04‒16
27 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Hiring subsidies for people with disabilities: Do they work? By Sergi Jiménez-Martín; Arnau Juanmarti Mestres; Judit Vall Castelló
  2. Does education improve financial outcomes? Quasi-experimental evidence from Britain By Daniel Gray; Alberto Montagnoli; Mirko Moro
  3. Dropout and Time to Degree in Italian Universities Around the Economic Crisis. By Contini, Dalit; Salza, Guido; Scagni, Andrea
  4. European incomes, national advantages: EU-wide inequality and its decomposition by country and region By Stefano Filauro
  5. Health effects of retirement. Evidence from Norwegian survey and register data By Grøtting, Maja Weemes; Lillebø, Otto Sevaldson
  6. Non-performing loans and the supply of bank credit: evidence from Italy By Matteo Accornero; Piergiorgio Alessandri; Luisa Carpinelli; Alberto Maria Sorrentino
  7. Can formal home care reduce the burden of informal care for elderly dependents? Evidence from France. By Louis Arnault; Andreas Goltz
  8. Productivity based selection to retirement: Evidence from EU-SILC By Maciej Lis
  9. Performance Pay and Applicant Screening By Jirjahn, Uwe; Mohrenweiser, Jens
  10. Shadow banking out of the shadows: non-bank intermediation and the Italian regulatory framework By Carlo Gola; Marco Burroni; Francesco Columba; Antonio Ilari; Giorgio Nuzzo; Onofrio Panzarino
  11. The Great Irish (De)Leveraging 2005-14 By Lydon, Reamonn; McIndoe-Calder, Tara
  12. Policy strategies for a transition to a bioeconomy in Europe: the case of Italy and Germany By Imbert, Enrica; Ladu, Luana; Morone, Piergiuseppe; Quitzow, Rainer
  13. Natives’ attitudes and immigrants’ unemployment durations By Sekou Keita; Jérome Valette
  14. Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis By Becker, Sascha O.; Fetzer, Thiemo; Novy, Dennis
  15. Does revenue diversification still matter in banking? Evidence from some European countries By Mariarosa Borroni; Simone Rossi
  16. The Intergenerational Transmission of Math Culture By Giannelli, Gianna Claudia; Rapallini, Chiara
  17. The impact of investment in knowledge-based capital on productivity: firm-level evidence from Ireland By Siedschlag, Iulia; Di Ubaldo, Mattia
  18. Working hours and productivity By Collewet, Marion; Sauermann, Jan
  19. Cyber attacks: preliminary evidence from the Bank of Italy's business surveys By Claudia Biancotti
  20. How does monetary policy pass-through affect mortgage default? Evidence from the Irish mortgage market By Byrne, David; Kelly, Robert; O'Toole, Conor
  21. Fiscal Rules to Tame the Political Budget Cycle; Evidence from Italian Municipalities By Lorenzo Forni; Andrea Bonfatti
  22. Is Household Diversification Increasing in Wealth? Norwegian Evidence By Odegaard, Bernt Arne
  23. Sensitivity of Modeling Results to Technological and Regional Details: The Case of Italy’s Carbon Mitigation Policy By Gabriele Standardi; Yiyong Cai; Sonia Yeh
  24. X-efficiency and economies of scale in pension fund administration and investment By Gosse Alserda; Jaap Bikker; Fieke van der Lecq
  25. The French Nuclear Bet By Quentin Perrier
  26. The Dispersion of Bonus Payments within and between Firms By Grund, Christian; Hofmann, Tanja
  27. An integrated micro data base for tax analysis in Germany By Bach, Stefan; Beznoska, Martin; Steiner, Viktor

  1. By: Sergi Jiménez-Martín; Arnau Juanmarti Mestres; Judit Vall Castelló
    Abstract: This article evaluates the effectiveness of hiring subsidies targeted to people with disabilities. By exploiting the timing of implementation among the different Spanish regions of a subsidy scheme implemented in Spain during the period 1990-2014, we employ a differencesin- differences approach to estimate the impact of the scheme on the probability of DI beneficiaries of transiting to employment and on the propensity of individuals of entering the DI program. Our results show that the introduction of the subsidy scheme is in general ineffective at incentivizing transitions to employment, and in some cases it is associated with an increased propensity of transiting to DI. Furthermore, we show that an employment protection component incorporated to the subsidy scheme, consisting in the obligation for the employer to maintain the subsidized worker in employment, is associated with less transitions to permanent employment, more transitions to temporary employment and more transitions to DI, suggesting that these type of employment protection measures can have undesired effects for people with disabilities.
    Keywords: Disability, employment subsidies, labor market transitions, disability insurance, differences-in-differences.
    JEL: H24 H55 J08 J14
    Date: 2017–04
  2. By: Daniel Gray (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield); Alberto Montagnoli (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield); Mirko Moro (Division of Economics, University of Stirling)
    Abstract: This paper uses two compulsory schooling reforms in Britain (1947 and 1972) to study the relationship between education and financial behaviours. Employing a regression discontinuity design to analyse nationally representative data from the UK, we find limited evidence that one extra year of schooling led to systematically different financial behaviours. One exception is the promotion of more positive saving behaviours amongst females affected by the 1947 reform. We argue that, despite clear positive spill-overs of educational reforms, desirable financial behaviours require specfic and targeted education policies and we point to the growing research in this field to support this conclusion.
    Keywords: Compulsory Schooling Laws; Education; Financial Literacy; Financial Outcomes; Regression Discontinuity
    JEL: D14 I20 G11
    Date: 2017–04
  3. By: Contini, Dalit; Salza, Guido; Scagni, Andrea (University of Turin)
    Abstract: In this contribution, we address the following research questions: (i) Do parental education, parental occupation and economic conditions influence the students’ university dropout probability, given students’ previous educational attainment and performance? What is the relative role of these alternative indicators of family background? (ii) Do we observe any changes when comparing different cohorts of entrants – before and after the beginning of the economic crisis – in degree attainment and dropout hazard rates? Can we ascribe these changes to different behavior or to the different composition of the university student body? Is there any evidence that the observed behavioral changes can be ascribed to the economic crisis? To this aim, we use administrative data of the University of Torino – recently integrated with information on parental background – containing detailed information on the academic careers of the cohorts of first enrolled in years 2004-2014. These data include information on transfers to other degree programs within the University of Torino and to other universities, allowing to distinguish between withdrawal from the university system and changes of institution. On research question (i), we find that economic constraints negatively affect the dropout risk, while parental education and occupation seem to exert little further influence. Our findings on research question (ii) indicate that substantial improvements in both dropout probabilities and time to degree have occurred, and that these improvements are partly due to changes in the composition of the student body and partly due to changes in individual behavior.
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Stefano Filauro
    Abstract: This study analyses EU-28- and euro area-level income distribution with the latest EU-SILC data. More specifically it shows the evolution of inequality in net disposable and market incomes over the pre- and post-crisis period (2006-2013). I find that inequality between the EU-28 and euro area (EA) has converged due to a slow decrease in EU-28 inequality, at least until 2009, coupled with a mild increase in EA inequality. Thus, I compute how much between-country inequality, as opposed to within-country inequality, contributes to overall inequality in the EU-28 and euro area, observing that the trend of between-country inequality, albeit starting from very different levels, has been declining in the EU-28 while slightly increasing in the euro area. Similar trends are observed for between-region inequality. Finally, I approximate the extent to which individual incomes on the European scale can be predicted by country of residence and find evidence in line with the inequality decomposition by country.
    Keywords: Distribution; income inequality; decomposition by country; European Union; equality of opportunity.
    JEL: D3 D63 O52
    Date: 2017–04–05
  5. By: Grøtting, Maja Weemes (NOVA Norwegian Social Research); Lillebø, Otto Sevaldson (Department of Economics, University of Bergen)
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between retirement and health, using comprehensive measures from survey- and register data with detailed information on socioeconomic status. Using regression discontinuity at the statutory retirement age of 67, we study health in terms of depression, physical health and acute hospital admissions, with the latter observed for the entire Norwegian population. Our findings suggest that retirement leads to better physical health outcomes for individuals with low socioeconomic status, both for subjective- and objective outcomes, and to increased symptoms of depression for individuals with high socioeconomic status. Our findings highlight the importance of heterogeneity in the health effects.
    Keywords: Retirement; Health; Socioeconomic Status; Gender; Regression Discontinuity Design
    JEL: I12 I14 I18 I38 J26
    Date: 2017–04–07
  6. By: Matteo Accornero (Bank of Italy); Piergiorgio Alessandri (Bank of Italy); Luisa Carpinelli (Bank of Italy); Alberto Maria Sorrentino (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We use an extensive loan-level dataset to study the influence of non-performing loans (NPLs) on the supply of bank credit to nonfinancial firms in Italy between 2008 and 2015. We use time-varying firm fixed effects to control for shifts in demand and changes in borrower characteristics, and we also resort to the supervisory interventions associated to the 2014 Asset Quality Review to identify exogenous variations in the banks’ NPL ratios. We find that banks’ lending behavior is not causally affected by the level of NPL ratios: the negative correlation between NPL ratios and credit growth in our data is mostly generated by changes in firms’ conditions and a contraction in their demand for credit. However, the exogenous emergence of NPLs and the associated increase in provisions can cause a negative adjustment in credit supply.
    Keywords: credit register, credit risk, credit supply, non-performing loans
    JEL: E51 E58 G00 G21
    Date: 2017–03
  7. By: Louis Arnault (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine); Andreas Goltz (Autres - AUTRE)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the trade-off between formal and informal care for elderly dependents living at home in France. Using the French 2008 household Disability - Healthcare data and a newly built indicator of formal home-care prices in each French Council District, we wonder if fi nancial incentives to use more formal home care could relieve informal caregivers. We estimate a bivariate Tobit model to account for both the censor and the endogeneity of our formal home-care variable. Our results con firm that the volume of informal care provided would decrease if the elderly dependents were faced with lower formal home-care prices. Moreover, informal caregivers are shown to be much more sensitive to public subsidizes for skilled formal home care than for the low-skilled one. Subsidizing for skilled formal home care would make informal caregivers more effcient to perform lighter low-skilled tasks. Eventually, acting on formal home care prices could help French public administrators sustain the well-being of both care receivers and informal caregivers.
    Keywords: Long-term Care,Informal Care,Formal Care,Elderly
    Date: 2017–02–06
  8. By: Maciej Lis
    Abstract: The age-productivity and age-employment profiles in each of the 28 European countries are investigated jointly using the harmonized survey of income and living conditions (EU-SILC). Based on the employment rates and the age of leaving the labour market, we propose four clusters of countries: with high employment rates and long employment, low employment rates and short employment and the two intermediate categories. With non-parametric and semi-parametric methods, we find evidence that the process of leaving the labour market is highly selective in countries with short employment pattern. Those leaving the labour market earliest are those with lowest productivity in countries with short employment, contrary in countries with long employment and low employment rates and we find no evidence of selection in countries with high employment rates and long employment.
    Keywords: labour market, pensions
    JEL: C14 J21 J24
    Date: 2017–03
  9. By: Jirjahn, Uwe (University of Trier); Mohrenweiser, Jens (Bournemouth University)
    Abstract: Using German establishment data, we show that the relationship between intensity of performance pay and intensity of applicant screening depends on the nature of production. In establishments with increased multitasking, performance pay is positively associated with applicant screening. By contrast, in establishments without increased multitasking, performance pay is negatively associated with applicant screening. The findings fit the hypothesis that performance pay induces a positive self-sorting of employees if jobs are less multifaceted. In this case, employers with a high intensity of performance pay do not need intensive applicant screening to ensure a high quality of matches between workers and jobs. However, if jobs are more multifaceted, performance pay can entail problems of adverse self-sorting. In order to mitigate or overcome these problems, employers making intensive use of performance pay also screen applicants more intensively.
    Keywords: performance pay, multitasking, self-sorting, applicant screening, non-managerial employees, managerial employees
    JEL: J33 J60 M51 M52
    Date: 2017–03
  10. By: Carlo Gola (Bank of Italy); Marco Burroni (Bank of Italy); Francesco Columba (Bank of Italy); Antonio Ilari (Bank of Italy); Giorgio Nuzzo (Bank of Italy); Onofrio Panzarino (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Shadow banking is the creation or transfer – by banks and non-bank intermediaries – of bank-like risks outside the banking system. In Italy the shadow banking system is fully regulated, mostly following the principle of same business-same rules or ‘bank-equivalent regulation’. After an overview of the topic, we describe the Italian shadow banking system and the related regulatory and supervisory framework in place before the financial crisis and the subsequent enhancements. A quantitative representation of Italian shadow banking is also provided. The paper argues that through a wide and consistent regulatory perimeter, based on the principle of ‘bank-equivalent regulation’, it is possible to setup a well-balanced prudential framework, where both bank and non-bank regulation contribute to reducing systemic risks and regulatory arbitrage.
    Keywords: shadow banking system, financial stability, macro-prudential regulation, non-bank financial intermediaries, market-based finance
    JEL: E44 E58 G00 G01 G21 G23 G28
    Date: 2017–02
  11. By: Lydon, Reamonn (Central Bank of Ireland); McIndoe-Calder, Tara (Central Bank of Ireland)
    Abstract: Drawing on the 2013 Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) and complementary administrative data sources, we simulate household balance sheets at the micro level for the 2005-14 period. We use this dataset to tell the story of household leveraging and deleveraging over a tumultuous period for the Irish economy. We show that deleveraging has proceeded at a signficantly faster pace for older households, when compared with younger age groups. In contrast, we find that a higher-incidence of tracker mortgages amongst younger borrowers – which passed through the historically low ECB policy rates since 2009 – relative to older borrowers has played a major role in easing the debt repayment burden in the presence of large income shocks. Notwithstanding historically low interest rates, we show that income shocks are the main factor contributing to mortgage repayment problems. However, there is also a role for equity factors.
    Keywords: Households, Debt, Assets, Income, Deleveraging.
    JEL: D12 D31 E21
    Date: 2017–03
  12. By: Imbert, Enrica; Ladu, Luana; Morone, Piergiuseppe; Quitzow, Rainer
    Abstract: Grand societal challenges call for a transition from a society based on finite fossil resources towards a bio-based economy, based on renewable resources. Such a transition should involve not only the energy sector, but also the manufacturing sector. As acknowledged in the European Bioeconomy Strategy, the promotion of a bioeconomy is dependent on policy efforts across a wide spectrum of policy spheres. In the literature on sustainability transitions, this insight is captured in the increasing interest in the concept of policy mixes or policy strategies for promoting transitions to more sustainable modes of production and consumption. In this paper, we present a comparative analysis of bioeconomy strategies in Germany and Italy with a focus on the bioplastics sector. The paper adds to the existing literature on policy mixes by extending the concept of a policy strategy and applying it for the purpose of the comparative analysis. Moreover, the analysis is linked to the discussion on multi-level systems of governance in the European Union. A key finding is that linkages between the two policy strategies via policy making within the European Union have helped in reinforcing the nascent transition to a bio-based economy in Europe.
    Keywords: policy mixes; policy strategies; bioeconomy; bioplastics
    JEL: O38 Q57
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Sekou Keita (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le développement international - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - Centre national de la recherche scientifique); Jérome Valette (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Which factors determine the performance of immigrants in the destination country labor market? Evidence in the literature suggests that discrimination may be a barrier to the economic assimilation of immigrants. However, depending on their country of origin, immigrants are heterogeneous with respect to the discrimination they face. This paper investigates how the attitude of natives affects immigrants’ unemployment duration in Germany. Using individual level panel data from the German Socio Economic Panel from 1984 to 2012, we employ survival analysis methods to model immigrants’ unemployment duration. We find that lower trust levels of natives towards the citizens of a given country, measured using Eurobarometer surveys, positively influence the unemployment duration of immigrants originating from this country. We show that this result is not driven by origin-specific unobserved heterogeneity, and that it is robust to different definitions of unemployment and different specifications. The results of our paper highlight the fact that immigrants face different obstacles depending on their origin when it comes to integrating destination country labor markets.
    Keywords: Immigrant workers,Unemployment duration,Discrimination.
    Date: 2017–01–03
  14. By: Becker, Sascha O.; Fetzer, Thiemo; Novy, Dennis
    Abstract: On 23 June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. We analyze vote and turnout shares across 380 local authority areas in the United Kingdom. We find that exposure to the EU in terms of immigration and trade provides relatively little explanatory power for the referendum vote. Instead, we find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their education profiles, their historical dependence on manufacturing employment as well as low income and high unemployment. At the much finer level of wards within cities, we find that areas with deprivation in terms of education, income and employment were more likely to vote Leave. Our results indicate that a higher turnout of younger voters, who were more likely to vote Remain, would not have overturned the referendum result.
    Keywords: austerity; EU; globalisation; migration; political economy; Referendum; Scotland; UK; voting
    JEL: D72 N44 R23 Z13
    Date: 2017–04
  15. By: Mariarosa Borroni (DISCE, Università Cattolica); Simone Rossi (DISCE, Università Cattolica)
    Abstract: Following a common wisdom in banking, revenue diversification is likely to produce a "portfolio-effect" in bank income statement, enhancing the creation of greater and more stable profits. We test this hypothesis on a sample of 110 large commercial, saving and cooperative banks headquartered in 8 EMU countries for the period 2005-2013. Results indicate that diversification strategies have had a role in determining banks profitability only for selected subsamples (and in particular for commercial and saving banks); on the contrary, efficiency and credit portfolio quality have been the main drivers of profits in the period under examination. We contribute to previous literature using a cross-country balanced dataset that covers both the pre-crisis and the following economically troubled periods. Topics underlying this work - and empirical results - have relevant policy implications from a managerial and regulatory point of view.
    Keywords: Bank performance, Revenue diversification
    JEL: G21 L25
    Date: 2017–03
  16. By: Giannelli, Gianna Claudia (University of Florence); Rapallini, Chiara (University of Florence)
    Abstract: In this study, we provide evidence that parents' beliefs about the value of math, in terms of successful employment, have a positive impact on children's math scores. This result is robust to the reverse causality issue that characterizes the relationship between parental attitude and children's performance. We adopt an identification strategy that relies on two pillars. First, using PISA 2012, we estimate this relationship on a sample of immigrants that includes second-generation students and first-generation students who migrated before starting primary education. Second, we instrument the parental attitude with the country of origin math performance, under the assumption that country of origin math performance affects children's performance only through parents. We find that one additional score point in the origin country performance in math increases student performance by 21 percent of one standard deviation of the student math score. For an indirect transmission mechanism through parents math culture, this can be considered a quite substantial effect. Disentangling the effect of one of the factors that shape the family background, we contribute to the empirical literature on the explanations of individual educational achievements.
    Keywords: parental beliefs, math performance, immigrant students
    JEL: I21 J13 O15
    Date: 2017–03
  17. By: Siedschlag, Iulia; Di Ubaldo, Mattia
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of investment in knowledge-based capital on firm productivity. The analysis is based on a dynamic econometric model estimated with micro-data from Ireland over the period 2006-2012. We use broad measures of investment in knowledge-based capital which include expenditures on R&D, and on non-R&D intangible assets such as computer software, copyrights, patents and licences, royalties and organisational capital. The results indicate that on average, over and above other factors, an increase in investment in knowledge-based capital of 10 per cent increases firm productivity by 2 per cent. The research results indicate that productivity gains linked to investment in KBC are larger for Irish-owned firms in comparison to foreign-owned firms. Further, the estimates indicate that firms’ productivity is more responsive to investment in R&D than to investment in non-R&D intangible assets.
    Date: 2017–04
  18. By: Collewet, Marion (Research Centre for Educ and Labour Mark); Sauermann, Jan (sofi, stockholm university; international center for the study of labor (iza))
    Abstract: This paper studies the link between working hours and productivity using daily information on working hours and performance of a sample of call centre agents. We exploit variation in the number of hours worked by the same employee across days and weeks due to central scheduling, enabling us to estimate the effect of working hours on productivity. We find that as the number of hours worked increases, the average handling time for a call increases, meaning that agents become less productive. This result suggests that fatigue can play an important role, even in jobs with mostly part-time workers.
    Keywords: working hours, productivity, output, labour demand
    JEL: J23 J22 M12 M54
    Date: 2017–04–10
  19. By: Claudia Biancotti (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper presents preliminary evidence on cyber risk in the Italian private sector based on the Bank of Italy’s annual surveys of Italian industrial and service firms. The information collected, albeit only covering the incidence of cyber attacks and some aspects of security governance, is the first of its kind for Italy. The results are striking: even though a mere 1.5 per cent of businesses do not deploy any cybersecurity measures, 30.3 per cent – corresponding to 35.6 per cent of total employees – report at least some damage from a cyber attack between September 2015 and September 2016. Once data are corrected to account for unwillingness to report or inability to detect attacks on the part of some respondents, these figures climb to 45.2 and 56 per cent respectively, with large, high-tech and internationally exposed businesses faring worse than average. The economy-wide risk level is likely to be higher still; the financial sector, healthcare, education and social care are excluded from the sample, but they are known from other sources to be particularly appealing to attackers. Further research is needed on the correlation between firm-level vulnerability and investment in cyber defence, and on the cost of cyber breaches.
    Keywords: cyber attacks, cybersecurity, cyber risk
    JEL: F50 L60 L80 C83
    Date: 2017–02
  20. By: Byrne, David (Central Bank of Ireland); Kelly, Robert (Central Bank of Ireland); O'Toole, Conor (Central Bank of Ireland)
    Abstract: One channel through which monetary policy can affect loan default in the mortgage market is by altering the affordability of borrower repayments. Quantifying the exact impact of this relationship is complex as it depends on both the structure and passthrough of a given mortgage market. This paper uses a quasi-natural experiment to identify the impact of changes in interest rates on mortgage default. Using a panel of loan level administrative data for Ireland, we deal with selection bias that is inherent in identifying the impact of interest rates by exploiting the variation between two types of adjustable rate mortgage that were offered to Irish borrowers for a particular period in the mid-2000s. We map changes in interest rates to default by quantifying the direct effect through changes in borrower installments. Using a pass-through approach, we find a strong and highly statistically significant impact of interest rates on mortgage default, with a 1 per cent reduction in installment associated with a 5.8 per cent decrease in the likelihood of default over the following year. We also find evidence that negative equity offsets the some of the gains arising from lower policy rates indicating an interaction between monetary policy and asset price shocks in the mortgage market.
    Keywords: Monetary Policy, Mortgage Default
    JEL: E52 E58 G01 G21
    Date: 2017–03
  21. By: Lorenzo Forni; Andrea Bonfatti
    Abstract: The paper provides evidence that fiscal rules can limit the political budget cycle. It focuses on the application of the Italian fiscal rule at the sub-national level over the period 2004-2006 and shows that: 1) municipalities are subject to political budget cycles in capital spending; 2) the Italian subnational fiscal rule introduced in 1999 has been enforced by the central government; 3) municipalities subject to the fiscal rule show more limited political budget cycles than municipalities not subject to the rule. In order to identify the effect, we rely on the fact that the domestic fiscal rule does not apply to municipalities below 5,000 inhabitants. We find that the political budget cycle increases real capital spending by about 35 percent on average in the years prior to municipal elections and that the sub-national fiscal rule reduces these figures by about two thirds.
    Keywords: Time series;Fiscal rules;Italy;Europe;Government expenditures;Budgets;Regression analysis;local government finance, regression discontinuity, Cross-Sectional Models, Models with Panel Data, Deficit, State and Local Budget and Expenditures, Intergovernmental Relations
    Date: 2017–01–20
  22. By: Odegaard, Bernt Arne (UiS)
    Abstract: We study the diversification properties of equity portfolios using data on all Norwegian households with equity investments. While households typically have undiversified equity portfolios, diversification is increasing in wealth.
    Keywords: Household Finance; Equity Portfolio Diversification
    JEL: D14 G02 G11
    Date: 2017–04–05
  23. By: Gabriele Standardi (FEEM and CMCC); Yiyong Cai (CSIRO and CAMA, Australian National University); Sonia Yeh (Chalmers University of Technology)
    Abstract: Model differences in technological and geographical scales are common, but their contributions to uncertainties have not been systematically quantified in the climate policy literature. This paper carries out a systematic assessment on the sensitivity of Computable General Equilibrium models to technological and geographical scales in evaluating the economic impacts of carbon mitigation policies. Taking Italy as an example, we find that the estimation for carbon price and the economic cost of a de-carbonization pathway by means of a model with technological and regional details can be lower than a model without such details by up to 40%. Additionally, the effect of representing regional details appears to be far more important than the effect of representing the details of electricity technology in both the estimated carbon prices and the estimated economic impacts. Our results for Italy highlight the importance of modeling uncertainties of these two key assumptions, which should be appropriately acknowledged when applying CGE models for policy impact assessment. Our conclusions can be generalized to different countries and policy scenarios not in terms of absolute numbers but in terms of economic explanations. In particular, intra-national trade and the sub-national sectoral/technological specialization are important variables for understanding the economic dynamics behind these outcomes.
    Keywords: Computable General Equilibrium, Carbon Mitigation Policy, Sensitivity, Technology, Sub-national regions
    JEL: C68 Q5 Q55
    Date: 2017–04
  24. By: Gosse Alserda; Jaap Bikker; Fieke van der Lecq
    Abstract: Pension funds' operating costs come at the cost of benefits, so it is crucial for pension funds to operate at the lowest cost possible. In practice, we observe substantial differences in costs per member for Dutch pension funds, both across and within size classes. This paper discusses scale inefficiency and X-inefficiency using various approaches and models, based on a unique supervisory data set, which distinguishes between administrative and investment costs. Our estimates show large economies of scale for pension fund administrations, but modest diseconomies of scale for investment activities. We also found that many pension funds have substantial X-inefficiencies for both administrative and investment activities. The two kinds of inefficiency differ across types of pension funds. Therefore, most pension funds should be able to improve their cost performance, and hence increase pension benefits.
    Keywords: Efficiency; operating costs; cost elasticity; stochastic cost frontier analysis; optimal scale
    JEL: G23 L1
  25. By: Quentin Perrier (CIRED and ENGIE)
    Abstract: Following the first oil crisis, France launched the world’s largest ever nuclear energy program, commissioning 58 new reactors. These reactors are now reaching 40 years of age, the end of their technological lifetime. This places France at an energy policy crossroads: should the reactors be retrofitted or should they be decommissioned? The cost-optimal decision depends on several factors going forward, in particular the expected costs of nuclear energy production, electricity demand levels and carbon prices, all of which are subject to significant uncertainty. To deal with these uncertainties, we apply the Robust Decision Making framework to determine which reactors should be retrofitted. We build an investment and dispatch optimization model, calibrated for France. Then we use it to study 27 retrofit strategies for all combinations of uncertain parameters, which amounts to nearly 3,000 runs. Our analysis produces two robust strategies, which involve shutting down between 7 and 14 of the 14 oldest reactors, while extending the lifetime of all remaining reactors. These strategies provide a hedge against the risks of unexpected increases in retrofit costs, low demand and low carbon price. Our robust strategies differ from the official French government scenarios on the timing and number of reactors suggested to be decommissioned. They provide a timely contribution to the current debate on the extension of lifetime of nuclear plants in France.
    Keywords: Power System, Nuclear Power, Uncertainty, Investment Optimization, Robust Decision Making
    JEL: D81 O13 Q40 Q48
    Date: 2017–04
  26. By: Grund, Christian (RWTH Aachen University); Hofmann, Tanja (RWTH Aachen University)
    Abstract: We explore the dispersion of bonus payments of managers within and between five large firms from the German chemical sector. We use data from a yearly salary survey in these firms during the observation period 2008 to 2013. Bonus payments account for 20 percent of base salaries on average. Both the amount and the dispersion of bonus-to-base ratios differ across firms. We disentangle the dispersion between and within the levels of firms' hierarchies. Revealed differences are consistent with differences in firms' value statements.
    Keywords: bonus payments, bonus to base rate, firm differences, pay policies, wage dispersion
    JEL: J31 J33 M52
    Date: 2017–03
  27. By: Bach, Stefan; Beznoska, Martin; Steiner, Viktor
    Abstract: This paper documents methodology underlying the construction of the integrated data base for our study on 'Wer trägt die Steuerlast in Deutschland? - Verteilungswirkungen des deutschen Steuer- und Transfersystems' (Who bears the tax burden in Germany? - Distributional Analyses of the German tax and transfer system). Financial support from the Hans Böckler Stiftung for the project is gratefully acknowledged. The paper greatly benefited from comments by the members of the scientific advisory council of the project.
    Date: 2017

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