nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2017‒07‒23
thirty-two papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. What harmonised and registered unemployment rates do not tell By Konle-Seidl, Regina; Lüdeke, Britta
  2. Spotlight on the beneficiaries of EU regional funds: A new firm-level dataset By Bachtrögler, Julia; Hammer, Christoph; Reuter, Wolf Heinrich; Schwendinger, Florian
  3. Family Policies, Women’s Earnings, and Relative Inequality Among Households: Trends in 18 OECD Countries from 1981 to 2008 By Rense Nieuwenhuis; Ariana Need; Henk Van der Kolk
  4. The Impact of Schooling Intensity on Student Learning: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment By Andrietti, Vincenzo; Su, Xuejuan
  5. Polls, the Press, and Political Participation: The Effects of Anticipated Election Closeness on Voter Turnout By Leonardo Bursztyn; Davide Cantoni; Patricia Funk; Noam Yuchtman
  6. Industrial Clusters, Organized Crime and Productivity Growth in Italian SMEs By Roberto Ganau; AndrŽs Rodr’guez-Pose
  7. The Labor Market Effects of Opening the Border: Evidence from Switzerland By Andreas Beerli; Giovanni Peri
  8. Duration Dependence as an Unemployment Stigma: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Germany By Nüß, Patrick
  9. Innovation activities of firms in Germany - Results of the German CIS 2012 and 2014: Background report on the surveys of the Mannheim Innovation Panel Conducted in the Years 2013 to 2016 By Behrens, Vanessa; Berger, Marius; Hud, Martin; Hünermund, Paul; Iferd, Younes; Peters, Bettina; Rammer, Christian; Schubert, Torben
  10. Concurrent Elections and Political Accountability: Evidence from Italian Local Elections. By Bracco, Emanuele; Revelli, Federico
  11. Benefit Sanctions: Detailed Methodology By Pipinis, Dimitris; Taylor, Sarah; Tuffin, Andrew; Ross, Colin; Tse, Max
  12. Towards an East German wage curve - NUTS boundaries, labour market regions and unemployment spillovers By Reinhold Kosfeld; Christian Dreger
  13. Analysis of structural patterns in highly disaggregated bioeconomy sectors by EU Member States using SAM/IO multipliers By Alfredo J. Mainar Causape; George Philippidis; Ana Isabel Sanjuán
  14. Four levers of redistribution: The impact of tax and transfer systems on inequality reduction By Elvire Guillaud; Matthew Olckers; Michaël Zemmour
  15. Where Women Make The Difference. The Effects of Corporate Board Gender Quotas on Firms’ Performance across Europe By Simona, Comi; Mara, Grasseni; Federica, Origo; Laura, Pagani;
  16. Does Compulsory Education Really Increase Life Satisfaction? By Andrew E. Clark; SeEun Jung
  17. The Business Demography of the ICT Sector in Europe By Fiammetta Rossetti
  18. Transparency, quality of institutions and performance in the Italian Municipalities By Emma Galli; Ilde Rizzo; Carla Scaglioni
  19. The Impact of Economic Inequality and Gender Parity on Educational Assortative Mating: Evidence from the Luxembourg Income Study By David Monaghan
  20. Conditions of Social Vulnerability, Work and Low Income, Evidence for Spain in Comparative Perspective By Timothy Smeeding; Teresa Munzi
  21. Can Gender Quotas in Candidate Lists Empower Women? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design By Bagues, Manuel; Campa, Pamela
  22. Impact evaluation of EU subsidies for economic development on the Hungarian SME sector By Ádám Banai; Péter Lang; Gábor Nagy; Martin Stancsics
  23. From few to many: product differentiation in the Italian mortgage market By Silvia Del Prete; Cristina Demma; Paola Rossi
  24. Additional Career Assistance and Educational Outcomes for Students in Lower Track Secondary Schools By Bernd Fitzenberger; Stefanie Licklederer
  25. The consequences of public employment: evidence from Italian municipalities By Marta Auricchio; Emanuele Ciani; Alberto Dalmazzo; Guido de Blasio
  26. The Right Kind of Help? Tax Incentives for Staying Small By Dora Benedek; Pragyan Deb; Borja Gracia; Sergejs Saksonovs; Anna Shabunina; Nina T Budina
  27. Vintage effects in human capital: Europe versus the United States By Robert Inklaar; Marianna Papakonstantinou
  28. Estimating Equilibrium Effects of Job Search Assistance By Pieter Gautier
  29. Comparing redistributive efficiency of tax-benefit systems in Europe By Daniela Mantovani
  30. Does it pay to pay performance fees? Empirical evidence from Dutch pension funds By Dirk Broeders; Arco van Oord; David Rijsbergen
  31. Changes in the regulation and control of mortgage markets and access to owner-occupation among younger households By Christine Whitehead; Peter Williams
  32. Long-run Effects of Public Expenditure on Poverty By Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo; Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe

  1. By: Konle-Seidl, Regina (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Lüdeke, Britta
    Abstract: "The most commonly used statistical sources for the analysis of unemployment are registered unemployment (RU) at the national level and internationally harmonised unemployment data provided by the European Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard. The logic behind both unemployment statistics is to count people 'without work' only when they are 'actively looking' and 'available for work'. This logic does not coincide necessarily with the understanding of unemployment in the general public. That's why governments and Public Employment Services (PES) are often blamed to 'hide' unemployed individuals participating in active labour market measures or being temporarily ill. Our methodological study provides an in-depth analysis of the discrepancies between registered unemployment (RU) and internationally harmonised unemployment (LFSU) in a comparative view. For ten selected EU-countries (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK) we show in which countries the registers are more restrictive than the survey and vice versa. We then identify the populations groups which help to understand the discrepancies between both figures in most countries (young and older people, marginally employed, participants in active labour market programmes) and extend the view to additional indicators of non-employment. Finally, we explore differences in the calculation of the length of individual unemployment spells between both data sources and show that neither register based national nor survey based international statistics adequately reflect the long-term exclusion from regular, genuinely market-based employment." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Date: 2017–07–10
  2. By: Bachtrögler, Julia; Hammer, Christoph; Reuter, Wolf Heinrich; Schwendinger, Florian
    Abstract: This study introduces a new firm-level dataset containing over two million projects co-funded by the European Union's (EU) structural and Cohesion funds in 25 EU member states in the multi-annual financial framework 2007-2013. Information on individual beneficiary firms and institutions published by regional authorities is linked with business data from Bureau van Dijk's ORBIS database. Moreover, we show how modern text mining techniques can be used to categorise EU funded projects into fifteen thematic categories proposed by the European Commission. A first analysis of the dataset reveals substantial heterogeneity of beneficiaries and projects across and within countries. While in the majority of lagging regions the largest project expenditure is dedicated to transportation and energy infrastructure, in most other regions the major part is assigned to innovation and technological development as well as business (including SME) support. In an econometric analysis we control for project and firm characteristics and find that the highest single project values are associated with older beneficiary firms that are larger in size. Furthermore, the projects with topmost expenditure are carried out in Dutch and British regions.
    Keywords: Distribution of EU structural funds,Regional policy,Firm-level data,Cohesion,European Union
    JEL: E61 H77 R11 R58
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Rense Nieuwenhuis; Ariana Need; Henk Van der Kolk
    Abstract: This paper examines to what extent family policies have been associated with women’s earnings and earnings inequality among coupled households, using LIS data from 18 OECD countries, from 1981 to 2008. Women’s earnings contribute more to reducing inequality among households in countries with generous paid leave and public childcare, because these policies were associated with higher female labour force participation rates (FLFP). While a higher FLFP was associated with a more strongly positive correlation between spouses’ earnings, increasing the contribution of women’s earnings to inequality among household, it was also associated with lower earnings inequalities among women and with women contributing a larger share to household earnings. These latter two factors were found to attenuate household inequality to a larger extent than the higher correlation between spouses’ earnings contributed to household inequality. We found no association between financial support policies, such as family allowances and tax benefits to families with children, and the degree to which women’s earnings contribute to inequality among coupled households. Countries with family policy arrangements that facilitate women’s employment and earnings contribute to smaller inequalities among households.
    Keywords: Women’s earnings, income inequality, homogamy, childcare, paid leave, family allowance, family policy, incomplete revolution
    Date: 2017–04
  4. By: Andrietti, Vincenzo (University of Chieti-Pescara); Su, Xuejuan (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper uses data from a quasi-natural policy experiment in Germany to examine the impact of schooling intensity on student achievement. The policy experiment, which we call the G8 reform, compresses secondary schooling for academic-track students from nine to eight years. At the same time, it keeps the amount of academic content required for graduation fixed, resulting in an increase in schooling intensity per school year. Using German extension of the PISA data, we find that the increased schooling intensity associated with the reform improves student test scores on average, but there is significant heterogeneity across students depending on their characteristics.
    Keywords: schooling intensity; instruction hours; student achievement; heterogeneity
    JEL: D04 I21 I28
    Date: 2017–07–10
  5. By: Leonardo Bursztyn (University of Chicago); Davide Cantoni (Ludwig-Maximilians Universitåt München); Patricia Funk (Università della Svizzera Italiana); Noam Yuchtman (Haas School of Business, University of California--Berkeley)
    Abstract: We exploit naturally occurring variation in the existence, closeness, and dissemination of pre-election polls to identify a causal effect of anticipated election closeness on voter turnout in Swiss referenda. Closer elections are associated with greater turnout only when polls exist. Examining within-election variation in newspaper reporting on polls across cantons, we find that close polls increase turnout significantly more where newspapers report on them most. This holds examining only “incidental” exposure to coverage by periodicals whose largest audience is elsewhere. The introduction of polls had larger effects in politically unrepresentative municipalities, where locally available information differs most from national polls.
    Keywords: voter turnout, media, polls
    JEL: D72 P16
    Date: 2017–06
  6. By: Roberto Ganau; AndrŽs Rodr’guez-Pose
    Abstract: We examine whether organized crime affects firms' performance (defined using Total Factor Productivity growth) both directly and indirectly, by downsizing the positive externalities arising from the geographic concentration of (intra- and inter-industry) market-related firms. The analysis uses a large sample of Italian small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms over the period 2010-2013. The results highlight the negative direct effects of organized crime on firms' productivity growth. Any positive effect derived from industrial clustering is thoroughly debilitated by a strong presence of organized crime, and the negative moderation effect of organized crime on productivity growth is greater for smaller than for larger firms. Length:
    JEL: J61 R23
    Date: 2017–07
  7. By: Andreas Beerli (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Giovanni Peri
    Abstract: Between 1999 and 2004 Switzerland fully opened its border region (BR) to cross-border workers (CBW), who are foreign residents commuting to Switzerland for work. In this paper, we exploit the timing of implementation and the fact that CBW commute almost exclusively to municipalities close to the border to estimate the effect of this policy on foreign labor supply and on native labor market outcomes, using a difference-in-difference approach. We find that opening the border to CBW increased their employment within 10 minutes of commuting time from the border by 4 to 5 percentage points. The increased inflow was mainly constituted of highly-educated workers and it was associated with an increase of wages of highly-educated Swiss workers and no significant changes of wages of other workers. We also find weak evidence that employment and hours worked by less educated native workers increased. Native highly-educated workers became more likely to fill top managerial positions after the liberalization and they became more likely to stay in border regions. Occupation upgrading and complementarity with highly-educated natives, particularly strong in highskilled manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services, contribute to explaining these effects of CBW on natives.
    Keywords: border region, free labor mobility, policy change, cross-border workers, labor markets
    JEL: F22 J24 J61
    Date: 2017–06
  8. By: Nüß, Patrick
    Abstract: Based on a correspondence experiment covering 3,124 fictitious job applications, the paper identifies and quantifies duration dependence in Germany, with a particular emphasis on company and vacancy characteristics as potential determinants. The experiment reveals that duration dependence manifests itself in a sharp decline of 26% to 35% in callbacks when an individual has been unemployed for 10 months, pointing to the existence of an unemployment stigma for Germany. The results are driven by labor market tightness, companies' access to applicants and screening behavior related to company size, with no evidence for an unemployment stigma determined by the contract type.
    Keywords: Field Experiments,Labor Demand,Unemployment,Unemployment Duration,Labor Discrimination
    JEL: C93 J23 J60 J64 J71
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Behrens, Vanessa; Berger, Marius; Hud, Martin; Hünermund, Paul; Iferd, Younes; Peters, Bettina; Rammer, Christian; Schubert, Torben
    Abstract: Innovation is regarded as a key driver of productivity and market growth and thus has a great potential for increasing wealth. Surveying innovation activities of firms is an important contribution to a better understanding of the process of innovation and how policy may intervene to maximise the social returns of private investment into innovation. Over the past three decades, research has developed a detailed methodology to collect and analyse innovation activities at the firm level. The Oslo Manual, published by OECD and Eurostat (2005) is one important outcome of these efforts. In 1993 both organisations have started a joint initiative, known as the Community Innovation Survey (CIS), to collect firm level data on innovation across countries in concord (with each other). The German contribution to this activity is the so-called Mannheim Innovation Panel (MIP), an annual survey implemented with the first CIS wave in 1993. The MIP fully applies the methodological recommendations laid down in the Oslo Manual. It is designed as a panel survey, i.e. the same gross sample of firms is surveyed each year, with a biannual refreshment of the sample. The MIP is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) and the Institute for Applied Social Science (infas). This publication reports main results of the MIP surveys conducted in the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The surveys of the years 2013 and 2015 were the German contribution to the CIS for the reference years 2012 and 2014. The purpose of this report is to present descriptive results on various innovation indicators for the German enterprise sector.
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Bracco, Emanuele; Revelli, Federico (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effects of holding concurrent elections in multi-tiered government structures on turnout decision and voting behaviour, based on municipal and provincial electoral data from Italy during the 2000s. When the less-salient provincial elections are held concurrently with the highly salient municipal elections, we observe three main effects: (1) turnout increases significantly by almost ten percentage points; (2) issues that are specific of the more salient (mayoral) contest affect the less salient (provincial) contest, with mayors' fiscal decisions impacting on the vote share of provincial incumbents; (3) issues that are specific to the less salient (provincial) contest stop affecting provincial elections outcomes. These findings shed light on how voters acquire information on incumbent politicians, and proves that the effectiveness of an election as an accountability tool may be hindered by the concurrence with higher-stakes elections.
    Date: 2017–05
  11. By: Pipinis, Dimitris; Taylor, Sarah; Tuffin, Andrew; Ross, Colin; Tse, Max
    Abstract: This paper, which accompanies the National Audit Office report on benefit sanctions in the UK, provides an evaluation of the labour market impact of benefit sanctions for Work Programme claimants, a large welfare-to-work programme targeting the long-term unemployed in the UK. We use rich administrative data from the Department for Work & Pensions which include information on the benefit and employment history of claimants. We exploit the random assignment of claimants to different Work Programme providers and the variation in sanction referrals, across providers, to estimate an instrumental variables model. The model allows us to identify the impact of sanctions on benefit receipt, likelihood of employment and earnings. We find that sanctions make jobs more likely for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants but less likely for sick and disabled claimants of Employment and Support Allowance. In addition, our results on earnings suggest that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants are often moving to jobs with shorter hours and/or lower wages. Our analysis provides the first UK evidence, using individual level data, on the impact of benefit sanctions on the labour market outcomes of sanctioned claimants and contributes to the very limited research on the impact of benefit sanctions on the labour market outcomes of claimants with disabilities.
    Keywords: benefit sanctions, instrumental variables, earnings effects, employment effects, disability
    JEL: J65 J68
    Date: 2016–11–30
  12. By: Reinhold Kosfeld (University of Kassel); Christian Dreger (German Institute of Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder))
    Abstract: The relevance of spatial effects in the wage curve can be rationalized by the model of monopsonistic competition in regional labour markets. However, distortions in extracting the regional unemployment effects arise in standard regional (i.e. NUTS) classifications as they fail to adequately capture spatial processes. In addition, the nonstationarity of wages and unemployment is often ignored. Both issues are particularly important in high unemployment regimes like East Germany where a wage curve is difficult to establish. In this paper, labour market regions defined by economic criteria are used to examine the existence of an East German wage curve. Due to the nonstationarity of spatial data, a global panel cointegration approach is adopted. By specifying a spatial error correction model (SpECM), equilibrium adjustments are investigated in time and space. The analysis gives evidence on a locally but not a spatially cointegrated wage curve for East Germany.
    Keywords: Wage curve, labour market regions, global cointegration, spatial error-correction model
    JEL: J30 J60 C33 R15
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Alfredo J. Mainar Causape (European Commission - JRC); George Philippidis (Aragonese Agency for Research and Development (ARAID)); Ana Isabel Sanjuán (Agrifood Research and Technology Centre of Aragón (CITA))
    Abstract: This report characterises and profiles the biobased sectors in terms of their wealth generation characteristics for the entire EU region. To this end, Backward and Forward Linkages multipliers are calculated from a brand new set of EU Member States (MS) Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) benchmarked to 2010 with a large coverage of biobased activities.
    Keywords: European Union, Bioeconomy, Social Accounting Matrix, Backward and Forward Linkages, Employment Multiplier
    Date: 2017–05
  14. By: Elvire Guillaud; Matthew Olckers; Michaël Zemmour
    Abstract: Using observational micro data from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), we assess the redistributive impact of tax and transfer configurations across 22 OECD countries for the period 1999-2013. After recovering new tax data (employer social contributions), we measure the reduction of income inequality due to the four structural dimensions of tax and transfer systems: the average tax rate, tax progressivity, the average transfer rate, and transfer targeting. Among the most remarkable results, we notice (i) the diverse combinations of taxation and transfers that achieve the same reduction in inequality; (ii) the absence of configurations that match strongly progressive taxation with a high rate of taxation; and (iii) the decisive impact of the rate of transfers relative to targeting.
    Keywords: tax-benefi t system, inequality reduction, social protection, redistributive policies
    JEL: H23 H55 I38
    Date: 2017–04
  15. By: Simona, Comi; Mara, Grasseni; Federica, Origo; Laura, Pagani;
    Abstract: We study the effect of corporate board gender quotas on firm performance in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. The empirical analysis is based on accounting panel data from Bureau Van Dijk’s Amadeus. Our identification strategy relies on both double and triple difference estimators with ex-ante matching. We find that gender quotas had either a negative or an insignificant effect on firm performance in the countries considered with the exception of Italy, where we find a positive impact on productivity. We then focus on Italy and offer possible explanations for the positive effect of gender quotas using detailed information on board members’ characteristics.
    Keywords: Gender quotas, corporate governance, firm performance, productivity
    JEL: G30 G38 J3
    Date: 2017–07–12
  16. By: Andrew E. Clark (Paris School of Economics); SeEun Jung (Department of Economics, Inha University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the 1972 British education reform on life satisfaction using 1996-2008 British Household Panel Survey data. The education reform increased compulsory education by one year for those who were born after the 1st of September 1957, yielding an exogenous change in education for the treated group. Contrary to other work, we find no evidence that a one-year rise in compulsory education increased life satisfaction, even though it is often estimated to increase income. Many of our estimates suggest a negative relationship: the positive life-satisfaction effect found in research using earlier data does not then seem to have endured.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Education Reform, Compulsory Schooling, RDD, BHPS
    JEL: C21 C82 I28 I31
    Date: 2017–07
  17. By: Fiammetta Rossetti (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: This report explores the latest available statistics up to 2014 for the business demography of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) economic sector in Europe. It combines relevant databases which provide insights into the Member States’ ICT performance. The first four sections of this report take into account information, primarily from Eurostat, on ICT business demography. In the fifth section, radar charts are employed to combine Eurostat figures with information from the project on Prospective Insights in ICT R&D – phase 3 (PREDICT) in order to gain further insights into the association of relevant ICT variables across European countries. Selected economic indicators from Eurostat are also included in the final section in order to reveal patterns of associations between ICT and the economy.
    Keywords: ICT, R&D, Innovation, Statistics
    JEL: O30 O32 O52
    Date: 2017–06
  18. By: Emma Galli; Ilde Rizzo; Carla Scaglioni
    Abstract: In this paper, we aim at evaluating from an economic perspective the recent Italian legislation on transparency to investigate whether the potentialities of transparency as a tool to improve performance and integrity are fully exploited. We first construct a synthetic indicator (CTI) consisting of two sub-indicators, CTI Integrity and CTI Performance, which are able to describe in numerical terms the overall degree of transparency of Italian public administrations as well as the two different aspects of the public activity’s transparency. Then, using as a sample of Italian municipalities, we address the question whether there is a relation between the fulfillment of transparency obligations and both the institutional quality and the performance of the public administration activity. Our preliminary results suggest that our transparency indicators show a satisfactory correlation with widely used measures of the quality of institutions as well as with the official data on municipalities public spending performance. Key Words: Transparency, quality of institutions, local governments, accountability, performance.
    JEL: K2 K4 H3 H7
    Date: 2017–06
  19. By: David Monaghan
    Abstract: Though extensive research has described the prevalence of educational assortative mating, the causes of its variation across countries and over time is not well understood. Using data from the Luxembourg Income Study Database, I investigate the impact on marital sorting of both inequality between educational strata and increasing gender parity in the labor and educational markets. I find that in countries with greater returns to education, the odds of any sort of union that crosses educational boundaries is substantially reduced. However, there is only modest evidence of a relationship between returns to education and marital sorting within countries. I find that across countries, gender parity in educational attainment is related to reduced odds of female hypergamy and to increased odds of male hypergamy. Labor market parity between males and females appears to explain little of the variance in marital sorting by education either between or within countries.
    Keywords: assortative mating, inequality, gender parity, returns to education, crossnational research
    Date: 2017–05
  20. By: Timothy Smeeding; Teresa Munzi
    Abstract: Social vulnerability due to insufficient income and earnings may come from many sources, both demographic and economic, in a globalizing world. This paper examines the problems of population aging, low wages, growing inequality, low work hours and insufficient social spending in Spain .Vulnerable groups such as children and the aged are considered. The paper will look at the United States, Canada, and Europe using the LIS (Luxembourg Income Study) database, and especially with a focus on Spain. For the first time we compare the similarities and differences between a set of Mediterranean LIS nations: Spain, Italy and Greece, compared to their European and OECD counterparts. We will assess the net effects of existing policies on poverty and inequality, and particularly the United Kingdom’s recent program to reduce child poverty. While best practices may be identified, each nation must create its own set of mutually supportive policies which provide protection against global economic forces while at the same time encouraging self effort and efficient behavior, especially in the labor market. In the end, policy can make a difference in outcomes, as shown by the recent British success in fighting child poverty.
    Date: 2017–05
  21. By: Bagues, Manuel; Campa, Pamela
    Abstract: We provide a comprehensive analysis of the short- and medium-term effects of gender quotas in candidate lists using evidence from Spain, where quotas were introduced in 2007 in municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants, and were extended in 2011 to municipalities with more than 3,000 inhabitants. Using a Regression Discontinuity Design, we find that quotas raise the share of women among council members but they do not affect the quality of politicians, as measured by their education attainment and by the number of votes obtained. Moreover, within three rounds of elections, women fail to reach powerful positions such as party leader or mayor, and we do not observe any statistically or economically significant changes in the size and composition of public finances.
    Keywords: gender quotas in candidate lists; regression discontinuity design
    JEL: D72 H72 J16
    Date: 2017–07
  22. By: Ádám Banai (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary)); Péter Lang (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary)); Gábor Nagy (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary)); Martin Stancsics (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary))
    Abstract: Although EU funds play a pivotal role not only for Hungary but for the entire European Union as well, there is debate regarding their effectiveness in the literature. This paper investigates the impact of direct economic development subsidies extended in the context of the Cohesion Policy programmes as part of the 2007-2013 programming period of the European Union, on Hungarian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Based on a micro database, we assess the effects of the beneficiaries' first subsidies on various performance indicators, using a combination of propensity score matching and fixed effects panel regression. According to our results, economic development funds had a significant positive impact on the number of employees, sales revenue, gross value added and in some cases, operating profit. However, the labour productivity of beneficiaries was not significantly affected by any of the support schemes. Furthermore, by explicitly comparing non-refundable subsidies (grants) and refundable assistance (financial instruments) extended under the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, we find that there is no significant difference in their effectiveness.
    Keywords: programme evaluation, EU subsidies, firm-level effects, propensity score matching, fixed effects.
    JEL: D04 G38 H25 O22
    Date: 2017
  23. By: Silvia Del Prete (Bank of Italy); Cristina Demma (Bank of Italy); Paola Rossi (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Nowadays Italian borrowers can choose among a variety of mortgage contracts. Using a special Bank of Italy survey on 400 Italian banks over the period 2006-2013, we analyse the supply of ‘non-conventional’ mortgages (loan-to-value ratio greater than 80 per cent, duration longer than 30 years or with a flexible maturity). We build a synthetic indicator measuring the degree of differentiation of mortgages across banks to examine how local market competition and bank-specific characteristics have influenced this process. Our findings – potentially influenced also by customer preferences we cannot control for – suggest that larger, less risky banks and those that have adopted scoring systems are more likely to offer non-conventional mortgages. Moreover, banks operating in more competitive markets and in markets where other banks offer non-conventional loans tend to diversify their supply more. Most of these indications are confirmed by analysing the quantities actually granted. These results suggest that the structure of the local markets does matter and that there could be a non-price competition effect among banks in providing differentiated mortgage contracts.
    Keywords: Households’ mortgages, financial crisis, bank heterogeneity
    JEL: G21 G01 D12 D14
    Date: 2017–06
  24. By: Bernd Fitzenberger (Humboldt-University Berlin, IZA, CESifo, IFS, ROA, ZEW); Stefanie Licklederer (University of Freiburg)
    Abstract: Based on local policy variation, this paper estimates the causal effect of additional career assistance on educational outcomes for students in Lower Track Secondary Schools in Germany. We find mostly insignificant effects of the treatment on average outcomes, which mask quite heterogeneous effects. For those students, who are taking extra coursework to continue education, the grade point average is unaffected and the likelihood of completing a Middle Track Secondary School degree falls. In contrast, educational outcomes improve for students who do not take extra coursework. Hence, the treatment causes a reversal of educational plans after graduation.
    Keywords: lower track secondary schools, career guidance, educational upgrading
    JEL: I20 J24
    Date: 2017–07
  25. By: Marta Auricchio (Bank of Italy); Emanuele Ciani (Bank of Italy); Alberto Dalmazzo (University of Siena); Guido de Blasio (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We investigate the consequences of public employment on local economies. We start by presenting a spatial-equilibrium framework, to highlight that the housing market is an important channel through which a variation in public employment affects private employment. We then provide empirical evidence from Italian municipalities, focusing on the strong contraction in the public sector workforce that occurred between the last two Censuses (2001-2011). We use an IV identification strategy that exploits the fact that variations in local public employment were strongly influenced by central government decisions, with little reference to the economic conditions of the municipalities. Our results suggest that exogenous contractions in public employment lead to an increase of private jobs, and that competition in the housing market seems to be a relevant explanation for this finding.
    Keywords: local labor markets, public employment
    JEL: J45 J60 R12
    Date: 2017–07
  26. By: Dora Benedek; Pragyan Deb; Borja Gracia; Sergejs Saksonovs; Anna Shabunina; Nina T Budina
    Abstract: Some countries support smaller firms through tax incentives in an effort to stimulate job creation and startups, or alleviate specific distortions, such as financial constraints or high regulatory or tax compliance costs. In addition to fiscal costs, tax incentives that discriminate by firm size without specifically targeting R&D investment can create disincentives for firms to invest and grow, negatively affecting firm productivity and growth. This paper analyzes the relationship between size-related corporate income tax incentives and firm productivity and growth, controlling for other policy and firm-level factors, including product market regulation, financial constraints and innovation. Using firm level data from four European economies over 2001–13, we find evidence that size-related tax incentives that do not specifically target R&D investment can weigh on firm productivity and growth. These results suggest that when designing size-based tax incentives, it is important to address their potential disincentive effects, including by making them temporary and targeting young and innovative firms, and R&D investment explicitly.
    Keywords: Productivity;size-based taxation, growth, structural reforms
    Date: 2017–06–13
  27. By: Robert Inklaar; Marianna Papakonstantinou
    Abstract: The standard assumption in growth accounting is that an hour worked by a worker of given type delivers a constant quantity of labor services over time. This assumption may be violated due to vintage effects, which were shown to be important in the United States since the early 1980s, leading to an underestimation of the growth of labor input (Bowlus and Robinson, 2012). We apply their method for identifying vintage effects to a comparison between the United States and six European countries. We find that vintage effects led to increases of labor services per hour worked by high-skilled workers in the United States and United Kingdom and decreases in Continental European countries between 1995 and 2005. Rather than productivity growth advantage of the US and UK, the primary difference with Continental European countries was human capital vintage effects instead.
    Date: 2017–05
  28. By: Pieter Gautier (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Identifying policy-relevant treatment effects from randomized experiments requires no spillovers between participants and nonparticipants (SUTVA) or variation in treatment levels. We find that SUTVA is violated for a Danish activation program for unemployed workers. Using a difference-in-difference model we show that the nonparticipants in the experiment regions find jobs slower after the introduction of the activation program (relative to workers in other regions). We then estimate an equilibrium search model. This model shows that a large-scale roll out of the activation program decreases welfare, while a standard partial microeconometric cost-benefit analysis concludes the opposite.
    Date: 2017
  29. By: Daniela Mantovani
    Abstract: In empirical analysis, the Kakwani index is the most frequently used indicator for comparing progressivity across countries and over time. The Kakwani is often assumed to measure to what extent a policy design is targeted to the poor. It has, however, a major drawback: it is not defined for net tax incidence—that is, the whole system of taxes and benefits. Moreover, it is defined over different intervals for different pre-tax income distributions and different average tax rates. This paper proposes an index based on the concept of relative redistributive efficiency that is not affected by these drawbacks. The Redistributive Efficiency index was compared to the Kakwani index for taxes/benefits in EU countries by using Euromod baselines. In addition, the Redistributive Efficiency index was computed on the whole tax-benefit system; that is, taxes and benefits were evaluated together. Only Ireland and the UK combine high levels of redistributive efficiency with a relevant amount of tax revenues and social expenditures. They obviously obtain very high redistribution, above 15 points. Most of the countries considered show an intermediate level of redistribution (between 7 and 12 points), but with a different mix. A group of Central and Northern European countries plus Slovenia and Hungary combine medium levels of redistributive efficiency and medium size, while some Southern European countries (Spain and Portugal) and new members compensate a rather low amount of transfer and taxes with quite high levels of efficiency. The remaining new member states and Southern EU countries show a very low level of redistribution, below 7 points. Interestingly, they vary in the level of tax burden and of resources devoted to benefits but all of them show a poor Redistributive Efficiency. This suggests that low Redistributive Efficiency plays a key role in explaining why certain countries perform a limited amount of redistribution.
    Keywords: income Redistribution; Progressivity, Microsimulation; EUROMOD
    JEL: C00 D31 H20 I38
    Date: 2017–07
  30. By: Dirk Broeders; Arco van Oord; David Rijsbergen
    Abstract: We analyze the relation between investment returns and performance fees for 218 Dutch occupational pension funds with an average total of 985 billion euro in assets under management from 2012 to 2015. Our dataset is free from self-reporting biases and includes total return, excess return and performance fees for six major asset classes. We find no statistical evidence that the returns of pension funds that pay performance fees to asset managers for active investing are significantly higher or lower than the returns of pension funds that do not pay performance fees. This is true for most asset classes and robust if we correct for risk and persistence in asset class returns. We also document that large and more specialized pension funds pay less performance fees for a given level of excess return in alternative asset classes such as hedge funds and private equity. This is possibly the result of better negotiation power due to their larger scale or higher level of expertise.
    Keywords: pension funds; asset management; performance fees; investment costs
    JEL: G11 G12 G23
    Date: 2017–07
  31. By: Christine Whitehead; Peter Williams
    Abstract: This paper looks at the issue of access to home ownership for younger people in OECD countries, from the point of view of changes in mortgage market regulation and control. It sets out the factors determining the demand for and supply of mortgages, particularly for first time buyers and it provides a review of the relevant literature and comparative data. The paper provides an overview of regulatory change since 2008 for over 20 countries. The paper also includes case studies of a subset of countries with mature mortgage markets that are known to face relevant issues and for which data are more readily available: Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States.
    Keywords: financial regulation, insecure employment, Mortgage markets, owner-occupation, younger households
    JEL: E5 G21 J3 R31 R38
    Date: 2017–07–18
  32. By: Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe (Department of Economics, Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: Household characteristics may have long-run effects on individual outcomes in adulthood. For instance, individuals who lived when young in households experiencing financial problems are more likely to be poor when adults. Governments try to reduce these effects and to promote equality of opportunity. The objective of this paper is to check whether public expenditure has a long-run effect in reducing the probability of being poor when adult, and to what extent. Our main finding is that public expenditure in education has a strong long-run effect on reducing incidence of poverty in adulthood. We also find that this effect is concentrated mainly among individuals who have parents with a low level of education.
    Keywords: Public expenditure in education, poverty rate, intergenerational transmission of poverty
    JEL: C78 D61 D63
    Date: 2017–07

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