nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2021‒02‒22
28 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. How Does Exposure to COVID-19 Influence Health and Income Inequality Aversion? By Asaria, Miqdad; Costa-Font, Joan; Cowell, Frank A.
  2. Life Satisfaction, Pro-Activity, and Employment By Akay, Alpaslan; Karabulut, Gökhan; Yilmaz, Levent
  3. Instability of Employment Careers and Union Dissolution. A Complex Micro-level Relation By Elena Bastianelli; Daniele Vignoli
  4. A Retrospective Study of State Aid Control in the German Broadband Market By Tomaso Duso; Mattia Nardotto; Jo Seldeslachts
  5. Quality and Selection in Regulated Professions By Gaetano Basso; Eleonora Brandimarti; Michele Pellizzari; Giovanni Pica
  6. Quantifying the Externalities of Renewable Energy Plants Using Wellbeing Data: The Case of Biogas By Christian Krekel; Julia Rechlitz; Johannes Rode; Alexander Zerrahn
  7. On the relevance of values, norms, and economic preferences for electricity consumption By Elke D. Groh; Andreas Ziegler
  8. Risk aversion and fertility. Evidence from a lottery question in Italy By Daniela Bellani; Bruno Arpino
  10. Digital divides across consumers of internet services in Spain using panel data 2007-2019. Narrowing or not? By Teodosio Pérez Amaral; Angel Valarezo Unda; Rafael López Zorzano; Teresa Garín Muñoz
  11. Long-term unemployment subsidies and middle-age disadvantaged workers’ health By José Ignacio Garcia-Pérez; Manuel Serrano-Alarcón; Judit Vall Castelló
  12. Congestion in highways when tolls and railroads matter: evidence from European cities By Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López; Ilias Pasidis; Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal
  13. Policies for low-carbon and affordable home heating: A French outlook By Louis-Gaëtan Giraudet; Cyril Bourgeois; Philippe Quirion
  14. Linking retirement age to life expectancy does not lessen the demographic implications of unequal lifespans By Jesús-Adrián Álvarez; Malene Kallestrup-Lamb; Søren Kjærgaard
  15. Dissecting the COVID19 supply shock: Which role did school closures play? By Sebastian Dullien; Bettina Kohlrausch
  16. Risk Preference and Entrepreneurial Investment at the Top of the Wealth Distribution By Frank M. Fossen; Johannes König; Carsten Schröder
  17. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Work and Productivity: The Role of Firm Heterogeneity By Heyman, Fredrik; Norbäck, Pehr-Johan; Persson, Lars
  18. Does Excellence Pay Off? Theory and Evidence from the Wine Market By Stefano Castriota; Alessandro Fedele
  19. How Effective has the Electricity Social Rate been in Reducing Energy Poverty in Spain? By Lisa Bagnoli; Salvador Bertomeu
  20. Coronavirus pandemic, remote learning and education inequalities By Marina Murat; Luca Bonacini
  21. On the Horizontal Inequity Effect of the Erosion of the PIT Base: The Case of Italy By Stefano Boscolo
  22. Partial Order Algorithms for the Assessment of Italian Cities Sustainability By Alberto Arcagni; Laura Cavalli; Marco Fattore
  23. Linking excess mortality to Google mobility data during the COVID-19 pandemic in England and Wales By Ugofilippo Basellini; Diego Alburez-Gutierrez; Emanuele Del Fava; Daniela Perrotta; Marco Bonetti; Carlo Giovanni Camarda; Emilio Zagheni
  24. Does Online Search Improve the Match Quality of New Hires? By Gürtzgen, Nicole; Lochner, Benjamin; Pohlan, Laura; Berg, Gerard J. van den
  25. Weather, Psychological Wellbeing and Mobility during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic By Burdett, Ashley; Davillas, Apostolos; Etheridge, Ben
  26. Which Factors Influence the Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the European Union? By Petronella Kepes
  27. Apart but Connected: Online Tutoring and Student Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Carlana, Michela; La Ferrara, Eliana
  28. Political cycles and yardstick competition in the recycling of waste. Evidence from Italian provinces By Massimiliano Ferraresi; Massimiliano Mazzanti; Matteo Mazzarano; Leonzio Rizzo; Riccardo Secomandi

  1. By: Asaria, Miqdad (London School of Economics); Costa-Font, Joan (London School of Economics); Cowell, Frank A. (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study whether exposure to COVID-19 has affected individual aversion to health and income inequality in the UK, Italy, and Germany, as well as the effect of personal shocks on employment (redundancies, government replacement salary and unemployment), income and health directly linked to COVID-19. We find that conditioned on risk aversion and relevant covariates (income, education, demographics), individuals who have experienced either a health or an financial shock during the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibit lower inequality aversion in terms of health and income, compared to those who have not experienced these shocks. Comparing levels of health and income inequality aversion in the UK between the years 2016 and 2020 we find a significant increase in inequality aversion from 2016 to 2020 in both health (17.3%) and income domains (8.8%). However, our difference-in-differences (DiD) for treatment (risk) groups defined in terms of age, region and personal exposure to health and income shocks in 2020 compared to 2016, does not indicate any additional difference in inequality aversion. The exception being individuals who are both in a high-risk age group and at the same time also experienced a health shock in 2020 compared to 2016, which are significantly more inequality averse in both health and income domains.
    Keywords: inequality aversion, income, health, COVID-19, attitudes to inequality, employment shocks, health shocks, difference in differences
    JEL: I18 I30 I38
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Akay, Alpaslan; Karabulut, Gökhan; Yilmaz, Levent
    Abstract: Using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), this paper investigates how pro-active time-use (e.g., in sports/arts/socializing) relates to subjective well-being of the unemployed and their probability of finding a new job. Allowing for a variety of socio-demographic and -economic observed characteristics, we find that pro-activity is negatively associated with the well-being loss upon unemployment. That is, the negative unemployment shock on their well-being is mitigated through various stress-reducing activities including, in particular, art participation, socializing, going on trips, and visiting a church. We also find that the probability of returning to the labor market later is positively associated with pro-activity during the unemployment period. The results are robust to various checks including estimators, measures, and individual personality characteristics which can correlate with time-use activities.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction,pro-activity,employment,labor markets
    JEL: I31 J64 J69
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Elena Bastianelli (UDipartimento di Culture, Politica e Società , Università di Torino); Daniele Vignoli (Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti", Università di Firenze)
    Abstract: The present study contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the relation between employment instability and union dissolution. To address the oversights of previous research, we disentangle the effect of employment instability on union dissolution by: (i) considering not only the effect of joblessness, but also the type of employment contract; (ii) evaluating both status and the accumulation of instability over the life course; and (iii) detecting variation across gender and generations. We focus on Italy, applying event-history techniques to the 2009 and 2016 Italian Multipurpose Survey on Family and Social Subjects, observing cohorts from 1950 to 1980. Our results suggest that the effect of employment instability on union dissolution is gender-specific: joblessness and limited-time employment are facilitators for men’s dissolution, while joblessness is an inhibitor for women’s dissolution. Nonetheless, these differences weaken across recent cohorts as gender equality gains relevance in the labor market. We also highlight the crucial role of the persistence of instability in unpacking the association between employment instability and union dissolution.
    Keywords: Union dissolution; Employment instability; Joblessness; Time-limited employment; Gender
    JEL: J12 J41
    Date: 2021–02
  4. By: Tomaso Duso; Mattia Nardotto; Jo Seldeslachts
    Abstract: We provide an evaluation of the impact of public subsidy schemes that aimed to support the development of basic broadband infrastructure in rural areas of Germany. Such subsidies are subject to state aid control by the European Commission (EC). While the EC increasingly recognises the role of economic analysis in controlling public aid to companies, there are to date no full retrospective studies performed on state aid control, especially assessing the so-called balancing test. In this study, we do not only analyse whether the aid was effective in solving a market failure – low broadband coverage in rural areas – but also study its impact on competitive outcomes, on both rival firms and consumers. We adopt a difference-in-differences framework after using a matching procedure to account for selection on observables. We find that the aid significantly increased broadband coverage. More importantly, we find that the number of internet providers has significantly increased in the municipalities receiving aid. This additional entry decreased average prices. Therefore, the subsidies complied with EU state aid rules, both in terms of effectiveness and competition.
    Keywords: State aid, ex-post evaluation, broadband, coverage, entry, competition, prices
    JEL: C23 D22 L1 L4 L64
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Gaetano Basso (Banca d’Italia); Eleonora Brandimarti (University of Geneva); Michele Pellizzari (University of Geneva, CEPR and IZA); Giovanni Pica (Universita della Svizzera Italiana, CSEF and LdA)
    Abstract: Entry in many occupations is regulated with the objective to screen out the least able producers and guarantee high quality of output. Unfortunately, the available empirical evidence suggests that in most cases these objectives are not achieved. In this paper we investigate entry into the legal profession in Italy and we document that such a failure is due to the combination of the incomplete anonymity of the entry exam and the intergenerational transmission of business opportunities. We use microdata covering the universe of law school graduates from 2007 to 2013 matched with their careers and earnings up to 5 years after graduation. Variation generated by the random assignment of the entry exam grading commissions allows us to identify the role of family ties in the selection process. We find that connected candidates, i.e. those with relatives already active in the profession, are more likely to pass the exam and eventually earn more, especially those who performed poorly in law school. When we simulate the process of occupational choice assuming family connections did not matter, we find that strong positive selection on ability would emerge.
    JEL: J24 J44 J62
    Date: 2021–01–15
  6. By: Christian Krekel; Julia Rechlitz; Johannes Rode; Alexander Zerrahn
    Abstract: Although there is strong support for renewable energy plants, they are often met with local resistance. We quantify the externalities of renewable energy plants using well-being data. We focus on the example of biogas, one of the most frequently deployed technologies besides wind and solar. To this end, we combine longitudinal household data with novel panel data on more than 13, 000 installations in Germany. Identification rests on a spatial difference-in-differences design exploiting exact geographical coordinates of households, biogas installations and wind direction and intensity. We find limited evidence for negative externalities: impacts are moderate in size and spatially confined to a radius of 2, 000 metres around plants. We discuss implications for research and regional planning, in particular minimum setback distances and potential monetary compensations.
    Keywords: Renewables, Biogas, Externalities, Social Acceptance, Wellbeing, Spatial Analysis
    JEL: C23 Q42 Q51 R20
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Elke D. Groh (University of Kassel); Andreas Ziegler (University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Based on data of more than 3700 citizens in Germany, this paper empirically examines the relevance of several groups of explanatory factors for electricity consumption. Besides controlling for individual housing and dwelling characteristics as well as socio-demographics, we analyze the effect of environmentally-related values and norms. Since behavioral economics reveals the importance of economic preferences for many individual activities, we additionally consider time and risk preferences, altruism, trust, and reciprocity in our econometric analysis. With respect to the latter factors, only patience has a significantly negative effect on electricity consumption. Our estimation results instead suggest a high relevance of individual housing and dwelling characteristics and socio-demographics. The most interesting result is probably that neither environmentally-related values such as ecological policy identification and environmental awareness nor environmentally-related social norms have a significant effect. In contrast to the USA and to the demand for green electricity in Germany, these estimation results suggest that citizens in Germany with strong environmental identity do not consider low electricity consumption as an important direction for environmental and climate protection.
    Keywords: Electricity consumption, values, norms, economic preferences, econometric analysis
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Daniela Bellani (Università di Bologna); Bruno Arpino (Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti", Università di Firenze)
    Abstract: This article aims at contributing to the literature on fertility decision making process. The authors analyze an overlooked but potentially crucial factor, the preference for risk. A typology of fertility decision making process based on risk tolerance and attractiveness of parenthood is proposed. Empirically, the authors rely on a lottery question included in Italian longitudinal representative data. Results indicate that the most risk averse individuals have the highest probability to have a(n additional) child. This is consistent with the Hedger ideal type that considers children as an insurance. The most risk tolerant individuals, instead, in line with the Individualist type, seem to perceive fertility as incompatible with alternative risky and rewarding behaviors. This conflict results particularly strong for low-income individuals. Our findings point to the importance of considering risk tolerance in fertility research to gain a more complete understanding of heterogeneity in fertility behaviors.
    Keywords: fertility, risk aversion, risk preference
    Date: 2021–02
  9. By: Alicja Jajko-Siwek (Poznań University of Economics and Business, Brzozowa 1, Poland)
    Abstract: Adequacy is the one of the most important issue for every pension system and especially for every future pensioner. Therefore, the question arises what people should done during his life to achieve enough high pension benefit to maintain after retirement the previous standard of living. The article aims to characterize the life trajectory of people who have obtained an adequate retirement benefit in Poland. Polish pension system can be treated as an example of defined benefit scheme. This research has been done by using sequence analysis and cluster analysis. The study used data come from the seventh round of SHARE 50+ in Europe (SHARELIFE). The study was conducted separately for women and men. Four variables were taken into account: time of education, time of work, number of children and retirement age. Obtained results allow to indicate how long education and professional work should be continued, as well as what number of children contributes to achieving an adequate pension. The results show differences in the life cycle of retired men and women as well.
    Keywords: Adequacy, pension benefit, sequence analysis
    JEL: C18 H55 J32
    Date: 2020–06
  10. By: Teodosio Pérez Amaral (Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico. Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Angel Valarezo Unda (Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico. Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Rafael López Zorzano (Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico. Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Teresa Garín Muñoz (UNED)
    Abstract: Digital gaps have the potential to exacerbate the inequalities that exist in society. The main objective of this paper is to study the gaps that occur in the use of internet services by households in Spain during the period 2007-2019 and to become useful in the design of policies addressed to narrow specific digital divides. The data is a panel obtained from the ICT-H Survey on Households of the National Statistics Institute. This paper defines the gaps as the differences in the use of internet services across individual consumers. A selected group of twelve digital services are considered: e-commerce, e-selling, e-tourism, e-learning, e-health, e-banking, e-government, VoIP, chat, email, cloud services, and social networks. The second level digital gaps are analyzed in each service according to six relevant socio-demographic characteristics: gender, age, education, digital skills, population size, and income. A set of graphs show the evolution of the gaps. Gaps are narrowing in most dimensions and specific characteristics, but not in others such as age, education, and digital skills. The gaps reveal the evolution of digitization and in some cases of digital exclusion for specific groups. Specific knowledge about digital gaps is useful for policymakers, since closing the digital divide is an explicit policy goal in this country, as well as in other parts of Europe. Then, a dynamic panel data model was proposed and estimated using Arellano and Bond techniques. A dynamic/network effect was found, as well as other socio-demographic determinants. Finally, the paper contains conclusions, policy recommendations and an agenda for future research. The policy recommendations consist of digital education programs targeted at the most exposed groups such as the elderly, the less well-educated and people with lower digital skills.
    Keywords: Digital divide; Digital gaps; Internet services; Individual panel data; Dynamic panel data model.
    JEL: C30 L86 L96
    Date: 2021–01
  11. By: José Ignacio Garcia-Pérez (Universidad Pablo Olavide & FEDEA); Manuel Serrano-Alarcón (NOVA University of Lisbon & CRES-UPF); Judit Vall Castelló (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB & CRES-UPF)
    Abstract: We estimate the labour market and health effects of a long-term unemployment (LTU) subsidy targeted to middle aged disadvantaged workers. In order to do so, we exploit a Spanish reform introduced in July 2012 that increased the age eligibility threshold to receive the subsidy from 52 to 55. Using a within-cohort identification strategy, we show that men ineligible for the subsidy were more likely to leave the labour force. In terms of health outcomes, although we do not report impacts on hospitalizations when considering the whole sample, we do find significant results when we separate the analysis by main diagnosis and gender. More specifically, we show a reduction by 12.9% in hospitalizations due to injuries as well as a drop by 2 percentage points in the probability of a mental health diagnosis for men who were eligible for the LTU subsidy. Our results highlight the role of long-term unemployment benefits as a protecting device for the health (both physical and mental) of middle aged, low educated men who are in a disadvantaged position in the labour market.
    Keywords: Disadvantaged workers, unemployment subsidies, health effects
    JEL: I10 J65
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Miquel-Àngel Garcia-López (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona & IEB); Ilias Pasidis (Institut d’Economia de Barcelona (IEB)); Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: Using data from the 545 largest European cities, we study whether the expansion of their highway capacity provides a solution to the problem of traffic congestion. Our results confirm that in the long run, and in line with the ’fundamental law of highway congestion’, the expansion in cities of lane kilometers causes an increase in vehicle traffic that does not solve urban congestion. We disentangle the increase in traffic due to the increases in coverage and in capacity. We further introduce road pricing and public transit policies in order to test whether they moderate congestion. Our findings confirm that the induced demand is considerably smaller in cities with road pricing schemes, and that congestion decreases with the expansion of public transportation.
    Keywords: Congestion, highways, Europe, cities
    JEL: R41 R48
    Date: 2020
  13. By: Louis-Gaëtan Giraudet (CIRED - Centre international de recherche sur l'environnement et le développement - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - AgroParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech); Cyril Bourgeois (CIRED - Centre international de recherche sur l'environnement et le développement - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - AgroParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Philippe Quirion (CIRED - Centre international de recherche sur l'environnement et le développement - Cirad - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - AgroParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Energy demand for residential heating is targeted in France by a number of subsidy programmes (tax credits, zero-interest loans, reduced VAT, white certificates and the carbon tax. We assess the cost-effectiveness and distributional impacts of these policies using Res-IRF, an energy-economy model that integrates relevant economic, behavioural and technological processes. We find that, without further specification of revenue recycling, the carbon tax is the most effective, yet most regressive, policy. Subsidy programmes save energy at a cost of €0.05-0.08 per lifetime discounted kilowatt-hour, or €300-800/tCO2-eq; one euro of public money spent on subsidy programmes induces €1.0-1.4 private investment in home energy retrofits. Targeting subsidies towards low-income households, who tend to live in energy inefficient dwellings, increases leverage, thus reconciling economic efficiency and equity. The public cost of subsidies – €3 billion in 2013 – is outweighed by carbon tax proceeds from 2025 onwards, were the tax rate to grow as initially planned by the government. Meeting the long-term energy saving targets set by the government however requires adjusting subsidy programmes to better address rental housing. Lastly, an order-of-magnitude discrepancy between simulated and observed numbers of zero-interest loans points to economic and psychological barriers that require further investigation.
    Keywords: residential buildings,space heating,energy-economy modelling,energy efficiency subsidies,carbon tax,fuel poverty,White certificate obligations,Zero-interest rate loans
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Jesús-Adrián Álvarez (University of Southern Denmark); Malene Kallestrup-Lamb (Aarhus University and CREATES); Søren Kjærgaard (IST, EBB, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography,)
    Abstract: The fact that individuals are living longer and thus spending more time in retirement challenges the sustainability of pension systems. This has forced policy makers to rethink the design of pension plans to mitigate the burden of increased longevity. Countries such as the Netherlands, Estonia, Denmark and Finland have implemented reforms that link retirement age to changes in life expectancy. However, the demographic and financial implications of such linkages are not well understood. This study analyses the Danish case, using high-quality data from population registers during the period 1985-2016. We identify trends in demographic and actuarial measures after retirement by sex and socio-economic group. We also introduce a new decomposition method to disentangle the demographic sources of socio-economic disparities in pension costs per year of expected benefits. We reach two main results. First, linking retirement age to life expectancy increases uncertainty about length of life after retirement, with the financial cost becoming more sensitive to changes in mortality. Second, socio-economic disparities in lifespans persist regardless of the age at which individuals retire. Males from lower socio-economic groups are at a greater disadvantage, because they spend fewer years in retirement, pay higher pension costs per year of expected benefits and are exposed to higher longevity risk than the rest of the population. This disadvantageous setting is magnified when retirement age is linked to life expectancy.
    Keywords: Danish pension system, longevity, socio-economic disparities, lifespan inequality, pensions, mortality heterogeneity
    JEL: J26 J11 H55
    Date: 2020–12–16
  15. By: Sebastian Dullien (Macroeconomic Policy Institute (IMK)); Bettina Kohlrausch (Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI))
    Abstract: We use unique survey data on working time reduction during the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis in the spring of 2020 to estimate the number of working hours lost in Germany due to closed schools and child care facilities. Our results indicate that overall, a loss of not more than 1.1 percent of aggregate working hours in April 2020 (at the height of social distancing) and not more than 0.5 percent of aggregate working hours in June 2020 can be attributed to shuttered schools and child care facilities, with a more exact, OLS-based estimate being less than half this size. The upper levels of hours lost because of child-care needs are thus between 5 and 7.5 percent of total hours lost during these crisis months. This is by a factor 8 to 20 less than what has been previously estimated without microeconomic data. This surprisingly low number of actual hours lost is most likely due to flexibility both on the side of the families and on the side of the workplaces which have increasingly allowed employees to choose their own working hours.
    Date: 2021
  16. By: Frank M. Fossen; Johannes König; Carsten Schröder
    Abstract: We present first evidence how individual risk preferences shape entrepreneurial investment among the very wealthy using novel survey data from the top of the wealth distribution, which have been added to the 2019 German Socio-economic Panel Study. The data include private wealth balance sheets, in particular the value of own private business assets, and a standard measure of risk tolerance. We find that wealthy individuals are more likely to be entrepreneurs and invest a larger share of their wealth in their own businesses when they are more willing to take risks. These associations are stronger among wealthy than among less wealthy individuals. The results imply that policies affecting the riskiness of income and wealth, such as tax policy and bankruptcy law, affect risky investment decisions at the top of the wealthdistribution in ways strongly determined by individual risk tolerance. Since the wealthy dominate aggregate risky investment, their risk preferences must be taken into account for theory development, empirical analysis, and policy evaluations.
    Keywords: wealth, entrepreneurship, risk, portfolio choice
    JEL: J22 J23 L26 D14
    Date: 2021
  17. By: Heyman, Fredrik (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Norbäck, Pehr-Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Persson, Lars (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We propose a model with asymmetric firms where new technologies displace workers. We show that both leading (low-cost) firms and laggard (high-cost) firms increase productivity when automating but that only laggard firms hire more automation-susceptible workers. The reason for this asymmetry is that in laggard firms, the lower incentive to invest in new technologies implies a weaker displacement effect and thus that the output-expansion effect on labor demand dominates. Using novel firm-level automation workforce probabilities, which reveal the extent to which a firms’ workforce can be replaced by new AI and robotic technology and a new shiftshare instrument to address endogeneity, we find strong empirical evidence for these predictions in Swedish matched employer-employee data.
    Keywords: AI&R Technology; Automation; Job displacement; Firm Heterogeneity; Matched employer-employee data
    JEL: J70 L20 M50
    Date: 2021–02–09
  18. By: Stefano Castriota; Alessandro Fedele
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of product excellence on firm profiability in a competitive market with vertical and horizontal di¤erentiation. We develop a theoretical model and derive conditions under which the e¤ect of excellence on prontability, the latter defined as the ratio of equilibrium profits to the invested capital, can be either positive, zero, or negative. We test our theoretical predictions by examining a sample of 1,052 Italian wineries over the period 2006-2015. Using di¤erent econometric methodologies, we find that excellence, proxied by firm reputation for quality, has no significant impact on profitability, measured by the return on invested capital (ROIC).We conclude by discussing policy and managerial implications.
    Keywords: product excellence, firm prontability; vertical and horizontal di¤erentiation; reputation for quality; wine market
    JEL: L15 L14 L66 L13 Q1 D21 D22
    Date: 2021–02–01
  19. By: Lisa Bagnoli; Salvador Bertomeu
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effectiveness of the electricity social rate, the Bono Social de Electricidad, introduced in 2009 in Spain's electricity market. It is a policy aimed at increasing the a_ordability of electricity by entailing a discount on prices for vulnerable consumers. Using data from the family budget survey from 2006 to 2017, we rely on a dfference-in-differences approach to measure its causal impact on energy poverty and to further analyze how the introduction of this measure affected the consumption behavior of households. We find that, on average, the introduction of the policy has reduced the likelihood of energy poverty of households eligible to the social rate. Nevertheless, the magnitude of the effect is quite modest as it corresponds in practice to only 59,000 households that are no longer in energy poverty as a result of the measure. We further show that, in reaction to lower effective prices, households do not increase their consumption of electricity. In other words, the increased affordability did not induce a change in the consumption behavior in terms of quantities purchased but it entirely resulted in a decrease in electricity expenditure.
    Keywords: Electricity, energy poverty, policy evaluation, social rate
    Date: 2021–02
  20. By: Marina Murat; Luca Bonacini
    Abstract: School closures during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced countries to swiftly adopt distance learning, with uncertain effects on education inequalities. Using PISA 2018 data from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, we find that students unable to learn remotely, because of a lack of the necessary ICT resources at home or at school or of a quiet place to study, experience significant cognitive losses that, everything else equal, range from 70 percent of a school year in the United Kingdom to 50 percent in Italy. Similar results are found by considering days of absence from school. In both approaches, the distribution of cognitive losses is associated with countries’ educational systems. In the longer run, students who cannot learn remotely are more likely to end their education early and repeat grades. The two outcomes strongly reinforce each other in Spain, Germany and Italy. Results – robust to different specifications and the imputation of missing data – imply that countries must enhance e-learning and support disadvantaged students, but tune these measures to the characteristics of their educational systems.
    Keywords: Coronavirus pandemic, education, inequality, PISA.
    JEL: I21 I24 H52
    Date: 2020–09
  21. By: Stefano Boscolo
    Abstract: This paper deals with the erosion of the personal income tax (PIT) base, a wellknown phenomenon that is undermining the redistributive features of the Italian tax system. Several sources of income previously subject to progressive marginal tax rates are now taxed under substitute proportional tax regimes or are entirely exempt from taxation. The existing tax system as of the 2019 tax year is compared with three alternative policy scenarios. First, a comprehensive income tax scheme where all income components are included in the PIT base is examined. Second, a flatrate personal income tax scheme with a drastic reduction in revenue is considered. Third, a further flat-rate tax scheme with a neutral effect on revenue is simulated. The focus of the comparison is on the unequal tax treatment of close equals. Decomposition approaches to the study of classical horizontal inequity are applied and discussed (van de Ven et al., 2001; Duclos et al., 2003; Urban and Lambert, 2008). The findings show that the erosion of the PIT base has increased the level of horizontal inequity of the tax system only negligibly, and that limited benefits would be obtained if a flat personal income tax were to be adopted.
    Keywords: classical horizontal inequity; comprehensive income tax; flat tax; redistribution; microsimulation; IT-EXEMPT
    JEL: D31 H23 H24
    Date: 2020–08
  22. By: Alberto Arcagni (University of Rome La Sapienza); Laura Cavalli (ENI Enrico Mattei Foundation); Marco Fattore (University of Milano-Bicocca)
    Abstract: In this paper, we introduce some recent non-aggregative algorithms, for the construction of synthetic indicators on multi-indicators systems, and exemplify them on data pertaining to the sustainability of main Italian cities. The procedure employs tools from Partial Order Theory and computes the final synthetic scores, without the compensation effects of classical composite indicators, so better preserving the nuances of city sustainability. Since turning multi-indicator systems into single synthetic indicators is unavoidably forcing, the procedure provides also ways to assess the degrees of “rankability†of statistical units, so to help researchers evaluating the soundness of the synthesis process. The algorithms introduced in the paper can be easily implemented, using the package Parsec, freely available in the R ecosystem.
    Keywords: Partially Ordered Set, Syntethic Indcators, Multi-indicator Systems
    JEL: C14 C43 D81
    Date: 2021–02
  23. By: Ugofilippo Basellini; Diego Alburez-Gutierrez; Emanuele Del Fava; Daniela Perrotta; Marco Bonetti; Carlo Giovanni Camarda; Emilio Zagheni
    Abstract: Non-pharmaceutical interventions have been implemented worldwide to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, the effectiveness of such governmental measures in reducing the mortality burden remains a key question of scientific interest and public debate. In this study, we leverage digital mobility data to assess the effects of reduced human mobility on excess mortality, focusing on regional data in England and Wales between February and August 2020. We estimate a robust association between mobility reductions and lower excess mortality, after adjusting for time trends and regional differences in a mixed-effects regression framework and considering a five-week lag between the two measures. We predict that, in the absence of mobility reductions, the number of excess deaths could have more than doubled in England and Wales during this period, especially in the London area. The study is one of the first attempts to quantify the effects of mobility reductions on excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Date: 2020
  24. By: Gürtzgen, Nicole (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Lochner, Benjamin (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Pohlan, Laura (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Berg, Gerard J. van den
    Abstract: "This paper studies the effects of the high-speed internet expansion on the match quality of new hires. We combine data on internet availability at the local level with German individual register and vacancy data. Results show that internet availability has no major impact on the stability of new matches and their wages. We confirm these findings using vacancy data, by explicitly comparing match outcomes of online and non-online recruits. Further results show that online recruiting not only raises the number of applicants and the share of unsuitable candidates per vacancy, but also induces employers to post more vacancies." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en)) Additional Information auch erschienen als: IZA discussion paper, 14031
    JEL: J64 H40 L96 C26
    Date: 2021–02–17
  25. By: Burdett, Ashley (University of Essex); Davillas, Apostolos (University of East Anglia); Etheridge, Ben (University of Essex)
    Abstract: To reduce infection rates during the first UK wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, a first lockdown was announced on March 23, 2020, with a final easing of the restrictions on July 4, 2020. Among the most important public health costs of lockdown restrictions are the potential adverse effects on mental health and physical activity. Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and Google COVID-19 Mobility Reports we find evidence of reduced park mobility during the initial period of the first UK lockdown and confirm existing evidence of worsening psychological wellbeing. Linkage with weather data shows that contrary to popular belief, weather conditions do not exacerbate the mental health consequences of the pandemic, while we find systematic links between park mobility and weather over the same period. Our results highlight the importance of promoting the existing guidelines on regular exercise during winter lockdowns.
    Keywords: COVID-19, mental health, mobility, weather conditions
    JEL: I10 I12 C23
    Date: 2021–02
  26. By: Petronella Kepes (Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic influenced the whole year of 2020, and it is still a determinative factor in everyday decisions. The schools and workplaces - where possible - moved to people's homes, changing the way humans used to operate in the last century. It affects almost every country on Earth, while this is only the first wave of the pandemic. Not even the researchers know when it will end, what the solution will be, or whether a vaccine will be found. The research focuses on this pandemic, limited to the European Union's territory, but also includes the following four countries: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The countries in this region had different approaches and results regarding the coronavirus. This paper aims to define the most critical social and economic determinants (e.g., GDP, Healthcare expenditure, median age, Hofstede's dimensions), which have the highest impact on the number of confirmed COVID-19 Cases and Deaths. The paper highlights these factors by using the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression model, creating the equations that define the number of cases and deaths.
    Keywords: COVID-19, OLS regression, European Union, Healthcare, Hofstede
    Date: 2020–08
  27. By: Carlana, Michela (Harvard Kennedy School); La Ferrara, Eliana (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governments of most countries ordered the closure of schools, potentially exacerbating existing learning gaps. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention implemented in Italian middle schools that provides free individual tutoring online to disadvantaged students during lock-down. Tutors are university students who volunteer for 3 to 6 hours per week. They were randomly assigned to middle school students, from a list of potential beneficiaries compiled by school principals. Using original survey data collected from students, parents, teachers and tutors, we find that the program substantially increased students' academic performance (by 0.26 SD on average) and that it significantly improved their socio-emotional skills, aspirations, and psychological well-being. Effects are stronger for children from lower socioeconomic status and, in the case of psychological well-being, for immigrant children.
    Keywords: tutoring, COVID-19, education, achievement, aspirations, socioemotional skills, well-being
    JEL: I24 I21
    Date: 2021–02
  28. By: Massimiliano Ferraresi (European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)); Massimiliano Mazzanti (University of Ferrara); Matteo Mazzarano (Catholic University of Milan); Leonzio Rizzo (University of Ferrara & IEB); Riccardo Secomandi (University of Ferrara)
    Abstract: Recycling and the recovery of waste are crucial waste management strategies. In light of the new EU circular economy approach, these strategies remain core pillars of a competitive and sustainable waste value chain. Local governments have an important role in controlling and checking the implementation of waste management policies. We study the spatial determinants of waste recovery by using a dataset of 102 Italian provinces from the years 2001-2014. We exploit the political cycle of the provinces to isolate the effects of waste recovery in one province on neighboring provinces. We find that provinces mimic their own neighbors’ in the separate collection of waste aimed at recycling and recovery, with this effect being fully guided by provinces where the president can run for re-election (consistent with the yardstick competition hypothesis) but only when waste management policies become politically salient, that is, after the transposition of the 2008 EU Waste Framework Directive.
    Keywords: Spatial interactions, political budget cycle, waste management, recycling, yardstick competition
    JEL: H20 H71 H77
    Date: 2020

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