nep-eur New Economics Papers
on Microeconomic European Issues
Issue of 2022‒02‒21
24 papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. The impact of working conditions on mental health: novel evidence from the UK By Belloni, Michele; Carrino, Ludovico; Meschi, Elena
  2. Sustainable Solid Waste Management in the European Union: Four Countries Regional Analysis By Elisa Chioatto; Muhammad Attiq Khan; Paolo Sospiro
  3. Fifty shades of hatred and discontent: Varieties of anti-finance discourses on the European Twitter (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) By Massoc, Elsa Clara
  4. Socio-economic inequality in young people's financial capabilities By Jake Anders; John Jerrim; Lindsey Macmillan
  5. How do firms adjust to a negative labor supply shock? Evidence form migration outflows By Emanuele Dicarlo
  6. The impact of robots on labour market transitions in Europe By Bachmann, Ronald; Gonschor, Myrielle; Lewandowski, Piotr; Madoń, Karol
  7. Consumer inertia and firm incumbency in liberalised retail electricity markets: an empirical investigation By Massimo Dragotto; Marco Magnani; Paola Valbonesi
  8. A hidden source of innovation? Revisiting the impact of initial vocational training on technological innovation By Matthies, Eike; Thomä, Jörg; Bizer, Kilian
  9. Venture Capital Financing and Green Patenting By Bellucci, Andrea; Fatica, Serena; Georgakaki, Aliki; Gucciardi, Gianluca; Letout, Simon; Pasimeni, Francesco
  10. Who Profits from Training Subsidies? Evidence from a French Individual Learning Account By Eloïse Corazza; Francesco Filippucci
  11. Robots, Digitalization, and Worker Voice By Belloc, Filippo; Burdin, Gabriel; Landini, Fabio
  12. Firm subsidies, financial intermediation, and bank risk By Kazakov, Aleksandr; Koetter, Michael; Titze, Mirko; Tonzer, Lena
  13. Does Over-education Raise Productivity and Wages Equally? The Moderating Role of Workers' Origin and Immigrants' Background By Jacobs, Valentine; Rycx, François; Volral, Mélanie
  14. The long shadow of local decline: birthplace economic conditions, political attitudes, and long-term individual economic outcomes in the UK By McNeil, Andrew; Lee, Neil; Luca, Davide
  15. Health and Labor Market Impacts of Twin Birth: Evidence from a Swedish IVF Policy Mandate By Bhalotra, Sonia R.; Clarke, Damian; Mühlrad, Hanna; Palme, Mårten
  17. Subjective well-being and climate change: Evidence for Portugal By Ary José A. Souza-Jr.
  18. Inequality and psychological well-being in times of COVID-19: evidence from Spain By Monica Martinez-Bravo; Carlos Sanz
  19. Relational Skills and Corporate Productivity By Leonardo Becchetti; Sara Mancini; Nazaria Solferino
  20. Analysing households' consumption and saving patterns using tax data By Alain Galli; Rina Rosenblatt-Wisch
  21. Making Subsidies Work: Rules vs. Discretion By Federico Cingano; Filippo Palomba; Paolo Pinotti; Enrico Rettore
  22. Labor market spillover effects of a compulsory schooling reform in Germany By Valentin Schiele;
  23. Physical and Mental Health Changes in the Five Years before and Five Years after Childbirth: A Population-Based Panel Study in First-Time Mothers and Fathers from Germany By Eva Asselmann; Susan Garthus-Niegel; Susanne Knappe; Julia Martini
  24. Fiscal rules and the reliability of public investment plans: evidence from local governments By Anna Laura Mancini; Pietro Tommasino

  1. By: Belloni, Michele; Carrino, Ludovico; Meschi, Elena
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal impact of working conditions on mental health in the UK, combining new comprehensive longitudinal data on working conditions from the European Working Condition Survey with microdata from the UK Household Longitudinal Survey (Understanding Society). Our empirical strategy accounts for the endogenous sorting of individuals into occupations by including individual fixed effects. It addresses the potential endogeneity of occupational change over time by focusing only on individuals who remain in the same occupation (same ISCO), exploiting the variation in working conditions within each occupation over time. This variation, determined primarily by general macroeconomic conditions, is likely to be exogenous from the individual point of view. Our results indicate that improvements in working conditions have a beneficial, statistically significant, and clinically meaningful impact on depressive symptoms for women. A one standard deviation increase in the skills and discretion index reduces depression score by 2.84 points, which corresponds to approximately 20% of the GHQ score standard deviation, while a one standard deviation increase in working time quality reduces depression score by 0.97 points. The results differ by age: improvements in skills and discretion benefit younger workers (through increases in decision latitude and training) and older workers (through higher cognitive roles), as do improvements in working time quality; changes in work intensity and physical environment affect only younger and older workers, respectively. Each aspect of job quality impacts different dimensions of mental health. Specifically, skills and discretion primarily affect the loss of confidence and anxiety; working time quality impacts anxiety and social dysfunction; work intensity affects the feeling of social dysfunction among young female workers. Finally, we show that improvements in levels of job control (higher skills and discretion) and job demand (lower intensity) lead to greater health benefits, especially for occupations that are inherently characterised by higher job strain.
    Keywords: mental health,working conditions,job demand,job control
    JEL: I1 J24 J28 J81
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Elisa Chioatto (University of Ferrara – Department of Economics and Management (Ferrara, Italy); SEEDS); Muhammad Attiq Khan (Ca’ Foscari University); Paolo Sospiro (University of Florence - Department of Engineering)
    Abstract: In the last twenty years, the EU has framed a comprehensive regulatory action aimed at shifting Waste Management practices to Sustainable Waste Management systems. The first premise is to foster waste prevention, and secondly to better treat waste residuals by promoting recycling practices. In a previous work, the authors qualitatively analysed the policies, criteria, methodologies and outcomes state-of-art of four EU-Member States (France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands) in the transition from Waste Management to Sustainable Waste Management to Circular Economy. The study highlighted overall positive results, which are driving EU countries towards higher Municipal Solid Waste recycling rates and low dumping. This paper makes a step forward, by investigating Municipal Waste Management performances at regional level in the same EU-Member States. Specifically, it aims at assessing whether national data (outlined by the previous work) are homogenously distributed at regional stage, in order to understand how legislation is effectively applied within countries and identifying best and worse performers. The results confirm that Northern European countries have to a greater extent moved away from landfill in favour of higher recycling rates. Conversely, Italy and France are those displaying lower performances but with progressive improvements.
    Keywords: Municipal Waste Management, EU Comparative Analysis, NUTS2 Regional classification, Circular Economy
    Date: 2022–01
  3. By: Massoc, Elsa Clara
    Abstract: Are we in a new "Polanyian moment"? If we are, it is essential to examine how "spontaneous" and punctual expressions of discontent at the individual level may give rise to collective discourses driving social and political change. It is also important to examine whether and how the framing of these discourses may vary across political economies. This paper contributes to this endeavor with the analysis of anti-finance discourses on Twitter in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK between 2019 and 2020. This paper presents three main findings. First, the analysis shows that, more than ten years after the financial crisis, finance is still a strong catalyzer of political discontent. Second, it shows that there are important variations in the dominant framing of public anti-finance discourses on social media across European political economies. If the antagonistic "us versus them" is prominent in all the cases, the identification of who "us" and "them" are, vary significantly. Third, it shows that the presence of far-right tropes in the critique of finance varies greatly from virtually inexistent to a solid minority of statements.
    Keywords: finance,opinion,social media,discourse analysis
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Jake Anders (UCL Centre for Education Policy & Equalising Opportunities); John Jerrim (UCL Social Research Institute); Lindsey Macmillan (UCL Centre for Education Policy & Equalising Opportunities)
    Abstract: Previous research has shown that the UK has low levels of financial literacy by international standards, particularly among those in lower socio-economic groups. This may, in turn, have an impact upon young people, with social inequalities in financial attitudes, behaviours and skills perpetuating across generations. Yet there has been relatively little empirical research on this topic to date, including how such inequalities may be linked to the parents' actions and financial education provided by schools. This paper provides new evidence on this issue for the UK. Using parent-child linked survey data from 3,745 families, we find sizeable socio-economic inequalities in young people's financial capabilities, aspects of their mindset, and their financial behaviours. 15-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds having similar financial skills to an 11-year-old from an affluent background. Sizeable differences are also observed in the financial education that socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged children receive at school, and how they interact with their parents about money. Parental interactions can account for part of the socio-economic gap in money confidence, money management, financial connections, and financial behaviours, but less so in boosting financial abilities. However, we find no evidence of differences in financial education in schools driving differences in young people's financial capabilities.
    Keywords: Socio-economic inequality; financial capabilities; financial education; intergenerational transmission.
    JEL: I24
    Date: 2022–02
  5. By: Emanuele Dicarlo (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper studies adjustments of Italian firms to negative labor supply shocks in the context of workers’ outflows from Italy to Switzerland. My diff-in-diff leverages a policy in which Switzerland granted free labor market mobility to EU citizens and different treatment intensity of Italian firms based on their distance to the Swiss border. Using detailed social security data on the universe of Italian firms and workers, I document large (12 percentage points higher) outflows of workers and fewer (2.5 percentage points) surviving firms in the treatment group relative to control. Despite replacing workers and becoming more capital intensive, treated firms are less productive and pay lower wages. In line with the brain drain literature, I show how adverse effects of large outflows of workers operate through firms that workers leave. I provide suggestive evidence that highskill intensive firms are the main driver of the negative results on wages and productivity. Low skill intensive firms instead suffer less from losing workers and provide new job opportunities for the workers who do not migrate.
    Keywords: migration, labor supply, skills, firms
    JEL: F22 J22 J24 J61
    Date: 2022–02
  6. By: Bachmann, Ronald; Gonschor, Myrielle; Lewandowski, Piotr; Madoń, Karol
    Abstract: We study the effects of robot exposure on worker flows in 16 European countries. Overall, we find small negative effects on job separations and small positive effects on job findings. Labour costs are shown to be a major driver of cross-country differences: in countries with lower labour costs, robot exposure had more positive effects on hirings and more negative effects on separations. These effects were particularly pronounced for workers in occupations intensive in routine manual or routine cognitive tasks, but were insignificant in occupations intensive in non-routine cognitive tasks. For young and old workers in countries with lower labour costs, robot exposure had a beneficial effect on transitions. Our results imply that robot adoption increased employment and reduced unemployment in most European countries, mainly through lower job separation rates.
    Keywords: Robots,technological change,tasks,labour market effects,Europe
    JEL: J24 O33 J23
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Massimo Dragotto (Dept. of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Italy); Marco Magnani (Dept. of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Italy and Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Network and the Environment (ARERA)); Paola Valbonesi (Dept. of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Italy and Higher School of Economics, National Research University, (HSE-NRU), Moscow)
    Abstract: By exploiting an original 4-year dataset on the Italian retail electricity market, we investigate the relationship between firm incumbency — measured by market concentration at the regional level — and consumer inertia — identified by the yearly percentage of consumers switching providers and/or contract, both from the regulated to the free market and within the free market. Our main results show that i) regions recording stronger firm incumbency exhibit larger consumer inertia in leaving the regulated market, this effect being reinforced by the number of active free market retailers; ii) switching by consumers who already are in the free market is, instead, positively affected by firm incumbency. In light of these results, we provide prescriptions for policymakers targeting the migration of consumers towards free-market contracts and, consequently, full energy market liberalisation.
    Keywords: Electricity Retail Markets, Liberalisation in Electricity Markets, Incumbency, Consumer Behaviour
    JEL: D12 L11 L98 Q48
    Date: 2021–11
  8. By: Matthies, Eike; Thomä, Jörg; Bizer, Kilian
    Abstract: While an increasing number of studies postulate that vocational education and training (VET) activities have a positive impact on the innovative capacity of training companies, empirical evidence on the subject remains contradictory. This study exploits establishment data from a representative survey of German companies to estimate the correlations between firms' participation in initial VET and their innovation outcomes. The results based on linear probability models show that the impact of VET activity on innovation is indeed ambiguous. Overall, as expected, participation in initial VET has virtually no effect on radical product innovation. However, a positive impact of training apprentices is observed in case of incremental product innovation and process innovation activities. According to our estimates, this finding primarily applies to the case of microenterprises with fewer than ten employees. We conclude from this that active participation in the VET system primarily promotes the innovation activities of very small firms by stimulating knowledge diffusion in regional innovation systems and developing absorptive capacities at the company level. As a result, small-sized training firms should be more likely to succeed in overcoming - at least in part - some of their disadvantages in innovation.
    Keywords: Technological innovation,Vocational education and training (VET),Apprenticeships,SMEs
    JEL: I20 J24 O31
    Date: 2022
  9. By: Bellucci, Andrea (Universita Degli Studi Dell'insubria); Fatica, Serena (European Commission); Georgakaki, Aliki (European Commission); Gucciardi, Gianluca (Unicredit Bank); Letout, Simon (European Commission); Pasimeni, Francesco (International Renewable Energy Agency)
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of green innovation in attracting venture capital (VC) financing. We use a unique dataset that matches information on VC transactions, companies' balance sheet variables and data on patented innovation at the firm level over the period 2008-2017. Taking advance of a novel granular definition of green innovative activities that tracks patents at the firm level, we show that green innovators are more likely to receive VC funding than firms without green patents. Likewise, a larger share of green vs. non-green patents in a firm's portfolio increases the probability of receiving VC finance. Robustness checks and extensions tackling several dimensions of heterogeneity corroborate the view that green patenting is an important driver of VC funding.
    Keywords: Venture capital, Green ventures, Patents, Green technology
    JEL: G24 M13 M21 O35 Q55
    Date: 2021–12
  10. By: Eloïse Corazza (DARES - Direction de l'animation de la recherche, des études et des statistiques - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé); Francesco Filippucci (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: This paper studies the incidence and welfare effects of a particular kind of training subsidies, Individual Learning Accounts (ILA). We exploit a natural experiment provided by the reform of a French ILA, the Compte personnel de formation (CPF). First, we theoretically model the impact of changing the per-hour subsidy rate on demand and supply for training, using a simple partial equilibrium model. Informed by this, we study the impact of a reform of 2019, which differentially lowered the per-hour value of the CPF subsidy across industries. We highlight three results. First, the supply of training is between 15% and 50% less elastic than demand, so that more than half of the benefit of the subsidy is captured by training producers. Second, total hours of training undertaken are not significantly affected by subsidy changes, leading to estimates of demand and supply elasticities which are close to zero. This makes CPF subsidy a simple transfer to producers and trainees. The silver lining is that, when studied through the lenses of a sufficient statistics framework, the efficiency cost of CPF is also low. Third, we use data on revenues and expenses of training to see that the reduction of the subsidy eventually translates in a reduction of producers' profits, with no effect on labor costs and employment of trainers.
    Keywords: Training,Individual learning accounts,Incidence,Salience,Entry barriers training
    Date: 2022–01
  11. By: Belloc, Filippo; Burdin, Gabriel; Landini, Fabio
    Abstract: The interplay between labor institutions and the firm-level adoption of new technologies such as robotics and other advanced digital tools remains poorly understood. Using a cross-sectional sample of more than 20000 European establishments, this paper documents a positive association between shop-floor employee representation (ER) and the utilization of these advanced technologies. We extensively dig into the potential mechanisms driving this correlation by exploiting rich information on the de facto role played by ER bodies in relation to well-defined decision areas of management, such as work organization, dismissals, training and working time. In addition, we conduct a quantitative case study using a panel of Italian firms and exploiting size-contingent policy rules governing the operation of ER bodies in the context of a local-randomization regression discontinuity design. The analysis suggests a positive effect of ER on investments in advanced technologies around the firm size cutoff, although the results are sensitive to the type of technology and specification choices. We also document positive effects on training intensity and process innovation and no evidence of employment losses or changes in the composition of employment. Taken together, our findings cast doubts on the idea that ER discourages technology adoption. On the contrary, ER seems to influence work organization and certain workplace practices in ways that may enhance the complementary between labor and new advanced technologies.
    Keywords: Automation,Robots,Digitalization,Unions,Employee Representation,Labor Market Institutions
    JEL: J50 O32 O33
    Date: 2022
  12. By: Kazakov, Aleksandr; Koetter, Michael; Titze, Mirko; Tonzer, Lena
    Abstract: We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Eco-nomic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks' distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capita-lised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies requiredto green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer programmes.
    Keywords: bank stability,financial intermediation,government subsidies
    JEL: G21 G28 H25
    Date: 2022
  13. By: Jacobs, Valentine; Rycx, François; Volral, Mélanie
    Abstract: We provide first evidence of the impact of over-education, among natives and immigrants, on firm-level productivity and wages. We use Belgian linked panel data and rely on the methodology from Hellerstein et al. (1999) to estimate ORU (over-, required, and under-education) equations aggregated at the firm level. Our results show that the over-education wage premium is higher for natives than for immigrants. However, since the differential in productivity gains associated with over-education between natives and immigrants outweighs the corresponding wage premium differential, we conclude - based on OLS and dynamic GMM-SYS estimates - that over-educated native workers are in fact underpaid to a greater extent than their over-educated immigrant counterparts. This conclusion is refined by sensitivity analyses, when testing the role of immigrants' background (e.g. region of birth, immigrant generation, age at arrival in the host country, tenure).
    Keywords: Immigrants,over-education,productivity,wages,linked panel data,Belgium
    JEL: J24 J71
    Date: 2022
  14. By: McNeil, Andrew; Lee, Neil; Luca, Davide
    Abstract: Does growing up in a high-unemployment area matter for individual economic and political outcomes? Despite a significant focus upon the links between place of residence, life outcomes and political attitudes of individuals, there is less evidence on how local economic conditions at birth shape individual wages and political attitudes over the longterm. This paper links the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) micro data from English and Welsh respondents with historic localised information on unemployment. Our results, which control for composition effects, family background, and sorting of people across places, show that being born into a high-unemployment Local Authority has a significant, long-term impact on individual’s economic outcomes, decreasing earnings in adulthood. Even accounting for individual economic outcomes, being born into a local authority of high unemployment makes individuals more economically left-wing, with a greater belief in an obligation for the government to provide jobs, but also less culturally tolerant. These results contribute to the debate on the nature and rationales of placebased policy solutions.
    Keywords: place of birth; unemployment; territorial inequality; lifetime mobility; political attitutes; place-based policies
    JEL: J31 J38 J62 R11 R23
    Date: 2022–02
  15. By: Bhalotra, Sonia R. (University of Warwick); Clarke, Damian (University of Chile); Mühlrad, Hanna (IFN - Research Institute of Industrial Economics); Palme, Mårten (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: IVF allows women to delay birth and pursue careers, but IVF massively increases the risk of twin birth. There is limited evidence of how having twins influences women's post-birth careers. We investigate this, leveraging a single embryo transfer (SET) mandate implemented in Sweden in 2003, following which the share of twin births showed a precipitous drop of 70%. Linking birth registers to hospitalization and earnings registers, we identify substantial improvements in maternal and child health and women's earnings following IVF birth, along-side an increase in subsequent fertility. We provide the first comprehensive evaluation of SET, relevant given the secular rise in IVF births and growing concerns over twin birth risk. We contribute new estimates of the child penalty imposed by twin as opposed to singleton birth, relevant to the secular rise in the global twin birth rate.
    Keywords: twins, IVF, single embryo transfer, career costs of children, child penalty, gender wage gap, fertility, maternal health, neonatal health, gender
    JEL: J13 I11 I12 I38 J24
    Date: 2022–01
  16. By: Michela Ponzo (Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali - DISPeS, Università della Calabria); Vincenzo Scoppa (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: Human capital investments at an early age appear crucial for individual outcomes. Family size might affect these investments influencing parental time and economic resources invested in children’s education. This aspect is related to the children quantity-quality trade-off proposed by Becker that has been investigated only for a few countries because of data limitations. We investigate this issue for Italy – even in the absence of Census data relating family of origin to children’s educational outcomes – using many waves of the Survey on Household Income and Wealth of the Bank of Italy and focusing on the educational attainments of 19-22 years old. We use twin births as an instrumental variable to identify exogenous variations in family size. In contrast with the results from other developed countries, we find a significant negative effect of family size on children’s education. We show that these findings are robust to a number of checks. The effects appear stronger for women, for low income families and when spacing between births is limited, suggesting that both time and financial constraints are mechanisms at work.
    Keywords: Educational Outcomes, Family Size, Quantity-Quality Children Trade-off, Twin Births, Instrumental Variables
    JEL: J13 J24 I21 C36
    Date: 2022–01
  17. By: Ary José A. Souza-Jr.
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of air pollution, climate conditions, and extreme weather events on subjective well-being across the Portuguese regions through estimating an ordered probit model. The estimation applies data at the individual level from the 8th and 9th waves of the European Social Survey, along with an air quality indicator, environmental variables, national forest inventory, and a study about the possible future effects of the sea-level rise on vulnerable areas and people living therein. Even after controlling for socio-economic variables and personal traits, the results suggest the existence of differences between regional welfare levels. Air pollution has a negative impact on life satisfaction due to its bad impacts on health (aggravating the condition of individuals with heart and lung diseases). The paper’s key finding is to show that at the regional level, both past (forest fires) and «possible» future (floods due to sea-level rise) extreme weather events may impact the current welfare level. Also, assessments of implicit willingness do to pay demonstrate that climate change effects have a relevant impact on their quality of life nowadays.
    Keywords: climate, extreme, region, flood, fire.
    Date: 2022–02
  18. By: Monica Martinez-Bravo (CEMFI); Carlos Sanz (Banco de España)
    Abstract: Using two novel online surveys collected in May and November 2020, we study the consequences of the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic on Spanish households. We document a large and negative effect on household income. By May 2020 the average individual lived in a household that had lost 16% of their pre-pandemic monthly income. Furthermore, this drop was highly unequal: while households in the richest quintile lost 6.8% of their income, those in the poorest quintile lost 27%. We also document that the pandemic deepened the gender-income gap: on average, women experienced a three-percentage-point larger income loss than men. While this is consistent with previous findings in the literature, in this paper we document that this effect is driven by women from middle-income households with kids. Finally, we provide evidence that Spanish individuals experienced moderate declines in their levels of psychological well-being. This effect is not different for individuals living in rich or poor households, but the reasons behind well-being losses do differ: richer individuals are more concerned about loss of contact with dear ones, while low-income individuals are more likely to mention loss of income and employment as a key source of emotional distress.
    Keywords: inequality, COVID-19, well-being
    JEL: D31 I14 J31
    Date: 2022–01
  19. By: Leonardo Becchetti (CEIS & DEF, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Sara Mancini (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Nazaria Solferino (Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: Based on results of the different fields of the game theoretic literature on strategic interactions and social dilemmas, gift exchange and procedural utility, we argue that corporate social responsibility and relational skills i) with other firms; ii) between employers and workers iii) among workers and iv) with stakeholders are associated to positive effects on productivity. We test our research hypothesis on a large representative sample of Italian firms including the universe of medium and large companies and accounting for 91.3 percent of domestic employees. We find that companies with higher relational skills report significantly higher value added per worker after controlling for relevant concurring factors. More specifically, the identified significant skill related components are: i) corporate policies considering strategic workers’ wellbeing; ii) team working attitudes considered as priority soft skills when hiring workers; iii) initiatives in favour of the productive network operating in the same local area and iv) involvement of stakeholders in CSR projects.
    Keywords: relational skills, corporate productivity, gift exchange, team working
    JEL: L22 L25 L14 J53
    Date: 2022–01–25
  20. By: Alain Galli; Rina Rosenblatt-Wisch
    Abstract: Private consumption, i.e., spending of households, is a key economic variable. While data on private consumption are widely available on a national, aggregate level, disaggregated data on household spending are scarce, particularly in the form of a panel. To fill this gap, we make use of Swiss tax data from the Canton of Bern from 2002 until 2016 to retrieve consumption estimates on a disaggregated level. Since consumption is not directly available from tax records, we show how to transform tax-specific data and information into economically interpretable measures. In particular, we impute consumption based on the simple budget constraint of a household. This approach yields a unique panel of income, wealth and consumption for each taxpayer in the Canton of Bern over time. After discussing and validating the obtained consumption estimates, we analyse consumption and saving patterns of households over the life cycle as well as across different subgroups and show how consumption inequality has evolved over time. We find the typical hump-shaped consumption profile over the life cycle and an increasing savings rate over the working age with a substantial fall with retirement and dissaving thereafter. Our results also suggest that consumption and saving behaviour vary across different household characteristics. Finally, we show that consumption and income inequality remained rather stable between 2002 and 2016. Over the life cycle, however, consumption and income inequality do change: they are rather low at a young age but increase thereafter.
    Keywords: Household finance, consumption measurement, tax data, wealth, income, savings
    JEL: D12 D14 D31 E21 G11
    Date: 2022
  21. By: Federico Cingano; Filippo Palomba; Paolo Pinotti; Enrico Rettore
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of a large program of public investment subsidies granted to Italian firms in disadvantaged areas. Projects were given numerical scores according to objective criteria and local politicians’ preferences, and funded in rank order until the funds were fully allocated. We estimate that subsidies increased investment by marginal firms near the cutoff by 39 percent, and employment by 17 percent over a 6-year period. Building on recent advancements in the econometrics of regression discontinuity designs, we characterize heterogeneity of treatment effects and cost-per-new-job across inframarginal firms away from the cutoff. Employment grows more in smaller firms, but larger firms generated more jobs-per-euro of subsidy. Younger firms did better than older firms. Firms ranking high on objective criteria and firms preferred by local politicians generated larger employment growth on average, but the latter did so at a higher cost per job. Under a policy invariance assumption, we estimate that eliminating political discretion and relying only on objective criteria would reduce the cost per job by 9 percent, while relying only on political discretion would increase the cost by 55 percent. The effect of political discretion is larger in the south, which received the largest share of funds and exhibited the highest cost-per-job under the actual allocation criteria.
    Keywords: Public subsidies, investment, employment, political discretion, regression discontinuity
    JEL: H25 J08
    Date: 2022
  22. By: Valentin Schiele (University of Paderborn);
    Abstract: Compulsory schooling reforms are often used to estimate monetary returns to education. Such reforms are unrelated to individual characteristics and preferences and thus arguably able to eliminate selection bias. However, as these reforms affect a large number of individuals in the relevant age groups, they might have spillover effects on individuals not directly affected by the reform. Such spillover effects constitute a problem for identification and estimation of returns to schooling. As they are difficult to address, they are mostly ignored in the empirical literature. I show that the introduction of the compulsory ninth grade in Germany led to a labor supply shock that might have increased wages and employment of individuals who were not directly subject to the reform and were assumed not to be affected in previous research. To investigate in this kinds of spillover effects, I exploit the staggered introduction of the compulsory ninth grade across German federal states in a difference-in-differences approach. Based on large scale register and survey data, I find no evidence for persistent spillover effects for men. For women, however, my results suggest that the labor supply shock resulting from the reform may have led to a persistent increase in employment and wages.
    Keywords: Compulsory schooling, Education, Spillover e ects, Cohort size, Wages, Employment
    JEL: I20 I26 J20 J31
    Date: 2022–01
  23. By: Eva Asselmann; Susan Garthus-Niegel; Susanne Knappe; Julia Martini
    Abstract: Background: The transition to parenthood is characterized by far-reaching changes in life. However, little prospective-longitudinal evidence from general population samples exists on changes of general physical and mental health in the years around the birth of a child among mothers and fathers. Methods: Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), this study examined continuous and discontinuous short- and long-term changes of general physical and mental health from five years before until five years after the birth of the first child in women (N = 1,912) and men (N = 1,742). Whether a child was born was assessed annually throughout the study. Physical and mental health was assessed biannually from 2002 to 2018 with the SF-12v2. Results: Multilevel analyses revealed that women experienced a considerable decrease of physical health during pregnancy, which remitted after delivery. On average, women’s mental health increased in the last year before and first year after delivery. These mental health improvements were stronger in older vs. younger mothers and remained largely stable in the years after childbirth. In contrast, little evidence for changes of general physical or mental health in (expectant) fathers was found. Limitations: Physical and mental health was assessed with a short questionnaire only (SF-12v2). Conclusions: On average, women’s mental health tends to improve before and after the birth of the first child. Men seem to be much less affected by the birth of a child than many previous studies suggest.
    Keywords: Pregnancy; parenthood; well-being; psychopathology; prospective-longitudinal
    Date: 2022
  24. By: Anna Laura Mancini (Bank of Italy); Pietro Tommasino (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We document that Italian public administrations systematically overestimate capital expenditures, and that the introduction of a cap on this spending item improves the accuracy of their plans. Our analysis relies on a unique dataset including budgetary figures (both planned and realized) for all Italian municipalities, and exploits a national reform which introduced a limit to realized capital expenditures only for municipalities above a given population threshold (5,000 residents). One possible interpretation of our results is that policy-makers, exploiting the imperfect knowledge of voters, benefit from promising over-ambitious investment plans. The introduction of expenditure limits makes these promises less credible, and helps to bring expenditure plans in line with reality. Furthermore, we find that capital revenues are also over-estimated, and that the forecast accuracy of capital revenues improves due to the reform. This is in line with our political-economy interpretation: as there is less room to inflate expenditures, politicians have also less incentive to indulge in window-dressing on the revenue side.
    Keywords: budget rules, budget execution, local public finance, official forecasts, public investment, fiscal transparency
    JEL: E62 H62 H68
    Date: 2022–02

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