nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2011‒09‒22
fifteen papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. Stationarity Changes in Long-Run Fossil Resource Prices: Evidence from Persistence Break Testing By Aleksandar Zaklan; Jan Abrell; Anne Neumann
  2. Surplus et responsabilité sociale en microfinance :Etude de cas d’institutions péruviennes By Eddy Bloy; Joël Ernult; Marek Hudon; Anaïs Périlleux
  3. Formal Sector Price Discoveries: Results from a Developing Country By M. Ali Choudhary; Saima Naeem; Abdul Faheem; Nadim Haneef; Farooq Pasha
  4. Who's Above the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap? By Nicole Woo; Janelle Jones; John Schmitt
  5. Responses to a crisis: FASA-Renault in Spain during the 1970s By Tomas Fernandez-de-Sevilla
  6. Climbing the Job Ladder: New Evidence of Gender Inequity By Johnston, David W.; Lee, Wang-Sheng
  7. Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice-President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence 1997-2007 By Smith, Nina; Smith, Valdemar; Verner, Mette
  8. Sex and Credit: Is There a Gender Bias in Microfinance? By Beck, T.H.L.; Behr, P.; Madestam, A.
  9. South Africa: The Cyclical Behavior of the Markups and its Implications for Monetary Policy By Nir Klein
  10. Firms’ human capital, R&D and innovation: a study on French firms. By Gallié, Emilie-Pauline; Legros, Diego
  11. Wage setting in Hungary: evidence from a firm survey By Gábor Kézdi; István Kónya
  12. Fordism and Taylorism are responsible for the early success and recent decline of the U.S. motor vehicle industry By Ronald Jean Degen
  13. Impact of terrorism on investment decisions of farmers: evidence from the Punjab insurgency By Singh, Prakarsh
  14. Knowledge and Job Opportunities in a Gender Perspective: Insights from Italy By Angela Cipollone; Marcella Corsi; Carlo D'Ippoliti
  15. On the Evaluation of Economic Research: the Case of Italy By Marcella Corsi; Carlo D'Ippoliti; Federico Lucidi

  1. By: Aleksandar Zaklan; Jan Abrell; Anne Neumann
    Abstract: This paper considers the question of whether changes in persistence have occurred during the long-run evolution of U.S. prices of the non-renewable energy resources crude oil, natural gas and bituminous coal. Our main contribution is to allow for a structural break when testing for a break in persistence, thus disentangling the effect of a deterministic break from that of a stochastic break and advancing the existing literature on the persistence properties of non-renewable resource prices. The results clearly demonstrate the importance of specifying a structural break when testing for breaks in persistence, whereas our findings are robust to the exact date of the structural break. Our analysis yields that coal and natural gas prices are trend stationary throughout their evolution, while oil prices exhibit a break in persistence during the 1970s. The findings suggest that especially the coal market has remained fundamentals-driven, whereas for the oil market exogenous shocks have become dominant. Thus, our results are consequential for the treatment of energy resource prices in both causal analysis and forecasting.
    Keywords: non-renewable resource prices, primary energy, persistence, structural breaks
    JEL: C12 C22 Q31 Q41
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Eddy Bloy; Joël Ernult; Marek Hudon; Anaïs Périlleux
    Abstract: This paper analyses the distribution of the productivity surplus of three microfinance institutions, with different statuses, in Peru. The results show that the NGO favors its clients and its self-financing margin, which could help it to grow more rapidly and to keep some reserves. The cooperative prefers to give higher returns on its savings.
    Keywords: microfinance; governance; surplus; Peru; cooperatives
    JEL: O16 O50 G21
    Date: 2011–09
  3. By: M. Ali Choudhary (University of Surrey and State Bank of Pakistan); Saima Naeem (State Bank of Pakistan); Abdul Faheem (State Bank of Pakistan); Nadim Haneef (State Bank of Pakistan); Farooq Pasha (State Bank of Pakistan)
    Abstract: We present results of 1189 structured interviews about price-setting behavior of firms in the manufacturing and services sector in Pakistan. Our discoveries are that frequency of price change is considerably high, lowering the real impact of monetary policy. The remaining price stickiness is explained by firms caring about relative prices and the persistence of shocks. The exchange-rate and cost shocks are more important than financial and demand shocks for both setting prices and also the readiness with which these pass-through to the economy. Firms with connections with the informal sector, especially through demand, have a lower probability of price adjustment.
    JEL: E32 E52 O11
    Date: 2011–09
  4. By: Nicole Woo; Janelle Jones; John Schmitt
    Abstract: When most workers look at their pay stubs, they can see that the Social Security payroll tax rate is 12.4 percent – with the employee and employer each paying 6.2 percent. But many workers do not know that any annual wages above $106,800 are not taxed by Social Security. In other words, a worker who makes twice the Social Security wage cap – $213,600 per year – pays Social Security tax on only half of his or her earnings, and one who makes just over a million dollars per year pays the tax on only about a tenth. Raising the Social Security cap – which would make some or all earnings above $106,800 subject to the Social Security tax – has gotten some attention as a way to help alleviate Social Security’s long-term budget shortfall. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders plans to introduce legislation to keep the current cap at $106,800, but to also apply the Social Security payroll tax to earnings over $250,000. It is similar to previous bills and echoes a proposal by then-Senator Obama on the campaign trail in 2008. While this would leave those making between the current cap of $106,800 and the proposed cap of $250,000 paying the lowest rates, it would help secure the solvency of the program and avoid an increase in taxes on the middle class. To help inform this policy debate, this paper examines Census Bureau data from the most recently available American Community Survey to determine how raising the cap would affect workers based on gender, race or ethnicity, age, and state of residence.
    Keywords: social security, retirement, wage cap
    JEL: H H5 H55
    Date: 2011–09
  5. By: Tomas Fernandez-de-Sevilla (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the trajectory of the Spanish automobile firm FASA-Renault during the 1970s. This period comprises the early years of the crisis experienced by the Spanish economy and industry between 1974 and 1985. At the external level, the Spanish economy was affected by two oil shocks. At an internal level, the automobile industry was affected by a decree passed by the government: the so-called Ford decree of 1972, which allowed the establishment of the American company in Spain and had serious consequences for SEAT, the main Spanish producer. The production of SEAT suffered a one third reduction between 1972 and 1980 and, in addition, the financial situation of the firm was unsustainable. Conversely, during this stage FASARenault became the main Spanish production (its outpout was multiplied by 3,5 during the 1970s) and sales leader in Spain (its sales as percentage of total Spanish market sales increased from 23 to 36%). The main aim of this paper is to analyse the trajectory of success of FASA-Renault in Spain durig the 1970s.
    Keywords: development, industrial policy, fasa-renault, spain, automobile
    JEL: N84 L52 L62 O25 L53
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Johnston, David W. (Monash University); Lee, Wang-Sheng (RMIT University)
    Abstract: An explanation for the gender wage gap is that women are less able or less willing to 'climb the job ladder.' However, the empirical evidence on gender differences in job mobility has been mixed. Focusing on a subsample of younger, university-educated workers from an Australian longitudinal survey, we find strong evidence that the dynamics of promotions and employer changes worsen women's labour market position.
    Keywords: promotions, job changes, gender, wage gap
    JEL: J16 J33 J71
    Date: 2011–09
  7. By: Smith, Nina (University of Aarhus); Smith, Valdemar (Aarhus School of Business); Verner, Mette (Danish School of Media and Journalism)
    Abstract: In most OECD countries, only very few women succeed in reaching top executive positions. In this paper, the probability of promotion into VP and CEO positions is estimated based on employer-employee data on all Danish companies observed during the period 1997-2007. After controlling for a large number of family-related variables, including take-up history of maternity and paternity leave and proxies for 'female-friendly' companies, there is still a considerable gap in the promotion probabilities for CEO positions, but not for VP positions. Thus, the results cannot confirm recent theories on 'belief flipping' or disappearance of statistical discrimination against women who succeed getting into career track positions. The results reflect that the hiring decision and the decision to enter a top position as 'number one', i.e. CEO, in the organization is very different from the decision to hire or become VP, i.e. 'number two' or lower.
    Keywords: promotion, top executive positions, statistical discrimination
    JEL: G34 J16 J24 M51
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Beck, T.H.L.; Behr, P.; Madestam, A. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of group identity in the credit market. Exploiting the quasirandom assignment of first-time borrowers to loan officers of a large Albanian lender, we test for own-gender bias in the loan officer-borrower match. We find that borrowers pay on average 29 basis points higher interest rates when paired with a loan officer of the other sex. The results indicate the presence of a taste-based rather than a statistical bias, as borrowers’ likelihood of going into arrears is independent of loan officer gender. Ending up with an opposite-sex loan officer also affects demand for credit, with borrowers being 11.5 percent less likely to return for a second loan. The bias is more pronounced when the social distance, as proxied by difference in age between the loan officer and the borrower, increases and when financial market competition declines. This is consistent with theories that predict a tastebased bias to be stronger when the psychological costs of being biased are lower and the discretion in setting interest rates is higher. Taken together, the findings suggest that owngender preferences can have substantial welfare effects.
    Keywords: Identity;interest rates;gender;loan officers;microfinance.
    JEL: G21 G32 J16
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Nir Klein
    Abstract: The study looks at the cyclical behavior of the markups and assesses its impact on inflation dynamics. The analysis finds that the aggregate level of the private sector’s markup is relatively high, thus pointing to the lack of strong competition in South Africa’s product markets. Additionally, the results suggest that the markups tend to move in a countercyclical manner, with a short-term positive impact on inflation. This implies that the countercyclical pattern of the markups is one factor among others that contribute to the relatively weak output gap-inflation co-movement. In the context of South Africa’s inflation targeting framework, the counter-cyclical markups may also generate an asymmetric response of monetary policy to the fluctuations in economic activity.
    Date: 2011–08–22
  10. By: Gallié, Emilie-Pauline; Legros, Diego
    Abstract: This article investigates the effects of human capital and technological capital on innovation. While the role of technological capital as measured by research and development (R&D) expenditure has been intensively investigated, few studies have been made on the effect of employee training on innovation. This article explores the relationship between innovation and firm employee training. Our methodological approach contributes to the literature in three ways. We propose various indicators of firm employee training. We build a count data panel with a long time-data series to deal with the issue of firms’ heterogeneity. We propose a dynamic analysis. Using dynamic count data models on French industrial firms over the period 1986–1992, we find positive and significant effects of R&D intensity and training on patenting activity. Whatever the indicators of training our results show that the firm employee training has a positive impact on technological innovation.
    Keywords: Patents; R&D; Employee training; Count panel data; Linear feedback model;
    JEL: C23 C25 J24 L60 O31
    Date: 2011
  11. By: Gábor Kézdi (Central European University, Nador u. 9, 1051 Budapest, Hungary; IEHAS and Magyar Nemzeti Bank.); István Kónya (Magyar Nemzeti Bank, 1054 Szabadság tér 8/9, 1850 Budapest and Central European University.)
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the flexibility of the Hungarian labor market, with special emphasis on wages. The results are based on a new survey on wage setting among Hungarian firms. The survey is part of the Eurosystem Wage Dynamics Network (WDN), and it is a harmonized questionnaire administered in 17 countries in Europe, including almost all Euro Area countries as well as five Central and Eastern European countries. The survey results show that the Hungarian labor market, while institutionally flexible, appears to be surprisingly rigid. The survey evidence points to low turnover and possibly more rigid wages than previously thought. JEL Classification: C83, J01, J30.
    Keywords: Wage setting, survey, wage dynamics network, Hungary.
    Date: 2011–09
  12. By: Ronald Jean Degen (International School of Management Paris)
    Abstract: This paper identifies the ways in which the ideas of Fordism and Taylorism have been responsible for the success of the U.S. motor vehicle companies until 1955, and for their subsequent decline. On three occasions, the motor vehicle industry has changed the fundamental ideas on the process of manufacturing, and, perhaps more significantly, on how humans work together to create value. Under Fordism and Taylorism, the conditions of employment at the assembly lines became less and less bearable for the workers, and this resulted in an ongoing confrontation between management and the workforce, led by United Auto Workers (UAW). This confrontation resulted in escalating labor costs for the U.S. motor vehicle companies, and undermined their capacity to compete with the Japanese motor vehicle companies, who had developed a lean production system and a more humanistic management style.
    Keywords: Fordism, Taylorism, decline of the U.S. motor vehicle companies, mass production system, lean production system, reflective production system, confrontational management-labor-relations
    JEL: M0 M1
    Date: 2011–09–12
  13. By: Singh, Prakarsh
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence for a particular channel through which sustained terrorism in rural areas may affect growth in developing countries. Using micro-level data from agricultural surveys during the period of insurgency in Punjab (India), I find significant negative effects of terrorism on the level of investment in long-term agricultural technology but effects are small and insignificant for short-term investment. The presence of a major terrorist incident in a district in a year reduces long-term fixed investment by around 17% after controlling for district fixed-effects, time trends, district trends and other farm-level controls. These negative effects are greater for richer farmers and those living in bordering districts. This results in a farmer losing close to 4% of his income annually because of the insurgency.
    Keywords: Terrorism; Rural Conflict; Violence; Investment; Agriculture; Farmers; Punjab
    JEL: D21 D74 O16 O13 D92
    Date: 2011–03
  14. By: Angela Cipollone; Marcella Corsi; Carlo D'Ippoliti
    Abstract: By considering the case of Italy we show that despite much rhetoric and expectations about the fact that women have gradually overcome men in terms of educational attainments, they still lack behind in terms of the main skills and competencies that can profitably be used in the market. On the one hand, women lack both general and specific knowledge related to the labour market, on the other hand the skills and competencies they acquire by carrying on unpaid work do not seem to be positively valued by the market. However, women also appear to exhibit higher returns to knowledge, both in terms of returns to education and of returns to work-related knowledge. Women’s employment is more determined by the joint impact of care burdens and knowledge-determined opportunities, and their wages are more significantly affected by our indicators of knowledge. More than for men, while specialisation improves “insider” women’s wages, it reduces “outsider” women’s ability to obtain a job.
    Keywords: gender differentials; returns to knowledge; human capital
    JEL: J24 J16 C43 J71 C14
    Date: 2011–02–04
  15. By: Marcella Corsi; Carlo D'Ippoliti; Federico Lucidi
    Abstract: The Italian case can be considered as an internationally relevant example to suggest a critical reflection on the evaluation criteria adopted in research assessment exercises, pointing at the need of clear and shared guidelines based on transparency and accountability and aiming at preserving (or even encouraging) the pluralism of ideas. Our findings support the view that if research institutions are encouraged to engage only in those lines of research that are likely to receive the highest rating according to the adopted evaluation criteria, a convergence process is to be expected within Economics, resulting in a disregard of heterodox schools and historical methods in favour of mainstream approaches and quantitative methods. In our view, a proper fine-tuning of the assessment methodology is needed, before subsequent rankings can be used as a guide for the allocation of public financing among research institutions. In the case of Economics, this means overcoming the limits of commonly adopted peer review approaches, through the development of proper evaluation designs and the integration of qualitative appraisals with quantitative indicators. In order to preserve pluralism and originality of research, we propose a simple quantitative index based on field-normalization.
    Keywords: research evaluation; contemporary research in economics; Italy
    JEL: A11 A14 B20 B40 B50
    Date: 2011–03–10

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