nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2012‒11‒17
twenty papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen on the Foundations of an Evolutionary Analysis By Christoph Heinzel
  2. For Every Law, a Loophole: Flexibility in the Menu of Spanish Business Forms, 1886-1936 By Guinnane, Timothy W>; Martinez Rodriguez, Susana
  3. Career barriers for women executives and the Glass Ceiling Syndrome: the case study comparison between French and Turkish women executives. By Cansu Akpinar
  4. When the first interaction matters : Recruitment in the French retailing By Géraldine Rieucau; Marie Salognon
  5. Unfair tournaments: gender stereotyping and wage discrimination among Italian graduates By Carolina Castagnetti; Luisa Rosti
  6. An Empirical Investigation of the Determinants of Asymmetric Pricing By Marc Remer
  7. The four figures of gift: kula, potlatch, dan e hau By Matteo Aria; Nicolò Bellanca
  8. Claiming Authority: How Women Explain Their Ascent to Top Business Leadership Positions By Bowles, Hannah Riley
  9. Globalization, Recession and the Internationalization of Industrial Districts: Experiences from the Italian Gold Jewellery Industry By Valentina De Marchi; Joonkoo Lee; Gary Gereffi
  10. Corporate Social Responsibility and the Economics of Consumer Social Responsibility By Fabrice Etilé; Sabrina Teyssier
  11. The Emergence of a Finance Culture in American Households, 1989-2007 By Fligstein, Neil; Goldstein, Adam
  12. Inter-Firm Linkages and Finance in Value Chains By Lizbeth Navas-Alemán; Carlo Pietrobelli; Marco Kamiya
  13. Petrol Price Cycles By David P. Byrne
  14. Do Consumers Respond to Marginal or Average Price? Evidence from Nonlinear Electricity Pricing By Koichiro Ito
  15. Selection and Real wage cyclicality: Germany Case By Kang, Lili; Peng, Fei
  16. Intangible assets dynamics and firm behaviour By A. Arrighetti; F. Landini; A. Lasagni
  17. Wage bargaining in Germany : the role of works councils and opening clauses By Ellguth, Peter; Gerner, Hans-Dieter; Stegmaier, Jens
  18. Wages and unemployment across business cycles: a high-frequency investigation By Lei Fang; Pedro Silos
  19. Corporative cartels and challenges to European labour market models By Karlson, Nils; Lindberg, Henrik
  20. Merger Efficiencies and Competition Policy By Scherer, F. M.

  1. By: Christoph Heinzel
    Abstract: Qualitative change is widely recognized as a defining feature of evolution. Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen put it at the center of their methodological reasoning. I revisit important contributions of these two authors, paying attention to the immediate relationship of the major traits and treated issues between their works. With reference to qualitative change, their joint approach provides answers as to (i) why an evolutionary analysis has to necessarily apply a varied less formal set of methods as compared to modern static and dynamic analysis, (ii) why an evolutionary analysis is a necessary component of economic analysis, and (iii) how it can be seen as complementary to modern statics and dynamics. They argued for methodogical pluralism, where the choice of methods shall derive from close observation of the subject matter under scrutiny. Georgescu-Roegen's reasoning shows the necessity of interdisciplinary contributions and the interrelation of economic activity and environmental impact and constraints, putting environmental issues immediately on the evolutionary economics agenda. The paper provides a new ground for evaluating Georgescu-Roegen's own and their joint contribution to modern research.
    Keywords: Schumpeter, Georgescu-Roegen, qualitative change, evolution, evolutionary methodology
    JEL: B25 B31 B41 O10
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Guinnane, Timothy W> (Yale University and CESifo, Munich); Martinez Rodriguez, Susana (?)
    Abstract: The Spanish business code allowed firms great flexibility in their organizational form in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Until 1920, firms had the same basic choices as in France and some other European countries, namely, the corporation, the ordinary partnership, or the limited partnership. But Spanish law was unusually flexible, allowing firms to adapt the corporation especially to the needs of its owners. Starting in 1920 Spanish firms could also organize as a Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (SRL), a form similar to the German GmbH or the British Private Limited Company (PLC). But some firms had already adopted the form prior to 1920. The Spanish coded lacked the principle of "numerus clauses" that is central to many areas of law. Most business codes allow firms to choose only from a proscribed menu of options. The Spanish code offered these options but also stated that firms could organize in other ways if they wished. This paper uses three empirical sources to study the way firms actually used those possibilities. We find that this flexibility did not make entrepreneurs indifferent across the different organizational forms.
    JEL: K20 N43 N44
    Date: 2012–05
  3. By: Cansu Akpinar (EA3713 - Centre de Recherche Magellan - Université de Lyon - Université Jean Moulin - Lyon III)
    Abstract: The situation where gender pay gaps are typically wider at the top of the wage distribution is known as the 'glass ceiling'. It is one of the most compelling metaphors recently used for analyzing inequality between men and women in the workplace, in order to describe a barrier to further advancement once women have attained a certain level. The general-case glass ceiling hypothesis states that not only is it more difficult for women than for men to be promoted up levels of authority hierarchies within workplaces but also that the obstacles women face relative to men become greater as they move up the hierarchy. This study presents an overview of glass-ceiling type barriers in organizations based on the perceptions of a sample of French and Turkish mid-level women managers. This study investigates how women in middle management perceive their career advancement opportunities and what they consider their organizations to be doing to support their advancement. This study begins with an introduction of the concept of a glass ceiling that prevents women from advancing, and then continues with previous studies on corporate practices and data analysis of samples from French and Turkish organizations. The objective of this work is to summarize the Glass Ceiling Phenomenon and make a comparison of different arguments of researchers. In particular with this study, It has been pointed out that most past research has been relied on indirect tests which fail to distinguish studies of the glass ceiling effect who have investigated a variety of labour market outcomes such as promotions (Powell and Butterfield 1994, Yap and Konrad(2009)), women carrier (Belgihiti Kartochian, Laufer(2004)), inequality (David J. Maume Jr.) and sex segregation (Mia Hultin 2003)
    Keywords: Glass Ceiling, Carrier Barriers, Women in Leadership
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Géraldine Rieucau (LED - Laboratoire d'Economie Dyonisien - Université Paris VIII - Vincennes Saint-Denis : EA3391, CEE - Centre d'études de l'emploi - Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé); Marie Salognon (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne)
    Abstract: In France, one of ten recently-hired workers works in retailing. The literature provides evidence about the screening criteria used to fill low-wage vacancies in stores. However, neither the stage when criteria matter nor the forefront role of information channels (direct applications, word-of-mouth, employment agency and job ads) has been well explored. Drawing on 35 interviews conducted in 2010-2011, with actors involved in recruitment activites and with recently-hired workers in large stores in Greater Paris. This article explores the initial interaction between job seekers and recruiters. It is argued that the screening criteria vary according to the way employers received information about applicants and first interact with them (by mail, phone or face-to-face). This contribution highlights the importance of walk-in applications, which prioritize selection based on residence, appearances and availability. Changes in the first interaction impact the whole selection process and may change the profile of the workers hired.
    Keywords: Economy of conventions; French retailing; information channels; low-wage jobs; recruitment; screening criteria.
    Date: 2012–10
  5. By: Carolina Castagnetti (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia); Luisa Rosti (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the gender pay gap among Italian university graduates on entry to the labor market, and stresses the importance of gender stereotypes on subjective assessment of individual productivity. We build upon previous research about gender and wage inequality introducing tournament theory as a convenient framework for the gender pay gap analysis. We hypothesize that the effects of gender stereotypes make occupational tournaments unfair. As a consequence, male workers have higher probabilities of winning the wage competition. Our data show that in contexts where the stereotype is most likely to occur, making tournaments less fair, the unexplained component of the gender pay gap is higher.
    Keywords: Labor market, Italy, Gender pay gap, Stereotypes, Tournaments
    JEL: J24 J7 J3
    Date: 2012–10
  6. By: Marc Remer (Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice)
    Abstract: This article empirically investigates the cause of asymmetric pricing: retail prices responding faster to cost increases than decreases. Using daily price data for over 11,000 retail gasoline stations, I nd that prices fall more slowly than they rise as a consequence of rms extracting informational rents from consumers with positive search costs. Premium gasoline prices are shown to fall more slowly than regular fuel prices but rise at the same pace, and this pricing pattern supports theories based upon competition with consumer search. Further testing also rejects focal price collusion as an important determinant of asymmetric pricing.
    Date: 2012–11
  7. By: Matteo Aria; Nicolò Bellanca (Università degli Studi di Firenze)
    Abstract: Drawing on actual reinterpretation of Mauss’s classical essay on “the Gift”, the authors examine four ideal-typical forms of gift which recur in the anthropologic literature, and theoretically analyze them under relevant contemporary phenomena. Kula - as reciprocity gift-, Potlach – as competitive gift-, Hau – as non-returnable gift - and Dan - as asymmetrical gift- do not have in common something that allows us to use the same term for all, however they are tied to each other in many different ways. There is a complicate net of similarities that overlap and cross one another. According with this perspective the “gift” appears as a polythetic and polisemic concept: it is crucial tools in the understanding contemporary societies, cultures and economies as well as useful starting point for a new dialogue between anthropologists and economists.
    Keywords: gift; commodification; special currency
    JEL: Z13 B52 O10
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Bowles, Hannah Riley (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Career stories of 50 female executives from major corporations and high-growth entrepreneurial ventures suggest two alternative accounts of how women legitimize their claims to top leadership positions: navigating and pioneering. In navigating accounts, the women legitimized their claims to top authority positions by following well institutionalized paths of career advancement (e.g., high performance in line jobs) and self-advocating with the gatekeepers of the social hierarchy (e.g., bosses, investors). In pioneering accounts, the women articulated a strategic vision and cultivated a community of support and followership around their strategic ideas and leadership. The career stories suggested that, when the women's authority claims were not validated, they engaged in narrative identity work to revise their aspirations and legitimization strategies. Sometimes narrative identity work motivated women to shift from one type of account to another, particularly from navigating to pioneering. Based on inductive analyses of these 50 career stories, I propose a process model of how women legitimize their claims to top leadership positions by recursively resetting career accounts as authority claims succeed or fail.
    Date: 2012–10
  9. By: Valentina De Marchi (University of Padova); Joonkoo Lee (Duke University); Gary Gereffi (Duke University)
    Abstract: Globalization and the recent recession crisis are significantly challenging Italian industrial districts (IDs), driving deep transformations in their internationalization, innovation and organization strategies. With our empirical focus on a single industry (gold jewellery) and a specific country (Italy), the evidence in this paper sheds light on the differences in how three industrial districts within the gold jewellery sector (Valenza Po, Arezzo and Vicenza) compete in the global arena. Our comparative analysis reveals striking differences among these districts with regard to their economic performance, as well as their upstream and downstream internationalization strategies, in response to two industry shocks Ð increasing global competition in the early 2000s and the world economic recession of 2008-09. In addition, we find that these districts changed their internal strategies over time in order to tackle the two crises. How these industrial districts are integrated within global value chains is an important explanatory factor to be considered, in addition to internal factors such as structural characteristics and specific business opportunities
    Keywords: industrial districts; globalization; recession; internationalization; the jewellery industry; global value chains.
    Date: 2012–10
  10. By: Fabrice Etilé (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Sabrina Teyssier (ALISS - Alimentation et sciences sociales - INRA : UR1303)
    Abstract: The promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is likely to depend on consumers' purchase behaviors. While many consumers like the idea of social responsibility, the responsible consumption remains at a low level. This survey analyses two main barriers to responsible consumption: the willingness-to-pay for it, which relates to consumer social preferences; and the information asymmetry between companies and consumers. The economic literature shows that consumer social preferences are related to altruistic, self-image and social image concerns. Only consumers with strong social preferences and a low marginal utility of income (a high income) are likely to purchase CSR products. Moreover, purchase decisions crucially depend on the existence of labels, which truthfully identify the CSR products. Public policies may promote consumer social responsibility through education programs, enhancement of self- and social-image concerns, and careful label regulation.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility, consumer, social preferences, asymmetric information, labels.
    Date: 2012–11–07
  11. By: Fligstein, Neil; Goldstein, Adam
    Abstract: As the financial economy has expanded beginning in the mid 1980s, it has done so in part by selling more products to individuals and households, such as mortgages, second mortgages, mutual funds, student loans, car loans, insurance, and various forms of retirement products. This has allowed households access to new forms of assets and debts and new ways to fund their lifestyles. This giant expansion of the financial services sector occurred at the same time that income inequality and job insecurity increased dramatically in the U.S. This paper seeks to tease out empirically the relationship between these trends by examining data on the activities of households in the past 20 years. There are two views, one that focuses on how households reacted defensively to preserve their lifestyles and the other which focuses on households developing a more financial mindset to the management of their assets, debt, and consumption and thereby using the new opportunities to invest and borrow money to increase their consumption. We show some support for both views. The use of financial products and debt has increased at all levels of the income distribution. Attitudes toward risk and indebtedness have generally become more lax. But, there is also evidence that people at the top of the income distribution are using their growing income to consume more while people lower down are struggling to keep up. The meaning of new financial culture is quite different depending on where you stand in the income hierarchy.
    Keywords: Sociology, American Households, Financial Culture
    Date: 2012–08–01
  12. By: Lizbeth Navas-Alemán; Carlo Pietrobelli; Marco Kamiya
    Abstract: The literature on small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) finance highlights linkages with large firms in value chains as a possible way to enhance access to credit. However, much of the literature on value chains emphasizes issues of coordination and governance of those linkages and their effects on industrial upgrading with little mention to the financial implications for SMEs. This paper explores this gap by looking for evidence on the impact of SMEs' access to finance of inter-firm linkages and specifically interactions with large firms. Using original enterprise-level data in three different Latin American and Caribbean sectors and countries (agro-industry in Argentina, furniture in Brazil, and information and communications technologies in Costa Rica), a comparison between the different sources and instruments of finance used by SMEs is presented. A distinction is made between arm's length financial mechanisms based on "hard data" and relationship finance based on "soft data." Findings suggest that chain governance matters for the type of role large firms can play in enhancing SMEs' access to finance. Policies should take into account the type of chain governance between large firms and SMEs across industries and countries when providing incentives to increase the role of large firms as direct financiers or guarantee providers for SMEs.
    Keywords: Financial Sector :: Financial Markets, Financial Sector :: Financial Services, Science & Technology :: Research & Development, Global Value Chains, Finance, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, SMEs, Relationship Finance,
    JEL: F23 G21 O14 O16
    Date: 2012–09
  13. By: David P. Byrne
    Abstract: I never owned a car as a student. If I had to go somewhere, I walked or took public transport. I paid little attention to petrol prices because they did not affect my weekly budget. However, if you talk to someone who owns a car or drives to work, you will likely find they pay attention to prices at the pump.They may tell you which are the cheap petrol stations in their market, what the cheap day of the week for buying petrol is, or express concern that petrol prices rise around weekends and holidays.Consumers’ interest in petrol prices is likely driven by three facts: (1) petrol prices are displayed on large signs, making them highly visible; (2) in the short-run, consumers are unable to substitute from petrol to other fuels or modes of transportation when petrol prices rise; and (3) consumers spend a large share of their income on petrol. In 2009, the average Australian spent $51.02 per week on petrol, or 4.1% of their total weekly expenditures (ACCC 2011). Moreover, petrol is a relatively homogeneous good, which leaves consumers questioning why its price varies so much over time and across stations. Given the impact petrol costs have on consumers’ budgets, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) monitors competition in Australian petrol markets. In fact, the ACCC has an entire branch solely dedicated to petrol markets! A striking finding the ACCC has documented for at least the past five years is that petrol price cycles exist in Australian cities. Figure 1, taken from an ACCC (2010) monitoring report, illustrates petrol price cycles for Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. In these cities, the average daily petrol price drastically increases once a week (“price restorations”), followed by a sequence of daily price decreases (the “undercutting phase”), until the next price restoration occurs.1 To the extent that drivers purchase petrol from different stations at different parts of the cycle, petrol price cycles may explain why consumers form opinions about cheaper stations, cheap days for buying petrol, and petrol price hikes around weekends and holidays. This article provides an overview of the burgeoning academic literature on petrol price dynamics and cycles. I first discuss the empirical literature on price cycles in petrol markets. In light of the empirics, I then present theories of competition and consumer demand in petrol markets that help us understand the many facets of petrol price cycles. Developing such an understanding is important for antitrust policy. Policymakers require benchmark economic models that predict how prices should behave if stations set prices competitively, given market and supply conditions. With such a model in hand, authorities can effectively monitor the conduct of petrol stations, identify collusive behaviour, and design policies that help to ensure consumers pay fair prices. It is my hope that this article sheds light on the economics behind petrol price cycles, informs the development of such benchmark models, and piques readers’ interest in petrol industry research.
    Date: 2012
  14. By: Koichiro Ito
    Abstract: Nonlinear pricing and taxation complicate economic decisions by creating multiple marginal prices for the same good. This paper provides a framework to uncover consumers’ perceived price of nonlinear price schedules. I exploit price variation at spatial discontinuities in electricity service areas, where households in the same city experience substantially different nonlinear pricing. Using household-level panel data from administrative records, I find strong evidence that consumers respond to average price rather than marginal or expected marginal price. This sub-optimizing behavior makes nonlinear pricing unsuccessful in achieving its policy goal of energy conservation and critically changes the welfare implications of nonlinear pricing.
    JEL: L11 L51 L94 L98 Q41 Q48 Q58
    Date: 2012–11
  15. By: Kang, Lili; Peng, Fei
    Abstract: This paper examines the selection biases in the cyclical behaviour of real wages using the German Socio-Economic Panel Data (GSOEP) for the 1984-2009 period. We find rigid wages of job stayers in Germany.
    Keywords: Selection; Wage cyclicality; Panel data
    JEL: E32 C52 J31 C33
    Date: 2012–10–03
  16. By: A. Arrighetti; F. Landini; A. Lasagni
    Abstract: We study the adoption of different intangible investment strategies in manufacturing firms. Contrary to most of the previous literature, we find such strategies to be highly differentiated. In particular we identify three types of investment behaviour: high and persistent, low and persistent, discontinuous. Using as a reference the capability-based view of the firm, we define and provide support for a set of hypotheses on the determinants of such behaviours. We obtain the following results: first, absorptive capacity led by R&D expenditures is a key competence in sustaining the adoption of an intangible investment strategy, which may be either persistent or discontinuous; second, the implementation of a persistent intangible investment strategy necessarily requires specific investments in the quality of human resources to be made; third, firms with a greater propensity to operate in international markets are more likely to adopt a persistent intangible investment strategy than they are to adopt a discontinuous one; fourth, firms that undertake a growth path that is based on highly uncertain demand segments and high organisational flexibility are likely to adopt a discontinuous intangible investment strategy; and five, the historical intangible asset base represents an important constraint on firms’ investment behaviour.
    Keywords: : intangibles, firm behaviour, asset accumulation, organisational capabilities, R&D, investment strategy
    JEL: D22 L21 L25 O32
    Date: 2012
  17. By: Ellguth, Peter (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Gerner, Hans-Dieter (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Stegmaier, Jens (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "German employment relations are characterized by a distinct dual system: First, working conditions and wages are determined by industry level collective bargaining agreements. Second, on the establishment level the works council is responsible for employer-employee negotiations. But since the mid-1980s more and more areas of regulation were transferred from the industry to the establishment level using so called opening-clauses. Our analysis relies on rich German establishment data and reveals new insights in the institutional machinery of wage bargaining: While the existence of such clauses is related to higher wages (11 %), their application results in wages cuts of roughly the same size. Regarding works councils our results suggest that they are able to prevent negative wage effects of opening clauses on average." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: Tarifverhandlungen, Tarifvertrag, Betriebsrat, Lohnfindung, Öffnungsklausel, IAB-Betriebspanel
    JEL: J53 J31
    Date: 2012–03–08
  18. By: Lei Fang; Pedro Silos
    Abstract: This paper investigates the change in wages associated with a spell of unemployment. The novelty lies in using monthly data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to analyze the dynamics of those wage changes across different business cycles. The level of education or the sector of re-employment affects the change in wages following an unemployment spell differently across different downturns. The degree of wage rigidity varies across recessions; wage changes pre- and post-unemployment are sometimes procyclical and sometimes countercyclical. These results may be useful for understanding the different aggregate employment dynamics observed across downturns and recoveries.
    Date: 2012
  19. By: Karlson, Nils (The Ratio Institute); Lindberg, Henrik (The Ratio Institute)
    Abstract: Abstract We propose that one of the main causes of shortcomings in European labour markets is the existence of corporative cartels, through which the state has delegated various forms of regulatory power to employers and employees that act as cartels. Analysis indicates that these cartel arrangements are not in the interest of labour because they are hard to combine with the demands of a modern and knowledge-based economy. Hence, a modernization of European labour market models is needed.
    Keywords: labour market models; corporatism; cartels; job creation
    JEL: J08 J21 J30 J51
    Date: 2012–11–12
  20. By: Scherer, F. M. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Since the United States changed its guidelines in 1984, many industrialized nations have included efficiencies defenses in their rules for judging whether mergers and other activities that might lessen competition are on balance desirable. This paper was written for an OECD competition policy conference in Paris October 25, 2012. It presents the standard Williamson "tradeoff" analysis and explores why consumer price benefits might be required in the current economic environment, with its substantial unemployment and Keynesian liquidity traps that limit the reinvestment of efficiency-based profits in additional output. It also explores the difficulty of assessing efficiency benefits in advance of mergers and suggests alternative approaches to the problem.
    Date: 2012–10

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