nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2013‒05‒05
nine papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. Disentangling the relationship between nonprofit and social capital: the role of social cooperatives and social welfare associations in the development of networks of strong and weak ties By Giacomo Degli Antoni; Fabio Sabatini
  2. Toolism! A Critique of Econophysics By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  3. The sources of profits and their sustainability: A survey of basic theoretical issues By Skouras, Thanos
  4. Outsourcing and the Rise in Services By Giuseppe Berlingieri
  5. Business Groups as Hierarchies of Firms: Determinants of Vertical Integration and Performance By Carlo Altomonte; Armando Rungi
  6. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA): an application for the industry By Alexander Cotte Poveda - Clara Inés Pardo Martinez
  7. Main results of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey: Italy in the international context By Romina Gambacorta; Giuseppe Ilardi; Andrea Locatelli; Cristiana Rampazzi; Raffaella Pico
  8. Asking income and consumption questions in the same survey: what are the risks? By Giulia Cifaldi; Andrea Neri
  9. Do SMEs' linkages with Large Mining Firms improve their performance? Evaluating heterogeneity among firms. By Miguel Atienza; Marcelo Lufin Varas; Mauricio Sarrias

  1. By: Giacomo Degli Antoni (University of Parma, Department of Law); Fabio Sabatini (Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Economics and Law)
    Abstract: We use a unique dataset to study how participation in two specific types of nonprofit organizations, i.e. social welfare associations and social cooperatives, affects individual social capital. A descriptive analysis shows that both the types of organization have a positive impact. The econometric analysis reveals that social welfare associations play a significantly greater role in the development of volunteers' networks of cooperative relationships, favouring the creation of weak ties which are used to exchange information and advice, and offering the opportunity to establish stronger ties entailing concrete mutual support. Within social cooperatives, workers develop their individual social capital to a greater extent than volunteers.
    Keywords: volunteering, nonprofit organizations, cooperative enterprises, social cooperatives, social capital, social networks
    JEL: L31 L33 P13 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2013–03
  2. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: Economists are fond of the physicists’ powerful tools. As a popular mindset Toolism is as old as economics but the transplants failed to produce the same successes as in their aboriginal environment. Economists therefore looked more and more to the math department for inspiration. Now the tide turns again. The ongoing crisis discredits standard economics and offers the chance for a comeback. Modern econophysics commands the most powerful tools and argues that there are many occasions for their application. The present paper argues that it is not a change of tools that is most urgently needed but a paradigm change.
    Keywords: new framework of concepts; structure-centric; axiom set; paradigm; income; profit; money; invariance principle
    JEL: A12 B16 B41
    Date: 2013–04–30
  3. By: Skouras, Thanos
    Abstract: The volume of profits in an economy is a magnitude, which is out of sight of orthodox macroeconomics textbooks and effectively ignored by neoclassical economics. In contrast, Kalecki's approach brings to the forefront the sources of profits and makes possible their further analysis. The sources of profits are examined one by one and their impacts, as well as the inter-relations among them are studied in some detail. The sustainability of the profits' sources tends to have inevitable limits, which are discussed and elucidated. On the basis of these limits, two phases in the operation of the sources may be distinguished. The beneficial phase is transformed into a pathological one, as the limits are approached. Consequently, profits may be distinguished according to the source from which they flow, as well as the phase in which they arise. Taking into account both source and phase, a terminology is proposed to highlight the distinctive character of the different kinds of profits.
    Keywords: profits, investment, export surplus, budget deficit, consumption out of profits, saving out of wages, profits' limits and sustainability
    JEL: B5 B59 E12 P16
    Date: 2013–04–26
  4. By: Giuseppe Berlingieri
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of outsourcing on sectoral reallocation in the U.S. over the period 1947-2007, and on the rise in services in particular. Roughly 40% of the growth of the service sector comes from professional and business services. This is an unusual industry as more than 90% of its output is an intermediate input to other firms, and it is where most of the service outsourcing activity is concentrated. These facts are essential to understanding the structure of the economy: professional and business services have experienced an almost fourfold increase in their forward linkage, the largest change in input-output linkages over the past 60 years. Using a simple gross output accounting framework, I calculate the contribution of the change in the composition of intermediates and their sourcing mode to the reallocation of employment across sectors. I find that the evolution of the input-output structure accounts for up to 33% of the increase in service employment, and professional and business services outsourcing alone contributes almost half of that amount.
    Keywords: Structural transformation, outsourcing, professional and business services, input-output tables, intermediates
    JEL: D57 L16 L24 L84 O14 O41 O51
    Date: 2013–04
  5. By: Carlo Altomonte (Bocconi University and FEEM); Armando Rungi (Bocconi University and FEEM)
    Abstract: We explore the nature of Business Groups, that is network-like forms of hierarchical organization between legally autonomous firms spanning both within and across national borders. Exploiting a unique dataset of 270,474 headquarters controlling more than 1,500,000 (domestic and foreign) affiliates in all countries worldwide, we find that business groups account for a significant part of value-added generation in both developed and developing countries, with a prevalence in the latter. In order to characterize their boundaries, we distinguish between an affiliate vs. a group-level index of vertical integration, as well as an entropy-like metric able to summarize the hierarchical complexity of a group and its trade-off between exploitation of knowledge as an input across the hierarchy and the associated communication costs. We relate these metrics to host country institutional characteristics, as well as to the performance of affiliates across business groups. Conditional on institutional quality, a negative correlation exists between vertical integration and organizational complexity in defining the boundaries of business groups. We also find a robust (albeit non-linear) positive relationship between a group's organizational complexity and productivity which dominates the already known correlation between vertical integration and productivity. Results are in line with the theoretical framework of knowledge-based hierarchies developed by the literature, in which intangible assets are a complementary input in the production processes.
    Keywords: Production Chains, Hierarchies, Business Groups, Financial Development, Property Rights, Vertical Integration, Corporate Ownership, Organization of Production, Productivity
    JEL: F23 L22 L23 L25 D24 G34
    Date: 2013–04
  6. By: Alexander Cotte Poveda - Clara Inés Pardo Martinez
    Abstract: This article examines the management in Colombian industrial sectors using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). This method conceptualizes cases as combinations of attributes and use Boolean algebra to derive simplified expressions of combinations that lead to a specific outcome. In this analysis, we show the value of this method for studying the management in the industrial from different approaches.
    Date: 2012–10–21
  7. By: Romina Gambacorta (Bank of Italy); Giuseppe Ilardi (Bank of Italy); Andrea Locatelli (Bank of Italy); Cristiana Rampazzi (Bank of Italy); Raffaella Pico (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: The paper presents the main results of the Eurosystem’s Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) with an emphasis on the data for Italy in the international context. The paper examines households’ socio-demographic characteristics, assets and income distribution, participation in real and financial assets and indebtedness levels. The results for Italy reveal a mean household gross income below the euro-area average. The concentration of income in Italy is roughly positioned at a median position, while the index of relative poverty is comparatively high. Among the main countries of the euro area, Italy shows the same average level of net worth per capita of Spain and slightly higher levels than those of France and Germany, in line with the high savings rates that characterized Italian households over the last few decades, although this trend has decreased in recent years. Finally, Italy shows the lowest percentage of indebted households.
    Keywords: household wealth, poverty, indebtedness, micro-data
    JEL: D12 D31
    Date: 2013–04
  8. By: Giulia Cifaldi (Bank of Italy); Andrea Neri (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Sample surveys providing high quality information on both total household expenditure (consumption) and income are not commonly available. Nevertheless, surveys focusing on income usually do collect some information on expenditure data. A main drawback of this practice is that it could let some researchers think that both sets of information have similar accuracy, as they are derived from the same survey. This paper provides an empirical investigation of the consequences of such an assumption. We draw on the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW, thereafter) as a case study, since it collects information on both income and consumption. We combine this survey with the information coming from other surveys that are assumed to be more reliable than the SHIW for specific items. On average, we find that the underestimation of household income is lower than the one relating to consumption. As a consequence, in the survey saving rates are likely to be overestimated. We also find evidence that measurement error in income data is proportionally higher for high incomes. This does not appear to be the case for consumption data. Household saving is likely to be overestimated, especially for households in the low income classes. Finally, we find evidence that measurement error may bias the relationship between household savings and its determinants.
    Keywords: measurement error, household income, consumption, imputation
    JEL: C25 C42 D31
    Date: 2013–04
  9. By: Miguel Atienza (IDEAR - ORDHUM - Department of Economics, Universidad Católica del Norte - Chile); Marcelo Lufin Varas (IDEAR - ORDHUM - Department of Economics, Universidad Católica del Norte - Chile); Mauricio Sarrias (IDEAR - Master in Regional Science, Universidad Católica del Norte - Chile)
    Abstract: In recent decades, several countries have proposed the promotion of mining clusters as a local development strategy. One of the expected results of this type of policy is the formation of a critical mass of local SMEs able to grow and export internationally. It is assumed that to achieve this result the vertical linkages between mining companies and SMEs favor the growth and competitiveness of local mining suppliers. This assumption, however, has not been verified. This paper analyzes whether the relationship between SME suppliers and large mining companies implies more growth in sales an labor. We study the case of the Antofagasta Region, one of the main miningareas in Latin America, where, since 2001, the government ha been promoting the formation of a mining cluster. We estimate an ordinal Probit model with random parameters, using panel data with a simple of more tan 500 SMEs from the Antofagasta Region, with information from the period 2003-2009. This methodology allows us to estimate whether first and second tier SME suppliers of the mining industry have, on average, better performance tan other SMEs and, also, which is the heterogeneity of results within each of these groups of SMEs.
    Keywords: SME, regional development, supply chain, large scale mining, Chile.
    JEL: D22 L25 L72 R11
    Date: 2013–03

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