nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2016‒01‒29
thirteen papers chosen by
Carlo D’Ippoliti
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. A Statistical Equilibrium Approach to the Distribution of Profit Rates By Ellis Scharfenaker; Gregor Semieniuk
  2. Wealth Concentration, Income Distribution, and Alternatives for the USA By Lance Taylor; Ozlem Omer; Armon Rezai
  3. A Statistical Model of Inequality By Ricardo T. Fernholz
  4. Pricing behaviour of cooperatives and investor-owned dairies in a spatial market setting By Zavelberg, Yvonne; Storm, Hugo
  5. Comunità e cooperazione: l’evoluzione delle cooperative verso nuovi modelli di partecipazione democratica dei cittadini alla gestione dei servizi pubblici By Pier Angelo Mori
  6. The Court of Justice of the European Union and fixed-term workers: still fixed, but at least equal By Caroline de la Porte; Patrick Emmenegger
  7. Housing Decisions, Family Types and Gender: A Look across LIS Countries By Mariacristina Rossi; Eva Sierminska
  8. Some notes on Gossen’s ‘submerged and forgotten’ approach to consumption and time By Sergio Nisticò
  9. Recognition and legal Forms of Social Enterprises in Europe: A Critical Analysis from a Comparative Law Perspective By Antonio Fici
  10. Social and Political Embeddedness of Argenina’s Worker-Recuperated Enterprises: A Brief History and Current Trends By Irena Petrovic; Slobodan Cvejic
  11. Financial deregulation and the 2007-08 US financial crisis By Özgür Orhangazi
  12. Neo-mercantilism, inequality, financialisation and the euro crises By Malcolm Sawyer
  13. Did policy reforms really decrease inequalities of access to French higher education? A comparison between Generation 1998 and 2010. By Magali Jaoul-Grammare

  1. By: Ellis Scharfenaker; Gregor Semieniuk (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: Following the work of Farjoun and Machover (1983) who propose a probabilistic approach to classical political economy, we study the empirical distribution of the rate of profit for previously unexamined firm level data. We detail the theoretical rationale of the principle of maximum entropy which Farjoun and Machover use to predict a stationary profit rate distribution. Then we examine their hypothesis of gamma distributed profit rates for over 24,000 publicly listed North American firms from 1962-2014 and find strong evidence for the organization of the distribution into a double exponential, or Laplace like distribution both at the economy wide and one and two digit SIC industry levels. In addition, we find that the otherwise stationary profit rate distributions exhibit a structural change following the 1980s as they display a surge in the fraction of firms earning negative profits. We offer an alternative justification for the Laplace distribution based on maximum entropy reasoning and show that this distribution can be surprisingly explained by a single constraint on the absolute deviation of profit rates from the mean.
    Keywords: Firm competition, Laplace distribution, Profit rate, Statistical equilibrium
    JEL: B4 B5
    Date: 2015–07
  2. By: Lance Taylor; Ozlem Omer; Armon Rezai (Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA))
    Abstract: US household wealth concentration is not likely to decline in response to fiscal interventions alone. Creation of an independent public wealth fund could lead to greater equality. Similarly, once-off tax/transfer packages or wage increases will not reduce income inequality significantly; ongoing wage increases in excess of productivity growth would be needed. These results come from the accounting in a simulation model based on national income and financial data. The theory behind the model borrows from ideas that originated in Cambridge UK (especially from Luigi Pasinetti and Richard Goodwin).
    Keywords: Wealth distribution, income distribution, Cambridge theory
    JEL: D31 D33 D58 B50
    Date: 2015–09
  3. By: Ricardo T. Fernholz
    Abstract: This paper develops a nonparametric statistical model of wealth distribution that imposes little structure on the fluctuations of household wealth. In this setting, we use new techniques to obtain a closed-form household-by-household characterization of the stable distribution of wealth and show that this distribution is shaped entirely by two factors - the reversion rates (a measure of cross-sectional mean reversion) and idiosyncratic volatilities of wealth across different ranked households. By estimating these factors, our model can exactly match the U.S. wealth distribution. This provides information about the current trajectory of inequality as well as estimates of the distributional effects of progressive capital taxes. We find evidence that the U.S. wealth distribution might be on a temporarily unstable trajectory, thus suggesting that further increases in top wealth shares are likely in the near future. For capital taxes, we find that a small tax levied on just 1% of households substantially reshapes the distribution of wealth and reduces inequality.
    Date: 2016–01
  4. By: Zavelberg, Yvonne; Storm, Hugo
    Abstract: This study analyses spatial competition in Germany’s raw milk market differentiating between cooperatives and investor-owned firms. We assess the impact of the own legal form and that of neighboring competitors on the pricing behavior. The focus of the empirical analysis is on the relations of space, measured as the average distance to competing neighbours, and raw milk prices. The results allow testing the shape of the relationship between price and space derived theoretically in the literature. For the south of Germany we find a negative relationship between space and raw milk price while for the north the relationship is positive. In both north and south the effect is stronger for cooperative compared to investor-owned firms. Further, we test for the competitive yardstick effect for which we find only small evidence in the south. The estimation is based on a data set covering all German dairies from 2001 to 2012 providing information on raw milk prices, processing quantities, legal and production form.
    Keywords: market power, imperfect competition, spatial competition, cooperatives, investor-owned firms, competitive yardstick, Agricultural and Food Policy,
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Pier Angelo Mori
    Abstract: Le cooperative di comunità che si stanno diffondendo in molte parti del mondo sono il punto di arrivo di un processo evolutivo che ha visto il progressivo spostamento del baricentro delle cooperative da particolari gruppi sociali e professionali alla società nel complesso. Questa evoluzione è contrassegnata da due principali eventi. Il primo si è verificato all’inizio del XIX secolo, allorché sono apparse le prime cooperative di comunità che servivano intere comunità. Un ulteriore cambiamento è avvenuto verso la fine del secolo scorso, con l’allargamento degli obiettivi delle cooperative fino ad abbracciare il benessere collettivo. Da questo processo evolutivo emergono quattro tipologie di cooperative che, considerate nel loro insieme, costituiscono una classificazione esaustiva dell’universo cooperativo, entro cui vanno collocate le cooperative di comunità. Il termine è relativamente nuovo e organizzazioni simili o identiche sono state denominate in modo diverso in tempi diversi. Inoltre, benché le nuove cooperative di comunità abbiano in comune alcune caratteristiche fondamentali, presentano marcate differenze al loro interno e rispetto alle forme anteriori. Per fare chiarezza, elaboriamo un nuovo concetto di cooperativa di comunità, coerente con l’evoluzione di questa forma organizzativa e con la classificazione generale delle cooperative. Gli elementi fondamentali del concetto sono i beni di comunità, il territorio e la cittadinanza, che vengono discussi dettagliatamente e con riferimenti a casi concreti. Quindi esaminiamo in cosa le nuove cooperative di comunità si differenziano da quelle storiche. Il lavoro si conclude con una breve discussione delle loro prospettive future.
    Keywords: Cooperative di comunità, partecipazione dei cittadini, servizi pubblici
    JEL: D21 H44 L33 P13
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Caroline de la Porte; Patrick Emmenegger
    Abstract: This Working Paper focuses on the impact of the directive on fixed-term work and the EU's Court of Justice (CJEU) case law concerning fixed-term work from 2007 and 2013. By doing so, this working paper develops an analytical framework to analyse the Europeanisation of labour law with an eye on the literature on labour-market dualisation.
    Keywords: Employment, EU legislation, Labour law
    Date: 2016–01
  7. By: Mariacristina Rossi; Eva Sierminska
    Abstract: In this paper we shall examine homeownership trends over the past 3 to 4 decades and discuss differences related to the homeownership gap for women and men, with a focus on most recent trends. We shall compare differences in the US to those in countries with different institutional structures and shall pay particular attention to differences across family types. Our estimation techniques will allow us to discuss the role of determinants from a gender perspective. We find that single women are better off than single men without children and a reverse trend exists in families with children. The general negative effect for women remains for younger cohorts in the face of risking homeownership. The latest crisis did not change the general long-running trend of the homeownership gap except for the US and France. The findings of this paper could provide an international perspective on differential homeownership rates among women and men, across countries and over time. Given that the value of one’s own home (home equity) is the largest financial reserve in a household’s wealth portfolio, it is important to have a better understanding of the differences resulting from gender and family types.
    Keywords: Housing, Wealth, Gender, homeownership, time trends
    JEL: D1 D3 R2 J1
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Sergio Nisticò (University of Cassino and Lazio Meridionale)
    Abstract: Hermann Heinrich Gossen (1810-1858) — a civil servant who, in 1854, published at his expense the book Entwickelung der Gesetze des menschlichen Verkehrs und der daraus fließenden Regeln für menschliches Handeln — has traditionally been considered a forerunner of the neoclassical theory of consumption based on the law of diminishing marginal utility. It is only with the long-awaited publication, in 1983, of the English translation of Gossen’s book, that his editor, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, started to see in The Laws of Human Relations and the Rules of Human Action Derived Therefrom the roots of a wholly different theory of consumption in which the flow of calendar time plays a crucial and non-trivial role. By going through the works of Jevons, Menger and Walras, the paper argues that the logical and theoretical connection between Gossen’s approach to consumption choices and the marginalist school is unwarranted. Theoretical connections, if any, can be found between Gossen and the classical economists on the one hand and the English ‘liberal’ tradition of John Stuart Mill and J.M. Keynes on the other.
    JEL: B13 D01
    Date: 2016–01
  9. By: Antonio Fici
    Abstract: Social enterprise lawmaking is a growth industry. In the United States alone, over the last few years, there has been a proliferation of state laws establishing specific legal forms for social enterprises. The situation is not different in Europe, where the process began much earlier than in the United States and today at least fifteen European Union member states have specific laws for social enterprise. This article will describe the current state of the legislation on social enterprise in Europe, inquiring into its fundamental role in the development of the social economy and its particular logics as distinct from those of the for-profit capitalistic economy. It will explore the models of social enterprise regulation that seem more consistent with the economic growth inspired by the paradigms of the social economy. It will finally explain why, in regulating and shaping social enterprise, the model of the social enterprise in the cooperative form is to be preferred to that of the social enterprise in the company form.
    Keywords: Social enterprise; Social economy; Cooperatives; Comparative law; Non-profit corporate governance
    JEL: K22 L31
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Irena Petrovic; Slobodan Cvejic
    Abstract: The phenomenon of ERTs (empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores) in Argentina has gained popularity since the financial crisis of 2001-2002. The resulting drastic drop in gross national product, the high inflation rates, and the increased rates of unemployment and poverty reflected serious weaknesses and limitations of neoliberal institutions in Argentina. This phenomenon was also determined by specific historical patterns, such as state interventionism, a long tradition of trade unionism and workers’ struggles, as well as a long and deep-rooted tradition of cooperativism. According to the latest survey (Ruggeri, 2014b), there are more than 300 ERTs in Argentina, employing over 13,000 workers. Data show that 95 per cent of ERTs are self-organized under the organizational and legal framework of worker cooperatives. This paper aims at providing a political, economic and social overview of the emergence and establishment of ERTs in Argentina over the past two decades. Moreover, the legal and institutional preconditions that significantly encourage, limit, and determine the scope of worker cooperatives, will be analyzed. In this analysis we will rely on the results of research on ERTs that has been done over the last 10 years, as well as on a historical analysis of the legal and institutional framework.
    Keywords: Argentina’s worker-recovered factories, Self-management, Employee participation, Labour managed firms, Labour movement, Trade union organization
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Özgür Orhangazi (Department of Economics, Kadir Has University, Istanbul)
    Abstract: Financial deregulation was a significant factor in preparing the conditions for the 2007-08 financial crisis. In the run up to the crisis, deregulation created an environment in which mortgage lending expanded and speculation in other financial markets were heightened, even though riskiness was steadily increasing. In this paper, I review the history of regulation and deregulation in the US and discuss the channels through which financial deregulation contributed to the 2007-08 crisis. I begin with a brief overview of the history of regulation and deregulation in the US economy. Then, I discuss the channels through which financial deregulation contributed to the financial crisis. I review policy suggestions of those who see financial deregulation as the main contributor of the financial crisis and provide a critical assessment of these, while broadly situating financial deregulation within the context of the broader changes in capitalism since early 1980s.
    Keywords: financial deregulation, financial crisis, financialization, Great Recession
    JEL: E6 G1
    Date: 2014–08–14
  12. By: Malcolm Sawyer (University of Leeds)
    Abstract: This paper considers three aspects of the euro zone crises. It begins by a discussion of the roles of current account imbalances and the pursuit of neo-mercantilist type policies particularly by Germany. It then moves on to the ways in which inequality has played a role in the crisis, and in particular the role of ‘structural reforms’ in the labour market and elsewhere as the perceived route out of crisis but which will likely generated further inequality. In the final main section some of the developments in the financial sector are related with the euro crisis.
    Keywords: Financialisation, inequality, labour market reforms, euro.
    JEL: F32 O15 J40
    Date: 2014–02–15
  13. By: Magali Jaoul-Grammare
    Abstract: Since the 1980s, equal opportunities were at the heart of all educational reforms and the fight against inequalities became the priority whether they are geographical, social or cultural. Starting from this point, the aim of this work is to analyze if the various reforms allowed a democratization of higher studies, especially with regard to prestigious courses. We use a multinomial logistic regression to compare the Cereq database Generation 1998 and 2010. Our results show that in spite of a reduction of some inequalities, access to various areas of higher education and more particularly access to prestigious and selective training courses, remains affected by inequalities, in particular by gender and social inequalities.
    Keywords: Access, France, Higher Education, Inequalities.
    JEL: C25 I24 I28
    Date: 2015

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