nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2011‒06‒25
thirteen papers chosen by
J. David Brown
Heriot-Watt University

  1. Assessing gas transit risks: Russia vs. the EU By Le Coq, Chloé; Paltseva, Elena
  2. College Degree Supply, Productivity Spillovers and Occupational Allocation of Graduates in Central European Countries By Anna Lovasz; Barbara Pertold-Gebicka
  3. Pension Reforms in Poland and Elsewhere: the View from Paris By Peter Jarrett
  4. Financial Efficiency and the Ownership of Czech Firms By Jan Hanousek; Evžen Kočenda; Michal Mašika
  6. Overseas Investments by Chinese National Oil Companies: Assessing the Drivers and Impacts By Julie Jiang; Jonathan Sinton
  7. Inequality and Public Policy: A Country Study for Bulgaria By Silviya Nikolova; Nikolay Markov; Boyko Nikolov; Nasko Dochev
  8. A Contribution to the Public-Private Wage Inequality Debate: The Iconic Case of Romania By Liviu Voinea; Flaviu Mihaescu
  9. Analiză privind performanţele sectorului de afaceri din România în contextul crizei economice mondiale By Rizea (Pirnea), Ionela Carmen
  10. Social Transformation and the Transition from Vocational Education to Work By Clemens Noelke; Daniel Horn
  11. The calendar regularity of earnings and volatility distribution on the Ukrainian stock market By Petrushchak, Bohdan
  12. Geography, Institutions and Principles. Bits and Pieces of Empirical Evidence from Small-scale Banking By Franz R. Hahn
  13. Assessing Development Strategies to Achieve the MDGs in Asia. Macroeconomic Strategies of MDG Achievement in the Kyrgyz Republic By Roman Mogilevsky; Anara Omorova

  1. By: Le Coq, Chloé (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics); Paltseva, Elena (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a Transit Risk Index (TRI) designed to assess the riskiness of pipeline gas imports and to study the effect of introducing new gas routes. TRI controls for gas dependency, transit route diversification, political risks of transit, pipeline rupture probability, and the balance of power between supplying and consuming countries along the transit route. Evaluating TRI for the EU-Russia gas trade, we show that the introduction of the Nord Stream pipeline would further widen already large disparities in gas risk exposure across the EU Member States. The gas risk exposure of the Member States served by Nord Stream would decline. In contrast, EU countries not connected to Nord Stream, but sharing other Russian gas transit routes with the Nord Stream countries, would face greater gas risk exposure. We discuss the implications of our analysis for the design of the common energy policy in the EU.
    Keywords: Gas transit risk; Index; Security of supply; Nord Stream; Common Energy Policy
    JEL: C80 Q40 Q48
    Date: 2011–06–03
  2. By: Anna Lovasz (Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Barbara Pertold-Gebicka (School of Economics and Management Aarhus University)
    Abstract: Public funding drives much of the recent growth of college degree supply in Europe, but few indicators are available to assess its optimal level. In this paper, we investigate an indicator of college skills usage - the fraction of college graduates employed in "college" occupations. Gottschalk and Hansen (2003) propose to identify "college" occupations based on withinoccupation college wage premia; we build on their strategy to study the local-labor-market relationship between the share of college graduates in the population and the use of college skills. Empirical results based on worker-level data from NUTS-4 districts in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia suggest a positive relationship, thus supporting the presence of an endogenous influence of the number of skilled workers on the demand for them.
    Keywords: education, labor demand, college degree supply, occupational allocation, productivity spillovers
    JEL: I28 J24
    Date: 2011–04
  3. By: Peter Jarrett
    Abstract: Recently several countries, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, have at least partially reversed their earlier moves towards compulsory defined-contribution schemes. This paper concentrates on Poland, which just reduced contributions going to the mandatory second pillar from 7.3 to 2.3% of earnings with that amount diverted to the public pension regime (ZUS). Trying to solve the problem of public finance sustainability by radically shrinking the second tier of the pension system has obvious costs in terms of poverty among old-age pensioners. Their incomes will fall sharply relative to those of working-age population. Partially reversing pension reform will also cost Poland in terms of risk spreading and capital market development. It will also undermine the population’s trust in the system. There is no alternative for achieving public finance sustainability but to restrain current spending and/or raise taxes. The pensionable age should be raised further (probably to 70 by mid-century), even in the general scheme, to deal with the long-run demographic challenge and be equalized across the two sexes. The authorities should move to unify pension provision systems, in particular by phasing out the farmers’ regime (KRUS) and making pensions for miners and others with special regimes closer to actuarially neutral.
    Keywords: pension system, pension reform, pension adequacy, pension funds, retirement age, replacement age, Poland
    JEL: G23 H55 J26
    Date: 2011–06
  4. By: Jan Hanousek; Evžen Kočenda (Osteuropa-Institut, Regensburg (Institut for East European Studies)); Michal Mašika
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the evolution of firm financial efficiency in the Czech Repub-lic. Using a large panel of more than 400,000 Czech firm/years we study whether firms fully utilize their resources, how firm financial efficiency evolves over time, and how firm financial efficiency is determined by ownership structure. We employ a panel ver-sion of a stochastic production frontier model for the period 1996–2007 with time-invariant efficiency. We differentiate among various degrees of ownership concentra-tion and their domestic or foreign origin. In a two-stage set-up we estimate the degree of firm inefficiency and then we estimate the effect of ownership structure on the distance from the efficiency frontier. Our results support the hypothesis that concentration and foreign ownership are positively related to financial efficiency.
    Keywords: financial efficiency, ownership structure, firms, panel data, stochastic frontier
    JEL: C33 D24 G32 L60 L80 M21
    Date: 2011–05
  5. By: Anping Chen (School of Economics, Jinan University); Nicolaas Groenewold (UWA Business School, The University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: Inter-regional disparities in China have been an important concern for central-government policy-makers for most of the past 60 years. One of the main policy instruments for redressing the balance between the prosperous coastal region and the poorer inland region has been the allocation of investment spending. Yet there is little empirical work evaluating the response of disparities to changes in the regional distribution of investment. We help fill this gap and analyse the two-way relationship between these variables within a VAR/VECM framework, the results of which we tentatively interpret in terms of a simple demand model. We find, surprisingly, that changes in the regional allocation of investment have only a modest positive effect on inter-regional output disparities while the effect in the opposite direction is also positive but much larger. The effects of investment on output are larger, though, for the post-1978 period. We find our overall results to be robust to numerous variations in variable definition.
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Julie Jiang; Jonathan Sinton
    Abstract: This report examines inaccuracies in some commonly held views of China's National Oil Companies (NOCs). Until now, there has been little analysis to test the widely held presumption that these companies act under the instructions and in close co-ordination with the Chinese government. Nor have critics been challenged on the validity of their concerns about investments made by these NOCs, and how they could be blocking supplies of oil for other importing countries.<p>The IEA analysis, however, finds that contrary to these views, the NOCs actually operate with a high degree of independence from the Chinese government, and their investments have in fact largely boosted global supplies of oil and gas, which other importers rely on.
    Date: 2011–02
  7. By: Silviya Nikolova; Nikolay Markov; Boyko Nikolov; Nasko Dochev
    Abstract: This paper is an attempt for measuring the impact of public policy on the inequality in Bulgaria. An analysis based on the Bulgarian Household Budget Surveys shows that the tax burden in Bulgaria, nevertheless increasing in the upper quintiles, declined between the beginning of the transition period and the year before the EU accession. Using different inequality measures we have found that despite the limited possibilities of the data, taxation policies also contribute to some extend to inequality reduction in Bulgaria. As regards the social transfers, unemployment benefits and child allowances are found to be the main social payments reducing the inequality among Bulgarian households. Using quantile regression is found that the coefficients of the effective tax rates increase across the quintiles for the entire period. The coefficients associated with the share of VAT expenditures in the total income decrease as one moves from the lowest to the highest quintile of the consumption distribution.
    Date: 2011–05
  8. By: Liviu Voinea; Flaviu Mihaescu
    Abstract: This paper studies the public-private wage inequality in Romania. Although public sector employment is perceived as safer and offers more benefits, we find that in Romania it also offers higher wages, after controlling for experience, education, and gender. Decomposing the public-private wage premium into the effect of personal characteristics, coefficients, and residuals, we show that only about half of this premium can be attributed to personal characteristics. The premium is increasing across the wage distribution, leading to more inequality in the public sector. We also find the effects of self-selection are negligible, the premium being still positive and significant after controlling for this.
    Keywords: Romania, wage premium, public sector
    JEL: J45 J31 J24
    Date: 2011–05
  9. By: Rizea (Pirnea), Ionela Carmen
    Abstract: Economists argue that the SME sector is the most important Romanian economy and also the only sector that can bring economic recovery. The entrepreneurs are the key to economic recovery and stimulates the enhancement of SMEs to contribute to ensuring economic growth resources in difficult times. Paper aims to reflect the impact of global economic crisis on the number of SME development in Romania. The article is based on an analysis of research conducted by the Doing Business Report 2010, at the level of 183 countries worldwide. Article highlights the performance of the business environment in Romania, according to Romania's position on the indicators evaluated in the league.
    Keywords: performance; economic crisis; SMEs; indicator
    JEL: L25
    Date: 2011–05–09
  10. By: Clemens Noelke (Department of Sociology, Harvard University); Daniel Horn (Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Social research has long pointed to the apparent effectiveness of vocational education and training (VET) at the secondary level combining school-based vocational education with employer-provided training (so called "dual systems") in preparing non-college bound youth for the labor market. This study uses the Hungarian transformation process to better understand what makes dual system VET sustainable and effective. The two key questions we address are: Can employer involvement in dual system VET be sustained in the context of liberal labor market reforms? Is employer involvement required for the effectiveness of VET? Hungary had inherited an extensive dual system VET sector, but the liberal reform approach in the course of transformation has created a hostile environment for voluntary employer provision of training places for VET students. The decline in employer-provided training places has, however, been compensated by increasing training provision inside vocational schools. Results from differences-in-differences and triple-differences analyses show that the substitution of employer- with school-provided training did not affect the quality of VET graduates' jobs. However, the shift in training provision between 1994 and 2000 alone has raised young male VET graduates unemployment rate by 10 percentage points in the first year after graduation.
    Keywords: school to work transition, VET, on-the-job training
    JEL: I21 J24 J64
    Date: 2011–05
  11. By: Petrushchak, Bohdan
    Abstract: The theoretical aspects of calendar effects and anomalies on the Ukrainian stock market and the empirical evidences of monthly returns and volatility of PFTS-index are examined. A strong evidence of a calendar effect i.e. December effect on Ukrainian PFTS exchange was found. It can be explained due to the cyclical character of some industries, cyclical shares, calendar character of exchange rate fluctuations and self-fulfilling prophecies of investors.
    Keywords: Calendar effects; December effect; stock market anomalies; volatility and rate of return of PFTS-Index; self-fulfilling prophecies; cyclical shares; Календарні ефекти та аномалії фондового ринку; ефект Грудня; дохідність та волатильність індексу ПФТС; передбаченння, які самореалізуються; циклічні акції;
    JEL: G14 D84 G11 G15 G00
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Franz R. Hahn (WIFO)
    Abstract: Theory suggests that the cross-border bank lending flow from rich countries to poor countries is facilitated when lending-related legal and social norms are shared and valued equally by both lenders and borrowers. According to this reasoning the fast adoption of Western-style democracy and market economy principles as established by EU standards by many of the East European "transformation countries" since the early 1990s should have raised cross-border lending by banks based in EU 15 countries to clients resident in new East European EU member countries. Exploring cross-border lending activities of Austrian small- to medium-sized regional banks over the period from 1995 to 2008 with panel and spatial econometric techniques this paper provides evidence that is supportive of this presumption.
    Keywords: panel econometric analysis, spatial econometric analysis, cross-border bank lending, institutions, neoclassical economics
    Date: 2011–04–04
  13. By: Roman Mogilevsky; Anara Omorova
    Abstract: The paper aims at analyzing macroeconomic and financial strategies, which are to ensure achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Kyrgyz Republic. The paper is based on results of simulations generated through the application of standard MAMS, a computable general equilibrium model adjusted to the country situation and calibrated with data of Kyrgyzstan. MAMS-model-based simulation results indicate that a continuation of the current policies under the baseline scenario would allow for achieving MDG1 (poverty reduction) only; the country would fall short of the targets for other MDGs. In order to achieve all MDGs, the country needs to increase government spending on MDG-relevant sectors (education, health, water and sanitation) by 7.8-8.1% of GDP per annum in comparison to the baseline scenario. The scenario that combines increased taxes and aid inflows seems to be the most realistic, but it would still require very substantial increases in tax collections and grant aid. The situation is going to be easier, if the economic growth rates 2011-2015 would be higher than 7% per annum. This is possible, if the government would be more successful in implementation of structural reforms, FDI and private domestic investments attraction and mobilization of resources for infrastructure development. Another possible way out is a substantial increase in government spending efficiency allowing for receiving higher social returns for money spent.
    Keywords: CGE model, Kyrgyzstan, macroeconomic policies, Millennium Development Goals
    JEL: D58 E61 E62 H50 H51 H52 H54 H6 I1 I2 O11 O15 O53
    Date: 2011

This nep-tra issue is ©2011 by J. David Brown. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.