nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2017‒12‒03
eleven papers chosen by
J. David Brown
United States Census Bureau

  1. From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 By Novokmet, Filip; Piketty, Thomas; Zucman, Gabriel
  2. Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978-2015 By Piketty, Thomas; Yang, Li; Zucman, Gabriel
  3. How Beliefs Influence Behavior: Confucianism and Innovation in China By Feng, Xunan; Jin, Zhi; Johansson, Anders C.
  4. Determinants of Households’ Recycling Behaviour – Evidence from China By Zhujie Chu; Laura Meriluoto; Kuntal Das; Ying Li; Bolin Chen
  5. Education gradient in well-being late in life: the case of China By Agar Brugiavini; Danilo Cavapozzi; Yao Pan
  6. Did the Exchange Rate Floor Prevent Deflation in the Czech Republic? By Francesca G Caselli
  7. Firm Survival in New EU Member States By Baumöhl, Eduard; Iwasaki, Ichiro; Kočenda, Evžen
  8. Western Balkans: Increasing Women's Role in the Economy By Ruben V Atoyan; Jesmin Rahman
  9. Product Sophistication and the Slowdown in Chinese Export Growth By Mark Kruger; Walter Steingress; Sri Thanabalasingam
  10. Temperature Effects on Productivity and Factor Reallocation: Evidence from a Half Million Chinese Manufacturing Plants By Peng Zhang; Olivier Deschenes; Kyle C. Meng; Junjie Zhang
  11. Corporate Governance System and Regional Heterogeneity: Evidence from East and West Russia By Iwasaki, Ichiro

  1. By: Novokmet, Filip; Piketty, Thomas; Zucman, Gabriel
    Abstract: This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.
    Date: 2017–10
  2. By: Piketty, Thomas; Yang, Li; Zucman, Gabriel
    Abstract: This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in China over the 1978-2015 period. We find that the aggregate national wealth-income ratio has increased from 350% in 1978 to 700% in 2015. This can be accounted for by a combination of high saving and investment rates and a gradual rise in relative asset prices, reflecting changes in the legal system of property. The share of public property in national wealth has declined from about 70% in 1978 to 30% in 2015, which is still a lot higher than in rich countries (close to 0% or negative). Next, we provide sharp upward revision of official inequality estimates. The top 10% income share rose from 27% to 41% of national income between 1978 and 2015, while the bottom 50% share dropped from 27% to 15%. China's inequality levels used to be close to Nordic countries and are now approaching U.S. levels.
    Date: 2017–10
  3. By: Feng, Xunan (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics); Jin, Zhi (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics); Johansson, Anders C. (Stockholm China Economic Research Institute)
    Abstract: Previous studies have studied how religious beliefs may affect economic activity. We extend this literature by examining how Confucianism is linked to innovative activities at the firm level in China. We analyze the relationship between Confucianism and several proxies for inputs and outputs of innovative activities. Our results show that Confucianism is significantly related to lower levels of innovative activities regardless of which measure for firm-level innovation we use. We also find that type of ultimate ownership influences this relationship, with innovation among state-controlled firms being significantly more affected by Confucianism. This study thus adds to the understanding of how traditional belief systems influence behavior at the firm level.
    Keywords: Confucianism; Beliefs; Religion; Innovation; R&D; Patents; China
    JEL: O30 Z10
    Date: 2017–11–16
  4. By: Zhujie Chu; Laura Meriluoto (University of Canterbury); Kuntal Das (University of Canterbury); Ying Li; Bolin Chen
    Abstract: China’s rapid rates of urbanization and income growth have led to a rapid escalation of domestic solid waste accumulated in landfills. Various policies have been adopted by the municipal governments to improve incentives for recycling in an attempt to reduce solid waste accumulation, but the effects of these efforts appear to have been mixed. The aim of this paper is to gain further understanding of the factors that influence households’ recycling behaviour. We administered a survey to residents of Harbin city in the north-eastern China to measure their recycling frequency as well as their understanding of and attitudes towards household solid waste management. We find that knowledge and attitude about household waste management explain recycling behaviour well but that attitudes about government involvement and feeling of peer pressure do not. We find strong evidence that higher education is linked to higher frequency of recycling, weak evidence that age has a positive but diminishing effect on recycling and that income has a negative effect on recycling, and no evidence that gender affects recycling.
    Keywords: Household solid waste; recycling; survey
    JEL: Q01 Q53
    Date: 2017–11–01
  5. By: Agar Brugiavini (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Danilo Cavapozzi (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari; Netspar); Yao Pan (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: We draw data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study(CHARLS)to investigate the education gradient in the current well-being of a representative sample of the Chinese population aged 45 or over. We analyse how the education gradient combines with the marked differences in the social policies implemented in rural and urban China.
    Keywords: Education, multidimensional well-being index, rural and urban China
    JEL: J14 I31 I24
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Francesca G Caselli
    Abstract: To fight deflationary pressures at the zero lower bound, in November 2013, the Czech National Bank (CNB) introduced a one-sided floor on the exchange rate, as an additional monetary policy instrument. This paper investigates the impact of the FX floor on inflation in the Czech Republic, by comparing actual inflation with counterfactuals in the absence of the exchange rate floor. Three different empirical strategies are implemented: an event study, difference-in-difference regressions and a synthetic control method. The empirical results provide evidence that the exchange rate floor was effective in fighting deflationary pressures and prevented inflation from going into negative territory. The magnitude of the effect ranges between 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points. The results are robust to different econometric specifications.
    Keywords: Foreign exchange;Czech Republic;Europe;Foreign exchange intervention;Central banks and their policies;exchange rate, synthetic control method
    Date: 2017–09–20
  7. By: Baumöhl, Eduard; Iwasaki, Ichiro; Kočenda, Evžen
    Abstract: We analyze firm survival determinants in four new European Union member states (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia). We employ the Cox proportional hazards model on firm-level data over the period of 2006–2015. We show that less concentrated control of large shareholders, higher solvency, and more board directors are linked with increased probability of firm survival in all four countries. However, an excessive number of board directors shows a detrimental effect. Firms with foreign owners and higher returns on their assets exhibit better survival chances. On the other hand, larger firms and those hiring international auditors show lower probabilities of survival. A number of determinants specifically influence firm survival in different ways across countries. This fact emphasizes that differences in business conditions are important when studying firm survival.
    Keywords: firm survival, new EU member states, survival and exit determinants, hazards model, panel data
    JEL: D22 G01 G33 G34 P34
    Date: 2017–10
  8. By: Ruben V Atoyan; Jesmin Rahman
    Abstract: The Western Balkan countries have some of the lowest female labor force participation and employment rates across Europe. Almost two-thirds of working age women in the region are either inactive or unemployed: a huge bite into human capital for a region that endures high emigration and faces declining working age population. The paper uses both macro- and micro-level data to explore what explains low participation and employment rates among women in the region. Our findings show that improving educational attainment, having a more balanced family leave policy, and reducing tax wedge help improve participation of women in the labor force. However, these measures are not enough to notably improve employability of women, which require stronger growth supported by robust institutions.
    Date: 2017–09–01
  9. By: Mark Kruger; Walter Steingress; Sri Thanabalasingam
    Abstract: Chinese real export growth decelerated considerably during the last decade. This paper argues that the slowdown largely resulted from China moving to a more sophisticated mix of exports: China produced more sophisticated goods over which it had pricing power instead of producing greater volumes of less sophisticated products. Indeed, we show that the share of highly sophisticated products in Chinese exports increased steadily over time and that Chinese exports became less price sensitive, suggesting increased pricing power. Further, a decomposition of China’s market share gains shows that China continues to gain market share despite exporting products with higher-than-average world prices. China’s continuous gain in global export market share suggests that its export machine is far from broken.
    Keywords: Development economics, Exchange rates, International topics
    JEL: F14 F17 O10
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Peng Zhang; Olivier Deschenes; Kyle C. Meng; Junjie Zhang
    Abstract: This paper uses detailed production data from a half million Chinese manufacturing plants over 1998-2007 to estimate the effects of temperature on firm-level total factor productivity (TFP), factor inputs, and output. We detect an inverted U-shaped relationship between temperature and TFP and show that it primarily drives the temperature-output effect. Both labor- and capital- intensive firms exhibit sensitivity to high temperatures. By mid 21st century, if no additional adaptation were to occur, we project that climate change will reduce Chinese manufacturing output annually by 12%, equivalent to a loss of $39.5 billion in 2007 dollars. This implies substantial local and global economic consequences as the Chinese manufacturing sector produces 32% of national GDP and supplies 12% of global exports.
    JEL: L60 O14 O44 Q54 Q56
    Date: 2017–11
  11. By: Iwasaki, Ichiro
    Abstract: Using a unique firm-level dataset obtained from a large-scale questionnaire survey conducted in late 2015, we examined the generality and heterogeneity of corporate governance systems between the eastern and western regions of Russia. The survey results strongly suggest that various characteristics of corporate governance systems observed in industrial firms and listed companies are, in fact, common and long-term trends that are seen across all Russian business sectors. At the same time, however, we also found pronounced regional heterogeneity between the eastern and western regions, with companies in the east being more reluctant than those in the west to introduce a governance system to monitor and supervise top management. Regression analysis shows that this finding is robust, even after a series of firm-level attributes are simultaneously controlled for.
    Keywords: corporate governance system, legal form of incorporation, board of directors, audit system, regional heterogeneity, Russia
    JEL: D22 G34 L22 M42 P25 P31
    Date: 2017–11

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