nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2020‒06‒15
eight papers chosen by
Maksym Obrizan
Kyiv School of Economics

  1. Productivity and Competitiveness of the Western Balkan countries: An Analysis Based on the wiiw Western Balkan Productivity Database By Oliver Reiter; Monika Schwarzhappel; Robert Stehrer
  2. Courts as Monitoring Agents: The Case of China By Dong, Xiaoge; Voigt, Stefan
  3. How to Deal with a Coronavirus Economic Recession? By Popov, Vladimir
  4. How do pesticide retailers recommend pesticides to farmers in rural China? By Li, Zhongju; Hu, Ruifa; Zhang, Chao; Xiong, Yankun; Chen, Kevin
  5. Ex Ante Inequality of Opportunity in Health among the Elderly in China: A Distributional Decomposition Analysis of Biomarkers By Ding, Lanlin; Jones, Andrew M.; Nie, Peng
  6. Why wealth inequality differs between post-socialist countries? By Michał Brzeziński; Katarzyna Sałach
  7. Hometown favoritism and the quality of government monitoring: Evidence from rotation of Chinese auditor By Jian Chu; Raymond Fisman; Songtao Tan; Yongxiang Wang
  8. Institutional trading in volatile markets: evidence from Chinese stock markets By Julia Darby; Hai Zhang; Jinkai Zhang

  1. By: Oliver Reiter (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Monika Schwarzhappel (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Robert Stehrer (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: This policy brief provides results regarding productivity levels and dynamics in the Western Balkan countries in a comparative perspective, drawing on the newly established wiiw Western Balkan Productivity Database. We construct this database from data obtained from the national statistical institutes of the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia). The database provides time series of value added, gross output and intermediate inputs as well as labour productivity and unit labour costs. We present the most important indicators comparing productivity performance of the Western Balkan countries with Bulgaria and Romania (which became EU Members in 2007) and Croatia (which became an EU Member in 2013).
    Keywords: Productivity, unit labour costs, Western Balkan countries, accession
    JEL: E01 O11 O40 O47
    Date: 2020–06
  2. By: Dong, Xiaoge; Voigt, Stefan
    Abstract: This paper shows that courts are not only a crucial part of the rule of law in the conventional sense but that they can also serve an important function in revealing information regarding the performance of lower level governments to the central government, and thereby improve their performance. After having developed a general argument in that vein, the recent reforms to the Chinese court system are partially interpreted as an attempt to make the courts monitoring agents of the central government. Based on primary data from more than 1,000 Chinese local courts, the argument is tested empirically and its hypotheses are largely confirmed.
    Keywords: Court system of China,court reforms,courts-as-information-providers,courts as monitoring agents
    JEL: H11 H77 K40 N45 P21 P37
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Popov, Vladimir
    Abstract: 2020 world economic downturn associated with the restrictions intended to fight COVID-19 pandemic is a structural recession caused by adverse supply shock. It is similar to recessions caused (or aggravated) by post war conversion of defense industries, by oil price shocks (1973, 1979, 2007), and by the transition to the market in post-communist countries in the 1990s (transformational recession). Whereas traditional Keynesian policy (absorption of adverse supply shock by means of expansionary fiscal and monetary policy) can help, best results are achieved by government industrial policies promoting restructuring – transferring resources (capital and labor) from the contracting industries to the expanding. The experience of China and some other East Asian countries that seem to be more successful in overcoming the coronavirus recession provides additional evidence.
    Keywords: Structural recession, adverse supply shock, demand shock, conventional Keynesian response to recession,restructuring, industrial policy
    JEL: E32 E6 O25 P20 P51
    Date: 2020–05–18
  4. By: Li, Zhongju; Hu, Ruifa; Zhang, Chao; Xiong, Yankun; Chen, Kevin
    Abstract: Using survey data from 242 pesticide retailers, this study attempts to uncover how pesticide retailers in China make recommendations to farmers and identify influencing factors on those recommendations. Our data include a total of 586 recommendations to farmers about pesticide use from the 242 retailers. The study finds that, among approximate one quarter of the recommendations, the recommended types of pesticides cannot control the insects and diseases that affect farmers’ crops. Retailers typically recommend pesticide overuse more than appropriate use or underuse of pesticides. The Probit estimation results illustrates that government inspection, years in doing business, and information from government agricultural extension institutions are positively associated with the likelihood of retailers recommending the correct use of pesticide, while participation in technology training organized by pesticide firms reduces the likelihood of retailers recommending the correct use of pesticides. Furthermore, there is a positive association between having relatives who are pesticide retailers and the likelihood of retailers making recommendations of pesticide underuse, while there are negative associations between both being registered with the authorities and years in doing business with the likelihood of retailers making recommendations of pesticide overuse. Retailers in township seats and villages tend to recommend wrong pesticide types and excessive amounts of pesticides to farmers. Policy implications of the findings are then discussed.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Farm Management
    Date: 2020–07
  5. By: Ding, Lanlin; Jones, Andrew M. (University of York); Nie, Peng (Xi’an Jiaotong University)
    Abstract: We present a comprehensive analysis of ex ante inequality of opportunity (IOp) in health among Chinese adults aged 60+ and decompose the contributions of different sets of circumstances. Data are drawn from the 2011 and 2015 waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) linked with the 2014 CHARLS Life History Survey. We use a range of blood-based biomarkers, and apply a re-centered influence function (RIF) approach and a Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition to partition the contribution of circumstances across different quantiles of the biomarker distributions. We find that IOp accounts for between 3.75% and 29.57% of total health inequality in old age across the range of biomarkers. Shapley-Shorrocks decompositions show that spatial circumstances such as urban/rural residence and province of residence are the dominant determinants of IOp for most of the biomarkers. Distributional decompositions further reveal that the relative contributions to IOp in health of household socioeconomic status and health and nutrition conditions in childhood increase towards the right tails of the distribution for most of the biomarkers, where the clinical risk is focused.
    Keywords: biomarkers, CHARLS, China, inequality of opportunity, Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition, unconditional quantile regressions
    JEL: D63 I12 I14
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: Michał Brzeziński (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Katarzyna Sałach (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: We provide the first attempt to understand how differences in households’ socio-demographic and economic characteristics account for disparities in wealth inequality between five post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. We use 2013/2014 data from the second wave of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) and the reweighted Oaxaca-Blinder-like decompositions based on recentered influence function (RIF) regressions. Our results show that the differences in homeownership rates account for up to 42% of the difference in wealth inequality measured with the Gini index and for as much as 63-109% in case of the P50/P25 percentile ratio. Differences in homeownership rates are related to alternative designs of housing tax policies but could be also driven by other factors. We correct for the problem of the ‘missing rich’ in household surveys by calibrating the HFCS survey weights to top wealth shares adjusted using wealth data from national rich lists. Empirically, the correction procedure strengthens the importance of homeownership rates in accounting for cross-country wealth inequality differences, which suggests that our results are not sensitive to the significant underestimation of top wealth observations in the HFCS.
    Keywords: wealth inequality, decomposition, recentered influence function (RIF) regressions, survey weight calibration, Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), post-socialist transition, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), housing, homeownership, missing rich
    JEL: D31 D63 P36
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Jian Chu (Nanjing University); Raymond Fisman (Boston University); Songtao Tan (Renmin University of China); Yongxiang Wang (University of Southern California, Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai)
    Abstract: Audits are a standard mechanism for reducing corruption in government investments. The quality of audits themselves, however, may be affected by relationships between auditor and target. We study whether provincial chief auditors in China show greater leniency in evaluating prefecture governments in their hometowns. In city-fixed-effect specifications – in which the role of shared background is identified from auditor turnover – we show that hometown auditors find 38 percent less in questionable monies. This hometown effect is similar throughout the auditor’s tenure, and is diminished for audits ordered by the provincial Organizations Department as a result of the departure of top city officials. We argue that our findings are most readily explained by favoritism rather than an endogenous response by local officials to concerns of better enforcement by hometown auditors. We complement these city-level findings with firm-level analyses of earnings manipulation by state-owned enterprises via real activity manipulation (a standard measure from the accounting literature), which we show is higher under hometown auditors.
    Keywords: Social Ties, Audit quality, State-owned enterprise, Government investment, China
    JEL: D73 G3 M42 H83
    Date: 2020–02
  8. By: Julia Darby (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde); Hai Zhang (Department of Accountanty & Finance, University of Strathclyde); Jinkai Zhang (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: We investigate daily stock returns of all firms listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges over the period 2010-2017. Using daily cash flow data on the largest category of trades by value we construct a proxy for institutional trading and demonstrate that institutional trading behaviour consistently destabilizes both markets on extreme market movement days. We go on to highlight the conflating influence of regulator imposed daily limits to individual stocks’ price movements. Specifically, showing that when large institutional trades coincide with upper (lower) price limits being hit on extreme days, the prices of affected stocks continue to increase (decrease) significantly in subsequent days, such that institutional trades on extreme days help predict subsequent abnormal returns. While there is some evidence of longer-run price reversal after stocks hit the lower price limits, this is not the case when upper limits are hit. We conclude that binding price limits act to exacerbate the destabilising effects of institutional trading in Chinese stock markets.
    Keywords: extreme market swings, price limits, cash flow, institutional trading behaviour
    JEL: G11 G12 G13 G14 G28
    Date: 2019–09

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