[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The euro area is experiencing a severe and highly complex crisis. It comprises three problem areas, the difficulties of some highly indebted European sovereigns to ascertain funding at palatable cost, the disconcerting fragility of the European banking system and disappointing growth prospects in the euro area periphery. To make matters even worse, these problems have developed into a systemic crisis of the European Monetary Union (EMU), since observers have apparently developed fundamental doubts over its integrity. To overcome this systemic crisis, it would not be sufficient, if only the stronger euro area economies provided more solidarity, nor would it be sufficient, if only all of Europe adhered to ironclad budgetary discipline from now on. A European Redemption Pact could be a strong political commitment to the EMU and offer a bridge between the proponents of fiscal discipline and structural reform and those governments advocating for more support. This pact would entail two indispensable aspects, the codification of a credible and coherent reform path and a temporary and limited instrument for joint refinancing.
International Tax and Public Finance 03/2013; · 0.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In spite of its importance for civil society, we know relatively little about the way in which individuals spend their time and money in the charitable provision of goods and services. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive picture of the philanthropic behavior in Europe by analyzing both, the correlates of individuals' charitable cash donations and volunteer labor as well as their interdependence. Using data from the European Social Survey, we document a positive correlation between time and money contributions on the individual as well as on the country level. In addition, we find evidence that individuals substitute time donations by money donations as their time offered to the market increases. Moreover, analyzing philanthropic behavior on the disaggregated level reveals large differences in the determinants and the relationship of time and money donations in Europe – both across different types of voluntary organizations and across different welfare regimes.
European Journal of Political Economy 01/2013; 32(4):80-94. · 1.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Along with the oil price, concerns about the security of energy supply have soared once again in recent years. Yet, some 40 years after the OPEC oil embargo in 1973, there is no widely accepted statistical measure that captures the notion of energy security. Most likely, this deficit is the result of the great variety of resource economic aspects that are of potential relevance. This paper develops a statistical risk indicator that aims at characterizing the physical energy supply vulnerability of nations that are heavily dependent on energy imports. Our risk indicator condenses the empirical information on the imports of the whole range of fossil fuels, originating from a multitude of export countries, as well as data on their indigenous contribution to domestic energy supply, into a single figure. Applying the proposed concept to energy data on Germany and the U.S. (1980–2007), we find that there is a large gap in the supply risks between both countries, with Germany suffering much more from a tight energy supply situation today than the U.S.
The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance 01/2013;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We provide evidence that motorists respond to short-run fluctuations in fuel prices at the gas pump and not on the road. Employing variants of censored panel regression to control for unobserved heterogeneity and censoring of the dependent variable, we find that the fuel price has a large and negative impact on the quantity of fuel purchased, but no significant impact on the subsequent distance driven per day until the next refill. Over the short-run, drivers thus appear to cope with high fuel prices by adjusting fuel purchases with each visit to the filling station, but without altering their daily mileage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on multivariate linear regression models, we analyze the effect of the lunar cycle and the number of sunspots occurring on a particular day on the number of births using social security data and controlling for a number of other potential confounders. The daily numbers of births between 1920 and 1989 have been calculated from the full sample of individuals who have been registered at least once in the German social security system. While the lunar cycle does not affect the number of births, the number of sunspots is positively correlated to the number of births. The empirical results may be explained by medical technological progress making natural influences on births less important over time. This interpretation is supported by the results on the intertemporal influence of weekends and holidays on the frequency of daily births.
Economics and human biology 12/2012; · 2.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper contributes to the analysis of policy measures that attempt to reduce health care expenditures of insurers. We examine the impact of a cash bonus program for preventive health behavior of a German health insurer on prevention effort and health care expenditures using a unique administrative dataset that covers all insurants of the health insurer between 2003 and 2008. We find that the program has been successful in both increasing individual prevention effort and achieving net savings every year since its implementation in 2004. However, while the estimated effect on health care expenditures is statistically significant in the first year, the effects for the second, third, and fourth years turn insignificant. In the fifth year, results for net savings are sensitive in terms of statistical significance when accounting for dynamic selection into the treatment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We identify the causal effect of compulsory military service on conscripts' subsequent labor-market outcomes by exploiting the regression-discontinuity design of the military draft in Germany during the 1950s. Unbiased estimates of military service on lifetime earnings, wages, and employment are obtained by comparing men born before July 1, 1937 (the "White Cohort") who were exempted from compulsory military service to men who were born on or shortly after this threshold date and hence faced a positive probability of being drafted. We find that the putative earnings advantage and wage premium of those who served in the armed forces vanish when selection effects are taken into account.
European Economic Review 09/2012; 56(4):814-829. · 1.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article revisits an analysis by Frondel, Ritter and Schmidt (2008) of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act, which legislates a system of feed-in tariff s to promote the use of renewable energies. As in the original article, we argue that Germany’s support scheme subsidizes renewable energy technologies not based on their long-term market potential, but rather on their relative lack of competitiveness, with the photovoltaics (PV) technology enjoying high feed-in tariffs, currently over double those of onshore wind. The result is explosive costs with little to show for either environmental or employment benefits. Indeed, we document that the immense costs foreseen by Frondel and colleagues have materialized: Our updated estimate of the subsidies for PV, at 100 Bn €, exceeds their expectations by about 60%. Moreover, with installed PV capacities growing at a rapid rate, these costs will continue to accumulate, diverting resources from more cost-effective climate protection instruments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We test whether financial incentives have an effect on weight reduction in a randomized controlled trial involving 700 obese persons assigned to three experimental groups. While two treatment groups obtain €150 and €300, respectively, for achieving an individually assigned target weight within four months, a control group receives no such premium. The results indicate that the weight losses for the treatment groups are 2.6 and 2.9 percentage points higher than that achieved by the control group, raising the average total weight loss for the incentivized groups to 5 percent of the initial weight. This percentage is typically regarded as a threshold to improve the health status of the obese. Further evidence indeed indicates some health improvements. The higher reward causes only the group of obese women to lose more weight. Overall, the results suggest that financial incentives can motivate people to lose weight significantly.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is a consensus in the international community that rural electrification and, in particular, the productive use of electricity contributes to poverty alleviation. At the same time, efforts to evaluate the impacts of development projects have increased substantially. This paper provides a hands-on guide for designing evaluation studies regarding the impacts of productive electricity usage. Complementary to the existing literature on evaluation methods, this guide familiarizes project managers with the concrete steps that have to be undertaken to plan and implement an evaluation. The guide comprises three modules based on enterprise surveys and on anecdotal case studies. For each module, the implementation is described on a step-by-step basis including conceptual issues as well as logistics and methodological questions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper considers the role of ownership form for the financial sustainability of German acute care hospitals over time. We measure financial sustainability by a hospital-specific yearly probability of default (PD) trying to mirror the ability of hospitals to survive in the market in the long run. The results show that private ownership is associated with significantly lower PDs than public ownership. Moreover, path dependence in the PD is substantial but far from 100%, indicating a large number of improvements and deteriorations in financial sustainability over time. Yet, the general public hospitals have the highest path dependence. Overall, this indicates that public hospitals, which are in a poor financial standing, remain in that state or even deteriorate over time, which may be conflicting with financial sustainability.
Health Economics 06/2011; 21(7):811-24. · 2.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compulsory military service typically drafts young men when they are at the height of their learning ability. Thus, it can be expected to depress the demand for higher education since skill atrophy and the delayed entry into the civilian labor market reduce the returns to human-capital investments. Attending university, however, might open the possibility to avoid the draft, leading to an increase in the demand for tertiary education. To estimate the causal effect of conscription on the probability to obtain a university degree, we use a regression-discontinuity design that employs special regulations associated with the introduction of conscription in Germany in 1956. We estimate conscription to increase the probability of having a university degree.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While it is intuitively convincing that neighbourhood characteristics add up to an important location factor, knowledge about the benefits that individual firms and entrepreneurs can draw from neighbourhood-oriented policy is still limited. This article contributes to the discussion by highlighting the results of an evaluation study of neighbourhood-oriented economic policy in Germany. It reviews the policy rationale and analyses the strategies, progress and results of selected measures supported by the Socially Integrative City programme of North Rhine-Westphalia. It focuses on the relevance of the neighbourhood context in connection with two strategy goals: (I) reduction of vacancies in local retail property, and (2) supporting business start-ups and local business networks. The analysis provides evidence for a number of aspects of the local business environment, which can play an important role for the performance of small firms and should, therefore, be a central focus of neighbourhood-oriented economic policy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As part of its efforts to reach the targets of the Kyoto Protocol, in April 2009 the European Commission enacted new legislation to reduce the per-kilometer CO2 emissions of newly registered automobiles. This paper critically assesses this legislation with respect to its economic and technological underpinnings. First, we argue that the reliance on targets based on per-kilometer emissions not only conceals the true cost of compliance and thereby stifles informed public discourse, but is also less cost-effective than alternative measures such as emissions trading. Second, the emission targets stipulated in this legislation are based on linear-regression methods that we demonstrate to be poorly justified and misleading. Using instead stochastic-frontier analysis, which is argued to more accurately reflect the industry’s technological status quo, alternative targets are consequently proposed.
Transportation Research Part A-policy and Practice - TRANSP RES PT A-POLICY PRACT. 01/2011; 45(10):1043-1051.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Im Jahr 2009 befanden sich 12% der Krankenhäuser im „roten Bereich“ mit erhöhter Insolvenzgefahr, 75% lagen im grünen Bereich, die restlichen 13% dazwischen. Die durchschnittliche Ausfallwahrscheinlichkeit betrug 2009 1,2%. Die wirtschaftliche Lage hat sich damit 2009 gegenüber 2008, als 14% der Krankenhäuser im roten und nur 69% im grünen Bereich waren, verbessert. Grundlage für diese Analysen ist eine Stichprobe von 687 Jahresabschlüssen aus 2008, die insgesamt 1 035 Krankenhäuser umfassen, und 366 aus 2009. 2009 erhöhten sich die KHG-Fördermittel erstmals seit 1995 spürbar um 6,5% auf 2,85 Mrd. €. Damit dürfte aber der langfristige Rückgang der Mittel nicht durchbrochen sein. Vielmehr dürfte es sich um eine antizyklische Stabilisierungsmaßnahme als Folge der Finanzkrise gehandelt haben. Legt man einen als notwendig erachteten jährlichen Investitionsbedarf von 10% des Krankenhausumsatzes zugrunde, beläuft sich die seit 1991 kumulierte Investitionslücke auf 30 Mrd. €. Allerdings füllen die Krankenhäuser einen wachsenden Teil dieser Lücke durch Investitionen aus Eigenmitteln, sodass der tatsächliche Investitionsstau nun 14 Mrd. € betragen dürfte. Die sinkende Fördermittelquote bestätigt sich auch in den Krankenhausbilanzen.[...]
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, building on the highly polarizing Stiglitz report, a growing literature suggests that statistical offices and applied researchers explore other aspects of human welfare apart from material well-being, such as job security, crime, health, environmental factors and subjective perceptions. To explore the additional information of these indicators, we analyze data on the macro level from the German Federal Statistical Office combined with micro level data from the German SOEP (1991-2008) on the personal work situation and subjective feelings concerning several aspects of life. Employing the indicators suggested by the Stiglitz Report, we find that much of the variation in many well-being measures can indeed be captured well by the hard economic indicators as used in the literature, especially by GDP and the unemployment rate. This suggests that the hard indicators are still a reasonable and quite robust gauge of well-being of a country. And yet, we also see that these correlations are far from perfect, thus giving considerable hope that there is room for a broader statistical reporting.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on multivariate linear regression models, we analyze the effect of the lunar cycle and the number of sunspots occurring on a particular day on the number of births using social security data and controlling for a number of other potential confounders. The daily number of births between 1920 and 1989 have been calculated from the full sample of individuals who have been registered at least once in the German social security system. While the lunar cycle does not affect the number of births, the number of sunspots has a positive, albeit small effect on the number of births which is decreasing over time. The empirical results may be explained by medical technological progress making natural influences on births less important over time. This interpretation is supported by the results on the intertemporal influence of weekends and holidays on the frequency of daily births.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the question of whether the effect of parental drinking on children's later consumption of alcohol - which is frequently found to be of positive sign - exhibits a certain pattern of heterogeneity. In particular, if this effect is more prominent in the upper tail than elsewhere in the distribution of children's alcohol consumption, conventional regression analyses that focus on the mean effect may substantially underrate parental drinking as a risk factor for children's later alcohol abuse. In our empirical application, we address this issue by applying censored quantile regression methods to German survey data. The supposed pattern of heterogeneity is indeed found in the data, at least for daily parental drinking. In addition, the intergenerational transmission of alcohol consumption exhibits gender-specific heterogeneity.
Journal of Health Economics 10/2010; 30(1):33-42. · 1.60 Impact Factor