In this article, we evaluate underpricing of initial public offerings at the Berlin Stock Exchange between 1870 and 1896. In contrast to modern data, first-day returns were extraordinary low and averaged less than 5%, even during the speculative period of the early 1870s. Moreover, standard underpricing theories based on asymmetric information, signalling mechanisms or litigation risk cannot explain underpricing. In contrast to modern markets, underpricing was higher during hot issue markets. Finally, we show that cash-flow relevant information contained in the corporate charter was readily factored in the first market price. Thus, the historical capital market differed from today's market, but seems to have been efficient.
In this paper, I show that labour-saving or capital-saving technical progress is induced by the distribution of income between capital and labour. In the long run, technical progress is Harrod neutral. The long-run equilibrium factor income distribution is determined by a parameter of the technical progress function. Copyright 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2010.
If downward nominal wage rigidity exists, it should affect the distribution of earnings changes. We present a common analytical framework for three distinct and previously unconnected approaches to the analysis of downward nominal rigidity, the skewness-location approach, the symmetry approach and the histogram-location approach. We modify them by dropping the assumption of time-invariant rigidity and apply them to earnings data from the IAB-Beschftigtenstichprobe (IABS). We find that the distribution of West German log earnings changes is indeed affected by downward nominal rigidity. Our modification of the approaches also allows us to find that the degree of nominal rigidity depends on business cycle conditions, with weaker rigidity in times of rising unemployment. Our findings support the critics of very low inflation targets. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
We find evidence in the OECD cross-country data to support the Knightian view that non-diversifiable economic risks shape equilibrium entrepreneurship in an occupational choice model. Differential social insurance of entrepreneurial and labor risk is found to be statistically significant and detrimental to entrepreneurship. The crowding-out effect of public production of private goods on entrepreneurship dominates the crowding-in effect of public production of public goods in the OECD data. Weak evidence is found for the proposition that the rate of entrepreneurship is related to the degree of income inequality and to the union power in the economy. The results also suggest that in countries with low GDP per capita ratio, self-employment is high. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
This paper empirically analyzes the distribution of unemployment durations in West- Germany before and after the changes during the mid 1980s in the maximum entitlement periods for unemployment benefits for elderly unemployed. The analysis is based on the comprehensive IAB employment subsample containing register panel data for about 500.000 individuals in West Germany. We introduce two proxies for unemployment, since the data do not involve a precise economic definition of unemployment. We provide a theoretical analysis of the link between the durations of nonemployment and of unemployment durations between jobs. In our empirical analysis we find significant changes in the distributions of nonemployment durations for older unemployed individuals. At the same time, the distribution of unemployment durations between jobs did not change in response to the reforms. Our findings are consistent with an interpretation that many firms and workers used the more beneficial laws as a part of early retirement packages but those workers who were still looking for a job did not reduce their search effort in response to the extension of the maximum entitlement periods. This interpretation is consistent with a simulation of our theoretical model under economically plausible assumptions.
Rising wage inequality in the United States and Britain and rising continental European unemployment have led to a popular view in the economics profession that these two phenomena are related to negative relative demand shocks against the unskilled, combined with flexible wages in the Anglo-Saxon countries, but wage rigidities in continental Europe ('Krugman hypothesis'). This paper tests this hypothesis based on seven large person-level data sets for the 1980s and the 1990s. I use a more sophisticated categorization of low-skilled workers than previous studies, which exhibits differences between German workers with and without apprenticeship training, particularly in the 1980s. I find evidence for the Krugman hypothesis when Germany is compared with the United States. However, supply changes differ considerably between countries, with Britain experiencing enormous increases in skill supply explaining the relatively constant British skill premium in the 1990s. Copyright 2008 The Author. Journal compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008.
We provide empirical evidence for exogenous and endogenous catching-up of East German labour productivity to West German levels. We argue that labour productivity in East Germany has caught up faster than has happened elsewhere. The sudden formation of the German Monetary Union was followed by large transfers to East Germany, migration of workers to West Germany, reorganization and privatization of East German firms. This has quickly led to a partial closing of the organizational, idea and object gaps that existed between East and West Germany. This paper analyses labour productivity in East and West Germany using both aggregate German data and unbalanced panel analysis of developments in East and West Germany. Factors affecting the organization of production, and especially privatization and 'foreign' firms, are found to be particularly important in this context. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2000.
The German Pension Act of 1992 raises the mandatory retirement age while the Act of 1999 adjusts pension benefits to demographic changes. To examine welfare and macroeconomic effects of these reform schemes, we have carried out a dynamic CGE study. The model used is an enlarged version of the Auerbach-Kotlikoff model with endogenous retirement decisions, unemployment, age-dependent rates of unemployment, health, and long-term care insurance. The simulation is performed in two stages: first, the effects of the population decline in Germany are computed ignoring the reforms and, second, the effects of the reform schemes are examined and compared with the benchmark case. The results suggest that the Act of 1992 implies welfare gains while suspending the Act of 1999 induces welfare losses. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.
The average height of children is an indicator of the quality of nutrition and healthcare. In this study, we assess the effect of unemployment and other factors on this variable. In the Eastern German Land of Brandenburg, a dataset of 253,050 preschool height measurements was compiled and complemented with information on parents' schooling and employment status. Unemployment might have negative psychological effects, with an impact on parental care. Both a panel analysis of districts and an assessment at the individual level yield the result that increasing unemployment, net out-migration and fertility were in fact reducing height. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009.
The paper provides an assessment of supply-side economics following Germany's year 2000 tax reform. Investigated are a corporate tax cut, deteriorating depreciation allowances and imputation rules, and a private income tax cut. For this purpose, a neoclassical growth model is augmented by various fiscal policy parameters and endogenous corporate finance and calibrated with German data. The model is used to evaluate consequences of Germany's tax reform on production, firm finance and leverage, investment, consumption and welfare of a representative household. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003.
In the year 2000 Germany enacted a major tax reform involving significant cuts in corporate and personal tax rates and a controversial change in the system of dividend taxation. This paper discusses the effects of the business tax reform on the German economy. The analysis is based on a detailed general equilibrium model of the OECD economy which is designed to illustrate the domestic and international effects of national tax policies. The simulations indicate that the German business tax reform will raise domestic economic activity and welfare, although the welfare gain will accrue disproportionately to households with a high ratio of property income to total income. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.
US productivity growth experienced continued productivity growth after 2000 even as investment, particularly in information technology (IT), slowed. This paper uses industry-level data to examine the link between average labor productivity (ALP) growth and IT in the post-2000 period. We use difference-in-difference and cross-sectional regressions to show that the link between ALP growth and IT-intensity is weaker after 2000 than before. These results are robust to alternative measures of IT-intensity such as the IT share of capital services, the level of IT capital depth, and the share of IT capital services in total output. We conclude that the post-2000 productivity gains in the United States do not appear to have been driven directly by IT. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2007.
This paper presents an update of the ranking of economics journals by the invariant method, as introduced by Palacio-Huerta and Volij, with a broader sample of journals. By comparison with the two other most prominent rankings, it also proposes a list of ‘target journals’, ranked according to their quality, as a standard for the field of economics.
This paper analyses the auction designs chosen for awarding 3G licences in the UK and Germany and compares them with respect to revenues and bidders' surplus using a laboratory experiment. In our study with a given number of bidders, the German design leads to higher revenues. However, bidder surplus in the German design is lower and bidders face a severe exposure problem. Because this might discourage participation, it will probably lead to less competitive bidding in real applications. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2005.
Recent R&D growth models without strong scale effects imply that long-run growth rates depend only on parameters that are usually taken to be exogenous. However, integrating human capital accumulation into models of this type, Arnold (2002) demonstrates that subsidizing education accelerates growth. The present paper addresses welfare issues in Arnold's model. The main theoretical finding of the paper is that a system of subsidies that implements the optimal balanced growth path as a decentralized equilibrium includes zero subsidies to education, while R&D activity should be either subsidized or taxed. To shed further light on the latter result, the model is calibrated and it turns out that along the balanced growth path, the decentralized economy underinvests in R&D, i.e. R&D activities should be subsidized. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2006.
In a world with risk-neutral agents in which accidents occur with a positive probability, liability rules will only induce efficient behaviour if these rules impose the full (marginal) costs of an action on the parties. However, institutional restrictions or bilateral activity choices can prevent the full internalization of costs. A mechanism is proposed which guarantees an efficient outcome: monetary fines which are not related to the occurrence of an accident. Such a mechanism requires individuals to violate the standard of care in order to trigger the fine payments. Hence, efficiency requires an excessive standard. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.
International comparisons reveal large cross-country differentials in average student performance. Although there is considerable public debate about these differences, their sources are hardly identified. Using school, teacher and student data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the present paper attempts to explain what causes between-country gaps in mathematics test score distributions. Following a three-pronged strategy of micro-level and cross-country regressions as well as bilateral country comparisons, we show how these gaps are explained by differences in school, teacher and student characteristics, or financial resources devoted to the school system. Institutional characteristics, such as competition between schools and the composition of the faculty can also help to understand international differences in student achievement. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004.
We consider optimal contracts when a principal has two sources to detect bad projects. The first one is an information technology without agency costs (ITP), whereas the second one is the expertise of an agent subject to moral hazard, adverse selection and limited liability (ITA). First, we show that the principal does not necessarily benefit from access to additional information and thereby may prefer to ignore it. Second, we discuss different timings of information release, i.e., a disclosure contract offered to the agent after the principal announced the result of ITP , and a concealment contract where the agent exerts effort before ITP is checked. We find that concealment is superior whenever the quality of ITP is sufficiently low. Then, ITP is almost worthless under a disclosure contract, while it can still be exploited to reduce the agent's information rent under concealment. If the quality of ITP improves, disclosure can be superior as it allows to adjust the agent's effort to the updated expected quality of the project. However, even for a highly informative ITP , concealment can be superior as it mitigates the adverse selection problem.
This paper deals with the determinants of agents' acquisition of information. Our econometric evidence shows that the general index of Italian share-prices and the series of Italy's financial newspaper sales are cointegrated, and the former series Granger-causes the latter, thereby giving support to the cognitive dissonance hypothesis: (non-professional) agents tend to buy the newspaper when share prices are high and not to buy it when share prices are low. Instead, we do not find support for the hypothesis that the agents acquire information in order to trade in the stock market: we find no relationship between quantities exchanged in the market and newspaper sales, nor between stock market volatility and newspaper sales.
This paper uses the adaptive LASSO estimator to determine the variables important for economic growth. The adaptive LASSO estimator is a computationally very simple procedure that performs at the same time both consistent parameter estimation and model selection. The methodology is applied to three data sets, the data used in Sala-i-Martin et al. (2004), in Fernandez et al. (2001) and a data set for the regions in the European Union. The results for the former two data sets are very similar in many respects to those found in the published papers, yet are obtained at a tiny fraction of computational cost. Furthermore, the results for the regional data highlight the importance of human capital for economic growth.
This article analyses value changes of German stock market companies in response to movements of the US dollar. The approach followed in this work extends the standard means of measuring exchange rate exposure in several ways, e.g. by us-ing multi-factor modelling instead of augmented CAPM, application of moving window panel regressions, and orthogonalization of overall market risk vis-à-vis currency risk. A further innovation lies in testing theoretical implications of exchange rate adjustment costs (hedging costs) for firm values and economic exposure. Based on time series and panel data of German DAX companies, DM/ dollar rates and macroeconomic factors, we find a rather unstable, time-variant exposure of German stock market companies. Dollar sensitivity is positively affected by the ratio of exports/GDP and negatively af-fected by imports/GDP. Moreover, as expected from theoretical findings, firm values and exchange rate exposure are significantly reduced by adjustment costs depending on the distance of the exchange rate from the expected long-run mean
This article analyses value changes of German stock market companies in response to movements of the US dollar. The approach followed in this work extends the standard means of measuring exchange rate exposure in several ways, e.g. by using multifactor modelling instead of augmented Capital Asset Pricing Model, application of moving window panel regressions and orthogonalization of overall market risk vis-à-vis currency risk. A further innovation lies in testing the theoretical implications of exchange rate adjustment costs (hedging costs) for firm values and economic exposure. Based on time series and panel data of German Deutsche Aktien Xchange companies, Deutsche Mark/dollar rates and macroeconomic factors, we find a rather unstable, time-variant exposure of German stock market companies. Dollar sensitivity is positively affected by the ratio of exports/gross domestic product (GDP) and negatively affected by imports/GDP. Moreover, as expected from theoretical findings, firm values and exchange rate exposure are significantly reduced by adjustment costs depending on the distance of the exchange rate from the expected long-run mean. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2007.
We evaluate whether labour mobility is likely to act as a sufficient adjustment mechanism in the face of asymmetric shocks in Euroland. As no adequate data on cross-border migration are available, migration elasticities within nation states (Western Germany, France and Italy) are estimated and interpreted as upper bounds for cross-border migration elasticities between European nation states. Labour mobility is highest in Germany, followed by France and Italy. However, the accommodation of a shock to unemployment by migration takes several years. We conclude that labour mobility is unlikely to act as a sufficient adjustment mechanism to asymmetric shocks in Euroland. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
This paper considers a capital accumulation model with the specific feature that adjustment costs depend on investment relative to the size of the capital stock. This framework has, beyond its plausible yet neglected setting, a number of interesting consequences. In particular, the possibility of multiple equilibria, of an unstable steady state and thus of a (`history dependent') threshold associated with concavity is surprising given a voluminous literature on multiple, history-dependent equilibria emphasizing non-concavities (or convexities). Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
Government policies are frequently known to be temporary and thus their termination is perfectly anticipated. These foreseen policy changes must be consistent with equilibrium in both the goods market and asset markets. Potential problems arise because prices often play dual roles, both as final goods prices, and as asset prices, as components of rates of return. We show how the economy accommodates an anticipated policy change depends upon its production flexibility and its structure. With flexible investment, an anticipated reduction in government expenditure is fully accommodated by capital accumulation. When investment involves adjustment costs, the marginal utility of wealth and the price of capital both jump so as to maintain equality among rates of return. Goods market clearance is maintained by a combination of increases in consumption and investment. Extensions of the model to include inventories and to a small open economy are also considered and contrasted. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2006.
This paper investigates the determinants of tenure decisions in Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland for professorships in economics, business administration and related fields. Our dataset comprises candidates who were awarded tenure as well as those who were eligible but were not tenured. We show that business candidates have a higher probability of being tenured than economists. Youth, marital status and publications matter; gender and children do not. The market for first appointments in economics relies much more on publication performance than the market for business administration. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008.
This paper examines the effects of private schooling on adolescent non-market behaviors. We control for differences between private and public school students by making use of the rich set of covariates available with our NELS micro-dataset. We also employ an instrumental-variables strategy that exploits variation across metropolitan areas in the costs that parents face in transporting their children to private schools, which stem from differences in the quality of the local transportation infrastructure. We find evidence to suggest that religious private schooling reduces teen sexual activity, arrests, and use of hard drugs (cocaine), but not drinking, smoking, gang involvement, or marijuana use.
This paper examines whether government ideology influenced the allocation of public expenditures on education and cultural affairs in the West German states in the 1974–2006 period. I explicitly consider the allocation of policy responsibilities between the federal and the states' governments. The results suggest that leftist governments slightly increased public spending for schooling, whereas rightwing governments spent somewhat more on universities and cultural affairs. This spending pattern appears to be in line with the preferences of the governing parties' constituencies and indicates political competition in a time of declining electoral cohesion.
We present a non-scale continuous-time overlapping-generations growth model that provides an explanation for why economies with relative wage rigidity feature higher unemployment, but not slower productivity growth, than economies with flexible wages. The compression of the wage distribution associated with relative wage rigidity slows down human capital accumulation and growth ceteris paribus. But unemployment among the low-skilled workers strengthens the incentives to invest in human capital and, hence, growth. The two effects are offsetting, and growth is independent of the prevailing degree of relative wage rigidity. This knife-edge result is robust with respect to some modifications of the model. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2006.
We consider lifetime health insurance contracts in which ageing provisions are used to smooth the premium profile. The capital stock accumulated for each individual can be decomposed into two parts: a premium insurance and an annuitized life insurance, only the latter being transferable between insurers without triggering premium changes through risk segmentation. In a simulation based on German data, the transferable share declines in age and falls with an increasing age of entry into the contract. In spite of different benefit profiles, it is almost identical for women and men. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008.
This paper examines the role of financial market imperfections for output reactions to nominal interest rate shocks. Empirical evidence shows a hump-shaped impulse response function of output and suggests that credit supply co-moves with output. A monetary business cycle model with staggered price setting is presented where the firms' outlays for capital and labor must be covered by the sum of net worth of entrepreneurs and loans in the form of debt contracts. These properties are shown to generate a hump-shaped impulse response of output, which takes on the smooth and persistent appearance of the empirical output response when nominal wages are set in a staggered way, too. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003.
Rank-order tournaments are usually implemented in organizations to provide incentives for eliciting employees' effort and/or to identify the agent with the higher ability, for example in promotion tournaments. We close a gap in the literature by experimentally analyzing a ceteris paribus variation of the prize spread - being the major design feature of tournaments - in a symmetric and an asymmetric setting. We find that effort significantly increases with the prize spread as predicted by standard theory. However, only for sufficiently large prize spreads weak players competing against strong players strain themselves all the more and sorting of agents is feasible. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008.
The paper proposes an intertemporal equilibrium model of vintage capital and monopolistic competition. Reflecting a tradeoff between the number and capacity of new machines, investment may be extensive or intensive. External gains from specialization and rationalization result in distorted investment decisions. The paper compares the effectiveness of a general investment tax credit with a start-up subsidy that shifts the direction of investment towards a more extensive form. An optimal policy of investment promotion is derived. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
The paper assesses the aggregate impact of exchange rate variability on EU trade. A small econometric model is constructed and estimated for five countries: France, Italy, Germany, the UK and Belgium. The results show that there exists a long-term relationship between trade variables and relative costs, demand, exchange rates and expected exchange rates. No such relation exists with respect to volatility. It is also found that while the most important determinants of trade variables are relative wages and demand, variability is also responsible for a decrease in the growth rate of these variables. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
A duopoly model with quantity competition is analyzed in which firms collude in two markets. There is specialization in production in order to promote efficiency. Firms may then either exclusively market one good each, or they may agree to exchange goods and cross-supply a part of the production to the other firm. It is shown that, compared to specialization in marketing, positive exchanges of goods relax the incentive constraints that limit the extent of collusion. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.
This paper analyzes and solves miniature Walrasian general equilibrium systems of momentary and moving equilibria. The Walrasian framework encompasses the fundamental neoclassical and classical two--sector growth models; the families of solutions of steady--state and persistent growth per capita in various competitive two--sector economies are parametrically characterized. Moreover, the endogenous behavior of relative prices and the sectoral allocation of primary factors are analyzed in detail. The technology parameters of the capital good industry are decisive for obtaining long--run per capita growth in closed (global) economies. A review of the literature complements the theorems on the general equilibrium allocations, dynamic systems, and the time paths of Walrasian two--sector economies. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003
The volatility of interest rates is relevant for many financial applications. Under realistic assumptions the term structure of interest rate differentials provides an important predictor of the term structure of interest rates. This paper derives the term structure of differentials in a situation in which two open economies plan to enter a monetary union in the future. Two systems of floating exchange rates prior to the union are considered, namely a free-float and a managed-float regime. The volatility processes of arbitrary-term differentials under the respective pre-switch arrangements are compared. The paper elaborates the singularity of extremely short-term (i.e. instantaneous) interest rates under extensive leaning-against-the-wind interventions and discusses policy issues. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.
This paper studies the macroeconomic impact of private and public intergenerational transfers in the presence of endogenous growth. It focuses on two-sided altruism implying that individuals have both a motive to make gifts to their parents and a motive to leave bequests to their children. The growth effects of social security depend on whether children are making gifts to their parents or parents are leaving bequests to their children. Which of the transfers is operative, in turn, depends on the size of social security benefits. Social security is legislated endogenously. The introduction of a social security program which definitely reduces per capita income growth and harms future generations is contemplated by altruistic individuals even if non-altruistic individuals disapprove it. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.
Income redistribution in Germany is the result of a combination of several redistribution instruments: there is a complex income tax law, different obligatory social insurances and supplementary benefits. This paper estimates income redistribution by quantile regression, using German EVS data. Two results are obtained: income after redistribution does not always increase in line with income before redistribution, i.e. for people with a low income before redistribution, it does not make sense to increase their efforts, since more work means less earnings. Further, an increasing redistribution rate for higher incomes is not always observable from the data. Copyright 2009 The Author. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009.
Consider a principal-agent relationship in which more effort by the agent raises the likelihood of success. This paper provides conditions such that no success bonus induces the agent to exert more effort and the optimal contract is independent of success. Moreover, success bonuses may even reduce effort and thus the probability of success. The reason is that bonuses increase the perceived income of the agent and can hence reduce his willingness to exert effort. This perceived income effect has to be weighed against the incentive effect of the bonus. The trade-off is determined by the marginal effect of effort on the success probability in relation to this probability itself (success hazard-rate of effort). The paper also discusses practical implications of the finding.
This study explores the ways in which information about other individual's action affects one's own behavior in a dictator game. The experimental design discriminates behaviorally between three possible effects of recipient's within-game reputation on the dictator's decision: Reputation causing indirect reciprocity, social influence, and identification. The separation of motives is an important step in trying to understand how impulses towards selfish or generous behavior arise. The statistical analysis of experimental data reveals that the reputation effects have a stronger impact on dictators' actions than the social influence and identification.
This paper analyses the duration of child poverty in Germany. In our sample, we
observe the entire income history from the individuals' birth to their coming of age at age 18.
Therefore we are able to analyze dynamics in and out of poverty for the entire population of
children, whether they become poor at least once or not. Using duration models, we allow
poverty exit and re-entry to be correlated even after controlling for observable characteristics
and also account for correlations with initial conditions. Our results indicate that household
composition, most importantly single parenthood, and the labour market status as well as
level of education of the household head are the main driving forces behind exit from and reentry
into poverty and thus determine the (long-term) experience of child poverty. However,
unobserved heterogeneity seems to play an important role as well.
JEL classification: C41, D31, I32
We provide empirical evidence on the degree and characteristics of price stickiness in Austria by estimating the average frequency of price changes and the duration of price spells from a large dataset of individual price records collected for the computation of the Austrian consumer price index. The mean (median) duration of price spells in Austria amounts to 14 (11) months, but there is considerable heterogeneity across sectors and products. We find that price increases occur only slightly more often than price decreases. For both directions, the average magnitude of price changes is quite large (11% and 14%, respectively). The introduction of the euro cash in January 2002 led to more frequent but, on average, smaller price adjustments than usual. Estimating the probability of a price change in a panel probit model, we find a small but positive effect of the price spell duration on the incidence of price changes. Furthermore, product-specific inflation, the size and the sign of the last price change and the period of the euro introduction significantly affect the probability of a price change.
If the government announces the termination of a subsidy paid for an irreversible investment under uncertainty, investors might decide to realize their investment so as to obtain the subsidy. These investors might have postponed an investment if future payment were assured. Depending on the degree of uncertainty and the time preference, the termination of the subsidy might cost the government more in toto than granting the subsidy on a continuing basis. A better strategy would be to reduce the subsidy in parts rather than to terminate the subsidy in its entirety. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009.
This paper investigates the consequences of skill loss as a result of unemployment in an efficiency wage model with turnover costs and on-the-job search. Firms are unable to differentiate wages and therefore prefer to hire employed searchers or unemployed workers who have not lost human capital. It is shown that if some fundamental factor in the economy changes, this will result in a lengthy adjustment process with substantial long-run unemployment effects. Moreover, the model is capable of generating persistence, but the amount depends on the duration of the shock itself. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2006.
The latest study investigating the cost-benefit ratio of apprenticeship training for Swiss companies has shown that most apprentices offset the cost of their training during their apprenticeship on the basis of the productive contribution of the work they perform. Given this outcome, it is worth investigating why so many firms choose not to train apprentices. Maximum-likelihood selection models were used to estimate the net cost of training for firms without an apprenticeship programme. The models show, firstly, that non-training firms would incur significantly higher net cost during the apprenticeship period if they would switch to a training policy and, secondly, that this less favourable cost-benefit ratio is determined less by cost than by absence of benefit. For the apprenticeship system as such the results indicate that, as long as training regulations and the market situation permit a cost-effective training of apprentices, companies do not need specific labour market regulations or institutions to offer training posts. In this respect, the Swiss findings might be of interest for the ongoing German discussion about the expected repercussions of a more general labour market deregulation on the apprenticeship training system. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2006.
The flying geese (FG) hypothesis, which asserts the sequential catching--up processes of the latecomers, holds well in the past. Yet a simultaneous boom within the electronics industry across East Asia casts doubt on the applicability of the hypothesis. By using the RCA and NET indices, the paper finds that the FG pattern shows in the electronics industry as a whole, but not always so at the disaggregated level. This suggests that the FG formation may not appear in other industries, if they are involved in international production fragmentation or have differentiated products, and if certain latecomers have become new leaders. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003
East Asian students regularly take top positions in international league tables of educational performance. Using internationally comparable student-level data, I estimate how family background and schooling policies affect student performance in five high-performing East Asian economies. Family background is a strong predictor of student performance in Korea and Singapore, while Hong Kong and Thailand achieve more equalized outcomes. There is no evidence that smaller classes improve student performance in East Asia. But other schooling policies such as school autonomy over salaries and regular homework assignments are related to higher student performance in several of the considered countries. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2005.
The Berle–Means problem – information and incentive asymmetries disrupting relations between knowledgeable managers and remote investors – has remained a durable issue engaging researchers since the 1930s. However, the Berle–Means paradigm – widely dispersed, helpless investors facing strong, entrenched managers – is under stress in the wake of the cross-country evidence presented by La Porta, Lopez-de-Silanes, Shleifer and Vishny, and their legal approach to corporate control.
This paper continues to investigate the roles of investor protections and concentrated ownership by examining firm behaviour in the Netherlands. Our within-country analysis generates two key results. First, the role of investor protections emphasized in the legal approach is not sustained. Rather, firm performance is enhanced when the firm is freed of equity market constraints. Second, ownership concentration does not have a discernible impact on firm performance, which may reflect large shareholders' dual role in lowering the costs of managerial agency problems but raising the agency costs of expropriation.