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Abstract

World banking systems are almost invariably populated by relatively diverse financial institutions. This paper studies the operation of credit markets where heterogeneous banks compete for investment projects of varying quality in the presence of informational asymmetries. We emphasize on two dimensions of heterogeneity – access to project-specific information vis-à-vis funding costs – which naturally reflect lenders’ comparative disadvantages in the competitive landscape. Two main findings stand out. First, competition across heterogeneous banks can produce multiple equilibria. Thus, economies with similar fundamentals may well display a variety of interest rates and/or market shares for the operating institutions. Second, market failures (overlending) always prove mitigated in heterogeneous banking systems, relative to a world with equally uninformed lenders. This discipline effect however comes with a chance for market fragility, whereby modest changes in the business environment or other fundamentals can trigger large shifts in the price of credit, leading to either highly selective markets or rather ones which overfund ventures of the lowest quality. Extensions of the basic model and some policy implications are also discussed.

Abstract

Career guidance assists students with the school-to-work transition. Based on a survey conducted in secondary schools in Germany, we analyze career guidance activities and how these affect career plans. The take-up of career guidance depends upon the school track attended, and the school and the class setting, while personal characteristics are barely relevant. The effects of counseling depend upon the type of counseling provider. Counseling by the employment agency reduces plans for educational upgrading and increases the probability of applying for an apprenticeship, while the effects of counseling by school counselors works in the opposite direction for lower track students.

Abstract

It has long been recognized that the presence of politicians on the boards of directors of public firms may create inefficiencies. Nevertheless, research has so far neglected the effect of political affiliation on the appointment of Members of Parliament to the boards of public firms. This article intends to fill this gap by conducting an empirical analysis on a sample of 945 deputies of the Italian Parliament elected over the period 1996–2001. Regression discontinuity estimates show that the centre-left coalition is about 25 percentage points more likely to appoint its Members of Parliament to the board of public enterprises than the centre-right coalition. Political appointments become more pronounced when the centre-left forms a governing coalition.

Abstract

This paper studies the distributional consequences of a systematic variation in expenditure shares and prices. Using European Union Household Budget Surveys and Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices data, we construct household-specific price indices and reveal the existence of a pro-rich inflation in Europe. Over the period 2001–15, the consumption bundles of the poorest deciles in 25 European countries have, on average, become 11.2 percentage points more expensive than those of the richest deciles. We find that ignoring the differential inflation across the distribution underestimates the change in the Gini (based on consumption expenditure) by almost up to 0.04 points. Cross-country heterogeneity in this change is large enough to alter the inequality ranking of numerous countries. The average inflation effect we detect is almost as large as the change in the standard Gini measure over the period of interest.

Abstract

This paper takes a closer look at the consequences of using a market index as a proxy for the latent market return in the capital asset pricing model. In particular, the consequences of two major sources of misspecification are analyzed: (i) the use of inaccurate weights and (ii) the use of only a subset of the asset universe to construct the index. The consequences resulting from the use of a badly chosen market proxy reach from inconsistent parameter estimates to misinterpretation of test outcomes indicating the existence of abnormal returns.

A minimum distance approach of estimating the CAPM under measurement error is presented, which identifies the CAPM parameters by exploiting the cross-equation cross-sectional restrictions resulting from a common measurement error. The new approach allows for quantifying the impact of measurement error and for testing the presence of spurious abnormal returns. Practical guidelines are presented to mitigate potential biases in the estimated CAPM parameters.

Zusammenfassung

Der Beitrag nimmt die Wiederauflage der 1990 publizierten Studie „Die soziale Welt kleiner Betriebe“ von Hermann Kotthoff und Josef Reindl zum Anlass, den Stellenwert dieser Studie für die Entwicklung der deutschen Arbeitssoziologie seit den 1960er Jahren Revue passieren zu lassen. Vor dem Hintergrund des nach wie vor dominierenden großindustriellen und technikfixierten Blicks blieb dieses Buch bis heute ein Solitär. Angesichts der heute sichtbaren Aufgliederung und Zersplitterung großer Betriebe macht die Wiederauflage der Studie von Kotthoff/Reindl die Notwendigkeit deutlich, die aktuelle soziale Situation der kleinen und mittleren Betriebe erneut zum Forschungsgegenstand zu machen.