SEARCH CONTENT

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 1,343 items :

Clear All

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.

FREE ACCESS

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

Germany reintroduced parity funding of the statutory health insurance scheme in January 2019 by lowering the contribution rates for employees and raising those for employers, leaving the total rate constant. This reduces the tax wedge between total labour costs and net wages. After a small demand impulse on impact, followed by a small downturn in the first two years after implementation, an estimated New Keynesian DSGE model indicates small positive long-run output and employment effects. However, the reduced tax wedge leads to lower public revenues. Aggregate macroeconomic and welfare effects will depend on how the government compensates for these revenue losses.

Abstract

From 2003 to 2018, employment in Germany increased by 7.3 million, or by 19.3 % – growth not observed since unification. This “labor market miracle” was marked by a persistent and significant expansion of both part-time and low-wage jobs and a deterioration in pay for these jobs, while total hours hardly increased; overall wage growth returned only after 2011. These developments followed in the wake of the landmark Hartz reforms (2003–2005). A modified framework of Katz and Murphy (1992) predicts negative correlation of wages with both relative employment and participation across cells in the period following these reforms. In contrast, wage moderation alone should generate positive association of wages and participation. Our findings are most consistent with a persistent, positive labor supply shock at given working-age population in a cleared labor market. An alternative perspective of labor markets, the search and matching model, also points to the Hartz IV reforms as the central driver of the German labor market miracle.

Abstract

This paper investigates the macroeconomic projections of the German government since the 1970s and compares it to those of the Joint Economic Forecast, which is an independent forecasting institution in Germany. Our results indicate that both nominal GDP projections are upward biased for longer forecast horizons, which seems to be driven by a false assessment of the decline in Germany’s trend growth and a systematic failure to correctly anticipate recessions. Furthermore, we show that the German government deviates from the projections of the Joint Economic Forecast, which in fact worsened the forecast accuracy. Finally, we find evidence that these deviations are driven by political motives.