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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.

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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.

Zusammenfassung

In diesem Übersichtsartikel beschreibt Peter Zweifel die Entwicklung des Fachgebiets „Gesundheitsökonomik“ an Hand von Antworten auf fünf Fragen: Ist das Gut „Gesundheit“ wirklich anders als alle andern? Geht es zentral um die „Kostenexplosion“? Was ist die Bedeutung des moralischen Risikos im Vergleich zur adversen Selektion auf Märkten für Krankenversicherung mit Wettbewerb? Wie bedeutsam ist die anbieterinduzierte Nachfrage? Und schließlich, gibt es eine Begründung für den außerordentlich hohen Grad der Regulierung im Gesundheitswesen? Die Antworten sind solide in der Mikroökonomik verankert; sie sollten jedoch verdeutlichen, dass Ökonomen mit Interesse am Gesundheitsverhalten und am Gesundheitswesen der Karikatur des „erbsenzählenden Elefanten im Porzellanladen“ (Gbadebo und Reinhardt 2001) überhaupt nicht entsprechen.

Zusammenfassung

Am 13. März 2020 billigte der Bundesrat das vom Kabinett zuvor beschlossene Gesetz zur zielgenaueren Ausgestaltung des Wettbewerbs im gesetzlichen Krankenversicherungsmarkt. Katja Greer und Achim Wambach erörtern die Bausteine des „Gesetzes für einen fairen Kassenwettbewerb“. Dabei gehen sie der Frage nach, inwiefern die geplanten Maßnahmen zu einem wirksamen Wettbewerb im Krankenkassenmarkt beitragen. Es wird deutlich, dass die angestrebten Änderungen den Wettbewerb zum Teil stärken könnten. Für eine umfassende Grundlage eines wirksamen Wettbewerbs in der GKV bedarf es jedoch weiterer Reformen.