CREAP2006-08: The choice of banking: Are the interest rate a significant criteria?

The objective of the research is to know the factors that in Spain influence in the election of banking organization. The obtained results indicate that the dimension of the network of branches is the reason more valued. In spite of the increasing symmetry of the Spanish banking market, the preferences of the clients of the savings banks and those of the banks are not absolutely coincident, being the proximity – the main reason for election- much more valued by the former than by the latter. The existence of divergences in the preferences has also been detected according to the region and the typology of city of residence.

Antoni Garrido Torres (IEB), Pere Arqué Castells (IEB)


CREAP2006-09: Productivity growth and competition in spanish manufacturing firms: What has happened in recent years?

This paper addresses the issue of the relationship between productivity and market competition. In comparison to the economies of other European countries, the Spanish economy has been growing, while productivity growth has stagnated. Here we provide empirical evidence about the relationship between productivity and market competition from Spanish manufacturing firms at firm level between 1994 and 2004. Correcting for selection bias, our study pays special attention to the patterns of productivity growth between openness and non-openness firms. When market competition increases the effect on firms operating in domestic markets is positive but when the level of competition is high incentives to invest in innovation and productivity gains disappear. The empirical relationship between competition and productivity is an inverted U-shape, where productivity growth is highest at intermediate levels of competition. The productivity growth of firms operating in international markets is higher than that of non-openness firms, but when market competition rises they moderate their productivity growth. Our empirical results suggest that the correct competition policy in the Spanish economy should remove the barriers to competition in internal markets in order to increase the incentives for manufacturing firms to invest in innovation and productivity growth.

Agustí Segarra Blasco (GRIT); Mercedes Teruel-Carrizosa (GRIT)


CREAP2006-07: Lowering blood alcohol content levels to save lives: The European experience

Road safety has become an increasing concern in developed countries due to the significant amount of mortal victims and the economic losses derived. Only in 2005 these losses rose to 200.000 million euros, a significant amount – approximately the 2% of its GDP- that easily justifies any public intervention. One tool used by governments to face this challenge is the enactment of stricter policies and regulations. Since drunk driving is one of the most important concerns of public authorities on this field, several European countries decided to lower their illegal Blood Alcohol Content levels to 0.5 mg/ml during the last decade. This study evaluates for the first time the effectiveness of this transition using European panel-based data (CARE) for the period 1991-2003 using the Differences-in-Differences method in a fixed effects estimation that allows for any pattern of correlation (Cluster-Robust). My results show the existence of positive impacts on certain groups of road users and for the whole population when the policy is accompanied by some enforcement interventions. Moreover, a time lag of more than two years is found in that effectiveness. Finally, I also assert the importance of controlling for serial correlation in the evaluation of this kind of policies. 

Daniel Albalate (GPRE-IREA)  Published at Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27 (1) pp. 20-39


CREAP2006-06: Calculation of the variance in surveys of the economic climate

Public opinion surveys have become progressively incorporated into systems of official statistics. Surveys of the economic climate are usually qualitative because they collect opinions of businesspeople and/or experts about the long-term indicators described by a number of variables. In such cases the responses are expressed in ordinal numbers, that is, the respondents verbally report, for example, whether during a given trimester the sales or the new orders have increased, decreased or remained the same as in the previous trimester. These data allow to calculate the percent of respondents in the total population (results are extrapolated), who select every one of the three options. Data are often presented in the form of an index calculated as the difference between the percent of those who claim that a given variable has improved in value and of those who claim that it has deteriorated. As in any survey conducted on a sample the question of the measurement of the sample error of the results has to be addressed, since the error influences both the reliability of the results and the calculation of the sample size adequate for a desired confidence interval. The results presented here are based on data from the Survey of the Business Climate (Encuesta de Clima Empresarial) developed through the collaboration of the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya) with the Chambers of Commerce (Cámaras de Comercio) of Sabadell and Terrassa.  

Manuela Alcañiz (RISC-IREA); Àlex Costa; Montserrat Guillén (RISC-IREA); Carme Luna; Cristina Rovira


CREAP2006-05: Job losses, outsourcing and relocation: Empirical evidence using Microdata

Using microdata, we analyse the determinants of firm relocation and conventional outsourcing decisions as a way to reduce employment. The results for a sample of 32 countries show the relevance of factors not considered previously in the literature. Firms that are below average in quality or innovation have a higher propensity to externalise part of their production through outsourcing, while lower relative profitability and longer time to market for new products each imply a higher probability of relocation.  

Manuel Artís (AQR-IREA); Raúl Ramos (AQR-IREA); Jordi Suriñach (AQR-IREA)


CREAP2006-02: Productive efficiency and regulatory reform: The case of vehicle inspection services

Measuring productive efficiency provides information on the likely effects of regulatory reform. We present a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) of a sample of 38 vehicle inspection units under a concession regime, between the years 2000 and 2004. The differences in efficiency scores show the potential technical efficiency benefit of introducing some form of incentive regulation or of progressing towards liberalization. We also compute scale efficiency scores, showing that only units in territories with very low population density operate at a sub-optimal scale. Among those that operate at an optimal scale, there are significant differences in size; the largest ones operate in territories with the highest population density. This suggests that the introduction of new units in the most densely populated territories (a likely effect of some form of liberalization) would not be detrimental in terms of scale efficiency. We also find that inspection units belonging to a large, diversified firm show higher technical efficiency, reflecting economies of scale or scope at the firm level. Finally, we show that between 2002 and 2004, a period of high regulatory uncertainty in the sample’s region, technical change was almost zero. Regulatory reform should take due account of scale and diversification effects, while at the same time avoiding regulatory uncertainty.

Francesc Trillas (IEB); Daniel Montolio (IEB); Néstor Duch (IEB)


CREAP2006-04: Are two-part tariffs efficient when consumers plan ahead?: An empirical study

During the last two decades there has been an increase in using dynamic tariffs for billing household electricity consumption. This has questioned the suitability of traditional pricing schemes, such as two-part tariffs, since they contribute to create marked peak and off-peak demands. The aim of this paper is to assess if two-part tariffs are an efficient pricing scheme using Spanish household electricity microdata. An ordered probit model with instrumental variables on the determinants of power level choice and non-paramentric spline regressions on the electricity price distribution will allow us to distinguish between the tariff structure choice and the simultaneous demand decisions. We conclude that electricity consumption and dwellings’ and individuals’ characteristics are key determinants of the fixed charge paid by Spanish households Finally, the results point to the inefficiency of the two-part tariff as those consumers who consume more electricity pay a lower price than the others.

Laura Fernàndez-Villadangos (GPRE-IREA)


CREAP2006-03: Factors explaining local privatization: A meta-regression analysis

Privatization of local public services has been implemented worldwide in the last decades. Why local governments privatize has been the subject of much discussion, and many empirical works have been devoted to analyzing the factors that explain local privatization. Such works have found a great diversity of motivations, and the variation among reported empirical results is large. To investigate this diversity we undertake a meta-regression analysis of the factors explaining the decision to privatize local services. Overall, our results indicate that significant relationships are very dependent upon the characteristics of the studies. Indeed, fiscal stress and political considerations have been found to contribute to local privatization specially in the studies of US cases published in the eighties that consider a broad range of services. Studies that focus on one service capture more accurately the influence of scale economies on privatization. Finally, governments of small towns are more affected by fiscal stress, political considerations and economic efficiency, while ideology seems to play a major role for large cities.

Germà Bel (GPRE-IREA); Xavier Fageda (GPRE-IREA) 


CREAP2006-15: The macroeconomics of the labor market: Three fundamental views

We distinguish and assess three fundamental views of the labor market regarding the movements in unempoyment: (i) the frictionless equilibrium view; (ii) the chain reaction theory, or prolonged adjustment view; and (iii) the hysteresis view. While the frictionless view implies a clear compartmentalization between the short- and long-run, the hysteresis view implies that all the short-run fluctuations automatically turn into long-run changes in the unemployment rate. We assert the problems faced by these conceptions in explaining the diversity of labor market experiences across the OECD labor markets. We argue that the prolonged adjustment view can overcome these problems since it implies that the short, medium, and long runs are interrelated, merging with one another along an intertemporal continuum. 

Marika Karanassou; Hector Sala (GEAP) and Dennis J. Snower


CREAP2006-14: New evidence of the real interest rate parity for OECD countries using panel unit root tests with breaks

This paper tests for real interest parity (RIRP) among the nineteen major OECD countries over the period 1978:Q2-1998:Q4. The econometric methods applied consist of combining the use of several unit root or stationarity tests designed for panels valid under cross-section dependence and presence of multiple structural breaks. Our results strongly support the ful.llment of the weak version of the RIRP for the studied period once dependence and structural breaks are accounted for.

Mariam Camarero; Josep Lluis Carrion-i-Silvestre (AQR-IREA) and Cecilio Tamarit