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


CREAP2006-13: Economía urbana y calidad de vida. Una revisión del estado de conocimiento en España

Quality of life is increasingly becoming a concept researched empirically and theoretically in the field of economics. In urban economics in particular, this increasing interest stems mainly from the fact that quality of life affects urban competitiveness and urban growth: research shows that when households and businesses decide where to locate, quality of life considerations can play a very important role. The purpose of the present paper is to examine the way economic literature and urban economic literature in particular, have adopted quality of life considerations in the economic thinking. Moreover, it presents the ways various studies have attempted to capture the multidimensional nature of the concept, and quantify it for the purposes of empirical research. Additionally we focus on the state of the art in Spain. Looking at the experiences in the last years we see very important possibilities of developing new studies in the field. 

Vicente Royuela (AQR-IREA); Diona Lambiri and Bianca Biagi


CREAP2006-12: Changes in the demand for private medical insurance following a shift in tax incentives

The 1998 Spanish reform of the Personal Income Tax eliminated the 15% deduction for private medical expenditures including payments on private health insurance (PHI) policies. To avoid an undesirable increase in the demand for publicly funded health care, tax incentives to buy PHI were not completely removed but basically shifted from individual to group employer-paid policies. In a unique fiscal experiment, at the same time that the tax relief for individually purchased policies was abolished, the government provided for tax allowances on policies taken out through employment. Using a bivariate probit model on data from National Health Surveys, we estimate the impact of said reform on the demand for PHI and the changes occurred within it. Our findings suggest that the total probability of buying PHI was not significantly affected. Indeed, the fall in the demand for individual policies (by 10% between 1997 and 2001) was offset by an increase in the demand for group employer-paid ones, so that the overall size of the market remained virtually unchanged. We also briefly discuss the welfare effects on the state budget, the industry and society at large.

Marisol Rodríguez (CREB); Alexandrina Stoyanova (CREB)


CREAP2006-11: Capital humano: un análisis comparativo Catalunya – España

En este documento se analizan comparativamente algunos aspectos relativos al capital humano de la economía catalana y española. En primer lugar se compara la dotación de capital humano tanto desde una metodología más tradicional, como es el caso de años de educación, como desde el punto de vista de la valoración del activo mediante actualización de flujos salariales a lo largo del ciclo vital de los individuos. Los resultados muestran indicios de una cierta desaceleración en el crecimiento del stock de capital humano. Adicionalmente, se lleva a cabo una estimación de la existencia de externalidades de capital humano intra-establecimiento, con datos de la Encuesta de Estructura Salarial, desarrollando una metodología menos restrictiva que la tradicional. Los resultados muestran comportamientos similares de la economía española y catalana, apuntando a la existencia de externalidades. 

Josep Lluís Raymond Bara; José Luis Roig Sabaté (GEAP)


CREAP2006-10: Political institutions and the development of telecomunications

It has traditionally been argued that the development of telecommunications infrastructure is dependent on the quality of countries’ political institutions. We estimate the effect of political institutions on the diffusion of three telecommunications services and find it to be much smaller in cellular telephony than in the others. By evaluating the importance of institutions for technologies rather than for industries, we reveal important growth opportunities for developing countries and offer policy implications for alleviating differences between countries in international telecommunications development.

Veneta Andonova; Luis Díaz-Serrano (CREB-GRIT-IZA)


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