XREAP2010-12: Clustering or scattering: the underlying reason for regulating distance among retail outlets

Concerns on the clustering of retail industries and professional services in main streets had traditionally been the public interest rationale for supporting distance regulations. Although many geographic restrictions have been suppressed, deregulation has hinged mostly upon the theory results on the natural tendency of outlets to differentiate spatially. Empirical evidence has so far offered mixed results. Using the case of deregulation of pharmacy establishment in a region of Spain, we empirically show how pharmacy locations scatter, and that there is not rationale for distance regulation apart from the underlying private interest of very few incumbents.

Borrell, J. R. (GiM-IREA), Fernández-Villadangos, L. (GiM-IREA)


XREAP2010-13: School Composition Effects in Spain

Drawing on PISA data of 2006, this study examines the impact of socio-economic school composition on science test score achievement for Spanish students in compulsory secondary schools. We define school composition in terms of the average parental human capital of students in the same school. These contextual peer effects are estimated using a semi-parametric methodology, which enables the spillovers to affect all the parameters of the educational production function. We also deal with the potential problem of self-selection of student into schools, using an artificial sorting that we argue to be independent from unobserved student’s abilities. The results indicate that the association between socio-economic school composition and test score results is clearly positive and significantly higher when computed with the semi-parametric approach. However, we find that the endogenous sorting of students into schools plays a fundamental role, given that the spillovers are significantly reduced when this selection process is ruled out from our measure of school composition effects. Specifically, the estimations suggest that the contextual peer effects are moderately positive only in those schools where the socio-economic composition is considerably elevated. In addition, we find some evidence of asymmetry of how the external effects and the sorting process actually operate, which seem affect in a different way males and females as well as high and low performance students.

Di Paolo, A. (GEAP & IEB)


XREAP2010-14: Technology, Business Models and Network Structure in the Airline Industry

Network airlines have been increasingly focusing their operations on hub airports through the exploitation of connecting traffic, allowing them to take advantage of economies of traffic density, which are unequivocal in the airline industry. Less attention has been devoted to airlines? decisions on point-to-point thin routes, which could be served using different aircraft technologies and different business models. This paper examines, both theoretically and empirically, the impact on airlines ?networks of the two major innovations in the airline industry in the last two decades: the regional jet technology and the low-cost business model. We show that, under certain circumstances, direct services on point-to-point thin routes can be viable and thus airlines may be interested in deviating passengers out of the hub.

Fageda, X. (GiM-IREA), Flores-Fillol, R.


XREAP2010-15: Is it Redistribution or Centralization? On the Determinants of Government Investment in Infrastructure

The dilemma efficiency versus equity, together with political partisan interests, has received increasing attention to explain the territorial allocation of investments. However, centralization intended to introduce or reinforce hierarchization in the political system has not been object as of now of empirical analysis. Our main contribution to the literature is providing evidence that meta-political objectives related to the ordering of political power and administration influence regional investment. In this way, we find evidence that network mode’s (roads and railways) investment programs are influenced by the centralization strategy of investing near to the political capital, while investment effort in no-network modes (airports and ports) appears to be positively related to distance. Since investment in surface transportation infrastructures is much higher than that in airports and ports, and taken into account that regions surrounding the political capital are poorer than the average, we suggest that centralization rather than redistribution has been the driver for the concentration of public investment on these regions.

Albalate, D. (GiM-IREA), Bel, G. (GiM-IREA), Fageda, X. (GiM-IREA)


XREAP2010-16: What are the causes of educational inequalities and of their evolution over time in Europe? Evidence from PISA

This paper provides evidence on the sources of differences in inequalities in educational scores in European Union member states, by decomposing them into their determining factors. Using PISA data from the 2000 and 2006 waves, the paper shows that inequalities emerge in all countries and in both period, but decreased in Germany, whilst they increased in France and Italy. Decomposition shows that educational inequalities do not only reflect background related inequality, but especially schools’ characteristics. The findings allow policy makers to target areas that may make a contribution in reducing educational inequalities.

Oppedisano, V.; Turati, G.


XREAP2010-17: Why do educated mothers matter? A model of parental help

The paper investigates the role of mothers in affecting childrens’ performance at school. It develops a theoretical model in which household is treated as an individual, whose utility depends on the performance at school of the student and on consumption. The model focuses on the possibilities through which mother’s help may affect pupil’s performance in terms of time devoted to supervision and spillover effects. Empirical evidence, using Italian PISA 2006, shows that highly educated mothers have a positive impact on students’ score only when they are highly qualified in the job market.

Canova, L., Vaglio, A.


XREAP 2010-2: Which firms want PhDs? The effect of the university-industry relationship on the PhD labour market

PhD graduates hold the highest education degree, are trained to conduct research and can be considered a key element in the creation, commercialization and diffusion of innovations. The impact of PhDs on innovation and economic development takes place through several channels such as the accumulation of scientific capital stock, the enhancement of technology transfers and the promotion of cooperation relationships in innovation processes. Although the placement of PhDs in industry provides a very important mechanism for transmitting knowledge from universities to firms, information about the characteristics of the firms that employ PhDs is very scarce. The goal of this paper is to improve understanding of the determinants of the demand for PhDs in the private sector. Three main potential determinants of the demand for PhDs are considered: cooperation between firms and universities, R&D activities of firms and several characteristics of firms, size, sector, productivity and age. The results from the econometric analysis show that cooperation between firms and universities encourages firms to recruit PhDs and point to the existence of accumulative effects in the hiring of PhD graduates.

García-Quevedo, J. (IEB), Mas-Verdú, F. (IEB), Polo-Otero, J. (IEB)


XREAP 2010-3: An introduction to parametric and non-parametric models for bivariate positive insurance claim severity distributions

We present a real data set of claims amounts where costs related to damage are recorded separately from those related to medical expenses. Only claims with positive costs are considered here. Two approaches to density estimation are presented: a classical parametric and a semi-parametric method, based on transformation kernel density estimation. We explore the data set with standard univariate methods. We also propose ways to select the bandwidth and transformation parameters in the univariate case based on Bayesian methods. We indicate how to compare the results of alternative methods both looking at the shape of the overall density domain and exploring the density estimates in the right tail.

Pitt, D.; Guillén, M. (RFA-IREA)


XREAP 2010-4: Modelling dependence in a ratemaking procedure with multivariate Poisson regression models

When actuaries face with the problem of pricing an insurance contract that contains different types of coverage, such as a motor insurance or homeowner’s insurance policy, they usually assume that types of claim are independent. However, this assumption may not be realistic: several studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between types of claim. Here we introduce di®erent multivariate Poisson regression models in order to relax the independence assumption, including zero-in°ated models to account for excess of zeros and overdispersion. These models have been largely ignored to date, mainly because of their computational di±culties. Bayesian inference based on MCMC helps to solve this problem (and also lets us derive, for several quantities of interest, posterior summaries to account for uncertainty). Finally, these models are applied to an automobile insurance claims database with three different types of claims. We analyse the consequences for pure and loaded premiums when the independence assumption is relaxed by using different multivariate Poisson regression models and their zero-inflated versions.     

Bermúdez, Ll. (RFA-IREA), Karlis, D.