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Comparative Economic Studies
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.37
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 5  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0888-7233 - ISSN (Online) 1478-3320
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2570 journals]
  • National Identity and Public Goods Provision
    • Abstract: Abstract This research investigates the relationship between national identity and public goods provision across a wide range of countries. The analysis shows that national identity, measured based on survey data, and public goods provision, measured by a broad set of indicators, are negatively related. This result is explained through a proposed short-run model on country stability, where the provision of national identity and public goods are substitutable. The findings challenge the conventional wisdom on nation-building as a policy tool for mitigating the adverse effects of fractionalization, suggesting that generally it is used as a tool for governments to divert the attention of its citizens from most pressing issues, such as the provision of elementary public goods.
      PubDate: 2020-03-01
  • Central Bank Equity as an Instrument of Monetary Policy
    • Abstract: Abstract We examine the use of central bank equity as an unconventional monetary policy tool. In this setting, a central bank employs digital currency to transfer digital cash to each household, thus supporting consumption directly when needed. The asset side of the central bank’s balance sheet remains unchanged, and the creation of new digital cash is offset by a decrease in central bank equity. The central bank thus incurs an immediate loss but does not take on any additional risks for its future income statements. We address several objections to this policy, paying particular attention to the claim that weakening the financial strength of the central bank endangers long-term price stability. Through a meta-analysis of 176 estimates reported previously in the literature, we find that central bank financial strength has not historically correlated with inflation performance.
      PubDate: 2020-03-01
  • The Impact of Conflict on Trade in Services: A Sector-Level Analysis
    • Abstract: Abstract Conflicts have a negative effect on trade for the involved and neutral countries over time. However, most papers study the case of merchandise trade without paying attention to trade in services, whereas conflicts significantly affect market access and the mobility of factors of production. This article aims to assess the impact of interstate conflicts between belligerents and disentangle the respective effects of these events not only across levels of hostility (use of force or not) and fatality (victims or not) but also across the geographical locations of the belligerents. We use a structural gravity model with robust methods for the period 1985–2016 concerning total flows of trade in services and eight service sectors (communication, construction, finance, insurance, other business services, personal cultural and recreational services, transport, and travel). The results confirm the significant and negative effect of interstate conflicts between belligerent countries on trade in services. We show that conflicts have a higher trade deterioration effect on finance and travel services than on the other sectors. Finance, insurance, and travel services are the most affected by the level of hostility and fatality of these events. Finally, we show that conflicts have dissimilar effects across countries and service sectors.
      PubDate: 2020-03-01
  • Bribes, Rents and Industrial Firm Performance in Albania and Kosovo
    • Abstract: Abstract Using data from a novel representative survey, we examine how corruption affects the performance of industrial-sector firms in Albania and Kosovo, two low–middle-income post-socialist economies in the Western Balkan region. Bribes are costs that firms incur to “grease the wheels” of the bureaucracy and/or to seek rents. Rents, however, may improve firm performance. Thus, to estimate the total effect of corruption, we develop and collect a set of perception-based indicators of both corruption and rents. In addition, we allow both bribery and rents to affect output growth through multiple channels—by influencing the firm’s investment and hiring decisions, by affecting total-factor productivity and by modifying the marginal product of factor additions. We find that, in Albania and Kosovo, bribes and rents have both positive and negative effects on firm performance. The net effect of corruption, however, is negative and large and is not fully offset by the beneficial effects of rents.
      PubDate: 2020-01-28
  • On the Determinants of the Okun’s Law: New Evidence from
           Time-Varying Estimates
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper revisits, by means of both time series and panel data analyses, the empirical regularity identified by Okun’s (in: Proceedings of the business and economics statistics section, American Statistical Association, Washington, DC, 98–103, 1962) seminal paper. Based on a sample of 85 advanced and developing economies between 1978 and 2014, we confirm the existence of an average negative and statistically significant Okun’s relationship. At the same time, results suggest that the relation varies substantially across countries and times. Finally, we identify several factors affecting the variation in Okun’s coefficient across and within countries. Across countries, the relationship is stronger in countries with higher average unemployment, a larger share of public employment, lower informality and smaller agricultural sectors, and one that is more diversified. Within countries, in addition to some of these factors, we find that deregulation in labor and product markets and recessions have strengthened the response of unemployment to the business cycle.
      PubDate: 2019-12-18
  • Martin L. Weitzman
    • PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • In Memoriam: Frederic L. Pryor
    • PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • Three Revolutions of the Modern Era
    • Abstract: Abstract The emergence and evolution of modern science since the seventeenth century has led to three major breakthroughs in the human condition. The first, the Industrial Revolution, started in the late eighteenth century and is based chiefly on developments associated with the rise of the natural sciences. The second, the Demographic Revolution, began in the latter half of the nineteenth century and is largely the result of progress in the life sciences. The third is a Happiness Revolution that commenced in the late twentieth century and is the outgrowth of the social sciences. The first two revolutions, both familiar concepts, are summarized briefly; this paper develops the rationale for the third, the Happiness Revolution. It also notes the implications of this perspective for the interpretation of international cross-sectional studies.
      PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • Why Does Sharecropping Survive' Agrarian Institutions and Contract
           Choice in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
    • Abstract: Abstract A century ago, Alfred Marshall demonstrated the inefficiency associated with farmers receiving only a portion of their marginal product. Farmers will supply less labor than under arrangements in which they receive their marginal product; output will be sub-optimal. Explanations of sharecropping are based on market imperfections, e.g., high transactions costs or inability to insure against risk, suggesting that sharecropping should disappear with economic development. Nevertheless, sharecropping survives. In Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, sharecropping has no legal status but farm surveys provide evidence of its existence. Despite farmers’ awareness of the Marshallian paradox, institutional uncertainty contributes to the persistent attractiveness of sharecropping.
      PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • Gender Earnings Inequality and Wage Policy: Teachers, Health Care, and
           Social Workers in Central Asia
    • Abstract: Abstract In 2011, the government of Kyrgyzstan increased the wages paid to teachers, healthcare workers, and social workers (EHS) in response to national strikes from teachers over low wages and working conditions. The EHS wage policy was adjusted between 2012 and 2015. We examine the literature on gender wage inequality and policies to redress inequalities in different countries and specifically in Central Asia. We use data from the Life in Kyrgyzstan panel surveys (2010–2016) and the Kyrgyzstan Labor Force Surveys (2009–2016) to describe the gender gap in wages and hours of work over time for EHS and other workers. We estimate panel models of the impact of the wage reform on monthly wages using LIK data. We find that the wage policy reduced the difference in wages between comparably skilled EHS and other workers, reduced the gender pay gap primarily in the EHS sector, and reduced the overall gender wage gap in Kyrgyzstan. This wage-setting policy targeted rural areas and narrowed the gap in wages paid to rural and urban workers. The policy was an effective mechanism to reduce wage inequality.
      PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • The Fall in Potential Output due to the Financial Crisis: A Much Bigger
           Estimate for the UK
    • Abstract: Abstract Conventional estimates suggest that the 2007–2009 financial crisis reduced UK potential output by 3.8–7.5% of GDP. This implied a need for fiscal tightening as the structural budget deficit had increased considerably. The austerity that followed led to the rise of UKIP, the EU referendum and the vote for Brexit. Brexit will reduce potential output by somewhere between 3.9 and 8.7% of GDP. Thus, it can be argued that the total fall in UK potential output due to the banking crisis is between 7.7 and 16.2% of GDP—approximately double the conventional estimate.
      PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • Democratic Institutions, Natural Resources, and Income Inequality
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper examines how democratic institutions shape the nexus of natural resources and income inequality, under the hypothesis that democracy can help to alleviate the possible effects that resources may have on income inequality. Starting from a survey of the existing literature, we provide a cross-country regression analysis showing that the effect of natural resources on income inequality does indeed depend on democracy. Our results suggest that, if the level of democracy in a country is high, natural resources have the ability to lower inequality. This finding suggests several avenues for future research.
      PubDate: 2019-12-01
  • Reforming Finance Under Fragmented Governments
    • Abstract: Abstract The last decades have been characterized by a global drive to reform finance, but the process has not been homogeneous across countries and over time. What can explain the observed differences in financial reform zeal' This paper investigates the role of government cohesiveness in explaining this heterogeneity, finding that fragmented governments breed stalemate. This phenomenon has often been assumed in the literature based on circumstantial observations, but a formal, systematic assessment was still lacking. We fill this gap by exploiting a panel dataset covering the OECD countries over 30 years and undertaking several robustness checks. Our results show that the number of parties and the presence of small, decisive coalition partners slow down financial reforms. This is consistent with theoretical models in which decision making requires cooperation among different agents with conflicting policy preferences.
      PubDate: 2019-10-23
  • The Great Recession and Labor Market Adjustment: Evidence from Latvia
    • Abstract: Abstract How severe are costs to workers when the economy undergoes a large recession' In this paper, we try to provide an answer to this question using as an example Latvia, a new EU member state, which faced the most severe recession in Europe and globally in 2008. We employ individual-level Latvian Labor Force Survey and EU SILC data over the years 2002–2016 and 2007–2015, respectively, and analyze transitions in the labor market and their determinants as well as occupational mobility. Our results show that adjustment takes place predominantly at the extensive margin since it is driven by flows to unemployment. We also show that by 2016 the labor market has bounced back to its pre-crisis performance and that for the average worker Latvia’s macroeconomic policies that focused on internal devaluation did not impose large costs in the medium run. However, the young, ethnic minorities and the less skilled were particularly affected by the crisis. Wage regressions suggest that job mobility is not associated with an increase in wages, i.e., with increased labor productivity.
      PubDate: 2019-10-18
  • The European Corporate Equity Puzzle
    • Abstract: Abstract Why do equity issuances by non-financial companies in Europe remain minor' Using experimental data on firms from Europe, we analyse how firms trade off between debt and external equity financing. We find that firms are willing to pay a substantial premium on debt when presented with an equity participation as an alternative. Companies are willing to pay an interest rate that is about 8.8 pp higher than the cost of equity to obtain a loan instead of external equity. This preference for debt cannot be explained only by the more favourable tax treatment for debt, by fear to lose corporate control rights or growth expectations on their own. In fact, while remaining important explanations, those elements can explain only some 72% of the gap. There is thus something independent from profitability that might have to do with companies’ preference for already tested financing strategies. In fact, we observe a larger premium for those firms that are more suited to receive bank loans. This suggests that, at least to some extent, a financial sector dominated by bank finance has spurred a culture of debt. This in turn has led to a strong selection towards those firms that are most capable of flourishing under debt financing and, thus, have the strongest preference for this type of finance.
      PubDate: 2019-10-15
  • Correction to: Corruption in China: What Shapes Social Attitudes Toward
    • Abstract: Due to an unfortunate oversight the author name Ilari Määtta has been misspelt. It should be read Ilari Määttä.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • In Search of Fluctuations: Another Look at China’s Incredibly Stable
           GDP Growth Rates
    • Abstract: Abstract China’s official real GDP growth has held surprisingly stable in recent years. As national GDP figures influence both policy analysis and political decisions, the GDP growth rate of the Chinese economy has also great international implications. Taking the nominal GDP growth and price index data as given and experimenting with alternative deflators, this paper attempts to track missing fluctuations in real GDP growth in recent years. Real GDP growth in the constructed series decreased in 2015–2016, picked up in 2017, and again decelerated in 2018, in contrast to the rather stable official real GDP growth rates of these years. Furthermore, in recent years the constructed growth rate seems to be well below the official figures.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • The Role of Internally Financed Capex in Rising Chinese Corporate Debts
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper aims to identify potential drivers behind China’s rising corporate leverage, using an international aggregate panel dataset. We find strong evidence of significantly negative effects of the internally financed share of capital expenditure on the change of corporate debt/GDP: a rise in internally generated funds relative to gross capital formation consistently slows corporate debt buildup. While our core finding is robust to choices of benchmark models, control variables and data samples, this negative effect appears more pronounced in China’s case. Our regressions also suggest more important roles played by real economic factors than monetary factors. While the investment rate contributes to rising corporate debt, a higher saving rate dampens corporate leveraging. Finally, we present some evidence of consistently negative impacts of government debt on corporate leveraging, suggesting possible interactions between corporate and government debts. Overall, our empirical evidence points to the declining investment efficiency as a possible important driver behind China’s high and rising corporate leverage, in light of its high investment rate and low internally funded capex ratio.
      PubDate: 2019-09-01
  • Is Economic Growth Really Jobless' Empirical Evidence from North
    • Abstract: Abstract North African countries recorded the highest youth unemployment rate in the World during the latest years. The main causes for that situation continue to be at the forefront of the debate among economists, sociologists and policymakers. This paper contributes to the existing literature by estimating the Okun’s law for four North African economies over the period 1991–2013. It examines the reaction of unemployment rate to output for different groups of the labor force as determined by age-group and gender. In addition to the basic linear specification, we present estimates of the Okun’s coefficients by taking into account the potential presence of structural breaks, threshold and asymmetry. The empirical investigation highlights the presence of mixed findings regarding the significance, magnitude and stability of coefficients for the different groups of the labor force and countries. Policy implications are correspondingly drawn.
      PubDate: 2019-01-08
  • Corruption in China: What Shapes Social Attitudes Toward It'
    • Abstract: Abstract This research investigates the determinants of attitudes toward corruption in China using micro-level data. We use survey data on 6000 individuals from 28 provinces to estimate logit models that show how individual and provincial determinants shape attitudes toward corruption. Respondents who have higher education, belong to higher social class, live in rural areas, and are members of the Communist Party of China, think corruption is less useful than the other respondents. Negative attitude toward corruption is related to higher education, lower social class, and membership in the Communist Party of China.
      PubDate: 2019-01-07
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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