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No. 145   (Download full text)
Corinna Ahlfeld
Reputation Sells -Compensation Payments in the Political Sphere
Bargaining between different groups, which differ in objectives, preferences and interests, is at the core of political decision-making. Yet, it is logical to presume that negotiations involving more parties will lead to inertia and a slow pace in the legislative process. According to this hypothesis, political systems involving many veto-players such as federal countries or international organisations must be prone to a low activity. Oddly enough, a closer look on the European Unions‟ and Germany‟s legislation activity level shows that these are fairly high, although in both systems exist a considerably amount of opportunities to block or delay reforms. Decision-making in this framework is mostly brought about by side-payments, which are usually not reported to the public. This poses a question. If compensation payments are able to fuel the decision process by balancing interest and help to avoid reform deadlocks why are they frequently disguised? This paper addresses this question by suggesting that politicians do avoid openly paid compensation payments out of concerns over their reputation and that decision-making is rather a strategically action than showing majorities for a certain topic.
Keywords: Compensation, Logrolling, Side-Payments, Political Reform, Political Economy
No. 144   (Download full text)
Lukas Krüger and Kilian Bizer
Innovationen im Kontext von Nachhaltigkeit
Innovationen sind das Kernelement des Überlebens und der Positionierung von Volkswirtschaften, da sie zur Befriedigung der Marktbedürfnisse beitragen. Vor dem Hintergrund knapper Ressourcen werden jedoch regelmäßig nur die Innovationen realisiert, die aus einer betriebswirtschaftlichen Betrachtung vorteilhaft erscheinen und damit weniger als eigentlich sinnvoll wären. Zunehmend setzt sich allerdings die Erkenntnis durch, dass die betriebswirtschaftliche Marktabgrenzung und damit die traditionelle Wirtschaftlichkeitsbewertung von Innovationen und Innovationsprojekten zu eng sind. Vielmehr erfordert die heutige Innovationsbewertung eine Erweiterung um soziale und ökologische Aspekt, also eine nachhaltige Ausrichtung. Basierend auf dem Forschungsprojekt „Nachhaltigkeitsorientierte Bewertung von Innovationsprojekten (NaBI)“ gibt dieses Papier einen Überblick über das Forschungsfeld und analysiert die Nachhaltigkeitstheorie im Hinblick auf Innovationen. Im Ergebnis wird die Festlegung auf ein bestimmtes Indikatorset für die jeweilige Nachhaltigkeitsebene (Satellitensystem) vorgeschlagen, in denen essenzielle Bestandteile mit festgelegten Grenzwerten vorgegeben sind.
JEL-Codes: O31, H23, H32
Keywords: Nachhaltigkeit, Innovation, Innovationsbewertung
No. 143   (Download full text)
Corinna Ahlfeld
The scapegoat of heterogeneity - How fragmentation influences political decisionmaking
It is regularly stated that political fragmentation has negative effects on reforms leading to delays or even blockades. This connection is reflected in the ‘weak government hypothesis’ arguing that fragmented governments create higher budget deficits. Although the assumption seems logical, reviewing theoretical and empirical research on the topic does not completely support this hypothesis. In fact, only few theoretical models concentrate on the impact of fragmentation and empirical findings on the issue are ambiguous. Disentangling the effect is intricate: The definition of fragmentation has various dimensions and every model or empirical study does neglect at least some important factors. In the following I would like to shed some light on the relation and the shortcomings of recent findings. As fragmentation will have various effects on political actions it seems unjustified to generally make it the scapegoat of reform delays.
JEL-Codes: H3, D7, H10
Keywords: political economy, reform delay, fragmentation
No. 142   (Download full text)
Peter Rühmann
Zur Bedeutung der räumlichen Mobilität in einer Währungsunion
There seems to exist a consensus that transnational labour mobility will help to equalize workers` incomes and domestic product per head between the member countries of a monetary union. However, the ´the new economic geography` which stresses the centrifugal spatial forces of economic activity cast doubts on this opinion. By contrasting neoclassical analysis with models of imperfect competition, this paper illustrates the view that labour mobility might aggravate as well as equalize the national differences in domestic product per head. Therefore, with respect to EMU, it seems reasonable to support forms of transnational mobility which avoid the potential polarizing effects as far as possible.
JEL-Codes: F22, F33
Keywords: Transnational Labour Mobility, European Monetary Union
No. 141   (Download full text)
Renate Ohr
European Monetary Union at Ten: Had the German Maastricht Critics Been Wrong?
Against the background of the euro-sceptic view many German economists expressed during the 1990ies and the traditional as well as modern debate on the optimum currency area the outcomes of the first ten years of the European Monetary Union are analysed. It is checked to what extent the concerns raised by Maastricht critics have been justified, or rather, to what extent the feared risks have not (or have not yet) materialised. It is shown that some of the alarming risks of the European Monetary Union that had been predicted in the 1990ies have emerged in the meantime – even though they have not yet essentially affected the euro’s stability. But it remains to be seen whether, or rather how, the euro – within the framework of a non-optimal currency area – will overcome the challenges of the global financial and economic crisis without a loss of stability.
JEL-Codes: E5, F3
Keywords: Euro, European Monetary Union, Maastricht Treaty, Optimum Currency Area
No. 140   (Download full text)
Zulia Gubaydullina and Markus Spiwoks
Portfolio diversification: an experimental study
The paper analyses on an experimental basis the phenomenon of non-optimal under-diversification in portfolio choice decisions and investigates the reasons behind it. The most important obstacles for optimal diversification are studied – the correlation neglect hypothesis and the overconfidence which both lead to suboptimal diversification decisions. The investment alternatives are constructed in a way that the Markowitz’ efficiency frontier is reduced to a single point in the return-risk diagram so that unambiguous interpretation of the results is possible: the subjects neglect the correlation between the assets, use naïve diversification strategies and take irrelevant information as a foundation for their investment decisions, the first effect being stronger than the second.
JEL-Codes: C91, D81, G11
Keywords: experimental economics; portfolio choice; investment decisions; correlation neglect; overconfidence
No. 139   (Download full text)
Corinna Ahlfeld
Speeding up Reforms? Fragmentation and Compensation Payments in an Experimental Design
Reform delays emerge frequently in politics but can be solved using compensation payments. A higher degree of fragmentation among the addressees may- according to the theory- reduce these costs. The number of groups and the inherent uncertainty normally influence agents’ behaviour. When this prediction holds and behaviour is in fact influenced by the number of groups, fragmentation will not outperform a less fragmented society concerning compensation costs. An experiment is conducted to evaluate the effects of fragmentation on agents’ decisions and shows that the theoretic result as such cannot be applied to the behaviour of agents.
JEL-Codes: C7, D03, H77
Keywords: Ultimatum Game, Compensation-Payments, Experiment
No. 138   (Download full text) (submitted)
Corinna Ahlfeld
More Groups, Cheaper Reforms?
The topic of reforms is hotly debated among politicians and researchers. There are many approaches to explore the origins of reform deadlocks and budget deficits. Central to all these approaches are the costs generated either by the Status Quo or by eliminating the Status Quo via a reform. Costs generated by the reform can be offset by the government using compensation payments. Crucial for a successful reform is to minimize these compensation costs. The task is rather complicated, as certain groups of individuals, such as countries, federal states or political parties are hard to separate. Against this background this paper shows that under a majority rule the compensation costs can be minimized via enacting fragmentation among the population.
JEL-Codes: H30, D78, P16
Keywords: Political Economy, Fragmentation Compensation Payments
No. 137   (Download full text)
Verena Mertins and Anja Sölter
Définition et dénombrement statistique de la population des PME dans l’Union Européenne
Cette étude par ordre de la Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) fournit un aperçu préliminaire au sujet de la définition et du système statistique de l’Union Européenne concernant les PME. La définition européenne des PME est examinée en particulier relative à l’inclusion dans la population des PME des groupes spéciaux comme l’artisanat et les professions libérales. Ensuite, le cadre institutionnel du système statistique européen des PME et la mise en œuvre du dénombrement de ce groupe aux niveaux nationaux sont analysés en soulignant l’application de la définition communautaire des PME et, par conséquent, le degré de la représentation de la population des PME européennes dans les statistiques existantes. Pour illustrer des problèmes pratiques et des particularités nationales, le cas de l’Allemagne est utilisé comme exemple.
This study by order of the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) provides an overview of the SME definition and the system of SME statistics in the European Union. The European SME definition is particularly examined with respect to the inclusion of specific groups such as the crafts as well as the professions. This serves as a basis for analysing the institutional design of the European SME statistics and the practical problems of collecting data at the national level. The analysis of the statistical system focuses both on the application of the European SME definition as well as the question in how far the whole population of European SME is represented in the existing statistics. Where necessary, the German case serves as an example to illustrate practical problems and national particularities.
JEL-Codes: C80, H83
Keywords: SME, SME definition, SME statistics, EU, crafts, the professions
No. 136   (Download full text)
Sebastian Lechner, Zulia Gubaydullina and Kilian Bizer
The allocation of property rights to intangible cultural assets
This paper provides an economic justification for the protection of cultural property rights of indigenous groups. Cultural property either in the form of traditional knowledge or folklore carries the potential to increase wealth by adding to the knowledge base of an economy. But in order to ensure efficient use of cultural assets, the law should provide protection from overexploitation which is likely to occur as cultural assets can be characterized as a common pool resource. In contrast to other intellectual property such as inventions cultural goods are primarily provided by intrinsic motivation. External effects of using them in the production of other goods could crowd out this motivation. If cultural assets are part of the knowledge base of an economy, as argued here, protection of cultural assets should be implemented by either specific regulation by the state or the creation of property rights which can be traded on markets. International law should endeavour to provide a framework with lowest possible transaction costs while securing cultural assets.
JEL-Codes: Z1, O34, H41
Keywords: Intellectual property rights, Cultural property rights, common pool resource, knowledge base
 
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