Minimum Wage Effects in a Developing Country
(file size: 282K, last updated: 01/2006)
The available minimum wage literature, which is mostly based on US evidence, is not very useful for analyzing developing countries, where the minimum wage affects many more workers and labor institutions and law enforcement differ in important ways. The main contribution of this paper is to present new empirical evidence on minimum wage effects for a key developing country, Brazil. Using a monthly household survey panel from 1982 to 2000 we find evidence of a strong wage compression effect for both the formal and informal sectors. Furthermore, we find no evidence of adverse employment effects in either sector.
Bayesian Inference in a Cointegrating Panel Data Model
(file size: 420K, last updated: 01/2006)
This paper develops methods of Bayesian inference in a cointegrating panel data model. This model involves each cross-sectional unit having a vector error correction representation. It is flexible in the sense that different cross-sectional units can have different cointegration ranks and cointegration spaces. Furthermore, the parameters which characterize short-run dynamics and deterministic components are allowed to vary over cross-sectional units. In addition to a noninformative prior, we introduce an informative prior which allows for information about the likely location of the cointegration space and about the degree of similarity in coefficients in different cross-sectional units. A collapsed Gibbs sampling algorithm is developed which allows for efficient posterior inference. Our methods are illustrated using real and artificial data.
Public investment and higher education
(file size: 193K, last updated: 01/2006)
Empirical results show that children from high income households achieve higher levels of education and are more likely to be enrolled in post compulsory school. Theoretical findings fail to answer clearly whether greater public investment in the higher education system effectively decreases the inequality between the educational attainment of rich and poor children. We show that if the child receives a monetary transfer from his parents and allocates it between private consumption and investment in private additional education, then a further public investment decreases the educational gap. This result holds under the assumptions of both sub-stitutability and complementarity between private and public education.
Profitability of Horizontal Mergers in Trigger Strategy Game
(file size: 213K, last updated: 01/2006)
It is shown that, in a dynamic competition, an exogenous horizontal merger is profitable even if a small share of active firms merge. However, each firm has incentive to remain outside the merger because it would benefit more (Insidersdilemma). We show that in an infinite repeated game in which the firms use trigger strategies an exogenous bilateral merger can be profitable and the Insidersdilemma is mitigated.
Model Uncertainty and Bayesian Model Averaging in Vector Autoregressive Processes
(file size: 485K, last updated: 02/2006)
Economic forecasts and policy decisions are often informed by empirical analysis based on econometric models. However, inference based upon a single model, when several viable models exist, limits its usefulness. Taking account of model uncertainty, a Bayesian model averaging procedure is presented which allows for unconditional inference within the class of vector autoregressive (VAR) processes. Several features of VAR process are investigated. Measures on manifolds are employed in order to elicit uniform priors on subspaces defined by particular structural features of VARs. The features considered are the number and form of the equilibrium economic relations and deterministic processes. Posterior probabilities of these features are used in a model averaging approach for forecasting and impulse response analysis. The methods are applied to investigate stability of the "Great Ratios" in U.S. consumption, investment and income, and the presence and effects of permanent shocks in these series. The results obtained indicate the feasibility of the proposed method.
Tuition fees and admission standards: how do public and private universities really compete for students?
(file size: 192K, last updated: 04/2006)
We study a market where two universities, a public and a private one, compete for students by setting admission standards. Students differ in ability and receive a wage premium for participating in higher education. This wage increases with the quality of the university attended. The private university maximizes profits, the public university maximizes welfare. We show that there is no "same-standard" equilibrium. In a specific example we show that multiple equilibria can exist. In one equilibrium the private university sets a higher admission standard, and in the other equilibrium the public university sets a higher admission standard.
State Dependence and Causal Feedback of Poverty and Fertility in Ethiopia
(file size: 199K, last updated: 06/2006)
The paper implements simultaneous random effect models as a means to analyse causality issues related to poverty and fertility in Ethiopia, a country which is plagued by high and persistent poverty and very high fertility rates in rural areas. Using longitudinal data from both urban and rural areas of Ethiopia, we analyse the relationship between childbearing and poverty. In addition to identifying state dependence in poverty and fertility, we investigate to what extent fertility act as a feedback mechanism leading to higher poverty and vice versa. We find that poverty itself has little effect on fertility, whereas there is evidence of state dependence in poverty and important feedback from fertility on future poverty. Not unexpected, we find substantial differences between rural and urban areas.
Auctions in which Losers Set the Price
(file size: 193K, last updated: 03/2007)
We study auctions of a single asset among symmetric bidders with affiliated values. We show that the second-price auction minimizes revenue among all efficient auction mechanisms in which only the winner pays, and the price only depends on the losers’ bids. In particular, we show that the k-th price auction generates higher revenue than the second-price auction, for all k > 2. If rationing is allowed, with shares of the asset rationed among the t highest bidders, then the (t + 1)-st price auction yields the lowest revenue among all auctions with rationing in which only the winners pay and the unit price only depends on the losers’ bids. Finally, we compute bidding functions and revenue of the k-th price auction, with and without rationing, for an illustrative example much used in the experimental literature to study first-price, second-price and English auctions.
A Survey of the Effects of the Minimum Wage on Prices
(file size: 279K, last updated: 05/2006)
It is well established in the literature that minimum wage increases compress the wage distribution. Firms respond to these higher labour costs by reducing employment, reducing profits, or raising prices. While there are hundreds of studies on the employment effect of the minimum wage, there are merely a handful of studies on its profit effects, and only a couple of dozen studies on its price effects. Furthermore, a comprehensive survey on minimum wage price effects is not available in the literature. Given the policy relevance of this neglected issue, in this paper we summarise and critically compare the available evidence on the effects of minimum wages on prices.
A Note On Generalized Hyperbolic Discounting
(file size: 138K, last updated: 08/2006)
In a major contributions to behavioral economics, Loewenstein and Prelec (1992) set the foundations for the behavioral approach to decision making over time and derive the generalized hyperbolic discounting formula. Here we show that their assumption 'common difference effect with quadratic delay' cannot be weakened to 'common difference effect'.
Fairness and Direct Democracy
(file size: 416K, last updated: 11/2007)
The median voter model (direct democracy) has wide applicability, but it is based on selfish voters i.e. voters who derive utility solely from 'own' payoff. The recent literature has pointed to fairness and concern for others as basic human motives that explain a range of economic phenomena. We examine the implications of introducing fair voters who have a preference for fairness as in Fehr and Schmidt (1999). Within a simple general equilibrium model, we demonstrate the existence of a Condorcet winner for fair voters using the single crossing property of voters preferences. In a fair voter model, unlike a selfish voter model, poverty can lead to increased redistribution. Mean preserving spreads of income increase equilibrium redistribution. Greater fairness leads to greater redistribution. The introduction of selfish voters in an economy where the median voter is fair can have a large impact on the redistributive outcome. An empirical exercise using OECD data illustrates the potential importance of fairness in explaining redistribution.
On Corruption and Institutions
in Decentralized Economies
(file size: 266K, last updated: 09/2006)
This paper presents a model of opportunistic behaviour in decentralized economic exchange and considers the impact of inadequate institutional framework of formal contract enforcement on economic performance. It is shown that (i) when the number of cheating traders is sufficiently large, inadequate institutions result in a loss of decentralized trading contracts, (ii) an adequate institutional framework, while being necessary for the attainment of a Pareto optimal outcome, may not be sufficient if traders perceive it as inadequate; and (iii) sufficiently good formal enforcement provisions help deter contractual breach in enviroments with corrupt and powerful enforcers.
Financial Liberalisation and Breaks in Stock Market Volatility
(file size: 461K, last updated: 11/2006)
This paper proposes a new statistical procedure which aims at providing robust estimates of volatility around official liberalisation dates, by using data driven techniques to identify the number and timing of structural breaks in the variance dynamics of stock market returns. The paper illustrates the usefulness of the procedure by providing an empirical application that focuses on five East Asian emerging markets, all of which liberalised their financial markets in the late 1980s or early 1990s, namely (South) Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. It is shown that (i) the detected breakdates in the volatility of stock market returns do not correspond to official liberalisation dates and (ii) the use of official liberalisation dates as breakdates is likely to result in inaccurate inference. By using data driven techniques to detect multiple structural changes a richer - and inevitably more accurate - pattern of volatility dynamics emerges in comparison to focussing on official liberalisation dates.
Hang ’em with probability zero: Why does it not work?
(file size: 409K, last updated: 11/2006)
A celebrated result in the economics of crime, which we call the Becker proposition (BP), states that it is optimal to impose the severest possible punishment (to maintain effective deterrence) at the lowest possible probability (to economize on enforcement costs). Several other applications, some unrelated to the economics of crime, arise when an economic agent faces punishments/ rewards with very low probabilities. For instance, insurance against low probability events, principal-agent contracts that impose punitive fines, seat belt usage and the usage of mobile phones among drivers etc. However, the BP, and the other applications mentioned above, are at variance with the evidence. The BP has largely been considered within an expected utility framework (EU). We re-examine the BP under rank dependent expected utility (RDU) and prospect theory (PT). We find that the BP always holds under RDU. However, under plausible scenarios within PT it does not hold, in line with the evidence.
The Utility Function Under Prospect Theory
(file size: 158K, last updated: 11/2006)
Prospect theory is the main behavioral alternative to expected utility. Tversky and Kahnemann (1992) motivate the utility function for gains and losses under prospect theory by using the axiom of preference homogeneity. However, they do not provide the formal proof. We provide the relevant proof. Furthermore, we show that the utility function under preference homogeneity obeys an additional and important restriction that is not noted by Tversky and Kahnemann (1992). This simplifies the use of prospect theory by reducing the number of free parameters by one.
On the Lowest-Winning-Bid and the Highest-Losing-Bid Auctions
(file size: 202K, last updated: 12/2006)
Theoretical models of multi-unit, uniform-price auctions assume that the price is given by the highest losing bid. In practice, however, the price is usually given by the lowest winning bid. We derive the equilibrium bidding function of the lowest-winning-bid auction when there are k objects for sale and n bidders, and prove that it converges to the bidding function of the highest-losing-bid auction if and only if the number of losers n - k gets large. When the number of losers grows large, the bidding functions converge at a linear rate and the prices in the two auctions converge in probability to the expected value of an object to the marginal winner.