EconPol Working Paper Series

Cover of EconPol Working Paper 45

Labor Productivity in State-Owned Enterprises

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Maria João Guedes(Universidade de Lisboa; Advance/CSG), Pankaj C. Patel (Villanova University, Villanova School of Business)

Between 2013 and 2015, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the Portuguese government revoked four holidays for public and private employees - but the revocation seems to have served little economic purpose and been no more than a ceremonial gesture. In this paper, authors António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Maria João Guedes (Universidade de Lisboa; Advance/CSG), Pankaj C. Patel (Villanova University, Villanova School of Business) show that revocation of the holidays did not impact labor productivity for either central or local and regional government managed state owned enterprises.

 

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 44

Markups in a Dual Labor Market: The Case of the Netherlands

Gerrit Hugo van Heuvelen, Leon Bettendorf, Gerdien Meijerink (EconPol Europe, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

An expanding body of research finds a sharp increase in the average markups in the US and Europe, driven by firms located at the top of the markup distribution; other studies find that markups in the US and Europe have increased only moderately or even remained stable. These differing results have triggered a discussion on methodology, a key issue being the choice of the free input in the production function approach. Authors Gerrit Hugo van Heuvelen, Leon Bettendor and Gerdien Meijerink (EconPol Europe, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) show that the choice of the free input is crucial, and may explain at least some of the discrepancies in the findings in the recent literature. They illustrate this with the case of the Netherlands, which has a large share of flexible work arrangements and temporary labor contracts as well as fixed contracts.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 43

Air Pollution & Migration: Exploiting a Natural Experiment from the Czech Republic

Štěpán Mikula (Masaryk University), Mariola Pytliková (EconPol Europe, CERGE-EI)

This paper from Štěpán Mikula (Masaryk University) and Mariola Pytliková (EconPol Europe, CERGE-EI) examines causal effects of air pollution on migration by exploiting a unique natural experiment of desulfurization of power plants in the region of North Bohemia in the Czech Republic after the fall of communism in 1989. They find that anti-emigration policies had no impact on emigration decisions, but the effect of air pollution on emigration tended to be stronger in municipalities with weaker social capital and in municipalities less equipped with man-made amenities. These results suggest that strengthening social capital, investing into better facilities in the area of education, health and social care, and promoting sport and cultural activities can partially mitigate the migratory response to air pollution.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 42

How Important are Local Knowledge Spillovers of Public R&D and What Drives Them?

Leonie Koch ( Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich ), Martin Simmler (EconPol Europe, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation)

There is a clear consensus that stimulating firm R&D is welfare-increasing due to positive externalities and uncertainty, but the question about the most efficient way to do so is still open to debate. This paper from Leonie Koch ( Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) and Martin Simmler (EconPol Europe, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation) analyzes the magnitude of local knowledge spillovers of public R&D in Germany and its determinants using patent application data. They find that firms file more patent applications when collaborating with (local) public institutions, that firms file more patent applications when citing a public patent, and that local public R&D seems to increase the number of patent applications by local firms. The authors conclude there is evidence for substantial local spillovers and that these are driven by non-specific knowledge spillovers.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 41

Taxation of Digital Platforms

Marko Köthenbürger (EconPol Europe, ETH Zurich)

Tech giants such as Google and Facebook generate significant amounts of advertising income, which is mainly reported in low-tax countries. This has created a policy discussion of how to re-align the location of value creation and taxation, says author Marko Köthenbürger (EconPol Europe, ETH Zurich). The success of the business model of these digital platforms relies on the existence of indirect network effects, which are the prime reason why platforms exist and generate advertising income. To account for these effects, conventional tax policy needs to be adjusted. This includes an adjusted concept of nexus that should rely on the location of users, which generate the relevant indirect network effects. The recent EU proposal of a digital service tax goes in this direction and constitutes a policy option for other countries.

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