EconPol Working Paper Series

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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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 40

Sovereign Debt Crisis in Portugal and Spain

António Afonso (EconPol Europe; ISEG – School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa; REM – Research in Economics and Mathematics, UECE), Nuno Verdial (ISEG – School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa)

In this working paper, António Afonso (EconPol Europe; ISEG – School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa; REM – Research in Economics and Mathematics, UECE) and Nuno Verdial (ISEG – School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa) analyze the events of the 2007/2008 financial crisis and European sovereign debt crisis with a focus on Portugal and Spain. They find that that the pricing of sovereign risk changed with the crisis and the “whatever it takes” speech of Mario Draghi. Specifically, market pricing of the Eurozone credit risk, liquidity risk and the risk appetite increased after the crisis and relaxed afterwards. However, there is no evidence of specific pricing regime changes after the speech in the case of Portugal and Spain. 

 

 

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 39

Fiscal Consolidation and Automatic Stabilization: New Results

Mathias Dolls (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, CESifo), Clemens Fuest (EconPol Europe, University of Munich, CESifo, ifo Institute), Andreas Peichl (EconPol Europe, University of Munich, CESifo, ifo Institute), Christian Wittneben (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute)

The share of income shocks absorbed by the tax and transfer system in the Eurozone declined from 48 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2011. For some of the countries most affected by the crisis, the stabilization effect was even negative in some years of the crisis, implying that the tax and transfer system amplified income shocks. In this EconPol working paper, Mathias Dolls (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, CESifo), Clemens Fuest (EconPol Europe, University of Munich, CESifo, ifo Institute), Andreas Peichl (EconPol Europe, University of Munich, CESifo, ifo Institute) and Christian Wittneben (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute) analyze how the combined effect of automatic stabilizers and discretionary changes in tax-benefit systems affected the cushioning of income shocks. They propose a new summary measure of the combined effect of automatic stabilizers and discretionary policy changes based on micro data and counter-factual simulation. 

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