The FIW - Research Centre International Economics (https://www.fiw.ac.at/) is a cooperation between the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), the University Vienna, the Johannes Kepler University Linz, the University of Innsbruck, WIFO, wiiw and WSR. FIW is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministries of Education, Research and Science (BMBFW) and of Labour and Economy (BMAW).
Abstract: In this paper we investigate "integrated equilibria" of two-country models. Extending the basic framework non-traded goods as well as minimum wages are introduced and their effects on the models' results are studied. Finally, the consequences of three types of labor "shocks" are analyzed.
Abstract: The causality from outsourcing, defined as the procurement of inputs from outside the boundaries of the firm, to productivity is tested for a large panel of Irish manufacturing firms. Theory suggests that as firms outsource more 'non-core' activities to specialized providers, productivity due to the firm benefiting from cheaper or higher-quality inputs and from reallocation of resources towards higher value-added activities. The international outsourcing case adds another dimension in the form of input variety, quality and technological embeddedness. I test the above hypothesis using a "System GMM" estimator to control for endogeneity in the panel and allow for a lagged dependent variable to be a regressor. International outsourcing is found to lead to productivity gains, but upon closer inspection it seems that firms? international orientation and type of industry both matter.
Abstract: Using a panel dataset of bilateral flows of foreign direct investment (FDI), we study the determinants of FDI in transition economies, with particular reference to Macedonia’s performance. As many transition countries, Macedonia has a low FDI potential and performance. The empirical work confirms the expectation of the positive feedback effect of past FDI onto current FDI. We do not have enough large dataset to say that all other variables, such as the GDP of the host and source country, unit labour cost, trade, inflation, legal environment, distance, and dummy variables capturing the language, common border and colonizing effect, do not have an effect on FDI stocks. Our suggestion is that all the econometric findings on the determinants of FDI in transition economies using small dataset and static models should be accepted only with caution.
Abstract: In the present study we analyse relevant macro- and microeconomic forces driving inflation in the Czech Republic with a particular focus on how these channels are likely to change in the wake of euro adoption. We employ an ARDL model combined with the Bayesian Model Averaging technique. In order to carry out this analysis, we also estimate the time-varying natural rate of interest purged from the risk premium. Our results suggest that the costs arising from the discontinuation of nominal trend appreciation of the koruna after euro adoption are likely to be rather low. In contrast, a low inflation environment and a harmonization of the business cycles between the Czech Republic and the euro area are essential for ensuring that inflation hikes will remain limited after the euro adoption. The fulfilment of the Maastricht inflation criterion should not be enforced by policy measures that would artificially reduce inflation temporarily. The potential inflationary effect of the changeover cannot be eliminated altogether but it may well be substantially reduced by applying best practices based on the experience of current euro area participants.
Abstract: We present a two-country New Open Economy Macro model of the Austrian economy within the European Union's Economic & Monetary Union (EMU). The model includes both nominal and real frictions that have proven to be important in matching business cycle facts, and that allows for an investigation of the effects and cross-country transmission of a number of structural shocks: shocks to technologies, shocks to preferences, cost-push type shocks and policy shocks. The model is estimated using Bayesian methods on quarterly data covering the period of 1976:Q1-2005:Q1. In addition to the assessment of the relative importance of various shocks, the model also allows to investigate effects of the monetary regime switch with the final stage of the EMU and investigates in how far this has altered macroeconomic transmission. We find that Austria's economy appears to react stronger to demand shocks, while in the rest of the Euro Area supply shocks have a stronger impact. Comparing the estimations on pre-EMU and EMU subsamples we find that the contribution of (rest of the) Euro Area shocks to Austria's business cycle fluctuations has increased significantly.
Abstract: This work analyzes the difference between trade policy and competition policy for prices, wages, employment and national welfare when both product and labor markets are imperfectly competitive. Trade and competition policies have different impact on the domestic labor market when it is unionized. While competitive policies increase union welfare, imports from a foreign country reduce it. Competition policy in the presence of national labor unions does not reduce labor market distortions, while competition induced by trade policy from a foreign exporter reduces both labor and product market distortions and competition is harsher as long as a foreign union is more employment oriented. The impact of both policies on the domestic welfare level is analyzed.
Abstract: The aim of the paper is, firstly, to identify a number of strategies Swiss firms pursue by performing foreign R&D, expecting that firms, in many instances, are driven by a combination of several motives (“mixed strategies”). Secondly, we ask whether foreign and domestic R&D are substitutes or complements. Thirdly, we draw some policy conclusions based on results for direct and indirect home-country effects of foreign R&D. By applying cluster analysis, we identified four specific patterns of motives of foreign R&D. In a second step, we investigated whether these clusters effectively may be interpreted as specific types of R&D strategies. To this end, the clusters were characterised in terms of a large number of variables, which, according to the OLI paradigm of FDI, determine foreign R&D. We found that the patterns of the four clusters systematically differ with respect to these theory-related variables. Some clusters represent, in terms of motives, broad-based mixed strategies, whereas others are strongly focused. It turns out that foreign R&D strategies that primarily aim at exploiting capabilities of the domestic headquarters dominate, whereas cost-reducing strategies are of very minor importance. In case of the other two strategies knowledge sourcing is a constituent element, in the first one, knowledge sourcing is at the core, in the second case it is an important element in the frame of a broad-based strategy. The relative importance of the four strategies implies that, on balance, foreign and domestic R&D are complements. Notwithstanding this positive result, it is sensible to take policy actions supporting the economy to capitalise even more on outward FDI in R&D. Policy basically should aim at securing the attractiveness of Switzerland as a location for R&D-intensive headquarters of firms performing foreign R&D, and at enhancing knowledge spillovers from headquarter companies to other domestic firms. The five categories of measures we recommend are part of a framework-oriented policy design rather than of a more interventionist concept.
Abstract: Trade economists traditionally study the effect of lower variable trade costs. While increasingly important politically, technical barriers to trade (TBTs) have received less attention. Viewing TBTs as fixed regulatory costs related to the entry into export markets, we use a model with heterogeneous firms, trade in differentiated goods, and variable external economies of scale to sort out the rich interactions between TBT reform, input diversity, firm-level productivity, and aggregate productivity. We calibrate the model for 14 industries in order to clarify the theoretical ambiguities. Overall, our results tend to suggest beneficial effects of TBT reform but also reveal interesting sectoral variation.
Abstract: This paper investigates the existence and extent of economies of scale in the European payment processing industry. It is expected that the creation of a Single European Payments Area (SEPA) will spur consolidations and mergers among European payment processors to more fully realize payment economies of scale. We find evidence for the existence of significant economies of scale using data of eight European payment processors during the years 1990-2005. The analysis also reveals that ownership structure is an important factor to explain cost differences across European ACHs.
Abstract: The theory suggests that investment activities and monetary policy influence the development of the global business cycle. The oil price and other raw material prices also play a key role in the economic development and there is a comovement among oil consumption and global output. Therefore, the aim of this study is to explain the development of this set of variables by ARs, small-scale VARs and ECMs. The lag length and the rank of the time series models have been determined using information criteria. Then one-step ahead forecasts have been generated. It was found, that the ARs generate the best forecasts at the beginning of the forecasting horizon. However, when the forecasting horizon increases the VARs outperform the ARs. Comparing the forecasting performance of the ECMs, it was found that the forecasting ability of the ECMs in first differences outperform the level based ECMs when the forecasting horizon increases
Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the relation between inflation and globalization, measured in terms of trade and financial openness. Using a large crosssection of 91 countries covering the period 1985-2004, we establish two main empirical regularities. Both higher trade and financial openness i) reduce central bank’s inflation bias,yielding lower average inflation, and ii) are associated with a larger output-inflation tradeoff. This evidence is at odds with the standard Barro-Gordon framework, which would require globalization to have a negative effect on the output-inflation tradeoff to yield lower equilibrium inflation, but it is consistent with a recent strand of new Keynesian models emphasizing the role of imperfect competition and wage rigidities. Moreover, our findings do not hold up for the OECD subsample, which suggests that a group of highly developed countries has been successful in creating an institutional framework for central banks that eliminates distortions due to the time inconsistency problem.
Abstract: Under which conditions is it advantageous for countries to form a single payments area? This question is analyzed in a model of spatial bank competition to understand better the economic foundations of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). An economic research perspective on the mostly informal policy debates about SEPA is developed. The analysis suggests that expectations about the positive effects of SEPA may be exaggerated as most channels for enhancing public welfare seem rather weak. Still the project may be worthwhile undertaking if the cost of creating SEPA-compliant systems is reduced by extending the time frame for the implementation phase and if the use of electronic payments is promoted.
Abstract: There are two main options for companies to serve foreign markets; exports and foreign direct investment (FDI). Based on the Helpman, Melitz and Yeaple (2004) model for two host countries this paper derives a clear theoretical prediction for the decision between both strategies. A bivariate probit model is estimated using AMADEUS database to analyse the probability of using one or the other strategy. The empirical evidence indicates that a considerable number of companies use a combination of both strategies to serve foreign markets, which is in line with the analyzed three country model.
Abstract: Advanced industrial countries have been exhibiting a steady decline of the labor income shares in the last two decades. We explain this phenomenon by resorting to the old Stolper-Samuelson theorem. The conclusions concerning the impact of free trade on the income distribution are unambiguous in a Heckscher-Ohlin world with two countries, two goods and two factors of production (capital and labor). In contrast, the consequences of FDI from the capital abundant country (EU) to the labor abundant CEEC are ambiguous. Both scenarios are investigated theoretically and then simulated with a hypothetical two country CGE model, including the EU and the CEEC. A panel regression for both regions separately, helps to decide empirically which influences on the development of the labor income shares are at work. Globalization, measured by revealed comparative advantage (increase in global net trade) has contributed to a decline in the labor income shares in the EU. Additionally, those countries which are engaged more in trade with the CEEC can expect a sharper decline in the wage share. Global net FDI outflow also exerts a negative influence on the labor income share in the EU. In the CEEC the increase in global net trade had a positive influence on the labor income share, trade with the EU, however, dampened the labor income share. FDI inflow increased the labor income share in the CEEC.
Abstract: EU's 2007 enlargement by Bulgaria and Romania is evaluated by applying a simple macroeconomic integration model able to encompass as many of the theoretically predicted integration effects possible. The direct integration effects of Bulgaria and Romania spill-over to EU15, including Austria and the 10 new member states of the 2004 EU enlargement. The pattern of the integration effects is qualitatively similar to those of EU’s 2004 enlargement by 10 new member states. Bulgaria and Romania gain much more from EU accession than the incumbents in the proportion of 20:1. In the medium-run up to 2020, Bulgaria and Romania can expect a sizable overall integration gain, amounting to additional ½ percentage point real GDP growth per annum. Within the incumbent EU member states Austria will gain somewhat more (+0.05%) than the average of EU15 (+0.02%) and the 10 new EU member states (+0.01%), which joined the EU in 2004.
Abstract: The article provides a general introductory overview of the (spatial) mobility of highly skilled/qualified persons and discusses the different terms of the mobility of the Highly Skilled, especially those of scientists. It outlines theoretical and empirical aspects of these movements and delineates the drain of European talent to the U.S., especially the outflow of scientists and researchers who contribute considerably to the U.S. innovation system. Further, it takes a closer look at outward mobility in the former socialist countries in Europe, especially in South Eastern Europe, in the period before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Finally, the article outlines general policy options in dealing with the mobility of the Highly Qualified.
Abstract: This paper develops a model of a monopolistically competitive industry with extensive and intensive business investment and shows how these margins respond to changes in average and marginal corporate tax rates. Intensive investment refers to the size of a firm's capital stock. Extensive investment refers to the firm's production location and reflects the trade-off between exports and foreign direct investment as alternative modes of foreign market access. The paper derives comparative static effects of the corporate tax and shows how the cost of public funds depends on the measures of effective marginal and average tax rates and on the behavioral elasticities of extensive and intensive investment.
Abstract: In the trade-technology-wage debate, the effects of the various forms of technical progress on relative factor prices have been addressed in a number of contributions over the past decade. However, the existing literature is far from conclusive. The various contributions have either relied on specific assumptions, such as Leontief technologies or Cobb-Douglas demand, that have been decisive for the respective conclusions, or they used a more general framework, arriving at ambiguous results in many cases. In this paper we analyse a general equilibrium framework with CES production and CES demand functions, which allows for any discrete number of sectors and countries integrated via trade flows. Technologies are country- and sector-specific and endowment structures differ across countries. The necessary and sufficient conditions under which the relative wage rates are rising or falling in the domestic and foreign economies are derived. This is done for various types of factor- and sector-biased technical change taking place in a particular sector in either the home or foreign country. The conditions - depending on the relative skill intensity of the innovating sector, the elasticities of substitution in demand and supply, the relative factor endowment and the prevailing (equilibrium) relative wage rate - allow for straightforward economic interpretations. This permits to solve the cases classified as ambiguous in the existing literature and provides clear-cut conditions which are important for modelling and empirical research. Furthermore, the results are interpreted with respect to recent empirical studies where special emphasis is given to the sector-biased versus factor-biased hypothesis.
Abstract: Working with a mix of panel data on goods and services trade for the OECD for 1994-2004, combined with social accounts data (i.e. data on intermediate linkages) for 78 countries benchmarked to 2001, we examine the role of services as inputs in manufacturing, with a particular focus on indirect exports of services through merchandise exports, and also on the related interaction between service sector openness and the overall pattern of manufacturing exports. From the crosssection, we also develop a set of stylized facts linking services to level of development and the density of intermediate linkages. We find significant and strong positive effects from increased business service openness (i.e. greater levels of imports) on industries like machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals and electric equipment, supporting the notion that off-shoring of business services may promote the competitiveness of the most skill and technology intensive industries in the OECD. Conversely, we find evidence of negative general equilibrium effects for sectors that are less service intensive.
Abstract: This paper investigates the process of trade integration between the enlarged European Union and the Newly Independent States (NIS), focusing on the new EU member states (NMS) and selected NIS (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Kazakhstan). The paper analyses the evolution of the regional and commodity composition of trade in the countries concerned. A detailed market share analysis reveals the emerging trade specialization patterns. There has been a general trade reorientation of both NMS and (less so) the NIS towards the West. The recent trade developments on EU-NIS borders indicate a closer trade integration among the NMS, a declining trade integration among the NIS, as well contradictory shifts in NMS-NIS exports and imports. The importance of the NIS as export markets for the NMS is growing, in particular for the NIS neighbours. The bulk of EU exports is made up of manufacturing products. By contrast, EU imports from the NMS and NIS display a much more distinct //? OR: diversified?// pattern. The key NMS manufacturing export commodities to the NIS are chemicals, machinery & equipment, motor vehicles and food products, whereas NMS manufacturing imports from the NIS are dominated by basic metals, refined petroleum, chemicals and fabricated metal products, and there is a high concentration on just a few basic manufactures. The NMS increasingly specialize on high-tech and medium-high-tech products. The wide-ranging modernization and industrial restructuring in the NMS has been facilitated by the process of EU integration and by massive inflows of FDI whereas in the NIS the resource specialization generally increased as reforms and restructuring were delayed. It is questionable whether the NIS will be able to revamp their industrial structure without significantly stepping up reform efforts, trade integration and attracting more FDI.
Abstract: Since its inception in 1995, more than 330 disputes have been raised under the WTO Dispute Settlement System. The major players in world trade - the EU and the USA - are also the busiest users of this instrument. After looking at links between economic integration and WTO involvement and a survey of the actual transatlantic WTO trade disputes, the welfare implications of the four most prominent trade disputes between the EU and the USA ("mini trade wars") are analyzed with GTAP5: the Hormones, the Bananas, the FSC and the Steel cases. The economic analysis reveals that the level of suspension of concessions hardly coincides with the level of nullification or impairment (expressed in lost trade effects) if one considers the overall welfare implications of retaliation with tariffs. The idea of "rebalancing" retaliation is a myth. Tariffs are a very bad instrument of retaliation. Maybe a mechanism of direct transfers or financial compensation would be better.