WIFO Working Papers

Discussion papers by WIFO staff, consultants and guests – As of 2006 available online only – Free download

WIFO Working Papers are not peer reviewed and are not necessarily based on a coordinated position of WIFO. The authors were informed about the Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice of the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity (ÖAWI), in particular with regard to the documentation of all elements necessary for the replicability of the results.

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WIFO Working Papers, 2024, (673), 28 pages
Commissioned by: European Commission, Framework Programme
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research – University of Barcelona
Online since: 03.04.2024 0:00
The aim of this study is to assess the impact of the ongoing harmonisation of the retirement age for women with that for men on women's labour supply in Austria. According to the current legal framework, the standard retirement age for women will be gradually raised from 60 to 65 years from 2024 onwards, with the retirement age being raised by 6 months each year. The impact of the pension reform on women's labour supply is quantified using the dynamic microsimulation model microDEMS. This model integrates demographic changes in line with official population projections and detailed labour market modelling. According to our projections, the labour supply of women aged 60 to 64 increases by 87,000 in 2040 compared to a scenario in which the retirement age remains unchanged. We compare our results with two alternative approaches: the more stylised microWELT simulation model and a purely data-driven approach. While all methods produce very similar results in the long run, the detailed modelling in microDEMS provides more plausible results during the transition period when the reform is gradually implemented. This is because it allows for a realistic representation of pension paths, taking into account all relevant pension types and the corresponding eligibility criteria, such as sufficient accumulated insurance periods. In contrast to a purely data-driven approach, microDEMS modelling also has the advantage of explicitly representing and quantifying the components of the change in labour supply.
We analysed a new counselling and support programme for people with low employment prospects in Austria. The Austrian Public Employment Service introduced regional pilots to investigate whether a new counselling strategy could improve labour market outcomes for this group. Eligible unemployed individuals could opt for third-party counselling and support, access a wide range of low-threshold services, and focus on personal stability rather than job placement. The goal was to achieve similar or even better labour market outcomes at lower cost. By comparing pilot and control regions, we found that introducing the offer resulted in higher costs without improving labour market outcomes.
There is still a lack of knowledge on how to effectively help the long-term unemployed into employment. We evaluate a wide range of active labour market policies for this target group, using a dynamic matching approach. Measures vary considerably in the extent to which they improve labour market prospects. Human capital-intensive training programmes that substantially enhance vocational skills and employment programmes are most effective, short activating job search training the least. Our results suggest that not only wage subsidies in the private sector, but also direct job creation in the public and non-profit sector can work, if properly designed.
WIFO Working Papers, 2024, (670), 56 pages
Online since: 16.01.2024 0:00
Recent shocks to global value chains and geopolitical tensions have reignited the debate on domestic production of strategic goods and technologies. This paper proposes an analytical framework for identifying and prioritising activities and regions for potential reshoring policies combining methods from international, industrial and regional economics. Particularly, we assess import dependencies, potentials and risks for competitive domestic production, and evaluate the embeddedness of existing and potential production in cognitively and technologically related activities in a region. We highlight the relevance of this approach as a policy tool using industries manufacturing strategic products and regions in Austria as an example.
WIFO Working Papers, 2024, (669), 12 pages
Online since: 15.01.2024 0:00
The EU Directive on Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence has sparked fierce debate about the regulations of supply chains. The Directive's objectives are aligned with European values. Assuming that enforcements of social and environmental rules are absent in certain third countries, it privatises compliance costs in complex supply networks. This paper suggests options to make the Directive more effective and efficient. It should exclude countries with a sufficient regulatory system and focus not on the entire network but on supplier-buyer relationships only. Public agencies should set harmonised regulatory standards, interpret the regulations and organise a private certification scheme in which liabilities are assumed by certification companies. The proposed system resembles the market for financial auditors.
WIFO Working Papers, 2023, (668), 41 pages
Online since: 20.12.2023 0:00
Wealth inequality and concentration, together with the search for options to secure long-term sufficiency of tax systems in face of ageing societies, have recently moved the taxation of inheritances into the spotlight. The question if and to what extent behavioral responses by bequeathers may undermine the revenue potential of inheritance taxes is central for policy design. This survey of the empirical literature finds an overall moderate impact of inheritance taxation on wealth accumulation and residential choice. This holds true also for the impact of inheritance taxes on tax planning and avoidance in general as well as inter vivos transfers in particular. Tax planning, avoidance and evasion responses are more pronounced than real responses. Behavioral responses to an inheritance tax are smaller compared to a recurrent net wealth tax. Therefore, policymakers aiming at the minimization of (revenue-reducing) behavioral responses should prefer an inheritance tax over a recurrent net wealth tax. Furthermore, the containment of (illegal) tax avoidance should be a priority for policymakers in order to secure legitimacy of and public support for inheritance taxation, but also to ensure that inheritance taxes are an efficient tool to reduce inequality, considering that avoidance and evasion are highly concentrated among the rich.
WIFO Working Papers, 2023, (667), 60 pages
Online since: 29.11.2023 0:00
To meet climate change mitigation targets, an exponential increase in global green hydrogen trade is expected. Countries rich in renewable energy resources would be in a favourable position to become exporters, potentially bringing opportunities for socio-economic development. The Brazilian state of Ceará is developing a large-scale green hydrogen hub, which is expected to provide one-fifth of European Union (EU) imports by 2030 via the green corridor between Ceará and The Netherlands. Located in what has historically been the least-developed Brazilian region, the green hydrogen hub could bring unique opportunities for regional development in Ceará. However, while empirical studies on economic impacts from other renewable energy projects in developing economies show limited localised benefits, the potential economic co-benefits from export-oriented green hydrogen projects remains uncertain. This study combines semi-structured interviews and input-output modelling to estimate impacts on value-added, income and jobs (by gender) in Ceará according to four local content share scenarios and three renewable energy technologies (onshore wind, offshore wind and solar photovoltaics). By doing so, this study is the first to estimate the potential for economic co-benefits from export-oriented green hydrogen projects in a developing economy context, in a sub-national level, while accounting for technology- and project-specificity as well as impacts on gender inequality. Results suggest that highly internationalised scenarios, that is, with low local content shares and dominated by multinational companies, would not only present local benefits that are often an order of magnitude lower, but could, through distributional implications of employment types, also exacerbate existing income and gender inequalities.
WIFO Working Papers, 2023, (666), 29 pages
Online since: 08.08.2023 0:00
The paper deals with the pattern of asset price dynamics as sequence of "bull markets" and "bear markets" and with stabilising these" long swings" through replacing continuous asset trading with electronic auctions. First, the paper sketches the channels through which the "overshooting" of exchange rates, commodities prices, and stock prices but also of EU carbon prices dampens the real economy and hampers fighting global heating. Second, a theoretical alternative to the still dominating "efficient market hypothesis" is presented, the "bull-bear-hypothesis". Third, the paper discusses the role of "technical" or "algorithmic" trading strategies in exploiting short-term asset price trends and strengthening them at the same time. Fourth, it is shown that bulls (bear) markets result from (verry) short-term trends ("runs") in line with the prevailing (bullish or bearish) market sentiment lasting longer than counter-movements. Fifth, to mitigate the extent of the "long swings" of asset prices one needs to restrict (super) fast speculation unrelated to market fundamentals thereby dampening the short-term trending of asset prices. Instead of implementing a financial transactions tax, one could achieve this objective also through replacing continuous trading with electronic auctions, e.g., every three hours. This approach is theoretically more appealing, technically easy to implement and has so far not seriously been discussed.
WIFO Working Papers, 2023, (665), 74 pages
Online since: 04.08.2023 0:00
This article presents a novel explanation why demand for redistribution on average does not respond to information on low intergenerational mobility. Building on insights from behavioural economics, we expect that incentives to update perceptions of intergenerational mobility change along the income distribution. Empirically, we conduct a survey experiment in Austria and show that the average treatment effect of information on perceptions is mostly driven by higher income individuals while low-income respondents hardly react. We replicate this result for the United States and Germany using data from two closely related survey experiments (Alesina et al., 2018; Fehr et al., 2022). Thus, the frequently observed unresponsiveness of demand for redistribution may result because the group which drives the effect on beliefs does not increase demand for redistribution and may even decrease it. Indeed, despite the strong perception shift in the high-income group, the treatment effects on its preferences are mostly zero and even negative for certain policies. At the same time, the group with the clearest incentives to change its redistributive preferences, the low-income group, is systematically less inclined to update its perceptions and thus their redistributive preferences are mostly unaffected and only partially increased in response to the treatment. We suggest that different responses to information could be due to motivated beliefs, since high social mobility implies for low-income earners that effort is more likely to pay off.
WIFO Working Papers, 2023, (664), 70 pages
Online since: 02.08.2023 0:00
We assess the role that nontradable goods play as a determinant of fiscal spending multipliers, making use of a two-sector model. While fiscal multipliers increase with the share of nontradable goods, an inverted U-shaped relationship exists between multiplier size and the import share. Employing an interacted panel VAR model for EU countries, we estimate the effect of the share of nontradable goods on fiscal spending multipliers. Our empirical results provide strong evidence for the predictions of the theoretical model. They imply that the drag of fiscal consolidations is on average smaller in countries with a low share of nontradable goods.
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