Browsing by Subject "Taloustiede"

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  • Kalmbach, Aino (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    Even though female education has boomed in recent decades, women remain underrepresented in study fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) both in the number of students as in the number of graduates. Female underrepresentation in STEM study fields leads to inefficiency, if top talents opt out of STEM education regardless of their relatively higher ability. In this Master’s thesis I study the effect of culture on female underrepresentation in STEM study fields. Previous literature has linked female underrepresentation in STEM to e.g. differences in preferences, ability and competitiveness. The number of studies on the effect of culture on economic outcomes has been increasing in the 2000s. In this thesis, I use the epidemiological approach that has been used in previous literature on the subject. The approach studies the economic decisions of immigrants, as they differ by their cultural background but face the same markets and institutions in Finland. Thus, differences in cultural background would possibly lead to e.g. different educational decisions. I use a panel dataset from Statistics Finland. I concentrate on the cross-section of the year 2012. The dataset consists of two samples: firstly, a sample of immigrants who have moved to Finland not older than 10 years of age and who are 18-36 years old at the time of observation. Secondly, a 1/3 random sample of the 18—36 year old individuals in the original population is included. In this thesis I find that the culture of an immigrant woman’s country of origin is correlated with the likelihood of her enrolling in a STEM major study subject at the tertiary degree in Finland. I measure the culture of the country of origin by an odds ratio that reflects the likelihood of being a female STEM graduate in the country of origin. The result implies that women, who are originally from cultures where female share in STEM is relatively larger, have a higher likelihood to enrol in STEM in Finland, too. The sample size, however, very small due to the small amount of immigrants in Finland and limitations in the data. Hence, no definitive conclusions can be drawn from the result. The education of the parents of the immigrants is not tabulated in the data, so it is not possible to distinguish whether the higher likelihood to enrol in STEM is due to a higher likelihood to have a parent who is a professional in STEM.
  • Vänskä, Bettina (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    In contrast to conventional economic growth theory, natural resource abundance can harm country's economic growth. This puzzling phenomenon is called resource curse. Resource curse is defined as a decrease in national income due to an increase of natural resources. In general, resource rich countries have had lower growth rates than their resource poor counterparts during last four decades. However, not all resource abundant countries perform poorly. There are also countries with large natural resources that have experienced fast economic growth. Recent studies have suggested that institutional quality could explain this divergence. By institutions it is referred for example to the level of corruption, rule of law and government accountability. This thesis examines whether institutional quality has any effect on resource curse and whether differences in institutional quality explain the divergence between well and poorly performing resource abundant countries. The problem is examined with two rent-seeking theories. The first one (Mehlum et al. 2006a) examines entrepreneurs' allocation between two competing activities: production and rent-seeking activity. The institutional quality of the country determines whether or not natural resources induce the entrepreneurs to participate in rent-seeking activity. The second theory (Robinson and Torvik 2013) differs from Mehlum et al. in the specialization possibility and functional forms used. It shows that the allocation decision of entrepreneurs and the aggregate income of the country are conditional on the institutional quality of the country. Both theories examine how entrepreneurs' allocation decision and national income respond to an increase in natural resources. Resource curse is shown to exist only in countries with poor institutions. In that case an increase in natural resources decreases national income because talents are transferred into rent-seeking activity. Strong institutions mitigate the entrepreneurs’ participation to rent-seeking activity. As more entrepreneurs are participating in production activity and incentives to participate in rent-seeking are mitigated, the national income is increased. Institutional quality determines whether a resource rich country suffers from resource curse. Institutions are shown to be essential in explaining the divergence of resource rich countries to well and poorly performing. Resource rich country can turn the curse over by improving its institutions. The results stress the importance of underlying institutions on economic performance.
  • Mitrunen, Matti (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Job polarization, loss of middle skilled employment relative to low and high skilled, has been visible in many western countries in the past decades (Goos et al. 2009), but its causes are not completely understood. Most of the research blames uneven technological change, which allows machinery to replace routine middle skilled work (Autor et al. 2003, Autor & Dorn 2012), but cheap foreign workforce could also contribute to the job polarization trend by replacing middle skilled manufacturing labour. This relationship between job polarization and offshoring has been explored with indices, but not with actual trade data. The contribution of this thesis is to show the Finnish job polarization trend in detail, and use firm-level imports data to examine its relation to offshoring. I have in my disposal Structure of Earnings Statistics, Finnish Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data and firm-level imports data from 2000 to 2008. These data allow me to illustrate job polarization trend in Finland, as well as the trend within firms. I divide Finnish labour in low, middle and high skilled occupations, and create a firm-level variable for how much each of these groups is employed in a firm. I also construct a variable measuring firm’s offshoring, which is done following Feenstra & Hanson (1999). I estimate basic Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regressions to figure out how much exactly the offshoring of a firm affects the skill structure of a firm. I control for technological aspects and add firm and time specific effects. I perform this exercise also at the industry level, because it is more likely that the structure of industry is changing due to increasing offshoring. To assure causality I develop my own industry-level instrumental variable (following Autor et al. 2011), and run Two-Stage Least Squares (2SLS) regressions. I find that there has been job polarization in Finland, where the middle skilled labour has lost approximately 7 percent points of its share between 2000 and 2008. Furthermore, I find that the losing occupations perform excessively routine tasks. In this study I find that offshoring does not explain job polarization very well at the firm level, when added firm and time specific effects. My instrumental variable approach states that offshoring does cause statistically significant demise in the share of the middle skilled at the industry level, but these results are subject to some doubt, since the instrumental variable might be weak. I conclude that offshoring might have an effect on job polarization, but this effect should not be overestimated. Like the previous literature, I come to the conclusion that routine-intensity of work might be better explanation for diminishing middle skilled labour than offshoring.
  • Relander, Jarkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Pro-graduni käsittelee dopingin määrän vähentämistä urheilussa. Tutkin dopingin määrän vähentämistä urheilussa peliteoreettisin keinoin. Katson urheilua tutkimuksessani taloudelliselta kannalta. Tutkimukseni metodina käytän kirjallisuuskatsausta. Tutkimuksen motivaationa voidaan pitää nykyisen antidopingtoiminnan toimimattomuutta ja sitä, kuinka paljon rahaa urheilussa liikkuu. Täten on hyvä kitkeä urheilusta vilppi pois. Aiemmassa kirjallisuudessa voidaan erottaa selvästi kaksi eri tutkimus-suuntaa. Osa tutkimuksista keskittyy yksittäisten urheilijoiden kannustimeen käyttää dopingia. Osa tutkimuksista taas keskittyy siihen, kuinka antidopingorganisaatioiden toiminta ei ole uskottavaa. Kun tutkitaan dopingin määrän vähentämistä urheilussa dopingin käytön kannustimien vähentämisellä, voidaan saada seuraavia johtopäätöksiä. Yksi keino vähentää dopinginkäyttöä on lajien sääntömuutokset, jolloin urheilijat joutuvat tekniikkamuutoksiin ja täten dopingin vaikutus suoritukseen vähenee. Myös rangaistuksen koventaminen ja esimerkiksi sakkorangaistuksiin siirtyminen voisi toimia dopingin käytön kannustimen pienentämiseen. Kun dopingia ja harjoittelua katsotaan substituutteina, voidaan huomata antidopingtoiminnalla olevan myös haittapuolia, kuten harjoittelun kannustimen pieneneminen. Tämän takia myös sallittu suorituskyvyn parantaminen pitää ottaa huomioon rankaisumenetelmää mietittäessä. Jos taas dopingin käyttö ja sallittu suorituskyvyn parantaminen lasketaan komplementaarisiksi toisilleen todennäköisyysvaikutus vaikuttaa dopingin käyttöä kasvattavasti. Pohjapalkalla taas voidaan pienentää dopingin käytön kannustinta, sillä silloin voitosta saatava hyöty pienenee. Aikaisemmista tutkimuksista käy myös ilmi, kuinka sijoitusperusteinen rankaisujärestelmä toimisi dopingin ehkäisemisessä paremmin kuin tämän hetkinen järjestelmä, jossa urheilijoita rangaistaan tasavertaisesti sijoituksesta riippumatta. Antidopingorganisaatioiden uskottavuuden puutetta voidaan katsoa kahdelta kantilta; sekä kansainvälisellä antidopingorganisaatiolla että kansallisilla antidopingorganisaatioilla on omat uskottavuuden puutteensa. Kansallisen antidopingtoiminnan uskottavuuden puute liittyy siihen, kun organisaatiot ovat taloudellisesti sidoksista kansallisiin olympiakomiteoihin. Olympiakomiteat saavat helpommin rahoitusta, kun valtion urheilijat pärjäävät kilpailuissa ja tämä taas ajaa kansallista antidopingorganisaatiota höllentämään valvontaa. Tämä voidaan estää sillä, että kokonaisuudessaan antidopingtoimintaa hoitaa kansainvälinen organisaatio, sillä tällä ei ole kannustinta kohdella eri valtioiden urheilijoita eritasoisesti. Myös kansainvälisellä antidopingorganisaatiolla on oma uskottavuuden puutteensa, sillä se on taloudellisesti kytkettynä kansainväliseen olympiakomiteaan. Kiinnostus olympialaisia kohtaan romahtaisi, jos lajiensa huiput käryäisivät dopingista, eivätkä täten saisi osallistua olympiakilpailuihin. Tämän takia myös kansainvälisellä antidopingorganisaatiolla on kannustin lieventää dopingvalvontaa. Tämä voidaan estää tekemällä kansainvälisestä antidopingorganisaatiosta täysin riippumaton urheilukilpailuiden järjestäjistä. Toinen vaihtoehto on palkata antidopingtoiminnan johtajaksi henkilö, jonka inho dopingia kohtaan on pohjaton. Kolmas vaihtoehto kitkeä kansainvälisen antidopingtoiminnan luottamuspula on asettaa toiminnan johtajalle ”tulospalkkaus” tehdystä työstä.
  • Björklund, Jenna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    There has been a lot of discussion on the downsides of cash during the 2010’s, while the new payment innovations during this same decade have provoked speculation that cash use will decrease considerably, potentially even disappear, in the upcoming years. However, cash is still used quite extensively, and to my knowledge, no systematic review on drivers of cash use has been made to date. The purpose of this thesis is to fill this gap by providing literature reviews both on the theory explaining cash use and the empirical evidence on the drivers of cash use. Additionally, Finland will be used as an illustration to study the relevance of the existing theories and empirical evidence in an environment where practically no barriers on switching completely from cash use to card use exist. The theoretical models explaining the choice between cash and cards at points of sale are built on assumptions that the pecuniary and/or non-pecuniary costs of cash and cards use differ. Particularly, cards are assumed to be more expensive than cash in some regard, which explains the cash choice. Behaviour wise, cash use is associated with lower transaction value, lower income, higher amounts of cash in the wallet and using cash to monitor liquidity. In empirical literature, factors that affect the payment instrument choice at point of sale are traditionally divided into four categories: payment instrument attributes, transaction specific characteristics, demographic factors and habit. Three out of the four theoretical models presented in this thesis seem relevant in explaining cash use in the view of the empirical evidence, although alternative explanations for the observed behaviour can also be found. Also, several other drivers of cash use are identified. Additionally, as making payments is a very frequent action, it is suggested that habit might have a bigger role in the payment instrument choice than is traditionally assumed, with several of the drivers being potentially a manifestation of habitual behaviour. A considerable limitation of the existing literature is that it focuses solely on explaining and analysing cash use for transaction purposes at points of sale. However, cash is also used for person-to-person transactions and as a store of value, and the reasons for cash use probably differ a lot in these other two use cases. Due to well-developed infrastructure, and cheap and fast card payments, many of the drivers of cash use identified by theoretical models and empirical evidence cannot explain cash use in Finland. In 2016 Finnish people used cash to pay small transactions, to control spending, because they perceived it to be easy to use, when they obtained it from another person or out of habit. Due to the quickly growing popularity of contactless card payments and the mobile phone applications for making easy person-to-person transactions, it is likely, that in future cash will decrease remarkably and it is mainly driven by the need to control spending, difficulty in using electronic payment instruments and habit.
  • Mielikäinen, Lasse (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Dynamic scoring is an approach, which strives to take into account the effects that public policy changes and changes in the law have on the macroeconomic variables. Scoring is an estimate of the effects the policy change is expected to bring. Compared to the traditional approach, dynamic scoring offers more information of the effects, but does this with increased uncertainty. In their paper “Dynamic scoring: A back-of-the-envelope guide” (2006) N. Gregory Mankiw and Matthew Weinzierl use neoclassical growth model, or Ramsey growth model, to examine how large a part of capital and labor income tax cuts pay for themselves by inducing higher economic growth, i.e. the size of the dynamic feedback effect. Their focus is on the changes of tax revenue. They use first a basic model with Cobb-Douglas production and inelastic labor supply, then relax those assumptions for a more general Ramsey model and then in turn include parameters allowing for finite horizon households, imperfect competition, and externalities to capital investment. Depending on the model used, the dynamic feedback effect varies from model to model, for a capital tax cut from 50 to 74 percent and for a labor income tax cut from zero (with inelastic labor supply) to 21 percent. This thesis extends the Mankiw–Weinzierl model by including a tax on consumption to examine how this affects the dynamic feedback effect. In all the models, there is an increase in the dynamic feedback effect: depending on the model used, it varies for a capital tax cut from 60 to 87 percent and for a labor income tax cut from zero (with inelastic labor supply) to 25 percent. The values of some of the key parameters, namely the constant-consumption elasticity of labor supply and the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor, and the tax rates are revised as well. This further increases the dynamic feedback effect all along the line, in some cases even suggesting a capital tax cut to more than compensate the static revenue loss. Including a tax on consumption into the models increases the dynamic feedback effect, working into the same direction as rising the initial rates of capital and labor income taxes. Using alternative tax rates and values of the key parameters also has a significant impact on the size of the dynamic feedback effect.
  • Taimela, Elli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Disability imposes personal suffering but also economic consequences for individuals, employers, and the society. Finding an optimal method for disability prevention can be considered beneficial and increasingly important for a country with a prominent public sector and a weakening labor force participation rate like Finland. Previous studies show evidence of the effectiveness of worksite health promotion programs that target care for employees who face a high risk for disability. Evidence shows positive cost-effectiveness of targeted occupational health interventions in preventing short-term disability but a wider benefit-cost analysis of targeted occupational health interventions with a view on both short-term and long-term disability prevention has not previously been conducted. This study untangles the treatment effect of targeted occupational health interventions on societal net benefits resulted from disability prevention. Short-term disability as a concept is viewed through sickness absence, and long-term disability is represented by the disability benefits granted by the Finnish disability benefit system. The costs of disability preventing actions are limited to health care utilization. The research setting of this study has been observational, and the empirical analysis is conducted as a retrospective review of prospectively collected register data. The data registers cover health and disability related information of over 20,000 employees in Finland. In the main analysis, 1,679 treated employees identified with a high risk for disability are compared to 2,107 untreated high-risk employees. The benefit-cost analysis is constructed with the Average Treatment Effect framework combined with Net Benefits framework. The treatment of the framework of this study is an attendance to a targeted, pre-planned health check after an occupational health survey. The outcome of the framework is the net benefits that result from prevention of sickness absence workdays and granted disability benefits, and the investment costs resulted from health care utilization. The results are formed with Analysis of Covariance. Other methods to conduct the empirical analysis include polynomial regression, Multiple Imputation of Chained Equations, Propensity Scores, and Inverse Probability Weighting. The results of this study show that targeted occupational health interventions are likely to impose positive net benefits to the society. The Average Treatment Effect on the net benefits of high-risk employees, 1,875 euros with a 95% confidence interval from -759 to 4,509 euros (p-value: .155) (ANCOVA), can be considered worthwhile to the society. In the research setting, the net benefits were in practice gained from the prevention of long-term disability. The treatment was not effective on the costs of short-term disability or the total health care utilization costs per employee. Sensitivity analyses indicate that targeted occupational health interventions are not on average effective when predicted to employees without a disability risk.
  • Pohja, Elina (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    In the labor markets, there exist simultaneously both, unemployed workers and vacant jobs. Due to the market frictions matching these two is not that simple. Matching models have been developed to depict the complexity of forming suitable matches in the labor markets. The government can affect the outcome in the labor markets through different policies. This paper focuses especially on unemployment compensation related policies, i.e. unemployment benefits. It is important to note that the unemployment benefits are used in the economy to promote better matches between workers and vacancies and smooth out consumption. However, they also create possibility for moral hazard; an unemployed worker might just enjoy the unemployment benefits without engaging in intense job search which results in higher unemployment rate. Thus the challenge faced by the government is to balance between the benefits of unemployment compensations and the disincentives they create. In the basic matching model, the effect of unemployment benefits is very straight forward: They increase wages and decrease the labor market tightness thus increasing the unemployment rate. The basic model can still be developed further. This paper presents a model by Cahuc and Zylberberg (2004) that introduces eligibility criteria to the matching model. The idea is, that there are two types of unemployed: ones who are eligible to higher unemployment insurance payment and ones who are ineligible receiving lower compensation depending on the present governmental policy. In this model, raising unemployment benefits received by the eligible can even lower the universal unemployment rate. This paper develops the idea of eligibility model by Cahuc and Zylberberg (2004) even further. Based on the idea of Pissarides (2000), the final model of the paper introduces four different policy parameters - marginal tax rate, tax subsidy and two replacement rates - through which the government can affect the equilibrium outcome, like the unemployment rate. The model suggests that the unemployment rate can be lowered by increasing marginal tax rate, making taxation less progressive or changing the relacement rates. However, making changes in these parameters can be rather controversial. This paper offers some policy recommendations for lowering the unemployment rate, but the results of the model should, however, be interpreted very carefully since economical models can always provide only a partial view on the big picture.
  • Järvinen, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The main thesis of economies of agglomeration is that by increasing the density of employment, economic benefits will follow. In this research, this hypothesis is tested in the context of the Nordic countries by studying if the increases in the employment density affect the regional productivity. This effect between the employment density and regional productivity is called the agglomeration effect. The theoretical background of this effect lies in three fundamental concepts: economies of scale, labor pooling and knowledge spillovers. Cities have their origins in the economies of scale and ag- glomerations of people they comprise of form a fertile base for effective matching between employers and employees. The denser these production centers are populated, the easier it is for the spillovers of innovation and ideas to happen. This study uses a linear ordinary least squares (OLS) model to estimate this effect. The data consists of 70 regional observations and the model comprises of employment density as the explanatory variable, varying number of education level control variables and dummy variables for different countries. Endogeneity of the explanatory variable is also assessed but as the proposed instrument, the total land area of the included regions, proves to be invalid for this particular geographic region, the OLS estimates will serve as the final results. In the previous studies conducted in Europe and in the USA, the magnitude of the agglomeration effect has been found to be between 4.4 and 6 %. This study’s estimates tell the effect to be between 2.1 and 2.9 % in the Nordic countries that is lower than the corresponding values for the aforementioned regions. This result is discussed to stem from the unique geographical and political characteristics of the Nordic regions.
  • Hänninen, Nea (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The global financial crisis that started in the beginning of the 21st century has forced many central banks to expand their range of monetary policy instruments. Before the crisis, the main monetary policy instrument was the policy interest rate. When the policy rates hit the zero lower bound, the central banks needed to implement new monetary policy measures. One of these so called unconventional monetary policy measures is extensive purchase programmes. European Central Bank (ECB) expanded its existing purchase programmes in 2016 when it announced that it will start purchasing corporate bonds. ECB's motivation to start the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) was to support the already existing unconventional monetary policy measures to attain the inflation rate of near but under 2 %. The object of thesis is to study did the announcement of CSPP affect the economy and what was the mechanism behind the possible effects. Thesis concentrates to examine the changes on corporate bond yields and changes on the interest rate expectations. Yield reactions of two bond indexes and the price reactions of interest rate swap contracts are studied on the CSPP related announcement dates using event study methodology. The Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) conducted by ECB is studied to determine the possible changes in interest rate expectations of the forecasters before and after the CSPP announcement. Results show that the CSPP related announcements decreased bond yields of both bond indexes. Evidence supporting the portfolio balancing channel, duration risk channel, local supply channel and signalling channel are found. Results are in line with the other studies regarding ECB's previous purchase programmes. The form of future monetary policy, after the economy has recovered, is still unknown. Currently, central banks have massive holdings of assets purchased under various programmes and the dissolution of the purchase programmes need to be done carefully and will probably take several years. Forward guidance will be on important role when ECB starts to shut down the purchase programme.
  • Pilli-Sihvola, Matti (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The aim of this study is to better understand how globalization affects growth and inequality. In order to do so, a growth model based on innovation driven economic growth featuring heterogeneous workers and firms is built to analyse growth and inequality first in autarky equilibrium and then in trading equilibrium. This model includes two sectors: manufacturing and research and development (R&D). Sorting and matching of heterogeneous workers and firms takes place in this model. High ability workers sort into the R&D sector, inventing new intermediate goods, and low ability workers sort into the manufacturing sector, assembling consumption goods. Matching of workers with firms within the sector takes place so that the most able worker in the R&D sector matches with a firm having the highest level of technology and earns the highest income. The least able worker in the R&D sector matches with a firm having the lowest level of technology in the R&D sector, earning the lowest income in the R&D sector. The same kind of matching takes place in the manufacturing sector. Endogenous cutoff ability level determines which workers sort into the manufacturing sector and which workers sort into the R&D sector. Income inequality rises from this heterogeneity of workers and firms. The built model is used to analyse how policy choices and technology parameters such as productivity in manufacturing, capacity to innovate, R&D support, manufacturing technologies, trade barriers, and knowledge spillovers affect growth and inequality in autarky and in trading equilibrium. This model shows that globalization speeds up growth, but it comes hand in hand with greater inequality. Also, policy choices and technology parameters have different effects on growth and inequality in autarky equilibrium than in trading equilibrium. For example, Hicks-neutral differences in manufacturing productivity between two countries result in equal growth rates in autarky as well as in trading equilibriums. Differences in government support for R&D activity increases growth more in a country were support is more ample also resulting in greater inequality in autarky equilibrium. In trading equilibrium, differences in government support for R&D activity induces more unequal wage distribution in a country supporting R&D activity more ample, but long-run growth rate is equal. This model does not comply with Kuznets U-shaped curve between growth and inequality.
  • Martinmäki, Vuokko (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    There are large differences in hours of market work between OECD countries. It has bees argued that taxes do account much of these differences and substantial part of differences in labor supply between United States and Continental Europe can in fact be explained by differences in tax rates. However, there are differences between labor supply between Scandinavia and Continental Europe that do not support this assumption since labor supply in Scandinavia is higher than in Continental Europe despite higher tax rates on labor income. The gap in labor supply between Scandinavia and Continental Europe stems from the differences in government spending programs, in other words, use of the tax revenues. Aim of my thesis is to explore the part of the differences in hours of market work that can be explained by differences in taxation and by use of the tax revenues. First part of the paper is conducted by exploring articles and models already made about the subject. For motivation I start by presenting differences in hours worked across OECD countries and how this has changed over time. In this thesis I am going to survey how government spending policies on productive purposes affect the hours of work supplied in market sector. Two applications of government spending considered are subsidies on the price of market services and subsidies on child care. The main research question is why people in Scandinavia are working more than could be concluded purely based on labor income tax rates and can this be explained by subsidies on work. In order to explain the effects of income taxes and government spending programs on hours of market work, I present standard real business cycle model with home production. In this model households do not only allocate their time between leisure and work, but also home work. This model allows us to explore the substitution into and out of market activity which is caused by fiscal variables like taxation and transfers that are affected by state of economy. First I am going to present simple model with lump-sum transfers and then add some fiscal policy applications to the model. These applications are subsidies on the price of market services and subsidies on child care, which are forms of government spending on productive purposes and subsidies on market work. In the last part of my thesis I will simulate the models constructed. These simulations are done by using Finland as an object of interest. Result from my simulations yield that based on my models constructed, the subsidies on work can explain why people in Scandinavia work more than could be suspected based on tax rates. Based on result from my simulations I can argue that differences in labor income taxes are not a sufficient explanation for the differences in hours of market work between economies. It can be concluded that the government spending on subsidizing work through supporting family and market services do at least partly offset the effect of income taxes.
  • Hohenthal, Michael (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    In most countries there is today more than ever an ongoing discussion about public debt. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the effects of public debt on exercising fiscal policy and the consequences of public debt for the society. As a base this paper first deals with a situation where individuals of one generation live for two periods. A framework for that is developed. This framework is then extended to four multi-period versions. I first extend the framework to one with overlapping generations and inter-generational transfers of wealth. This extension is then modified to take into account transaction costs of the collection of taxes. Next I take into account the distortion effects of the taxation. Then I deal with the pricing of public debt and the final extension describes what is required for a fiscal policy to be considered sustainable. The basic framework shows that with public expenses being kept constant, periodic changes in taxes do not affect the wealth and the consumption of individuals. However, their savings will change in order to balance the variation in taxes. The extension with overlapping-generations implies that if the wealth transfer is positive, changes in public debt will have no effect on the consumption and the net wealth of the individual. If the transfer is zero, there will be an effect, just as in the case with transaction costs connected to the tax collection. It turns out that with distortionary taxation the optimal taxation policy is to keep the periodic tax burden constant. I then show that future budget surpluses are needed to finance public debt and that knowledge of the past affects the present budget surplus and the evaluation of the present public debt. Finally I prove that limiting the public debt to the present value of future increases of the real GNP is a sustainable fiscal path. With perfect capital and labour markets, public debt does not have an impact on the wealth of the society and its individuals. However, in reality the capital and the labour markets are not perfect and there are different transaction costs and negative effects of taxation. Under these circumstances, increased public debt clearly negatively impacts the net wealth. Public debt also creates fiscal requirements on the economic development of the society. The amount of public debt can equal the present value of all future budget surpluses, but cannot exceed the discounted future increases of the real GNP.
  • Koistinen, Marko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Emerging market economies have an increasingly closer relation to the global economy. Even small changes in the global economy may trigger significant fluctuations in emerging economies. Such changes may be large enough to become the seed of financial crisis. Changes in the global economy affect via capital flows and foreign exchange rate. To manage such market forces, the policymakers in such countries have used different forms of capital controls or foreign exchange intervention as the macroprudential instruments. This work investigates examples of such interventions and why such methods may work and what are the relevant constraints. Global factors are driving factors behind the international investors who make the capital flows partly sensitive to global factors. Secondly, due to a lack of hedge opportunities or a lack of willingness to use such opportunities leads to the existence of currency risk. Combining the currency risk on collateral and collateral dependent borrowing constraint opens the possibility of a combination of tightening collateral constraint due to falling collateral value if the exchange rate goes the wrong direction. If that risk accrues, it quickly leads to a severe financial crisis. This work reviews of the models from articles of Benigno et al. (2016) and Steiner (2017), to understand some potential instruments for intervention, also how such instruments may be useful tools. According to the argumentation of this work, something can do with capital controls or foreign exchange interventions in certain circumstances. It is also possible that the existence of potentially efficient instruments creates the safety net which promotes stability by mere existence. However, it is also possible that the existence of the safety net operates another way than intended.
  • Mikkola, Petrus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This thesis examines the effect of investment-specific technological change on the capital replacement decision and depreciation by extending Mukoyama’s (2008) study on endogenous depreciation. When allowing investment-specific technological progress to be described either as a fall in the price of capital or as a growth in the relative productivity of new capital, and capital stock to be determined by the producer’s optimization, there arise a method to describe obsolescence as a part of depreciation and capital evolution. The following three key results are shown when assuming that scrapped capital stock has no value. First, the optimal replacement policy is stationary. Second, the acceleration of investment-specific technological progress accelerates capital replacement, hence also obsolescence. Third, whether investment-specific technological progress is modelled as a fall in the price of capital or as a growth in the relative productivity of new capital, does not impact on the optimal replacement policy. A quantitative exercise shows that the first two results seems to hold even if the scrapped capital stock has some positive value. However, if scrapped capital has some value, then the two approaches to model investment-specific technological progress are no longer equivalent. The adoption of the capital replacement problem for describing depreciation is a promising approach. Even though there does not exist a closed-from solution for the optimal replacement interval, it can be solved (in the stationary case) as a root of a relative simple transcendental function. The rate of depreciation can be explicitly solved, also in the case of non-stationary replacement policy, but that is computationally more difficult. Physical depreciation (wear and tear) can be disentangled from obsolescence insofar as either one is known. Thus, the results still rely on the estimate of physical depreciation.
  • Mollgren, Satu (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Innovations are seen as the main contributor to economic growth. Despite the fact that innovation is central to the modern theories of growth and development, the knowledge of innovation and the microprocesses affecting macroeconomic growth is still lacking. This thesis examines the entrepreneurial innovation process and innovation commercialization. The literature review of this thesis indicates that without a successful development and commercialization process, the innovations would never access the product market or at least they would only stay there for a short period of time failing to give a positive return on invest for the innovative firms. The commercialization process adds value to the firms, end-users and economics as a whole. The purpose of this thesis is to open the role of venture capitalists in the innovation process. In addition to financing, the role of the venture capitalists is to support the commercialization process of the venture-backed companies. The role of the venture capitalist in the innovation process is explained with the help of a model shown by Norbäck and Persson in their paper The Organization of the Innovation Industry: Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists and Oligopolists (2009). In this entrepreneurial innovation process, the basic innovation is acquired by an incumbent firm or a venture-backed company is formed. The commercialization is performed after the investment. According to the model, venture capital industry increases the amount of innovation in the economy. Venture capitalists enhance the incentives to innovate by raising the price paid for an invention. The venture-backed company also has interests to develop the products further than incumbent firms if the developed innovation is sold to an incumbent company in an auction. This is because the incumbent firm wants to prevent the rivals from getting the developed innovation and the auction setting increases the price paid for the innovation. In conclusion, spillovers generate economic growth. As innovation and innovation development produce spillovers, the venture capitalists have a positive impact on economic growth through these factors.
  • Mäkelä, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The aim of this paper is to show that increasing trade and having strict environmental policy are not mutually exclusive. I examine how the increase of trade under general oligopolistic equilibrium model affects environmental taxation. In particular, I show that with common assumptions, growth in trade increases environmental taxes. In Neary’s (2015) general oligopolistic equilibrium model, there is a continuum of sectors in which the firms compete in Cournot manner. The firms in each sector are identical, having market power in their own sector, but not at the level of the whole economy. The sectors are otherwise identical, but open sectors trade with a foreign country, while the rest of the sectors are closed. There are two identical countries which I call Home and Foreign. An environmental policy maker has perfect knowledge of the markets and the firms’ behavior. Because there is no abatement technology in the model, the policy maker sets a tax at the first and firms react to it at the second stage. The main result is that with general assumptions, increasing trade leads to increasing environmental tax. When the transaction costs of trade decrease, environmental taxes increase in the closed sectors, but decrease in the open sectors, the less, the larger the proportion of trading sectors in the economy is. When new sectors are opened to trade, then, provided that the share of domestic pollutant and the marginal environmental damage are sufficiently high, environmental taxes increase both in open and closed sectors. The main sources of the study are Neary (2015), which presents the general oligopolistic equilibrium model used in the analysis, and Richter (2015), which constructs strategic environmental policy in that setup.
  • Väkeväinen, Lauri (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    CKLS-kehikko on Chanin, Karolyin, Longstaffin ja Sandersin vuonna 1992 esittämä tapa vertailla jatkuva-aikaisia korkomalleja hierarkkisesti. CKLS-kehikkoon sisältyy CKLS-mallin lisäksi useita sisäkkäisiä malleja, kuten esimerkiksi Vasicek- ja CIR-mallit. CKLS-malli antaa mahdollisuuden tutkia prosessin ajautumaa, paluuta keskiarvoon, volatiliteettia ja sitä, millainen vaikutus koron tasolla on prosessin volatiliteettiin. Vertailemalla CKLS-mallia ja sen sisältämiä rajoitettuja malleja saadaan tietoa edellä mainittujen ominaisuuksien merkityksestä korkoprosessissa. Tässä tutkielmassa on mallinnettu CKLS-kehikon avulla Eoniaa, euroalueen yön yli -korkoa. Eonia on noteerattu vuodesta 1999, ja ensimmäinen tutkielman tarkastelu kattaa koko aikasarjan vuoteen 2014 asti. Jälkimmäinen tarkastelu kattaa aikasarjan Subprime-finanssikriisin jälkeisen osan, jonka aikana Eonia on pysytellyt matalammalla tasolla. Ennen mallien sovittamista aineistoon tutkielmassa tarkastellaan sitä, miten parametrimuutos voi vaikuttaa mallin soveltamiseen. Esimerkkinä tarkastellaan, kuinka ero koron ja volatiliteetin suhteen määrittävässä vipuparametrissa muuttaa olennaisesti CIR-mallin tarkastelun monimutkaisuutta Vasicek-malliin verrattuna. Mallit sovitetaan Eonia-aineistoon käyttäen yleistettyä momenttimenetelmää ja diskreettiä vastinetta jatkuva-aikaiselle CKLS-mallille. Mallin parametrit on estimoitu molemmille aikajaksoille erikseen, ja estimaattien perusteella saadaan tietoa korkoprosessin käyttäytymisestä kullakin aikajaksolla. Sisäkkäisten mallien vertailun avulla saadaan lisäksi tietoa parametreihin liittyvien rajoitteiden merkityksestä. Molempien tarkasteltujen aikajaksojen kohdalla saadaan viitteitä siitä, että korkoprosessi olisi keskiarvoon palaava. Finanssikriisin jälkeiselle osalle estimoidulla mallilla keskiarvoon paluu on nopeaa, mutta kyseinen ominaisuus ei vaikuta välttämättömälle mallin sopivuuden kannalta. Koko aikasarjan kohdalla keskiarvoon paluu vaikuttaa mallin sopivuuden kannalta keskeiseltä. Volatiliteetin ja koron tason suhdetta kuvaavan vipuparametrin osalta tulokset eroavat eri tarkasteluväleillä. Koko aikasarjan tapauksessa vipuparametrin estimaatti on suuruusluokaltaan 0,1. Volatiliteetti ei tällöin korostu koron kasvaessa ja korkoprosessi muistuttaa Vasicek- tai CEV-prosessia. Edellä mainittujen ja vapaan CKLS-mallin välillä on kuitenkin tilastollisesti merkitsevä ero. Finanssikriisin jälkeisellä osalla vipuparametrin estimaatti on suurusluokaltaan 0,75. Koron tasolla on tällöin suurempi vaikutus prosessin volatiliteettiin. Tämän perusteella CIR- ja Brennan-Schwartz-mallit ovat sopivimmat, eikä tilastollisesti merkitsevää eroa edellä mainittujen ja vapaan CKLS-mallin välillä voida tehdä.
  • Sarnela, Mikael (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Investors tend to allocate large shares of their portfolios to their domestic equity. Domestic equity seems to attract investors all around the world more than foreign equity does. This phenomenon, usually called equity home bias, seems to persist even if many international capital market restrictions have been lifted. In this thesis I examine this topic from three different points of view. The first part examines what are the benefits of international diversification of equity portfolios. I study this issue by using historical stock market index data and related literature. I conclude that the lack of international diversification of equity portfolios is suboptimal for risk averse investors in a theoretical framework, as we assume that there are efficient markets, similar taxes and costs. The second part examines the observable level of equity home bias across nations. I answer this question by presenting calculated EHB-values from a research article and compare these values with gross domestic product per capita values and a variable indicating capital market restrictions. I find both of these values to be significant explainers for EHB-value. In the third part, I analyse the cause of equity home bias with the aid of academic studies in the fields of behavioral finance and cognitive psychology. I present possible behavioral and institutional explanations and evaluate the plausibility of those. I conclude that the institutional explanations are likely to explain a significant proportion of equity home bias in developing countries, while the behavioral ones provide a more plausible explanation in developed countries, as the institutional explanations cannot explain as much of the equity home bias in developed countries.
  • Pursiainen, Tero (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The long-run average return on equities shows a sizable premium with respect to their relatively riskless alternatives, the short-run government bonds. The dominant explanation is that the excess return is compensation for rare but severe consumption disasters which result in heavy losses on equities. This thesis studies the plausibility of this explanation in a common theoretical framework. The consumption disasters hypothesis is studied in the conventional Lucas-tree model with two assets and with constant relative risk aversion preferences, captured by the power utility function. The thesis argues that this oft-used model is unable to account for the high premium, and a simulation experiment is conducted to find evidence for the argument. The consumption process is modelled by the threshold autoregressive process, which offers a simple and powerful way to describe the equity premium as a result of a peso problem. Two statistics, the arithmetic average and the standard deviation, are used to estimate the long-run average and the volatility of the returns. The simulated data is analyzed and compared to the real world financial market data. The results confirm that the potential for consumption disasters produces a lower equity premium than the case without disasters in the Lucas-tree model with power utility. The disaster potential lowers the average return on equity instead of increasing it. This result comes from the reciprocal connection between the coefficient of relative risk aversion and the elasticity of intertemporal substitution, and from the special nature of the equity asset, which is a claim on the consumption process itself. The risk-free asset remains unaffected by the disaster potential. The equity premium remains a puzzle in this framework. The advantage of the threshold autoregressive consumption process is to show this result with clarity. Breaking the link between aversion to risk and intertemporal substitution is indeed one possible direction to take. Changing the assumptions about expected consumption or about the equity asset might offer another way forward. Another form of utility or another model is needed if the equity premium is to be explained in financial markets that are free of frictions.