Browsing by Subject "kansantaloustiede"

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  • Ropponen, Olli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This thesis is composed of an introductory chapter and four applications each of them constituting an own chapter. The common element underlying each of the chapters is the econometric methodology. The applications rely mostly on the leading econometric techniques related to estimation of causal effects. The first chapter introduces the econometric techniques that are employed in the remaining chapters. Chapter 2 studies the effects of shocking news on student performance. It exploits the fact that the school shooting in Kauhajoki in 2008 coincided with the matriculation examination period of that fall. It shows that the performance of men declined due to the news of the school shooting. For women the similar pattern remains unobserved. Chapter 3 studies the effects of minimum wage on employment by employing the original Card and Krueger (1994; CK) and Neumark and Wascher (2000; NW) data together with the changes-in-changes (CIC) estimator. As the main result it shows that the employment effect of an increase in the minimum wage is positive for small fast-food restaurants and negative for big fast-food restaurants. Therefore, it shows that the controversial positive employment effect reported by CK is overturned for big fast-food restaurants and that the NW data are shown, in contrast to their original results, to provide support for the positive employment effect. Chapter 4 employs the state-specific U.S. data (collected by Cohen and Einav [2003; CE]) on traffic fatalities to re-evaluate the effects of seat belt laws on the traffic fatalities by using the CIC estimator. It confirms the CE results that on the average an implementation of a mandatory seat belt law results in an increase in the seat belt usage rate and a decrease in the total fatality rate. In contrast to CE, it also finds evidence on compensating-behavior theory, which is observed especially in the states by the border of the U.S. Chapter 5 studies the life cycle consumption in Finland, with the special interest laid on the baby boomers and the older households. It shows that the baby boomers smooth their consumption over the life cycle more than other generations. It also shows that the old households smoothed their life cycle consumption more as a result of the recession in the 1990s, compared to young households.
  • Pilli-Sihvola, Karoliina (2020)
    Finnish Meteorological Institute Contributions 168
    This thesis consists of an introduction and four articles which analyse disaster risk management (DRM), including disaster risk reduction (DRR), disaster management and climate change adaptation (CCA) from economic and policy perspectives. The main research question is: what are the means to overcome the salient challenges in DRM and CCA policies and measures which have been designed to reduce the risks posed by extreme weather under uncertainty? Theoretically, it advances the policy level development of DRM and CCA integration and provides a mathematical definition for over-adaptation to climate change. Empirically, it analyses integrated DRM and CCA policies and measures, and analyses challenges related to their development and implementation. Article I provides a formal definition for DRR and CCA policy integration at horizontal (inter-ministerial) and vertical (intra-ministerial) dimensions to assess DRR and CCA policy-making and analyses policies and their integration challenges in Zambia. The theoretical contribution to the literature is the formal definition for DRR and CCA policy integration and the empirical contribution is provided by evidence of potential challenges created by the governance system. Article II discusses the contribution of the underlying vulnerability drivers of governance, societal and political factors, culture, policies and their implementation, and argues that vulnerability reduction is a key aspect in reducing disaster and climate change risk. The theoretical contribution furthers the discussion on new dimensions in climate change risk analyses by emphasising the potential impacts of societal development, such as social trends and social cohesion, in effective DRM and CCA. The article contributes to the empirical literature by assessing Nordic welfare state structures as a means to reduce disaster risk and climate change. Article III analyses the costs and benefits of a major integrated DRM and CCA policy in Finland, and describes how over-adaptation, i.e. over-investment in DRM and CCA may affect the legitimacy of a policy aiming partially at reducing extreme weather risk. The article contributes to the theoretical literature by providing a mathematical definition for over-adaptation and to the empirical literature through the case study. Article IV assesses the effects of a potential innovation in weather service provision to improve CCA and safety in the road transport sector. The article identifies and describes the main trends and potential innovations in the provision and use of weather services. It contributes to the empirical literature on CCA and weather service benefit valuation. *** Tämä tutkielma koostuu johdannosta ja neljästä artikkelista, joissa analysoidaan sekä katastrofiriskien hallintaa (Disaster Risk Management – DRM) että ilmastonmuutokseen sopeutumista (Climate Change Adaptation – CCA) taloustieteellisestä ja politiikka-analyysin näkökulmasta. Katastrofiriskien hallintaan sisältyvät katastrofiriskien vähentäminen (Disaster Risk Reduction – DRR) ja katastrofien hallinta (Disaster Management). DRM- ja CCA-politiikkojen tarkoituksena on vähentää äärimmäisten sääilmiöiden aiheuttamia riskejä ottaen huomioon ilmastonmuutoksen mukanaan tuoma epävarmuus. Tutkielman pääkysymys on: millä keinoin voidaan ratkaista DRM- ja CCA-politiikkoihin ja -toimiin liittyviä merkittäviä haasteita? Teoreettisesti tutkielma edistää DRM:n ja CCA:n politiikka-analyysia sekä esittää matemaattisen määritelmän ilmastomuutoksen liialliseen sopeutumiseen. Empiirisesti työssä analysoidaan integroituja DRM- ja CCA-politiikkoja ja- toimia sekä analysoidaan niiden kehittämiseen ja toteuttamiseen liittyviä haasteita. Artikkelissa I kehitetään DRR- ja CCA-politiikkojen integroinnin muodollinen määritelmä horisontaalisessa (ministeriöiden sisäisessä) ja vertikaalisessa (ministeriöiden välisessä) ulottuvuudessa. Empiirinen osuus analysoi Sambian tilannetta ja haasteita. Teoreettinen panos kirjallisuuteen on muodollinen määritelmä DRR- ja CCA-politiikkaintegroinnille ja empiirinen panos tulee arvioista hallinnon tilanteen aiheuttamista mahdollisista haasteista. Artikkelissa II käsitellään katastrofiriskien taustalla olevien haavoittuvuustekijöiden, kuten yhteiskunnallisten ja poliittisten tekijöiden, kulttuurin, politiikan ja niiden täytäntöönpanon vaikutusta riskien vähentämisessä. Artikkelin teoreettinen panos edistää keskustelua ilmastoriskianalyysien uusista ulottuvuuksista korostamalla yhteiskunnallisen kehityksen, kuten sosiaalisten suuntausten ja yhteenkuuluvuuden, mahdollisia vaikutuksia tehokkaassa DRM:ssä ja CCA:ssa. Artikkeli tukee empiiristä kirjallisuutta arvioimalla pohjoismaisen hyvinvointivaltion rakenteita keinona vähentää katastrofi- ja ilmastonmuutosriskiä. Artikkelissa III analysoidaan integroidun DRM- ja CCA- politiikan kustannuksia ja hyötyjä Suomessa: Lisäksi kuvataan, kuinka liiallinen panostaminen katastrofiriskien hallintaan ja sopeutumiseen voi vaikuttaa politiikan hyväksyttävyyteen. Artikkelin teoreettinen panos tulee matemaattisen määritelmän esittämisestä liialliseen CCA:han, ja empiirinen panos tulee tapaustutkimuksen kautta. Artikkelissa IV arvioidaan, miten innovaatiot voivat vähentää sään ääri-ilmiöiden ja ilmastonmuutoksen aiheuttamia haitallisia vaikutuksia tieliikennesektorilla. Artikkelissa tunnistetaan ja kuvataan sääpalvelujen tarjoamisen ja käytön tärkeimmät suuntaukset ja mahdolliset innovaatiot, sekä arvioidaan millaisia taloudellisia hyötyjä tieliikenteen turvallisuuden parantaminen tuo. Artikkeli on osa empiiristä CCA-kirjallisuutta ja tarjoaa esimerkin sääpalvelujen taloudellisten hyötyjen arvioinnista.
  • Nguyen, Lien (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This thesis is grounded on four articles. Article I generally examines the factors affecting dental service utilization. Article II studies the factors associated with sector-specific utilization among young adults entitled to age-based subsidized dental care. Article III explores the determinants of dental ill-health as measured by the occurrence of caries and the relationship between dental ill-health and dental care use. Article IV measures and explains income-related inequality in utilization. Data employed were from the 1996 Finnish Health Care Survey (I, II, IV) and the 1997 follow-up study included in the longitudinal study of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (III). Utilization is considered as a multi-stage decision-making process and measured as the number of visits to the dentist. Modified count data models and concentration and horizontal equity indices were applied. Dentist s recall appeared very efficient at stimulating individuals to seek care. Dental pain, recall, and the low number of missing teeth positively affected utilization. Public subvention for dental care did not seem to statistically increase utilization. Among young adults, a perception of insufficient public service availability and recall were positively associated with the choice of a private dentist, whereas income and dentist density were positively associated with the number of visits to private dentists. Among cohort females, factors increasing caries were body mass index and intake of alcohol, sugar, and soft drinks and those reducing caries were birth weight and adolescent school achievement. Among cohort males, caries was positively related to the metropolitan residence and negatively related to healthy diet and education. Smoking increased caries, whereas regular teeth brushing, regular dental attendance and dental care use decreased caries. We found equity in young adults utilization but pro-rich inequity in the total number of visits to all dentists and in the probability of visiting a dentist for the whole sample. We observed inequity in the total number of visits to the dentist and in the probability of visiting a dentist, being pro-poor for public care but pro-rich for private care. The findings suggest that to enhance equal access to and use of dental care across population and income groups, attention should focus on supply factors and incentives to encourage people to contact dentists more often. Lowering co-payments and service fees and improving public availability would likely increase service use in both sectors. To attain favorable oral health, appropriate policies aimed at improving dental health education and reducing the detrimental effects of common risk factors on dental health should be strengthened. Providing equal access with respect to need for all people ought to take account of the segmentation of the service system, with its two parallel delivery systems and different supplier incentives to patients and dentists.
  • Paloviita, Maritta (Suomen Pankki, 2009)
    The present study examines empirically the inflation dynamics of the euro area. The focus of the analysis is on the role of expectations in the inflation process. In six articles we relax rationality assumption and proxy expectations directly using OECD forecasts or Consensus Economics survey data. In the first four articles we estimate alternative Phillips curve specifications and find evidence that inflation cannot instantaneously adjust to changes in expectations. A possible departure of expectations from rationality seems not to be powerful enough to totally explain the persistence of euro area inflation in the New Keynesian framework. When expectations are measured directly, the purely forward-looking New Keynesian Phillips curve is outperformed by the hybrid Phillips curve with an additional lagged inflation term and the New Classical Phillips curve with a lagged expectations term. The results suggest that the euro area inflation process has become more forward-looking in the recent years of low and stable inflation. Moreover, in low inflation countries, the inflation dynamics have been more forward-looking already since the late 1970s. We find evidence of substantial heterogeneity of inflation dynamics across the euro area countries. Real time data analysis suggests that in the euro area real time information matters most in the expectations term in the Phillips curve and that the balance of expectations formation is more forward- than backward-looking. Vector autoregressive (VAR) models of actual inflation, inflation expectations and the output gap are estimated in the last two articles.The VAR analysis indicates that inflation expectations, which are relatively persistent, have a significant effect on output. However,expectations seem to react to changes in both output and actual inflation, especially in the medium term. Overall, this study suggests that expectations play a central role in inflation dynamics, which should be taken into account in conducting monetary policy.
  • Vuorenmaa, Tommi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Volatility is central in options pricing and risk management. It reflects the uncertainty of investors and the inherent instability of the economy. Time series methods are among the most widely applied scientific methods to analyze and predict volatility. Very frequently sampled data contain much valuable information about the different elements of volatility and may ultimately reveal the reasons for time varying volatility. The use of such ultra-high-frequency data is common to all three essays of the dissertation. The dissertation belongs to the field of financial econometrics. The first essay uses wavelet methods to study the time-varying behavior of scaling laws and long-memory in the five-minute volatility series of Nokia on the Helsinki Stock Exchange around the burst of the IT-bubble. The essay is motivated by earlier findings which suggest that different scaling laws may apply to intraday time-scales and to larger time-scales, implying that the so-called annualized volatility depends on the data sampling frequency. The empirical results confirm the appearance of time varying long-memory and different scaling laws that, for a significant part, can be attributed to investor irrationality and to an intraday volatility periodicity called the New York effect. The findings have potentially important consequences for options pricing and risk management that commonly assume constant memory and scaling. The second essay investigates modelling the duration between trades in stock markets. Durations convoy information about investor intentions and provide an alternative view at volatility. Generalizations of standard autoregressive conditional duration (ACD) models are developed to meet needs observed in previous applications of the standard models. According to the empirical results based on data of actively traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange and the Helsinki Stock Exchange the proposed generalization clearly outperforms the standard models and also performs well in comparison to another recently proposed alternative to the standard models. The distribution used to derive the generalization may also prove valuable in other areas of risk management. The third essay studies empirically the effect of decimalization on volatility and market microstructure noise. Decimalization refers to the change from fractional pricing to decimal pricing and it was carried out on the New York Stock Exchange in January, 2001. The methods used here are more accurate than in the earlier studies and put more weight on market microstructure. The main result is that decimalization decreased observed volatility by reducing noise variance especially for the highly active stocks. The results help risk management and market mechanism designing.
  • Tukiainen, Janne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    A vast amount of public services and goods are contracted through procurement auctions. Therefore it is very important to design these auctions in an optimal way. Typically, we are interested in two different objectives. The first objective is efficiency. Efficiency means that the contract is awarded to the bidder that values it the most, which in the procurement setting means the bidder that has the lowest cost of providing a service with a given quality. The second objective is to maximize public revenue. Maximizing public revenue means minimizing the costs of procurement. Both of these goals are important from the welfare point of view. In this thesis, I analyze field data from procurement auctions and show how empirical analysis can be used to help design the auctions to maximize public revenue. In particular, I concentrate on how competition, which means the number of bidders, should be taken into account in the design of auctions. In the first chapter, the main policy question is whether the auctioneer should spend resources to induce more competition. The information paradigm is essential in analyzing the effects of competition. We talk of a private values information paradigm when the bidders know their valuations exactly. In a common value information paradigm, the information about the value of the object is dispersed among the bidders. With private values more competition always increases the public revenue but with common values the effect of competition is uncertain. I study the effects of competition in the City of Helsinki bus transit market by conducting tests for common values. I also extend an existing test by allowing bidder asymmetry. The information paradigm seems to be that of common values. The bus companies that have garages close to the contracted routes are influenced more by the common value elements than those whose garages are further away. Therefore, attracting more bidders does not necessarily lower procurement costs, and thus the City should not implement costly policies to induce more competition. In the second chapter, I ask how the auctioneer can increase its revenue by changing contract characteristics like contract sizes and durations. I find that the City of Helsinki should shorten the contract duration in the bus transit auctions because that would decrease the importance of common value components and cheaply increase entry which now would have a more beneficial impact on the public revenue. Typically, cartels decrease the public revenue in a significant way. In the third chapter, I propose a new statistical method for detecting collusion and compare it with an existing test. I argue that my test is robust to unobserved heterogeneity unlike the existing test. I apply both methods to procurement auctions that contract snow removal in schools of Helsinki. According to these tests, the bidding behavior of two of the bidders seems consistent with a contract allocation scheme.
  • Kosonen, Tuomas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This thesis consists of an introduction to a topic of optimal use of taxes and government expenditure and three chapters analysing these themes more in depth. Chapter 2 analyses to what extent a given amount of subsidies affects the labour supply of parents. Municipal supplement to the Finnish home care allowance provides exogenous variation to labour supply decision of a parent. This kind of subsidy that is tied to staying at home instead of working is found to have fairly large effect on labour supply decisions of parents. Chapter 3 studies theoretically when it is optimal to provide publicly private goods. In the set up of the model government sets income taxes optimally and provides a private good, if it is beneficial to do so. The analysis results in an optimal provision rule according to which the good should be provided when it lowers the participation threshold into labour force. Chapter 4 investigates what happened to prices and demand when hairdressers value added tax was cut in Finland from 22 per cent to 8 per cent. The pass-through to prices was about half of the full pass-through and no clear indication of increased demand for the services or better employment situation in the sector is found.
  • Khan, Md. Anichul Hoque (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This thesis aims at finding the role of deposit insurance scheme and central bank (CB) in keeping the banking system safe. The thesis also studies the factors associated with long-lasting banking crises. The first essay analyzes the effect of using explicit deposit insurance scheme (EDIS), instead of using implicit deposit insurance scheme (IDIS), on banking crises. The panel data for the period of 1980-2003 includes all countries for which the data on EDIS or IDIS exist. 70% of the countries in the sample are less developed countries (LDCs). About 55% of the countries adopting EDIS also come from LDCs. The major finding is that the using of EDIS increases the crisis probability at a strong significance level. This probability is greater if the EDIS is inefficiently designed allowing higher scope of moral hazard problem. Specifically, the probability is greater if the EDIS provides higher coverage to deposits and if it is less powerful from the legal point of view. This study also finds that the less developed a country is to handle EDIS, the higher the chance of banking crisis. Once the underdevelopment of an economy handling the EDIS is controlled, the EDIS separately is no longer a significant factor of banking crises. The second essay aims at determining whether a country s powerful CB can lessen the instability of the banking sector by minimizing the likelihood of a banking crisis. The data used include indicators of the CB s autonomy for a set of countries over the period of 1980-89. The study finds that in aggregate a more powerful CB lessens the probability of banking crisis. When the CB s authority is disentangled with respect to its responsibilities, the study finds that the longer tenure of CB s chief executive officer and the greater power of CB in assigning interest rate on government loans are necessary for reducing the probability of banking crisis. The study also finds that the probability of crisis reduces more if an autonomous CB can perform its duties in a country with stronger law and order tradition. The costs of long-lasting banking crises are high because both the depositors and the investors lose confidence in the banking system. For a rapid recovery of a crisis, the government very often undertakes one or more crisis resolution policy (CRP) measures. The third essay examines the CRP and other explanatory variables correlated with the durations of banking crises. The major finding is that the CRP measure allowing the regulation forbearance to keep the insolvent banks operative and the public debt relief program are respectively strongly and weakly significant to increase the durations of crises. Some other explanatory variables, which were found by previous studies to be related with the probability of crises to occur, are also correlated with the durations of crises.
  • Holopainen, Helena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This dissertation consists of an introductory section and three theoretical essays analyzing the interaction of corporate governance and restructuring. The essays adopt an incomplete contracts approach and analyze the role of different institutional designs to facilitate the alignment of the objectives of shareholders and management (or employees) over the magnitude of corporate restructuring. The first essay analyzes how a firm's choice of production technology affects the employees' human capital investment. In the essay, the owners of the firm can choose between a specific and a general technology that both require a costly human capital investment by the employees. The specific technology is initially superior in using the human capital of employees but, in contrast to the general technology, it is not compatible with future innovations. As a result, anticipated changes in the specific technology diminish the ex ante incentives of the employees to invest in human capital unless the shareholders grant the employees specific governance mechanisms (a right of veto, severance pay) so as to protect their investments. The results of the first essay indicate that the level of protection that the shareholders are willing to offer falls short of the socially desirable one. Furthermore, when restructuring opportunities become more abundant, it becomes more attractive both socially and from the viewpoint of the shareholders to initially adopt the general technology. The second essay analyzes how the allocation of authority within the firm interacts with the owners' choice of business strategy when the ability of the owners to monitor the project proposals of the management is biased in favor of the status quo strategy. The essay shows that a bias in the monitoring ability will affect not only the allocation of authority within the firm but also the choice of business strategy. Especially, when delegation has positive managerial incentive effects, delegation turns out to be more attractive under the new business strategy because the improved managerial incentives are a way for the owners to compensate their own reduced information gathering ability. This effect, however, simultaneously makes the owners hesitant to switch the strategy since it would involve a more frequent loss of control over the project choice. Consequently, the owners' lack of knowledge of the new business strategy may lead to a suboptimal choice of strategy. The third essay analyzes the implications of CEO succession process for the ideal board structure. In this essay, the presence of the departing CEO on the board facilitates the ability of the board to find a matching successor and to counsel him. However, the ex-CEO's presence may simultaneously also weaken the ability of the board to restructure since the predecessor may use the opportunity to distort the successor's project choice. The results of the essay suggest that the extent of restructuring gains, the firm's ability to hire good outside directors and the importance of board's advisory role affect at which point and for how long the shareholders may want to nominate the predecessor to the board.
  • Riihimäki, Elisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This dissertation consists of an introductory section and three essays investigating the effects of economic integration on labour demand by using theoretical models and by empirical analysis. The essays adopt an intra-industry trade approach to specify a theoretical framework of estimation for determining the effects of economic integration on employment. In all the essays the empirical aim is to explore the labour demand consequences of European integration. The first essay analyzes how labour-demand elasticities with own price have changed during the process of economic integration. As a theoretical result, intensified trade competition increases labour-demand elasticity, whereas better advantage of economies of scale decreases labour-demand elasticity by decreasing the elasticity of substitution between differentiated products. Furthermore, if integration gives rise to an increase in input-substitutability and/or outsourcing activities, labour demand will become more elastic. Using data from the manufacturing sector from 1975 to 2002, the empirical results provide support for the hypothesis that European integration has contributed to increased elasticities of total labour demand in Finland. The second essay analyzes how economic integration affects the impact of welfare poli-cies on employment. The essay considers the viability of financing the public sector, i.e. public consumption and social security expenses, by general labour taxation in an economy which has become more integrated into international product markets. The theoretical results of the second essay indicate that, as increased trade competition crowds out better economies of scale, it becomes more costly to maintain welfare systems financed by labour taxation. Using data from European countries for the years 1975 to 2004, the empirical results provide inconsistent evidence for the hypothesis that economic integration has contributed to the distortion effects of welfare policies on employment. The third essay analyzes the impact of profit sharing on employment as a way to introduce wage flexibility into the process of economic integration. The results of the essay suggest that, in theory, the effects of economic integration on the impact of profit sharing on employment clearly depend on a trade-off between intensified competition and better advantage of economies of scale. If product market competition increases, the ability of profit sharing to improve employment through economic integration increases with moderated wages. While, the economic integration associating with market power in turn decrease the possibilities of profit sharing with higher wages to improve employment. Using data from the manufacturing sector for the years 1996 to 2004, the empirical results show that profit-sharing has a positive impact on employment during the process of European integration, but can have ambiguous effects on the stability of employment in Finland.
  • Pääkkönen, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    In public economics, two extremist views on the functions of a government compete: one emphasizes government working for the public interest to provide value for the citizens, while another regards government mainly as a workhorse for private interests. Moreover, as the sole legitimate authority, the government has the right to define the rules and laws as well as to enforce them. With respect to regulation, two extremes arise: from too little regulation to too much of it. If the government does not function or ceases to exist, the state falls into anarchy or chaos (Somalia). If it regulates too much, it will completely suffocate private activities, which might be considered extralegal (the former Soviet Union). In this thesis I scrutinize the government s interventionist policies and evaluate the question of how to best promote economic well-being. The first two essays assume that the government s policies promote illegal activity. The first paper evaluates the interaction between the government and the mafia, and pays attention to the law enforcement of underground production. We show that the revenue-maximizing government will always monitor the shadow economy, as monitoring contributes to the government s revenue. In general, both legal and illegal firms are hurt by the entry of the mafia. It is, however, plausible that legal firms might benefit by the entry of the mafia if it competes with the government. The second paper tackles the issue of the measurement of the size of the shadow economy. To formulate policies it is essential to know what drives illegal economic activity; is it the tax burden, excess regulation, corruption or a weak legal environment? In this paper we propose an additional explanation for tax evasion and shadow production, namely cultural factors as manifested by religion as determinants of tax morality. According to our findings, Catholic and Protestant countries do not differ in their tax morale. The third paper contributes to the literature discussing the role of the government in promoting economic and productivity growth. Our main result is that, given the complex relationship between economic growth and economic freedom, marketization has not necessarily been beneficial in terms of growth. The last paper builds on traditional growth literature and revisits the debate on convergence clubs arising from demographic transition. We provide new evidence against the idea that countries within a club would converge over time. Instead, we propose that since the demographic transition is a dynamic process, one can expect countries to enter the last regime of stable, modern growth in stages.
  • Vanhala, Juuso (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The dissertation consists of an introductory chapter and three essays that apply search-matching theory to study the interaction of labor market frictions, technological change and macroeconomic fluctuations. The first essay studies the impact of capital-embodied growth on equilibrium unemployment by extending a vintage capital/search model to incorporate vintage human capital. In addition to the capital obsolescence (or creative destruction) effect that tends to raise unemployment, vintage human capital introduces a skill obsolescence effect of faster growth that has the opposite sign. Faster skill obsolescence reduces the value of unemployment, hence wages and leads to more job creation and less job destruction, unambiguously reducing unemployment. The second essay studies the effect of skill biased technological change on skill mismatch and the allocation of workers and firms in the labor market. By allowing workers to invest in education, we extend a matching model with two-sided heterogeneity to incorporate an endogenous distribution of high and low skill workers. We consider various possibilities for the cost of acquiring skills and show that while unemployment increases in most scenarios, the effect on the distribution of vacancy and worker types varies according to the structure of skill costs. When the model is extended to incorporate endogenous labor market participation, we show that the unemployment rate becomes less informative of the state of the labor market as the participation margin absorbs employment effects. The third essay studies the effects of labor taxes on equilibrium labor market outcomes and macroeconomic dynamics in a New Keynesian model with matching frictions. Three policy instruments are considered: a marginal tax and a tax subsidy to produce tax progression schemes, and a replacement ratio to account for variability in outside options. In equilibrium, the marginal tax rate and replacement ratio dampen economic activity whereas tax subsidies boost the economy. The marginal tax rate and replacement ratio amplify shock responses whereas employment subsidies weaken them. The tax instruments affect the degree to which the wage absorbs shocks. We show that increasing tax progression when taxation is initially progressive is harmful for steady state employment and output, and amplifies the sensitivity of macroeconomic variables to shocks. When taxation is initially proportional, increasing progression is beneficial for output and employment and dampens shock responses.
  • Korkeamäki, Ossi (Government Institute for Economic Research, 2012)
    The first essay in this thesis is on gender wage differentials among manufacturing sector white-collar workers. The wage differential is decomposed into firm, job (within-firm) and individ-ual-level components. Job-level gender segregation explains over half of the gap, while firm-level segregation is not important. After controlling for firm, job and individual characteristics, the remaining unexplained wage cap to the advantage of men is six per cent of men s mean wage. In the second essay, I study how the business cycle and gender affect the distribution of the earnings losses of displaced workers. The negative effect of displacement is large, persistent and strongest in the lowest earnings deciles. The effect is larger in a recession than in a recov-ery period, and in all periods women s earnings drop more than men s earnings. The third essay shows that the transition from steady employment to disability pension de-pends on the stringency of medical screening and the degree of experience-rating of pension costs applied to the employer. The fact that firms have to bear part of the cost of employees disability pension costs lowers both the incidence of long sick leave periods and the probabil-ity that sick leave ends in a disability pension. The fourth and fifth essays are studies on the employment, wage and profit effects of a re-gional payroll tax cut experiment conducted in northern and eastern Finland. The results show no statistically significant effect on any of the response variables.
  • Railavo, Jukka (Suomen Pankki, 2006)
    Economic and Monetary Union can be characterised as a complicated set of legislation and institutions governing monetary and fiscal responsibilities. The measures of fiscal responsibility are to be guided by the Stability and Growth Pact, which sets rules for fiscal policy and makes a discretionary fiscal policy virtually impossible. To analyse the effects of the fiscal and monetary policy mix, we modified the New Keynesian framework to allow for supply effects of fiscal policy. We show that defining a supply-side channel for fiscal policy using an endogenous output gap changes the stabilising properties of monetary policy rules. The stability conditions are affected by fiscal policy, so that the dichotomy between active (passive) monetary policy and passive (active) fiscal policy as stabilising regimes does not hold, and it is possible to have an active monetary - active fiscal policy regime consistent with dynamical stability of the economy. We show that, if we take supply-side effects into ac-count, we get more persistent inflation and output reactions. We also show that the dichotomy does not hold for a variety of different fiscal policy rules based on government debt and budget deficit, using the tax smoothing hypothesis and formulating the tax rules as difference equations. The debt rule with active monetary policy results in indeterminacy, while the deficit rule produces a determinate solution with active monetary policy, even with active fiscal policy. The combination of fiscal requirements in a rule results in cyclical responses to shocks. The amplitude of the cycle is larger with more weight on debt than on deficit. Combining optimised monetary policy with fiscal policy rules means that, under a discretionary monetary policy, the fiscal policy regime affects the size of the inflation bias. We also show that commitment to an optimal monetary policy not only corrects the inflation bias but also increases the persistence of output reactions. With fiscal policy rules based on the deficit we can retain the tax smoothing hypothesis also in a sticky price model.
  • Seppälä, Timo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The dissertation consists of three essays on misplanning wealth and health accumulation. The conventional economics assumes that individual's intertemporal preferences are exponential (exponential preferences, EP). Recent findings in behavioural economics have shown that, actually, people do discount near future relatively heavier than distant future. This implies hyperbolic intertemporal preferences (HP). Essays I and II concentrate especially on the effects of a delayed completion of tasks, a feature of behaviour that HP enables. Essay III uses current Finnish data to analyse the evolvement of the quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and inconsistencies in measuring that. Essay I studies the existence effects of a lucrative retirement savings program (SP) on the retirement savings of different individual types having HP. If the individual does not know that he will have HP also in the future, i.e. he is the naïve, for certain conditions, he delays the enrolment on SP until he abandons it. Very interesting finding is that the naïve retires then poorer in the presence than in the absence of SP. For the same conditions, the individual who knows that he will have HP also in the future, i.e. he is the sophisticated, gains from the existence of SP, and retires with greater retirement savings in the presence than in the absence of SP. Finally, capabilities to learn from past behaviour and about intertemporal preferences improve possibilities to gain from the existence but an adequate time to learn must be then guaranteed. Essay II studies delayed doctor's visits, theirs effects on the costs of a public health care system and government's attempts to control patient behaviour and fund the system. The controlling devices are a consultation fee and a deductible for that. The deductible is effective only for a patient whose diagnosis reveals a disease that would not get cured without the doctor's visit. The naives delay their visits the longest while EP-patients are the quickest visitors. To control the naives, the government should implement a low fee and a high deductible, while for the sophisticates the opposite is true. Finally, if all the types exist in an economy then using an incorrect conventional assumption that all individuals have EP leads to worse situation and requires higher tax rates than assuming incorrectly but unconventionally that only the naives exists. Essay III studies the development of QALYs in Finland 1995/96-2004. The essay concentrates on developing a consistent measure, i.e. independent of discounting, for measuring the age and gender specific QALY-changes and their incidences. For the given time interval, use of a relative change out of an attainable change seems to be almost intact to discounting and reveals that the greatest gains are for older age groups.
  • Solanko, Laura (Suomen Pankki, 2007)
    This study comprises an introductory section and three essays analysing Russia's economic transition from the early 1990s up to the present. The papers present a combination of both theoretical and empirical analysis on some of the key issues Russia has faced during its somewhat troublesome transformation from state-controlled command economy to market-based economy. The first essay analyses fiscal competition for mobile capital between identical regions in a transition country. A standard tax competition framework is extended to account for two features of a transition economy: the presence of two sectors, old and new, which differ in productivity; and a non-benevolent regional decision-maker. It is shown that in very early phase of transition, when the old sector clearly dominates, consumers in a transition economy may be better off in a competitive equilibrium. Decision-makers, on the other hand, will prefer to coordinate their fiscal policies. The second essay uses annual data for 1992-2003 to examine income dispersion and convergence across 76 Russian regions. Wide disparities in income levels have indeed emerged during the transition period. Dispersion has increased most among the initially better-off regions, whereas for the initially poorer regions no clear trend of divergence or convergence could be established. Further, some - albeit not highly robust - evidence was found of both unconditional and conditional convergence, especially among the initially richer regions. Finally, it is observed that there is much less evidence of convergence after the economic crisis of 1998. The third essay analyses industrial firms' engagement in provision of infrastructure services, such as heating, electricity and road maintenance. Using a unique dataset of 404 large and medium-sized industrial enterprises in 40 regions of Russia, the essay examines public infrastructure provision by Russian industrial enterprises. It is found that to a large degree engagement in infrastructure provision, as proxied by district heating production, is a Soviet legacy. Secondly, firms providing district heating to users outside their plant area are more likely to have close and multidimensional relations with the local public sector.
  • Landy, Fidelis (2012)
    This paper examines the profit-shifting motive of a government trade policy and investigates the effects of vertical structures and tariffs when markets are characterized by Cournot oligopoly. I also analyze the impact of competition on the price and output decisions of upstream producers. I show that vertical integration affects the direction in which the domestic country aims to switch trade flows by import tariffs. Under vertical integration a domestic tariff on final good imports indirectly harms domestic input producers, while under non-integration tariffs increase both domestic and foreign input supply. I show that upstream competition decreases output and the price at which the input is traded.
  • Kiema, Ilkka (Helsingfors universitet, 2008)
    This dissertation discusses the economics of information goods and intellectual property rights from two perspectives. In the first of the three main essays of the dissertation, I implement imperfect intellectual property rights into a “pool of knowledge” endogenous growth model. The adjustable parameters of the resulting model include the hazard rate of imitation and the patentability requirement. These are viewed as policy variables which may be chosen by a social planner. The model leads to a natural definition of growth traps which are due to slow growth in the past, and it has growth traps among its equilibria when the rate of imitation is small but positive. The growth-maximizing value of the imitation rate is zero, but the welfare effects of imitation may be positive. The growth-maximizing and welfare-maximizing patentability requirements can have any positive values below a theoretical maximum. A low patentability requirement is growth-maximizing in slowly growing economies. The two other main essays of the dissertation discuss commercial piracy in a microeconomic setting. In these essays I consider a model in which the seemingly puzzling fact that the competition between commercial pirates does not always drive their profits to zero is explained by postulating that the risk of a punishment for offering pirate copies for sale functions analogously with an advertising cost. In addition, the market for pirate copies may also be affected by the fixed costs of the pirates, which can be caused by punishments or Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems. In the second main essay of my dissertation I present a systematic analysis of the effects of these policy variables and of the quality of pirate copies on the market for an information good. It turns out that, whereas it is always in the interest of the copyright owner that the fixed costs of the pirates are increased, this is not necessarily true of their “advertising costs”. In the last of the three main essays, I generalize my model of commercial piracy to network industries. This is motivated by the fact that, although it has often been shown that end-user piracy may increase the profits of copyright owners in the presence network externalities, in the earlier literature there have not been any analogous analyses of the effects of commercial piracy. The model yields a characterization of the optimal pricing policy of a copyright owner in the presence of network externalities, and shows how the profit-maximizing intellectual property protection strength increases with the quality of pirate copies.
  • Malinen, Tuomas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This thesis studies the effect of income inequality on economic growth. This is done by analyzing panel data from several countries with both short and long time dimensions of the data. Two of the chapters study the direct effect of inequality on growth, and one chapter also looks at the possible indirect effect of inequality on growth by assessing the effect of inequality on savings. In Chapter two, the effect of inequality on growth is studied by using a panel of 70 countries and a new EHII2008 inequality measure. Chapter contributes on two problems that panel econometric studies on the economic effect of inequality have recently encountered: the comparability problem associated with the commonly used Deininger and Squire s Gini index, and the problem relating to the estimation of group-related elasticities in panel data. In this study, a simple way to 'bypass' vagueness related to the use of parametric methods to estimate group-related parameters is presented. The idea is to estimate the group-related elasticities implicitly using a set of group-related instrumental variables. The estimation results with new data and method indicate that the relationship between income inequality and growth is likely to be non-linear. Chapter three incorporates the EHII2.1 inequality measure and a panel with annual time series observations from 38 countries to test the existence of long-run equilibrium relation(s) between inequality and the level of GDP. Panel unit root tests indicate that both the logarithmic EHII2.1 inequality measure and the logarithmic GDP per capita series are I(1) nonstationary processes. They are also found to be cointegrated of order one, which implies that there is a long-run equilibrium relation between them. The long-run growth elasticity of inequality is found to be negative in the middle-income and rich economies, but the results for poor economies are inconclusive. In the fourth Chapter, macroeconomic data on nine developed economies spanning across four decades starting from the year 1960 is used to study the effect of the changes in the top income share to national and private savings. The income share of the top 1 % of population is used as proxy for the distribution of income. The effect of inequality on private savings is found to be positive in the Nordic and Central-European countries, but for the Anglo-Saxon countries the direction of the effect (positive vs. negative) remains somewhat ambiguous. Inequality is found to have an effect national savings only in the Nordic countries, where it is positive.
  • Honkasalo, Mika (2001)
    Tutkielmassa esitellään kokeellista taloustiedettä. Keskeisen sijan saavat markkinakokeet ja erilaisiin ennusteisiin käytetyt markkinat. Markkinakokeisiin osallistumiseen käytetään usein omaa rahaa ja tämän arvellaan vaikuttavan ratkaisevasti osallistujien käyttäytymiseen. Tällaisten kokeiden avulla on pyritty mm. saamaan ennusteita esim. presidentinvaalien lopputuloksille. Koemarkkinoiden edut verrattuna perinteisiin mielipidemittauksiin ovat ennusteiden tarkkuus ja niistä saatava jatkuva tieto. Työhön sisältyy ensimmäinen Suomessa järjestetty markkinakoe. Helsingissä pidettiin 1993-94 Suomen presidentinvaaleihin liittynyt pörssi. Tutkielmassa esitellään pörssin toiminta ja lopputulokset. Pörssin ennusteet olivat vaalien aikana tehtyjen mielipidemittausten ja lopputulosten kanssa yhtenevät. Tuloksia vertailtiin Iowan yliopistossa kehitetyn mallin avulla. Tutkielmassa on käytetty lähteinä kokeellisen taloustieteen kehittäneiden tutkijoiden julkaisuja. Pörssin osalta apuna käytettiin presidenttipörssin kehittäneen ja ympäri maailmaa useita pörssejä järjestäneen Robert Forsythen asiantuntemusta. Helsingin presidenttipörssi toteutettiin yhteistyössä Iowan yliopiston kanssa.