Working papers

2019-15
Weather Shocks
Ewen Gallic
Gauthier Vermandel

How much do weather shocks matter? The literature addresses this question in two isolated ways: either by looking at long-term effects through the prism of theoretical models, or by focusing on short-term effects using empirical analysis. We propose a framework to bring together both the short and long-term effects through the lens of an estimated DSGE model with a weather-dependent agricultural sector. The model is estimated using Bayesian methods and quarterly data for New Zealand using the weather as an observable variable. In the short-run, our analysis underlines the key role of weather as a driver of business cycles over the sample period. An adverse weather shock generates a recession, boosts the non-agricultural sector and entails a domestic currency depreciation. Taking a long-term perspective, a welfare analysis reveals that weather shocks are not a free lunch: the welfare cost of weather is currently estimated at 0.19% of permanent consumption. Climate change critically increases the variability of key macroeconomic variables (such as GDP, agricultural output or the real exchange rate) resulting in a higher welfare cost peaking to 0.29% in the worst case scenario.

Keywords: agriculture, business cycles, climate change, weather shocks
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2019-14
The Effect of Aspirations on Inequality: Evidence from the German Reunification using Bayesian Growth Incidence Curves
Edwin Fourrier-Nicolai
Michel Lubrano

A long-standing literature has investigated the formation of aspirations and how they shape human behaviours but a recent interest has been devoted on the interplay between aspirations and inequality. Because aspirations are socially determined, household investment decisions tend to be reproduced according to the social context which fosters inequality to persist. We empirically examine the role of aspirations on inequality using a natural experiment. We exploit an exogenous variation of social aspirations determined by the exposure to Western German TV broadcasts in the GDR before the reunification. We measure the treatment effect on wage inequality by comparing inequality changes between the treatment and the control regions after reunification. We use an heteroskedastic parametric model for income with a treatment effect and sample selection into the labour market. We derive analytical formulae for the growth incidence curve of Ravallion and Chen (2003) and poverty growth curve of Son (2004) for the log-normal distribution. Based on those curves, we provide Bayesian inference and a set of tests related to stochastic dominance criteria. We find evidences that aspirations-through exposure to Western German broadcasts-have significantly affected inequality. We find that this effect was detrimental in terms of inequality and poverty. However, we cannot conclude about the persistence of the effect after 1995.

Keywords: Inequality, social aspirations, Bayesian inference, treatment effect
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2019-13
Does International Financial Integration Increase the Standard of Living in Africa? A Frontier Approach
Gilles Dufrénot
Kimiko Sugimoto

We investigate whether a higher financial integration with the rest of the world can help the African countries reduce their production inefficiency and/or push up their efficient frontier of production. We use two alternative empirical approaches based, respectively, on a stochastic frontier analysis and quantile regressions. We provide evidence of heterogeneous situations across countries and time. This paper proposes a new approach for defining, at the aggregate level, a link between financial openness and production efficiency. We show that one size does not fit all: international financial integration can increase or decrease African countries' standard of living.

Keywords: African countries, financial openness, stochastic frontier, quantile regression
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2019-12
Potential Growth and Natural Yield Curve in Japan
Gilles Dufrénot
Meryem Rhouzlane
Etienne Vaccaro-Grange

We estimate the yield curve gap in Japan and examine whether it has contributed to the sustained low growth and low inflation rates observed since the beginning 2000s. We use a semi-structural empirical model that generalizes Laubach and Williams’ approach, considering the entire range of maturities of the interest rates and dealing with the issue of mixed frequency sampling. We consider global factors exerting downward pressures on inflation and examine how the neutral yield curve has affected the snowball effect in the dynamics of the Japanese public debt ratio.

Keywords: yield curve, potential growth, state-space model, Japan
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2019-11
Age Discontinuity and Nonemployment Benefit Policy Evaluation through the Lens of Job Search Theory
Bruno Decreuse
Guillaume Wilemme

A recent strand of papers use sharp regression discontinuity designs (RDD) based on age discontinuity to study the impacts of minimum income and unemployment insurance benefit extension policies. This design challenges job search theory, which predicts that such RDD estimates are biased. Owing to market frictions, people below the age threshold account for future eligibility to the policy. This progressively affects their search outcomes as they get closer to entitlement. Comparing them to eligible people leads to biased estimates because both groups of workers are actually treated. We provide a nonstationary job search model and quantify the theoretical biases on the datasets used in the literature. Our results suggest that the employment impact of minimum income policies are (significantly) under-estimated, whereas the impacts of benefit extensions on nonemployment duration are (not significantly) over-estimated.

Keywords: RDD, age discontinuity, nonstationary job search theory
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2019-10
French GPs’ Willingness to Delegate Tasks: May Financial Incentives Balance Risk Aversion?
Jean-Baptiste Simon Combes
Alain Paraponaris
Yann Videau

Delegating tasks to paramedics is a fairly recent development in France. So far it has essentially been developed in hospitals and is incipient in general practice. This paper focuses on the willingness of general practitioner to do so. A 2012 survey of 2,000 GPs might help anticipate GPs’ willingness to delegate. This paper tests whether a more favourable funding system might help increase GP willingness. We implement a quasi-experimental design wherein GPs are randomly selected to form three groups of equal size, each of them being exposed to a different funding scheme when declaring their willingness to delegate tasks to nurses: Fully Funded (FF) by the social security administration, self-funded by GPs’ revenues (Self-Funded, SF) and half-funded by both the social security administration and GPs (Half-Funded, HF). GPs’ likelihood to favour task delegation is estimated with a probit model that especially considers a GP’s attitude towards risk (aversion or tolerance) among a set of covariates, such as age, gender, rural/urban area, GP density and funding scheme. This article shows that, first, GPs are more likely to favour delegation, when they share a lower proportion of the cost. Second, the effect of risk aversion on the likelihood of favouring delegation is not altered by the funding scheme.

Keywords: skill mix, task shifting, risk aversion, financial incentives
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2019-09
Haggling on Values: Towards Consensus or Trouble
Victorien Barbet
Noé Guiraud
Vincent Laperrière
Juliette Rouchier

We present a model showing the evolution of an organization of agents who discuss democratically about good practices. This model feeds on a field study we did for a few years in France where we followed Non Profit Organizations, called AMAP (a french short food chain), and observed their construction through time at the regional and national level. Most of the hypothesis we make are here either based on the literature on opinion diffusion or on the results of our field study. By defining dynamics where agents influence each other, make collective decision at the group level, and decide to stay in or leave their respective groups, we analyse the effect of different parameters, like size of organizations, on the stability and representativeness of these organizations. The models proves to be robust and we believe is easy to adapt to other context than AMAP. Moreover the article highlights the tension that exists between stability and representativeness in democratic organizations, along with the negative effect of increasing the number of topics to discuss and the positive effect of having openminded members.

Keywords: democracy, organizations, opinion dynamics, agent based modeling
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2019-08
Risky Working Conditions: An Immigrant Trap or an Income Effect?
Eva Moreno-Galbis

Immigrants’ income has been proved to converge to the average native income level with years of residence in the host country. This income assimilation effect is surprisingly not associated with a health improvement. Some emerging studies point towards the role of working conditions as a driver of the counterfactual relation between immigrants’ health and income. Using French data, we first show that, consistently with Viscusi (1978), working conditions are a normal good. An increase in 10% in non-earned income is associated with a decrease by 0.85% in professional injuries and by more than 3.2% in disabilities induced by professional illnesses. Second, we find that while immigrants bear in average worse working conditions than natives, this divergence results from an income divergence effect since for an equivalent non-earned income level there are no significant differences in working conditions between natives and immigrants. Income assimilation of immigrants is associated with an assimilation in working conditions. We conclude then that bad working conditions cannot be blamed for the degradation of immigrants’ health with years of residence in the host country.

Keywords: immigrants, working conditions, income
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2019-07
“Whatever it Takes” to Change Belief: Evidence from Twitter
Michael Stiefel
Rémi Vivès

The sovereign debt literature emphasizes the possibility of avoiding a self-fulfilling default crisis if markets anticipate the central bank to act as lender of last resort. This paper investigates the extent to which changes in belief about an intervention of the European Central Bank (ECB) explain the sudden reduction of government bond spreads for the distressed countries in summer 2012. We study Twitter data and extract belief using machine learning techniques. We find evidence of strong increases in the perceived likelihood of ECB intervention and show that those increases explain subsequent decreases in the bond spreads of the distressed countries.

Keywords: self-fulfilling default crisis, unconventional monetary policy, Twitter data
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2019-06
Social Divisiveness and Conflicts: Grievances Matter!
Raouf Boucekkine
Rodolphe Desbordes
Paolo Melindi-Ghidi

Somehow paradoxically, it is common for research on the determinants of civil wars to conclude that social factors matter much less, if at all, than economic factors. We contribute to this debate by conducting an original empirical analysis in which we investigate whether the deliberate unequal treatment of groups of people by a government can give rise to movements opposing the current political system. In doing so, we significantly innovate on the existing literature exploring the links between grievances and civil war. We look at all forms of social conflict, violent and non-violent, high and low intensity. Our index of social divisiveness captures multiple dimensions of observed unequal group treatments and is not restricted to latent ethnic divisions. We control for time-invariant factors in a large sample of countries over a long period of time. We take into account measurement uncertainty, dynamics, cross-region heterogeneity, localised spatial effects, non-linearity of effects, and a potential endogeneity bias. Our results show that social divisiveness has a large, positive, and statistically significant robust effect on anti-system opposition. It also appears to be the main channel through which long-lasting ethnic polarisation influences the onset of civil wars.

Keywords: civil resistance, civil war, grievances, social conflict, social divisiveness
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2019-05
“If You Were Me”: Proxy Respondents’ Biases in Population Health Surveys
Bérengère Davin
Xavier Joutard
Alain Paraponaris

Proxy respondents are widely used in population health surveys to maximize response rates. When surveys target frail elderly, the measurement error is expected to be smaller than selection or participation biases. However, in the literature on elderly needs for care, proxy use is most often considered with a dummy variable in which endogeneity with subjects’ health status is rarely scrutinised in a robust way. Pitfalls of this choice extend beyond methodological issues. Indeed, the mismeasurement of needs for care with daily activities might lead to irrelevant social policies or to private initiatives that try to address those needs. This paper proposes a comprehensive and tractable strategy supported by various robustness checks to cope with the suspected endogeneity of proxy use to the unobserved health status of subjects in reports of needs for care with activities of daily living. Proxy respondents’ subjectivity is found to inflate the needs of the elderly who are replaced or assisted in answering the questionnaire and to deflate the probability of unmet or undermet needs.

Keywords: proxy respondent, measurement bias, endogeneity, selection, Copula, needs for care, ADLs, IADLs
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2019-04
An Operationalizing Theoretical Framework for the Analysis of Universal Health Coverage Reforms: First Test on an Archetype Developing Economy
Sameera Awawda
Mohammad Abu-Zaineh

This paper presents an operationalizing theoretical framework to analyze the potential effects of universal health coverage (UHC) using dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. The DSGE encapsulates a set of heterogeneous households that optimize their intertemporal utility of consumption, health capital, and leisure. The model is calibrated to capture the salient features of an archetype developing economy. The model is, then, used to simulate alternative UHC-financing policies. The theoretical framework we propose can be easily adapted to assess the implementation of UHC in a particular developing country setting. When applied to a hypothetical country, results show that the implementation of UHC can indeed improve access to healthcare for the population while offering households financial protection against future uncertainty. However, the degree of financial risk protection appears to vary across heterogeneous households and UHC-financing policies, depending on the associated benefits and the additional burden borne by each group.

Keywords: universal health coverage, financial risk protection, dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model, developing countries
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2019-03
Social Shock Sharing and Stochastic Dominance
Christophe Muller

Since the seminal paper of Atkinson and Bourguignon (1982), little decisive progress has been achieved in developing empirically efficient stochastic dominance criteria for multidimensional social welfare analysis. By proposing new axioms of 'Social Shock Sharing', this paper provides new intuitive justifications to imposing sign restrictions on partial derivatives of individual von Neumann-Morgenstern utility functions. These new breakthrough findings are exploited to derive necessary and sufficient stochastic dominance criteria for multidimensional social welfare comparisons, up to the sixth order, at least. Equivalent results are derived in terms of multidimensional poverty conditions. Empirically powerful discriminatory criteria are obtained by combining all social shock sharing axioms up to some high order and by deriving a dimension reduction property. An application to Egypt at the beginning of the XXIst century demonstrates the practical substantial gain in discriminating power of the approach by revealing a unambiguous continual improvement in bivariate income-education social welfare over the studied period.

Keywords: multidimensional welfare, stochastic dominance, temperance, risk sharing
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2019-02
Distributed Optimal Control Models in Environmental Economics: A Review
Emmanuelle Augeraud-Véron
Raouf Boucekkine
Vladimir Veliov

We review the most recent advances in distributed optimal control applied to environmental economics, covering in particular problems where the state dynamics are governed by partial differential equations (PDEs). This is a quite fresh application area of distributed optimal control, which has already suggested several new mathematical research lines due to the specificities of the environmental economics problems involved. We enhance the latter through a survey of the variety of themes and associated mathematical structures beared by this literature. We also provide a quick tour of the existing tools in the theory of distributed optimal control that have been applied so far in environmental economics

Keywords: environmental economics, distributed systems, optimal control, partial differential equations
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2019-01
Top Income Tax Evasion and Redistribution Preferences: Evidence from the Panama Papers
Laila Ait Bihi Ouali

This paper provides empirical evidence that, after fiscal scandals, individuals substantially revise their views on redistribution. I exploit as a quasi-natural experiment the 2016 Panama Papers scandal which revealed top-income tax evasion behaviour simultaneously worldwide. The empirical investigation relies on two original sources of data: a longitudinal dataset on United Kingdom households and a survey conducted in twenty-two European countries. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, I find an increase in pro-redistribution statements post-scandal ranging between 2% and 3.3%. Responses are heterogeneous on income levels and on political affiliations, with larger responses from right-wing individuals. The change in redistribution preferences is moderately translated into votes: I find an increase in voting intentions for the left and negative for the right-wing parties. Complementary estimations at the European-level indicate that pro-redistribution responses increase with media coverage and shock intensity (i.e., number of individuals involved).

Keywords: Panama Papers, Tax evasion, tax avoidance, Redistribution, tax morale, Inequality, mass media
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