In current economic conditions, financial stability is paramount to the proper functioning of open markets. Financial stability must be balanced with financial flexibility. This relationship is deeply affected by financial fragmentation. This is why Central Banks have focused on these issues in the last decade in particular. Both financial stability and financial fragmentation have unintended consequences on optimal currency areas. In this paper, we survey the original optimal currency areas literature and relate it with the new literature on financial stability and financial fragmentation. We highlight the importance of new macroprudential policies both at the national and regional levels.
This article studies the behavioral and socio-demographic determinants of reported compliance with prophylactic measures against COVID-19: barrier gestures, lockdown restrictions and mask wearing. The study contrasts two types of measures for behavioral determinants: experimentally elicited preferences (risk tolerance, time preferences, social value orientation and cooperativeness) and stated preferences (risk tolerance, time preferences, and the GSS trust question). Data were collected from a representative sample of the inland French adult population (N=1154) surveyed during the first lockdown in May 2020, and the experimental tasks were carried out on-line. The in-sample and out-of-sample predictive power of several regression models - which vary in the set of variables that they include - are studied and compared. Overall, we find that stated preferences are better predictors of compliance with these prophylactic measures than preferences elicited through incentivized experiments: self-reported level of risk, patience and trust are predicting compliance, while elicited measures of risk-aversion, patience, cooperation and prosociality did not.
We study a class of location games where players want to attract as many resources as possible and pay a cost when deviating from an exogenous reference location. This class of games includes political competitions between policy-interested parties and firms' costly horizontal differentiation. We find that the introduction of reference locations simplifies the set of pure-strategy equilibrium to a unique candidate which has a strong property: at most four players, the two most-left and two most-right, deviate from their reference locations. We provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the candidate to be an equilibrium. We illustrate our results in particular cases including the duopoly competition where we moderate the principle of minimal differentiation.
A common practice in many auctions is to offer bidders an opportunity to improve their bids, known as a best and final offer stage. This improved bid can depend on new information either about the asset or about the competitors. This paper examines the effects of new information regarding competitors, seeking to determine what information the auctioneer should provide assuming the set of allowable bids is discrete. The rational strategy profile that maximizes the revenue of the auctioneer is the one where each bidder makes the highest possible bid that is lower than his valuation of the item. This strategy profile is an equilibrium for a large enough number of bidders, regardless of the information released. We compare the number of bidders needed for this profile to be an equilibrium under different information structures. We find that it becomes an equilibrium with fewer bidders when less additional information is made available to the bidders regarding the competition. It follows that when the number of bidders is a priori unknown, there are some advantages to the auctioneer not revealing information and conducting a one-stage auction instead.
The increase in employment polarization observed in several high-income economies has coincided with a reduction in inter-generational mobility. This paper argues that the disappearance of middling jobs can drive changes in mobility, notably by removing a stepping stone towards high-paying occupations for those from less well-off family backgrounds. Using data from two British cohorts who entered the labour market at two points in time with very different degrees of employment polarization, we examine how parental income affects both entry occupations and occupational upgrading over careers. We find that transitions across occupations are key to mobility and that the impact of parental income has grown over time. At regional level, using a shift-share IV-strategy, we show that the impact of parental income has increased the most in regions experiencing the greatest increase in polarisation. This indicates that the disappearance of middling jobs played a role in the observed decline in mobility.
This paper studies differences across genders in the re-contesting decisions of politicians following electoral wins or defeats. Using close races in mixed-gender French local elections, we show that women are less likely to persist in competition when they lose compared to male runners-up, but are equally or more prone than male winners to re-contest when they win. Differences in observable characteristics or in the expected electoral returns of running again cannot fully account for these gender gaps in persistence. In contrast, evidence suggests that results are driven by behavioural explanations such as cross-gender differences in candidates’ attitudes toward competition, or by political parties behaving differently toward female and male candidates for a given electoral outcome. Additionally, we provide evidence that a woman’s victory encourages former female challengers to re-contest but does not trigger the entry of new female candidates.
We examine the links between age, risk tolerance, and impatience in a large French representative sample. We combine elicited preferences data based on an incentivized web experiment and stated preferences data based on self-reported surveys. Our findings highlight distinct patterns: when considering stated preferences, both risk tolerance and impatience exhibit a decline with age. Higher risk tolerance is associated with higher impatience, and this relationship strengthens with age in the financial domain. In contrast, our analysis of elicited measures uncovers a different dynamic. Specifically, risk tolerance tends to increase with age, while age exhibits no significant influence on impatience. Furthermore, individuals endowed with higher risk tolerance tend to demonstrate lower levels of impatience, irrespective of their age.
The expansion of digital financial services leads to severe consumer protection issues such as fraud and scams. As these potentially decrease trust in digital services, especially in developing countries, avoiding victimization has become an important policy objective. In an online experiment, we first investigate how well individuals in Kenya identify phone scams using a novel measure of scam identification ability. We then test the effectiveness of scam education, a commonly used approach by organizations for fraud prevention. We find that common tips on how to spot scams do not significantly improve individuals’ scam identification ability, i.e., the distinction between scams and genuine messages. This null effect is driven by an increase in correctly identified scams and a decrease in correctly identified genuine messages, indicating overcaution. Additionally, we find suggestive evidence that genuine messages with scam-like features are misclassified more often, highlighting the importance of a careful design of official communication.
We surveyed economists’ attitudes toward adjusting discount rates to the risk profile of public programs. Three-quarters of respondents recommend to use project-specific discount rates. For example, on average, respondents discount railway infrastructures more than hospitals and climate mitigation. But the degree of discount discrimination between distinct risk profiles of different projects is fairly limited in our sample given the differences in risk profiles for these projects. Economic experts thus penalize risky public projects far less than financial markets penalize private investments. We call this the ”discount premium puzzle”. Finally, among experts in favor of a single discount rate, there is no consensus on whether it should be based on the average cost of capital in the economy, the sovereign borrowing cost, or the Ramsey rule, which gives rise to disagreement over the level of the recommended discount rate.
We revisit the question of colonial legacies in education by focusing on quality rather than quantity. We study Cameroon, a country where a Francophone education system with French colonial origins coexists with an Anglophone system with British colonial origins. This allows us to investigate the impact of different teaching practices on students’ test scores. We find that pupils schooled in the Francophone system perform better in mathematics in Grade 5, with test scores higher by two thirds of a standard deviation. Thanks to detailed school survey data, we are able to account for a wide array of inputs of the education production function, such as the economic and social conditions of students, the material conditions of the schools and classrooms, as well as some information on the teachers’ practices and pedagogical culture. We find that Francophone schools have better classroom equipment and that Francophone teachers use more vertical teaching methods, but that these differences cannot explain why Francophone students perform better in mathematics. In the end, we cannot pin down the exact mechanism behind our result.