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Marian Moszoro
We evaluate the direct employment effect of the public investment in key infrastructure—electricity, roads, schools and hospitals, and water and sanitation. Using rich firm-level panel data from 41 countries over 19 years, we estimate that US$1 million of public spending in infrastructure create 3–7 jobs in advanced economies, 10–17 jobs in emerging market economies, and 16–30 jobs in low-income developing countries. As a comparison, US$1 million public spending on R&D yields 5–11 jobs in R&D in OECD countries. Green investment and investment with a larger R&D component deliver higher employment effect. Overall, we estimate that one percent of global GDP in public investment can create more than seven million jobs worldwide through its direct employment effects alone.
Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Veronika Penciakova, and Nick Sander
We estimate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business failures among small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in seventeen countries using a large representative firm-level database. We use a simple model of firm cost-minimization and measure each firm’s liquidity shortfall during and after COVID-19. Our framework allows for a rich combination of sectoral and aggregate supply, productivity, and demand shocks. We estimate a large increase in the failure rate of SMEs under COVID-19 of nearly 9 percentage points, ab-sent government support. Accommodation & Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Education, and Other Services are among the most affected sectors. The jobs at risk due to COVID-19 related SME business failures represent 3.1 percent of private sector employment. Despite the large impact on business failures and employment, we estimate only moderate effects on the financial sector: the share of Non Performing Loans on bank balance sheets would increase by up to 11 percentage points, representing 0.3 percent of banks’ assets and resulting in a 0.75 percentage point decline in the common equity Tier-1 capital ratio. We evaluate the cost and effectiveness of various policy interventions. The fiscal cost of an intervention that narrowly targets at risk firms can be modest (0.54% of GDP). However, at a similar level of effectiveness, non-targeted subsidies can be substantially more expensive (1.82% of GDP). Our results have important implications for the severity of the COVID-19 recession, the design of policies, and the speed of the recovery.
Weicheng Lian
Existing studies on the downward trend in the labor share of income mostly focus on changes within individual countries. I document, however, that half of the global decline in the labor share of income can be traced to the relocation of activities between countries. I develop a two-country model to show that when the relative price of investment goods falls, production activities with a small elasticity of substitution between capital and labor tend to get offshored from high- to low-wage countries. The model provides an explanation as to why such relocation may drive the labor share down in both developed and developing economies, as well as globally.
Agustin Velasquez and Svetlana Vtyurina
Hours worked vary widely across countries and over time. In this paper, we investigate the role played by taxation in explaining these differences for EU New Member States. By extending a standard growth model with novel data on consumption and labor taxes, we assess the evolution of trends in hours worked over the 1995-2017 period. We find that the inclusion of tax rates in the model significantly improves the tracking of hours. We also estimate the elasticity of hours (and its different margins) to quantify the deadweight loss introduced by consumption and labor taxes. We find that these taxes explain a large share of labor supply differences across EU New Member States and that the potential gains from policy actions are noteworthy.
Benjamin Hilgenstock and Zsoka Koczan
The paper examines the evolution and drivers of labor force participation in European regions, focusing on the effects of trade and technology. As in the United States, rural regions within European countries saw more pronounced declines (or smaller increases) in participation than urban regions. Unlike in the United States, however, trade and technology, captured here using novel measures of initial exposures to routinization and offshoring, did not result in detachment from the workforce in European regions. Instead, regions with high initial exposures to routinization and offshoring experienced so-far larger increases in participation, likely driven by an added second worker effect.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Europe continues to enjoy a strong growth spurt. Growth has firmed up in many European economies and the forecast is for more of the same. Real GDP increased by 2.8 percent in 2017, up from 1.8 percent in 2016. The expansion is largely driven by domestic demand, with investment increasingly contributing. Credit growth has finally picked up, which is helping Europe’s banks to rebuild profitability. While leading indicators have recently begun to ease, they remain at high levels. Accordingly, the forecast is for growth to stay strong, reaching 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019. Amid the good times, however, fiscal adjustment and structural reforms efforts are flagging.

Leandro Medina and Mr. Friedrich Schneider
We undertake an extended discussion of the latest developments about the existing and new estimation methods of the shadow economy. New results on the shadow economy for 158 countries all over the world are presented over 1991 to 2015. Strengths and weaknesses of these methods are assessed and a critical comparison and evaluation of the methods is carried out. The average size of the shadow economy of the 158 countries over 1991 to 2015 is 31.9 percent. The largest ones are Zimbabwe with 60.6 percent, and Bolivia with 62.3 percent of GDP. The lowest ones are Austria with 8.9 percent, and Switzerland with 7.2 percent. The new methods, especially the new macro method, Currency Demand Approach (CDA) and Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) in a structured hybrid-model based estimation procedure, are promising approaches from an econometric standpoint, alongside some new micro estimates. These estimations come quite close to others used by statistical offices or based on surveys.