25 Years IWH

Dr Peter Bönisch

Dr Peter Bönisch
Current Position

since 6/12

Research Affiliate

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

Research Interests

  • human capital

Dr Bönisch is involved in IWH projects dealing with the relationship between social norms and the mobility of human capital. 

Dr Peter Bönisch is economist with the Chair of Econometrics at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. He combines expertise in political processes with skills in mathematical and statistical techniques.

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Dr Peter Bönisch
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Publications

David and Goliath in the Poll Booth: An Empirical Test of the Effect of Absolute and Relative Group Size on Voter Turnout

Peter Bönisch B. Geys Claus Michelsen

in: European Journal of Political Economy , 2013

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Informal Social Networks and Spatial Mobility

Peter Bönisch Lutz Schneider

in: Post-Communist Economies , 2010

Abstract

Individuals’ preferences in transition regions are still shaped by the former communist system. We test this ‘communist legacy’ hypothesis by examining the impact of acculturation in a communist regime on social network participation and, as a consequence, on preferences for spatial mobility. We focus on the paradigmatic case of Eastern Germany, where mobility intentions seem to be substantially weaker than in the Western part. Applying an IV ordered probit approach we first find that Eastern people acculturated in a communist system are more invested in locally bounded informal social capital than Western people. Second, we confirm that membership in such locally bounded social networks reduces the intention to move away. Third, after controlling for the social network effect the mobility gap between East and West is substantially reduced. Low spatial mobility of the Eastern population, we conclude, is to an important extent attributable to a social capital endowment characteristic of post-communist economies

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The Social Capital Legacy of Communism-results from the Berlin Wall Experiment

Peter Bönisch Lutz Schneider

in: European Journal of Political Economy , No. 32, 2013

Abstract

In this paper we establish a direct link between the communist history, the resulting structure of social capital, and attitudes toward spatial mobility. We argue that the communist regime induced a specific social capital mix that discouraged geographic mobility even after its demise. Theoretically, we integrate two branches of the social capital literature into one more comprehensive framework distinguishing an open type and a closed type of social capital. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) we take advantage of the natural experiment that separated Germany into two parts after the WWII to identify the causal effect of social capital on mobility. We estimate a three equation ordered probit model and provide strong empirical evidence for our theoretical propositions.

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Working Papers

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Vertical Grants and Local Public Efficiency

Ivo Bischoff Peter Bönisch Peter Haug Annette Illy

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 1, 2013

Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of vertical grants on local public sector efficiency. First, we develop a theoretical model in which the bureaucrat sets the tax price while voters choose the quantity of public services. In this model, grants reduce efficiency if voters do not misinterpret the amount of vertical grants the local bureaucrats receive. If voters suffer from fiscal illusion, i.e. overestimate the amount of grants, our model yields an ambiguous effect of grants on efficiency. Second, we use the model to launch a note of caution concerning the inference that can be drawn from the existing cross-sectional studies in this field: Taking into account vertical financial equalization systems that reduce differences in fiscal capacity, empirical studies based on cross-sectional data may yield a positive relationship between grants and efficiency even when the underlying causal effect is negative. Third, we perform an empirical analysis for the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, which has implemented such a fiscal equalization system. We find a positive relationship between grants and efficiency. Our analysis shows that a careful reassessment of existing empirical evidence with regard to this issue seems necessary.

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Municipality Size and Efficiency of Local Public Services: Does Size Matter?

Peter Bönisch Peter Haug Annette Illy L. Schreier

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 18, 2011

Abstract

Similarly to western Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, the eastern part of Germany has experienced a still ongoing process of numerous amalgamations among counties, towns and municipalities since the mid-1990s. The evidence in the economic literature is mixed with regard to the claimed expenditure reductions and efficiency gains from municipal mergers. We therefore analyze the global efficiency of the municipalities in Saxony-Anhalt, for the first time in this context, using a double-bootstrap procedure combining DEA and truncated regression. This allows including environmental variables to control for exogenous determinants of municipal efficiency. Our focus thereby is on institutional and fiscal variables. Moreover, the scale efficiency is estimated to find out whether large units are necessary to benefit from scale economies. In contrast to previous studies, we chose the aggregate budget of municipal associations (“Verwaltungsgemeinschaften”) as the object of our analysis since important competences of the member municipalities are settled on a joint administrative level. Furthermore, we use a data set that has been carefully adjusted for bookkeeping items and transfers within the communal level. On the “eve” of a mayor municipal reform the majority of the municipalities were found to have an approximately scale-efficient size and centralized organizational forms (“Einheitsgemeinden”) showed no efficiency advantage over municipal associations.

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Social Capital and Migration Preferences - An Empirical Analysis for the Case of the Reunified Germany

Peter Bönisch Lutz Schneider Walter Hyll

in: Grincoh Working Papers July 2013 , 2013

Abstract

We focus on the relevance of different types of social capital on migration intentions in the context of shrinking regions. On the one hand, formal social capital characterised by weak ties without local roots is supposed to drive selectivity and outmigration. On the other hand, informal social capital stressing strong ties to friends, relatives or neighbours might hinder migration. In our regression results we do not find an effect of shrinking regions on mobility intentions. Thus, living in a shrinking area is by itself not a reason to move away or to invest less in social capital. However, if an individual considers to move away she reduces her participation in informal and formal networks. Individuals characterised by strong informal ties, i.e. strong relationships to friends, rel atives or neighbours show a significantly lower probability of moving away. And, more qualified types of social capital as participation in local politics or initiatives seem to encourage spatial mobility.

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