Why They Keep Missing: An Empirical Investigation of Sovereign Bond Ratings and Their Timing
Scottish Journal of Political Economy,
Two contradictory strands of the rating literature criticize that rating agencies merely follow the market on the one hand, and emphasizing that rating changes affect capital movements on the other hand. Both focus on explaining rating levels rather than the timing of rating announcements. Contrarily, we explicitly differentiate between a decision to assess a country and the actual rating decision. We show that this differentiation significantly improves the estimation of the rating function. The three major rating agencies treat economic fundamentals similarly, while differing in their response to other factors such as strategic considerations. This reconciles the conflicting literature.
IWH Alumni The IWH would like to stay in contact with its former employees. We...
Employment Effects of Introducing a Minimum Wage: The Case of Germany
Income inequality has been a major concern of economic policy makers for several years. Can minimum wages help to mitigate inequality? In 2015, the German government introduced a nationwide statutory minimum wage to reduce income inequality by improving the labour income of low-wage employees. However, the employment effects of wage increases depend on time and region specific conditions and, hence, they cannot be known in advance. Because negative employment effects may offset the income gains for low-wage employees, it is important to evaluate minimum-wage policies empirically. We estimate the employment effects of the German minimum-wage introduction using panel regressions on the state-industry-level. We find a robust negative effect of the minimum wage on marginal and a robust positive effect on regular employment. In terms of the number of jobs, our results imply a negative overall effect. Hence, low-wage employees who are still employed are better off at the expense of those who have lost their jobs due to the minimum wage.
Wirtschaft im Wandel
Wirtschaft im Wandel Die Zeitschrift „Wirtschaft im Wandel“ will eine breite...
HIP, RIP, and the Robustness of Empirical Earnings Processes
The dispersion of individual returns to experience, often referred to as heterogeneity of income profiles (HIP), is a key parameter in empirical human capital models, in studies of life‐cycle income inequality, and in heterogeneous agent models of life‐cycle labor market dynamics. It is commonly estimated from age variation in the covariance structure of earnings. In this study, I show that this approach is invalid and tends to deliver estimates of HIP that are biased upward. The reason is that any age variation in covariance structures can be rationalized by age‐dependent heteroscedasticity in the distribution of earnings shocks. Once one models such age effects flexibly the remaining identifying variation for HIP is the shape of the tails of lag profiles. Credible estimation of HIP thus imposes strong demands on the data since one requires many earnings observations per individual and a low rate of sample attrition. To investigate empirically whether the bias in estimates of HIP from omitting age effects is quantitatively important, I thus rely on administrative data from Germany on quarterly earnings that follow workers from labor market entry until 27 years into their career. To strengthen external validity, I focus my analysis on an education group that displays a covariance structure with qualitatively similar properties like its North American counterpart. I find that a HIP model with age effects in transitory, persistent and permanent shocks fits the covariance structure almost perfectly and delivers small and insignificant estimates for the HIP component. In sharp contrast, once I estimate a standard HIP model without age‐effects the estimated slope heterogeneity increases by a factor of thirteen and becomes highly significant, with a dramatic deterioration of model fit. I reach the same conclusions from estimating the two models on a different covariance structure and from conducting a Monte Carlo analysis, suggesting that my quantitative results are not an artifact of one particular sample.
Effekte der Einführung des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns: Eine Fallstudie für das Handwerk in Sachsen-Anhalt
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Knapp 8% der Beschäftigten in den Handwerksbetrieben Sachsen-Anhalts verdienten vor der Einführung des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns zu Beginn des Jahres 2015 brutto weniger als 8,50 Euro je Stunde. Allerdings differiert die Betroffenheit stark. In den besonders betroffenen Gewerken war zu befürchten, dass die durch den Mindestlohn induzierte Kostensteigerung zu einem spürbaren Beschäftigungsabbau führt. In diesem Kontext werden drei Fragen untersucht: (1) Wie hoch war die Mindestlohnbetroffenheit im Handwerk in Sachsen-Anhalt? (2) Welche – über die Lohnkostenerhöhung hinausgehenden – Effekte hatte die Mindestlohneinführung in den Handwerksbetrieben? (3) Welche Ausweichreaktionen haben die Handwerksbetriebe unternommen, um die höhere Kostenbelastung zu bewältigen? Die Untersuchungen basieren auf den von den Handwerkskammern Halle und Magdeburg durchgeführten Konjunkturumfragen, die in Kooperation mit dem IWH um zusätzliche Fragen zur Mindestlohneinführung erweitert wurden. Die Ergebnisse der Schätzungen zeigen keine signifikanten Beschäftigungseffekte infolge der Einführung des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns. Vielmehr haben die Handwerksbetriebe vor allem mit Preiserhöhungen reagiert.
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Can a negative shock to sovereign ratings invoke a vicious cycle of increasing government bond yields and further downgrades, ultimately pushing a country toward default? The narratives of public and political discussions, as well as of some widely cited papers, suggest this possibility. In this paper, we will investigate the possible existence of such a vicious cycle. We find no evidence of a bad long-run equilibrium and cannot confirm a feedback loop leading into default as a transitory state for all but the very worst ratings. We use a bivariate semiparametric dynamic panel model to reproduce the joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields. The individual equations resemble Pesaran-type cointegration models, which allow for valid interference regardless of whether the employed variables display unit-root behavior. To incorporate most of the empirical features previously documented (separately) in the literature, we allow for different long-run relationships in both equations, nonlinearities in the level effects of ratings, and asymmetric effects in changes of ratings and yields. Our finding of a single good equilibrium implies the slow convergence of ratings and yields toward this equilibrium. However, the persistence of ratings is sufficiently high that a rating shock can have substantial costs if it occurs at a highly speculative rating or lower. Rating shocks that drive the rating below this threshold can increase the interest rate sharply, and for a long time. Yet, simulation studies based on our estimations show that it is highly improbable that rating agencies can be made responsible for the most dramatic spikes in interest rates.
Does it Payoff to Research Economics? A Tale of Citation, Knowledge and Economic Growth in Transition Countries
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications,
There are many economic theories that promote human capital as a key driver of a country’s economic growth, but it is challenging to test this theory empirically on a country level and causally interpret the coefficients due to several identification problems. We tried to answer this particular question by using a quasi-natural experiment that happened quarter century ago – the fall of communist block in Eastern Europe. We use a shock to a particular scientific field – economics, to test whether the future investment into that particular field resulted in increased welfare and economic growth. The economics paradigm that was governing all of the communist block ceased to exist. Human capital depreciated over night and all communist countries had to transit from planned economy to a market economy. In the following years countries had to adapt to market economy through additional investment in human capital and research. We find that countries which lack both of the two fourth mentioned components had 25 years later a relatively lower economic growth and wealth. Unlike economics, other fields such as physics and medicine did not go through the same process so we use them as a placebo effect for our study. We find that the relative ratio of citations between economics and physics in post-communist countries is increasing only 15 years after the “paradigm” shock which gives a suggestive evidence that timing of investment into particular scientific field matters the most.
Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns im Handwerk in Sachsen-Anhalt
Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik,
This paper examines the effects of the minimum wage introduction in Germany in 2015 on the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt.
Using novel survey data on the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt, we examine three questions: (1) How many employees are affected by the minimum wage introduction in the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt? (2) What are the effects of the minimum wage introduction? (3) How did firms react to wage increase?
We find that about 8 % of all employees in the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt are directly affected by the minimum wage introduction. A difference-in-difference estimation reveals no significant employment effects of the minimum wage introduction. We test for alternative adjustment strategies and observe a significant increase of output prices.
The Minimum Wage Effects on Skilled Crafts Sector in Saxony-Anhalt
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper examines the effects of the minimum wage introduction in Germany in 2015 on the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt. Using novel survey data on the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt, we examine three questions: (1) How many employees are affected by the minimum wage introduction in the skilled crafts sector in Saxony- Anhalt? (2) What are the effects of the minimum wage introduction? (3) How have firms reacted to wage increase? We find that about 8% of all employees in the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt are directly affected by the minimum wage introduction. A difference-in-difference estimation reveals no significant employment effects of the minimum wage introduction. We test for alternative adjustment strategies and observe a significant increase of output prices.