24.06.2021 • 17/2021
Loneliness during the pandemic – social isolation increases the likelihood of selfish behaviour
Social distancing as a counter-measure to the COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching social consequences which have so far hardly been discussed from an economic perspective. This is demonstrated in a study by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). “Experiencing social isolation resulted in the participants in our study making more selfish decisions,” says the author of the study, Sabrina Jeworrek, Assistant Professor at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and head of research group in the Department of Structural Change and Productivity at IWH.
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The East-West-German Productivity Gap: Lessons from Firm-level Data?
Konferenzband "30 Jahre Deutsche Einheit", März
According to national accounts, the East German economy is at only 80 % of West German labour productivity even 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. This difference in aggregate labour productivity goes hand in hand with many of the economic and societal problems East Germany faces today. To understand the sources of the aggregate productivity gap, this study discusses recent literature on the East-West gap that applies granular firm and product level data. The evidence clearly shows the relevance of firm-level productivity differences for the aggregate gap and challenges common hypotheses derived from aggregate data.
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Predicting Free-riding in a Public Goods Game – Analysis of Content and Dynamic Facial Expressions in Face-to-Face Communication
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper illustrates how audio-visual data from pre-play face-to-face communication can be used to identify groups which contain free-riders in a public goods experiment. It focuses on two channels over which face-to-face communication influences contributions to a public good. Firstly, the contents of the face-to-face communication are investigated by categorising specific strategic information and using simple meta-data. Secondly, a machine-learning approach to analyse facial expressions of the subjects during their communications is implemented. These approaches constitute the first of their kind, analysing content and facial expressions in face-to-face communication aiming to predict the behaviour of the subjects in a public goods game. The analysis shows that verbally mentioning to fully contribute to the public good until the very end and communicating through facial clues reduce the commonly observed end-game behaviour. The length of the face-to-face communication quantified in number of words is further a good measure to predict cooperation behaviour towards the end of the game. The obtained findings provide first insights how a priori available information can be utilised to predict free-riding behaviour in public goods games.
Accounting Quality in Banking: The Role of Regulatory Interventions
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Using the full sample of U.S. banks and hand-collected data on enforcement actions over 2000–2014, we analyze the role of these interventions in promoting several aspects of accounting quality. We find that enforcement actions issued for both risk-related and accounting-related reasons lead to significant improvements in accounting quality. This improvement is consistently found for earnings smoothing, big-bath accounting, timely recognition of future loan losses, the association of loan loss provisions with future loan charge offs, loss avoidance, and cash flow predictability and earnings persistence. Most of the effects are somewhat more potent in the crisis period and survive in several sensitivity tests. Our findings highlight the imperative role of regulatory interventions in promoting bank accounting quality.
Im Fokus: Im Osten nichts Neues – Ergebnisse des ista-IWH-Energieeffizienzindex –
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Deutschlands Mehrfamilienhäuser verbrauchen immer weniger Energie. Dies ist das Ergebnis des ista-IWH-Energieeffizienzindex für die Abrechnungsperiode 2010. Gegenüber der Vorperiode ist der Energiebedarf für Raumwärme bundesweit um rund 2,3% zurückgegangen. Im Fünfjahresvergleich ist dies leicht unterdurchschnittlich: Im Mittel betrug der Rückgang rund 2,4% seit 2005. Dennoch ist der Energieverbrauch mit rund 131,1 Kilowattstunden je Quadratmeter Wohnfläche im Jahr nach wie vor deutlich von dem von der
Bundesregierung formulierten Ziel – einer Reduktion des Energieverbrauches von Immobilien um 80% bis 2050 – entfernt. Das räumliche Muster der durchschnittlichen Energiekennwerte verändert sich insgesamt nur sehr langsam. Tendenziell ist eine Angleichung zwischen den Neuen und den Alten Ländern zu beobachteten. Im Osten stagnieren die Energiekennwerte auf einem Niveau unterhalb des Bundesdurchschnitts, im Westen sinken sie in den meisten Regionen. Eine höhere Dynamik geht dabei insbesondere von den Regionen im Süden Deutschlands aus.
Governmental Learning as a Determinant of Economic Growth
IWH Discussion Papers,
Systemic economic transition is a process of determined radical institutional change, a process of building new institutions required by a market economy. Nowadays, the experience of transition countries with the implementation of new institutions could be reviewed as a method of economic development that despite similar singular steps has different effects on the domestic economic performance. The process of institutional change towards a market economy is determined by political will, thus the government plays an important role in carrying out the economic reforms. Among the variety of outcomes and effects the attention is drawn especially to economic growth that diverges significantly in different post-transition countries. The paper attempts to shed light upon the problem on the basis of institutional economics, of economics of innovation and partially of political economy of growth using an evolutionary, process-oriented perspective. In this context the issue central to the promotion of economic growth is the successful implementation of new institutions through governmental activities. The paper shows that under the conditions of bounded rationality and radical uncertainty economic growth is determined, inter alia, by the capacity for governmental learning.