Does Social Capital Matter in Corporate Decisions? Evidence from Corporate Tax Avoidance
Journal of Accounting Research,
We investigate whether the levels of social capital in U.S. counties, as captured by strength of civic norms and density of social networks in the counties, are systematically related to tax avoidance activities of corporations with headquarters located in the counties. We find strong negative associations between social capital and corporate tax avoidance, as captured by effective tax rates and book-tax differences. These results are incremental to the effects of local religiosity and firm culture toward socially irresponsible activities. They are robust to using organ donation as an alternative social capital proxy and fixed effect regressions. They extend to aggressive tax avoidance practices. Additionally, we provide corroborating evidence using firms with headquarters relocation that changes the exposure to social capital. We conclude that social capital surrounding corporate headquarters provides environmental influences constraining corporate tax avoidance.
The Effect of Board Directors from Countries with Different Genetic Diversity Levels on Corporate Performance
We link genetic diversity in the country of origin of the firms’ board members with corporate performance via board members’ nationality. We hypothesize that our approach captures deep-rooted differences in cultural, institutional, social, psychological, physiological, and other traits that cannot be captured by other recently measured indices of diversity. Using a panel of firms listed in the North American and UK stock markets, we find that adding board directors from countries with different levels of genetic diversity (either higher or lower) increases firm performance. This effect prevails when we control for a number of cultural, institutional, firm-level, and board member characteristics, as well as for the nationality of the board of directors. To identify the relationship, we use—as instrumental variables for our diversity indices—the migratory distance from East Africa and the level of ultraviolet exposure in the directors’ country of nationality.
11.10.2016 • 44/2016
New look and feel for IWH website
The relaunched website of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association goes live today. After the successful launch of a new corporate design at the beginning of the year, IWH now presents itself also digitally in a new and adjusted way. The redesigned website focuses on IWH’s core issues and provides information tailored to each target group. Due to the responsive design, the new website can be perfectly read and navigated on smartphones and tablets as well.
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29.09.2016 • 40/2016
Joint Economic Forecast: German Economy on Track – Economic Policy needs to be Realigned
Thanks to a stable job market and solid consumption, the German economy is experiencing a moderate upswing. The GDP is expected to increase by 1.9 percent this year, 1.4 percent in 2017, and 1.6 percent in 2018, according to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by five of Europe’s leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government. The most recent GD, which was released in April, predicted a GDP growth rate of 1.6 percent for 2016 and 1.5 percent for 2017.
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16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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Impact of Personal Economic Environment and Personality Factors on Individual Financial Decision Making
Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience,
This study on healthy young male students aimed to enlighten the associations between an individual’s financial decision making and surrogate makers for environmental factors covering long-term financial socialization, the current financial security/responsibility, and the personal affinity to financial affairs as represented by parental income, funding situation, and field of study. A group of 150 male young healthy students underwent two versions of the Holt and Laury (2002) lottery paradigm (matrix and random sequential version). Their financial decision was mainly driven by the factor “source of funding”: students with strict performance control (grants, scholarships) had much higher rates of relative risk aversion (RRA) than subjects with support from family (ΔRRA = 0.22; p = 0.018). Personality scores only modestly affected the outcome. In an ANOVA, however, also the intelligence quotient significantly and relevantly contributed to the explanation of variance; the effects of parental income and the personality factors “agreeableness” and “openness” showed moderate to modest – but significant – effects. These findings suggest that environmental factors more than personality factors affect risk aversion.
Industrial Associations as a Channel of Business-Government Interactions in an Imperfect Institutional Environment: The Russian Case
IWH Discussion Papers,
International lessons from emerging economies suggest that business associations may provide an effective channel of communication between the government and the private sector. This function of business associations may become still more important in transition economies, where old mechanisms for coordinating enterprise activities have been destroyed, while the new ones have not been established yet. In this context, Russian experience is a matter of interest, because for a long time, Russia was regarded as a striking example of state failures and market failures. Consequently, the key point of our study was a description of the role and place of business associations in the presentday
Russian economy and their interaction with member companies and bodies of state
administration. Relying on the survey data of 957 manufacturing firms conducted in
2009, we found that business associations are more frequently joined by larger companies, firms located in regional capital cities, and firms active in investment and innovation. By contrast, business associations tend to be less frequently joined by business groups’ subsidiaries and firms that were non-responsive about their respective ownership structures. Our regression analysis has also confirmed that business associations are a component of what Frye (2002) calls an “elite exchange”– although only on regional and local levels. These “exchanges” imply that members of business associations, on the one hand, more actively assist regional and local authorities in social development of their regions, and on the other hand more often receive support from authorities. However, this effect is insignificant in terms of support from the federal government. In general, our results allow us to believe that at present, business associations (especially the
industry-wide and “leading” ones) consolidate the most active, advanced companies and act as collective representatives of their interests. For this reason, business associations can be regarded as interface units between the authorities and businesses and as a possible instrument for promotion of economic development.
On the Economic Architecture of the Workplace: Repercussions of Social Comparisons among Heterogeneous Workers
Journal of Labor Economics,
We analyze the impact on a firm’s profits and optimal wage rates, and on the distribution of workers’ earnings, when workers compare their earnings with those of co-workers. We consider a low-productivity worker who receives lower wage earnings than a high-productivity worker. When the low-productivity worker derives (dis)utility not only from his own effort but also from comparing his earnings with those of the high-productivity worker, his response to the sensing of relative deprivation is to increase the optimal level of effort. Consequently, the firm’s profits are higher, its wage rates remain unchanged, and the distribution of earnings is compressed.
Is the European Monetary Union an Endogenous Currency Area? The Example of the Labor Markets
IWH Discussion Papers,
Our study tries to find out whether wage dynamics between Euro member countries became more synchronized through the adoption of the common currency. We calculate bivarate correlation coefficients of wage and wage cost dynamics and run a model of endogenously induced changes of coefficients, which are explained by other variables being also endogenous: trade intensity, sectoral specialization, financial integration. We used a panel data structure to allow for cross-section weights for country-pair observations. We use instrumental variable regressions in order to disentangle exogenous from endogenous influences. We applied these techniques to real and nominal wage dynamics and to dynamics of unit labor costs. We found evidence for persistent asymmetries in nominal wage formation despite a single currency and monetary policy, responsible for diverging unit labor costs and for emerging trade imbalances among the EMU member countries.