Do Government Owned Banks Trade Market Power for Slack?
The ‘Quiet Life Hypothesis (QLH)’ posits that banks with market power have less incentives to maximize revenues and minimize cost. Especially government owned banks with a public mandate precluding profit maximization might succumb to a quiet life. We use a unified approach that simultaneously measures market power and efficiency to test the quiet life hypothesis of German savings banks. We find that average local market power declined between 1996 and 2006. Cost and profit efficiency remained constant. Nonparametric correlations are consistent with a quiet life regarding cost efficiency but not regarding profit efficiency. The quiet life on the cost side is negatively correlated with bank size, quality of loan portfolio and local per capita income. The last result indicates that the quiet cost life is therefore potentially due to benevolent excess consumption of local input factors by public savings banks.
Germany on the Way to Energy Efficiency in the Housing Sector: Subsidy Programs by the Federal Government and the Länder Level
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
In addition to the increasing rigidity of minimum requirements in regulative law, the federal government and the Länder provide a broad range of subsidy programs to force the refurbishment of those parts of a building, that determine the building’s energetic quality-level. In regard of energetic refurbishment quality, the federal government boosts investments, which exceed the minimum requirements of regulative law. Whereas the federal government – with exeption of different financing conditions of investors - applies equal funding requirements to all investors and building-types older than 15 years, the Länder focus their programs on specific regional housing market conditions. A further analysis concerning the influence of the subsidy environment on regional refurbishment output level should be topic of further research.
The Impact of Government Procurement Composition on Private R&D Activities
Jena Economic Research Papers, Nr. 2011-036,
This paper addresses the question of whether government procurement can work as a de facto innovation policy tool. We develop an endogenous growth model with quality-improving in-novation that incorporates industries with heterogeneous innovation sizes. Government demand in high-tech industries increases the market size in these industries and, with it, the incentives for private ﬁrms to invest in R&D. At the economy-wide level, the additional R&D induced in high-tech industries outweighs the R&D foregone in all remaining industries. The implications of the model are empirically tested using a unique data set that includes federal procurement in U.S. states. We ﬁnd evidence that a shift in the composition of government purchases toward high-tech industries indeed stimulates privately funded company R&D.
Market Follows Standards
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Standards are an important part of the codified knowledge of a society. In contrast to industry standards, formal standards are created in a consensus-based procedure open to all interested parties. Only if an economic interest for application exists will formal standards be produced. Interested parties have to shoulder participation costs themselves, which enforces economic interest. Up to a certain extent, governments also trigger and finance formal standardisation processes through the new approach, which creates a framework that is filled by private activity. Standards stand at the end of intellectual property rights if the totality of the value chain of knowledge production is looked at. One important aspect is their accessibility and the inclusion of all necessary intellectual property rights, especially patents, at reasonable prices. Conversely, consortia may exclude groups from the use of their standards. By preventing the licensing of those patents included in a standard, they can effectively block market entry. Thus, “successful” standards often face antitrust problems. Formal standards reduce costs of production through economies of scale, economies of scope and network-economies. Goods and processes that are standardized signal quality, the inclusion of high technological standards and permanent presence in the markets, which again accelerates market dissemination. Firms face a dilemma: On the one hand, the penetration of a markets with industry standards offers potentials for high profits; on the other hand, this has to be balanced against the risk of failure, especially if clients are hesitant because they do not know which standard will be successful in the end. Formal standards create and stabilize trust markets. This is especially true in the area of globalisation. Europe, which has to face an enormous competition in the international knowledge economy, needs an institutionally efficient approach to formal standardisation. This contribution addresses future problems of the European standardisation that have been developed within the framework of a working group of the European Standardisation Organisation called Future Landscape of European Standardisation (FLES).
Environmental policy under product differentiation and asymmetric costs - Does leapfrogging occur and is it worth it?
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper studies the influence of environmental policies on environmental quality, domestic firms, and welfare. Point of departure is Porter’s hypothesis that unilateral environmental regulation may enhance the competitiveness of domestic firms. This hypothesis has recently received considerable support in theoretical analyses, especially if imperfectly competitive markets with strategic behavior on behalf of the agents are taken into account. Our work contributes to this literature by explicitely investigating the implications of asymmetric cost structures between a domestic and a foreign firm sector. We use a partial-equilibrium model of vertical product differentiation, where the consumption of a product causes environmental harm. Allowing for differentiated products, the domestic industry can either assume the market leader position or lag behind in terms of the environmental quality of the produced product. Assuming as a benchmark case that the domestic industry lags behind, we investigate the possibility of the government to induce leapfrogging of the domestic firm, i.e. a higher quality produced by the domestic firm after regulation than that of the competitor prior to regulation. It is shown that in the case of a cost advantage for the domestic firm in the production process the imposition of a binding minimum quality standard can serve as a tool to induce leapfrogging. In case of a cost disadvantage the same result can be achieved through an adequate subsidization of quality dependend production costs. Thus, careful regulation enables the domestic firm in both scenarios to better its competitive position against foreign competitors and to earn larger profits. Additionally, environmental quality and welfare can be enhanced.