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19.09.2019 • 19/2019
Long-term effects of privatisation in eastern Germany: award-winning US economist begins large-scale research project at the IWH
It is one of the most prestigious awards in the German scientific community: the Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award 2019 endowed with €1.5 million goes to Ufuk Akcigit, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. At the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), Akcigit aims to use innovative methods to investigate why the economy in eastern Germany is still lagging behind that in western Germany – and what role the privatisation process 30 years ago played in this.
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Innovation and Top Income Inequality
The Review of Economic Studies,
In this article, we use cross-state panel and cross-U.S. commuting-zone data to look at the relationship between innovation, top income inequality and social mobility. We find positive correlations between measures of innovation and top income inequality. We also show that the correlations between innovation and broad measures of inequality are not significant. Next, using instrumental variable analysis, we argue that these correlations at least partly reflect a causality from innovation to top income shares. Finally, we show that innovation, particularly by new entrants, is positively associated with social mobility, but less so in local areas with more intense lobbying activities.
Progressive Tax-like Effects of Inflation: Fact or Myth? The U.S. Post-war Experience
IWH Discussion Papers,
Inflation and earnings growth can push some tax payers into higher brackets in the absence of inflation-indexed schedules. Moreover, inflation may affect the composition of individuals’ income sources. As a result, depending on the relative tax burden of labour and capital, inflation may decrease or increase the difference between before-tax and after-tax income. However, whether some and if so which percentiles of the income distribution net benefit from inflation via taxation is a widely unexplored question. We make use of a novel dataset on U.S. pre-tax and post-tax income distribution series provided by Pike ty et al. (2018) for the years 1962 to 2014 to answer this question. To this end, we estimate local projections to quantify dynamic effects. We find that inflation shocks increase progressivity of taxation not only contemporaneously but also with some repercussion of several years after the shock. While particularly the bottom two quintiles gain in share, it is not the top but the fourth quintile that lastingly loses.
Gender Quotas and Human Capital Formation: A Relative Deprivation Approach
German Economic Review,
We study a quota's effect on individual human capital investment incentives beyond merely altering individual's overall probability of being promoted. We assume that individuals sense relative deprivation from unfavorable (income) comparisons within their reference group and that comparisons take place within the same gender. The introduction of a female quota increases (decreases) the number of women (men) holding top positions. On one hand, the relative deprivation to which female individuals are subjected to increases. These female individuals respond to an increase in their relative deprivation by acquiring additional human capital which, because it enables them to increase their earnings, reduces their relative deprivation. On the other hand, male individuals invest less in human capital in response to a decrease in relative deprivation. We show that the human capital formed by women who are encouraged to do so by the quotas is larger than the human capital that men who are discouraged by the quotas refrain from forming. However, the positive human capital accumulation effect hinges on a certain level of ability by gender and on how much individuals perceive relative deprivation.