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Comparing Financial Transparency between For-profit and Nonprofit Suppliers of Public Goods: Evidence from Microfinance
John W. Goodell, Abhinav Goyal, Iftekhar Hasan
Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money,
Previous research finds market financing is favored over relationship financing in environments of better governance, since the transaction costs to investors of vetting asymmetric information are thereby reduced. For industries supplying public goods, for-profits rely on market financing, while nonprofits rely on relationships with donors. This suggests that for-profits will be more inclined than nonprofits to improve financial transparency. We examine the impact of for-profit versus nonprofit status on the financial transparency of firms engaged with supplying public goods. There are relatively few industries that have large number of both for-profit and nonprofit firms across countries. However, the microfinance industry provides the opportunity of a large number of both for-profit and nonprofit firms in relatively equal numbers, across a wide array of countries. Consistent with our prediction, we find that financial transparency is positively associated with a for-profit status. Results will be of broad interest both to scholars interested in the roles of transparency and transaction costs on market versus relational financing; as well as to policy makers interested in the impact of for-profit on the supply of public goods, and on the microfinance industry in particular.
Predicting Free-riding in a Public Goods Game – Analysis of Content and Dynamic Facial Expressions in Face-to-Face Communication
Dmitri Bershadskyy, Ehsan Othman, Frerk Saxen
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.
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Makram El-Shagi, Gregor von Schweinitz
Journal of Banking and 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.
Endogenous Institution Formation in Public Good Games: The Effect of Economic Education
Martin Altemeyer-Bartscher, Dmitri Bershadskyy, Philipp Schreck, Florian Timme
IWH Discussion Papers,
In a public good experiment, the paper analyses to which extent individuals with economic education behave differently in a second-order dilemma. Second-order dilemmas may arise, when individuals endogenously build up costly institutions that help to overcome a public good problem (first-order dilemma). The specific institution used in the experiment is a communication platform allowing for group communication before the first-order public good game takes place. The experimental results confirm the finding of the literature that economists tend to free ride more intensively in public good games than non-economists. The difference is the strongest in the end-game phase, yielding in the conclusion that the magnitude of the end-game effect depends on the share of economists in the pool of participants. When it comes to the building-up of institutions, the individual efficiency gain of the institution and its inherent cost function constitute the driving forces for the contribution behaviour. Providing an investment friendly environment yields in economists contributing more to the institution than non-economists. Therefore, we make clear that first-order results of a simple public good game cannot be simply applied for second-order incentive problems.
The Effects of Local Elections on National Military Spending: A Cross-country Study
Liuchun Deng, Yufeng Sun
Defence and Peace Economics,
In this paper, we study the domestic political determinants of military spending. Our conceptual framework suggests that power distribution over local and central governments influences the government provision of national public goods, in our context, military expenditure. Drawing on a large cross-country panel, we demonstrate that having local elections will decrease a country’s military expenditure markedly, controlling for other political and economic variables. According to our preferred estimates, a country’s military expenditure is on average 20% lower if its state government officials are locally elected, which is consistent with our theoretical prediction.
EFN Report Autumn 2015: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2015 and 2016
European Forecasting Network Reports,
For the end of this year and for 2016, chances are good that production in advanced economies will continue to expand a bit faster than at trend rates, while growth dynamics in emerging markets economies will not strengthen or even continue to decrease.
Since autumn 2014, production in the euro area expands at an annualized rate of about 1.5%. The recovery appears to be broad based, with contributions from private consumption, exports, and investment into fixed capital, although it fell back in the second quarter after a strong increase at the beginning of the year. From a regional perspective, the recovery is as well quite broad based: production is expanding in almost every country, surprisingly and according to official data, including Greece.
Structural impediments still limit the ability of the euro area economy to grow strongly: firms and, in particular, private households are only slowly reducing their heavy debt burdens.
According to our forecasts, the euro area GDP will grow by 1.6% in 2015 and by 1.9% in 2016. The high increase in the number of refugees in 2015 will, in principle, positively affect private as well as public consumption, but the effect should be below 0.1 percentage points relative to GDP.
Our inflation forecast for 2015 is 0.1%. For 2016, we expect that inflation will increase to 1.3%, which is still below the ECB’s target of 2%.
(De-)Centralization and Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence from German Municipalities
Claus Michelsen, Peter Bönisch
A vast academic literature illustrates that voter turnout is affected by the institutional design of elections (e.g., compulsory voting, electoral system, postal or Sunday voting). In this article, we exploit a simple Downsian theoretical framework to argue that the institutional framework of public good provision – and, in particular, the distribution of political and administrative competences across government levels – likewise affects voters’ turnout decisions by influencing the expected net benefit of voting. Empirically, we exploit the institutional variation across German municipalities to test this proposition, and find supportive evidence.
International Side-payments to Improve Global Public Good Provision when Transfers are Refinanced through a Tax on Local and Global Externalities
Martin Altemeyer-Bartscher, A. Markandya, Dirk T. G. Rübbelke
International Economic Journal,
This paper discusses a tax-transfer scheme that aims to address the under-provision problem associated with the private supply of international public goods and to bring about Pareto optimal allocations internationally. In particular, we consider the example of the global public good ‘climate stabilization’, both in an analytical and a numerical simulation model. The proposed scheme levies Pigouvian taxes globally, while international side-payments are employed in order to provide incentives to individual countries for not taking a free-ride from the international Pigouvian tax scheme. The side-payments, in turn, are financed via environmental taxes. As a distinctive feature, we take into account ancillary benefits that may be associated with local public characteristics of climate policy. We determine the positive impact that ancillary effects may exert on the scope for financing side-payments via environmental taxation. A particular attractive feature of ancillary benefits is that they arise shortly after the implementation of climate policies and therefore yield an almost immediate payback of investments in abatement efforts. Especially in times of high public debt levels, long periods of amortization would tend to reduce political support for investments in climate policy.