Economic Issues



Volume 9 (2004)

Part 1, March

Please select from the titles below:

Part 2, September

Please select from the titles below:

Part 1, March

Impacts of Dollar Depreciation and Low Deposit Rates on the US Economy (pg. 1)

by Y Hsing

Abstract: Extending Irving Fisher's intertemporal budget constraint, applying the GARCH model, and based on the equilibrium in aggregate demand and aggregate supply, it is found that a weak US dollar helps real output and that low deposit rates reduce interest income, consumption spending and aggregate demand. Real GDP is also negatively affected by the personal loan rate and the business lending rate, and it is positively influenced by deficit spending, household wealth, and consumer confidence. In conducting monetary policy, the Federal Reserve may need to monitor the loss in interest income and other adverse impacts due to low deposit rates.

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Absenteeism, ‘Presenteeism’, and Shirking (p.15)

by S Brown and J G Sessions

Abstract: We develop the Barmby et al. (1993) model of absenteeism (which appeared in the Scandanavian Journal of Economics) to illustrate the potential for individuals to engage in ‘presenteeism’ viz. attending work even when they are entitled to paid absence.

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The Determinants Of Training : Evidence From The 1998 Workplace and Employee Relations Survey (p.24)

by J Sutherland

Abstract: This paper uses a matched employee-workplace data set with origins in the 1998 Workplace and Employee Relations Survey (WERS'98) to identify the determinants of two probabilities: that an individual receives training and that an individual receives a specified amount of training. A binomial probit is used to estimate the former and an ordered probit the latter. Both models have three types of explanatory variables reflecting personal characteristics independent of the workplace, personal characteristics that relate to the workplace and characteristics of the workplace itself. There are two principal results. First, the characteristics of the workplace at which the individual is employed are important determinants of both probabilities, demonstrating the relative merits of a data base such as the WERS'98 data base for analysing the determinants of training. Second, the principal determinants of both probabilities are age, educational qualification, occupation, the nature of the employment contract held, whether unions (or staff associations) are present at the workplace, the size of the workplace and the existence at the workplace of certain employee relations and human resource management policies and practices such as an equal opportunities policy.

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The Discount Rate in Environmental Cost-benefit Analysis (p.39)

by A Heesterman

Abstract: Environmental cost-benefit analysis compares an assessment the benefit of the abatement or containment of a particular form of environmental damage with the cost of the measures needed to attain that abatement or containment. It is in that context, as with other applications of cost-benefit analysis, usual to apply a discount rate. A number of relatively recent textbooks in environmental economics suggest that general economic theory provides a clear and well-established benchmark as to what this discount rate should be: some kind of ‘average’ of the market rate of interest. There are questions about that assertion in general. Our focus in this paper relates to a more specific problem: the relative scarcity of environmental resources in comparison to produced goods. A specific framework of analysis is offered in that context.

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Pre-Emptive Investment Behaviour and Industry Structure (p.47)

by V Ghosal

Abstract: Models of strategic investment behaviour show that an incumbent firm by making pre-emptive capital investments may restrict the entrant's size and increase its market share, or deter entry and limit the number of firms in the industry. The existing empirical literature on testing strategic investment models offers inconclusive evidence. This paper takes a different approach and focuses on the incentives of pre-emptive investments and shows that upward and downward adjustment costs of capital will be important determinants of the desirability and credibility of pre-emptive investments. This in turn posits a link between the upward and downward adjustment costs and industry structure as measured by concentration and the number of firms. While the empirical analysis is best viewed as suggestive and offering an alternative approach to examining strategic investment behaviour, the empirical results, based on a large sample of US manufacturing industries, reveals evidence in favour of such a relationship.

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Real Exchange Rate Volatility and US Exports: An ARDL Bounds Testing Approach (p.69)

by G De Vita and A Abbott

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of exchange rate volatility on US exports to the rest of the world, and to each of its five main markets of destination by means of the recently developed ARDL bounds testing approach to cointegration, which is applicable irrespective of whether the regressors are I(1) or I(0). Using a long-term measure of volatility that captures persistence and mean-reversion in the movements of the real exchange rate, we find that in most of the cases considered export volume is significantly affected by volatility, although the sign and magnitude of this effect varies across markets of destination.

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Part 2, September

UK Export Behaviour at the Firm Level (p.1)

by A R Gourlay and J S Seaton

Abstract: We estimate Probit and truncated regression models that incorporate the key theoretical explanations of firm-level export activity for a panel of UK firms over the period 1988 to 2001. Results support the resource-based, human capital and technological innovation explanations of firm-level export activity. In addition, we find that the level of the Sterling-Dollar exchange rate has a significant impact on both the decision to export and the level of export intensity, although the volatility of the exchange rate is found to vary between industries.

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Membership of NAFTA: a Viable Alternative for UK Agro-Food Producers (p.21)

by G Philippidis

Abstract: As the EU enlarges to 25 members, the UK continues to stagnate on further integration, particularly euro membership. Against this background, senior Eurosceptics have mooted NAFTA accession as a possible alternative, whilst a literature search reveals only one corresponding quantitative impact study. This paper revisits this issue, whilst focusing mainly on the impact on agro-food (AF) sectors, since under the auspices of the common agricultural policy (CAP), UK support (non-border) and trade (border) protection is almost exclusively the preserve of AF sectors. Detrimental impacts to farming incomes are expected, whilst potential real income gains to the UK economy are reported.

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Monetary Uncertainty, the Appropriate Choice of Central Banker and Social Welfare (p.43)

by P Lawler

Abstract: A number of papers have identified the possibility that less precise monetary control or, alternatively, increased uncertainty with regards to the effects of monetary policy on the economy may enhance social welfare. The present paper introduces monetary uncertainty into a model of monetary policy delegation. It is shown that an increase in uncertainty has an ambiguous effect on the appropriate degree of conservatism of an optimally chosen central banker, but produces an unambiguous fall in welfare.

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Does UK Higher Education Discriminate Against Women? (p.51)

by D Leslie

Abstract: Using a sample of 2.3 million observations on applicants to UK Higher Education institutions from 1996-2001, the paper explores whether the selection process into Higher Education is discriminatory. The answer is no discrimination, even though women are better qualified and are less likely to be offered a place. The lower tier Higher National Diploma sector is a key issue because women (excluding nursing) are less likely to undertake these courses, which are `male orientated'. The policy conclusion is that to encourage less well-qualified females to undertake Higher Education, more appropriate provision is necessary that recognizes the reality of subject gender segregation.

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Market Power and Unites States Sectoral Textile Imports (p.69)

by S Shahnawaz

Abstract: This paper estimates US textiles import elasticities with 20 of its largest textiles exporters by utilizing cointegration methodology. The soon-to-be-implemented abolition of quotas on textiles makes the study of these import elasticities especially relevant to many developing countries particularly to those that have a significant textiles component in their exports. The study uses disaggregated data (4 digit ISIC) to separately consider seven textiles sub-sectors and calculates income and price elasticities for each one. While China appears to be in a position of significant market power in a majority of the textiles sub-sectors examined in this paper, the estimates also identify the particular sub-sectors in which the smaller textile exporters are in a position of some strength. Specifically, the carpets and rugs, and the apparels sectors are identified as those where smaller exporters have relatively more market power.

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