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2011/08 : Is there an election cycle in public employment? Separating time effects from election year effects

Do governments increase public employment in election years? This paper answers this question by using data from Sweden and Finland, two countries that are similar in many respects but in which local elections are held at different points in time. These facts make it possible for us to separate an election effect from other time effects. Our results indicate that there is a statistically significant election year effect in local public employment, a production factor that is highly visible in the welfare services provided by the local governments in the Scandinavian countries. The effect also seems to be economically significant; the municipalities employ 0.6 more full-time employees per 1,000 capita in election years than in other years (which correspond to an increase by approximately 1 percent).

2011/07 : Do universities affect firms’ location decisions? Evidence from Spain

Human capital, scientific research, and technology are the three chief mechanisms promoting knowledge spillovers from universities to firms. Based on a study of the impact of Spain’s 1983 University Reform Act (LRU), which opened the door to the foundation of new universities and faculties, this paper examines whether university (or faculty) location affects the creation of new firms within a given province. We conclude that the foundation of science and social science faculties has had a marked impact on the creation of firms.

2011/05: A model of music piracy with popularity-dependent copying costs

Anecdotal evidence and recent empirical work suggest that music piracy has differential effects on artists depending on their popularity. Existing theoretical literature cannot explain such differential effects since it is exclusively concerned with single-firm models. We present a model with two types of artists who differ in their popularity. We assume that the costs of illegal downloads increase with the scarcity of a recording, and that scarcity is negatively related to the artist’s popularity. Moreover, we allow for a second source of revenues for artists apart from CD sales. These alternative revenues depend on an artist’s recognition as measured by the number of consumers who obtain his recording either by purchasing the original or downloading a copy. Our findings for the more popular artist generalize a result found by Gayer and Shy (2006) who show that piracy is beneficial to the artist when alternative revenues are important. In our model, however, this does not carry over to the less popular artist, who is often harmed by piracy even when alternative revenues are important. We conclude that piracy tends to reduce musical variety.

2011/03 : Why do educated mothers matter? A model of parental help

This paper investigates the role performed by mothers in affecting their childrens’ performance at school. The article develops firstly a theoretical model in which household (parent – child pair) is treated as an individual, whose utility depends both on the performance at school of the student and on consumption. The model focuses on the different possibilities through which help of mothers may affect pupil’s performance both in terms of time devoted to supervision and spillover effects. Empirical evidence then, using PISA 2006 and focusing on Italian case, shows that education of mothers is an issue when interacted with her occupational status. Highly educated mothers have a positive impact on students’ score only when they are highly qualifed in the job market.

2011/01: What are the causes of educational inequalities and of their evolution over time in Europe? Evidence from Pisa

This paper provides evidence on the sources of differences in inequalities in educational scores in European Union member states, by decomposing them into their determining factors. Using PISA data from the 2000 and 2006 waves, the paper shows that inequalities emerge in all countries and in both period, but decreased in Germany, whilst they increased in France and Italy. Decomposition shows that educational inequalities do not only reflect background related inequality, but especially schools’ characteristics. The findings allow policy makers to target areas that may make a contribution in reducing educational inequalities.

Memoria de actividades IEB 2010