Geary Institute Working Papers
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- PublicationAbsorptive capacity, R&D spillovers, and public policy(University College Dublin. Institute for the Study of Social Change (Geary Institute), 2003-10-20)
;Empirical evidence strongly suggests that R&D increases a firm’s "absorptive capacity" (its ability to absorb spillovers from other firms) as well as contributing directly to profitability. We explore the theoretical implications of this. We specify a general model of the absorptive capacity process and show that costly absorption both raises the effectiveness of own R&D and lowers the effective spillover coefficient. This weakens the case for encouraging research joint ventures, even if there is complete information sharing between its members. It also implies an additional strategic pay-off to policies that raise the level of extra-industry knowledge. 433
- PublicationActivation and active labour market policies in OECD countries: stylized facts and evidence on their effectiveness(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2014-06)Activation policies aimed at getting working-age people off benefits and into work have become a buzzword in labour market policies. Yet they are defined and implemented differently across OECD countries and their success rates vary too. The Great Recession has posed a severe stress test for these policies with some commentators arguing that they are at best 'fair weather' policies. This paper sheds light on these issues mainly via the lens of recent OECD research. It presents the stylized facts on how OECD countries have responded to the Great Recession in terms of ramping up their spending on active labour market policies (ALMPs), a key component in any activation strategy. It then reviews the macroeconomic evidence on the impact of ALMPs on employment and unemployment rates. This is followed by a review of the key lessons from recent OECD country reviews of activation policies. It concludes with a discussion of crucial unanswered questions about activation.
- PublicationAdministrative reform in a liberal market economy(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008)
- PublicationThe american high school graduation rate : trends and levels(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-12-15)
;This paper applies a unified methodology to multiple data sets to estimate both the levels and trends in U.S. high school graduation rates. We establish that (a) the true high school graduation rate is substantially lower than widely used measures; (b) the U.S. graduation rate peaked in the early 1970s; (c) majority/minority differentials are substantial and have not converged over the past 35 years; (d) lower post-1970 rates are not solely due to increasing immigrant and minority populations; (e) our findings explain part of the slowdown in college attendance and the rise in college wage premiums; and (f) growing high school graduation differentials by gender help explain increasing male-female college attendance gaps 683
- PublicationAnalysing the effects of tax-benefit reforms on income distribution : a decomposition approach(University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2007-08)
;To assess the impact of tax-benefit policy changes on income distribution over time, we suggest a methodology based on counterfactual simulations. We start by decomposing changes in inequality/poverty indices into three contributions: reforms of the tax-benefit structure (rules, rates, etc.), changes in nominal levels of market incomes and tax-benefit parameters (benefit amounts, tax bands, etc.), and all other changes in the underlying population (market income inequality, demographic composition, employment level, etc.). Then, the decomposition helps to extract an absolute measure of the impact of tax-benefit changes on inequality when evaluated against a distributionally-neutral benchmark, i.e. a situation where tax-benefit parameters are adjusted in line with income growth. We apply this measure to assess recent policy changes in twelve European countries. Finally, the full decomposition allows quantifying the relative role of policy changes compared to all other factors. We provide an illustration on France and Ireland and check the sensitivity of the results to the decomposition order. 346
- PublicationAnalysing the Irish state : sources and resources(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-11-09)
- PublicationAnatomy of a Bail-In(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2014-03-04)
;To mitigate potential contagion from future banking crises, the European Commission recently proposed a framework which would provide for the bail-in of bank creditors in the event of failure. In this study, we examine this framework retrospectively in the context of failed European banks during the global financial crisis. Empirical findings suggest that equity and subordinated bond holders would have been the main losers from the e535 billion impairment losses realized by failed European banks. Losses attributed to senior debt holders would, on aggregate, have been proportionally small, while no losses would have been imposed on depositors. Cross-country analysis, incorporating stress-tests, reveals a divergence of outcomes with subordinated debt holders wiped out in a number of countries, while senior debt holders of Greek, Austrian and Irish banks would have required bail-in. 495
- PublicationAnchoring bias and covariate nonresponse(University College Dublin. Institute for the Study of Social Change (Geary Institute), 2003-05)Non-random item nonresponse makes identification of parameters problematic. Such nonresponse can occur with respect to both dependent and conditioning variables. A method often used to reduce nonresponse is that of adding unfolding brackets as follow up to open-ended questions. With these, initial non-respondents can provide additional (incomplete) information on the missing value. However, recent studies suggest that responses to unfolding brackets can lead to a type of bias as a result of 'the anchoring effect'. In this paper, bounding intervals of the type as presented in Horowitz and Manski (1998) are extended to incorporate information provided by bracket respondents while allowing for different types of anchoring, and, therefore,accounting for significant nonresponse in the conditioning set. The theoretical framework is illustrated with empirical evidence based on the 1996 wave of the Health and Retirement Study.
- PublicationAre the effects of height on well-being a tall tale?(University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2015-12)Numerous papers have documented a positive association between height and good physical health and also with good economic outcomes such as earnings. A smaller number have argued for an association with well-being. In this paper, cross-country data from Europe is used to analyse whether individuals’ height is associated with higher or lower levels of life-satisfaction. In simple models there is a positive but concave relationship between height and life satisfaction. However it is shown that the results are quite sensitive to the inclusion of controls reflecting demographics, human capital and health status. Where effects do exist, it is predominantly at low to medium levels of height. There is also evidence of heterogeneity across countries.
- PublicationAssessing the impact of public transfers on private risk sharing arrangements : evidence from a randomized experiment in Mexico(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008-02-27)
;We adopt a structural approach to studying the effects of public transfers on consumption smoothing, risk sharing and welfare in small village economies. We calibrate the key parameters of a dynamic limited commitment model using data gathered as part of the Mexican Progresa program, and take advantage of the randomized experimental design of the data to validate the model using the treatment sample. The limited commitment model enriched to allow for unobserved heterogeneity in preferences can reasonably well explain consumption dynamics and cross-sectional distributions. The calibrated model correctly predicts the increase in consumption smoothing of transfers’ recipients, and the decrease in risk sharing between beneficiaries and non beneficiaries of the program. Progresa transfers are found to crowd-out between 3% and 10% of the pre-existing private transfers, but the overall direct effect of the subsidy on consumption is welfare improving for all households. Last, we use our structural model to evaluate a counterfactual, fully funded, insurance scheme. 159
- PublicationAsset Price Keynesianism, Regional Imbalances and the Irish and Spanish Housing Booms and Busts(UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, 2015-07-20)
;Ireland and Spain were amongst the European countries which experienced the most severe economic and fiscal problems following the global financial crisis. The proximate causes of these economic crashes have been explored in-depth by researchers and governments, who have highlighted strong parallels between the policy, regulatory and economic factors which underpinned them. In both countries residential property price inflation increased dramatically from the late 1990s driven by increased availability of cheap mortgages but unusually was accompanied by marked growth in new house building. Thus, following the international credit crunch in 2008, a simultaneous contraction in both mortgage credit and house building occurred in Ireland and Spain, which precipitated a marked knock-on decline in the employment, tax revenue and consumer spending which the housing boom had underpinned. This paper argues that the Irish and Spanish housing booms and busts are similar not just in terms of scale and proximate causes but also in terms of fundamental causes. In both countries the housing boom/bust cycle was underpinned by a suite of macroeconomic policies which aimed to use asset price growth to underpin rising demand and economic growth, or in other words achieve what Robert Brenner (2006) terms 'asset-price Keynesianism'. This approach was particularly attractive to the Irish and Spanish governments because it enabled them to resolve historical legacies of industrial underdevelopment and regional imbalances by generating construction jobs in underdeveloped areas. As a result of the latter, local/regional governments in both countries played a key role in facilitating the implementation of this policy. 792
- PublicationAttitudes and behaviour of the Irish electorate in the first referendum on the Treaty of Nice(University College Dublin. Institute for the Study of Social Change, 2002)
- PublicationAttitudes and behaviour of the Irish electorate in the second referendum on the Treaty of Nice(University College Dublin. Institute for the Study of Social Change (Geary Institute), 2003)
- PublicationAusterity in the European periphery: the Irish experience(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2016-01-28)
; ; ;Ireland has come to be seen as an exemplary case of the successful practice of austerity, both economically and politically. But these inferences would be misleading. The real story about fiscal adjustments in Ireland is more problematic, the reasons for recovery are more complex, and the political consequences are a good deal more nuanced. This paper sets the Irish experience alongside that of the other Eurozone periphery countries. It argues that these countries' recovery prospects depend on the EU economic policy framework, but that Ireland’s connections to non-Eurozone economies also shape its growth prospects. Political stability is problematic in all the periphery countries, with the rise of challenger parties articulating values and priorities that may be difficult to accommodate within the current European policy regime. This is connected to a wider problem of the decay of older political identities and loyalties and the emergence of a new legitimation gap for EU member states. 582
- PublicationBeauty and intelligence may - or may not - be relatedIn a recent paper, Kanazawa and Kovar (2004) assert that given certain empirical regularities about assortative mating and the heritability of intelligence and beauty, that it logically follows that more intelligent people are more beautiful. It is argued here that this “theorem” is false and that the evidence does not support it.
- PublicationBehavioural economics and drinking behaviour : preliminary results from an Irish college study(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-01-31)
; ;This paper examines the results of single-equation regression models of the determinants of alcohol consumption patterns among college students modelling a rich variety of covariates including gender, family and peer drinking, tenure, personality, risk perception, time preferences and age of drinking onset. The results demonstrate very weak income effects and very strong effects of personality, peer drinking (in particular closest friend), time preferences and other substance use. The task of future research is to verify these results and assess causality using more detailed methods. 342
- PublicationBig and tall parents do not have more sonsIn a 2005 paper Kanezawa proposed a generalisation of the classic Trivers- Willard hypothesis. It was argued that as a result taller and heavier parents should have more sons relative to daughters. Using two British cohort studies, evidence was presented which was partly consistent with the hypothesis. I analyse the relationship between an individual being male and their parents’ height and weight using one of the datasets. No evidence of any such relationship is found.
- PublicationBorders, states and nations. Contested boundaries and national identities in the Irish border area(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2005)
; ; ; ; ;Much scholarly writing on states and state boundaries assumes that these form or at least condition the bounds of identity. The 'institutionalisation' process is said to be one where the boundaries of the state become the boundaries of everyday life and imagined community. In an interdisciplinary, multi-stranded qualitative research on the Irish border, no such process of institutionalization was found. Rather the state border was perceived as a fluctuating area of danger and economic opportunity. To the extent that it was perceived to impact at all on identity, it was on the moral and cultural content of identity rather than its national form, on the mode in which national and ethno-religious categories were lived rather than on those categories themselves. 437
- PublicationBorn to be wild? The effect of birth order, families and schools on truancy (Version 4.0)(University College Dublin. Institute for the Study of Social Change (Geary Institute), 2004-09-13)This paper models the probability of 15-year-old children missing school or being late. The paper sets out to uncover the effects of family background and birth order on attendance. Looking at birth order effects allows one to test Sulloway’s “Born to Rebel” hypothesis that older siblings are more compliant than their younger siblings. Using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for Germany, Korea, Ireland, Mexico, Russia and the United States, the evidence here provides little support for the hypothesis in general. The paper finds, somewhat surprisingly, that the socio-economic background of the teenagers has very little effect either. Those from single parent households are however more likely to have poor attendance. However students who feel positively about their teachers are less likely to have bad attendance. Similarly where students feel there is a good disciplinary climate in the class they are also less likely to have poor attendance. In some cases private schools are associated with better attendance.
- PublicationBreast is best, but for how long? Testing breastfeeding guidelines for optimal cognitive ability(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008)
;Objectives: To investigate the relationship between breastfeeding duration and cognitive development using longitudinal survey data. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusive breastfeeding until six months post-partum and a combination of complementary foods and breast milk thereafter. This study estimates non-parametric regression models to test whether these recommendations also hold for cognitive ability. Design: Longitudinal cohort study with two waves of 18,819 children who were born in the UK between 2000-2002. We estimate several generalised additive regression models to examine the impact of exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding duration on cognitive ability, while controlling for a range of confounding family characteristics. Setting and Participants: Participants of the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Main outcome measures: Cognitive development at age three as measured by the Bracken School Readiness Assessment. Results: The models identify a non-linear relationship between exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding and cognitive ability. There are high initial positive returns to exclusive breastfeeding which peak at six months, with the returns to non-exclusive breastfeeding continuing to increase until 10/12 months. These results suggest that the WHO/AAP guidelines recommending exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life also hold for optimal cognitive ability. The models also show that the optimal switching point from exclusive to nonexclusive breastfeeding occurs at six months, and that a combination of breast milk and solids should continue until thereafter, peaking at 10 months. Conclusion: While breastfeeding recommendations primarily target physical growth and development, our study confirms that such recommendations are also optimal for cognitive development. These results provide further evidence that recent UK policy initiatives to extend paid maternity leave is appropriate for the maximal development of the child’s cognitive ability. While this study controls for a range of confounding factors, there may still exist unobserved family characteristics which mediate this relationship. 702