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CESifo Seminar Series

The CESifo Seminar Series aims to cover topical policy issues in economics from a largely European perspective. The books in this series are the products of the papers and intensive debates that took place during the seminars hosted by CESifo, an international research network of renowned economists organized jointly by the Center for Economic Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, and the Ifo Institute for Economic Research. All publications in this series have been carefully selected and refereed by members of the CESifo research network.

A Promising New Cross-Disciplinary Field

The integration of economics and psychology has created a vibrant and fruitful emerging field of study.

Much educational research today is focused on assessing reforms that are intended to create equal opportunity for all students. Many current policies aim at concentrating extra resources on the disadvantaged. The state-of-the-art research in Schools and the Equal Opportunity Problem suggests, however, that even sizeable differential spending on the disadvantaged will not yield an equality of results.

Theory and Evidence
Edited by Jay Pil Choi

Antitrust policy in the United States and Europe relies increasingly on economic analysis. Economic theory and empirical analysis play a central role in antitrust decisions in the courts and in the formulation and enforcement of policy. Antitrust cases are argued using sophisticated economic thinking; both plaintiffs and defendants in U.S. v. Microsoft, for example, made extensive use of game theory, the economics of information, and transaction cost economics in their arguments.

High unemployment in many European OECD countries has been attributed to factors ranging from rigid wages and low job mobility to an interaction of high taxes and generous social benefits that may discourage labor force participation and encourage the growth of an underground economy. This CESifo volume analyzes the effect of tax policy and, more generally, welfare state incentives, on the performance of the labor market.

Theory and Policy Implications

Even minute increases in a country's growth rate can result in dramatic changes in living standards over just one generation. The benefits of growth, however, may not be shared equally. Some may gain less than others, and a fraction of the population may actually be disadvantaged. Recent economic research has found both positive and negative relationships between growth and inequality across nations. The questions raised by these results include: What is the impact on inequality of policies designed to foster growth?

The trend toward privatization, which began with privatization experiments in the UK under Margaret Thatcher and the deregulation of the telecommunications sector in the United States, has attracted the attention of policymakers over the past two decades. Privatization is broadly supported by most academic economists, but the results of actual privatization efforts seem mixed. In the UK, for example, telecom rates fell sharply after privatization, but privatized rail service was widely perceived to have declined dramatically in quality.

Financial and Monetary Policy Lessons for Advanced Economies

After experiencing spectacular economic growth and industrial development for much of the postwar era, Japan plunged abruptly into recession in the early 1990s and since then has suffered a prolonged period of economic stagnation, from which it is only now emerging. Japan's malaise, marked by recession or weak economic activity, commodity and asset price deflation, banking failures, increased bankruptcies, and rising unemployment, has been the most sustained economic downturn seen in the industrial world since the 1930s.

Theory and Policy Implications

Risk sharing is a cornerstone of modern economies. It is valuable to risk-averse consumers and essential for investment and entrepreneurs. The standard economic model of risk exchange predicts that competition in insurance markets will result in all individual risks being insured—that all diversifiable risks in the economy will be covered through mutual risk-sharing arrangements—but in practice this is not the case. Many diversifiable risks are still borne by individuals; many environmental, catastrophic, and technological risks are not covered by insurance contracts.

The determinants of economic growth and development are hotly debated among economists. Financial crises and failed transition experiments have highlighted the fact that functioning institutions are fundamental to the goal of achieving economic growth. The growth literature has seen an abundance of empirical studies on the influence of institutions and the mechanisms by which institutions affect development.

Reasons and Remedies
Edited by Martin Werding

Structural unemployment, or persistently high levels of unemployment that do not follow the ups and downs of a typical business cycle, varies significantly across industrialized countries. In this CESifo volume, leading labor economists analyze the widely diverging patterns of long-term unemployment across Western Europe.

The process of monetary integration in Europe began amid widespread skepticism among economists about the project. But today the success of the euro has prompted a reconsideration of whether monetary unions should be implemented elsewhere. This CESifo volume assesses contemporary theoretical and empirical work on optimal currency areas, considering such questions as the expansion of the eurozone, the institution of monetary unions in Latin America and East Asia, and the effect of monetary unions on the working of the "real economy."

Where Do We Stand?
Edited by Paul De Grauwe

Recent theoretical developments in exchange rate economics have led to important new insights into the functioning of the foreign exchange market. The simple models of the 1970s, which could not withstand empirical evaluation, have been succeeded by more complex models that draw on theoretical work in such areas as the microstructure of financial markets and open economy macroeconomics. Additionally, new and powerful econometric techniques allow researchers to subject exchange rates to stronger empirical analysis.

The existing literature in both public economics and financial economics often fails to consider how appropriate and effective public policy may be in promoting the venture capital industry. Public economics has dealt extensively with the effect of taxes and subsidies but has neglected the unique role of venture capitalists as active investors who provide not only funding but added value. Financial economics has emphasized the special role of the venture capitalist but has not focused on the real effects of venture capital in industry equilibrium or the role of public policy.

The six studies collected in this CESifo volume analyze the sometimes unpredictable effects of public regulation on the labor market. Examining a wide range of policy interventions—from subsidized employment to an increased tax on capital—and using a variety of methodologies to analyze them, these contributions by leading scholars of the European labor market will advance the policy debate over regulation at a time of serious labor market problems in Europe and elsewhere.

The leaders of European Union member states have declared that a European constitution should take "a clear, open, effective, democratically controlled Community approach." Their goal—that within the Union, "European institutions should be brought closer to its citizens"—raises many questions about implementation. What is the most effective procedure for connecting citizens' preferences to political action and policy choices at the EU level?

Today's highly complicated tax codes have led economists and policy makers depend on simplified summary measures in order to understand how taxes affect the economy. Studies of the effective tax rate—that is, a measurement of the net amount of tax levied on certain economic activities—provide this sort of descriptive summary. Using estimates of effective tax rates, economists can look for evidence of economic behavior under different tax laws and policy makers can evaluate whether the net outcome is in accord with their intentions.

In May 2004 the European Union will undergo the largest expansion in its history when ten countries—Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia—become members. The number of new members and their diversity make this "big bang" enlargement particularly challenging. Not only do these countries vary widely in language, culture, and geography, but also their per capita income is less than half that of existing members.

The success of European monetary integration -- called by the editors of this CESifo volume "one of the most far-reaching, real world experiments in monetary policy to date" -- is not assured.

In 2000 and 2001, several European countries carried out auctions for third generation technologies or universal mobile telephone services (UMTS) communication licenses. These "spectrum auctions" inaugurated yet another era in an industry that has already been transformed by a combination of staggering technological innovation and substantial regulatory change. Because of their spectacular but often puzzling outcomes, these spectrum auctions attracted enormous attention and invited new research on the interplay of auctions, industry dynamics, and regulation.

The sixteen essays in this book were written to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Richard Musgrave and to commemorate the tenth anniversary of CES, the Center for Economic Studies at the University of Munich. Musgrave is considered to be a founding father of modern public economics. He belongs to the intellectual tradition that views government as an instrument that can be used to correct market failure and to establish the society that people want. Although his work fits within the individualistic framework of modern economics, he also draws on principles of moral philosophy.

Two Contrasting Visions of the State


In this volume, based on a week-long symposium at the University of Munich's Center for Economic Studies, two leading scholars of governmental economics debate their divergent perspectives on the role of government and its fiscal functions.

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