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2018 Working Papers

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Title/Author(s) Abstract Number

The measurement of welfare change

Walter Bossert & Bhasker Dutta

We propose and characterize a class of measures of welfare change that are based on the generalized Gini social welfare functions. In addition, we analyze these measures in the context of a second-order dominance property that is akin to generalized Lorenz dominance as introduced by Shorrocks (1983) and Kakwani (1984). Because we consider welfare differences rather than welfare levels, the requisite equivalence result involves linear welfare functions (that is, those associated with the generalized Ginis) only, as opposed to the entire class of strictly increasing and S-concave welfare indicators. Journal of Economic

When Good Advice is Ignored: The Role of Envy and Stubbornness

David Ronayne and Daniel Sgroi

We present results from an experiment involving 1,500 participants on whether, when and why good advice is ignored, focusing on envy and stubbornness. Participants performance in skill-based and luck-based tasks generated a probability of winning a bonus. About a quarter ignored advice that would have increased their chance of winning. Good advice was followed less often when the adviser was relatively highly remunerated or the task was skill-based. More envious advisees took good advice more often in the skill-based task, but higher adviser remuneration significantly reduced this effect. Susceptibility to the sunk cost fallacy reduced the uptake of good advice.

Do Ration Shop Systems Increase Welfare? Theory and an Application to India

Lucie Gadenne

In many developing countries households can purchase limited quantities of goods at a fixed subsidized price through ration shops. This paper asks whether these countries' characteristics justify the use of such ration shop systems. I find an equity-efficiency trade-off: an efficiencymaximizing government will never use ration shops but a welfare-maximizing one might, to redistribute and provide insurance. Welfare gains from introducing ration shops are highest for necessity goods with high price risk. I calibrate the model for India and find that ration shops are indeed welfare-improving for three of the four goods sold through the system today. 1149

The Effects of Entry in Oligopolistic Trade with Bargained Input Prices

Robin Naylor & Christian Soegaard

Firms which face the threat of import competition from foreign rivals are conventionally seen as favouring import protection. We show that this is not necessarily the case when domestic firms' in-put prices are determined endogenously. In a framework where the input price is determined through bargaining with an (upstream) input supplier, the relationship between a domestic (downstream) firm's
profits and the number of foreign competitors depends on trade costs. If trade costs are sufficiently high, then an increase in the number of foreign entrants can raise the profits of a downstream firm in a home market characterised by Cournot competition. The intuition for this result is that increased product market competition through the entry of foreign firms is mirrored by profit-enhancing moderation of the bargained input price. We examine a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade and identify conditions under which import-competing firms will favour the removal of barriers to foreign competition.

Falling Behind and Catching up: India’s Transition from a Colonial Economy

Bishnupriya Gupta

India fell behind during colonial rule. The absolute and relative decline of Indian GDP per capita with respect to Britain began before colonization and coincided with the rising textile trade with Europe in the 18th century. The decline of traditional industries was not the main driver Indian decline and stagnation. Inadequate investment in agriculture and consequent decline in yield per acre stalled economic growth. Modern industries emerged and grew relatively fast. The falling behind was reversed after independence. Policies of industrialization and a green revolution in agriculture increased productivity growth in agriculture and industry, but Indian growth has been led by services. A strong focus on higher education under colonial policy had created an advantage for the service sector, which today has a high concentration of human capital. However, the slow expansion in primary education was a disadvantage in comparison with the high growth East Asian economies 1147

The Impact of Public Employment : Evidence from Bonn

Sascha O. Becker,
Stephan Heblich & Daniel M. Sturm

This paper evaluates the impact of public employment on private sector activity using the relocation of the German federal government from Berlin to Bonn in the wake of the Second World War as a source of exogenous variation. To guide our empirical analysis, we develop a simple economic geography model in which public sector employment in a city can crowd out private employment through higher wages and house prices, but also generates potential productivity and amenity spillovers. We nd that relative to a control group of cities, Bonn experiences a substantial increase in public employment. However, this results in only modest increases in private sector employment with each additional public sector job destroying around 0.2 jobs in industries and creating just over one additional job in other parts of the private sector. We show how this nding can be explained by our model and provide several pieces of evidence for the mechanisms emphasised by the model. 1146