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Georg Krücken, Renate E. Meyer and Peter Walgenbach

In the introduction to the volume, Georg Krücken, Renate Meyer and Peter Walgenbach sketch the origins and the development of the European network of scholars interested in new institutionalism. Further, they provide an overview of the content of the volume at hand.

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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

The games of markets including entrepreneur-driven economic development have always taken place on an arena of the combined material and non-material infrastructure. The infrastructure thus constitutes the arena; it is public capital that facilitates and constrains the rapid “games” of buying and selling that economic agents play. Agents perceive the arena as stable because its evolution is so much slower than that of markets for goods and services. Synergetic theory is well equipped to handle such multiple timescales. Its application to economic phenomena enables us to show that competitive equilibrium theory requires prior specification of the infrastructural arena, which consists of public knowledge, space-bridging networks and institutions. Synergetic theory can also help us avoid the pitfalls of conventional macroeconomic theory. In this chapter, we demonstrate how macroeconomic equilibrium depends on the infrastructure. We claim that all goods are durable and are thus instances of capital. This means that historical trajectories, current outcomes, uncertain expectations and changes in spatial accessibility all influence the growth and fluctuations in the value of capital goods. Dynamic non-linear interactions between scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs affect investments. New technological or design ideas spread most easily among spatially proximate firms within communication and transport networks. Such network effects shape processes of spatial clustering, agglomeration and urbanization. Based on causal and various econometric considerations, it has been common for economists to resort to difference equation in their modeling strategies. But if we include dynamic interactions within a system of difference equations—so as to accommodate realistic causal assumptions—it will often result in complex models with chaotic outcomes. However, there are ways out of chaos in economic modeling. The first is to focus on continuous dynamic synergetic models, which implies a careful separation of variables and dynamic processes according to their relevant timescales as well as the collectiveness of their impacts.

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Leila E. Davis, Charalampos Konstantinidis and Yorghos Tripodis

The ongoing crisis in the eurozone, together with growing evidence of structural imbalances, points to a role for new institutions to support a more stable European Monetary Union (EMU) structure. As is well established in the context of monetary union when business cycles are not synchronized, a system of fiscal transfers can support monetary union. Unemployment insurance (UI) is, in particular, a key component of fiscal crisis management. UI supports household incomes during downturns, and also acts as an automatic stabilizer, thereby helping individual countries respond to asymmetric shocks. This paper proposes a ‘federalized’ EMU-level UI mechanism as one program that can contribute to a system of fiscal transfers in the EMU, and estimates the cost of the proposed system under different financing and eligibility scenarios. We find that, under a variety of reasonable institutional parameters, such a system is fiscally feasible with limited reason to expect adverse employment effects in member countries. We conclude that fiscal transfers extended via automatic stabilizers are a productive avenue towards a more stable eurozone architecture.

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Martin Riese

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Robert A. Blecker

Several recent critiques have questioned the theoretical logic of standard models of balance-of-payments-constrained growth (BPCG) and the empirical support for ‘Thirlwall's law’. On the empirical side, critics charge that most econometric estimates of this model have effectively only tested whether exports and imports grow at similar rates in the long run. On the theoretical side, the criticisms have focused on the role of foreign income growth, capital accumulation, relative prices and country size in BPCG models. This article reviews the current state of the debate over these critiques and also offers a brief discussion and evaluation of three alternative models. The alternative models all highlight a significant role for the level of relative prices (or the real exchange rate) in determining long-run growth, which is consistent with recent empirical studies.

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Editorial

The spectre of stagnation? Europe in the world economy

Sebastian Gechert, Torsten Niechoj, Jan Priewe and Andrew Watt

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Stefan Ederer and Torsten Niechoj