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The paper aims to explore how factors of regional competitiveness are associated with the location of car manufacturing companies in the EU. Although the European automotive market can be characterized by an intense dynamics in terms of location choices, literature offers little empirical guidance on how regional factors influence the location of car manufacturers in the EU. This paper aims to fill this gap by combining regional competitiveness data on 276 EU regions with the actual location of all 269 production units of car manufacturing companies currently present in the EU. Logistic regression is used to discover significant relationships, while the comparative analysis of clusters of regions is meant to offer a more detailed understanding of the role of different location factors. Results of the analysis show that the most influential location factor is related to infrastructural development, but other competitiveness factors, such as regional innovation capabilities or labour market efficiency, might also play an important role.

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The paper looks at the life situation of Czech and Slovak seniors between 2005 and 2016. The aim is to analyze data from the national standardized surveys (EU-SILC) and, based on the analyzed data, describe living conditions (an objectively measured standard of living and poverty rate) and subjective life satisfaction with an emphasis on seniors living in single-person households. The results show a large increase in the number of single-person households. The analysis of Czech households' income situation showed that the per-member monthly income for the whole population was similar to the average per-member income in households of seniors, while the group of the elderly living in single-person households appeared to be the most vulnerable one in terms of income. The differences between the seniors' incomes and expenditures indicated that about 40% of this data segment's members lived near the poverty line, while the most endangered segment members were seniors from single-person households.

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In 2011 Hungary's water supply and sanitation sector was characterized by a multitude of utilities, a fragmented market with widely differing tariffs and no centralized regulation, resulting in often inefficient and unsustainable operational and market conditions. In 2011 the Hungarian government introduced the Act CCIX of 2011 on Water Utility Services which resulted in significant market consolidations. In this article we present the results of a qualitative survey carried out in 2015 to examine the opinion of top managers of utilities on the short and midterm effects of the realization of the objectives set by the Act. The interviews focused on examining the efficiency changes experienced by 15 CEOs of different water utility service provider companies since the integration. The paper also examines their expectations for the future across a multitude of technical and economic fields and factors. This qualitative research aimed to study whether the recent changes in policy and market structure led to economies of scale and to the perceptible increase of technical and economic efficiency levels. It was concluded that efficiency benefits of economies of scale prevailed in most cases, however, these were perceived only to a limited extent at the time of the survey, approximately midway through the ongoing integration processes.

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When calculating different profitability measures for a life insurance company, one of the most important parameters to know is the probability of a policy being in force at any given time after the start of risk bearing. These probabilities are given by the survival function. In this paper, we examine data from a Hungarian insurance company, in order to build models for the survival functions of two life insurance products. For survival function estimation based on the unique parameters of a new policy, Cox regression is used. However, not all parameters of a new policy are relevant in estimating the survival function. Therefore, application of model selection algorithms is needed. Furthermore, if the exact effects of the policy parameters for the survival function can be determined, the insurance company can direct its sales team to acquire policies with positive technical results. When traditional model selection techniques proposed by the literature (such as best subset, stepwise and regularization methods) are applied on our data, we find that the effect of the selected predictors for survival cannot be determined, as there is a harmful degree of multicollinearity. In order to tackle this problem, we propose adding the hybrid metaheuristic from Láng et al. (2017) to the Cox regression in order to eliminate multicollinearity from the final model. On the test sets, performance of the models from the metaheuristic rivals those of the traditional algorithms with the use of noticeably less predictors. These predictors are not significantly correlated and are significant for survival, as well. It is shown in the paper that with the application of metaheuristics, we could produce a model with good predicting capabilities and interpretable predictor effects. These predictor effects can be used to direct the sales activities of the insurance company.

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In the past few years in many countries people have experienced the erosion of trust in the main pillars of democracy, the voting and election systems. Many authors envisage the blockchain technology as a tool for restoration of trust (Tapscott 2016; Swislow 2016; Shin 2016). Our research is aimed at the potential use of blockchain technology in social systems for enhancing trust and increasing participation. We aim to explore whether the blockchain technology is suitable for voting or elections in large communities and the issues to be addressed for real world applications to leverage democratic rights. Our final conclusion is that there are both theoretical and practical obstacles in the way of such direct applications.

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The study examines the possibilities of the digital transformation of the Hungarian banking industry through the “One Week Sprint” method, derived from general design thinking methodology. In our research, we cooperated with two domestic banks and focused on real estate related opportunities and SME offerings. The methodological focus was on how to use customer journeys and personas for supporting digital efforts, as design thinking places a great emphasis on these elements. The paper has two goals: 1) present the findings of this innovative project with the two banks using design thinking; 2) describe our experience with customer journeys and personas in consumer- and corporate-facing innovation projects in the two banks. To our knowledge, there is no practical experience in the literature regarding the usage of these tools. We found that the usage of customer journeys and personas are much easier and evident if the project tries to develop consumer products or solutions. If the solutions are for corporate use, personas lose the added value of empathy (without the human connection) and the creation of customer journeys needs deeper experience from consultants.

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Technological innovations are inclining the world of business to restructure actual business processes at the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. These circumstances create knowledge-intensive organizational, collective and personal learning environments in which ICT tools play a critical role. This paper investigates knowledge creation patterns inherent in the supply chain of companies that operate in a networked environment in the Székesfehérvár region of Hungary. ICT solutions applied in knowledge creation and collaboration with suppliers and customers in the supply chain were studied in this research. One of the main contributions of the paper is the study of knowledge creation patterns in three dimensions: the Socialization – Externalization – Combination – Internalization (SECI) framework, supply chain processes and ICT solutions, which is a unique approach compared with the frameworks from the relevant literature.

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After a short historical perspective on the emergence of robo-advisors and an overview of how they manage other people's money, we evaluate the performance of five German robo-advisors in the period between May 2015 and December 2018. Performance tests are conducted using Sharpe's (1966) and Jensen's (1968) performance methodologies. We also employ the returns-based style analysis of Sharpe (1992) to determine the exposure of robo-advisors to different non-overlapping asset classes. We report the following findings: First, no robo-advisor was able to beat the benchmark before or after considering fees. Second, robo-advisor performance varies greatly in the sample period even for portfolios that should appeal to clients with similar risk preferences. Third, these performance differences remain unexplained after accounting for the different asset allocations.

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The aim of the paper is to estimate cost efficiency and its determinants of the Czech and Slovak commercial banks within the period of 2005–2015. In this paper two-stage Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is used. In the first stage, I estimate the relative cost efficiency applying the input-oriented model with variable return to scale and find that the Czech banks were more cost efficient than the Slovak banks. The main reason of cost inefficiency is the excess of clients' deposits in the banks' balance sheet. In the second stage, I use the panel data analysis and estimate the determinants of cost efficiency in the two countries. I choose 8 bank-specific and macroeconomic factors that influence cost efficiency. The results show that the larger banks with higher liquidity risk and with a lower value of the net interest margin were more efficient. It confirms the reason of inefficiency determined from the DEA model. Banks were highly cost efficient during the economic expansion with a lower value of the inflation rate.

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