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Abstract

The Confucian doctrine of the Mean teaches that too much is as bad as too little. The Aristotelian doctrine of the Mean coincidently articulates that there can be too much or too little of nearly every human passion and action. In neoclassical economics, it is assumed that people tend to take any action at the optimal (not too much and not too little) level to maximise the net happiness from the action. This article argues that the Confucian doctrine of the Mean concurs with the optimality principle, and therefore that the optimality principle is a representation of human nature and can be understood as universal human wisdom. It follows that people can adopt both the Confucian doctrine of the Mean and the optimality principle as worldly common wisdom beyond the blunt dichotomy of spiritual orientalism and materialistic individualism. Too much emphasis on the technical differentials between the two has undermined the common wisdom embedded in them.

Open access
Acta Oeconomica
Authors: GheorghiŢa Dincă, Marius Sorin Dincă, and Maria LetiŢia Andronic

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to identify the most efficient healthcare systems in a sample of 17 EU Member States. According to the health system financing schemes, the selected countries belong to two main groups, Beveridge and Bismarck. The research includes five input variables describing the financial and human resources, the level of health infrastructure, the medical technology and the healthcare utilization. On the output side we analysed four measures that reflect the overall health status of the population and the effectiveness of prevention and emergency care. Using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) method, the most efficient healthcare systems are found in Sweden, the UK and Romania. The constraints applied for all the indicators and scenarios lead to higher or lower inefficiency scores, the Beveridge group being on average more efficient than the Bismarck one.

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Abstract

In 2017, Korea became an ‘aged society,’ with the proportion of people aged 65 or older exceeding 14%, while the ratio of the working-age population declined for the first time. This study uses data from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLOSA) to examine the effects of public pension on the labour supply of older people and discusses ways of preparing for this ageing problem. The study uses the Heckman sample selection model for analysing both the extensive and intensive margins of older people's labour supply. Our results show that the effects of public pensions in Korea are very different from that in other countries. It can be inferred that these differences are a consequence of the less developed social security system and limited experience from its short period of implementation. Hence, encouraging older people to work could be a way of solving the problem of relatively high poverty among the older population in a society that is likely to age even more. This is considered an optimal solution in light of increasing life expectancy, a poor social security system, and a decrease in private income transfers from children to their ageing parents.

Open access

Abstract

Evidence from the global financial crisis (2007–2008) and the Asian financial crisis (1997) have taught policymakers valuable lessons. The contagious effects of these crises have proven unavoidable and have led to negative economic development. However, South Korea, unlike other countries, has recovered remarkably from both episodes of financial turmoil and proved their ability to maintain positive growth throughout the two periods. This study investigates the correlation between the evolution of South Korean banking and corporate sector before, during and after these crises. A VAR model was employed to test the effectiveness of the South Korean government's policies, in response to the financial crisis from 1997 to 2017, using macroeconomic variables as proxies for newly introduced policies, and non-performing loans for controlled risks. The empirical results indicate impulse response functions which suggest that changes in macroeconomic variables as a representation for the policies resulted in a reduction of non-performing loans. This implies successful risk reduction and an overall economic recovery.

Open access

Abstract

This paper examines the Bismarckian and Beveridgean-style healthcare systems in 25 OECD countries to identify the relationship between the efficiency of the country's healthcare delivery arrangement and its economic wealth. The Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is applied as a quantitative tool. I examine three models using infant mortality and potential years of life lost as output indicators. These models differ only in the way of expressing healthcare inputs. The DEA computations show that neither the Bismarckian nor the Beveridgean healthcare system has a clear advantage over the other when inputs are expressed by health expenditure as a percentage of GDP. The model which uses USD per head expenditure data at purchasing power parity shows a slight advantage of the Beveridge-style systems. This confirms the common opinion that the Bismarck-style systems perform worse in controlling the costs. When inputs are expressed using physical units (medical staff and equipment), DEA shows that the Beveridge system is significantly more efficient than the Bismarckian ones. I analyse the relationship between the DEA scores and the country's GDP per capita, as well. This analysis shows that more developed economies are technically less efficient. These findings are consistent with the belief that technical efficiency is only one of the many criteria that determine the quality of the healthcare system and patient satisfaction.

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Abstract

This study focuses on the level of interdependence across the Central and Eastern European (CEE) foreign exchange markets (Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Croatia) from September 2008 to September 2017, using the return spillover measure proposed by Diebold and Yilmaz (2009; 2012). We mainly find a bidirectional volatility spillover among these assets and the cross-market linkages in the CEE region have become stronger over time. Furthermore, the Czech exchange market has a significant influence on the rest of the foreign exchange markets. The total spillover remained very high over the periods 2010–2012 and 2015–2017, despite the noteworthy fluctuations in other periods. These results would also be useful for portfolio managers, policy makers and speculative traders to develop exploitable strategies, by providing knowledge of the transmission mechanisms of the volatility of foreign exchange markets. The results may support the distribution of assets in a financial portfolio, especially after financial integration.

Open access

Abstract

The paper investigates how the increased use of temporary contracts in Poland affected employment elasticity with respect to output. The analysis is based on Okun's law, and covers the period of 1996–2016, with particular focus on the years of 2001–2016 when temporary jobs became prevalent. We look at the relationships between output growth and the growths of aggregate, permanent and temporary employment separately. Our study finds that the responsiveness of aggregate employment to output is positive and changes through time. Interestingly, after 2007, when the use of temporary contracts stabilised at a high level, the employment intensity of growth started decreasing. We relate this to the opposite trends in output responsiveness of temporary and permanent jobs. Elasticity of temporary job was growing, while elasticity of permanent job was decreasing. Our study also shows that initially employers adapt to output changes replacing permanent job with temporary job, next temporary contracts become the main adjustment device.

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Acta Oeconomica
Authors: Jorge de Andrés-Sánchez, Ángel Belzunegui-Eraso, and Francesc Valls-Fonayet

Abstract

The relationship between social expenditure, on the one hand, and poverty or income inequality indicators, on the other, focuses a great interest in the literature on welfare systems. In this paper, we evaluate the efficiency of the social transfer policies of the EU-28 states between 2011 and 2015 using deterministic and stochastic frontier models. Using the fuzzy clustering methods, we identify the patterns in the size of welfare systems, which we measure from the value and efficiency of social expenditure. In this way, we identify four clusters. The first cluster comprises many EU-15 countries (normally the Continental and the Nordic welfare states); the second comprises nations that were integrated into the EU in the last 15 years (mostly the former Communist countries); the third cluster comprises the culturally and geographically heterogeneous countries, such as Hungary, Ireland, Croatia and Luxemburg (whose main characteristic is the high efficiency of their social expenditure); and finally, the fourth group basically comprises the southern European countries, whose social transfer policy effectiveness is rather weak.

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Abstract

This paper investigates how social capital contributes to the pro-social behaviour of individuals in a post-conflict environment. I simultaneously investigate the pro-social behaviours in the periods of crisis (floods) and normality and observe whether (structural and relational) social capital has important influences in these two different times. The main novelty of this approach is that I model individuals' pro-social behaviours jointly for both the periods in focus and treat them as systematic outcomes of observed and unobserved (endogenous) influences. I find that more pro-social activities in the normal times are positively associated with such activities in the crisis period. Additionally, the results reveal the importance of (structural) social capital on pro-social behaviour – namely, group membership, size and ethnic structure of individual networks matter. Of particular interest for this post-conflict society and related literature is that greater ethnic diversity of individual networks is supportive for pro-social engagement of citizens. Finally, among the observed economic influences, I find that the respondents working in the informal economy report more pro-social activities while formal employment works more as financial intermediary for these engagements.

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