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Abstract

The expected future impact of the fourth industrial revolution is a hotly debated issue in the literature. The majority of papers focus on quantifying the expected impacts on labour demand, or on a specific country, or on huge macro-regions – and the estimates differ widely. Our paper focuses on the impact assessment of Industry 4.0 on the expected structure of employment, wages and inequalities in Hungary. We built a static microsimulation model for our analysis, where the “EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions Hungary 2017” dataset was used as a starting point. Projections by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) were used for policy simulations on future employment by sector and by occupational group for each European Union (EU) member state. The analysis also elaborates our own augmented vision about the expected labour demand changes and expected wage trends. Based on this information, the spill-over effects were calculated regarding wage structure and inequalities by sector, region and the highest educational attainment.

Open access

Abstract

The main characteristics of intra-EU labour mobility are well documented. There is less focus, however, on the pattern of mobility of the East European (EU-13) EU-mobile citizens. This group constitutes more than half (57%) of all the EU movers and show, to some extent, other features than the rest of the EU mobile citizens (EU-15). The first part of this paper gives a brief overview of some key demographic and labour market characteristics of the East European mobile citizens in the most important destination countries. The perspectives of the sending countries are not analysed frequently enough, and thus the second part of the paper focuses on this issue in the case of Hungary, by asking to what extent the serious labour shortages, ensuing from the outflow of Hungarians, could be compensated by the recent increase of immigration of third country nationals. Using OECD data, the paper quantifies the balance of labour gains and losses for Hungary and compares this with Czechia, Poland, and Slovakia. The analysis concludes that despite the substantial recent inflow of third country nationals into Hungary, it remains to be seen whether this has a real substitution effect for the lost domestic labour force.

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between unemployment benefits and durations of unemployment with respect to different approaches in social policy. The hypothesis of the research is that unemployment benefits negatively affect the duration of unemployment. An analysis of the relationship concerning unemployment benefits and duration of unemployment within the European Union Member States (EU-28) between 2006–2018 using panel data regression approach was conducted. The sample was split into sub-samples in order to get more homogeneous groups of EU-28 countries. Estimation results suggest that the more generous a social policy, the more prevalent the negative relationship between unemployment duration and unemployment benefits. Our results also revealed that the better the economic situation, the less pressure is put on unemployment benefits and on the duration of unemployment.

Open access
Authors: András Olivér Németh, Petra Németh and Péter Vékás

The sustainability of an unfunded pension system depends highly on demographic and labour market trends, i.e. how fertility, mortality, and employment rates change. In this paper we provide a brief summary of recent developments in these fields in Hungary and draw up a picture of the current situation. Then, we forecast the path of the economic old-age dependency ratio, i.e. the ratio of the elderly and employed populations. We make different alternative assumptions about fertility, mortality, and employment rates. According to our baseline scenario the dependency ratio is expected to rise from 40.6% to 77% by 2050. Such a sharp increase makes policy intervention inevitable. Based on our sensitivity analysis, the only viable remedy is increasing the retirement age.

Open access

Free movement of persons is one of the fundamental values and achievements of the European Union, however, intentions towards mobility vary across and within the member states. Economic literature has remarkable theories to explain migration flows and individual selection factors of potential migrants, but it ignores major achievements of other social sciences. This paper builds an economic framework to incorporate the Hirschmanian concept of loyalty into the microeconomic (human capital) model of international migration by using interdependent preferences. Hirschman assumes that even after exiting, loyal people care about their previous communities, thus it imposes a certain psychological ‘exit tax’ on them. Based on this concept, it is hypothesized that people with altruistic motives have weaker intentions to migrate, so the presence of loyalty towards others makes international migration less likely, conveying that loyalty towards local or national community may be responsible for moderate labor mobility among EU member states. Results show that attachment to one's country makes one's intention to move abroad in the near future less likely, while loyalty towards one's city has more moderate impact on their intentions.

Open access

The paper provides a brief description of the Active Ageing Index (AAI). This indicator, introduced in 2012, aims to measure the potential of older people for active and healthy ageing. The indicator is constructed from European Union survey data, and these results are weighted with coefficients determined by experts. One of the variables from the surveys measures the proportion of older people using the internet at least once a week. We argue that such regular internet usage does not show too much variation in this era of the ubiquitous internet, so a more sophisticated definition of internet usage must be taken into consideration. Our discussion contains three different AAI variants: the original expert-based, the Djurovic et al. (2017) I-distance indicator, and our factor-based index.

Open access

Abstract

Shape analysis has special importance in the detection of manipulated redistricting, which is called gerrymandering. In most of the US states, this process is made by non-independent actors and often causes debates about partisan manipulation. The somewhat ambiguous concept of compactness is a standard criterion for legislative districts. In the literature, circularity is widely used as a measure of compactness, since it is a natural requirement for a district to be as circular as possible. In this paper, we introduce a novel and parameter-free circularity measure that is based on Hu moment invariants. This new measure provides a powerful tool to detect districts with abnormal shapes. We examined some districts of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and Utah over several consecutive periods and redistricting plans, and also compared the results with classical circularity indexes. We found that the fall of the average circularity value of the new measure indicates potential gerrymandering.

Open access

A number of megatrends are hitting the world of work at the same time. These include the digital revolution, globalisation and rapid population ageing, which are all having a profound impact on the types of jobs that are being created and how and where they are performed. This paper examines the challenges confronting the Visegrad Group of countries and the broad policy responses that will be required. It looks at the risk of job automation, how the structure of employment is changing by skill level and the rise of the gig economy. These changes will require a combination of policy responses in the areas of employment regulation, measures to facilitate labour mobility and lifelong learning, social protection and social dialogue. In many cases, this will not require a complete paradigm shift in policies but an adaptation and strengthening of existing polices.

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of board size on a firms' operational and market performance at the largest East Central European listed non-financial, non-public utility firms. The literature debates the effects of the size of the board. While the resource dependency theory supports a positive effect, the agency theory supports a negative impact on firm value. This question is rarely investigated in two-tiered corporate governance models. This paper estimates the effects of management board and supervisory board size, between 2007 and 2016. The results indicate that the effect of management board size depends heavily on the size of the observed company. In both fixed effects and GMM-type dynamic panel regression models, using Tobin's Q, market-to-book ratio, total shareholder value and ROA as firm performance measures, increase in management board size has a significant positive impact on firm performance; however, in the case of larger firms, the effect is significantly negative. Moreover, the increase in the ratio of outside directors has a positive impact on the firm's performance in all dynamic panel regression models and this effect is even more significant in Tobin's Q and market-to-book ratio models. This can indicate the effective monitoring role of the supervisory board.

Open access

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

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.

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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 high rate of increase of ruling politicians' wealth has been empirically proven many times. However, in the literature it is almost always assumed that politicians grew rich faster due to political rent-seeking or corruption. The aim of this article is to discuss the assumption whether corruption and rent-seeking is indeed the only possible cause, and to present empirical findings undermining the assumption. The results of the analysis of levels and rate of growth of Polish politicians' wealth clearly show that the other explanation is the selection of people exercising authority. Based on statistical analysis of 2024 asset declarations of 689 councillors from Polish voivodeship assemblies from two terms in the period of 2010–2018, the paper demonstrates that the different rates of changes of the value of assets of coalition and opposition councillors are at least partly the effect of the selection bias.

Open access

The paper applies a variant of the gravity model to test whether there is a positive link between the size of trade flows and the extent to which they follow the pattern of comparative advantage. Using UNCTAD's 2016 trade data for every country in the world, and 255 merchandise items, we show that countries trading more with each other tend to follow the patterns of comparative advantages more than countries with smaller mutual trade flows. While smaller trade flows can be easily influenced by business decisions of individual companies or one-off trade contracts going against trade pattern predictions, this is not the case with larger flows. We also find signs that holding trade volume constant, more distant countries trade less than geographically proximate countries, in line with predictions from comparative advantage. The results are valid for the whole database of all country pairs in world trade, but the goodness of fit increases with the number of items these country pairs trade in. The paper is the first insight into the topic and can be expanded to a higher level of disaggregation and more variables in future research.

Open access
Authors: Zsuzsanna Kispál-Vitai, Yann Regnard, Klara Kövesi and Claude-André Guillotte

The operations of the cooperative organization are an actively debated issue. The efficiency and viability of this organizational form still pose many unanswered questions. The literature is not unequivocal in evaluating the merits and drawbacks of this organization. This article provides empirical evidence from research about cooperatives covering three countries (Canada, France and Hungary) and tests theoretical hypotheses in the framework of organizational economics and cooperative theory. The findings point towards the positive influence of the social environment and cooperative values on organizational choice. The results prove the continued relevance of this type of organization in the 21st century in agriculture in all three researched countries.

Open access

Croatia is faced with a low response to cancer-screening programs, especially the national cervical cancer screening program, which ultimately resulted in its suspension. If judged solely on the basis of revealed preferences, such a poor response would imply that the population assigns a low social value to preventive screening programs. However, the question arises as to whether revealed preferences (the population's response), in the case of the absence of response to a preventive program, provide insight into its value (utility). Therefore, the objective of this paper is to determine the value that respondents assign to different attributes of cervical screening and, in a broader sense, to decide whether the best-worst scaling (BWS) approach is appropriate for determining the marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for public health programs. The MWTP for certain attributes of cervical cancer screening is derived from the results of a BWS study conducted in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia. The cost function was estimated by regressing the conditional logit coefficients (level of utility) of three levels of the cost attribute on its corresponding values, that is, the hypothetical price. Because the sum of the MWTP corresponds with the market price of a gynecological examination in private practice, we conclude that the results obtained by the BWS confirm the revealed preferences (the market value of the service).

Open access

The paper analyses the impact of the simultaneous occurrence of external debt and capital flight on economic policy effectiveness in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) in sub-Saharan Africa, employing the Panel-Corrected Standard Error regression model for the period 1990 to 2015. The empirical results reveal that both monetary and fiscal policies in the region had been undermined in achieving their intended purposes because of increasing capital flight and external debt. Also, the concurrent occurrence of capital flight and external debt has been a hindrance to progress on the continent, particularly by undermining domestic investment. These results call for more practical measures in addressing the issues of foreign debt and capital flight, given the critical importance of domestic private investment for both short- and long-run growth.

Open access

The focus of our research is the internationalisation of the small-medium size family firms in Hungary, with particular attention to the effect of generational change on internationalisation. Our examination is based on interviews with the current management of six family firms from different industries. We had two research propositions: First, we analysed if and how successors in the family businesses were more open to the internationalisation of the company. Our results provide insights reflecting that the predecessors are usually quite open, and successors are not always as open when they assume control over the company, unlike the existing internationalisation patterns of family firms would suggest. Potential explanations reveal related characteristics of the Central-Eastern European (CEE) region. Secondly, in terms of how and why the leadership style and approach of the predecessors affect the internationalisation of family firms, our findings from different cases vary. The historical and cultural background of the family firms' founders and early-generation successors exert notable influence on the internationalisation process, while the role of predecessors' personal characteristics may not be as strong a driver of internationalisation as previously suggested. The management implications of our findings suggest that the Hungarian family firms show regional patterns in terms of their internationalisation, and generic approaches to generational change and succession may not explain the process as much as extant literature on international family business suggests.

Open access

Editor's Note: This essay paper of Professor Kornai with an unusually provoking title consists of two parts. Part I is the slightly edited, non-abridged version of his writing published as an oped in The Financial Times (FT) on 11 July 2019, the world's leading global business publication (Kornai 2019a). Subsequently, the full text of this paper was published in the Hungarian weekly magazine Élet és Irodalom (Life and Literature; Kornai 2019b), which in turn generated a number of commenting articles published in the same weekly. Still in the month of July, the original essay was translated into Chinese by a Hong Kong newspaper and into Vietnamese. An influential multilingual Chinese newspaper gave an extensive summary of the FT essay (Street 2019). The latter one, according to our best knowledge, was disseminated only on the internet. Part II is the translated and slightly edited version of Kornai's second article, published in September this year on the same topic (Kornai 2019c). In this second essay he responded to his critiques both in Hungary and world-wide. This piece was published in its original form in Hungarian by the previous mentioned Hungarian weekly. We, the Editors of Acta Oeconomica, are proud to publish the complete English translation of this second essay first time. We thank for the opportunity given to us by Professor Kornai to publish the Frankenstein-papers in an integrated form, together with all the necessary bibliographic references.

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This paper addresses the hottest potato of economics today, namely why the profession seems to have been lulled into a sense of false security in spite of flourishing economic models as well as subfield-knowledge in various disciplines? The embarrassing question of the Queen of England ‘why did nobody see the crisis of 2008 coming’ emblematically signalled the failure of the collective imagination of the entire profession to understand the system and its emerging patterns. The present paper can be seen therefore as a clarion call for grounding a shift towards an economics barded with the lessons learnt in complexity science in shaping modern governance.

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Have we reached the point where more spending on health care and other forms of social protection is not producing better health as measured by reductions in population mortality? Drawing on two decades of research and mortality statistics (1995–2015) for 17 OECD countries, our analysis confirms and builds on the observed relationship between the returns and investments in health and social welfare spending. First, the results suggest that there is a differential effect of socioeconomic, lifestyle and demography variables on total and cause-specific mortality rates. Second, the basic premise of an association between health care expenditure and mortality rates is reinforced in models that take into account public-only health expenditure and its impact on older age groups. Third, a strong protective effect of government-sponsored welfare expenditure on infant mortality was observed. This effect is weaker on other causes of death and suggests that older individuals, in this sample of developed countries, may have reached a stage of the epidemiological transition in which health improvement is indifferent to government assistance and depends largely on behavioural change.

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Guarantees of origin are tradeable energy certificates defined by directives 2009/28/EC and 2018/2001/EU of the European Union. They serve the aim of informing final consumers on energy sources used for their electricity supply. They are also expected to encourage new investments in renewable electricity generation. This paper investigates how the use of guarantees of origin meets these expectations. A literature review, an analysis of related regulations and an evaluation of empirical data shows that there are regulatory failures both at national and the European Union levels. Furthermore, due to a contradiction between certain rules in European Union level regulation, consumers receive unreliable information on their electricity consumption mix. Therefore, although national rules should be improved, the problem of reliability cannot be resolved until the Union level framework is modified. Furthermore, the present framework does not incentivise investments in renewable energy technologies either. Accordingly, recommendations are formulated for policy makers to ensure reliable and sufficient operation of the certificate system.

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There has been an increase in outward foreign direct investment (FDI) and in the number of locally-owned or controlled multinationals in the Czech Republic and Hungary. However, data problems hinder to determine accurately the underlying trends and the main factors behind the changes. Data on outward FDI contain investment realised by all locally operational firms, regardless of their ownership. We rely on newly available balance of payments manual 6 (BPM) data and on company case studies. We show that outward investment by Czech firms must be much higher than what balance of payments data show. Hungary's case is the opposite. The leading Czech and Hungarian foreign investor firms can be categorised as “virtual indirect” foreign investors: they are in majority foreign ownership, but under domestic control. The reason for this special type of firms dominating in outward foreign direct investments can be found in the privatisation technique applied in these countries during the transition process.

Open access
Authors: Katalin Antalóczy, Tamás Gáspár and Magdolna Sass

The length, the composition, the quality and the characteristics of value chains essentially determine the corporate as well as the macroeconomic performance of the economic sectors and industries. Hungary has a strong tradition in the pharmaceutical industry but its dynamising impact seems to be limited on the economy. The aim of this paper is to detect and reveal the specialties of the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry both in space and time by a value chain analysis. Our method is partly quantitative, we use an input-output analysis; and partly qualitative, relying on interviews with the representatives of pharmaceutical companies. We found that the Hungarian pharma value chain is really special, having relatively short backward and forward linkages with mainly indirect value-added contribution as well as high import content of exports. However, our company interviews revealed the fundamental differences between original and generic value chains – i.e. again a pharma industry-specific distinction. Having relatively little original and more substantial generic production in Hungary explains much of the value chain specialties, which leaves its mark on the limited impact of the industry on the national economy.

Open access
Authors: Naďa Hazuchová, Jana Stávková, L'udmila Nagyová, Zuzana Poláková and Soňa Vávrová

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.

Open access

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.

Open access

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.

Open access

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.

Open access

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.

Open access
Author: Peter Racsko
Open access
Authors: Andrea Kő, Réka Vas, Tibor Kovács and Ildikó Szabó

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.

Open access

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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We compare the pre- and post-2010 Hungarian political regimes through the lens of pension policies. We label the pre-2010 regime as democratic populist because it was characterized by fiscally irresponsible policies, yet it maintained the system of checks and balances and the rule of law. In contrast, we call the post-2010 regime authoritarian populist as it has employed authoritarian political techniques while maintained popular legitimation through regular elections. To substantiate the difference between the two periods from an economic viewpoint, we compare pre- and post-2010 pension policies to find important differences as well as surprising similarities. In particular, we analysed the following five policy aspects: (a) reform and partial privatization of the government-run pension system, (b) policies on the statutory (normal) and the effective (average) pension age, (c) indexation, (d) progression in benefits calculations and progressivity in the personal income tax, and (e) contribution rates. Based on ideological preferences, we argue that one would expect the pension system to become financially more sustainable but less redistributive after 2010 in comparison to the preceding period. Yet, we find that although pro-poor redistribution through the pension system has indeed been curtailed, fiscal sustainability has not improved due to the erratic policies.

Open access

This study examines the effect of parental job loss on adolescents' school completion during the secondary school years and the moderating role of home environment in that effect. It uses rich survey data from Hungary on adolescents between 14 and 21 years of age, with detailed measures of parental employment and home environment. The study replicates the average negative effect found in the literature. No effect is found for families with a history of providing a cognitively stimulating home environment, but the negative effect is strong for other families. Home environment matters more than initial income in moderating the effect. The results highlight the protective nature of a cognitively stimulating home environment.

Open access

Many papers have analyzed the effects of foreign acquisition on firm productivity, articulating its positive impacts. However, an important issue remains: is there a general foreign acquisition effect, or is there any heterogeneity in the effects? This paper reports on the analysis of over 3,400 majority foreign acquisitions in Hungary. The main result (which exists in a propensity score matching sample as well) of the difference-in-differences analysis is that only acquirers from higher income countries foster labor productivity significantly — and this effect increases with the income gap between Hungary and the country of origin -, while acquirers from lower income countries do not induce statistically significant effects.

Open access

Trust in financial institutions can be seen as a foundation for loyalty and profits in the banking industry and is relevant for the macro economy as well. Young customers are more likely to lack trust due to their lack of personal experience in finance, although parental advice may lower their risk. In this paper the authors combine trust measures with intergenerational communication theory and test it on a large dyadic sample using Z-scores. The results show a strong, holistic intergenerational effect on institutional trust, but shed light on heterogeneity in the sample due to gender, financial independence and different communication styles.

Open access

A basic principle of economics is that people always prefer a larger set of opportunities. Money illusion can be considered as the phenomenon when people may not correctly perceive their budget constraints, and may act in ways that run counter to this preference. In this interpretation, money illusion is a cognitive bias, worthwhile to overcome. Herein I argue that taking a view of human decision-making based on certain strands of cognitive psychology, one can reinterpret the evidence for money illusion in two ways. First, I claim that money illusion is inescapable to some extent, and saying that we suffer from it is similar to alleging that we experience optical illusions, only because we are unable to see, say, individual atoms. Second, taking a view on “preferences” different from the traditional one, I contend that it may bring little benefit to get rid of money illusion even in the cases where it is possible to do so. To follow up the visual analogy, even if we can improve our eyesight it is not obviously desirable. These arguments seem to lead to a Candidean disposition: there is no possible improvement on the state of affairs as far as “money illusion” is concerned. Nonetheless, I will make some positive proposals concerning economic policy and economics research.

Open access
Authors: Attila Endre Simay and Mirkó Gáti

The twenty-first century brought with it the proliferation of new media. We carry mobile devices and smartphones with us nearly everywhere we go. Constantly hooked up to the world by these tools, the bigger question is why we are sometimes not available. Our personal networks have partly migrated to online social networks, and new networks now penetrate our everyday lives in the digital sphere. In this online survey research, the authors searched for insights into how important smartphones and Facebook, the most popular social media site in Hungary, have become in people's lives. The kinds of attitudes that characterise the use of these tools were analysed, especially in the case of privacy and the use of personal data. The aim of this research — by establishing the actual situation — is to show how modern media, publicity, and privacy are linked, and how people reveal themselves by their constant media presence.

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The global automotive industry has been exposed to an overproduction crisis for several decades. Under the pressure of restructuring, automotive companies renew both the geographical scope and the technological standardization of their production processes. We analyze the effects this restructuring had on the development of European economies in order to understand whether vertical specializations in the automotive value chain can lead to Central and Eastern European countries’ catching up to advanced economies, or whether such specializations reproduce new forms of core-periphery relations. In order to answer this question, we introduce a new methodological approach to understand vertical specialization in the global value chain from a semi-peripheral perspective. We combine the theory of global value chains with Vernon's product life-cycle theory. In the research we focus on the standardization of the production of electric engines behind the geographical relocation of production between core and periphery.

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We set up an agent-based macro-model that focuses on the consumption-saving decision. Agents do not maximize utility, but their behaviour features certain “rational” aspects of human choice based on the idea of ecological rationality. Three qualitatively different saving strategies are defined: 1, buffer stock saving (prudent and forward looking); 2, permanent income saving (forward looking without prudence); and 3, myopic saving (caring only about immediate consumption). It is found that prudent saving behaviour becomes prevalent when the selection pressure is very high, but an economy comprising only prudent households tends to accumulate capital in excess of what is implied by the Golden Rule. Lowering the intensity of evolutionary forces results in more diversity in saver types, and, somewhat puzzlingly, may be socially beneficial in some sense.

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In this contribution, we evaluate the performance of the Supreme Audit Office's (SAO) audit activity in the Visegrad Four (V4) countries. We focus on the analysis of the control activities of the SAO of the Slovak Republic and we compare the results with other countries. We focused on the SAO's function control, according to the number of controls undertaken over the period 2014–2016, and evaluated an auditors's burden (the number of controls performed by one inspector). We state the positives, but also the risks of expanding the area of control over the self-government bodies, and we put forward proposals to reduce these risks. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have the same or similar historical trajectories, cultural and intellectual values and they share common roots of religious traditions. Therefore we assume that they may display certain key similarities in institutional development, including in the area of public finance control. We review how these countries have worked in the area today, with a focus on the period between 2014 and 2016.

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Author: Krisztina Szabó
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Nowadays, global production networks (GPN) and global value chains (GVC) play an important role in the world economy intensifying the trade and production networks and resulting in products having value-added in different countries. The analysis of how many intermediate products a country imports in order to produce a product and of how many products a country exports to another country in order to produce new products draws the attention to value-added trade. In the present study, we compare the Hungarian and Polish value-added trade of chemicals and chemical products. We use the OECD-WTO data of value-added trade, which is based on an input-output table. By calculating numerous indices, we reveal that the domestic value-added of chemicals and chemical products in the two countries was relatively low and should be increased by adequate economic policy.

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Can socioeconomic fluctuations explain variations in European Union suicide mortality? To answer this question, we investigate the effect of socioeconomic and demographic factors on (agespecific) male and female suicide rates using a fixed-effects technique and panel data for 15 EU countries, over a time period that leads up to, coincides with, and follows the recession of 2008. The findings show that suicide rates for young and working-age populations are more sensitive to general economic conditions than suicide rates for other age groups, and that male suicide behavior is more responsive than female behavior. In this setting, suicide rates are likely to be higher in countries with lower income, higher unemployment, higher divorce rates, and, most importantly, weaker systems of social protection. Our results, however, raise serious doubts about government involvement in crisis-related mental illness prevention and mental health promotion.

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Authors: Abbas Strømmen-Bakhtiar and Evgueni Vinogradov

This paper examines the effects of Airbnb on the Norwegian hotel market, using correlational design and the difference-in-differences statistical method. The findings show that hotels in the regions of Norway where Airbnb is flourishing have more guests than the regions with less Airbnb activity. In addition, it seems that Airbnb has a positive effect on the hotel market in Norway. However, as the Airbnb expansion continues, and it diversifies into the ‘travel business’ and the ‘luxury accommodation’ segment, it will affect the hotel industry. How the hotel industry will respond to this threat remains to be seen, and will provide an interesting subject for future research.

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What does ethics mean in human resource management (HRM)? In this paper, based on the results of action research projects conducted with the participation of 76 HR experts in five groups, we provide insights into two issues. First we identify the most common dilemma-patterns in HRM activities in present-day Hungary (dismissal, disciplinary actions, recruitment and organizational culture). Then, we move on to the reasons for moral silence as identified by HRM experts (among others, a lack of ethical knowledge, the lifelessness of the ethical institutional framework, ignorance and fear, power games and buck-passing).

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After the serious effects of the international crisis of 2008 export activity – as a main form of internationalisation – proved to be an important element of survival and growth for small and medium sized enterprises. Recovery was especially difficult for the so-called peripheral countries, among them the Iberian, Baltic and Visegrád economies, on which this article concentrates. The observed period is between 2008 and 2016. First, a brief theoretical overview is given on SME internationalisation. Second, a literature review focuses on the export enhancing factors based on existing enterprise surveys and studies prepared after the crisis. These show that peripheral area SMEs are already similar to others regarding these stimuli, manager attitude and innovation being the most important ones. Third, statistical data are analysed to assess the significance of SMEs in employment, value added and exports. In this respect, SMEs and their pace of recovery are somewhat different in the three regions but not so distinct from the core countries. Finally, it is shown that in the post-crisis period, two main changes can be perceived: the temporary shift of exports towards non-EU markets and structural rearrangements in exporting enterprises.

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In this article we rely on the concept of “international new ventures” (INV), and concentrate on the analysis of two research propositions in the case of selected Hungarian INVs, based on company interviews in two selected industries, biotechnology and information technology. First, we analyse the criteria of the selection of foreign markets in the internationalisation of these firms and second, the role of networks in the internationalisation process of selected Hungarian INVs. Our results highlight the typical internationalisation pattern of targeting the largest developed foreign markets globally. In terms of the role of networks in internationalisation, we found evidence of the decisive role of networks in all cases examined. The personal network of the founder(s) was emphasised, especially in winning early clients. The scalability of the personal network-based business model was, however, questioned. The management implications of our findings suggest Hungarian INVs need to intensify their involvement in international communities supporting the growth of such companies. Areas for potential future research include comparing our findings with empirical results from other countries in Central-Eastern Europe.

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The study focuses on the analysis of a short term retail event. Its success is similar to Black Friday, but differs in underlying consumer motivations. Using a mixed methodology, phenomenological interviews provided in-depth understanding of the participants’ lived experiences followed by an online survey with a sample size of 761 respondents. Exploratory factor analyses has been used to differentiate three distinctive groups with hierarchical cluster analysis. By adopting the ANOVA method, clusters and hypothesis were further analysed. This study is the first to employ quantitative study for a shopper taxonomy of such an event. Our results contribute valuable insights into retail shopping orientation and shopper taxonomic scheme literatures. The finding that a short term retail event’s shoppers form distinct groups of consumers indicates a new way of customers embracing retail events. Our research has identified three distinct shopper clusters based on the different weight of task and social orientations: Loyalists, Enthusiasts, Newbies. Each group applies different strategies to satisfy personal goals. The present shopper taxonomy offers new strategic ways to increase retail performance by targeting the most valuable customers.

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This case study of the medical technology sector in Czechia places a major focus on the position of Czech firms, particularly SMEs, in global production networks and their internationalization. The medical technology (MedTech) industry is on the rise in Czechia, although in relative terms it is part of a relatively less important category. Three types of MedTech firms have been identified in Czechia: branches of TNCs, mostly domestically-owned innovative SMEs, and local SMEs focusing on low-value production. Despite there being several innovative and successful firms, production is dominated by low-value disposables and medical and surgical products. Apart from exports, other forms of internationalization are rare and occur mostly among a number of innovative firms. With a few exceptions, production facilities are established in neighboring post-communist countries. The low levels of internationalization are mostly related to the nature of local SMEs as well as the limited ambitions of local firms. With more sophisticated products Czech SMEs could focus more on Eastern European countries outside the EU, where Czechia has historical economic ties and the regulatory requirements are likely to be less strict. An industry move towards connected health solutions is also an opportunity for start-ups focusing on health applications.

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There is a growing debate in the literature about International New Ventures (INV). Survival of INVs – along with their growth and financial performance – seems to be an interesting phenomenon, but it has only been tackled in a small sample of studies. This study examines Hungarian INVs and some of their key characteristics in the years 2009–2014. The Hungarian Corporate Tax Database was used to analyse the entire population of Hungarian companies during that period. The database consists of 385,723 companies in 2009 and 422,500 companies in 2014, and comprises the whole Hungarian private sector. Of these companies, 6,547 can be identified as INVs in the period under analysis. In this paper, the survival, growth, and business performance characteristics of Hungarian INVs are examined. Hungarian INVs recorded an exceptionally high survival rate; after five business years, 70% of the INVs remained in business, but nearly half of them withdrew to the home market, which means that only 35% of the Hungarian INVs became Sustainable International New Ventures (SINVs). Hungarian SINVs employed on average about 25 employees, registered extremely high (around 75%) export intensity, had steadily growing earnings and equity (43.6% and 56.3% mean CAGR), showed a stable return on equity of about 10% after their first year in existence, and created added value of approximately 37,000 EUR per employee.

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In the otherwise rich debate on the eastward expansion of the Eurozone, fragmented approaches prevail, leaving several conceptual avenues of this process underexplored. The case of Poland — initially a fervent enthusiast of the euro adoption and a somewhat assertive endorser today — offers in this context an opportunity to add to the debate and deepen our understanding of the logic behind eastward expansion of the Eurozone. In what follows, Poland's prospective Eurozone entry is examined from the broader angle of the historically determined conceptual and policy-making context of systemic transition. To this end, a conceptual nexus between Eurozone expansion and transition is established and examined through the historical institutionalist perspective. It is argued that rather than being solely a function of Poland's EU membership, both the decision to adopt the euro and the attainment of real and nominal convergence are predominantly a function of the, as yet unfinished, transition process. Interestingly, as this paper suggests, the inconsistency inherent in the execution of the Maastricht convergence criteria not only creates disincentives that effectively delay Poland's Eurozone entry but also triggers reform-drift and backsliding, thus casting a shadow on the prospect of the completion of the Polish transition and its sustainability.

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This paper studies the global, regional, and country-specific components of four key financial market indicators: sovereign CDS spreads, equity indices, exchange rates, and EMBI Global bond spreads. In all four markets, the results support the findings of the literature of a significant global component, but also point out the importance of regional correlations. Variance decompositions point to roughly a third of variance explained by both global and country-specific components in each of the four analysed financial markets, although there is considerable cross-country heterogeneity in this respect. The global factors of indicators are correlated across asset classes, but the market- and country-specific components of indicators are still significantly large to suggest diversification benefits of both multi-asset and multi-country portfolios. An application of the factor model suggests that the link between Central Eastern European and Euro zone periphery markets is stronger and more direct in the case of equity indices than in the case of sovereign CDS spreads.

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