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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Abstract

I investigated the effects of adolescents' attitudes toward risk on their choice of employment sector in adulthood. I employed a joint model of employment sector choice and three-dimensional background characteristics to demonstrate that employment preference is an inverse function of the degree of relative risk aversion. Empirical data was obtained from longitudinal data, and a logit model was applied to estimate the effects of the three-dimensional background characteristics on the risk-taking attitudes and employment choices. I observed that individuals with a higher tendency to engage in risky experiences exhibit low risk aversion, and thus, tend to choose a riskier employment sector.

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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
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.

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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 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.

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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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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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Authors: Yu-Kun Wang, Li Zhang and We-Me Ho

Abstract

Though tax amnesties (TAs) are considered as a policy tool to increase revenue for governments, they have generated some puzzles. To solve the puzzles of TA we should not ignore the behavioural aspects of delinquent taxpayers. In this paper, we focus on a relatively neglected but important area of the TA literature. Considering that people who participate in tax amnesty policy (TAP) may not honestly report the whole amounts of evaded tax, thus they commit a secondary tax evasion. We indicate that even considering the risk of abstaining from TA and incurring possible uncertainty of tax evasion penalties, participating in a TA provides a higher level of utility for the delinquent taxpayers. Also, due to a secondary tax evasion usually accompanying with TA, we show that during the initial assessment period of a TAP the tax revenue drastically increases and when the assessment period is approaching the tax revenue stably declines and ultimately converges to a fixed value. Furthermore, we show that if delinquent taxpayers participate in the TAP and the penalties are larger than the expected tax revenue of the government, it increases the tax revenue without reducing the welfare of other taxpayers, so as to achieving Pareto improvement.

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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.

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Chinese infrastructural projects like the “Belt & Road Initiative” or the “Chinese 16 + 1 Initiative” are trapped in geopolitical narratives. Geopolitical concepts dressed in scientific robes make the logic of warfare begin to prevail over the logic of cooperation. As a consequence, something that was to be an opportunity for less developed countries, becomes the axis of conflict between the great powers. In this paper, I identify the logic of warfare as an underlining characteristic of geopolitical reasoning and show why it is incompatible with economic approach. I also argue that geopolitical concepts are not scientific theories, but rather self-fulfilling prophecies. This theoretical background allows to detect the biggest obstacles related to many Chinese initiatives, and also indicates some necessary means to neutralize geopolitical narratives.

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This paper investigates whether multinational companies possess superior manufacturing knowledge relative to domestic companies operating in emerging market countries. Manufacturing knowledge is operationalized as knowledge in use through the implementation and performance impact of manufacturing practices. Using survey data of 216 manufacturing plants located in five emerging countries, we apply analysis of variance (ANOVA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) to identify the potential knowledge surplus of multinational subsidiaries over local companies. Results of our analysis show that, generally, multinational subsidiaries invest significantly more effort in implementing manufacturing practices. Nevertheless, their knowledge superiority concerning the effective use of these practices is only materialized in terms of practices related to human resource development and advanced manufacturing technologies.

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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.

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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 presents a qualitative study of rapidly and gradually internationalising Polish firms. It compares these two types of firms with a special attention to their competitive strategies. The results show that there are more similarities than differences between the two groups of firms from emerging markets. These findings, based on case studies and interviews must be interpreted with a lot of caution, because the similar strategic behaviour of gradually internationalising firms to rapidly internationalising firms may stem from the fact that the former want to quickly reduce the distance to their counterparts in highly developed countries and thus take some strategic actions similar to rapidly internationalising firms.

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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.

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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.

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This article concerns the changing conditions of fiscal sovereignty within the Eurozone in the context of the evolution of the EU's institutional crisis-management framework during the recent financial crisis. It begins with a method-of-difference approach to compare the dynamics and outcomes of the crisis in the Greek and Hungarian economies, on the basis of their similarly troubled fiscal positions and domestic political environments. On this basis, an argument is made that the outcomes in Greece (i.e. a breakdown in national fiscal sovereignty and severe economic losses) were not an inevitable product of the economic fundamentals, but at least partially attributable to uncertainty about the extent and expedience of financial assistance through the Eurozone's crises management institutions. The European Central Bank's (ECB) 2012 declaration of “unlimited support” for Eurozone governments has done much to calm markets, but has also created an institution with an ambiguous and self-imposed “dual-mandate”. This article concludes that the precedent established by the last crisis has created a fraught situation, leaving the Eurozone without viable options that are both economically efficacious and politically legitimate. Relying on either the ECB or the European Stability Mechanism to manage any future crisis could well provoke a backlash among the Eurozone member states as national fiscal sovereignty is eclipsed by ever-deeper ad hoc financial commitments on the part of the institutions of crisis management.

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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.

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This paper deals with the possible existence of political budget cycles (PBCs) within the European Union (EU). I use panel data for 28 EU countries from 1995 to 2016 and provide estimates based on dynamic panel regressions. I employ a system-GMM estimator complemented by the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to limit the number of instruments. The specifications include structural budget balances related to the potential GDP, thereby limiting the initial endogeneity. These measures capture the true motivation behind fiscal policies. The results suggest that the EU member states exhibit PBCs: (i) the intervention occurs in the year before elections and (ii) the structural budget balance to the potential GDP ratio is lower by −0.41 percentage points a year before elections. In addition, I have investigated the EU fragmentation in terms of the PBCs and selected 8 countries’ characteristics correlating to the existence of these cycles. These include lower GDP per capita, post-communist background, low tax burden, high perceived corruption, low levels of media freedom and internet usage, lower number of directly voted-in legislative officials, and a low parliamentary voter turnout.

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The paper aims to analyse state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in 11 post-socialist Central-Eastern European (CEE) countries. Based on the individual data of large non-financial companies, we estimated the real state share in the years 2014 and 2015. We consider both direct and indirect state ownership and apply an explicit classification of companies as majority and minority state-owned, which is neglected in a lot of research. The countries with the highest values of the ‘Country SOE index’ were Slovenia and Latvia, while the lowest were Lithuania and Hungary. State ownership is dominant in transportation and storage and energy supply. The lower return on assets (ROA), return on equity (ROE) and return on capital employed (ROCE) ratios of SOEs imply that capital in this group of companies is used less efficiently. Furthermore, they are characterised by higher wage costs. At the same time, SOEs have higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margins and better ability to turn operating revenue into cash than their privately-owned counterparts.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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Author: Peter Racsko
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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.

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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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Authors: José Augusto Lopes Da Veiga, Alexandra Ferreira-Lopes, Tiago Neves Sequeira and Marcelo Serra Santos

In this paper we analyse the role of the traditional determinants of economic growth in the African countries in the period between 1950 and 2012. Due to the specificity and the single nature of each one of these countries, methods that take into account observed and unobserved heterogeneity are used. Results highlight the relevance of the growth rate of the capital stock to growth in the short-run, which is significant in all regressions. The growth rate of the government to GDP ratio is also important in all but one of the regressions in which it appears, and its growth is harmful for the growth of GDP per capita in the short-run. The variables related to public debt do not present any relationship with economic growth. Human capital has a positive relationship with economic growth in regressions that do not include public debt. The growth rate of real GDP per capita also depends (negatively) on its past value, i.e., the lower the real GDP per capita the higher will be its growth rate.

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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.

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In this study, we challenge the problem of inadequate voluntary pension savings by exploring the micro-dataset of the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) for three countries: Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The existing empirical literature usually focuses on the role of socio-demographic factors to understand this phenomenon, and theoretical studies additionally highlight the role of behavioural factors. However, empirical studies in this field are extremely scarce. The use of the LWS data enables us to fill this research gap. Separately for each country, we verify the role of individuals' risk attitudes and intertemporal choices in the demand for voluntary pension savings. To make the results more robust, we add a set of socio-demographic control variables to our regressions. Our findings clearly reveal that being more risk averse and being less forward looking negatively affect people's propensity to save for retirement. Furthermore, we confirm that age, gender and education are significant predictors of pension demand in each of the analysed countries. We argue that these conclusions have practical meaning to improve regulatory frameworks.

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While recent research on family business succession has focused on examining the importance of individual and family characteristics, the role of macroeconomic conditions has been often neglected. This paper investigates the impacts of macroeconomic conditions on family business heir's career choice intention using individual level cross-country data of 18 European countries for the year 2013. We find that the level of economic development measured by GDP per capita, growth of GDP per capita, and youth rate of unemployment influence a family business heir's career choice intention. We also demonstrate that beyond the cross-country differences in macroeconomic conditions, individual characteristics of siblings, age, gender, work experience in family business, and start-up time play an important role. To mitigate succession failures, policies towards business succession with related firm survival should be specifically designed depending on different macroeconomic and youth labour market conditions.

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Authors: Kyle J. Mamounis and Walter E. Block

For political and economic theory in general, libertarianism in particular, property rights are a pillar of central importance. One might describe the schools of political and economic thought solely by their approach to property rights, for example libertarianism as expansive and communism as constrained, with a fair degree of accuracy on the system as a whole.

Despite centuries of property rights philosophy, a fundamental weakness persists that can be most easily seen from a natural science perspective. Property classifications, such as between one's physical body, personal property, and other types of so-called private property, underlie much of the property rights theory, yet these classes are more of a result of technological limitations than philosophical or real economic distinctions.

We demonstrate through a lens of molecular and developmental biology how distinctions between types of property are misguided or illusory. Using the developing human embryo as the most basic example of property acquisition, we show that all subsequent examples of greater property acquisition and its use are fundamentally the same. The point is further developed with other biological examples.

Foundational concepts are of primary importance as their mistake persists through even the most elegant deductions. In order to defend itself from the political and economic attacks, the property rights ethic must be consistent and logical. For this, any artificial or contradictory concepts must be shed.

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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.

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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.

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This paper examines the impact of medium- and short-term financial constraints on the probability of export participation of SMEs in 28 post-communist countries. The regression analysis conducted over the cross-sectional sample of SMEs taken from the BEEPS III-IV-V shows that the medium- and short-term financial constraints produce a significantly negative effect on the probability of exporting. Although there exist arguments for why the effects of medium- and short-term financial constraints can differ from each other, both the medium- and short-term financial constraints appear to reduce the probability of exporting equally by 25%. The regression results also suggest that more productive, innovative, and larger SMEs, and also SMEs with international quality certificates are more likely to export. When the regressions are separately estimated for the first-time and continuous exporters, it appears that only the probability of exporting of continuous exporters is significantly sensitive to the financial constraints. Furthermore, the regressions separately run for the direct and indirect exporters show that the financial constraints have a larger effect on the probability of exporting of indirect exporters. The heterogeneity analysis shows that there is a significant heterogeneity in the effects of medium- and short-term financial constraints on the likelihood of exporting across regions, industries, periods, and firm types.

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Authors: Vladan Pavlović, Goranka Knežević, Marijana Joksimović and Dušan Joksimović

Benford's Law is a useful tool for detecting fraud in financial statements. In this paper we test the financial item named ‘Work performed by the undertaking for its own purpose and capitalised’ applying this tool. The data are taken from the financial reports of all companies submitted to the Serbian Business Register Agency for the period of 2008–2013. Our conclusion shows that there is a very high probability that the frequency distribution of the second digit does not satisfy Benford's Law. In other words, it implies that certain manipulations have been usually done with the second digit of the aforementioned item in the financial statement. This research confirms our hypothesis that financial statement frauds are usually conducted using the second digit.

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The paper tests the impact of gender diversity and educational attainment of owners and company directors on the performance of private firms in the Slovak economy. The paper demonstrates that in retail trade the gender diversity both in owners and company directors within a company leads to higher total factor productivity and partially lower propensity to fail. However, in other industries the companies with higher proportion of females in the ownership structure or among company directors tend to be less efficient and grow less. Although there is evidence that higher proportion of females self-select into lower risk sectors and occupations, our main results hold after controlling for it. In terms of educational attainment, the companies with higher proportions of owners or company directors with university education are more productive and grow more in terms of turnover, but there is no evidence that default of companies is related to educational attainment. We suggest that education is unique and superior resource and it generally benefits the companies by having higher proportion of educated owners and/or directors.