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Abstract

Are governments able to continuously boost economic growth by spending for decades? Can the state be a more efficient user of income by improving the structure of public spending? The paper analyses the correlation between various types of public expenditures and GDP growth in different countries of the EU. The database was composed from the Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) classification of public spending, which contains data of 25 EU economies in the period 1996–2017. Three econometric models were applied in accordance with the empirical practice found in the literature: first-differences general method of moment (GMM), fixed effects panel and ordinary least squares (OLS) models. The expenditures on social protection proved to have a negative, statistically significant and robust impact on GDP growth. The results are similar for general public spending, and while spending on public order also has a significant and robust coefficient, its sign is ambiguous. The novelty of the article relate to the findings on lagged education and health spending, which have a positive impact on GDP growth.

Open access

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to study the impact of fiscal policy on economic growth in Bulgaria for the period 1995–2018. The descriptive analysis is focused on the general trends in fiscal policy and tax structure. The influence of government spending and taxation on economic growth is studied through regressions on time-series data. The empirical estimates prove that taxation is a more reliable instrument of fiscal policy than government spending in terms of a small open emerging-market economy. The dilution of the effect of public spending is probably caused by the high negative values of the current account balance that have been maintained for long periods. Thus, when domestic supply is weak, government expenditure cannot stimulate domestic production, as supply is dominated by import goods. Public investments demonstrate a negative effect on economic growth, which suggests a low productivity of investment spending. A factor of great importance is the level of corruption, which is strongly correlated with government investments, but is harmful to their efficiency. The Bulgarian tax system demonstrates consistency with economic growth. The receipts from value-added tax seems growth-conductive. The decrease of the corporate income tax rate exerts a positive impact on economc performance during the analyzed period, while personal income taxation demonstrates a negative effect. Property taxation has no significant relation with the growth of the Bulgarian economy.

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Abstract

The growth impact of tax reforms is probably one of the most controversial issues in economic policy discussions, reflecting deep beliefs in the way economic agents are expected to react to policy changes. The optimal tax theory literature provides a wide array of arguments to identify the mechanisms through which tax reforms might influence growth, depending on the tax category considered and the circumstances under which tax reforms are implemented. The empirical literature has relied on the use of cross-country growth regressions and provided general results leading to normative conclusions on the desirability of specific tax reform options. However, recent research has shown that this approach yields inconclusive results, notably due to identification and endogeneity issues, and the difficulty to account for the true determinants of governments' actions. The dynamic scoring approach combining microsimulation and macro models proves more useful in this respect, especially in order to draw policy recommendations while accounting for the second-round effects of tax reforms. I illustrate these arguments by analysing the growth impact of a hypothetical change from the current flat personal income tax (PIT) rates to progressive taxes in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. I find that the estimated impact of such a reform would be rather small but positive when using the dynamic scoring method, while the less-reliable traditional growth regressions would suggest adverse growth effects.

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Abstract

This article concentrates on the transformative potential of the Millennial generation within the framework of the political landscapes of the United States, several European countries and Russia. Generational experiences frame the context for the comparative examination of the democratic order and the perspectives for democratic transition. In Western countries, the group is a potentially powerful political force, yet its members do not pursue traditional forms of civic engagement – they are sceptical about institutional forms of participation and have little trust in public authority. Embedded in a youth-marginalization discourse, the public identities of the Millennials are seen rather as a manifestation of the failures of democratic representation, rather than as forms of agency seeking new ways of political expression. The orientations of this distinct group also present a puzzle when the future of authoritarian regimes is discussed: Millennials’ openness to political change is often questioned, despite the prominent role they play in the rise of the opposition forces that gained influence during Vladimir Putin’s third term. Nevertheless, in both contexts, the ongoing generational shift has become an increasingly important area for social-scientific investigation and it is being directly related to broader arguments about the nature of political change.

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Abstract

Although Ethiopia is one of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), there is a lack of empirical studies about the determinants of its external indebtedness. This paper aims to fill this gap by examining the macroeconomic determinants of the external indebtedness of Ethiopia between 1981 and 2016, using the two- and three-gap models as a theoretical framework and an autoregressive distributed lag bound testing approach. The result shows that in the long run, the savings-investment gap, trade deficit, fiscal deficit, and debt service have a positive and significant impact on external indebtedness. However, the growth rate of gross domestic product, trade openness, and inflation negatively and significantly affect the external indebtedness of the country. These results coincide with the predictions of the two- and three-gap models of the theoretical framework. The study argues that appropriate macroeconomic, social, and supply-side policies are essential to reducing the external indebtedness of Ethiopia.

Open access
Authors: Óscar Brito Fernandes, Mukhethwa Netshiombo, László Gulácsi, Niek S. Klazinga, Márta Péntek and Petra Baji

Abstract

The South African Ministry of Health has recognized experiences of care as key to strengthen patient-centred care. This case study aims to measure patient-reported experiences of care at a clinic in South Africa, and its associations with the respondents' sociodemographic characteristics. A survey was conducted in 2019 on a convenience sample of 179 respondents. Questions on experiences of care were based on a standardised set of questions by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Logistic regression was used to examine the effects of respondents' characteristics on their experiences. The proportion of respondents who reported that a nurse spent adequate time with them during consultation was significantly higher among literate respondents (92.3 vs. 79.5%). Those who reported past negative experiences were significantly more likely to report a positive experience in regard to perceiving adequate consulting time (odds ratio = 3.865, with a 95% confidence interval between 1.555 and 9.607), receiving easy-to-understand explanations (4.308; 1.665–11.145), being given the opportunity to ask questions (2.156; 1.013–4.589) and shared decision–making (3.822; 1.728–8.457). The results can spur comparisons with other clinics in a similar setting and inform key stakeholders on aspects of the care experience that need greater improvement within the national framework for quality and safety assurance and patient experience measurement.

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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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Abstract

Rating the reliability of banks has always been an important practical problem for businesses and the economic policy makers. The best way to do this is the CAMEL analysis. The aim of this paper was to create a bank-rating indicator from the five fields of the CAMEL analysis using two-two indicators for each field for the Turkish Islamic banking system. According to the results of the analysis, we could rank the Turkish Islamic banks. Beside the widespread use of the CAMEL analysis, we applied the Similarity Analysis as a new method. We compared the results from the two methods and came to the conclusion that the CAMEL analysis does not adequately provide a fairly shaded picture about the banks. The Component-based Object Comparison for Objectivity (COCO) method gave us the yearly results in time series form. The comparison of the time series data leads to the problem of deciding about what is more important for us – average, standard deviation or the slope. For handling this problem, we used Analytic Hierarchy Process, which gave weights to these indicators.

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Abstract

Deflation is widely feared and opposed. This paper provides arguments to explain the anti-deflationary bias. It is argued that governments favour inflation, that the main deflation theories have influenced negatively the public opinion on deflation, and that rent-seeking behaviour and group formation explains why the opposition to deflationary redistribution is stronger than the opposition to inflationary redistribution. Moreover, psychological concepts, such as anchoring, the endowment effect or the availability heuristic have contributed to the fear of deflation by causing a money illusion and a equalisation of deflation and recession.

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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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Abstract

The paper explores the nature of economic models. It is claimed that accounting for it along the isolationism-constructivism line is untenable. A more integrated approach is needed, based on the pragmatist philosophical tradition, focussing rather on the modelling process than on the narrower notion of the model. This argument is backed by a case study: analysis of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT) as presented by Roger Garrison, which, as is argued, does not fully fit either the isolationist or the constructivist account of models. It is primarily shown by revealing the fact that learning about the world by using ABCT is not of deductive nature. Therefore, even in the presence of such a strong realistic methodology as the one in the Austrian economics, models used by its adherents are not necessarily perfect isolations. At the same time, this realistic methodology is not in line with the constructivist approach in model-building. The paper should be understood as an exercise in philosophy of economics, namely as an attempt at better understanding of various aspects of economics (here it is models and specifically ABCT) by taking the perspective offered by philosophy of science.

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the economic resilience of Spanish provinces and help to explain why some of them are much more resilient than others. To do so, the paper focuses on the recent, 2007–2009 economic crisis and computes a composite indicator (Resilience) made up of two sub-indicators: one for the recession period (Drop) and the other for the recovery period (Rebound). Then, it suggests some factors affecting resilience and, due to the presence of spatial dependence, applies a spatial econometric approach to assess them. The main conclusions are that the level of Resilience depends negatively on the shares of the construction and manufacturing sectors in GDP, and positively on the share of services and the openness degree. As for the Drop, it is important to stress that human capital emerges as a variable that has contributed to minimise the negative effect of the crisis.

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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.

Open access
Authors: Zsolt Tibor Kosztyán, Vivien Valéria Csányi and András Telcs

Abstract

We present an application preference, list-based framework to Hungarian universities, which allows different type of flexible aggregation, and hence, analysis and clustering of application data. A novel mathematical method is developed by which preference lists can be converted into scored rankings. The proposed approach is demonstrated in the case of Hungary covering the period of 2006–2015. Our method reveals that the efforts to leverage the geographical center–periphery differences did not fulfil the expectations of policy makers. Also, it turns out that a student's top preference is very difficult to influence, while recruiters may build their strategy on the information of the first but one choice.

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Abstract

The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between tourism development and economic growth in Greece, using the Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL)-Bounds testing procedure. The present paper attempts to examine the relevance of the tourism led growth hypothesis according to the Kaldorian theory. The analysis was carried out for the period from 1963 to 2016 and involves the short-run as well as the log-run impact. As a proxy for the output of the tourism sector, its receipts are employed, while as an index for economic growth, the GDP is employed. The empirical results show that the economy of Greece can recover and return to the long-run equilibrium with a speed of adjustment 7.17% per year.

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to identify the differences in the determinants of successful transition (understood as the creation of a new development path) between the eastern and the western EU Member States between 1994 and 2014 and elaborate assumptions for a strategy of constructing regional advantage for them at the NUTS2 level. We find that the regional transition requires individual approaches to using comparative advantage at the beginning of the process and then competing with specific advantages that can be consciously constructed throughout the process. Therefore, we hypothesise that a successful transition requires constructing regional advantages based on the knowledge-related factors, leading to specialisation in the knowledge-intensive industries. Furthermore, we state that the way of constructing such advantages differs across the regions. All of our hypotheses were confirmed. Both groups of regions had different comparative advantages at the beginning of the period and constructed competitive advantage based on related knowledge-intensive industries, leading to their specialisation. Interestingly, although the process of building regional advantage was similar, the factors used to create it were different, had a different impact on GDP growth and led to a different specialisation.

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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.

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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).

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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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