Internal Lunch Seminars (Archive)
Czech District Heating Plants: Elasticities and Price-Cost MarginsLecturer: Vladimír Hajko, Václav Šebek Affiliation: Mendel University, Masaryk University ESF Masaryk University, Lipová 41a, Room: Academic club 12:00 PM • 3/18/2016
In 2015, Czech Republic witnessed harsh debate about the future of lignite open-cast mining. The need of the price stability in district heating (DH) lignite power plants has been one of underlying argument in favor of mining continuation. DH delivers heating energy to roughly one third of Czech households relatively cheaply (compared to other sources). Thus the arguments such as “economic stability” of DH systems and the availability of cheap heat have been used frequently in the debate. Surprisingly enough, the actual micro-economic analysis of DH sector in Czech Republic is considerably underdeveloped. This paper aims to fill this gap. We focus at the power plants (PP) with combined output of heat and electricity of at least 100 TJ per year, where the heat production is dominant. This group consists of 36 PPs of variable characteristics (such as production capacity, ownership, consumer portfolio etc.). 9 of them have full economic data available open source. Despite the fact we find large inconsistencies in the data, we aim to calculate price and income elasticities of the PP in question and estimate the price-cost margins. There are multiple ways of approaching the elasticity estimations, but the initial look at the data indicates the results are likely highly dependent on the plant. For instance pooled estimate of SR elasticity is about -0.58, but if we allow for the fixed panel effects, we find the SR price elasticity −0.212. In the dynamic panel model distinguishing between SR and LR elasticities, we estimate the SR elasticity to be -0.086 and LR elasticity approximately -0.16. Given the peculiarity of the data, we do not primarily seek to generalize, but rather pinpoint what needs to done in further research.
Justifying the unjustifiable: How the intangible benefits of information systems can be evaluatedLecturer: Michal Krčál Affiliation: ESF MU ESF AK 12:00 PM • 2/18/2016
Abstract: From the introduction of Brynjolfsson’s “Productivity Paradox” and Bannister’s and Remenyi’s “act of faith”, the scientists are tackling the challenge of evaluating intangible benefits of information systems. Not only companies are struggling with success of IT projects but they are usually unable to say, if the information system is proving to be beneficial. To this day, the solutions and suggestions are far from being useful or used, if the problem of evaluation of intangible benefits of information systems can be even solved. In order to try to organize the body of knowledge in this area, this talk will introduce and describe a preliminary taxonomy of information system evaluation methods and give some insights on current justification and evaluation practices that were gathered from interviews with practitioners during a case study.
Maximizing vs. Satisficing in decision makingLecturer: Michal Ďuriník Affiliation: ESF MU ESF S314 12:00 PM • 2/11/2016
Abstract: Some people, called Maximizers, do not settle for good enough choices – they want to make sure what they select is the best. To discover the best options possible, they can exert large amounts of time and effort, sometimes getting stuck in an obsessive search for more alternatives to compare. To Satisficers, good enough is simply good enough. In our experiment, subjects have the option to engage in an expansive search and just like in the real life, excessive searching in the experiment comes with opportunity costs. We look at how the Maximization Inventory score is related to the number of items uncovered and to the total payouts. Also we investigate the effectiveness of different approaches to help maximizers not to ruminate and over-think their decisions. As this is a work in progress, all comments and suggestions are warmly welcome!
Rocket and Feather Effect in Retail Gasoline Market : Evidence from the Czech RepublicLecturer: Jaroslav Bil Affiliation: Masaryk University, ÚOHS Academic Club (ESF MU) 11:30 AM • 12/11/2015
This study investigate price adjustement in retail gasoline market in Czech Republic. Using weekly aggregated panel data of 1285 gas stations over years 2008-2013 error-corection model is estimated to provide the evidence for asymmetric pricing responses on positive and negative shocks from commodity stock market. Even though gas station operators defer reduce the retail price when stock market prices are falling, ultimate adjustment is more pronounced after stock price decrese than increase. Thus the consequent final effect on welfare is sporadic. What are the rationale for that behaviour and why does pricing policy differ across operators? These and other questions are subject to further research.
Endogenous Economic Cycles: An Agent-based Model Of Consumers’ ConfidenceLecturer: Jana Závacká Affiliation: Faculty of Economics, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava Academic club (ESF MU) 12:00 PM • 12/10/2015
Abstract: The main goal of this paper is to present consumers’ confidence as an important source of cyclical economic activity. We use a simplified agent-based model with a single production sector and consumers (agents). The confidence (optimism/stableness/pessimism) spreads by interactions among consumers and according to the macro state of the economy on the lattice of consumers. The aggregate level of confidence in society reflects the consumers’ expectations about their future incomes together with their preferences between current and future consumption and determines aggregate demand for consumption spending. The aggregate supply is always formed with an attempt to satisfy aggregate demand, even at the price of growing amount of inventory goods. We found that the model is capable of generating persistent endogenous business cycles. Peaks of waves of optimism/pessimism in the society correspond to the peaks of growth rate rather than the level of economic activity. The variable marginal rate of sub- stitution between present and future consumption has a countercyclical and stabilizing influence on the growth rate of economic activity.
Keywords: ACE model; business cycle; consumer confidence.
Local perceptions of climate change impacts and migration patterns in MaledivesLecturer: Robert Stojanov Affiliation: Charles University in Prague Academic club (ESF MU) 12:30 PM • 11/24/2015
This study covers outcomes from our field research in Maldives in 2013. We investigated what are the most acute environmental and especially climate challenges generally and how they are perceived and evaluated by local inhabitants. We focused on how livelihood activities are affected by climate change, mainly due to sea-level rise and seasonal monsoons shifts. We also researched if migration from the country could be perceived as being a coping or adaptation strategy (or a combination) and the role of migration governance. That includes investigating whether local people are willing to move outside Maldives to neighbouring countries (such as Sri Lanka and India).
We applied quantitative questionnaires conducted mostly with ordinary people (N=347), living in the capital Malé and nearby islands. Our results suggest that among other environmental challenges, sea-level rise is perceived by both groups as being one of the key factors affecting Maldivian society and livelihoods in the future. More then 50% of respondents perceive future sea-level rise to be serious and migration from islands to other countries is a definite potential option for dealing with those changes in future. But Many other reasons play important roles (such as culture, religion, economics, and social aspects) in decision-making about migrating or not.
The marginal cost of justice: A theory of optimal use of alternative criminal proceduresLecturer: Josef Montag Affiliation: Univesity of Economics, Prague Academic Club (ESF MU) 12:00 PM • 11/3/2015
Abstract: Criminal cases can be adjudicated via court trials or alternative criminal procedures, such as penal order and plea bargaining. We develop a model of optimal allocation of cases across these alternatives. The model predicts that the evidence standards—and thus the number of wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals—fundamentally depend upon the cost structure of the criminal process as well as on the budget resources allocated to the criminal justice system. We call this phenomenon the marginal cost of justice. Our model offers explanations why the scope of plea bargaining in the United States has been traditionally broader than the scope of alternative procedures in Europe and why their use in Europe has recently expanded.
On the regularity of smooth production economies with externalities: Competitive equilibrium à la NashLecturer: Vincenzo Platino Affiliation: Masaryk University Academic club (ESF MU) 12:00 PM • 10/29/2015
Abstract: We consider a general equilibrium model of a private ownership economy with consumption and production externalities. The choices of all agents (households and firms) may affect utility functions and production technologies. The equilibrium notion blends Arrow--Debreu with Nash, that is, agents (households and firms) maximize their goals by taking as given both commodity prices and choices of every other agent in the economy. We provide an example showing that under standard assumptions, such economies may have infinitely many equilibria. We present our model with firms' endowments following Geanakoplos, Magill, Quinzii and Drèze (1990). Firms' endowments consist of amounts of commodities held by the firms to generate receipts from sales of initially-held stocks of commodities and claims from debts, subsidies and taxes expressible in terms of them. We prove that almost all economies are regular in the space of endowments of households and firms.
Childcare arrangements: Parental preferences in the Czech RepublicLecturer: Jana Válková Affiliation: Masaryk University ESF, Lipová 41a, Brno, Room S314 1:00 PM • 10/9/2015
The research explores how cultural values, policy arrangements and economic pressures influence the preference for childcare. We study the parents preferences towards the childcare arrangements of pre-school children living in middle-upper class and working class neighborhoods when different options were available. The analysis is based on 40 semi-structured interviews with parents of first graders from two cities in the Czech Republic – Prague and Brno – collected within the project Parental Choice and Caring for Children in the Czech Republic and Slovakia supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic.
Property rights predictability and FDILecturer: Štěpán Mikula Affiliation: Masaryk University Academic club ESF MU 12:00 PM • 8/21/2015
This paper deals with the role of predictability of property rights protection in source countries on the bilateral stock of foreign direct investments allocated in OECD countries. The poor predictability undermines the transaction costs reducing and productivity enhancing effect of property rights. Empirical results suggest that lower predictability leads to increase of investments held abroad and to decrease the amount of resources allocated to investments. The effect is driven by negative shocks when actual level of property rights protection is lower than expected. On the other hand there is no effect on FDI in the case positive shock where the lower predictability is compensated by positive effect of institutional innovations.