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2020 januárjától a MT/DP Műhelytanulmányok és a Budapest Working Papers sorozat egybeolvadt, és a továbbiakban KRTK-KTI Műhelytanulmányok cím alatt közli az intézet kutatóinak tudományos munkáját. A KRTK-KTI Műhelytanulmányok célja, hogy hozzászólásokat, vitát generáljanak, nem mentek át szakmai ellenőrzésen.

Szerkesztő: Hajdu Tamás

A megszűnt sorozatok tanulmányai az alábbi linkeken érhetőek el:

MT/DP műhelytanulmányok

BWP műhelytanulmányok

Testing Corruption Indicators: Statistical Analysis of a Hungarian Cartel



The study analyzes the reliability of corruption risk indicators using Hungarian public procurement data, specifically focusing on EU-funded contracts associated with a cartel case revealed by the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) in 2016. The investigation aims to determine whether corruption risk indicators for public procurement contracts related to the identified cartel case (214 contracts) are significantly higher than those for similar contracts in different submarkets. The analysis utilizes data from the Corruption Research Center Budapest database, encompassing Hungarian public procurement information from January 1998 to July 2023, totaling around 340,000 contracts or contract lots. Since the cartel case detected by the HCA was part of the EU-funded KEOP program, covering contracts from 2015 to 2016 in the manufacturing sector, our analysis is limited to EU-subsidized contracts in the manufacturing sector awarded in 2015 and 2016.

Our findings highlight that the corruption risk indicator (single bid), endorsed by the EU Single Market Scoreboard, provides valuable insights for identifying anomalies in public procurement. For the identified cartel contracts, the likelihood of a contract being awarded to a single bidder (without competition) was significantly higher compared to contracts not associated with a cartel case. A similarly robust outcome was observed for the indicator measuring contracts concluded with more than three bids. The probability of contracts with more than three bids was significantly lower for cartel contracts than for others.

The indicator assessing the occurrence of rounded winner prices yielded a significant result for one of the three subsamples, and in another, it was significant only at the 10% level. These results affirm the significance of conducting statistical analyses on contracts and the calculation, as well as in-depth examination, of corruption indicators (single bid, more than three bids, and rounded winner price) to identify anomalies in public procurement.


The effect of temperature on birth rates in Europe



Using data from 32 European countries for nearly 244 million live births between 1969 and 2021, this paper examines the effects of temperatures on birth rates. The results show that exposure to hot days slightly reduces birth rates five to eight months later, while much stronger negative effects are observed nine to ten months after exposure to hot temperatures. Thereafter, a partial recovery is observed, with slightly increased birth rates. This study also shows that the effect of high-humidity hot days is much stronger than that of hot days with low humidity. Besides, the effect of heatwave days has been found to be more severe than that of hot days that are not preceded by other hot days. This study finds that some adaptation to heat can only be expected in the long run, which suggests that climate change may have a negative impact on the number of live births in the twenty-first century.


The Aftermaths of Lowering the School Leaving Age – Effects on Roma Youth



In 2013, the Hungarian government cut the school leaving age from 18 to 16. We study the impact of this unique reform on the country’s sizeable Roma minority using census data on the universe of 17-year-olds in 2011 and a 10 percent random sample in 2016. School attendance fell by more than 20 percentage points among Roma youth as opposed to less than 6 points with their non-Roma counterparts. Roma’s post-reform drawbacks in school enrolment were predominantly explained by their family background, neighborhood characteristics, and, much less importantly, below-average school performance. Changes in local employment prospects had no remarkable impact on the post-reform ethnic gap. More stringent selection and self-selection by social status and school performance (rather than ethnicity) nevertheless affected the Roma minority disproportionally, with close to 30 percent of their 17-year-old children being out of education, training, and employment three years after the reform.


Contribution of High School Heterogeneity to the Wage Variation of Young Workers



The aim of this paper is to quantify how much of the initial wage differentials of young workers is explained by the secondary school they attended, and to disentangle the (descriptive) channels contributing to these differences. The analysis is based on the HUN-REN CERS Admin3 database, taking advantage of the fact that for some cohorts, young people’s secondary schooling (and students’ school standardized mathematics test scores) and wage outcomes at their early career can be observed simultaneously. Using wage decomposition methods, we separate the channels of firm and occupational selection from the direct returns to further education. Our analysis suggests that about 10 percent of the total wage dispersion of young people aged 18-25 (and already working) is generated at the school level. This also implies that the correlation between the wages of any two students of the same school is 0.1. Another novelty of the paper is that we show that a substantial part of these correlations are due to occupational and workplace selection (e.g. students from a given school type are systematically more likely to go on to well-paid jobs). If we remove these selection effects, the effect of schools on wage dispersion, the correlation between the latent skills of students, shrinks to 4 percent. Finally, we also compare schools of different quality based on different school characteristics (e.g. average test scores), which allows us to further stress the importance of the selection channels.


The Macroeconomics of Managers: Supply, Selection, and Competition



Good management practices are important determinants of firm success. It is unclear, however, to what extent pro-management policies can shape aggregate outcomes. We use data on corporations and their top managers in Hungary during and after its post-communist transition to document a number of salient patterns. First, the number of managers is low under communism when most employment is in large conglomerates. After the transition to capitalism, the number of managers increased sharply. Second, economics and business degrees became more popular with capitalist transition. Third, newly entering managers tended to run smaller firms than incumbent managers. We build a dynamic equilibrium model to explain these facts. In the model, the number and average quality of managers react to schooling and career choice. We use the model to evaluate hypothetical policies aiming to improve aggregate productivity through management education and corporate liberalization. Our results suggest that variations in the supply of good managers are important to understand the success of management interventions.


Poor housing quality and the health of newborns and young children



This study uses linked administrative data on live births, hospital stays, and census records for children born in Hungary between 2006 and 2011 to examine the relationship between poor housing quality and the health of newborns and children aged 1-2 years. We show that poor housing quality, defined as lack of access to basic sanitation and exposure to polluting heating, is not a negligible problem even in a high-income EU country like Hungary. This is particularly the case for disadvantaged children, 20-25% of whom live in extremely poor-quality homes. Next, we provide evidence that poor housing quality is strongly associated with lower health at birth and a higher number of days spent in inpatient care at the age of 1-2 years. These results indicate that lack of access to basic sanitation, hygiene, and non-polluting heating and their health impacts cannot be considered as the exclusive problem for low- and middle-income countries. In high-income countries, there is also a need for public policy programs that identify those affected by poor housing quality and offer them potential solutions to reduce the adverse effects on their health.


Competition, confidence and gender: shifting the focus from the overconfident to the realistic



The gender gap in competitiveness is argued to explain gender differences in later life outcomes, including career choices and the gender wage gap. In experimental settings, a prevalent explanation attributes this gap to males being more (over)confident than females (we call this the compositional channel). While our lab-in-the-field study using data from students in 53 classrooms (N$>$1000) reproduces this finding, it also uncovers a second, potentially more impactful channel of confidence contributing to the gender gap in competitiveness (the preference channel). To disentangle the two channels, we propose a more precise measure of confidence based on whether the subjects’ believed performance rank exceeds, coincides with or falls short of their actual performance in a real-effort task. We label categories of this Guessed – Actual Performance (GAP) difference as overconfident, realistic or underconfident, respectively. Surprisingly, there is no gender difference in competitiveness within the over- and underconfident subgroups, while a significant gender gap exists among the realistic. So, even if both genders had the same level of confidence, a persistent gender gap in preference (or taste) for competition would remain in the realistic group. This finding is robust across all specifications, challenging previous theories about the overconfidence of men being the sole driver of the relationship between confidence and the gender gap in competition.


Evaluating the effect of a drastic cut in unemployment benefit duration on re-employment and wages of jobseekers



We evaluate the effect of a drastic cut in potential benefit duration, reducing the maximum length of UI benefits from 9 to 3 months in Hungary at the end of 2011. We rely on rich longitudinal matched administrative data, which allows us to obtain information on a large sample of UI benefit claimants, and we use matching methods to evaluate the effect of the benefit cut. While UI claimants found jobs more rapidly as a result of the reform, this is a relatively small change, and we find only negligible negative effects of reemployment wages overall. The notion that changes are due to the reform is reinforced by the result that the effect on employment is largest for the group where the ‘bite’ of the reform was the largest. Our heterogeneity analysis reveals that the drastic cut seems to have reduced moral hazard for the most employable (those with tertiary education) and forced them to be ‘less picky’. This means that they took up lower wage jobs, but this effect was only temporary. Overall, the reform led to significantly lower income for over 60 percent of jobseekers, since the increase in labour income did not compensate for the large reduction in UI benefits paid; while only benefiting less than 10 percent of jobseekers, over a two-year horizon.


Temperature exposure and sleep duration: evidence from time use surveys



The Earth’s climate is projected to warm significantly in the 21st century, and this will affect human societies in many ways. Since sleep is a basic human need and part of everyone’s life, the question of how temperature affects human sleep naturally arises. This paper examines the effect of daily mean temperature on sleep duration using nationally representative Hungarian time use surveys between 1976 and 2010. Compared to a mild temperature (5-10 °C), colder temperatures do not influence sleep duration. However, as daily mean temperatures rise, sleep duration starts to strongly decline. The effect of a hot (>25 °C) day is −12.4 minutes, but if preceded by a few other hot days, the effect is even stronger, −22.7 minutes. The estimated sleep loss is especially large on weekends and public holidays, for older individuals, and men. Combining the estimated effects with temperature projections of twenty-four climate models shows that the warming climate will substantially decrease sleep duration. The projected impacts are especially large when taking into account the effects of heatwave days. This study also shows that different groups in society are likely to be affected in significantly different ways by a warming climate.


A rational pension reform package: Hungary, 2025



As part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP, 2023), the Hungarian government pledged to reform the pension system. The main themes are sustainability and adequacy. The pension plan is to be discussed publicly and put into law by March 2025. The last detailed official pension study was the 2016-discussion paper of the Hungarian National Bank which should be updated. The present study is a private work which may contribute to the improvement of the current pension system. The current and the projected states of the Hungarian pension system are outlined, and then simple and complex reforms are formulated. Naming just two reform steps, I start with the simplest step: the return to public discussion steered by a revitalized Fiscal Council and end with the most complex: the introduction of the flexible (variable) retirement age.


The development of the Central and Eastern European venture capital market in Europe



The working paper examines the role and development of the Central and Eastern European venture capital sector in the five years between 2016 and 2020. This period includes both the end of the recovery after the economic crisis in 2008 and the downturn due to the coronavirus crisis in 2019. A statistical analysis of venture capital funds and investments in the CEE region confirms that, while the overall position of the region in Europe did not change over the period under review, the differences between countries in the region increased sharply. The northern part of the region rivals the most developed countries in Europe, the central part is driven by an abundance of public resources, while the venture capital sector in the south is only in its infancy. The size of the venture capital funds in the region is far below the European average, so the start-ups only have a chance to become successful if they are involved in the international flow of venture capital. The role of the government in the funds in the region is extremely high, but the selection between companies is therefore not based solely on market considerations. Rent-seeking behaviour goes against the essence of venture capital. As a result of the deterioration of the global political and economic situation, the entire Central and Eastern European region is losing its ability to attract capital.


Egy észszerű nyugdíjreform csomag: Magyarország, 2025



Egy EU kezdeményezés miatt a magyar kormányzatnak szoros ütemterv szerint ki kell dolgoznia egy cselekvési tervet, amelynek része egy nyugdíjreform is. A tervet nyilvánosan meg kell vitatni, majd törvénybe iktatni. Az utolsó nyilvános és részletes nyugdíjtanulmány MNB műhelytanulmányként 2016-ban jelent meg, amely az azóta bekövetkezett változások miatt szükségképpen felfrissítésre vár. Addig is érdemesnek láttam egy észszerű nyugdíjreform-csomagot felvázolni, amely a jelenlegi rendszert hatékonyabbá és méltányosabbá tenné. Először a mai helyzetet körvonalazom, majd az egyszerűbb és a bonyolultabb reformok irányait mutatom be. Itt csak azt említem meg, hogy vissza kellene térni a 2008 és 2010 közti Költségvetési Tanács gyakorlatához, amelynek Titkárságán kiváló szakemberek serege dolgozott a nyugdíjreformhoz hasonló kérdéseken. A megvalósíthatóság politikai feltételeivel nem foglalkozom.