EPoS Interviews

Interview with Bernhard Ganglmair: US Federal Judiciary: Patent Infringement Cases Dropped by around 70%

Bonn, Mannheim, 20.06.2024 – At the U.S. federal court in the Western District of Texas (WDTX), total patent infringement case filings dropped by around 70 percent after the court’s rules were amended. Apparently, many companies and especially those that do not actually use their patented technologies in the product market – so-called “patent trolls” – had abused the court and run a strategy of “judge shopping”. They strategically sought out one particular judge. The WDTX introduced “random case assignment” to stop this practice. These findings are published by the EPoS Economic Research Center at the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim in the discussion paper “Do Judicial Assignments Matter? Evidence from Random Case Allocation”.

Interview with Carl-Christian Groh: How “Data Analytics” Affects the Gap between Rich and Poor

Bonn, Mannheim, 06.06.2024 – Around 75 percent of US manufacturing companies already use “predictive analytics” to forecast future results. The companies analyze huge amounts of data, so-called “big data”. This enables them to predict key components of their future profitability, such as demand, operating costs and even strategic decisions of competitors. Yet, the ensuing rising profits of capital owners and entrepreneurs can exacerbate income inequality in societies. This is the result of a new study by the EPoS Economic Research Center at the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim published in the discussion paper “Big Data and Inequality”.

Interview with Maxi Guennewig: Are Crypto-Currencies a Miracle Cure for Fighting Inflation?

Bonn, Mannheim, 29.05.2024 – Central banks aim to keep a check on the value and inflation of traditional public money. In contrast, more recent private money initiatives –the “crypto-currencies” – promise more price stability. Economists wonder whether the new digital currencies, which are operated by the blockchain, could offer an alternative to public money. Maxi Guennewig has analyzed the pros and cons of crypto-currencies. The results are published by the EPoS Economic Research Center at the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim in the discussion paper “Blockchain Congestion Facilitates Currency Competition”.

Interview with Ana Moreno-Maldonado, "Back To The City": Childless Young Americans Boost Urban Revival

Bonn, Mannheim, 29.05.2024 – Young childless Americans favor urban living and often move to the downtowns of U.S. cities. Researchers from the EPoS Economic Research Center have linked this phenomenon to the revival of inner cities which has taken place since 1980. They find that delayed parenthood of college graduates significantly contributes to the urban revival in the United States. These results are published in the discussion paper “Delayed Childbearing and Urban Revival: A Structural Approach”.

Interview with Konrad Stahl: How Online Ratings Help Consumers To Make Better Decisions

Bonn, Mannheim, 29.05.2024 – Consumers regularly consult rating scores before they book a hotel, choose a restaurant, or make an online purchase on platforms such as eBay. Yet, not all buyers actually rate their purchasing experience. Nevertheless, researchers find that even a small number of buyer ratings can be surprisingly reliable to predict the type of seller a consumer is dealing with. These results of a new study by the EPoS Economic Research Center are published in the discussion paper “Learning from Online Ratings”.

Interview with Barbara Boelmann: Economy Meets History

Bonn, Mannheim, 03.04.2024 - The female share of students at German universities is currently around 50.9 percent – the 50 percent mark was first exceeded two years ago. However, progressing towards equal opportunities took a long time. The participation of women in higher education increased partly because they were able to study in their home region more often, when local universities were founded in Germany in the 1960s and 70s. The EPoS Economic Research Center publishes this research finding in the discussion paper “Women’s Missing Mobility and the Gender Gap in Higher Education: Evidence from Germany’s University Expansion”

Interview with Christian Zimpelmann: Research: New Policy for Women Could Fight Labor Shortage in Germany

Bonn, Mannheim, 06.03.2024 – The female employment rate in Germany is still below that of men: 73.1 vs. 80.6 percent according to the Federal Labour Office. What is more, many mothers work only part-time. Increasing the number of hours worked by women would help to counteract the skills shortage due to the demographic change. To that effect, researchers from the EPoS Economic Research Center stress the importance of targeted policy measures as employment decisions depend on role attitudes in different subgroups. Their findings are published in the discussion paper “How Gender Role Attitudes Shape Maternal Labor Supply”.

Interview with Yasemin Özdemir: Economy Meets History

Bonn, Mannheim, 20.02.2024 – East Germans who witnessed as teenagers the large economic upheaval of Reunification in 1990, have been affected in the development of their socioemotional skills. Economists from the EPoS Economic Research Center provide evidence for a causal link between increased uncertainty and youth development. Their findings are published in the discussion paper “Socioemotional Development during Adolescence: Evidence from a Large Macro Shock”.

Interview with Laura Grigolon: How Gas Prices Fuel Electric Usage of Hybrid Cars

Bonn, Mannheim, 25.01.2024 – The fuel consumption of plug-in hybrid cars is, on average, double that of official estimates. Higher fuel prices can improve the environmental performance of these vehicles, Laura Grigolon from the EpoS Economic Research Center reports. A ten percent rise in fuel prices increases the share of driving in electric mode for German car owners by 1.6 percentage points. These research results are published in the discussion paper “Fueling Electrification: The Impact of Gas Prices on Hybrid Car Usage”.

Interview with Germán Reyes: How Companies Lose Staff Due to Their Wage-Setting Practices

Bonn, Mannheim, 18.01.2024 – Companies tend to set wages at round numbers which leads to clusters of salaries. A possible reason: This simplifies decision-making when it comes to negotiating pay. As a downside, these companies have higher employee turnover, lower growth, and lower survival rates — as Germán Reyes from the EpoS Economic Research Center finds in data from Brazil. His research results are published in the discussion paper “Coarse Wage-Setting and Behavioral Firms”.

Interview with Maxi Guennewig: Why It Is Risky That US Banks’ Deposit Financing Increased to Almost 90 Percent

Bonn, Mannheim, 10.12.2023 – US banks increasingly rely on deposit financing: The share of deposits increased from 70 percent of total liabilities for the 30 largest US banks before the Great Financial Crisis to almost 90 percent. Why do US banks issue more deposits, in particular, uninsured deposits? Maxi Guennewig explains that issuing uninsured deposits allows banks to inflict losses on the government in times of crisis. EPoS Economic Research Center publishes these findings in the discussion paper “Bank Resolution, Deposit Insurance, and Fragility”.

Interview with Karolin Kirschenmann: Banking crisis: How to Prevent a Bank Run and Stabilize the System

Bonn, Mannheim, 27.11.2023 – In times of a banking crisis, with swift and unagitated actions, governments, regulators and supervisors are able to calm down depositors and prevent larger fallouts. Close depositor-bank relationships help stabilize bank liquidity in crisis times. In general, the inherent fragility of banking systems requires crisp but calm supervision and regulation. These are findings of the discussion paper “Implicit and Explicit Deposit Insurance and Depositor Behavior” published by the EPoS Economic Research Center. Karolin Kirschenmann, one of the authors, explains the details.

Interview with Antonio Ciccone: World War Refugees Fuelled Productivity and Wages

The number of refugees globally is constantly on the rise, due to war, civil conflicts, economic collapse, climate change and natural disasters. According to estimates of the
United Nations, the number of refugees reached 100 million in mid-2022, the highest figure ever recorded.

Refugees often stay for good in the receiving country. In this context, economists Antonio Ciccone from the University of Mannheim and Jan Nimczik from the European School of Management and Technology Berlin investigated the long-term effects of migration in Germany after the Second World War.
In the years after the end of the war, millions of people were displaced westward, making up more than 15 per cent of the population in the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.

The authors scrutinised today’s economic consequences of migration at the border between the French and the US occupation zone between 1945 to 1949 in South-West Germany. At the time, the US zone admitted refugees during the occupation period whereas the French restricted access.
It is the only longer border segment where municipalities in both occupation zones ended up in the same state of the Federal Republic of Germany – Baden-Württemberg.

The following interview with Antonio Ciccone focuses on the results of the study and the long-term economic consequences of migration.

Interview with Wladislaw Mill: Political Polarisation Has Become Deeply Rooted

In the U.S., the polarisation of the Democratic and Republican Parties is increasing in current years and is higher than at any other time since the Civil War, recent studies show.
At the same time, a divided America bears costs, as political polarisation leads to destructive behaviour, according to a recently published article of economists Wladislaw Mill from the University of Mannheim and John Morgan from the University of California, Berkeley.
The authors investigated the attitudes of supporters of Donald Trump and of Hillary Clinton towards each other and how these attitudes affect spiteful behaviour.
The key insight is that the participants are more likely to behave spitefully towards people who voted differently, and shows that partisanship spills over into the non-political realm. Interestingly, this result is driven mainly by the behaviour of Clinton voters.
The following interview with Wladislaw Mill focuses on the results of the experiment and the societal and economic repercussions for the United States.

Interview with Andreas Gulyas: “Zero Effect” of Austria’s Gender Pay Gap Legislation

Gender disparity in earnings is a persistent feature of labour markets around the world. Women earn about 20 per cent less compared with their male colleagues and 15 per cent less on average across the European Union.
There is an ongoing debate among academics, policy makers, as well as the general public about the reasons behind and best policy instruments to close the gap. To fight inequality, the Austrian government in 2011 adopted a Pay Transparency Law.
The law was rolled out in phases, starting off with the largest firms and then gradually cov-ered smaller companies. By 2014, all firms with more than 150 employees were required to publish and update income reports every second year. While the wage reports must be made available to all employees within the respective firm, the reviews are company secret and not public information.
Still, the Austrian transparency initiative had “no discernible effect” on the country’s gender pay gap, a recently published study by Andreas Gulyas and Sebastian Seitz from the Univer-sity of Mannheim and Sourav Sinha from Yale University showed.
The authors scrutinised employment records from the Austrian social security administra-tion from 1997 to 2018 which comprised 1.2 million employees within more than 14,000 companies. The following interview with Andreas Gulyas focuses on the weaknesses and strengths of Austria’s legislation and tries to shed some light on possible repercussions for the political debate when it comes to fighting gender pay disparities.

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