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Neelsen S.,Ifo Institute for Economic Research | Peters J.,Westphalian Institute for Economic Research
Energy for Sustainable Development | Year: 2011

This paper aims to shed light on the nexus of electricity, firm performance, and economic development in a dynamic rural area in Southern Uganda. Using quantitative firm-level data on 200 micro-enterprises complemented by qualitative case studies we find that modern energy increases the importance of electricity-using capital and alters the sectoral distribution of economic activities. By contrast, we find no evidence for an expansionary effect of electrification on firm profits or worker remuneration. In fact, many entrepreneurs consider the direct gain from connecting to the grid to be small. Qualitative information, however, suggests that a positive indirect impact of electrification on firm performance is induced by the overall expansive effect electrification has on local demand. The demand increase can be partly assigned to people moving into the electrified community from surrounding non-electrified areas. We conclude that if productive energy promotion policies are put in place they should address drawing up thorough business plans to enable local entrepreneurs to take informed connection and investment decisions. © 2010 International Energy Initiative.

Goetzke F.,University of Louisville | Rave T.,Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Transportation | Year: 2015

While happiness research in transportation is an emerging topic, this is the first study that uses the German SOEP 2003 data to study the role of peer effects in automobile access on self reported subjective well-being following the approach by Ferrer-i-Carbonell (2005). Defining peers based on age, education and location, we find that the peer’s average automobile availability has a statistically significant impact on quality of life, with stronger effects on persons without a vehicle than persons with vehicle access. Further results are that overall happiness can be locally increased with improving vehicle availability for people, however, that total happiness is maximized globally with a policy leading to nobody having access to an automobile. Finally, these results, which show that not having access to a car does not reduce well-being as long as the peers are in a similar situation, present some supporting evidence for the idea that automobile access can be seen as a “positional” externality and that the pathway for automobile access increasing happiness could be through the increased mobility options rather than through the actual activities made possible by the automobile. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York

Goetzke F.,University of Louisville | Rave T.,Ifo Institute for Economic Research
International Regional Science Review | Year: 2015

Previous research has analyzed the impact of air pollution on life satisfaction (“happiness”) based on both subjective perceptions of environmental quality and objectively measured pollution data. This article combines these two types of environmental data in life satisfaction regressions and investigates using an instrumental variable (IV)-ordered probit approach whether perceived air quality is endogenous with respect to happiness. We find combining German 2004 socioeconomic panel data with annual readings for sulfur dioxide (SO2), NOx, and PM10 by the Umweltbundesamt (UBA; German Environmental Protection Agency) for counties that people bothered by air pollution feel less happy but that simultaneously unhappy people feel more disturbed by air pollution. Controlling for this simultaneity in an IV-ordered probit approach reveals that perceived air pollution does not have a statistically significant effect on life satisfaction anymore. We also find econometric evidence that air pollution is fully capitalized in the housing market. © The Author(s) 2015.

Goetzke F.,University of Louisville | Rave T.,Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Urban Studies | Year: 2011

This paper aims to account for important factors influencing bicycle use and focuses in particular on differences between 20 selected German municipalities with considerable variation in their bicycle mode share. Using data from the nation-wide survey Mobility in Germany 2002, a mode choice model for bicycling is developed. In an extension to previous research, social network or spillover effects as a measure of the city's bicycling culture are also taken into account. These effects are modelled using an instrumental variable approach. It is shown that social network effects increase the probability of cycling for shopping and recreational trip purposes, but not for school, work or errands. Furthermore, it is found that cycling infrastructure matters only for shopping and errand trips. Finally, commuting trips by bicycle seem to be largely independent of any policy variables. © 2011 Urban Studies Journal Limited.

Meier V.,Ifo Institute for Economic Research | Werding M.,Ruhr University Bochum
Oxford Review of Economic Policy | Year: 2010

Over the next four decades, increasing old-age dependency ratios will exert an enormous upward pressure on welfare spending in most developed countries. As this is mainly due to existing unfunded public pension schemes, many countries have embarked on far-reaching reforms in this area, strengthening actuarial fairness, modifying indexation rules, adding elements of pre-funding, and, last but not least, attempting to extend the period of economic activity. Efforts to contain costs may also be relevant with regard to public expenditure on health and long-term care but, thus far, no country has started to really deal with these issues. Still, some countries have made substantial progress in securing the long-term sustainability of their welfare systems. What remains to be considered is re-constructing the system of intergenerational transactions as a potential way of removing disincentives to raise children and invest in their human capital in the long run. © The Authors 2011. Published by Oxford University Press.

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