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Contents of issue 5-6/2009

Dawid Piątek, Katarzyna Sarzec - Government and Prosperity: Between Economic Freedom and the Rule of Law, summary, article

Bogumiła Mucha-Leszko, Magdalena Kąkol - Factors Behind the Growing Importance of International Competition Policy, summary, article

Paweł Strawiński - The External Effect of Education, summary, article

Waldemar Florczak - The Macroeconomic Determinants of Life Expectancy in Poland, summary, article

Marta Gancarczyk - Evaluation of Public and Private Services for Entrepreneurs in Poland’s Małopolska Region, summary, article

Edward Maleszyk - Changes in the Concentration and Integration of Retail Trade in Poland, summary, article

Maria Drozdowicz-Bieć - Remembering Prof. Victor Zarnowitz (1919-2009)


CONFRENCES - POLEMICS - REVIEWS

Book Review: Jacek Klich, Przedsiębiorczość w reformowaniu systemu ochrony zdrowia w Polsce. Niedoceniane interakcje (Enterprise in Reforming Poland’s Healthcare System: The Underestimated Interactions), Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Cracow 2007, 396 pp. - reviewed by Joanna Kotowicz-Jawor

Book Review: Joanna Krasodomska, Zarządzanie ryzykiem operacyjnym w bankach (Operational Risk Management in Banks), Polskie Wydawnictwo Ekonomiczne, Warsaw 2008, 189 pp. - reviewed by Michał Thlon

The Top Shelf - Tadeusz Smuga





Dawid Piątek, Katarzyna Sarzec - Government and Prosperity: Between Economic Freedom and the Rule of Law

The article examines the key aspects of a debate on the concept of the state and the relationship between freedom and the rule of law in economic studies. On the basis of selected research reports, the authors discuss the results of studies on the influence of economic freedom and the rule of law on prosperity. The paper reviews the most common definitions of economic freedom and the rule of law and methods for measuring them. It follows up with a description of the results of studies on how economic freedom and the rule of law influence economic growth.
The analysis made in the paper shows that economic freedom and the rule of law are indispensable for sustained economic growth. They have a major positive influence on the rate of growth. Economic freedom promotes innovation in business and prosperity. However, the government tends to limit economic freedom and forces businesses to behave in a specific way to benefit the economy and the public. This works when the government acts in keeping with the rule of law, the authors say. The rule of law promotes business efficiency and leads to lower transaction costs, which results in faster economic growth, the authors conclude.

Keywords: economic freedom, rule of law, economic growth
Article: PDF



Bogumiła Mucha-Leszko, Magdalena Kąkol - Factors Behind the Growing Importance of International Competition Policy

The paper deals with a process defined as the internationalization of competition policy. The process was initiated by the Havana Charter in 1948 and gained momentum in the late 1980. The Havana Charter was the charter of the defunct International Trade Organization (ITO). It was signed by 53 countries on March 24, 1948 to facilitate international cooperation and allow for rules against anti-competitive business practices. The charter ultimately failed because the U.S. Congress rejected it. Elements of it would later become part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Despite the growing role of international trade, no multilateral agreement has been adopted since the Havana Charter to regulate competition policy issues, the authors say. Such an agreement is needed to reduce the number of trade disputes and promote international cooperation.
The article aims to show the impact of regional integration and bilateral agreements between the European Union and the United States on the internationalization of competition policy. Another objective is to show the impact of international cooperation on multilateral competition policy and on difficulties in reaching a compromise in this area among World Trade Organization members. Finally, the paper sets out to examine factors that justify the need to include competition policy in the multilateral trading system. According to the authors, the high degree of domestic and regional market integration, coupled with the gradual liberalization of multilateral trade and the large number of trade conflicts, call for the introduction of viable multilateral competition rules.

Keywords: competition policy, internationalization, bilateral agreements, regional economic blocs, multilateral rules
Article: PDF



Paweł Strawiński - The External Effect of Education

The author sets out to measure the external rate of return on secondary and university-level education in Poland. The rate is defined as the excess rate of return for human capital. However, the author says it is difficult to precisely quantify the rate due to methodological problems and the unavailability of data. The economic model used in the article is based on the comparative advantage theory. The econometric model identifies the external rate of return on education thanks to the use of instrumental variables.
The analysis confirms that there was a shift in the structure of demand for higher education in Poland in 1998-2005. The author uses empirical data to show the positive external effect linked with education. The private annual rate of return on education in Poland exceeded 7 percent in 1998-2005 and was among the highest in Europe. Additionally, the author shows that there is an external effect linked with education. It stands at 1%-5% annually, Strawiński says.
The results obtained in the analysis were confirmed using various model options and estimation methods. Moreover, Strawiński showed that as the proportion of the population with a secondary education increased, people began to earn higher paychecks. This means that secondary education generates a spillover effect, Strawiński concludes.

Keywords: education, external rate of return, excess rate of return, private rate of return, instrumental variables, spillover effect
Article: PDF



Waldemar Florczak - The Macroeconomic Determinants of Life Expectancy in Poland

The paper begins with the discussion of a cause-and-effect econometric model describing life expectancy in Poland in three variants: for men, women, and both sexes at the same time. The analysis is preceded by a brief review of research reports on the subject, with a special focus on empirical applications in the context of adequate explanatory variables.
The estimation of the parameters was made with the use of a stepwise regression method, while the final version of the model was selected on the basis of a reliable statistical test, the author says. The research shows that the following variables had a statistically significant impact on life expectancy in Poland in the analyzed period (1975-2005): urbanization, the quality of healthcare, human capital, incomes, economic inequalities, social capital, behavioral factors, and the natural environment. However, the relative impact of these factors on life expectancy differed substantially for men and women, Florczak says.
In the second part of the article, the author proposes a model breaking down the population by sex and age, with the use of a “top-down modeling strategy.” The parameters of the Gompertz mortality law and a logistic function were estimated for each year, with the entire population divided into coherent age groups. The resulting demographic model makes it possible to draw up forecasts and simulation scenarios taking into account links between the economic and demographic determinants of growth, Florczak says.

Keywords: life expectancy, law of mortality, determinants of mortality, stepwise regression method, econometric models, economic growth
Article: PDF



Marta Gancarczyk - Evaluation of Public and Private Services for Entrepreneurs in Poland’s Małopolska Region

The article evaluates public and private information and consulting services provided to small and medium-sized enterprises in Poland. The author uses methods furnished by new institutional economics and the theory of market inefficiency. Gancarczyk compares an experimental group covered by public assistance against a control group made up of companies with similar features and using commercial information and consulting services. The comparison was made according to criteria such as accuracy, efficiency, usefulness, reliability and effectiveness.
The study reveals that public authorities should continue providing free information and consulting services, the author says, because there are continued market inefficiencies, including an insufficient supply of consulting services and a strong asymmetry in access to information. The market inefficiencies in question call for further public assistance in this area, Gancarczyk adds.
The analysis of the criteria of accuracy, efficiency, usefulness, reliability and effectiveness from the perspective of alternative costs confirms that free public services are more reliable than comparable services offered by private service providers, while the evaluation of effectiveness and usefulness for both groups was similar. On the other hand, public service providers displayed lower efficiency, Gancarczyk says.

Keywords: information, evaluation, public intervention, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Article: PDF



Edward Maleszyk - Changes in the Concentration and Integration of Retail Trade in Poland

The article examines some new trends among retail chains operating in Poland, in particular what is known as concentration and integration. The analysis was made with the desk research method on the basis of statistical data reported by the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The author also used data from league tables ranking the country’s largest businesses and statistics on the development of retail centers in the country.
The study confirms that Poland’s retail trade sector has undergone far-reaching concentration and integration over the past several years. Changes have primarily included a growing number of mergers and acquisitions and the substitution of organizational integration with financial ties. These trends have been especially widespread among businesses with Polish capital, but they have also applied to foreign-owned companies, some of which have withdrawn from the Polish market, the author says. The current course of concentration and integration processes in Poland’s retail trade seems to indicate that the sector’s future development will see more mergers and acquisitions and further development of retail centers, Maleszyk says. These trends are in line with what is happening in highly developed countries, the author concludes.

Keywords: concentration, integration, retail trade, retail chains, organizational integration, financial integration, mergers and acquisitions
Article: PDF

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