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Contents of issue 3/2009

Maria Lissowska - The Type and Role of Social Capital in Post-Transition European Economies, summary, article

Krzysztof Kostro - Cultural Factors in Economics, summary, article

Helena Bereś, Krzysztof Bereś, Jolanta Zięba - A Wavelet Analysis of the Exchange Rate of the Zloty, summary, article

Michał Jurek - How to Modify the Mechanism for Setting Member State Quotas Within the International Monetary Fund, summary, article

Tomasz Zalega - The Hierarchy of Consumer Needs in Households Affected by Unemployment, summary, article


Book Review: Peter J. Buckley, The Multinational Enterprise and the Globalization of Knowledge, Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2006, 360 pp. - reviewed by Andrzej Cieślik

Book Review: Dawid Dawidowicz, Fundusze inwestycyjne. Rodzaje, typy, metody pomiaru ocena efektywności (Investment Funds: Classification, Types, Methods of Measurement, and an Evaluation of Efficiency), CeDeWu, Warsaw 2008, 215 pp. - reviewed by Anna Pilarczyk

Maria Lissowska - The Type and Role of Social Capital in Post-Transition European Economies

Social capital is widely seen as an important factor behind economic development. It facilitates ties between businesses and reduces transaction costs. It also creates an innovation-friendly environment. But research reports also list some negative aspects of social capital, such as the creation of divisions within society and the uncontrolled emergence of various self-interest groups, and, in extreme cases, mafia-type organizations. Another problem is that the very concept of social capital has not been clearly defined in research reports, according to the author.
Lissowska sets out to determine if post-socialist countries differ from other economies in the way they use social capital. She starts out by defining social capital as a partially altruistic approach of an individual toward other people.
The study is based on data for 23 European countries collected during a European Social Survey in 2006. This body of data makes the author conclude that post-socialist countries have distinct features as far as social capital is concerned, such as a low level of social confidence and a tendency to maintain “close” rather than “remote” social ties. However, other countries such as Portugal, Cyprus and, less markedly, Spain, display similar features, Lissowska notes. These features may result from these countries’ totalitarian past when social ties were more difficult to establish and maintain than today. They also stem from historic cultural factors such as insufficiently developed civil-society traditions in some of these countries, poor quality of government and law enforcement, religious traditions and new social trends such as people’s drive to succeed economically.

Keywords: social capital, post-transition economies, informal institutions, social ties
Article: PDF

Krzysztof Kostro - Cultural Factors in Economics

The paper examines the role of cultural factors in economic analyses. It aims to identify and examine areas in which economic analysis takes into account cultural factors that play a role in business.
The first part of the paper lists arguments on why economic research should be more sensitive to cultural factors. This primarily results from the fact that economics, like all other areas of human endeavor, is part of global culture, Kostra writes.
The second part of the article describes the aspects of culture that are closely related to socioeconomic life. It discusses the idea of economic culture, or value systems linked with business, knowledge and models of behavior. The author also reviews research achievements in this area. The analysis takes into account the results of studies carried out by researchers such as Geert Hofstede, Richard Gesteland, Lawrence Harrison, and Mariano Grondona. Another related notion that is examined in this part of the paper is organizational culture.
The third part of the paper deals with the achievements of institutional economics and shows links and relationships between cultural and social institutions.
The author sets out to determine if the role of cultural factors in economic processes will decrease as globalization gains momentum. He concludes that despite the convergence of economic systems around the world, based on the emergence of a universal system of values, beliefs and attitudes, cultural differences continue to exist. This largely explains why some countries still hold an advantage over others, Kostro notes.

Keywords: culture, cultural factors, organizational culture, economic culture, social institutions
Article: PDF

Helena Bereś, Krzysztof Bereś, Jolanta Zięba - A Wavelet Analysis of the Exchange Rate of the Zloty

The paper looks at currency exchange rates through the lens of a mathematical procedure known as a wavelet analysis. The authors use two statistical parameters, the Hurst coefficient and the gamma coefficient, to determine the compliance of their method with what is called Generalized Pareto Distribution (GPD). The Hurst coefficient is a measure of the randomness of a process and shows how it changes. The gamma coefficient provides information on the dependence/independence of variables generating the process. In the case of currency exchange rates, the main variables are key economic factors and decisions made by monetary policy makers.
The analysis applies to a period in the past when Poland’s exchange rate system became more flexible. Depending on changes made in the exchange rate system, the authors identified periods of a uniform exchange rate policy and the stage of a free market rate. They zeroed in on daily changes in the dollar/zloty and euro/zloty rates, in addition to other factors.

Keywords: wavelet analysis, currency exchange rates, statistical parameters, Hurst coefficient, gamma coefficient, Generalized Pareto Distribution (GPD)
Article: PDF

Michał Jurek - How to Modify the Mechanism for Setting Member State Quotas Within the International Monetary Fund

The author proposes a series of changes that he says should be made to the rules for setting member state quotas and voting power in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The paper opens with a description of the current mechanism for setting member state quotas and voting power. Under the current system, a member’s quota in the IMFdetermines the amount of its subscription, its voting weight, its access to IMF financing, and its allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The United States has exclusive veto power. A member state cannot unilaterally increase its quota-increases must be approved by the Executive Board and are linked to formulas that include many variables such as the size of a country in the world economy.
The author comes up with a proposal on how this mechanism could be modified. He provides an evaluation of how the suggested changes would impact the voting power of both developed and developing countries.
On April 28, 2008, the IMF Board of Governors approved a reform of the institution’s governance. The reform was intended to modify the quota and voting share structure in order to enhance the participation and voice of emerging-market and developing countries, and realign members’ shares with their relative weight and role in the global economy.
According to Jurek, while these modifications have increased the transparency of the process during which member country quotas are calculated, they have changed little when it comes to the voting power of developing and developed states. In particular, the new rules preserve the right of veto enjoyed by the United States, Jurek notes, a privilege that the U.S. has used on a number of occasions to block reforms designed to weaken its own position within the IMF.

Keywords: International Monetary Fund (IMF), quotas, voting power, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
Article: PDF

Tomasz Zalega - The Hierarchy of Consumer Needs in Households Affected by Unemployment

The paper deals with the problem of households affected by unemployment and examines the hierarchy of consumer needs in such families. The research covers several groups of consumer needs, including food, clothing, household supplies, housing, vacations and cultural needs.
Empirical material analyzed in the paper comes from surveys carried out in 2000 and 2006 among households in the central Polish province of Mazovia.
The article analyzes the hierarchy of needs according to the level at which they are met. In the process, the author considers selected socio-demographic factors such as sex, age, education, number of family members, per capita income, place of residence, and how long the unemployed person has been out of work.
The analysis shows that many of the surveyed households do not satisfy their basic consumer needs, while the hierarchy of these needs is relatively inflexible and impervious to change.

Keywords: households, consumer needs, household budget, per capita income, unemployment
Article: PDF

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