List of issues

Contents of issue 9/2008

Janina Godłów-Legiędź - Edmund Phelps’ Structuralist Theory of Employment, abstract, article

Magdalena Zachłod-Jelec - The Concept of Household Wealth: Estimates for Poland, abstract, article

Mateusz Mokrogulski - Price Discrimination Through Commodity Bundling, abstract, article

Paweł Młodkowski - Monetary Integration and Foreign Exchange Reserves Management, abstract, article


Gerard Mosiej - Poland’s Customs System After the Country’s Accession to the European Union, abstract, article


Book Review: Piotr Pysz, Społeczna gospodarka rynkowa. Ordoliberalna koncepcja polityki gospodarczej (A Social Market Economy: The Ordoliberal Concept of Economic Policy), Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warsaw 2008, 202 pp. - reviewed by Elżbieta Mączyńska

Book Review: Grażyna Śmigielska, Kreowanie przewagi konkurencyjnej w handlu detalicznym (Building a Competitive Advantage in Retail Trade), Wydawnictwo Akademii Ekonomicznej w Krakowie, Cracow 2007, 230 pp. - reviewed by Marian Gorynia

Book Review: Bartosz Jóźwik (ed.), Globalizacja i integracja europejska (Globalization and European Integration), Wydawnictwo KUL, Lublin 2007, 283 pp. - reviewed by Piotr Ważniewski

Janina Godłów-Legiędź - Edmund Phelps’ Structuralist Theory of Employment

The paper evaluates the contribution of Nobel Prize-winning American economist Edmund Phelps to the development of contemporary economics.
The author analyzes Phelps’ structuralist theory of employment and compares his views with the ideas of other acclaimed economists such as Milton Friedman, John M. Keynes, and Friedrich A. Hayek.
Godłów-Legiędź looks at Phelps’ achievements in the context of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences’ decision to grant him a Nobel Prize, and describes Phelps’ position on some key dilemmas of 20th century economics.
According to Godłów-Legiędź, the assessment of Phelps’ achievements offered by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is in fact incomplete, because it overlooks his structuralist theory of employment. Phelps, who calls himself a structuralist, considers this theory of employment to be his most important contribution to macroeconomics, Godłów-Legiędź notes. Phelps’ achievements cannot be viewed exclusively in terms of the link between inflation and unemployment, she says. It is necessary to consider the economist’s focus on what he described as “endogenizing the natural rate of unemployment,” an approach that reveals the differences between Phelps’ theory and those of Keynes and his followers as well as the monetarists and neoclassicists.
Defining the natural rate of unemployment as a function of real demand and supply, Phelps referred to the 1930s dispute between Keynes and Hayek that involved the classicist and Austrian interpretations of key economic relationships. Phelps’ unorthodox approach is reflected not only by his theory and attitude to neoclassical economics, Godłów-Legiędź says, but also by his assessment of European and American capitalism and his belief about the need for fundamental changes in economic and social policies.

Keywords: structuralist theory of employment, Phillips curve, natural rate of unemployment, Say’s Law, capitalism, Edmund Phelps, John M. Keynes, Friedrich A. Hayek
Article: PDF

Magdalena Zachłod-Jelec - The Concept of Household Wealth: Estimates for Poland

The author deals with the concept of household wealth and discusses empirical measures of wealth used in consumption functions in relation to the concept of wealth resulting from the theory of consumer choice. To find a middle ground between different measures of household wealth and empirical data, the author proposes a method for building several time series of net assets in the context of the wealth concept derived from the theory of consumer choice. The measure of household wealth constructed on the basis of the proposed method served as a starting point for constructing narrower measures of household wealth. The widest measure of wealth involved private sector net assets, which is the most adequate approach to explaining private consumption, Zachłod-Jelec says.
The author uses charts to show the constructed measures of wealth and net asset values published by the Central Statistical Office (GUS). There is also a graphic analysis of the constructed measures of household wealth and consumption based on GUS data. A preliminary analysis of the constructed measures of household/private sector wealth and consumption – in terms of their use in the structural model of the Polish economy – shows that these measures adequately reflect household consumption, Zachłod-Jelec says. She concludes that the ultimate evaluation of the different measures of household wealth should be based on estimating the consumption function with the use of an appropriate time series.

Keywords: permanent income, household wealth, net private sector assets, consumption
Article: PDF

Mateusz Mokrogulski - Price Discrimination Through Commodity Bundling

The paper deals with the issue of price discrimination in the theory of economics. Although price discrimination is a heterogenous notion, Mokrogulski says, its different types can be presented in an integrated model with respect to the quantity and quality of a product as well as commodity bundling.
Price discrimination is not the same as price differentiation, the author says. In particular, price discrimination does not occur when the differences in prices fully reflect the differences in production costs. If the seller is unable to make a consumer buy a specific version of the offered product, then a self-selection mechanism is applied. The goods and their prices are differentiated in such a manner that consumers choose versions somewhat pre-planned for them.
In the empirical part of the paper, Mokrogulski checks a hypothesis about the existence of price discrimination on the Polish market for new automobiles. Cars are increasingly offered as a package transaction that includes transport services and various extras such as air-conditioning and electric windows. As it is impossible to separate the two parts of the package, Mokrogulski says, price arbitrage cannot be applied, while demand arbitrage is possible.
To check if price discrimination indeed took place, differences between the listed prices of two versions of the same car model were calculated. Then they were compared with the differences in the actual prices. “The results predominately confirm that car dealers use a further segmentation of customers, who usually have to pay for certain luxury extras,” Mokrogulski writes. Further empirical research is needed, the author concludes, to analyze the problem of price discrimination in other markets with a different level of competition and a different stage of development.

Keywords: price discrimination, price differentiation, two-part tariff, commodity bundling, pure bundling, mixed bundling, self-selection
Article: PDF

Paweł Młodkowski - Monetary Integration and Foreign Exchange Reserves Management

The paper examines the management of foreign exchange reserves in countries under monetary integration. Central banks in European Union countries exert a major influence on global financial markets because they manage a common pool of foreign exchange, Młodkowski notes. Reserve assets are a crucial resource for common monetary and exchange rate policies.
The paper aims to show the reasons for changes in the demand for and supply of foreign exchange reserves in a currency union and the experience in this area of four non-European currency unions, in comparison with the European Monetary Union (EMU).
The author draws some interesting conclusions about the influence of monetary integration on both short- and long-term global interest rates. Because of different exchange rate regimes, the role of foreign exchange reserves differs in the analyzed currency unions.
The paper offers a detailed description of institutional solutions for common monetary policy under a hard peg arrangement. Foreign reserves are of vital importance in such an arrangement. Młodkowski describes the potential benefits of reducing the total amount of retained reserve assets – which were previously held by national central banks in the euro area. He also examines some potential channels of global interest rate changes.
“Increased demand for longer maturities, together with a drop in demand for the most liquid instruments, should have an impact on the term structure of global interest rates,” Młodkowski concludes.

Keywords: monetary integration, foreign exchange reserves management, currency unions, European Monetary Union (EMU)
Article: PDF

Gerard Mosiej - Poland’s Customs System After the Country’s Accession to the European Union

The paper discusses some negative aspects of the work of Poland’s customs system after the country’s entry to the European Union on May 1, 2004. The author attempts to explain the reasons for these shortcomings and also examines their social and economic implications.
Negative developments in the Polish customs service have included misguided organizational changes that have led to conflicts among customs officers, Mosiej says. Another problem is corruption among customs administration employees, a trend that has risen considerably since the country’s EU accession, according to Mosiej. Other unsettling trends include decreased customs protection of the domestic market, a major drop in government revenue from customs duties, and the closure of many customs agencies and the resulting loss of jobs, the author says.
All these negative trends have resulted from both exogenous and endogenous factors. The former include the adopted EU customs regulations, while the latter involve the activities of Polish customs officers themselves.
All the negative aspects of the work of Poland’s customs system should be eliminated as soon as possible, Mosiej concludes, because this harms the image of the country’s customs system in the EU and elsewhere.

Keywords: customs system, EU accession, import duty, customs tariff, customs administration
Article: PDF

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