Working papers


  • Crecimiento versus progreso

    Documento de trabajo 01/11

    Jordi Gual
    • La controversia sobre los límites al crecimiento econó-mico y la distinción entre crecimiento y progreso es tan antigua como lo es la discusión racional sobre los gran-des problemas socioeconómicos a los que se enfrenta la sociedad.

    • Hasta qué punto era posible el crecimiento económico sostenido ya se lo planteaban los primeros economistas, como por ejemplo Adam Smith o el reverendo Malthus. Ellos probablemente no veían demasiada contradicción entre crecimiento y progreso, seguramente porque el bajo nivel de vida de la época para la gran mayoría de los habitantes del planeta les hacía pensar, con razón, que el crecimiento económico comportaría alguno tipo de progreso, de un orden tal vez no sólo material.

    • Sin embargo, incluso en los inicios de la ciencia econó-mica, y en plena efervescencia de la ilustración y el mo-vimiento racionalista, se produce una remarcable dico-tomía entre los pensadores optimistas, que como Con-dorcet o Godwin creen que la organización humana es perfectible, y que puede comportar un progreso de las personas, y los pesimistas como Malthus, que ven im-posibles estas mejoras. Como es bien sabido, Malthus creía que "el poder de la población para multiplicarse es infinitamente superior al poder de la tierra para producir los bienes que permitan la subsistencia del hombre".

    • Como muy bien ha dicho Robert Lucas, un gran teórico contemporáneo del crecimiento, la teoría de Malthus era probablemente apropiada para el mundo que él había conocido. Un mundo caracterizado por la miseria y por unos estándares de vida que se habían situado en los niveles de subsistencia durante siglos. No obstante, hoy parece claro que la teoría de Malthus estaba lejos de constituir una base sólida para prever la evolución de la especie humana, aunque Malthus fuese, de hecho, uno de los pensadores en los que se inspiró Darwin.

  • The impact for Spain of the new banking regulations proposed by the Basel Committee

    Working Paper Series 01/10

    This document provides a preliminary assessment for Spain of the trans- ition costs arising from the adjustment to the new solvency and liquidity regulation of banks proposed by the Basel Committee of Banking Supervision on 17/12/2009. Based on publicly available data, we estimate the shortfall of core capital for the Spanish banking system and the need for additional liquidity. We discuss several corrective actions that credit institutions could take to adapt to these new requirements, as well as their implications for outstanding credit and GDP levels under three di¤erent scenarios of market openness and length of the transition period.

  • The Drivers of Housing Cycles in Spain

    Working Paper Series 02/09

    Oriol Aspachs, Pau Rabanal
    • In the last fifteen years, Spain has witnessed a large increase in housing prices and in the importance of the housing sector, which has refreshed the debate on the drivers of housing cycles. Since Spain joined the EMU, two main important factors behind the housing boom appear to be the decrease of nominal interest rates due to the disappearance of currency risk premia, and demographic factors related to immigration and changing patterns in household composition. In order to assess the importance of these and other factors, in this paper we estimate a New Keynesian model of a currency area with durable goods, using data for Spain and the rest of the EMU. We find that parameter estimates are similar to the ones estimated in the literature, in that, in particular, durable goods prices are more flexible than nondurable consumption goods. We find that housing demand and technology shocks are the main driver of the recent housing boom. Finally, we examine the role of different rigidities suggested in the literature to help the model fit the data. We find that labor market frictions, that in the model imply costly labor reallocation across sectors, are crucial to explain main features of the data. On the other hand, financial frictions that impose a collateral constraint on borrowing do not appear to be relevant.

  • What Matters for Education? Evidence for Catalonia

    Working Paper Series 01/09

    Alícia Adserà, Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech

    This paper studies the association between socioeconomic factors, school characteristics and children's cognitive and non-cognitive development in Cat- alonia. We find that children born later in the year, close to the December 31st cutoff date, persistently tend to have lower academic results than those born in the first two quarters. However, we do not observe any difference in non-cognitive development by quarter of birth. The analysis also shows that children who ever attended nursery school do generally better than those who first started at pre-school (P3) or later. Furthermore, we find that fam- ily structure matters since children raised in non-nuclear and low educated families tend to underperform others at school. Estimates also indicate that first generation immigrants, especially Africans, have worse academic perfor- mance than those born in Spain. There seem to be strong benefits associated to time spent reading and studying languages, computer science and music. Finally, there is inconclusive evidence that students who arrive late in the academic year and those with special needs generate negative peer effects in the classroom.

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