Equilibrium. Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL <p><strong>Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy</strong> is a scientific journal dedicated to economics, which is published by Instytut Badań Gospodarczych // Institute of Economic Research, Poland. </p> <p><strong>Current Journal website: <a href="http://www.economic-policy.pl/">www.economic-policy.pl</a></strong></p> Instytut Badań Gospodarczych en-US Equilibrium. Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy 1689-765X A Maintenance of a Dominant Market Position – on the Example of the Polish Post Office https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.022 <p>The system changes of the Polish economy, which began in the 80s of the 20<sup>th</sup> century and were continued after the accession to the European Union in 2004, have caused significant transformations, not only in the economy and ownership relations, but also in single markets. What is more, some of the European Commission’s guidelines have introduced the market regulations which were dominated by natural monopolies. These changes were to cause the competitiveness on the market and to improve its functioning in an efficiency allocative sense in order to make the consumers’ situation better. However, it is often a kind of struggle without any visible effects in short or long term. One of such examples is the Polish Post Office as the national operator in the market of postal services.</p><p>The scientific objective of this study is to answer the question whether the changes in the law regulating the postal market cause real changes in the market structure, resulting in a reduction in allocative inefficiency? The working hypothesis referring to such research problem is formulated as follows: large business entities operating in the monopolistic market structure until now use all of the tools – including changes in the law, to maintain their position. It causes an increase in allocative inefficiency of companies and market. The object of the research is Poczta Polska SA. The primary research method will be based on the analysis of the legal rules, the analysis of the activities and entities’ decisions and the comparative analysis. The active research is supported by the literature recognition.</p> Tomasz Bernat Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 9 20 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.022 Structural Heterogeneity Between EU 15 and 12 New EU Members – the Obstacle to Lisbon Strategy Implementation? https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.023 <p>The aim of this article is to identify diversity between the EU-15 and the New Members in their implementation of the Lisbon Strategy in the period 2000-2010. By analyzing a set of structural indicators, we aim to fill a gap in the literature: the lack of publications providing complex evaluation of the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy using measurable indicators. Given their suitability for international comparisons, we use two taxonomic methods: Ward’s cluster analysis and the synthetic variable method proposed by Hellwig.</p><p>The results of our analyses confirm the hypothesis of a large gap between the EU-15 countries and the 12 New Members in the key areas of the Lisbon Strategy. According to rankings given by our taxonomic analyses, a high level of the indicators selected is confirmed only for the EU-15 countries and only three New Members belong to a group presenting the average level of these indicators. This study demonstrates a need for a significant intensification of the EU cohesion policy, which is one of the main tools for achieving the Lisbon Strategy goals.</p> Magdalena Olczyk Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 21 43 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.023 Institutional Interests and Institutional Change. Poland on the Second Wave of Pension Reforms https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.024 <p>The paper discusses mandatory funded pensions seen as a novelty of the first wave of "paradigmatic" pension reforms in emerging market economies and as an institutional device in the very centre of the recent post-2008 change. Evidence from Poland is examined in the context of the pension reform engineering. The central question is for whose welfare or benefit the open pension funds (OFEs) were introduced and why they have been scaled down recently. The perspective taken here is to explain the processes through reconstruction of major interests involved. Under the assumption that the state is the main force at play, the economic and political interests of this party are reconstructed and discussed. The proposition that rising deficits and debts within general government sector provided stimuli for both rise and decline of the OFEs is the very start of the diagnosis. The paper argues that apart from the undesirable outcome of current debt accounting there were fundamental reasons of strategic nature for which government lost its positive interest in the OFEs as an institutional (that is long-run) device.</p> Anna Ząbkowicz Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 47 64 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.024 Operations Performed by Business Environment Institutions in the Process of Foreign Investment Acquisition: a Case Study of Investor Service Centres https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.025 <p>The quality of institutions is important for economic growth and inflow of foreign direct investment. Business environment institutions may introduce certain adaptations of the conditions as a response to foreign investors’ expectations. The main objective of the research was to evaluate business environment institutions, exemplified herein by Investor Service Centres, in terms of their active participation in the process of attracting foreign investors. The empirical investigation (using questionnaire forms, carried out in the first half of 2013) was completed by employees of 10 centres (62.5%). COI employees use most of the available sources of information about foreign investors. COIs are very active in their information search, and do not resort to the simplest possibilities, for example the Internet. Foreign investors contacted offices having previously found relevant information about chosen investment locations. COIs actively cooperate with other institutions in order to attract foreign investors. They undertake various activities to reach this aim, most of which demand a high degree of engagement. Most often COI employees promoted available investment sites themselves rather than delegate this task to agencies. In order to improve the efficiency of COIs, they should strive towards building relationships between institutions.</p> Wiesława Lizińska Renata Marks-Bielska Izabela Serocka Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 65 78 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.025 Institutions: Uncertainty in Definition of the Term. A Brief Look at the History: 1890-1930 https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.026 <p>Despite the fact that the significance of institutional economics is commonly recognized, the uncertainty of basic concepts of institutional economics – institutions – and its investigation sphere is widely mentioned today.</p><p>The paper aims to trace the process of evolution in the understanding of the notion of institution, from its spontaneous mentions and pragmatic use of the so-called pre-institutional era to the desire to understand and to define the essence of the institution in the period of early institutionalism.</p>Based on the analyses of appropriate literature, the paper tries to study how the term “institution” was understood at the three initial historical period of its usage. For this purpose, the first part of the paper analyses how the term “institution” was used at the start by religious figures in VII and XIII centuries and then by thinkers in XVII-XVIII centuries which are considered as a pre-history of the term “institution” wide usage. The second part of the study is focused on the investigation how the term was understood by immediate predecessors of institutional economics – German Historical School, and the third part of the paper investigates scholars-institutionalists’ efforts in the intellectual context on the period 1890-1930. Tamila Arnania-Kepuladze Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 79 102 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.026 Methodological Problems of Modern Political Economy Subject https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.027 The article addresses the problem of new political economy as grand (if imperfect) synthesis of various strands. Exploring different approaches reveals a set of the problems concerning the rise of economic society. We show in the article through the classical approach that political economy responds to and contributes to economics, so far as the older sense of politics is concerned. Most approaches to political economy treat the private sector as the primary arena. It sets agendas and ultimately governs outcomes. The idea of a collective or public reality different in nature from the system of private interests holds little appeal for political economy. In our view, the main difficulty of political economy, common to different approaches, lies in the tendency to gloss over the separateness of the two spheres, the economic and the political one, absorbing one into the other. The main topic of our survey is the importance of understanding and appreciating the categorical distinction between politics and economics, and the dangers of making one or the other dominant in both realms. Maria Tyshchenko Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 103 110 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.027 The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem – Analysis of Correlation and Regression https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.028 <p>The paper focuses on the issue of the modifiable areal unit problem, which means a possibility of obtaining various results for spatial economic analyses depending on the assumed composition of territorial units. The major research objective of the work is to examine the scale problem that constitutes one of the aspects of the modifiable areal unit problem. Analysis of the scale problem will be conducted for two research problems, namely, for the problem of the <a title="Causality" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality">causal relationships</a> between the level of investment outlays in enterprises per capita and the number of entities of the national economy per capita, and the issue of the dependence between the registered unemployment rate and the level of investment outlays per capita. The calculations based on the empirical values of those variables have showed that moving to a higher level of aggregation resulted in a change in the estimates of the parameters. The results obtained were the justification for undertaking the realisation of the objective. The scale problem was considered by means of a simulation analysis with a special emphasis laid on differentiating the variables expressed in absolute quantities and ones expressed in relative quantities.</p><p>The study conducted allowed the identification of changes in basic properties as well as in correlation of the researched variables expressed in absolute and relative quantities. Based on the findings, it was stated that a correlation analysis and a regression analysis may lead to different conclusions depending on the assumed level of aggregation. The realisation of the research objective set in the paper also showed the need to consider the adequate character of variables in both spatial economic analyses and during the examination of the scale problem.</p> Michał Bernard Pietrzak Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 113 131 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.028 Effect of Income Inequality on Health Status in a Selection of Middle and Low Income Countries https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.029 The relationship between the public health status and income inequality has been taken into consideration in the last two decades. One of the important questions in this regard is that whether the changes in income inequality will lead to changes in health indicators or not. To answer this question, life expectancy is used as a health indicator and the Gini coefficient is used as an income inequality indicator. In this study, the relationship between income inequality and the public health has been investigated by panel data in Eviews software during 2000–2011 in 65 low-and middle-income countries. By using panel data and considering fixed effects and heterogeneity of sections, the relationship between income inequality and public health status is a significant negative relationship. Elnaz Hajebi Mohammad Javad Razmi Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 133 152 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.029 Alternative Views on Money in the First Half of the XX Century and Today https://apcz.umk.pl/EQUIL/article/view/EQUIL.2014.030 The paper deals with the discussion on the alternative ideas on money, created by Silvio Gesell, Frederic Soddy and Karl Ballod. Particularly, the ideas of full-reserve banking, privilege of seigniorage and the principle of demurrage are discussed in the context of possible implementation of these ideas in a future economy. Large part of the paper is library-based, considering and briefly explaining the previously mentioned ideas, and supplementing them with the opinions of the modern economists. The discussion of the possible evolutionary way to implement those ideas is based on the logical analysis and conclusions, derived from the discussions of the author with academicians and financiers. The results lead to the conclusion that these ideas, which may seem unrealistic according the existing paradigm of growth, may turn out to be useful to form the basis of a new monetary and financial system within the new economic paradigm. The paper is an insight into unorthodox proposals on money, which may be useful to specialists and students, investigating monetary and financial systems. Ivars Brīvers Copyright (c) 2015 Equilibrium 2015-02-19 2015-02-19 9 4 153 162 10.12775/EQUIL.2014.030