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About this book

This book includes papers presented at the 11th International Conference “Economies of the Balkan and Eastern European Countries” (EBEEC), held in Bucharest, Romania, in May 2019. It sheds new light on the micro- and macroeconomic developments in the Eastern European and Balkan countries, while at the same time taking into account the broader regional and global factors influencing these developments. By examining how the decisions and the performance of economic, social and political actors in the region are intertwined with wider regional and global events, the contributions highlight the dynamic development in Eastern Europe and the Balkans region. Further, the book demonstrates how the region has overcome numerous challenges in the past and is evolving within the framework of European economic integration and the global effervescent economy.

Table of Contents


The Publicly Declared Customs Union Between Albania and Kosovo (1244 Security Council Resolution)

Leaders of Albania and Kosovo have publicly declared that they plan to create a customs union in order to abolish the traditional borders between them. They also claimed that the abolition of borders will inevitably occur with the accession of Albania and Kosovo to the EU. The aim of the paper is to examine whether such a union is possible and assess if this move primary reinforces economic integration or it is the means of fulfillment of foreign policy objectives. Testing the validity of the theoretical framework, according to which regional trade agreements and even more bilateral free trade areas allow stronger states to further influence weaker states, I examine the case of the creation of the customs union between Albania and Kosovo (under the 1244 Security Council Resolution). First, I analyze the economic conditions under which the potential customs union is going to be made and to what extent basic principles of the background theory is satisfied for a successful endeavor. More precisely, I use and analyze macroeconomic indicators and bilateral economic relations. In addition, I analyze the economic and political motives of the creation of the customs union through a quantitative and qualitative analysis. I conclude, that the creation of the customs union between Albania and Kosovo is more the first step for the fulfillment of Albania’s foreign policy goals rather than an effort of the economic upgrade of a Balkan country which struggles to become a member of the EU.
Victoria Pistikou

Building Resilience Through Cross-Border Cooperation Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. A Comparative Analysis Between Euroregions “Upper Pruth” and “Lower Danube”

An assessment of economic and social potential of Euroregions “Upper Pruth” and “Lower Danube” reveals a wide spectrum of opportunities for cooperation, which would boost regional development and build resilience. However, there still exist several obstacles, which should be tackled in order to reach the desired goals. The aim of this article is to identify the opportunities and the obstacles that reduce the efficiency of cross border cooperation initiatives between Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. The passivity of Moldavian side could be explain by several factors, such as the inefficiency of administrative - territorial structures in creating and promoting own projects, lack of strategies and plans for regional integration which would exploit the benefits of CBC, insufficient allocation of money on a local level, as well as corruption. Within this paper, the concept of resilience will be used to assess and to identify the risks and vulnerabilities of both Euroregions and their impact on cross border cooperation. The research method is non-participatory observation. In addition, we use quantitative variables to assess and to compare the economic potential of both Euroregions. The conclusions of our study is that institutions and administrative management play a major role in cross border cooperation, and their lack of efficiency will lead to rather weak outcomes and less resilience. In addition, there is a tendency towards ignoring cross-border cooperation when discussing about building resilience within EU’s neighbourhood, therefore our study aims at filling this gap.
Anatolie Cărbune

David and Goliath: An Investigation Between Greece–Germany Bilateral Trade for Agricultural Products

This paper investigates the factors that affect the bilateral trade between Greece and Germany for specific agricultural products (Meat and meat preparations, Dairy products and eggs, Fish and fish preparations, Cereals and cereal preparations and Fruit and vegetables). Data was collected through the COMTRADE database for the period 1992–2017. An analysis of the trade flows is made for the two countries. In addition, an augmented gravity model was used to estimate the factors that affect the bilateral trade. The analysis incorporates the cost of trade between the two countries instead of the geographic distance that is usually used in the gravity model. The results showed that the GDP of both countries has a positive effect on the trade flow. Trade costs appear to have a negative effect on trade flows in sectors where the country has a competitive advantage. The paper aims to quantify trade flows and facilitate this way researchers and policymakers to address practical issues and questions when analyzing trade policies between economic giants and smaller trade partners.
Achilleas Kontogeorgos, Fotios Chatzitheodoridis

Tourism Destination Development, a Situation Analysis of a Greek Region

Tourism is acknowledged to contribute to job and wealth creation, economic growth, environmental protection, and poverty reduction. Therefore, the excellent performance of the tourism sector globally implies the prospects of a significant revenue stream. Tourism beneficial influence is evident in improving the quality of social life, in intercultural understanding and the sustainable development of cities and communities. Tourism success in building sustainable destinations is a contemporary challenge that the globalization, technology, innovation, climate, and demographic change produced. Well-Balanced tourism management must incorporate all the new trends and supports policies towards sustainability and competitiveness of destinations. However, tourism growth has also unfolded its negative side, especially on the environment, society, and the local economy, shaking the balance between tourists, locals and destinations, and the organizations and businesses of the sector. Thereby, the role of policy planners and developers in tourism should be to maximize destinations communities’ welfare by eliminating any other costs. They should be in the position to identify and promote those types of tourism—mass versus alternative—that locals are in favour, ensuring the success of sustainable tourism development. To this context, a challenging issue is how a remote, poor and low performing tourism region, can be developed as a tourism destination and ensure sustainable growth? What type of tourism should be evolved in the area increasing tourists’ arrivals, extending their stay and at the same time respecting local society’s welfare? These questions are answered through the case study of Epirus development as a tourism destination. Epirus, a region located in Northwestern Greece has the potential to be developed as a favourite tourism destination and establish a distinct tourism destination image. The region holds a wide range of heritage monuments, natural and cultural resources. However, inadequate infrastructure, inefficient governmental policies, ineffective promotion, lack of collaboration of the region’s stakeholders, especially when existing in combination, hinder the sustainable tourism development. The central part of the case study is the S.W.O.T. analysis of Epirus as a tourism destination. This situation analysis discovers the significant advantages and the weak spots of the region as well as the potential opportunities and threats. Further, the stakeholders involved in the destination development are recorded, and the development vision is presented. This analysis will be useful in assessing the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination and in planning effective policies for the further development and delivery of tourism experiences following the current market trends of the tourism industry.
Eirini Triarchi, Paraskevi Pappa, Efstratios Kypriotelis

The Core-Periphery Analysis as to Socioeconomic Characteristics: The Case of Ankara

In recent decades, socioeconomic inequalities have become increasingly noticeable at international, national and regional scales. Strikingly, a significant number of countries have been characterized by a division between dynamic and growing metropolitan areas and shrinking and declining rural regions. Relatedly, the Territorial Agenda 2020 of the EU states explicitly that “the core-periphery division is still present”. Increasing socioeconomic inequalities are more apparent within the prosperous metropolises and there has been an increasing socioeconomic differentiation between core and periphery regarding income, employment, and socioeconomic characteristics. Metropolitan areas have been experiencing population growth within the urban core, driven primarily by younger, better-educated and higher income people, in contrast to the peripheral areas witnessing an ageing, poorly-educated and low-income population. This differentiation occurring between core and periphery of metropolitan areas and their distribution across space may bring challenging issues for the governments to deal with. The aim of the study is to figure out how much core and periphery differentiate from each other in terms of their socioeconomic characteristics. As a case study, Ankara metropolitan area is analyzed considering the variables of age groups, sex, level of education, household structure, employment, and political views in district level. Ankara metropolitan area have totally 25 districts. The core is defined as the inner metropolitan area, including eight central districts, and the periphery as the outer area, including 17 districts mainly defined by their rural characteristics. In the empirical part of the study, the socioeconomic characteristics of the core and the periphery are compared by using the Turkish Statistical Institute’s data set. The statistical analysis of socioeconomic variation is realized via recently available economic and social data for the 25 districts and cluster analysis is used for the classification of the districts. By analyzing the districts using the economic and social variables, a district pattern of socioeconomic differentiation of Ankara metropolitan area is revealed.
Cigdem Varol, N. Aydan Sat

The Economic Integration Maturity of Romania and Bulgaria

The paper discusses the issue of integration maturity in the case of Romania and Bulgaria. These countries joined the European Union in 2007 and since then several economic issues and problems were revealed related to their accession. The aim of this paper is to analyze the economic integration maturity of Romania and Bulgaria at the time of their accession and since then. The paper suggests that although these countries fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria were not fully prepared to join the EU markets. The paper forms the hypothesis that Romania and Bulgaria did not fulfill all the criteria of economic integration maturity and were not fully ready to join the EU in 2007. However, by the time of their accession, their readiness was appropriate to join. To prove this, the paper uses the methodology of economic integration maturity. The concept of integration maturity is more complex than the economic accession criteria since it shows how a candidate country is able to exploit the benefits of membership and minimize its drawbacks before and after the accession. Based on data analysis and document analysis it can be examined how successfully these countries could exploit the economic stimulating effects of joining the economic integration, how effectively took advantage in cohesion and convergence to the other member states during their membership. In sum, it can be stated whether Romania and Bulgaria were able to exploit the benefits of their membership and minimize the drawbacks.
Oleg Tankovsky, Viktória Endrődi-Kovács

Supranational Class Formation and Concept of Control in Global Economy

In classical theory, the relationship between state and capital is presented as an internal relationship, although there is an argument that it is external. If the relationship is external, that means that state and capital are two separate entities in a dialectical relationship. The relationship between state and management and control is independent of the relationship between capital and state, whether the latter is internal or external. Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that we are witnessing the era of the post-national corporations. Doubters have predicted the demise of the nation-state, and globalization has brought changes in state sovereignty, capitalize on its exposure to global market. On the contrary the nation-state persists, especially in its control of fiscal and monetary policies, and international business, thus remaining the only political unit. Many combinations and variations can be designed; the state is in a more advantageous position in the global market. The expansion of the state sector in the economy marks the expansion of the recognition of the social nature of the productive forces. However, historical evolution does not end with State Monopoly Capitalism, which is replaced by the Supranational Monopoly Corporation (SNMCo)—for subjective and objective reasons. This movement creates new trends in the control sphere of global economy, lending to the birth of external, supranational control. The transition to the global market takes place through the passage of capital and labor force movement into the global economy. This article offers a theoretical framework to explain and present the process of developing supranational class and supranational capital and their effect in control of global economy. The countries of SE Europe (SEE), located on the edge of both sides of EU and Eurasia are affected from the supranational control and unipolar global governance. Awareness of the closer reality rather than the wider unseen policy is the primary and necessary element towards the deeply divided Europe.
Efstratios Kypriotelis, Eirini Triarchi, Konstantinos Karamanis

Measuring Global Political Economy

The global political economy is a field of study that has its roots in international relations. The augmentation of world economic transactions after the collapse of Bretton Woods System in the 1970s created the need for a new field of study, in order to explain the interdependence between politics and economics at the international level. Decisive factors for the formulation of the global economy such as nation-states, international markets, multinational companies and international organisations created multiplied interactions, such as the emergence of economic globalisation. The need to understand these interactions, and the two oil crises of the 1970s, were the fuel for the speedy development of the discipline of global political economy as an interpretative tool of the global economy. The evolution of economic globalisation was originally analysed in qualitative terms. But studying these multiple interactions only in qualitative terms was not easy. In recent years, a number of indicators were developed, in order to facilitate quantitative analysis in terms that were hitherto discussed only under the quality prism. The OECD, for example, has developed indicators in order to measure the implications of economic globalisation. The aim of this article is to study the main indices that are trying to measure different aspects of the evolution of the global economy. This study is going to show whether these indicators can have a predictive utility or mainly an interpretive capability of certain facts of the global political economy. The article is going to focus on the following countries: the United States, Germany, and China for the last decade (2008–2018), on the basis of the available data. The analysis of the last decade will also reveal the implications of the global economic crisis.
Spyros Roukanas

Examination of the Liquidity, Profitability and Indebtness Relations for Polish Companies with Neural Networks

This study tries to investigate the relations of liquidity, indebtness and profitability for non financial listed companies in the Warsaw Stock Exchange, by applying the non parametric method, neural network analysis. After we present the legal environment of the Polish stock market, we investigate the relationship of liquidity, as measured by the selected indicators, with the company’s profitability and with the firm’s indebtness. It is important for the financial managers to know that by improving their company’s profitability, the liquidity is also affected, or that by managing their company’s liquidity efficiently, they can improve the firm’s profitability. Similarly, a relationship between liquidity and indebtness will also be investigated, since high liquidity reduces the firm’s default and bankruptcy risk. Our results showed that the cash conversion cycle was positively related to the return on assets ratio but had a changeable relation with the return on equity, the net profit margin and the gross profit ratio. The current and the quick ratios were positively related to the return on assets and the return on equity ratios, supporting our hypothesis. We found that the cash conversion cycle was positively and negatively related to the debt ratio, in other words had a changeable relation, while the current and the quick ratios were negatively related to the debt ratio, supporting our hypothesis. Our results compared to the relative literature indicated that the selected methodology (parametric vs. non-parametric) did not give any different results regarding the examined relations but complemented each other.
Katerina Lyroudi

Financial Instability and Economic Growth in Transition Economies

The paper focuses on the fiscal and financial position of European post-socialist countries prior to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007–2009 and afterwards. It highlights the impact of the transmission of crisis and the changes that have been ensued in terms of the pattern of economic growth. For this reason, it reviews the relation of higher GDP growth rates and the deepening of financial development, a model that had been adopted by the majority of countries until the outbreak of the crisis. More precisely, emphasis shall be given to Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic States due to the fact that these countries had experienced the most intense effects. Furthermore, we incorporate Minsky’s financial theory in order to identify the resemblances of the theory with their domestic financial systems and to reveal the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of their fiscal and financial stance. The scope is to indicate that the pursuit of a rapid accelerating GDP growth rates based solely on the financialisation of the economy does not constitute a panacea policy for total economy. Thus, we display relative macroeconomic data in relation with growth GDP rates ex ante and ex post the crisis. Hence, we address the issue that the advent of Global Financial Crisis has induced the countries under examination to moderate their economic policy of credit expansion and high indebtedness towards more balanced and steady growth pattern at the expense though of lower annual GDP rates.
Savvas Zachariadis

InsurTech in CEE Region—Where Are We?

The impact of information technology innovation on development of financial markets is one of the most important trends observed in recent years. Enterprises offering such innovative solutions in finances are called FinTech (financial technology), and the branch of FinTech which focuses on insurance only is called InsurTech. Some of the most important activities that InsurTech try to improve are risk detection and risk prevention, insurance distribution or claims management process, personalization and development of on-demand insurance. The largest investments in InsurTechs are borne by countries like the USA, China, the United Kingdom or Germany, but we can observe activity in this field on smaller insurance markets too, especially in Central and Eastern European (CEE Region) countries such as Poland. The aim of this article is to review InsurTechs observed on the Polish insurance market and indicate the areas in which new technologies affect the shape of this market. The paper describes what Polish InsurTech market looks like in comparison to worldwide tendencies in this field. The conditions for InsurTech development in Poland in the face of the legal framework and act of the supervisor authority are presented. The paper describes the most important characteristics of Polish insurance markets, level of its digitization and outlines how insurance companies deal with new technologies, what solutions they introduce in their own structures and how the cooperation between InsurTech and insurance companies looks. The observed applications of new technologies on the Polish insurance market are described and the chosen InsurTech companies are briefly characterized. In the summary, the main trends in new technologies used by InsurTech are presented. The authors portray the potential future of InsurTech in Poland and compare it to technological development levels observed in other markets. The research methods adopted in the article include literature studies, analysis of information from online sources and inference.
Jacek Lisowski, Anna Chojan

Methods of Regulating Non-performing Loans. The Challenge for Greece

When an economy faces financial crisis, a secondary problem occurs regarding the management of Non-performing Exposures. According to EBA and BoG, several restructuring methods have been created in order to address this problem. This paper aims to analyze all the possible methods, creating at the same time a methodology to pick the best method for each case. Using sensitivity analysis on the impact of the restructuring methods to the financial ratios of the firms we analyzed, we concluded to a technique of choosing the most appropriate method for each case. This paper has practical implications, since its findings can help distressed businesses that face liquidity, solvency and productivity problem to choose the most appropriate restructuring method in order to face financial healthier conditions, which at the moment doesn’t exist.
Paris A. Patsis, Konstantinos J. Liapis

Qualitative Criteria and the Performance of the Global Economy

The economic analysis of the crises has shown that humanity is confronted with the crises with accumulated experience, the world view and the tools of the science. The 2008 crisis is global and requires universal solutions. This was done through the cooperation in global level, on an economic basis, imposed by economic laws. Global society requires global governance, and a scientific management system that can be implemented and operated as a whole. Cooperation at a global level is objectively imposed, and it has been institutionalized in the G20, the birth of continuing and worsening crises. Governance using quantitative economics alters the qualitative characteristics, alleviating the strong local coherence, promoting false historical truth, dismantling the state economic structure, dissolving the productive potential of economies, and turning states into consumers, rather than producer states. The handling of the 2008 general economic crisis, by a new mechanism, is not traditionally but consistent with economic security, as part of the global security. This is a completely new approach in regulating the economy, putting new qualitative characteristics in the directorate sphere. The new issues arising here is that for the first time, the handling of the economic problems is not traditional; it is not proposing economic policies in correcting quantitative indicators, i.e. monetary policy, taxation, increase or decrease of production, investment, consumption, circulation of money etc. Instead, new qualitative measures are proposed to regulate the economy on the basis of global security. The issue of global security is also intertwined with the issue of investment in the global economy. Capital, labor and technical progress are moving together, and this movement is complex, it is balanced or counterbalanced and is associated with their asymmetric or symmetrical development. Thus, for an aggregate evaluation of the global economic performance it is necessary to have certain criteria to evaluate the results of the actions taken.
Efstratios Kypriotelis, Nikolaos Arnis, Georgios Kolias

A Framework for Information Mining from Audit Data

Companies seek new technologies to enhance their business processes. As information systems in companies become more complex, the traditional audit trail is diminished or eliminated. The importance of audit automation and the utilization of IT in modern audits has grown significantly in recent years due to both technological developments and changing regulatory environment. Automation of business processes has inevitably led to changes in auditing procedures and standards. Additional drivers of audit automation adoption include the ever growing complexity of business transactions and increasing risk exposure of modern enterprises. Therefore, the audit’s purpose, which is namely to examine the true and fair view of financial statements, is heavily increasing in complexity. On the other hand, the prevalence of the data paradigm has manifold impacts on the accounting-relevant processes. To cover the requirements to Audit Information System, we strive for the development of a framework for information mining from audit data. In this paper, we report on the framework we have developed in the department of Accounting and Finance. Our study identifies the management of audit alarms and the prevention of the alarm floods as critical tasks in this implementation process. We develop an approach to satisfy these requirements utilizing the data mining techniques. We analyse established audit data from a well-known data repository considering the dimensions of the data paradigm. This led us to a tentative proposal of a conceptual mechanism for an integrated audit approach. With the increasing number of financial fraud cases, the application of data mining techniques could play a big part in improving the quality of conducting audit in the future.
Aikaterini Ioannou, Dimitrios Bourlis, Stavros Valsamidis, Athanasios Mandilas

Determinants of Profitability: Evidence of Renewable Energy Companies

Energy in the world is being provided using fossil fuels as a source because they have the lowest costs and it is considered that we are living in an era of fossil-fueled economies. But due to global warming and climate change, it is necessary to find alternative sources in order to provide energy for future generations and to end the age of fossil fuels. The demand and consumption of the energy is increasing but the resources are limited. In this way, it is generating interest in renewable energy in order to reduce the negative effects on the environment and to create sustainable development. The question is how profitable, and which are the risks that renewable energy companies face? In this way, the aim of this paper is to examine the effect of firm-specific characteristics and macroeconomic determinants of renewable energy companies using the Fixed Effects Model spanning the period 2005–2018. The empirical result shows that internal factors that depend on firm management are significant and have a positive impact on profitability. The profitability is affected positively by capital, size, and capital productivity while leverage of the firm has a negative impact. Additionally, it is investigated the effect of macroeconomic factors that seems to be insignificant in profitability. This study suggests some policies that should follow by policymakers in order to promote renewable energy companies and to create suitable conditions for sustainable development. The development of renewable energy companies is associated with economic, social development, climate changes mitigate that reduce emissions in the environment and have a positive effect on health.
Fatbardha Morina, Chrysanthi Balomenou, Uğur Ergün

Sentiment Analysis: Relationship Between Customer Sentiment and Online Customer Ratings for Price Comparison Engines. An Empirical Study

Sentiment analysis, in other words, opinion mining, is aiming at analyzing people’s sentiments, opinions, emotions, attitudes, etc. Customer sentiment refers to the emotions expressed by customers through their text reviews. These sentiments can be positive, negative or neutral. This study will explore customer sentiments and express them in terms of customer sentiment polarity. In the current days, Greece is facing one of the worst economic crisis in its history, so price comparison engine usage is more than needed, especially for the most competitive and pricy goods, such as athletic footwear and technology ones. In such circumstances, companies have to find more efficient ways to get the absolutely necessary information from their targeted audience by overcoming the problems that a researcher can face with the usage of an ordinary questionnaire, because the customer has written his own point of view; using his own words without being guided by a questionnaire or an interview. This study tries to identify this crucial information and help the contemporary e-shop to improve its ecommerce services and gain more income with less advertising, cpc campaigns, etc. Hence, in this case we gathered from «Skroutz» one of the most renowned PCE in Greece and extracted the sentiment from these core industries target groups, based on the user’s/buyer’s comments and their rating. We used WEKA for classifying the text and extracting knowledge.
Iasonas Papafotikas, Dimitrios Folinas

Determinants of Subjective Well-Being: Case of Albania

There is a growing interest recently towards research in the economics of happiness. Research in this area highlights the importance of subjective well-being as an indicator of welfare. The purpose of this study is to identify the main factors influencing subjective well-being in Albania and discuss the main issues regarding the self-reported data and subjective nature of this topic. Subjective well-being is a term used to identify the subjective evaluation of life satisfaction in general by individuals through survey questions. This term is considered very broad and includes many aspects of individual well-being, valuations that people make regarding their life which include their mental, physical and financial state. Traditionally well-being has been identified by objective measures such as GDP or life expectancy. However, these measures cannot capture all aspect of human well-being. Therefore, there has been a growing literature measuring it using subjective measures by asking people how satisfied are they with their lives in general. Literature in this aspect has identified several factors which affecting subjective well-being such as socio-demographic factors, health status, income, social capital, and environmental quality. Although there is a growing literature using subjective measures, they have several limitations and the question raised is if these indicators are reliable for policymakers. This paper delivers an overview of the growing literature in this filed and discuss the main factors that have an impact on the subjective well-being of individuals in Albania.
Arjona Çela, Chrysanthi Balomenou

Emotional Branding—Identifying the Difference Between Nike and Adidas

Enterprises place their faith in emotional branding to differentiate themselves from competitors and anchor the brand in their customer’s minds. By linking a particular character to the brand, people can feel an emotional attachment. Especially in the sports clothing industry, it is essential to place a strong relationship with customers to add value. For many years, Adidas and Nike have found themselves fighting for their market position in the sports clothing industry. This chapter shows how these two brands represent different personalities based on an empirical study. The authors researched within the German speaking countries, and it is based on 150 questionnaires. Following a short introduction (Sect. 1), a literature review is given in Sect. 2. The empirical study is described in Sect. 4 based on the research question (Sect. 3). All the findings are described in Sect. 5 and are recapitulated in Sect. 6.
Alexandra Kammerer, Thomas Dilger, Christian Ploder

Determinants of University Efficiency Focusing on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Activities

One of the main and most important locomotives of knowledge transfer is higher education institutions. The productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness issues in higher education institutions are of high importance for policymakers and higher education professionals in the construction of innovative strategies. In this context, the topic of the research is about the measurement of efficiency and determining the factors that affect the performance of the university efficiency in the focus of entrepreneurship and innovation activities, which is considered as the third role of the universities. Based on the data for the years 2011–2016, firstly it is aimed to calculate the efficiency scores of the top 50 universities in the “Entrepreneurial and Innovative University Index” between 2012–2017 by data envelopment analysis, secondly, it is aimed to examine the environmental factors affecting the efficiency scores with the panel data analysis and to analyze in detail the elements necessary for higher ranking of successes. According to the results obtained, it was observed that 35 universities in Turkey, which are included in the scope of the study, do not use resources effectively and provide a systematic improvement periodically. According to the panel Tobit model results, presence of technopark, GDP per capita by region, the score of the graduates of the doctorate level, the establishment of the university after 1992 and the foundation year have a positive effect on the efficiency scores in the focus of entrepreneurship and innovation activities. Additionally, concerning the results, the efficiency of the universities in the Central Anatolia and Marmara Region is higher than the universities in the Blacksea, Eastern, and Southeastern Regions. Moreover, being a public university, the presence of a medical faculty, the number of undergraduate students per academician, and the existence of a vocational high school adversely affect efficiency.
Özge Saygın Karagöz, Şenay Üçdoğruk Birecikli, İpek Deveci Kocakoç

Stochastic Socio-economic Ex-ante Evaluation of Road Transport Infrastructure Projects

The successful delivery of major infrastructure projects to meet social needs is at the core of European Union (EU) 2020 strategy aiming at the enhancement of territorial cohesion and economic development. Selecting the “most valued” public infrastructure investments is obviously crucial, especially during economic recession periods. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) has long been accepted as the leading analytical technique to assist decision-making in the appraisal of public mega projects by assessing their “discounted” whole-life cycle socio-economic benefits and costs. Nonetheless, the uncertain nature of the critical variables involved in the analysis is endemic in any ex-ante project evaluation process and, therefore, an appropriate quantitative (stochastic) risk assessment (QRA) is indispensable. According to relevant EU regulations, the inclusion of QRA in CBA is a prerequisite for the approval of major projects. The herein presented paper aims at investigating the level of significance of adopting a stochastic approach to the socio-economic evaluation of public road transport infrastructure projects through the application of QRA within the traditional CBA framework. Both CBA and QRA methodologies are presented and an illustrative numerical example for a road transport infrastructure project is demonstrated: a practical probabilistic CBA implementation concerning the decision whether to proceed with the construction of a new peripheral motorway for improving the existing local road traffic conditions in the connection of two urban areas. From the results of the analysis, the advantages of stochastic appraisal and selection of major capital investment projects are vindicated.
Dimitrios D. Kantianis

Types of Markets Within the Healthcare Systems; Examples from Balkan and East European Countries

The purpose of the paper is to provide a general framework from microeconomic perspective, for describing various markets within the health care system and to understanding the characteristics of main actors, especially those playing simultaneously the role of supply and of demand. The paper is based on a review of markets within the healthcare systems of Balkan and East European countries using for examples from the WHO monographs (HiT—Health Systems in Transition) on their respective health systems. The markets within the health systems can be grouped in two tiers. Those where the patient is the demand and the provider of health services is the supply, named here front-stage markets. and those where the provider of health services is the demand, and the producers of medical inputs are the supply, named back-stage markets. These markets are analyzed from microeconomic perspective. All of them are imperfect competition markets, where actors’ behavior is specific to the type of market, and suppliers benefit of asymmetric information. Health provider institutions and independent medical practicians play a double role within the health system. On the back-stage markets they are the demand, and simultaneously on the front-stage markets they are the supply. This double role position has important implications on the capacity of these to perform well virtually opposed roles. The paper also discusses how health insurance and government intervention affects those markets. The paper is important for policymakers, because it describes the economic incentives driving the actors in the health care system and their market power. It is useful in designing interventions regarding education of health care managers and efficiency of care delivery.
Dan Sava

Digital Divide Evaluation in High Education from Distance Learning Perspective

Digital divide is a term that refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access. This technology can include the telephone, television, personal computers and the Internet. Well before the late twentieth century, digital divide referred chiefly to the division between those with and without telephone access; after the late 1990s the term began to be used mainly to describe the split between those with and without Internet access, particularly broadband. The digital divide typically exists between those in cities and those in rural areas; between the educated and the uneducated; between socioeconomic groups; and, globally, between the more and less industrially developed nations. Even among populations with some access to technology, the digital divide can be evident in the form of lower-performance computers, lower-speed wireless connections, lower-priced connections such as dial-up, and limited access to subscription-based content. The reality of a separate-access marketplace is problematic because of the rise of services such as video on demand, video conferencing and virtual classrooms, which require access to high-speed, high-quality connections that those on the less-served side of the digital divide cannot access and/or afford. And while adoption of smartphones is growing, even among lower-income and minority groups, the rising costs of data plans and the difficulty of performing tasks and transactions on smartphones continue to inhibit the closing of the gap. This paper examines the question of distance education and its pivotal role in promoting success, social change and development in Turkish education system in terms of digital divide concept. The case area is Izmir city which is the 3rd biggest city in Turkey. From started at the beginning of the twenty-first century, information technologies have been using at different levels of education; for example, the smart boards and tablets at high school level, distance learning at universities. Especially, distance learning is very popular in universities different levels of education. However, they have not the same chance to reach and use internet for their education. Some of the students only use the department computer laboratories and the others use owns cell phones and internet capacities in order to follow courses. This paper aims to discuss the differences from the perspective of digital divide concept. Different levels of university students are observed in Dokuz Eylul University, made questionnaires. One sample t-test, ANOVA and spatial statistical methods (weighted average center, weighted standard distance and weighted standard deviation ellipse) were used in the analysis of the data. In the evaluation of the results, the students were determined as gender and cities where they graduate as factor. Among the students, it has been found that men use information technologies more effectively than women who have information technologies. Additionally, results of the spatial statistics there is no digital divide between regions of country according to city where students graduated.
Cigdem Tarhan, Can Aydin, Vahap Tecim

Public Corporate Governance: Upcoming Changes Regarding the Implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and Corporate Social Responsibility in Public Sector

The upcoming changes following the mandatory implementation of IPSAS in public entities, as well as those of the wider public sector and the corporate social responsibility of public entities, are cutting edge issues that will dominate changes in the public sector the following years. This paper aims to highlight the significant changes affecting not only Greece but also all EU countries. We present the changes that have been made to date as well as the upcoming required changes in Greece and the EU. We carry out a comparative analysis between the current and the forthcoming situation, both for the public governance and for the change of the public accounting and its procedures. Also, we compare the corporate social responsibility of European and Greek legislation and of the various convergences between IPSAS and IAS. Through the construction of a flowchart of proposed convergence actions, we point out possible failures—deviations that may occur during the transition time as well as all actions that should be taken accordingly. With this paper, we provide a roadmap for the transition and transformation of the administrative accounting operations of public entities.
Christos L. Galanos, Sotirios J. Trigkas, Konstantina Giarou, Foteini I. Pagkalou
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