Peer-reviewed publications

Hager, Theresa, Ines Heck and Johanna Rath (2022): Polanyi and
Schumpeter: Transitional processes via societal spheres. European Journal of History of Economic Thought. DOI: 10.1080/09672567.2022.2131865
ABSTRACT: We examine parallels and differences, intersections and complementarities in the notions of societal transition by Karl Polanyi and Joseph A. Schumpeter. Considering their intellectual heritage, methodology and scope, we propose a three-sphere framework to analyse their theories and study the interdependencies within capitalism. The three spheres essential to both thinkers are the political, the socio-cultural and the economic: the latter dominates the others in capitalist societies. The resulting rationalisation (Schumpeter) and commodification (Polanyi) distort the socio-cultural sphere and transcend towards the political sphere which undermines democracy. Applying our framework, we identify similar transitional mechanisms but derive different implications for society.
Read here

Kreimer, Margareta and Ines Heck (2021, in German): Doch nicht so krank? – Eine feministisch-ökonomische Perspektive auf die Kostenkrankheit der sozialen Dienstleistungen (English: Not so diseased after all? A feminist economics perspective on the cost disease in social services), in: Emunds, Bernhard, Degan, Julian, Habel, Simone & Hagedorn, Jonas (eds.) Freiheit, Gleichheit, Selbstausbeutung. Weimar bei Marburg: Metropolis.
The book is available here (in German)

Other publications

Heck, Ines, Thomas Rabensteiner and Ben Tippet (2024): A progressive excess profit tax for the European Union. Greenwich Papers in Political Economy. No. 97.
ABSTRACT: This report proposes a new progressive excess profit tax (PEPT) for the European Union. Our proposal taxes excess profits at an additional 20% rate for ‘base’ excess profits – profits between a rate of return of 10% and 15%; and an additional 40% rate for ‘super’ excess profits – profits above a rate of return of 15%. This PEPT design would raise an additional €126 billion in 2022 on top of existing corporate tax revenues. This is equivalent to roughly 0.8% of the EU’s GDP or about 1.6% of total government expenditure by EU member states. This translates to €280 for every EU citizen. EU member states could levy the PEPT as they have the necessary tools, information and legal authority to collect taxes, with coordination at the European level. Our proposal limits tax avoidance: firms are taxed based on where they generate sales, not where they are legally registered, limiting their ability to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions to avoid the tax. Our proposal should not reduce investment as firms can still make 10% returns on their assets without facing any extra taxes. Even if global coordination is not possible, we show that a PEPT can be unilaterally implemented by the EU.

Wildauer, Rafael, Ines Heck and Jakob Kapeller (2023): Was Pareto right? Is the distribution of wealth thick-tailed? Greenwich Papers in Political Economy. No. 92.
ABSTRACT: We fit log-normal, exponential, Pareto type I and Pareto type II distributions to US wealth data from 1989 to 2019 and examine the goodness of fit. Unlike earlier literature this paper uses high quality data, covering the entire US population, yielding powerful and unbiased tests. Beyond the 91st percentile the type II distribution consistently provides the best fit to the data and supports the hypothesis of a thick-tailed wealth (and by extension income) distribution. In addition, our results highlight the changing shape of the tail with decreasing concentration up to the 98th percentile and increasing concentration beyond. Our results suggest that practitioners modelling the distribution of wealth in situations where only limited data is available, a type I Pareto distribution might still serve as a valuable bias correction tool but should only be fitted to the top 1% of the population.

Heck, Ines and Cem Oyvat (2023): Productivity, wages and structural change: a two-sector demand-led model. Greenwich Papers in Political Economy. No. 93.
ABSTRACT: We present a Post-Keynesian and Kaleckian two-sector productivity model with short- and medium-run specifications. The model examines the effect of wages on aggregate output, labour productivity and structural change. In our model, the sectors produce different goods with different levels of labour productivity. In the short run, higher wages have a different effect on demand in different sectors, which would influence the output and productivity in these sectors differently and lead to a structural change via spending patterns. In the medium-run specification, the focus shifts to the growth rates of output and productivity. Each sector has a productivity regime and a demand regime, which can be either profit-led or wage-led. Different combinations of regimes lead to different scenarios for productivity growth.

Heck, Ines, Jakob Kapeller and Rafael Wildauer (2021, in German): Vermögenskonzentration in Österreich – Ein Update auf Basis des HFCS 2017 (English: Wealth concentration in Austria – HFCS 2017 update). Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. AK Wien.
ABSTRACT: This report uses the third wave of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) to analyse the distribution of household wealth in Austria. Special focus is given to the problem of differential nonresponse bias from which the Austrian survey data is most likely suffering. Taking Blanchet et al.’s (2017) and Blanchet et al.’s (2018) critique into account that reliance on type I Pareto distributions to correct the underreporting in the tail due to differential nonresponse relies on the restrictive assumption of scale invariance, this report presents a new approach. We fit a type II Pareto distribution to the data which allows for nonconstant concentration within the tail of the wealth distribution. We overcome the well known problems of fitting type II distributions to the data by adapting Castillo & Hadi’s (1997) elemental percentile method (EPM). Using this approach results in an increase of aggregate private net wealth in Austria from 985 billion to 1,249 billion Euro. Average household net wealth increases from 250,000 to 318,000 Euro and the top 1% share increases from 23 to 39 percent. Next we use the Pareto-tail-amended data to estimate the revenue potential of four different periodic net wealth tax designs, taking tax evasion into account. Linear model I yields revenues of 5 billion Euro (assuming no evasion), mildly progressive model II yields 8.8 billion Euro (including evasion effects) and progressive model III yields 13.1 billion Euros (assuming strong evasion effects). Model IV is inspired by Piketty (2013) and introduces a maximum wealth level at 1,000 times average wealth (i.e. 318 million Euro). We estimate the revenue potential of model IV to be 91.5 billion Euro in the first year, even when taking strong evasion reactions into account. Models I and II would only be able to slow down increases in wealth inequality, while model III might have the potential to stabilize current levels of inequality and model IV would have the potential to strongly reduce current levels of inequality.
Read here (in German). A blog post based on the study can be found here.

Bauer, Susanne and Ines Heck (in German): Chapter Branchenanalyse, in: Abteilung Marktforschung der AK Steiermark (2018). Paketdienste und die letzte Meile des Paketes auf dem Weg zum Verbraucher. Eine Analyse der Arbeitswelt, der Branchenstruktur und die Paketzustellung im Test (English: Parcels and their last mile. Analysis of work environment, industry and parcel delivery tests), pp. 16-58. Graz, Austria.