Department of Economics

Monday Economics workshops

Monday Economics workshops take place each Monday during term time. Please find a list of workshops for the current term below. The location of the workshop may change over the course of the term so please check this site for updates. Click on the workshop title for more information about each workshop and the speaker(s).

No items are currently available.

Past seminars

Spring Term 2020
27 January
Intergenerational Transmission of Bilingualism and the Labour Market: Evidence from Mexico
Diego de la Fuente Stevens (University of Sussex)

Abstract

This study demonstrates a series of links between minority language skills, their transmission across generations and employment opportunities. Using a detailed matching procedure, we estimate the likelihood of being employed for bilingual versus monolingual men for a large number of Mexican indigenous groups. We find that for indigenous groups, retaining the minority language along with Spanish increases employment opportunities. Furthermore, using the Mexican census household micro data, we show that the languages that are associated with larger labour market benefits, are more likely to be passed on from parents to children, controlling for other factors. Overall, this study shows that continuity of minority languages across generations is linked to concrete economic benefits and labour market specialisation, along with the usual social factors within the family and the community.

3 February
Publishing while female 2.0
Richard Tol (University of Sussex)

Abstract

We study 165,000 decisions made between 2002 and 2018 by the editors of 35 economics and finance journals. Female-authored papers take longer to review and, in economics, are revised more often. In economics, female editors are faster. Boards with more females are faster in economics, but slower in finance, unless the author is female. Female-authored papers are less likely to be rejected. Female editors desk-reject more, their male colleagues less. It appears that male editors change their behaviour when there are women on the editorial board.

10 February
Public Insurance and Marital Outcomes: evidence from the Medicaid Expansion (joint work with Sarah Rosenberg)
Tom Potoms (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Marriage provides both non-monetary benefits, like love, and monetary benefits, like formal and informal insurance. The more generous are public insurance programs for individuals, the less valuable the monetary benefits of marriage become. We explore how this tradeoff affects marriage in the context of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in the United States. The expansion of Medicaid reduced individuals’ exposure outside of marriage to the risk of health shocks and associated financial shocks. A naive hypothesis might be that such an expansion is “bad” for marriage since it reduces the financial incentive for marriage. We show theoretically and empirically that while Medicaid expansion does decrease the marriage rate, it also reduces the divorce rate of new marriages, consistent with an increase in match quality. It also reduces the divorce rate of already-married couples, which we reconcile via the general equilibrium effects on intra-household allocations. Finally, we show that these effects are similar for individuals who do not directly gain coverage as a result of the expansion, suggesting that the mere existence of public insurance affects individual marital behavior. Taken together, our findings illustrate that even when public insurance reduces the monetary benefits of marriage, the effects on marriage overall may be positive.

17 February
A non-parametric re-assessment of the trade effects of the euro using value added data
Pierluigi Montalbano (Sapienza University)

Abstract

This work presents an original contribution to the debate on the trade effects of the euro, recently revamped by Glick and Rose (2016). It provides a re-assessment of the effects of the euro by focusing on trade in value added and applying non-parametric matching techniques that control for non-linearity-with-self-selection. In line with Persson (2001), we show a less positive post-assessment of the euro effect on intra-EMU trade flows. However, we detect a robust positive impact of the euro on trade shares in selected value added components net to the single market effect. These results are robust to a large set of sensitivity checks.

Bio

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/234152

Paper

http://www.diss.uniroma1.it/sites/default/files/allegati/DiSSE_Montalbanoetal_wp9_2019.pdf

24 February
Mixture Choice Functions: A Tool To Identify Preferences and Cognition - Joint with Valentino Dardanoni, Marco Mariotti and Henrik Petri
Paola Manzini (University of Sussex)

Abstract

A mixture choice function (MCF) is a finite mixture of deterministic choice functions. Any choice behaviour on menus that is described by a stochastic choice function (SCF) can be encoded by some MCF provided that the support of the mixture is large enough (in particular attaching positive weight to “non-rational” choice functions); but an MCF records in addition the link between choices across menus. We exploit this feature of an MCF to provide a general framework for identifying preference and cognitive parameters affecting choice. Furthermore, we show the power of the framework to identify preference and cognitive distributions in specific models of choice, both theoretically and through application to an experimental dataset.

2 March
Beliefs in Repeated Games - Authors: Masaki Aoyagi, Guillaume R. Frechette, and Sevgi Yuksel
Guillaume Frechette (New York University)

Abstract

This paper uses a laboratory experiment to study the formation and evolution of beliefs and their relationship to action and strategy choices in finitely and indefinitely repeated prisoner's dilemma games. This novel data set provides insights on the drivers of non-equilibrium behavior in finitely repeated games, and equilibrium selection in indefinitely repeated games. On average, beliefs reflect actions fairly accurately and thus showing distinct patterns across treatments, in particular for rounds close to the end of finitely repeated games. However, they also display small, systematic, and insightful deviations, such as early pessimism in indefinite games and late optimism in finite games. Using a novel technique to study beliefs over strategies, we show that subjects who play different strategies have different beliefs. Furthermore, those strategy choices can be related to beliefs in a meaningful way.

Bio

http://people.cess.fas.nyu.edu/frechette/

9 March
Necessary and sufficient conditions for demand to be normal
Pawel Dziewulski (University of Sussex)

Abstract

We discuss conditions on consumer preferences under which the demand for a good is normal, i.e., it increases with respect to income. We show that a condition dubbed 'parallelogram property' is sufficient for this to hold; it is also necessary within the class of convex preferences. In addition, once applied to production technology of a firm, the parallelogram property is necessary and sufficient for a profit-maximizing output level to be decreasing in input prices.

Autumn Term 2019
7 October
Revealing a Preference for Mixtures: An Experimental Study of Risk
John Rehbeck (Ohio State University)

Abstract

Using a revealed preference approach, we conduct an experiment where subjects make choices from linear budgets in the domain of risk. We find that many individuals prefer mixtures of lotteries in ways that systematically rule out expected utility behavior. We then explore the extent to which an individual's risk preferences are related to a ``preference for randomization" by comparing choices from the convex choice task to the decisions made in a repeated discrete choice task. We find that risk preferences are correlated with a ``preference for randomization".

Bio

https://sites.google.com/site/johnrehbeck/

14 October
When time is power: Intertemporal consumption with bargaining between anticipating, remembering, and experiencing selves
Tom Potoms (University of Sussex)

Abstract

We posit that intertemporal consumption is the outcome of a bargaining process between an anticipating, a remembering, and an experiencing self. The anticipating self attaches more value to future consumption, while the remembering self values early consumption more. Pareto efficiency then predicts that future consumption is mainly decided by the anticipating self, whereas early consumption is mainly chosen by the remembering self. We use a nonparametric version of this model to study intertemporal consumption patterns in the Encuesta Continua de Presupuestos Familiares.

21 October
Discrimination by Politicians against Religious Minorities: Evidence from the UK
Lee Crawfurd (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Do politicians discriminate against minority religious groups? In this correspondence study we test for differences in the responsiveness of elected local representatives in the UK to requests from purported constituents from minority religious groups. We document the average degree of bias against these groups across all elected representatives. We send short requests to approximately 10,000 local government representatives from each of the main political parties, from stereotypically Islamic, Jewish, and nondescript names. Response rates are 6 to 7 percentage points lower to stereotypically Muslim or Jewish names. Response rates to Jewish and Muslim names from Labour Party councillors show less bias than from other parties.

28 October
Juvenile Incarceration and Adult Recidivism - Tomás Cortés, Nicolás Grau, and Jorge Rivera
Nicolas Grau (Universidad de Chile, visiting UCL)

Abstract

Juvenile incarceration is a common practice worldwide, despite the controversies surrounding it. Using Chilean administrative data we assess the causal impact of pre-trial juvenile detention on recidivism in young adulthood (18-21 years old), finding an increase of 28 percentage points (pp). Similarly, if the treatment is defined as any type of incarceration (i.e. pre-trial detention or post-conviction incarceration), its impact is equal to 36 pp. To address the endogeneity of these treatments, we use the quasi random assignment of detention judges and public attorneys to the accused. Our results suggest that an important mechanism behind these impacts is the effect of incarceration on high school graduation. Indeed, the effect of pre-trial detention on recidivism is considerably larger when the prosecution starts during the second semester of the academic year, when there is a high chance that the timing affects the ability of the accused to successfully finish the year.

Bio

https://sites.google.com/site/nicolasgrauv/

4 November
Wealth and Safety: Uncertainty and the Demand for Safe Assets, joint with Simon Boserup (University of Copenhagen), Alexandre Kohlhas (University of Stockholm) and Ansgar Walther (Imperial College London). & Male Fertility: Facts, Distribution and Drivers of Inequality. joint with Andreas Kotsadam and Bernt Bratsberg (Frisch Centre, University of Oslo)
Selma Walther (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Investors' "flight to safety" in response to higher uncertainty is a key hypothesis in theories of financial cycles but little microeconomic evidence exists. We show that households facing exogenous increases in labour market uncertainty rebalance their financial portfolios in favour of safe assets, reducing their exposure to the stock market. The effect differs by wealth: while the rich exhibit flight to safety when times are bad, the poor deplete their cash reserves and enter the stock market, taking on additional risk. This has implications for inequality in the impacts of heightened uncertainty.

We characterise patterns of male fertility in recent decades and identify three surprising facts: a high rate of childlessness among the poorest men, an increase in inequality in fertility outcomes across the wealth distribution, and a concomitant rise in single status. We use firm bankruptcies to identify the impact of earnings losses on male family outcomes and provide the first evidence that poor labour market outcomes are a key reason behind the increase in the number of "left behind" men who remain childless and single, consistent with the rise in earnings inequality over recent decades. 

11 November
Stable marriage, household consumption and unobserved match quality
Bram De Rock (ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Abstract

We present a methodology for the structural empirical analysis of marital matching patterns that allows us to evaluate individuals' trade-os between material benefits (i.e., real consumption) and immaterial benefits (i.e., unobserved match quality) from marriage. We focus on a setting in which agents can be divided into observable types, with common preferences within a type. Our general methodology includes both general utilities and quasi-linear (i.e., transferable) utilities of the individual household members, and assumes stability of marriage as the equilibrium condition that characterizes the observed partner choices. The basic ingredients of our methodology are testable revealed preference conditions for marital stability that are intrinsically nonparametric, which enables an empirical investigation that is robust to functional specification error. We also demonstrate the practical usefulness of our methodology through an application to the Belgian MEqIn data.

Bio

https://sites.google.com/site/bramderock

18 November
The impact of selling-off public housing on crime and other social outcomes - (with John Gathergood, Nottingham; Steve Machin (CEP, LSE) and Matteo Sandi (CEP, LSE)
Richard Disney (University of Sussex)

Abstract

The Right-to-Buy policy, by which council tenants could buy their properties at heavily discounted prices, constitutes a large scale experiment in the UK with long term implications. We examine the effect of the policy on crime rates and other social outcomes up to 30 years after the policy was initiated. We discuss whether our results are consistent with the urban gentrification models that have been developed in the US in recent years, or with other models of behavioural change.

Bio

I am a PT Professor of Economics at Sussex, a Research Associate at the CEP, LSE, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

25 November
Beliefs about the Stock Market and Stock Investment: Evidence from a Field Experiment - co-authored with Christine Laudenbach and Annika Weber (both Goethe University Frankfurt)
Johannes Wohlfart (University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We examine how retail investors' beliefs in momentum and mean reversion of aggregate stock returns causally affect their expectation formation and their trading behavior. We conduct a survey on a sample of retail investors in which we first elicit beliefs about whether aggregate stock returns have momentum or mean-revert. After that we provide a random half of our respondents with information on the low degree of aggregate predictability of the stock market, that has been extensively documented by the literature. We then ask our respondents on their expected stock returns over the next 12 months and their trading plans. By linking the experimental variation in beliefs with administrative investment records of clients at a large German brokerage firm, we also examine how de-biasing investors affects stock sales and purchases and overall risk-taking.

We characterise patterns of male fertility in recent decades and identify three surprising facts: a high rate of childlessness among the poorest men, an increase in inequality in fertility outcomes across the wealth distribution, and a concomitant rise in single status. We use firm bankruptcies to identify the impact of earnings losses on male family outcomes and provide the first evidence that poor labour market outcomes are a key reason behind the increase in the number of "left behind" men who remain childless and single, consistent with the rise in earnings inequality over recent decades. 

Bio

https://sites.google.com/site/johanneswohlfartecon/home

Spring Term 2019
11 February
Inferring cognitive heterogeneity from aggregate choices - a reprise
Paola Manzini (University of Sussex)

Abstract

One potentially important drawback of existing theories of limited attention is that they typically assume a rich dataset of choices from many menus. We study the problem of identifying the distribution of cognitive characteristics in a population of agents when only aggregate choice behavior from a single menu (or a limited number of menus) is observable. We show how in our model both “consideration probability” and “consideration capacity” distributions can be substantially identified by aggregate choice shares when preferences are either unknown but homogeneous in the population, or heterogeneous but known. When these assumption fail, we show that a parsimonious extension of the number of observed menus allows full identifiability to be restored.

18 February
Assymetric Attention
Alexandre Kohlhas (Stockholm University)

Abstract

We document simultaneous over- and under-responses to new information by households, firms, and professional forecasters in survey data. Such behavior is inconsistent with existing theories based on either behavioral bias or rational inattention. We develop a structural model of information choice in which people base expectations on observables that can reconcile the seemingly contradictory facts. We show that optimally-chosen, asymmetric attention to different observables can explain the coexistence of over- and under-responses. We then embed our model of information choice into a micro-founded macroeconomic model, which generates expectations consistent with the survey data. We demonstrate that our model creates over-optimistic consumption beliefs in booms and predictability in consumption changes.

25 February
Predictably Unequal? The Effects of Machine Learning on Credit Markets
Ansgar Walther (Imperial College)

Abstract

Innovations in statistical technology, including in predicting creditworthiness, have sparked concerns about differential impacts across categories such as race. Theoretically, distributional consequences from better statistical technology can come from greater flexibility to uncover structural relationships, or from triangulation of otherwise excluded characteristics. Using data on US mortgages, we predict default using traditional and machine learning models. We find that Black and Hispanic borrowers are disproportionately less likely to gain from the introduction of machine learning. In a simple equilibrium credit market model, machine learning increases disparity in rates between and within groups; these changes are primarily attributable to greater flexibility.

Bio

https://ansgarwalther.weebly.com

Keywords

Keywords: machine learning, credit, mortgages, disparate impact

4 March
Publishing while female. Are women held to higher standards? Evidence from peer review
Erin Hengel (University of Liverpool)

Abstract

I use readability scores to test if women's writing is held to higher standards in academic peer review. I find: (i) female-authored papers are 1--6 percent better written than equivalent papers by men; (ii) the gap is almost two times higher in published articles than in their pre-print drafts; (iii) women improve their writing as they publish more papers but men do not. Within a subjective expected utility framework, I show that tougher editorial standards are uniquely consistent with authors' observed choices. A conservative estimate derived from the model suggests higher standards cause senior female economists to write at least 7 percent more clearly than they otherwise would. I then document evidence suggesting higher standards affect behaviour and lower productivity. First, I find that women gradually adapt to tougher standards in peer review by writing more readably before it. Second, using data from Econometrica and the Review of Economic Studies, I show that female-authored papers spend 3--6 months longer in review. The latter response reduces women's output; the former disguises biased treatment as voluntary choice. Both whitewash discrimination. More generally, tougher standards impose a quantity\slash quality trade-off that helps explain academia's ''Publishing Paradox'' and ''Leaky Pipeline''. Evidence of this trade-off beyond academia suggests they may also contribute to women's lower productivity in many occupations.

Bio

Erin Hengel recently obtained her PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Liverpool. Her work focuses on gender bias in peer review. She has also investigated bankruptcy vis-à-vis recent U.K. legislative changes. Beyond academia, she taught introductory to advanced Stata to HM Treasury, KPMG, the Welsh Government and Planned Parenthood; she has also done freelance software development and data analysis for the OECD, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Truckee Meadows Water Authority. Before starting her Ph.D., she worked five years at the OECD.

11 March
Confrontation cost in negotiations
Andrés Gago (CEMFI)

Abstract

In negotiations the objectives of parties are generally in conflict. Facing this conflict can trigger negative emotions: A sentiment of nervousness, embarrassment or awkwardness. In this paper, by means of a lab experiment, I explore the existence and implications of these confrontation costs. First, I show that a significant proportion of participants avoid bargaining even when it delivers higher payoffs. I find that the avoidance rate is 50% higher in face-to-face negotiations relative to electronic negotiations. This offsets a higher rate of agreements conditional on bargaining, making the unconditional probability of agreement equal across communication channels. Second, after shutting down alternative channels, I attribute the decrease in bargaining propensity to an increase in confrontation costs. Both things together make e-negotiations welfare improving in my design, casting doubts on the general belief that face-to-face communication increases efficiency by fostering transactions. Finally, consistent with previous literature, I observe that women haggle less than men, and I find that confrontation costs are a reason to explain it.

18 March
What role for genetics in social mobility
Leon Feinstein (Children's Commissioner Office)

Abstract

Twins studies have indicated that there is a substantial “heritability” to many features of human behaviour. Some have taken this to mean that there is little role for policy in influencing social outcomes yet the relationships between DNA (molecules) human behaviour and social outcomes are disparate, complex and little understood. The challenge of integrating or aligning social science with psychological and biological sciences (consilience in the phrase of EO Wilson) is a major barrier to meaningful analysis, models and recommendations for public policy. Yet these issues are conflated by hereditarians such as Robert Plomin leading to substantial public confusion. In this talk I will discuss the meaning and implications of genetics for social science and consider the modelling challenge of interpreting heredity as a component of intergenerational change.

Bio

https://sites.google.com/site/anicolo68/home

1 April
Trade costs and patterns of trade
Eugenia Go (University of Sussex)

Abstract

This paper investigates how the expansion of the roll-on roll-off (RORO) shipping technology affected trading patterns among islands in the Philippines. The Philippine Government promoted the use of RORO in inter-island shipping with the aim of improving connectivity and bringing down domestic trade costs. This paper finds that RORO is associated with gains in trade that are largely driven by exporting a more diverse set of products and expanding the number of trading partners, although the gains for short-distance RRTS connections are predominantly intensive in nature. A key driver of the observed gains is through the higher frequency of trade observed among RRTS connected routes. The RRTS associated trade gains do not stem from substitution away from non-RRTS competing ports. On the contrary, positive market access spillover effects are uncovered for cities that are proximate to RRTS-connected pairs. RRTS trade do not appear to complement or compete with liner trading routes. Finally, there are no systematic RRTS-associated gains on higher value products, time-sensitive, or fast-moving consumer goods.

Bio

https://www.anandimani.com/about

8 April
Fake News: Debunking Beliefs about Fertiliser Quality in Tanzania
Annemie Maertens (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Fertilizer use remains below recommended rates in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, contributing to poor crop yields and poverty. Farmers voice suspicion that available fertilizer is often adulterated, but these concerns are not backed by reliable evidence. We surveyed all fertilizer sellers in Morogoro Region, Tanzania and tested samples of their fertilizer. We also conducted a willingness-to-pay assessment with farmers. We find that fertilizers meet nutrient standards but that belief of rampant product adulteration persists among farmers. We then implement a randomized controlled trial in which we expose randomly selected treatment markets and villages to (credible) information about the quality of fertiliser. We are currently in the process of following up the changes in beliefs, demand, supply and prices as response to this information. We expect information to increase demand for fertilizer, both on the internal and external margin, thereby increasing yields; however, whether agricultural incomes increase will depend on the knock-off effect on fertiliser suppliers and prices.

Autumn Term 2018
8 October
The economic impact of weather and climate - Marco Letta and Richard S.J. Tol
Richard Tol (University of Sussex)

Abstract

We disentangle the impacts of weather and climate on economic activity and growth. We adopt a stochastic frontier model with climate in the production frontier and weather shocks as a source of technical inefficiency. The results reconcile inconsistencies in previous studies: climate determines production potential in both rich and poor countries, whereas weather anomalies lead to inefficiency only in poor countries. These findings are robust to alternative estimation strategies such as error-correction models and long differences. Extrapolating on a long-run perspective, future changes in climate will affect the potential growth rate in all countries, but increases in the frequency of weather shocks will reduce the actual growth rate only in poor countries.

15 October
Stress on the sidewalk: The mental health costs of close proximity crime
Panka Bencsik (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Crime, one of the top concerns of residents in England, is a substantial, negative externality for mental health, but the precise estimation of the size of the effect has been hindered by the lack of availability of regular stress data. In this paper, I apply a smartphone based, daily response panel dataset with over 75,000 responses from 2010 to 2017 in the Thames Valley region of England to estimate the effect of crime on mental wellbeing, specifically momentary stress levels. I connect the daily stress levels for the exact response location with the daily and monthly crime level in the same neighborhood, and find a strong negative impact for a crime event on stress, compared to no crime in the past three days, specifically driven by violent crimes, and crimes that are committed two days before the response. This two-day lag is suggesting the presence of a mediator of the information–word of mouth or the media. This result holds with extensive controls for neighborhood fixed effects, individual fixed effects, and circumstantial characteristics. My estimations are both temporally and geographically more precise than possible before, estimating at the geographic level of the Output Area (OA), which – with an average of 131 households – is the size of about a single street, less than twentieth of the size of a zip code in the United States. In terms of perceived crime, I scrape multiple news sites, and observe linearly increasing nationwide stress levels in response to articles published on the topic of crime in The Guardian newspaper the day before the response was given. Overall, the paper, is able to estimate the larger society cost of each unique violent crime reported to the police, which can in turn put a better beyond-victim cost calculation on crime fighting.

22 October
Assymetric attention - Alexandre Kohlhas and Ansgar Walther
Alex Kohlhas (Stockholm University)

Abstract

We document simultaneous over- and underresponses to new information by house holds, firms, and professional forecasters in survey data. We demonstrate that a structural model of information choice can reconcile the disparate facts. We show that optimally chosen, asymmetric attention to different structural variables can explain the co-existence of over- and underresponses. We then embed our model of information choice into a microfounded macroeconomic model, which generates expectations that are consistent with the survey data. Our model creates over-optimistic consumption expectations in booms and predictability in consumption and output changes. We confirm auxiliary implications of the model in the data.

29 October
The Times They are a-Changing: Dynamic Adverse Selection in the Laboratory (with Felipe Araujo and Stephanie Wang)
Alistair Wilson (University of Pittsburgh)

Abstract

Across a variety of contexts decision-makers exhibit a robust failure to understand the interaction of private information and strategy, with one prominent example being the winner's curse. Such failures have generally been observed in static settings, where participants fail to think through a future hypothetical. We use a laboratory experiment to examine a common-value matching environment where strategic thinking is entirely backward looking, and adverse selection is a dynamic, non-stationary process. Our results indicate the majority of subjects in our environment use a sub-optimal stationary response -- even after extended experience and feedback. In terms of learning, even stationary subjects learn to adjust their behavior in response to the adverse selection, though adjusting their unconditional response. In contrast the minority using non-stationary responses do so very quickly, reflecting an introspective rather than learned solution to the problem.

5 November
Just-noticeable difference as a behavioural foundation of the critical cost-efficiency index
Pawel Dziewulski (University of Sussex)

Abstract

Critical cost-efficiency index (or CCEI), proposed in Afriat (1972, 1973) and Varian (1990), is the most commonly used measure of revealed preference violations. By representing consumer preference with interval orders, as in Fishburn (1970), we show that this index is equivalent to a particular notion of the just-noticeable difference, i.e., a measure of dissimilarity between alternatives that is sufficient for the agent to tell them apart. Therefore, CCEI can be interpreted as the consumer’s cognitive inability to discriminate among options. This characterisation sheds new light on the existing empirical findings.

12 November
Extremism and Corruption (with Massimo Morelli)
Antonio Nicolo (University of Padua)

Abstract

This is a paper on a topic that we believe is relevant nowadays but it has still not been deeply investigated in the literature on political economy: the relation between extremism and corruption. We investigate when we expect an ethnic group or more generally opposition group to select an extremist as leader and how does this choice depend on the stakes or value of power sharing and on the presence of corruption. Eventually we aim to understand in what way the presence of corruption and extremism and their endogenous interaction determine the likelihood of a civil conflict and/or terrorism.

Bio

https://sites.google.com/site/anicolo68/home

19 November
Schooling Endogeneity and the Rate of Return to Education: A Copula Approach - Peter Dolton and Ali Skalli
Peter Dolton

Abstract

Arguably the rate of return to education (RoRtE) is one of the most important policy relevant parameters in economics. Variously the literature has used IV or RDD identification strategies to overcome the problem of the endogeneity bias associated with education measurement. Seminal, oft cited papers, have argued that RoRtE in Great Britain is between 8 and 15%. There is now a growing recent literature which is suggesting that it could be much lower than this or even zero. In this paper, we estimate RoRtE based on the same earnings equation specification and data in a canonical data set. We account for endogeneity bias through an instrument-free strategy based on copula theory examining alternative underlying distributional assumptions. Our estimate of the rate of return to education is consistently around an estimate of 6% despite an array of exacting robustness tests. This is using a classic dataset that has – in the past – given rise to estimates for this parameter as high as 15%.

26 November
Natural resources and political patronage in Africa: An ethnicity level analysis
Sambit Bhattacharyya (University of Sussex)

Abstract

We investigate the effect of resource discoveries on ethnicity level political patronage in Africa using a large geospatial dataset of 254 ethnic groups in 15 countries over the period 1960 to 2004. We find that the first (or single first) resource discovery in a virgin ethnic homeland increases the share of cabinet posts of that ethnicity. The effect is induced by both expectations and rent. Overall the effect is mainly driven by major mineral discoveries as opposed to oil and gas. The discovery shocks do not trigger monopoly or dominant access to power, autonomy, separatism, and exclusion. Our analysis reveals that point source resource (mineral) rents are far more important political currency than diffuse agricultural commodity rents. Furthermore, by ranking ministries into Top and Bottom levels we find some evidence of window dressing politics. Our results survive a battery of robustness tests and controls.

Spring Term 2018
19 February
Innovation, Structural Change, and Inclusion: a Cross Country PVAR Analysis
Amrita Saha (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

26 February
Discretion and Bias in Consumer Credit
Vikram Pathania (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

5 March
Female Genital Cutting and Education: Causal Evidence from Senegal
Edgar Salgado (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

19 March
The Impact of Brexit on Financial Expectations and Behaviours
Birgitta Rabe (University of Essex)

No further information available.

9 April
Modelling UK investment from micro to macro: The Great Recession, Brexit & beyond
Richard Disney (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

16 April
Intermarriage in sub-Saharan Africa: Ethnicity and religion
Papal visits and abortions: Evidence from Italy
Juliette Crespin-Boucaud & Egidio Farina (University of Sussex)

Juliette Crespin-Boucaud - Intermarriage in sub-Saharan Africa: Ethnicity and religion.

Egidio Farina - Papal visits and abortions: Evidence from Italy.

23 April
An Impact Evaluation of the Millennium Village Project in Northern Ghana
Edoardo Masset (IDS)

No further information available.

30 April
Disentangling the UK productivity puzzle
Antonia Schwarz & Nick Jacob (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

Autumn Term 2017
9 October
Resource Rents, Taxation Crowd Out and the Resource Curse: How might oil-to-cash help?
Mohsen Veisi

No further information available.

16 October
Preference Updating in Public Health Risk Valuation
Mehmet Kutluay (Free University Amsterdam)

Abstract

Willingness to pay (WTP) for malaria pills, in light of new risk information and probability weighting, is estimated via a discrete choice experiment (CE). Individual-level probability weighting parameters are estimated through lottery choices, using Bayesian inference. Over-reaction to new risk information is found as marginal WTP for malaria protection increases by 20-33%.

Probability weighting explains variation in malaria valuation, and is found to be correlated with malaria knowledge and experience. This is independent of receiving the information treatment. Over-reaction uncovers potential biases, possibly from simply reminding people about being sick, in placing a monetary value on avoiding public health risks.

30 October
Temperature and Judgement: Evidence from 206,000 Court Cases
Anthony Heyes

No further information available.

6 November
The Economics of Missionary Expansion and the Compression of History
Alex Moradi

No further information available.

13 November
Intergenerational Occupational (Im)mobility and the Persistence of Poverty
Celine Zipfel (LSE)

Abstract

This project relates the intergenerational transmission of occupational choice to the persistence of poverty in the developing world. I assemble household surveys that contain information on adult individuals' parental backgrounds for 55 countries in order to measure the strength of association between children's and parents' sector of occupation and educational attainment. I construct estimates of these relationships for a subset of countries, and propose a test for a possible barrier to occupational mobility in Ethiopia.

20 November
The Impact of Brexit on Climate and Energy Policy
Richard Tol (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

27 November
The Effects of Stolen Goods Markets on Crime
Rocco D’Este (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

4 December
Unpacking the Impact of Voucher Schools: Evidence from Sweden
Iftikhar Hussain (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

11 December
Fever Pitch: Are football fans irrational?
Peter Dolton & George MacKerron (University of Sussex)

No further information available.

Spring Term 2017
Monday 13th February
Is it Possible to Identify Experimental Hawthorne Effects?
Peter Dolton

No further information available.

Monday 20th February
Does Workfare Worsen Child Health? Evaluating a large public works program in India
Amalavoyal Chari

No further information available.

6 March
Dream Jobs
Gio Mion

No further information available.

13 March
Moving 'Away' from Opportunities? Home ownership and Employment
Nicolas Navarrete (Warwick)

No further information available.

20 March
Depth and Breadth relevance in Citation Counts
Richard Tol

No further information available.

27 March
The Effect of Iodine Deficiency on Test Scores and Child Mortality in Rural India
PhD Students Sweta Gupta & Wiktoria Tafesse

No further information available.

3 April
Willingness to Pay for Climate Change Mitigation in the UK
PhD Students Edgar Salgado Chavez & Monika Novackova

No further information available.

24 April
Vesall Nourani (Cornell)

No further information available.

Autumn Term 2016
3rd October
Back to the Past: Is Growth Reverting to Pre-Industrial Levels?
Jakob Madsen (Monash University)

Abstract

In his influential book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Gordon (2016) forwards the thesis that the US and, presumably, the rest of the West is entering a low growth regime and that the high growth experienced over the last one and a half centuries has been a one-time-only event. However, the growth predictions for the 21st century have been complicated by our incomplete knowledge of the factors that have driven growth since 1800 and, therefore, which growth drivers have played out their roles. This paper constructs an extensive macroeconomic panel data set for 21 OECD countries spanning 216 years and estimates the approximate determinants of growth since 1800. The regression results are used to calibrate the approximate determinants of growth since 1800 and a likely growth scenario for the 21st century.

Bio

http://monash.edu/research/explore/en/persons/jakob-madsen%281f709fe6-2392-49b1-b086-2ded3150ebb7%29.html

10th October
Indian Labor Regulations and the Cost of Corruption: Evidence from the Firm Size Distribution
Amrit Amirapu (Kent)

Abstract

This paper revisits the debate over the negative effects of labor regulations in India. We side-step arguments over the subjectivity of previous claims by taking advantage of the fact that most Indian labor regulations are size-based. Using distortions in the observed firm size distribution together with a structural model of firm size choice in which firms may misreport their employment, we estimate that firms which exceed a 10-worker regulatory threshold face 35% higher per-worker costs. We show that these estimates are robust to firm misreporting and that a substantial fraction of the cost is due to corruption in regulatory enforcement.

17th October
Bargaining Power and Diet: Evidence from the Initial Waves of Progresa
Brad Barham (Madison Wisconsin)

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between household bargaining dynamics and children's nutritional outcomes. We study how Progresa, a Government of Mexico welfare program founded in 1997, empowered women and how that empowerment impacted dependents' diet. We contribute to the economics literature by developing a novel measurement of bargaining power with several advantages over existing proxies. We contribute to the economic and nutritional science literatures on Progresa's impact on children's diet by directly focusing on children's reported consumption as opposed to household consumption. Finally, we examine whether all households respond in the same way to a change in bargaining dynamics by examining changes across the income distribution. We find that women's empowerment leads to improved diets for kids, and perhaps not surprisingly that households at the lower end of the income distribution respond differently to the same change in bargaining dynamics than households at the upper end of the income distribution.

Bio

http://www.aae.wisc.edu/faculty/blbarham/

24th October
High-Cost Debt and Borrower Reputation: Evidence from the U.K
Vikram Pathania 

No further information available

31st October
Weather, climate, and total factor productivity growth
Richard Tol 

No further information available

14th November
The Value of Roads: The distance to market & the impact of rainfall on children's health in West Africa
Alex Moradi

No further information available

21st November
Gustavo Iriarte Rivas and Jorge Garcia

No further information available