Research Seminars

Research Seminar Series offers a unique opportunity for our Faculty to engage with leading international scholars. Distinguished researchers from the world's top universities are invited to present their latest research and engage in lively discussions on the latest trends and developments in various areas of economics. All seminars are conducted in English and are comprised of a 50-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute discussion session. These seminars are open to the public, and we warmly welcome spontaneous attendance. 

Coordinators: Martin Guzi, Štěpán Mikula, Matteo M. Marini and Luca Fumarco.

Upcoming seminars

7 Mar


The Experience of Social Risk

Christian Koenig-Kersting (University of Innsbruck) ESF Room MT205 Personal website

Experience of adverse events in the past is increasingly understood to matter for future behavior in ways that go beyond informational updating. This paper shows that such experience effects differ depending on whether the adverse event resulted from social or natural causes. We develop a novel experimental design that allows the experimenter to manipulate exclusively the source of risk that creates a subject’s experiential biography and to observe repeat choices at the individual level, all within the same stochastic environment. In this setting, we investigate whether the source, natural or social, that caused an adverse event in a past interaction makes a difference to how decisions about a future interaction are made. We generate our evidence by drawing upon a large sample of the US population (n=4,990) who participate in an online experiment. The evidence shows that experiencing an adverse outcome caused by another human (social risk) reduces future risk-taking, but experiencing the same outcome caused by nature (natural risk) does not, provided exposure to the social risk was intentional. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that adverse experiences with a social cause trigger amplified regret, driving subjects towards avoiding social risk in future decisions.

14 Mar


Health (expenditure) disparities: The firm contribution

Vahid Moghani (Erasmus University Rotterdam) ESF Academic Club (HEPII) Personal website

This study investigates the influence of firm-level factors on the health outcomes of individuals. The significant amount of time adults spend at work, traditionally viewed as a place for earning income, suggests a potential impact on health and healthcare behaviors. Despite this, there remains a notable gap in research exploring how firms might influence the health outcomes of employees. To address this gap, the study utilizes administrative data encompassing all full-time employees in the Netherlands from 2009 to 2015, linked with their respective employers and healthcare costs, amounting around 25 million individual-year observations. By examining employees who switch employers, referred to as ‘movers’, the research aims to disentangle the influence of firm-specific characteristics on health from the personal attributes of these employees. Using the two-way fixed effects model as per Abowd et al. (1999), and using leave-one-out estimator suggested by Kline et al. (2020) to account for the bias due to the limited mobility of workers across firms, the study decomposes variations in health expenditures into components attributable to firm-level characteristics, individual factors, and their covariance. A gender-stratified analysis is also integral to this research, recognizing the distinct health and workplace dynamics faced by male and female employees. The findings suggest that for male workers, characteristics specific to firms account for a modest yet notable portion of the variance in health expenditures, adjusting for age and education. For the female employees, the firm fixed effects can explain a smaller proportion of the variance. The study further reveals that changes in health expenditures due to firm movement significantly align with the health-expenditure differences of the original and destination coworkers when a workers moves.

This event is both online and in person. Join the Teams meeting

21 Mar


Discrimination in evaluation criteria: The role of beliefs versus outcomes

Boon Han Koh (University of Exeter Business School) ESF Room MT205 Personal website

Using incentivized experiments, we investigate whether different criteria are used in evaluating male and female leaders when outcomes are determined by unobservable choices and luck. Evaluators form beliefs about leaders’ choices and make discretionary payments. We find that while payments to male leaders are determined by both outcomes and evaluators’ beliefs, those to female leaders are determined by outcomes only. We label this new source of gender bias as the gender criteria gap. Our findings imply that high outcomes are necessary for women to get bonuses, but men can receive bonuses for low outcomes as long as evaluators hold them in high regard

28 Mar


Social Identity in Network Formation

Tom Lane (Newcastle University Business School) ESF Room MT205 Personal website

We use a lab experiment to study the dynamic evolution of economic networks in the context of fragmented social identity. We create societies in which members can initiate and delete links to others, and then earn payoffs from a public good game played within their network. We manipulate whether the society initially consists of segregated or integrated identity groups, and also vary whether societal mobility is high or low. Results show in-group favouritism in network formation. The effects of original network structure are long-lasting, with initially segregated societies permanently exhibiting more homophilic networks than initially integrated ones. Moreover, allowing greater social mobility results in networks becoming less rather than more integrated. This occurs in part because eviction from networks is based particularly on out-group hostility when societal mobility is high, while it is particularly based on punishing free riders when mobility is low.

23 Apr


Gradients in child health and gender inequality in India

David Perez-Mesa (University of La Laguna) ESF Room S310 (HEPII) Personal website

This paper attempts to study the trends and patterns of gradients in child malnutrition in India based on maternal education, household wealth and birth order. We then examine the role of child gender in explaining these gradients. We analyze data from three rounds of the National Health and Family Survey (NFHS) conducted between 2005 and 2021. We focus on children under 5 years of age, using height-for-age z-score (HAZ) and the proportion of stunted children as measures of child health. For the total sample of children under 5, we show that there are gradients in child health by maternal education, household wealth and birth order, although the latter disappears in a within-sex analysis. However, the gender of the child does not appear to be important in explaining these gradients.

This event is both online and in person. Join the Teams meeting

25 Apr


Fortunate Families? The Effects of Wealth on Marriage and Fertility

Anastasia Terskaya (University of Barcelona) ESF Room MT205 (HEPII) Personal website

We estimate the effects of large, positive wealth shocks on marriage and fertility in a sample of Swedish lottery players. For male winners, wealth increases marriage formation and fertility, and there is suggestive evidence that divorce risk goes down. For female winners, the only discernible effect of wealth is that it increases short-run (but not long-run) divorce risk. Overall, the pattern of gendered treatment effects we document closely mirror the gender differences in income gradients in observational data. The gendered effects on divorce risk are consistent with a model where the wealthier spouse retains most of his/her wealth following a marital disruption. In support of this assumption, we show divorce settlements in Sweden often favor the richer spouse.

30 Apr


Heterogeneous treatment and risk-taking biases in medication choices

Michele Cantarella (IMT Lucca) ESF Academic Club (HEPII) Personal website

In this paper we study treatment-taking responses to four different medication choices across four different classes of risk. We find that, in general, individuals are rational and prefer treatments with lower risks, but there are significant differences across medication types, especially for vaccines. Much of this variation can be attributed to vaccine hesitancy and illness anxiety, while certain individual characteristics, such as health status, age, and math skills, also affect treatment-taking behaviour.

This event is both online and in person. Join the Teams meeting

2 May


Reversing the Reversal? A Systematic Reassessment and Meta Analysis of Wellbeing Research

Anthony Lepinteur (University of Luxembourg) ESF Room MT205 Personal website

Fierce debate over the feasibility of cardinally measuring utility – or ‘wellbeing’ – with surveys has recently resurfaced. Several prominent papers claimed that when interpreting survey data as strictly ordinal, most of the literature’s results are easily reversed. We systematically assess this claim. To do so, we replicate the universe of wellbeing research published in top economics journals since 2010. In total, we replicate 35 studies, containing 9,183 coefficients. For all coefficients, we assess whether signs of regression coefficients are invariant under all positive monotonic transformations of the scale with which wellbeing is recorded. About 40% of results cannot be reversed with any monotonic transformation of the scale. Comparatively low reversal risks are observed for the effects of income (19%) and unemployment (8%) as key wellbeing determinants. Once we allow for a mild degree of heterogeneity in mean wellbeing within response categories, these figures increase. To aid the robustness of future wellbeing research, we also estimate models of reversal risk. Generally, reversal risk decreases drastically with the statistical significance of the original estimates. Likewise, estimates with a clear exogenous and causal identification strategy also have a significantly lower risk of reversibility.
Past events

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