Research Seminars are hosted by visiting economists who present their work and lead discussions. Please join us spontaneously seminars are open to all.
Coordinators: Martin Guzi, Štěpán Mikula and Tommaso Reggiani
List of all seminars organized since 2013 is here.
Misfortunes Never Come Singly: Consecutive Weather Shocks and Mortality in RussiaLecturer: Vladimir Otrachshenko Affiliation: Nova School of Business and Economics, Lisbon ESF MU Room P201 11:00 AM
This paper examines the impacts of extremely hot and cold days on mortality in Russia, using a 25-year regional panel data. Unlike other studies, the sequence of those extreme days is also taken into account, that is, the impacts of both single and consecutive (i.e. heat waves and cold spells) extreme days are estimated simultaneously. We demonstrate the importance of accounting for the sequence of extreme days. We also disentangle the impacts of those extremes by age and gender. The findings suggest that single hot days increase mortality, while single cold days do not affect mortality. On the other hand, both consecutive hot and consecutive cold days increase mortality in females and males for all age groups, although males are affected more severely. Overall, consecutive days with extreme temperatures impose considerable costs to society in terms of years of life lost. Thus, ignoring the sequences of extreme days that are likely to increase in the future because of climate change may have critical implications for mitigation policies.
Work Motivation and TeamsLecturer: Rupert Sausgruber Affiliation: WU in Vienna ESF MU ROOM P201 11:00 AM
We provide a new measure of work motivation and show that motivation shapes the effects of team incentives and observation by peers on performance. In particular, we measure motivation to work hard as the deviation from the money-maximizing benchmark in a real-effort experiment. While we find that average output increases in response to team incentives and observation, we find that highly motivated workers do not respond. The reason is that highly motivated workers already work hard and increasing effort even further is very costly to them.
The visible and hidden costs of control under delegationLecturer: Ester Manna Affiliation: University of Barcelona ESF MU ROOM S308 11:00 AM
Abstract: In this project, we aim to experimentally examine the trade-off between the loss of information and the loss of control that arises in organizations when subordinates are granted decision-making authority. Employees' discretion over the choice of a project is often justified in that it may allow the organization to make use of the employee's superior information about the right course of action. These benefits may be undermined by (i) the existence of a conflict of interest between the employer and the employee; (ii) the parties' inability to write a complete contract. The employer may be concerned about the loss of control, which arises when the employee abuses his authority to make decisions that are not in the best interest of the organization. The organizational optimal response will be that of limiting the agent's discretion, thereby giving rise to a loss of information, namely in some occurrences, the organization cannot make use of the agent's superior information. We argue that limiting the employees' discretion may signal the employer's distrust and may bring about a non-material loss to the employees, making them willing to retaliate by making suboptimal choices. Anticipating this, the employer may decide to grant the employees full discretion, signaling her trust in the hope that the employees will pursue the common good.
(Joint work with Philip Brookins, Claudia Cerrone and Alessandro De Chiara.)
Distributive preferences and Effort Provision: What Determines What?Lecturer: Jaromír Kovařík Affiliation: University of the Basque Country P201 1:00 PM
This paper analyzes the link between effort and distributive preferences in an environment, in which effort does not affect the amount to be distributed. We propose a model that suggests that such a link is bidirectional. People adapt their distributional choices to their performance in a self-serving way, but they also exert effort in line with their distributive preferences. The literature has documented a link running from effort to distributive preferences. We provide evidence of the reverse relationship: individuals who make egalitarian choices later make less effort than people who behave selfishly. Our results thus provide one explanation for self-serving assessments of fairness documented in the literature and place distributive preferences among the determinants of effort and productivity.
Self-regulation and meta-regulation – regulating the members or the SRO? A theoretical and experimental studyLecturer: Silvester van Koten Affiliation: University of Economics and CERGE-EI ESF MU ROOM S307 10:00 AM • 11/16/2018
Abstract: Regulatory investigations by Self-Regulatory organizations (SROs) have been recognized to usually be cheaper than investigations by the government. However, in practice, oversight by an SRO is mostly still supplied with forms of governmental oversight. The government may exert oversight over the SRO itself, a construction referred to as “meta-regulation" or "co-regulation", or over the members of the SRO. Indeed, the overall performance of SROs has been mixed and theoretical models show that SROs have incentives to set lax standards or cover up detected violations. However, some research indicate that meta-regulation, oversight of the SRO itself, may nonetheless not be necessary in some settings. Using a costly-state-verification model, DeMarzo et al. (2001; 2005) show that when the government implicitly threatens to perform additional investigations of the SROs members, a relatively "good" outcome can be established as an equilibrium. In this "good" outcome, the SRO chooses to follow high performance standards in order to pre-empt any of the (relatively costly) governmental investigations. As a result, no costly governmental investigations of the SRO's members take place, and no meta-regulation of the SRO is necessary.
I extend this model to include plausible settings where the actual rigor of oversight by the SRO can be verified only ex-post. I show that in such settings, the SRO may have incentives to announce stricter regimes than it effectively implements and that, as a result, a "bad", Pareto-inefficient outcome is established as an equilibrium. In the "bad" outcome, the SRO relinquishes all oversight to the government. The predictions of this model are supported by experimental tests. The "good" equilibrium can be re-established as an equilibrium with sufficient meta-regulation of the SRO. The results thus indicate a continuing need for meta-regulation in these settings. This form of meta-regulation may be of a relatively light-handed nature, limited to verifying and sanctifying that the SRO implements its announced policies.
Child Development and Parental Labor Market OutcomesLecturer: Bernhard J. Schmidpeter Affiliation: University of Essex ESF MU ROOM P102 10:00 AM • 11/2/2018
In this project, we investigate the effect of children’s development on parental labor market outcomes. Using an instrumental variable approach and accounting for sample selection, we find that mothers of boys with development difficulties (but not fathers) significantly reduce weekly working hours during the first three years of school. In contrast, mothers of girls with development problems reduce working hours only during the first year of school but increase their hours later on. We find that the reduction in working hours is associated with a fall in weekly earnings, although our estimates lack precision. Investigating potential channels, we find evidence that mothers increase the general time spend with their children as a response to reduced working hours. We do not find evidence, however, that the extra time is of higher quality.
The Good Outcomes of Bad News. A Randomized Field Experiment on Formatting Breast Cancer Screening InvitationsLecturer: Luca Corazzini Affiliation: University of Venice ESF MU ROOM P102 11:00 AM • 10/26/2018
We ran a population-level randomized field experiment to ascertain whether a costless manipulation of the informational content (restricted or enhanced information) and the framing (gain or loss framing) of the invitation letter to the national breast cancer screening program affects the take-up rate. Our experiment involved more than 6,000 women aged 50- 69 targeted by the screening program of the Province of Messina in Sicily, randomly assigned to receive different invitation letter formats. Using administrative data from the Local Health Authority archives, we show that giving enhanced loss-framed information about the risks of not having a mammography increases take-up rate by about 25 percent with respect to all other treatments (no information; restricted gain-framed information; restricted loss-framed information; enhanced gain-framed information). Results are stronger for subjects living farther away from the screening site. For them, the manipulation may indicate higher perceived risks of negative outcomes that makes it worthwhile to participate in the screening program, in spite of longer travel time.
Financial Speculations, Stress, and Gender: A Laboratory ExperimentLecturer: Lubomír Cingl Affiliation: University of Economics in Prague ESF MU ROOM P102 11:00 AM • 10/19/2018
In this paper we study the effects of acute stress on individual financial speculative behavior using a controlled laboratory experiment with 208 men and women. We employ a recently introduced measure that captures individual speculative behavior, the Speculation Elicitation Task, and an efficient stress-inducing procedure, the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups, and we pay special attention to the gender-specific effects. Our design allows for a separation of the main channels behind the treatment effects. We observe strong gender differences: The treatment – stress-inducing – procedure increases men's willingness to speculate compared to control men, but it decreases it for women by about the same amount. As we do not observe any change in the task-specific risk-preferences, concentration, and only a little change in the strategic expectations of shift in others' behavior and in beliefs, we conclude that the behavioral change is driven by the change in preferences, although in the opposite directions for both genders. The analysis of salivary cortisol and subjective mood shows that the subjects were under a considerable level of stress.
40 years of Tax Evasion Games: a Meta-AnalysisLecturer: Antoine Malézieux Affiliation: University of Exeter ESF MU ROOM P201 12:00 PM • 10/12/2018
Year 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of the first ever Tax Evasion Game published in the Journal of Public Economics by Friedland, Maital, and Rutenberg. This game has since been the subject of many other publications (more than 140 articles). In the present study, we collect more than 60 datasets recreating a Tax Evasion Game and run a meta-analysis on more than 220,000 observations and 15,000 subjects. The aim here is to set the impact of three types of variables (public policy, experimental context and sociodemographic of participants) on lab tax compliance.
The public policy variables are: tax rate, tax regime (progressive or proportional taxes); type of audit (endogenous or random audit); audit probability; fine size, and amnesty. The experimental variables are: framing of the experiment (loaded or not); way to ask for compliance in the instructions (relaxed or not); origin of income (earned or windfall); nature of income (self-employed or salaried job); redistribution to participants, public good fund, and pool of subjects (students or taxpayers). The sociodemographic variables are: age; gender; income; and studies.
Daughters and DivorceLecturer: Jan Kabátek Affiliation: University of Melbourne ESF MU ROOM MT205 1:30 PM • 6/21/2018
What makes couples with daughters more likely to divorce than couples with sons? Using Dutch registry and U.S. survey data, we show that daughters are associated with higher divorce risks, but only when they are 13-18 years old. These age-specific results rule out explanations involving overarching son preferences and selection. Our findings are consistent with causal mechanisms involving relationship dynamics in families with teenage children. Survey evidence buttresses this interpretation. Subsample analyses show that the magnitude of the effect is linked to parental gender norms and that the effect is absent for fathers who grew up with sisters.