Research Seminars Series
MUES Research Seminar Series is a perfect opportunity to connect our Faculty with international scholars. Influential scholars from the world`s top universities are invited to present their latest research and to discuss the current trends and developments in all major areas of economics. In addition to the networking possibilities, this Research Seminar Series helps the Faculty and PhD students to receive early feedback on their own research.
The seminars are held in English. The length of the presentation should be 50 minutes followed by 15 minutes of discussion. The seminars are public, please join us spontaneously. If you wish to receive information about seminars subscribe to MUES newsletter or to our google calendar.
Coordinators: Martin Guzi, Štěpán Mikula and Tommaso Reggiani
List of all seminars organized since 2013 is here.
Dying for ignorance? 1918-influenza mortality, vaccination skepticism and vaccination behaviorLecturer: Christian Ochsner Affiliation: CERGE-EI ESF Room P106 2:00 PM
Informing Risky Migration: Evidence from a field experiment in GuineaLecturer: Giacomo Battiston Affiliation: Free University of Bozen ESF Room S315 2:00 PM
Can information provision reduce the risks associated with irregular migration? We address this question conducting a large-scale experiment with about 7,000 secondary school students in Guinea. Combining aggregate statistics and video-testimonies by migrants who settled in Europe, we study the effect of three information treatments: (i) about risks and costs of the journey; (ii) about economic outcomes in the destination country; and (iii) a treatment pooling (i) and (ii). We find that one month after the intervention, all three treatments affect beliefs about risks and economic conditions. However, 1.5 years after the intervention, only the first has a significant effect on migration outcomes: providing information about the risks and costs of the journey reduces international migration by 49\%. The effect is driven by a decrease in migration without a visa (i.e., potentially risky and irregular). Furthermore, the reduction is bigger for students who at baseline underestimated the risks connected to international migration.
Delegation and overhead aversion with multiple threshold public goodsLecturer: Miloš Fišar Affiliation: Vienna University of Economics and Business, and Masaryk University ESF Room S315 2:00 PM • 10/21/2021
Abstract: Experimental studies have modeled individual funding of social projects as contributions to a threshold public good. We examine contributors’ behavior when faced with multiple threshold public goods and the possibility of coordinating contributions via an intermediary. Employing the experimental design developed in Corazzini (2020), we vary both the size of a ‘destination rule’, which places restrictions on the intermediary’s use of a contributor’s funds, as well as the overhead cost of the intermediary, modeled as a sunk cost incurred by the intermediary whether or not any public good is successfully funded. In an online experiment with live interaction, we show that subjects behave in line with equilibrium predictions with regard to the size of the destination rule, only increasing their contributions when there is no threat of expropriation by the intermediary. However, we find that the positive effect of a high destination rule is undone in the presence of overhead costs for the intermediary. While this is in direct conflict with the theory that predicts no role of such costs, it is in line with the sunk-cost bias as well as the phenomenon of ‘overhead aversion’ that is commonly exhibited by donors when selecting charities.
Unintended Consequences of Immigration Policy on Children’s Human CapitalLecturer: Esther Arenas Arroyo Affiliation: Vienna University of Economics and Business ESF Room P304 2:00 PM • 10/12/2021
This study examines the unintended consequences of immigration enforcement policies on children’s human capital. Exploiting the temporal and geographic variation in the enactment of immigration enforcement policies, we find that English language proficiency of U.S.-born children with at least one undocumented parent is negatively affected by the introduction of immigration enforcement laws. We show that the reduction in children’s English proficiency are caused by changes in parental investment behavior. Increasing fear of being detected and deported leads undocumented parents to substitute children’s time in formal non-mandatory pre-school education with parental time spent at home. We find evidence that parental time investment is not as productive as time spent in pre-school. These developments lead ultimately to a reduction in children’s human capital.
Learning principles of individual and collective behavior from dataLecturer: Katarína Boďová Affiliation: Comenius University S305 10:30 AM • 11/29/2019
Have you ever wondered how are colonies of ants able to efficiently search for food, birds or fish collectively defend themselves against predators by forming flocks or schools, and why crowds of people behave like a fluid? Recent advances in automated tracking technology resulted in high-resolution recordings of individual trajectories and behavior of groups, often complemented by identification of stereotypical behaviors. But the main hurdle still remains to be data analysis and inference of informative models. I will talk about a class of probabilistic models, which is general enough to apply to a broad range of systems, incorporating individual and collective behavior, spatial and temporal dependence, discrete and continuous variables, deterministic and stochastic components and internal cognitive or behavioral state dependence. Our approach has two desirable features: (1) the maximum likelihood inference is tractably solvable by gradient descent, (2) model selection can be used to adjust model complexity to data. Multiple toy/real examples will be shown during the talk.
Gulags, Crime, and Violence: Origins and Consequences of the Russian MafiaLecturer: Jakub Lonsky Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh ESF MU Room S305 10:00 AM • 11/22/2019
This paper studies the origins and consequences of the Russian Mafia (vory-v-zakone). Using a web scraping method, I obtained a unique dataset that contains detailed biographies of more than 5,000 mafia leaders operating in 15 countries of the (former) Soviet Union at some point between 1916 and 2018. Using this data, I first show that Russian Mafia originated in the Gulag - Soviet system of forced labor camps which housed around 18 million prisoners between 1920s-1950s. Second, I document that the distance to the nearest camp is a strong negative predictor of mafia presence in Russia's communities in the mid-1990s. Finally, using an instrumental variable approach which exploits the spatial distribution of the gulags, I examine the effects of mafia presence in mid-1990s on local crime and violence. In particular, I show that the communities with mafia presence experienced a dramatic rise in crime driven by turf wars which erupted among rival clans around 1993 and lingered on until the late 1990s. This is suggested by a sharp increase in attacks against members of Russia's economic elite in places under mafia control. Further heterogeneity analysis reveals that mafia presence led to a spike in violence against businessmen, fellow criminals, as well as law enforcement officers and judges, while the attacks against politicians remained unaffected.
Rank incentives and social learning: evidence from a randomized controlled trialLecturer: Marco Faravelli Affiliation: University of Queensland Academic club 11:00 AM • 10/31/2019
In a 1-year randomized controlled trial involving thousands of university stu- dents, we provide real-time private feedback on relative performance in a semester-long on- line assignment. Within this setup, our experimental design cleanly identifies the behavioral response to rank incentives (i.e., the incentives stemming from an inherent preference for high rank). We find that rank incentives not only boost performance in the related assignment, but also increase the average grade across all course exams taken over the semester by 0.21 standard deviations. These beneficial effects remain sizeable across all quantiles and extend beyond the time of the intervention. The mechanism behind these findings involves social learning: rank incentives make students engage more in peer interactions, which lead them to perform significantly better across the board. Finally, we explore the virtues of real-time feedback by analyzing a number of alternative variations in the way it is provided.
Delegation Based on Cheap TalkLecturer: Ralph Bayer Affiliation: The University of Adelaide S305 10:00 AM • 10/25/2019
We study a real effort environment, where a delegator has to decide if and to whom to delegate a task. Delegating to a person who is better at the task increases welfare. Potential delegatees send cheap-talk messages about their past performance before the delegator decides. We experimentally test the theoretical prediction that information transmission cannot occur. In our experiment, we vary the message space available to the delegatees and compare the information transmitted and the level of efficiency. Depending on the treatment, the sender can either submit a number indicating how many tasks she solved previously, an interval in which the number of tasks falls, or a free text message. We observe that messages contain information in all treatments. Interestingly, information transmission occurs only in the treatments where messages are intervals or free text but not if messages are exact. The highest efficiency is obtained in the free-text treatment, as delegators are able to extract information contained in the different styles of messages sent by subjects with different abilities.
The role of diagnostic ability in markets for expert servicesLecturer: Marco Schwarz Affiliation: University of Innsbruck ESF MU Room S305 10:00 AM • 10/18/2019
In credence goods markets, experts have better information about the appropriate quality of treatment than their customers. Experts may exploit their informational advantage by defrauding customers. Market institutions have been shown theoretically to be effective in mitigating fraudulent expert behavior. We analyze whether this positive result carries over when experts are heterogeneous in their diagnostic abilities. We find that efficient market outcomes are always possible. However, inefficient equilibria can also exist. When such inefficient equilibria are played, a larger share of high-ability experts may lead to more inefficiencies relative to the efficient equilibria.
Setbacks and learnings from doing experimental research: different contexts, multiple results?Lecturer: Luisa H. Pinto Affiliation: School of Economics, University of Porto ESF MU Academic club (ground floor) 1:00 PM • 10/17/2019
Over the last years, the use of experimental research has received an increasing attention from Management academics and journal editors. While experimental research is popular among social psychologists (actually my background) it is still rare in the field of International Human Resource Management. The objective of this seminar is not to explain how to design an experimental research, but instead, present my own experience of using experimental designs to answer a few common questions in the management and business fields, such as: (1) Does the academic performance (GPA) and the participation in extracurricular activities (ECAs) affect the perceived employability of business graduates? (2) Does the effect of GPA and ECAs vary with the characteristics of the respondents and the cultural context? (3) Does a facultative internship affect the perceived employability of marketing graduates? What about the effect of an international versus a domestic facultative internship? (4) Does the use of a facial piercing influence the perceptions of interpersonal attraction, confidence and job suitability of hospitality receptionists? Starting from my first published paper (Pinto & Ramalheira, 2017) employing an experimental design, I then illustrate how this method was applied more broadly to examine the perceived employability of business graduates in other cultural contexts (e.g. China, Brazil, Italy) and to advance research in other fields, such as hospitality management, higher education and leadership. The seminar ends with a discussion of the challenges and learnings from employing (quasi) experimental designs.