Autumn 2016

All seminars (and light lunches!) will begin at 12:45 p.m. and be held in Room 3-e4-sr03, unless otherwise noted.

Titles and abstracts will be posted as they become available.


Download the series poster here.


September 26
Michael Lovenheim, Cornell University


The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining

This paper presents the first analysis in the literature of the effect of teacher collective bargaining on long-run labor market and educational attainment outcomes. We focus on state duty-to-bargain laws, which were passed in the 1960s-1980s and led to large increases in collective bargaining between teachers and school districts. Our analysis exploits the different timing across states in the passage of these laws in a difference-in-difference framework to identify how exposure to teacher bargaining affects the long-run outcomes of students. Using American Community Survey (ACS) data linked to each respondent’s state of birth, we examine labor market outcomes and educational attainment for 35-49 year olds. Our estimates suggest that teacher collective bargaining worsens the future labor market outcomes of students: living in a state that has a duty-to-bargain law for all 12 grade-school years reduces earnings by $795 per year and decreases hours worked by 0.49 hours per week. The earnings estimate indicates that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $194 billion in the U.S. annually. We also find evidence of lower employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation rather than higher by unemployment, as well as reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which workers sort. Despite the large labor market effects, we find no impact of teacher collective bargaining on educational attainment. Examining results by gender, we show that the labor market effects are larger among men, who also experience lower educational attainment and wages. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining leads to sizable reductions in measured cognitive and non-cognitive skills among young adults. Taken together, our results suggest laws that support collective bargaining for teachers have adverse long-term labor market consequences for students.

October 3
Alessandro Vespignani, Northeastern University


Modeling and forecast of socio-technical systems in the data-science age

In recent years the increasing availability of computer power and informatics tools has enabled the gathering of reliable data quantifying the complexity of socio-technical systems. Data-driven computational models have emerged as appropriate tools to tackle the study of contagion and diffusion processes as diverse as epidemic outbreaks, information spreading and Internet packet routing. These models aim at providing a rationale for understanding the emerging tipping points and nonlinear properties that often underpin the most interesting characteristics of socio-technical systems. Here I review some of the recent progress in modelling contagion and epidemic processes that integrates the complex features and heterogeneities of real-world systems.

October 17
Erdem Yoruk, Koç University


A new welfare state and its politics in emerging markets: China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey

This talk presents the theoretical framework and initial empirical observations that constitute the basis of Dr. Yörük’s recently awarded ERC research project. This research project aims to identify a new welfare regime in emerging market economies and explain why
it has emerged. It compares Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey to test two hypotheses: (i) emerging market economies are forming a new welfare regime that differs from liberal, corporatist and social democratic welfare regimes of the global north on the basis of extensive and decommodifying social assistance programmes, (ii) the new welfare regime emerges principally as a response to the growing political power of the poor as a dual source of threat and support for governments. The project aims to expand the literatures on welfare regimes, welfare state development and contentious politics, by challenging the existing paradigms dominated by structuralist perspectives, a myopic focus on Western countries, and limited data collection and analysis techniques. Dr. Yörük will talk about his theoretical and empirical approach to his research questions, by explaining how plans to classify and explain welfare systems of emerging markets as a new welfare regime, how to test the existence of a causal link between changes in grassroots politics and welfare policies and how to make a contribution to our empirical knowledge on contentious politics in emerging markets (by creating the first cross-national databases on protest event, by employing computer methods, such as natural language processing and machine learning, on newspaper archives).

November 7
Eric Schneider, London School of Economics

November 14
David Figlio, Northeastern University

November 21
Joan Esteban, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics

A Dynamic Theory of Secession

An essential ingredient of secessions is that the seceded group stops negotiating with the other party on the dividision of the social surplus. In order to capture this intertemporal problem we build a repeated game that stops when one of the players secedes. We characterize the subgame perfect equilibria [SPE thereafter] of this repeated game and analize how they depend on the different productivity between groups, group size, importance attached to the own public good and the cost of conflict.


November 28
Matthias Pollmann, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für

The effect of single motherhood on women's subjective well-being in Germany and Europe

Life satisfaction research regularly identifies single mothers as a relatively unhappy group. This study refines this view in two ways. First, using longitudinal data from Germany (SOEP), I examine whether divorced single mothers fare worse than divorced childless women. The analysis shows that after divorce, single mothers experience smaller decreases in life satisfaction and satisfaction with family life, but greater reductions in income satisfaction than childless women. Second, using data from the European Social Survey for 24 European countries, I examine the association between country-level characteristics and the life satisfaction of single mothers. The results indicate that generous family benefits, extensive childcare provision, and high levels of gender equality are associated with smaller life satisfaction penalties for single mothers. Moreover, single women residing in countries with supportive family policies and high levels of gender equality are as happy as childless singles. Overall, these findings challenge the notion that single motherhood inevitably reduces women’s subjective well-being.


December 5
Paolo Barbieri, Trento University

Determinants and trends of in-work poverty in a Southern EU context. A longitudinal analysis using SHIW data

Italy can be conceived as an ideal-typical example of the “Southern Model of Welfare” (Ferrera 1996, 2010), as it shares with other Mediterranean countries (such as Spain, Greece and even France, for the kind of labour market deregulation at the margins implemented) institutional and contextual characteristics that have been proved to be relevant factors in shaping a dual society. More in detail, these features can be summarised by the strong work-based orientation of the welfare state, the (still) relatively modest female labour market participation, the weak welfare support devoted to household and family policies, and the (ongoing) process of partial and targeted labour market deregulation (Esping-Andersen, Regini 2000) with labour market policies characterized by a strong insider-outsider setting. This translates also in a specific configuration of poverty risks among different social groups (defined in terms of age, gender and labour market position). Additionally, Italy lacks of whatever measure of universalistic social assistance and basic income guarantee, thus rendering poverty and in-work poverty dynamics strikingly manifest. They focus the study on the period between 2000 and 2014, a period characterized by the most relevant context-modifications as a joint product of institutional reforms (mainly concerning welfare and labour market deregulations) and economic downturn. Along the observational window, Italy displayed a significant labour market segmentation as a consequence of several reforms aimed to relax the regulation of non-standard forms of employment, while leaving unchanged the regulation and the labour market conditions of those in permanent employment. Another important change in workforce composition has been determined by a significant increase of female labour market participation, even if accompanied by relevant growth of (involuntary) part time positions (around +7 p.p. in the share of the dependent employment). Finally, Italy displayed a prolonged and severe economic recession, still persisting (2016) as Italy’s GDP  has still to recover its pre-crisis (2008) levels. This situation is mirrored by the growth of the unemployment rate due to the economic crisis. The aim of the proposed analysis is threefold. First, they start accounting for changes in aggregate measures such as the incidence of in-work poverty (and, as an ancillary estimate, low-pay rates). Second, they provide a descriptive analysis concerning the changes occurred along our observational window in the relative distribution of in-work poverty risks ran by distinct social groups, defined in terms of socio-demographic characteristics and/or in terms of their specific position in the Italian labour market. Third, they carry out a multivariate analysis of possible determinants of in-work poverty by means of panel regression models, in order to check for the main drivers of in-work poverty, the accumulation of risks on specific household types, and the persistence over time of in-work poverty statuses.


December 12
Stefania Albanesi, University of Pittsburg

Slowing Labor Force Participation of Married Women: The Role of Rising Income Inequality

The entry of married women into the labor force and the rise in women's relative wages are amongst the most notable economic developments of the twentieth century. These phenomena were particularly pronounced in the 1970s and 1980s, when participation of married women grew from 38\% in 1975 to a peak of 60\% in 1996 and the male to female ratio in hourly wages dropped from 1.60 to 1.34. Since the early 1990s, the growth in these indicators has stalled, especially for college graduates. In this paper, we link the decline in the growth in married women's participation and relative wages since the early 1990s to the acceleration in the rise of the skill premium starting in those years. Our hypothesis is that the growth in wages for highly educated men generated a negative wealth effect on the labor supply of their female spouses, reducing their labor supply and their wages relative to men. Disaggregated evidence on relative wages and labor force participation of wives by education and income of the husband provides descriptive support for this mechanism. We develop a model of household labor supply which can qualitatively reproduce a negative effect on wives' participation of a rise in husbands' earnings. We show that a calibrated version of the model can account for a large fraction of the decline relative to trend in married women's participation in 1995-2005, for college educated women and women married to college husbands. The model can also account for the rise in the gender wage gap for college graduates relative to trend in the same period.


December 19
Francesco Amodio, McGill University

Ethnic Favoritism in Democracy: The Political Economy of Land and Labor in South Africa

(with Giorgio Chiovello)

How does ethnic favoritism emerge in new democracies? In ethnically diverse societies, democracy generates the scope for strategic interactions between politicians and traditional chief leaders, where the latter are granted control over resources in exchange for votes. This paper investigates these issues in democratic South Africa. We exploit quasi-random variation in municipality electoral outcomes and test for whether the labor market outcomes of individuals belonging to different ethnicities change differentially and discontinuously with the identity of the ruling party. Comparing Zulus with non-Zulus across municipalities, we find the former to be significantly and discontinuously less likely to be unemployed when the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) reaches the majority of the votes. We find that Zulus are significantly more likely to be employed in agriculture, and systematically more likely to identify traditional leaders as responsible for allocating land. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that IFP politicians engage in strategic interactions with traditional Zulu leaders and grant them control over agricultural land. To evaluate the welfare implication of this practice, we build a macro model featuring ethnic-based discrimination in land access. Ethnic bias affects the distribution of land and labor across ethnicities and sectors, with a negative impact on welfare. The model reconciles the results of our reduced-form analysis. Combining the latter with the calibrated model, we calculate that eliminating ethnic bias in land allocation would increase welfare by 13%.
















Last updated 26 January 2017 - 15:03:24