Autumn 2018

Dondena Seminar Series
Fall 2018

All in 3.e4.sr03 (exceptions marked in the list), all on Monday + one date on Wednesday, 12:45-14:00

Titles and abstracts will be posted as they become available.

Download the series poster here.

University of California, Irvine

TitleMeasles mortality in the United States, 1890–2016: Why did deaths decline before the vaccine?
Abstract: In this talk, I will present data on measles mortality in the United States from 1890 to the present day.  There will be particular focus on 1933–63, which is the time period for which there are complete (i.e., nationwide) mortality statistics, and before the first use of the measles vaccine in the winter of 1963–64.  The focus will be on how and why measles mortality declined even before the introduction of the vaccine.  Measles mortality decline pre-dated the vaccine, though of course accelerated after 1963 with the reduction of cases associated with immunization.  I will present a number of strands of evidence on measles epidemiology during this time period, which illustrate some puzzles of historical measles epidemiology in the United States and elsewhere.
Bio:  Andrew Noymer is an associate professor in the Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, at the University of California, Irvine.  His work focuses on the demography of health, particularly the epidemiology of infectious diseases, and the length of life. Noymer's work looks at infectious diseases as a product of social and biological interaction, focusing on disease at the population level, but grounded in the underlying biology of the relevant pathogens. Among other topics, he has published on life expectancy, and on the epidemiology of measles, influenza, tuberculosis, Ebola, and Clostridium difficile.  Prof Noymer received his PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley, his MSc in medical demography from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and his AB in biology from Harvard.  

University of Copenhagen

Title: Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts

Abstract: Religious beliefs influence individual behavior in many settings. But why are some societies more religious than others? One answer is religious coping: Individuals turn to religion to deal with unbearable and unpredictable life events. To investigate whether coping can explain global differences in religiosity, I combine a global dataset on individual-level religiosity with spatial data on natural disasters. Individuals become more religious if an earthquake recently hit close by. Even though the effect decreases after a while, data on children of immigrants reveal a persistent effect across generations. The results point to religious coping as the main mediating channel, but alternative explanations such as mutual insurance or migration cannot be ruled out entirely. The findings may help explain why religiosity has not vanished as some scholars once predicted.

Bio: Jeanet Sinding Bentzen is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen. Her main research interests are religion, cultural values, institutions, geography, and economic growth. She is Research Affiliate at CEPR (EH), External Associate at CAGE (Warwick), and board member of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture (ASREC).


Papers presented:

"Smart-working" by Marta Angelici and Paola Profeta

Social Influence Undermines the Wisdom of the Crowd in Sequential Decision-Making

by Vincenz Frey and Arnout van de Rijt

Speakers: Paola Profeta – Vincenz Frey

University of Michigan

Title: "Heard It Through The Grapevine: Direct and Network Effects of a Tax Enforcement Field Experiment".

Tax enforcement may affect both the behavior of those directly treated and of some taxpayers not directly treated but linked via a network to those who are treated. A large-scale randomized field experiment enables us to examine both the direct and network effects of letters and in-person visits on withheld income and payroll tax remittances by at-risk firms. Visited firms remit substantially more tax. Their tax preparers’ other clients also remit slightly more tax, while their subsidiaries remit slightly less. Letters have a much smaller direct effect and no network effects, yet may improve compliance at lower cost.

Ugo Troiano is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University (in 2013), a Master in Economics from Bocconi University (in 2008) and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Bocconi University (in 2006). His research is at the intersection between public finance and political economy. He has worked on topics such as maternity leave policies, government budgeting and tools to increase tax compliance.

NIDI – Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute Joint with SPS

Title: Social Background and Risky Demographic Behaviour: A Cross-National Analysis of the Role of Parental Education, Growing Up Without Both Parents and Sibling Size

Abstract: Some demographic behaviours (e.g. teenage parenthood, teenage partnering, having a child outside a partner relationship, separation) are risky, as they may have negative consequences for future well-being. The odds of experiencing such behaviours depends on one’s family of origin. Young people from families that lack economic resources are at an increased risk of experiencing such events. The same is true for young people who grow up in a non-intact family. However, the extent to which parental background influences risky demographic behaviour may depend on the societal context. I expect that the influence of parental SES and the number of siblings is weaker in societal contexts that facilitate human agency, as such contexts buffer the lack of resources. At the same time, the influence of growing up in a non-intact family may be stronger in such contexts, as young people who have experienced parental break-up may hold more favourable attitudes towards non-traditional family behaviours and societal contexts that facilitate human agency offer better opportunities to act in accordance with such attitudes. I use data from Generation and Gender Surveys conducted in 15 countries and meta-analysis and meta-regression to examine this issue.

Bio: Aart Liefbroer is Leader of the Theme ‘Families and Generations’ at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) in The Hague, The Netherlands. In addition, he holds a professorship in Life Course Demography at the University Medical Centre Groningen of the University of Groningen and a professorship by special appointment in Demography of Young Adults and Intergenerational Transmission at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research interests focus on demographic decision-making in a life-course perspective. He is currently working on an ERC-funded project on how societal contexts moderate the demographic consequences of childhood disadvantage.

University of California, Davis Joint with SPS

Title: "Geography, Income, and Trade in the 21st Century"

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between GDP per capita, trade costs, demand, and income inequality between 1996 and 2011. Specifically we apply the aggregate AIDS-based gravity model as developed in Fajgelbaum and Khandelwal (2016) to a panel of 40 countries to generate a new measure of market potential. We then relate this measure of market potential to country level GDP per capita finding a significant positive relationship, which performs better than CES-based measures of market potential. The AIDS model allows for non-homotheticities in demand and the possibility that nations produce goods with higher or lower income elasticities so that income inequality and GDP per capita matter for the direction of trade. CES-based market potential measures are typically only a function of overall income and trade costs, but in AIDS relative incomes and average incomes matter. We also go beyond this partial equilibrium relationship and explore the welfare effects of a unilateral decline in international trade costs. A 10% decline in import prices induces an average rise in welfare of 2% for importing countries. This effect is larger for smaller countries and depends in an interesting way on the income elasticity of demand for source and destination products.

Bio: Chris Meissner is a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on the economic history of the international economy particularly between 1870 and 1913. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the Development of the American Economy (DAE) program. He has held visiting scholar positions at the International Monetary Fund, Harvard, INSEAD, the Paris School of Economics, and currently at NYU-Shanghai.  Meissner earned his PhD in Economics from UC Berkeley in 2001 and his AB in economics, magna cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. 

Columbia University

Title: The causal effect of fertility history on cognitive functioning in later life

Abstract: The impact of fertility on cognitive functioning among older individuals in Europe is not well understood. This is in spite of rapid changes in fertility patterns and widespread concerns for the negative effects of ageing on cognitive functioning. We use an instrumental variable (IV) based approach by exploiting a source of exogenous variation in the number of children. This allows us to assess the effect of number of children on cognitive outcomes among older adults in Europe. Our results indicate that having a third child negative affects later life cognition. Our IV results are larger than the OLS estimates, which could suggest a positive selection of those who decide to have a third child. We did identify regional heterogeneity: The effect is more salient in the Northern European countries (Sweden and Denmark), while no significant effect is found in the Southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain).

Bio: Vegard Skirbekk is a professor at Columbia Aging Center, Columbia University and a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. His research focuses on understanding the links between aging, health and individuals productivity in countries undergoing demographic change around the world. He is currently interested in looking at differences across countries in terms of health and cognitive skills and relationships with investments in education and health. He is also interested in comparing variations in life trajectories in health across societies and countries. Skirbekk has published widely in academic journals (Demography, Science and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) and his research has received attention in global media (e.g., BBC, the New York Times, The Economist, New Scientist). He has received research support from EU funding bodies (including the European Research Council), and research councils from several countries.

Università di Pisa

Title: Connections in Scientific Committees and Applicants' Self-Selection: Evidence from a Natural Randomized Experiment

We investigate theoretically and empirically how connections in evaluation committees affect application decisions. Prospective candidates who are connected to a committee member may be more likely to apply if they anticipate a premium at the evaluation stage. However, when failure is costly and connections convey information to potential applicants regarding their chances of success, the impact of connections on application decisions is ambiguous. We document the relevance of this information channel using data from national evaluations in Italian academia. We find that prospective candidates are significantly less likely to apply when the committee includes, through the luck of the draw, a colleague or a coauthor. At the same time, applicants tend to receive more favorable evaluations from their connections. Overall, the evidence suggests that connected individuals have access to better information at the application stage, which helps them to make better application decisions. Ignoring applicants' self-selection would lead to an overestimation of the connection premium in evaluations by 26%.

Mauro Sylos Labini is Associate Professor at University of Pisa and holds a PhD in Economics and Management from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa and the University of Strasbourg. He was Assistant Professor at IMT Lucca, University of Alicante. He has a general interest in labour economics, the economics of technological change, and applied econometrics. His current research focuses on labour market intermediaries, tertiary education, innovation policy, and culture and economics.


Papers presented:

"Never Forget the First Time: Youth Exposure to Corruption, Political Beliefs and Populist Voting"

by Arnstein Aassve, Gianmarco Daniele and Marco Le Moglie

Terrorism and Fertility: Evidence from Boko Haram in Nigeria”

by Michele Rocca and Valentina Rotondi

Speakers: Marco Le Moglie – Valentina Rotondi

19/11/2018 – 3.b3.sr01
University of Warsaw

Title: The Patriarchy Index: A Measure of Gender and Generational Inequalities of the Past and its Historical Cross-Cultural Applications

Abstract: This talk reflects on six years of cumulative research based on Gruber/Szoltysek’s Patriarchy Index in historical demography and beyond. After elucidating the intellectual and data-related context for the development of the PI, the applicability of the index will be presented informed by three major research questions: What were the major variations in patriarchy? What caused them? What difference they could make? Through selected research examples the following aspects of the PI’s applicability will be reviewed:

- the relation between its spatial variation and existing models of historical family systems of Hajnal, Laslett, and others;

- how variation in patriarchy levels across Europe was related to the socioeconomic, institutional, and ecological characteristics of the regional populations;

- the association between the Patriarchy Index and regional numeracy patterns in the past;

- the predictive validity of the PI for contemporary developmental gradients against a composite indicator of family organization previously used by economic historians (Carmichael’s ‘Female Friendliness Index’)

- gains and challenges of using the index to test the relationship between historical family patterns and contemporary gender inequality, value orientations, economic growth and human development will be discussed.

The empirical foundation for this exposition will be a novel historical database of the European family derived from the combined North Atlantic Population and Mosaic projects, consisting of 293 regional populations, with 15.3 million persons living in 3 million households, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Urals. Anchored at the micro-level, these data allow for a bottom-up aggregation of historical localized familial and demographic indicators at different scales: locales, regions, administrative units of NUTS2 or ITAN level, and countries.

Bio: POLONEZ Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research Fellow, Institute of History, University of Warsaw/ Honorary Research Associate, The Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, University of Regensburg

26/11/2018 – 3.b3.sr01
University of Konstanz

Title: Women in Politics and Policy Choices

Abstract: One remarkable development over the past few decades is the increased representation of women in key political offices. We study whether this advancement in female political representation is merely symbolic or whether the gender of policy makers has substantive consequences for policy choices. We hand-collect individual-level data (gender, profession, party membership etc.) for roughly 250,000 candidates running in local council elections between 1996 and 2014 in the 2056 Bavarian municipalities. Exploiting the fact that Bavarian local elections rely on open lists, we implement an identification strategy centered on close mixed-gender races for the last council seat that accrues to a given party. The results suggest that a higher share of female council members has substantive consequences for a council's policy choices. To explore how exactly female council members affect policy, we code and analyze minutes of monthly council meetings.

Bio: Zohal Hessami is an assistant professor for Political Economy at the University of Konstanz. She visited Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona in 2014 and the University of Cambridge in 2013 and was a postdoctoral researcher and visiting lecturer at the University of Mannheim in 2012. She pursued her undergraduate studies at Maastricht University and Université de Montréal until July 2006. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Konstanz in January 2011. Her research focuses on applied empirical research in the fields of Political Economy and Public Finance covering a broad range of policy-relevant topics such as political business cycles in local public finances, determinants of individual voting behavior, globalization and public policy as well as political selection and policy choices.

King’s College London

Title: Populist United: A Theory of Intra-party bargaining under Policy Constraints (with Nikitas Konstantinidis, IE Madrid)

Abstract: We develop a model of electoral competition in the context of multi-party systems, where policy platforms consist of traditional spatial positions and a policy in favor or against membership in an international union that imposes binding policy constraint on the traditional left-right dimension. We assume that parties consist of two factions, the Opportunists (office-seekers) and the Militants (ideologues), and we extend John Roemer's Party Unanimity Nash Equilibrium (PUNE) concept for endogenously formed parties to derive a manifold of equilibria, ranging form moderate pro-membership, to populist, to polarized anti-membership equilibria. We then apply the Nash bargaining solution -- by allowing for the possibility of party splits as disagreement outcomes -- in order to refine our equilibrium predictions and to infer under what conditions party splits are the more likely outcomes depending on the perceived benefits of union membership and the scope of policy constrains that come with it. We show how populism can arise as an outcome of intraparty bargaining that keeps the party together in the face of strong factionalism over supranational integration. Another prediction of our model is that party fragmentation (as a result of party splits) and ideological polarization are more likely when the orthogonal benefits of integration are lower and the scope of policy constraints is narrower. Finally, we seek to test some of the empirical implications of our model by using data on party splits from the ParlGov dataset on European parties and party systems

Bio: I am an Assistant Professor (Lecturer in the UK) of Economics in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. Previously, I was a post-doctoral researcher at LSE's Department of Government (2013 - 2015) and a visiting assistant professor in Political Economy at the University of Rochester's Wallis Institute. I have completed my PhD in Economics at the University of Warwick (2012).

University of Georgia Joint with SPS

Title: The Consequences of Formal and Informal Bargaining Structures under Separated Powers: Executive Budgetary Influence and the U.S. Budget and Accounting Act of 1921

Abstract: The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (BAA) consolidated the president’s authority over the budgetary process within the U.S. federal executive branch. Employing a novel database from FY 1895−FY 1940, I empirically evaluate claims that the BAA reforms enhanced executive budgetary powers. The evidence reveals that although these reforms enhanced the president’s bargaining position by increasing the proportion of executive budget proposals consistent with a formidable executive veto threat, paradoxically, these reforms actually diminished executive budgetary influence in the presence of a credible executive veto threat. This pattern is accounted for by the importance of agency heads’ experience in office for shaping executive budgetary influence within a decentralized budgetary system. Following the adoption of BAA reforms, however, executive budget influence is independent of a credible executive veto threat – though such influence derives less from an agency head’s experience compared to that which transpires during the pre-BAA era.

Bio: George A. Krause is the Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor of Public Administration (PhD, West Virginia University, 1994). His previous faculty appointments include serving both as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of South Carolina (1994-2005), and more recently, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh (2005-2017). Professor Krause’s core scholarly interests center on issues pertaining to governance, accountability, and representation in the United States. Much of his research focuses on topics pertaining to public administration & bureaucracy, executive authority, fiscal policymaking and governance, and organizational theory applied to better understand the functioning of government institutions (both elected and unelected). His current research activities investigate the role of bureaucratic leadership in U.S. federal government agencies; the exercise of executive authority; understanding the implications of shared power arrangements for democratic governance and policymaking within the administrative state; and behavioral decision-making in the realm of both democratic politics and government policymaking.

Last updated 20 December 2018 - 12:37:12