Spring 2015

All seminars (and light lunches!) will begin at 12:45 p.m.


Click here to download the series poster.


***Abstracts will be posted as they become available.


23 February, Room 4-E4-SR03

Maria Giovanna Merli, Duke University

Chinese migration to Africa: Sampling Chinese migrants through their social networks

In spite of the high media profile of China’s presence in Africa and Chinese migration to Africa, there are few rich and broad descriptions of Chinese communities in Africa. Reasons for this absence include the rarity of official statistics on foreign-born populations in African censuses, the absence of complete sampling frames required to draw representative samples and difficulties to reach hidden segments of this population. Here, we use a novel network-based approach, Network Sampling with Memory, to recruit a sample of recent Chinese immigrants in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  This paper describes the method of data collection which relies on respondents’ networks to recruit study participants. It then uses individual reports of sampled migrants and ego-centric network data to provide a rich description of the demographic profile and the social organization of this community, highlight key differences between migrant groups and map the structure of the social ties linking these groups.


2 March, Room 4-E4-SR03

Josè Tavares, Nova School of Business and Economics

Think As Mother Thinks or Think As Mother Does? On Intergenerational Transmission to Sons and Daughters

People form their attitudes by observing their parents’ behavior and by listening to their opinions. This paper analyzes the relative contri- butions of the mother’s attitudes and her actual work status in shaping her children’s attitudes on gender roles. It is motivated by the fact that many mothers have conflicting attitudes and behavior (many working mothers have traditional views and non-working mothers have non- traditional views). We use an instrumental variables approach with data on three generations to disentangle direct mother-to-child trans- mission from correlation that simply results from mother and child sharing the same “social address.” We find that behavior only matters when it is mediated by attitude: a working mother increases the prob- ability of her child having non-traditional attitudes to gender roles by 40%, but only when she herself had non-traditional attitudes. On the other hand, attitudes alone do not matter. We show that the effect persists into adulthood.


9 March, Room 5-E4-SR03

Evrim Altintas, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Cross-National Trends and Growing Inequality: Parental Time Investments in Children (1961-2010)

This study indicates a clear and growing inequality in parental time investments in young children over the last five decades. Using more than 60 surveys the Multinational Time Use Study, the results first show a substantial increase in parents’ total time spent in primary care activities over the 50-year period. However, this increase conceals growing polarization between social class backgrounds. Compared to parents with no college degree, college educated parents increased their time investment at a faster rate, resulting in a wider education-gap in the late 2000s than in the 1970s. Inequality in mothers’ time investment in children remained stable between the 1970s and the 1990s, but widened in the last decade. Inequality in fathers’ time investments, on the other hand, has grown steadily since the 1960s. Overall, the results suggest that a child born in the 2000s to college-educated parents can expect to receive approximately 1,500 hours more time investment over the first 4 years of life than a child born to non-college-educated parents. This gap is more than twice as large as was the case in the 1970s.

Download the slides here.


16 March, Room 5-E4-SR04

Fabio Franchino, University of Milan

The Hidden Opposition to a Fiscal Union in Southern Europe: A Conjoint Analysis of Attitudes on Economic Policy in Italy

In the past years, the European Union has faced its deepest and most prolong economic crisis since its establishment. Such crisis is the result of a combination of deeply rooted transformations of the world economy and serious flaws in the design of its economic policy - such as the lack of a fiscal union addressing asymmetric shocks. Meanwhile, support for the euro has faced a dramatic turnaround, especially among Italians who, from being the strongest supporters, are now the harshest critics. In June 2014, we have administered to a population-based panel of 3026 Italians a conjoint analysis to assess the economic policy measures they simultaneously support. Fighting unemployment, even at the expense of higher inflation, is clearly the main priority. Low unemployment is even more important than keeping the euro. There is no support for downsizing public services, while there is opposition to both supranational oversight of national budgets and expansion of EU fiscal capacity. The left-right divide structures several of these positions, but in an internally incoherent manner. Left-wing respondents defend the single currency, but they are more inflation tolerant and oppose spending cuts. Right-wing participants are critical of the euro and oppose both EU budgetary control and spending, but they support national fiscal consolidation. These results shed new light on the ongoing policy debate on the fiscal union and on the links between the agendas of governments and parties and the positions of citizens with regard to economic policy.

Download the slides here.


20 April, Room 4-E4-SR03

Carles Boix, Princeton University

The Roots of the Industrial Revolution: Political institutions or (socially embedded) know-how?

In this paper we reassess the nature and causes of growth (measured through urbanization as well as nineteenth-century per capita income) in Europe from around 1200 to 1900. Employing a comprehensive dataset for the European continent that includes biogeographic features and urbanization data (1200-1800), per capita income data in the second half of the 19th century, location of proto-industrial textile and metallurgic centers and political institutions, we show, in the first place, that the process of economic take-off (and of growing economic divergence across Europe) was caused by the early emergence and growth of cities and urban clusters in a European north-south corridor that broadly runs from southern England to northern Italy. In contrast to previous findings in the institutionalist literature, we show, in the second place, that the fortunes of parliamentary institutions in early modern Europe played a small part in the success of the industrial revolution. Finally, we claim that growth happened endogenously, taking place in those territories  that had a strong proto-industrial base, often regardless of the absence of executive constraints, and easy access to energy resources.


27 April, Room 4-E4-SR03

Ben Ansell, University of Oxford

Inequality and Democratization: An elite-competition approach

Research on the relationship between inequality, development, and regime change has seen a recent surge of interest. But while many argue that inequality harms the prospects of democracy because wealthy elites fear that the poorer majority will use the vote to 'soak the rich' (for example, works by Boix, 2003 and Acemoglu and Robinson, 2006) this book presents a different explanation that identifies the real tension as existing between property and autocracy, not property and democracy. Instead, it is fear of the autocratic state by politically disenfranchised, but economically rising groups who are wary of the power of autocratic elites to expropriate their assets that drive efforts at democratic transitions and regime change. 


4 May 

Pippa Norris, Harvard Kennedy School



18 May, Room 4-E4-SR03

Shanto Iyengar, Stanford University

Fear and Loathing in Party Politics: New Measures of Polarization

When defined in terms of social identity and affect toward co-partisans and op-posing partisans, the polarization of the American electorate has dramatically increased. We document the scope and consequences of affective polarization of partisans using implicit, explicit and behavioral indicators. Our evidence demonstrates that hostile feelings for the opposing party are ingrained or automatic in voters' minds, and that affective polarization based on party is just as strong as polarization based on race. We further show that party cues exert powerful effects on non-political judgments and behaviors. Partisans discriminate against opposing partisans, and do so to a degree that exceeds discrimination based on race. We note that the willingness of partisans to display open animus for opposing partisans can be attributed to the absence of norms governing the expression of negative sentiment and that increased partisan affect provides an incentive for elites to engage in confrontation rather than cooperation.


25 May, Room 5-E4-SR04

Neil Cummins, London School of Economics

Longevity and the Rise of the West: Lifespans of the European Elite, 800-1800

Analysis of the age at death of 121,524 European nobles from 800 to 1800. Longevity began increasing long before 1800 and the Industrial Revolution, with marked increases around 1400 and again around 1650. Declines in violence contributed to some of this increase, but the majority must reflect other changes in individual behavior. The areas of North-West Europe that later witnessed the Industrial Revolution achieved greater longevity than the rest of Europe even by 1000 AD. The data suggest that the 'Rise of the West' originates before the Black Death.



Last updated 20 December 2018 - 13:01:38