Current Series

Dondena Seminar Series
FALL 2017


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 18
Seth Zimmerman, University of Chicago

E-mail: Seth.Zimmerman@chicagobooth.edu

Heterogeneous Beliefs and School Choice Mechanism

This paper studies how welfare outcomes in centralized school choice depend on the assignment mechanism when participants are not fully informed. Using a survey of school choice participants in a strategic setting, we show that beliefs about admissions chances differ from rational expectations values and predict choice behavior. To quantify the welfare costs of belief errors, we estimate a model of school choice that incorporates subjective beliefs. We evaluate the equilibrium effects of switching to a strategy-proof deferred acceptance algorithm, and of improving households' belief accuracy. Allowing for belief errors reverses the welfare comparison to favor the deferred acceptance algorithm.

September 25
Jenny Trini, University of Chicago

E-mail: jennytrini@uchicago.edu

AIDS: An epidemic of uncertainty

The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa is now nearly 40 years old. After a long battle, the standard metrics have started to point to good news: new infections are down, prevalence has stabilized, life-saving anti-retrovirals are becoming widely available, and AIDS-related mortality has declined. Using panel data from Tsogolo la Thanzi study collected in Balaka, Malawi between 2009 and 2015, I argue that in the wake of pandemic AIDS, an epidemic of uncertainty persists. AIDS-related uncertainty, I argue, is measurable, pervasive, and impervious to biomedical solutions. In Malawi, the consequences of uncertainty are salient to multiple domains of life including relationship stability, fertility, health, and well-being. Even as HIV is transformed from a progressive, fatal infection to a chronic and manageable condition, the accompanying epidemic of uncertainty remains central to understanding the demographic future of this part of the world.

October 2
Dominik Hangartner, ETH Zurich, London School of Economics

E-mail: D.Hangartner@lse.ac.uk

Does Exposure to the Refugee Crisis Make Natives More Hostile?

Although Europe has experienced unprecedented numbers of refugee arrivals since 2015, there exists almost no causal evidence regarding the impact of the refugee crisis on natives' attitudes, policy preferences, or political behavior. We provide evidence from a natural experiment in the Aegean Sea, where Greek islands close to the Turkish coast experienced a sudden and massive increase in refugee arrivals while similar islands slightly farther away did not. Leveraging distance as an instrument for between-island variation in exposure to the refugee crisis allows us to obtain causal estimates of its impact. In our targeted survey of 2,070 islands residents, we nd that immediate exposure to large-scale refugee arrivals induces sizeable and lasting increases in natives' hostility toward refugee, immigrant and Muslim minorities; support for restrictive asylum and immigration policies; and support for the the extreme-right Golden Dawn.

October 9
Luigi Pascali, Pompeu Fabra University

E-mail: luigi.pascali@upf.edu

Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy 

Conventional theory holds that hierarchies and states emerged following the Neolithic transition to agriculture as a result of increased land productivity, and that differences in land productivity explain differences in hierarchies between regions. We challenge this theory and propose that social hierarchy emerged where the elite were able to appropriate crops from farmers. In particular, we argue that cereals are easier to appropriate than most other foodstuffs. Therefore, regional variations in the suitability of land for the cultivation of different crop types can account for differences in the formation of hierarchies and states. Our empirical investigation supports such a causal effect of the cultivation of cereals on hierarchy, without finding a similar effect for land productivity.


October 16
Ted Mouw, University of North Carolina

E-mail: tedmouw@email.unc.edu

Using social networks to collect data on hidden or rare populations: challenges in field applications

There are many instances where researchers want to sample from populations where a sampling frame doesn't exist and where the population is rare enough that the use of screening questions is prohibitively expensive.  At the same time, Respondent Driven Sampling--a popular method of sampling from hidden populations--is known to have high sampling variance compared to simple random sampling.  Network Sampling with Memory (NSM) was designed as a way to improve the precision of network-based sampling by collecting partial name and demographic information on respondents' contacts, and then using that information to direct the sampling process to under-explored parts of the social network of the population.  Using simulated sampling, NSM has dramatically lower design effects than other methods of network sampling.  In this talk, we will discuss what we have learned from using NSM in practice, including an survey we are conducting this year of 600 Chinese immigrants living in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.

October 23
Patricia Funk, Università della Svizzera Italiana

E-mail: patricia.funk@usi.ch

Gender Differences in Academic Performance: The Role of Exam Design in Multiple-Choice Tests

We investigate whether penalizing wrong answers on multiple-choice tests makes females worse off than males relative to an exam with no penalties. We conducted a field experiment in the Microeconomics course with a cohort of more than 500 undergraduate students at a major Spanish university. We created a final exam, which was composed of two parts: one with penalties for wrong answers and one without. Students were randomly allocated to different exam permutations, which differed in the questions that carried penalties for wrong answers. We find that the penalties did not harm female students. Females performed better than males on both parts of the exam and did so to a greater extent on the part with penalties. Whereas risk aversion did not affect overall scores (despite affecting answering behavior), ability did. High-ability students performed relatively better with negative marking, and these were more likely to be women. However, controlling for ability, gender no longer affected performance.

October 30

Osea Giuntella, University of Pittsburgh

E-mail: osea.giuntella@pitt.edu

Immigrant Legalization, Health, and Health Care Use. 

This paper studies the effects of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative on health and demand for health care. We exploit a difference-in-differences that relies on the discontinuity in program eligibility. We find that DACA had no significant effects on physical health, but improved the mental health of eligible immigrants.There is no evidence of a significant impact on the demand for health care. We confirm previous evidence that DACA promoted economic opportunities for the undocumented immigrants. We find evidence that in California, where most of DACA-eligible individuals were also eligible for Medi-Cal, public insurance coverage increased, but there is no evidence of significant increases in health care use.

November 20

Diego Ramiro, CSIC Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas

E-mail: diego.ramiro@cchs.csic.es

November 27
Herman de Jong, University of Groningen

E-mail: h.j.de.jong@rug.nl

Distribution Dynamics in Turbulent Times: Income inequality in Germany and Britain, 1900-1950

Using dynamic social tables, which have not been used for European countries before, we contribute by providing new data on inequality in Germany and Britain on an annual basis for the first half of the twentieth century. Inequality trends in these two countries tended to follow totally opposite movements. The decline in inequality in Germany was interrupted during the WWI and the Nazi period, while in Britain the reversal took place between the end of WWI and the Great Depression. These results challenge the idea of an egalitarian revolution across Europe during the twentieth century and support the notion of inequality cycles.


December 4
Zhenchao Qian, Brown University

E-mail: zhenchao_qian@brown.edu

Marriage Markets and Comparative Patterns of Intermarriage and Exchange in First Marriages and Remarriages

Drawing on newly-available data from the American Community Survey, we compare patterns of assortative mating in first marriages, remarriages, and mixed-order marriages. We identify a number of ascribed and achieved characteristics that are viewed as resources available for exchange, both as complements and substitutes. We apply conditional logit models to show how patterns of assortative mating among never-married and previously-married persons are subject to local marriage market opportunities and constraints. The results reveal that previously-married individuals “cast a wider net;” spousal pairings are more heterogamous among remarriages than among first marriages. Marital heterogamy, however, is reflected in systematic evidence of “trade-offs” that show that marriage order (i.e., status of being never-married) is a valued trait for exchange. Never-married persons are better positioned than previously-married persons to marry more attractive marital partners, variously measured (e.g., highly-educated partners). Previously-married persons—especially women—are disadvantaged in the marriage market, facing demographic shortages of potential partners to marry. Marriage market constraints take demographic expression in low remarriage rates and in heterogamous patterns of mate selection in which previously married partners often substitute other valued characteristics in marriage with never-married persons.

December 11
Alexander Kentikelenis, University of Oxford

E-mail: alexander.kentikelenis@trinity.ox.ac.uk

Last updated 27 November 2017 - 15:48:23