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DEPARTMENT SEMINAR 2015-2016

Mardi 21 juin 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Ezra OBERFIELD (Princeton) (with Gene Grossman , Princeton – Elhanan Helpam, Harvard and Thomas Sampson, LSE)

«Balanced Growth despite Uzawa»

The evidence for the United States points to balanced growth despite falling investment-good prices and an elasticity of substitution between capital and labor less than one. This is inconsistent with the Uzawa Growth Theorem. We extend Uzawa’s theorem to show that the introduction of human capital accumulation in the standard way does not resolve the puzzle. However, balanced growth is possible if schooling is endogenous and capital is more complementary with schooling than with raw labor. We describe balanced growth paths for a variety of neoclassical growth models with capital-augmenting technological progress and endogenous schooling. The balanced growth path in an overlapping-generations model in which individuals choose the duration of their education matches key features of the U.S. economic record.

Link to Ezra’s website: https://sites.google.com/site/ezraoberfield/

*****

Mardi 14 juin 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Anton KORINEK (Johns Hopkins)

«Currency Wars or Efficient Spillovers ? A General Theory of International Policy Cooperation»

In an interconnected world, national economic policies regularly lead to large international spillover effects, which frequently trigger calls for global cooperation. This paper presents a unified framework of spillovers and international policy cooperation. We show that there are three and only three categories of problems that lead to inefficient spillovers and create scope for cooperation: (i) market power, (ii) imperfect external policy instruments, and (iii) imperfections in international markets. We develop guidelines for how policy cooperation can address each of the three. Then we apply our framework to a wide range of domestic and external macroeconomic policies that generate spillovers, including exchange rate management, monetary policy, fiscal policy and macroprudential policy, and discuss which inefficiencies are of concern for each. We also prove that there is no further scope for cooperation once the three sources of inefficiency have been addressed - any remaining spillovers are Pareto efficient.

Link to Anton’s website: http://www.korinek.com

*****

Mardi 7 juin 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Eric FRENCH (UCL)

«Medicaid Insurance in Old Age»

The old age provisions of the Medicaid program were designed to insure re-tirees against medical expenses. We estimate a structural model of savings and medical spending and use it to compute the distribution of lifetime Medicaid transfers and Medicaid valuations across currently single retirees. Compensating variation calculations indicate that current retirees value Medicaid insurance at more than its actuarial cost, but that most would value an expansion of the current Medicaid program at less than its cost. These findings suggest that for current single retirees, the Medicaid program may be of the approximately right size.

*****

Mardi 31 mai 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Pedro REY-BIEL (UAB)

«Expectations, Satisfaction and Utility from Experience Goods: A Field Experiment in Theaters»

We show that, after controlling for individual characteristics, willingness to pay for an experience good depends on subjective quality relative to expectations, and not on expectations or subjective quality alone. In our experiment, we sell tickets for a theatre play using a pay-what-you-want mechanism in which the audience first watches the show, and then decides how much to pay for it. Based on before and after questionnaires, we find that among individuals declaring the same expectations or enjoyment those with a larger gap between expected and effective enjoyment pay significantly more. Once the satisfaction gap is accounted for, the level of expected enjoyment or ex post subjective enjoyment has no significant effect in predicting payments.

*****

Mardi 24 mai 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Daniel MARTIN (KELLOGG)

«Consumer Theory with Price Uncertainty»

In this paper I propose a general model of consumption for consumers who are uncertain about prices. The behavioral implications of this model can be summarized by a set of non-parametric and testable restrictions on stochastic demand functions that are simple and bear a resemblance to classical restrictions on deterministic demand functions, but are novel in their construction. The empirical performance of these restrictions is assessed using grocery store consumption data. I also determine the restrictions on behavior for two specific versions of price uncertainty: 1) a form of random price inattention proposed in the marketing literature and 2) rational inattention to prices (Sims 2003).

*****

Mardi 17 mai 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Radek STEFANSKI (St Andrews)

«Dirty Little Secrets: Inferring Fossil-Fuel Subsidies from Patterns in Emission Intensities»

I develop a unique database of international fossil-fuel subsidies by examining countryspecific patterns in carbon emission-to-GDP ratios, known as emission-intensities. For most - but not all - countries, intensities tend to be hump-shaped with income. I construct a model of structural-transformation that generates this hump-shaped intensity and then show that deviations from this pattern must be driven by distortions to sectoral-productivity and/or fossil-fuel prices. Finally, I use the calibrated-model to measure these distortions for 170 countries for 1980-2010. This methodology reveals that fossil-fuel price-distortions are large, increasing and often hidden. Furthermore, they are major contributors to higher carbon-emissions and lower GDP.

Link to Radek's website: http://radekstefanski.weebly.com/

*****

Mardi 10 mai 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Manolis GALENIANOS (Royal Holloway)

«Referral networks and Inequality»

I develop a theoretical model to study the welfare effects of using referrals in the labor market. In the model, firms use referrals to hire, workers are heterogeneous and the social network endogenous. Consistent with empirical evidence, referred workers are more likely to be hired, to receive a higher wage and to be more productive. The use of referrals exacerbates inequality among workers. Higher inequality is efficient if heterogeneity is driven by productivity differentials but is detrimental to efficiency if the probability of forming a match is weakly correlated with productivity, which is likely in the presence of discrimination.

*****

Mardi 3 mai 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Ben BROOKS (University of Chicago) (with Dirk Bergemann and Stephen Morris)

«First Price Auction with General Information Structures : Implications for Bidding and Revenue»

We explore the impact of private information in sealed bid first price auctions.

For a given symmetric and arbitrarily correlated prior distribution over values, we characterize the lowest winning bid distribution that can arise across all information structures and equilibria. The information and equilibrium attaining this minimum leave bidders uncertain whether they will win or lose and indifferent between their equilibrium bids and all higher bids. Our results provide lower bounds for bids and revenue with asymmetric distributions over values.

We report further analytic and computational characterizations of revenue and bidder surplus including upper bounds on revenue. Our work has implications for the identification of value distributions from winning bid data and for the informationally robust comparison of alternative bidding mechanisms.

*****

Mardi 12 avril 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Nicolas WERQUIN (TSE)

«Income taxation with frictional labor supply»

This paper characterizes the optimal labor income taxes in an environment where individual labor supply choices are subject to frictions. Agents incur a fixed cost of adjusting their hours of work in response to changes in their idiosyncratic wages or the tax rates. This fixed cost can be thought of as the cost of searching for a new job in an economy where hours are constrained within the firm. I derive a formula that characterizes the optimal long-run progressive tax schedule in this economy. Adjustment frictions generate endogenously an extensive margin of labor supply conditional on participation. I show that the standard frictionless optimal tax formulas amount to making a strong and implausible assumption on the effects of taxes on the option value of adjusting hours of work. In addition to the standard intensive margin disincentive effects, the optimal tax schedule depends on several new elasticities and marginal social welfare weights. I evaluate the quantitative magnitude of these novel theoretical effects and show that for a given intensive margin labor supply elasticity, the optimal long-run tax schedule is less progressive than a frictionless model would predict. The welfare miscalculations by wrongly assuming that labor supply is frictionless can be large, and are decreasing in the size of the intensive margin labor income elasticity.

*****

Mardi 5 avril 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Adrien VIGIER (Oxford) (with Jesper Rudiger, University of Copenhagen)

«Pundits and Quacks : Learning about Analysis when Fundamental Asset Values are Unobserved»

Can financial markets learn an analyst's ability when fundamental asset values are unobserved, and learning about ability relies on aggregating the private information held by investors? We show that as a financial analyst becomes reputable, the market can get trapped: Investors optimally choose to ignore their private information, and blindly follow the analyst's recommendations. As time goes by and recommendations accumulate, arbitrage based on the inferred ability of the analyst may become profitable again. The market can thus be trapped at times and yet be able, in the long run, to sort the pundits from the quacks. However, this process is impaired as new assets become available: In that case, the market might be trapped indefinitely..

*****

Mardi 29 mars 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Jeremy LISE (UCL) (with Fabien Postel-Vinay)

«Multidimensional Skills, Sorting, and Human Capital Accumulation»

We construct a structural model of on-the-job search in which workers differ in skills along several dimensions (cognitive, manual, interpersonal. . . ) and sort themselves into jobs with heterogeneous skill requirements along those same dimensions. We further allow for skills to be accumulated when used, and eroded away when not used. We estimate the model using occupation-level measures of skill requirements based on O*NET data, combined with a worker-level panel from the NLSY79. We use the estimated model to shed light on the origins and costs of mismatch along the cognitive, manual, and interpersonal skill dimensions. Our results clearly suggest that those three types of skills are very different productive attributes.

*****

Mercredi 23 mars 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Miren LAFOURCADE (PSE) (with Camille Blaudin de Thé)

«The Carbon Footprint of Suburbanization : Evidence from French Household Data»

This paper investigates the impact of urban form on fuel consumption and CO2 driving emissions in France. The use of a very rich individual survey helps control for selection issues, as some households may live in a location consonant to their socioeconomic characteristics or travel predispositions. In addition, we also use instrumental variables to control for simultaneity between fuel consumption and population settlements. The results suggest that, by choosing to live at the fringe of a metropolitan area instead of a city-center, the sample mean-household bears an extra-consumption of approximatively six fuel tanks per year. More generally, doubling residential density results in an annual saving of approximatively two tanks per household, but this gain might be larger if compaction is coupled with smaller distance to city-centers, improved rail-routes and reduced pressure for road construction in the metropolitan area. Moreover, the relationship between urban population and driving emissions is bell-shaped: small cities compensate lack of either density or mass transit systems by job-housing centralization.

*****

Mardi 22 mars 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Julien MARTIN (UQAM, Montréal) (with Francis Kramarz and Isabelle Méjean)

«Volatility in the Small and in the Large : (The lack of) Diversification in Trade Networks»

This paper develops a theoretical and an empirical framework to study how different sources of fluctuations interact with the micro-structure of trade networks to shape the volatility of exports at the firm-level and in the aggregate. Four shocks affect exporter-importer trade networks – a macroeconomic shock and three individual shocks hitting respectively the exporter, its foreign partner, and their match. We structurally estimate these shocks using new data on the network connecting French exporters to European buyers over the 1995-2007 period. Individual shocks are found to be a major source of fluctuations, in the disaggregate as well as in aggregate. Customer-related shocks matter mostly for the volatility in the small. Firms’ exposure to these shocks depends on the structure of their customers’ portfolio: more diversified firms are better hedged against customer-related shocks. Diversification explains a sizable fraction of the dispersion of across-firms’ volatility. In the aggregate, the relative prevalence of the different types of individual shocks varies across countries; depending on the shape of the sales distribution across sellers, buyers and seller-buyer pairs. Differences in the structure of trade networks partly explains the differences in the origins and the magnitude of the volatility of French exports across destinations.

*****

Mardi 15 mars 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Henrik KLEVEN (LSE) (with Camille Landais, LSE and Jakob Egholt Søgaard, University of Copenhagen)

«Children and Gender Inequality : Evidence from Denmark»

Despite considerable gender convergence over time, substantial gender inequality persists in all countries. Using Danish administrative data from 1980-2011, we show that most of the remaining gender inequality can be attributed to the dynamic effects of having children. The arrival of children leads to a long-run penalty in female earnings of 21% driven in roughly equal proportions by labor force participation, hours of work, and wage rates. Underlying this child penalty, we find clear dynamic effects of child birth on occupation, promotion to manager, and the family friendliness of the firm for women relative to men. The fraction of aggregate gender inequality that can be explained by children is strongly increasing over time— from 30% in 1980 to 80% in 2011—showing that non-child reasons for gender inequality have largely disappeared. Conditional on rich observables, the female child penalty in earnings is increasing in the relative skill of the female in the family, suggesting that mechanisms other than comparative advantage are at play. We probe into the potential role of “gender identity” effects by showing that the female child penalty is strongly related to the relative labor supply history of her parents. This is consistent with the notion that gender attitudes surrounding family and career are shaped in part by the environment in which individuals grow up.

*****

Mardi 8 mars 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Vincent STERK (UCL)

«The Dark Corners of the Labor Market»

Standard models predict that episodes of high unemployment are followed by recoveries. This paper shows, by contrast, that a large shock may set the economy on a path towards very high unemployment, with no recovery in sight. First, I estimate a reduced-form model of flows in the U.S. labor market, allowing for the possibility of multiple steady states. Next, I estimate a non-linear search and matching model, in which multiplicity of steady states may arise due to skill losses upon unemployment, following Pissarides (1992). In both cases, estimates imply a stable steady state with around 5 percent unemployment and an unstable one with around 10 percent unemployment. The search and matching model can explain observed job finding rates remarkably well, due to its strong endogenous persistence mechanism.

*****

Mardi 16 février 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Marcel BOYER (CIRANO)

«Challenges and Pitfalls in Assessing Cartel Fines»

 

*****

Mardi 9 février 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Pascaline DUPAS (Stanford) (with Jonathan robinson and Santiago Saavendra)

«The Daily Grind : Cash Needs, Labor Supply, and Self-Control»

This paper studies the intertemporal labor supply decisions of bicycle taxi drivers in Western Kenya, using detailed observational data on labor supply and cash needs constructed from daily passenger-level logbooks. To test between models of labor supply, we provide drivers with random cash  ayouts on unannounced days. We document three key facts: (1) drivers work more in response to both unexpected and expected cash needs; (2) drivers increase the probability of quitting discontinuously when their day’s earnings reaches their day’s cash need; but (3) randomized cash payouts have no effect on labor supply. We show that these results are consistent with models in which workers face high effort costs and have reference-dependent preferences over an earned income target. A calibration exercise suggests that such preferences enable workers to earn 5% more income than if they had neoclassical preferences. We propose a new model and interpretation of income targeting as morphine: it partially numbs the effort cost until the target (goal) is reached.

*****

Mardi 2 février 2016

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Laurent CALVET (HEC) (with Laurent Bach and Paolo Sodini)

«Rich Pickings? Risk, Return and Skill in the Portfolios of the Wealthy»

This paper empirically investigates the portfolios of wealthy households and their implications for the dynamics of inequality. Using an administrative panel of all Swedish residents, we document that returns on financial wealth are on average 4% higher per year for households in the top 1% compared to the median household. These high average returns are primarily compensations for high levels of systematic risk. Abnormal risk-adjusted returns, linked for instance to informational advantages or exceptional investment skill, contribute only marginally to the high returns of the wealthy. Implications for inequality dynamics and public policy are discussed.

*****

Mardi 15 décembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Emeric HENRY (Sciences Po) (with Charles Louis-Sidois)

«Voting and contributing when the group is watching»

Members of groups and organizations often have to decide on rules that regulate their contributions to common tasks. They typically dier in their propensity to contribute and often care about the image they project, in particular want to be perceived by other group members as being high contributors.

In such environments we study the interaction between the way members vote

on rules and their subsequent contribution decisions. We show that multiple norms can emerge. We draw surprising policy implications, on the effect of group size, of supermajority rules and of the observability of actions.

*****

Mardi 8 décembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Pierre FLECKINGER (MINES Paris Tech, PSE) (with Mathieu Couttenier, Lausanne – Matthieu Glachant, MINES Paris Tech – Sophie Hatte, Lausanne)

«The Communication Strategies of NGOs : Theory and Evidence»

We develop a theory of constrained communication and apply it to the influence of NGOs and activists. In particular, we aim at understanding NGOs' polarization, i.e. their tendency to be good cops or bad cops in their relation with business. Our simple model of constrained Bayesian persuasion provides two main insights: 1) in a given situation where NGO do not have enough resources (or airtime, or attention of the audience) to communicate their knowledge, they should selectively diffuse only good news or only bad news, and 2) the more constrained a NGO is, the more likely it is to be a bad cop. We then provide evidence supporting our theory in an extensive data set covering the period 2002-2014.

*****

Mardi 1er décembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Alp ATAKAN (Koc University, Istanbul)

«tba»

*****

Mardi 24 novembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Oskar NORDSTRÖM SKANS (Uppsala University) (with Peter Fredriksson, Stockholm University and Lena Hensvik, IFAU)

«Mismatch of Talents ? Evidence on Match Quality, Job Mobility and Entry Wages»

We examine the direct impact of idiosyncratic match quality on entry wages and job mobility using unique data on worker talents matched to job-indicators and individual wages. We measure mismatch by how well the (types of) talents of recent hires correspond to the talents of tenured workers performing the same jobs. A stylized model shows that match quality has a smaller impact on entry wages but a larger impact on separations if matches are formed under limited information. Empirically, we find such patterns for inexperienced workers and workers who have entered from non-employment, which are also groups where mismatch is more pronounced on average. Most learning about mismatch happens within a year. Overall, our results suggest that workers with little experience and those who search from non-employment form matches with considerable remaining uncertainty whereas the matching of experienced job-to-job movers is best characterized by models where information is revealed before the match is formed. Earnings losses are persistent, but diminishing over time for inexperienced workers.

*****

Mardi 17 novembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Gilat LEVY (LSE) (with Ronny Razin, LSE)

«Perceptions of Correlation, Communication and Ambiguity»

We suggest a new framework to analyse individuals' perceptions of correlation in group communication, and its effect on behaviour. The premise of the model is that individuals have different perceptions about the level of correlation in the joint distribution governing the information sources of group members. As individuals do not know exactly what the joint distribution of information is, their inferences upon hearing others' information involve sets of "rationalisable" beliefs. In a simple model with truthful communication we fully charecterise the set of possible inferences that individuals can make for different perceptions of correlation. We suggest a comparative measure of the perception of correlation and show that lower perception of correlation is associated with less ambiguity. We study the behavioral implications of the model and of ambiguity aversion to risky and cautious shifts in groups, jury deliberation, and information diffusion in networks.

*****

Mardi 10 novembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Sergiu HART (HUJI, Jérusalem) (with Ilan Kremer and Motty Perry)

«Evidence Games: Truth and Commitment»

An evidence game is a strategic disclosure game in which an informed agent who has some pieces of verifiable evidence decides which ones to disclose to an uninformed principal who chooses a reward. The agent, regardless of his information, prefers the reward to be as high as possible. We compare the setup where the principal chooses the reward after the evidence is disclosed to the mechanism-design setup where he can commit in advance to a reward policy. The main result is that under natural conditions on the truth structure of the evidence, the two setups yield the same equilibrium outcome.

*****

Mardi 3 novembre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Filip MATEJKA (CERGE, Prague)

«Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters»

This paper studies how voters optimally allocate costly attention in a model of probabilistic voting. The equilibrium solves a modified social planning problem that reflects voters’ choice of attention. Voters are more attentive when their stakes are higher, when their cost of information is lower and prior uncertainty is higher. We explore the implications of this in a variety of applications. In equilibrium, extremist voters are more influential and public goods are under-provided. The analysis also yields predictions about the equilibrium pattern of information, and about policy divergence by two opportunistic candidates. Endogenous attention can lead to multiple equilibria, explaining how poor voters in developing countries can be politically empowered by welfare programs.

*****

Mardi 6 octobre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Matthew NEIDELL (Columbia)

«Air pollution and investor behavior»

Recent research documents that external triggers, such as stress and depression, affect the behavior of investors. In this study, we explore whether air pollution, which induces similar physiological changes, affects risk taking of investors as captured by daily stock market returns from the S&P 500. Using plausibly exogenous daily measures of fine particulate matter (PM) obtained from a monitor less than 300 meters from the New York Stock Exchange, we find significant effects of PM on daily returns. An increase in PM from the bottom to top quartile reduces returns by 7 percent, a magnitude quite comparable to that from decreased sunlight. Moreover, we find that exposure during the morning hours has the largest effect, a finding consistent with mechanisms of how PM affects human health. These results are robust to numerous specification checks, including using distant forest fires as an instrument for PM. This finding has important implications for finance theory and environmental policy.

*****

Exceptionnellement Lundi 5 octobre 2015

11 – 12h30

Bibliothèque rez-de-chaussée – Département d’Economie

Aldo RUSTICHINI (Minnesota)

«A Neuro-computational model of economic decisions : implications for economic theory»

In theories of addictive conjoint measurement, the existence of a cardinal utility function depends crucially on an independence assumption (eg, Thomsen's condition, or Debreu's cancelation condition).

We provide  biological foundation for independence, relying on a mechanistic model of decision making. Our conclusion is that decision making conforms to a cardinal utility function {\it because} in neural networks the current input from upstream neurons is combined additively.