The European PhD in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies organizes three thematic seminar cycles -- in Political Economy, Economic History and Behavioral Economics -- and one seminar cycle on various topics.

In addition, two cycles of seminars are held by faculty members of our scientific board and PhD candidates. In the first one, faculty members present their most recent work to illustrate their research activities to PhD students; in the second one, PhD candidates present their job market paper.

In addition, Eur SESS PhD candidates participate in seminars jointly organized by the Department of Economics and Law and the Department of Social Sciences and Economics at Sapienza University.

Listed below are some seminars delivered (until March 2023) and planned (April to July 2023) during the current academic year:



Carlo Favero (Bocconi University) - TBA
June 28, 2024
Marco Le Moglie (Catholic University) - TBA
June 21, 2024
Roy Van der Weide (World Bank) - New estimates on intergenerational mobility around the world
June 13, 2024

Mateo Seré (UCL) - Don't Stop Me Now: Gender Attitudes in Academic Seminars Through Machine Learning
June 12, 2024
Don't Stop Me Now: Gender Attitudes in Academic Seminars Through Machine Learning
Cevat Aksoy (EBDR) - TBA
May 31, 2024
Guglielmo Barone (University of Bologna) - TBA
May 24, 2024
Miles Corak (CUNY) - The Great Gatsby Curve
May 20, Auletta II floor, Economics

Vincenzo Scrutinio (University of Bologna) - Public Sector Performance Disclosure: Salary and Career Outcomes for Top Managers and Employees
May 17, 2024
Public Sector Performance Disclosure: Salary and Career Outcomes for Top Managers and Employees
Hillel Rapoport (Paris School of Economics) - TBA
May 10, 2024
From Paris with Love: Cultural Remittances and Modern Fertility
François Salanié, Toulouse School of Economics Title of the presentation: Optimal Regulation of Electricity Provision with Rolling and Systemic Blackouts
May 10, 2024, Aula Marrama (VI floor, Facoltà di Economia))
Title of the presentation: Optimal Regulation of Electricity Provision with Rolling and Systemic Blackouts
Iwan Bos (Maastricht University) - Maximal Matchings
April 19, 2024
Maximal Matchings
Efrem Castelnuovo (University of Venice) - TBA
April 5, 2024
Roberto Iacono (NTNU) - Behavioral responses to wealth taxation: evidence from a Norwegian reform
March 27, 2024, 12:00-13:00, Aula Marrama, Facoltà di Economia (sixth floor)
We analyze behavioral responses to wealth taxation, estimating the causal effects of a unique municipal wealth tax reform in Norway. We exploit variation from the single-period municipal reform reducing the marginal tax rate (MTR) on wealth exclusively in the northern Norwegian municipality of Bø from 0.85% to 0.35%, since 2021. Mimicking the behaviour of a tax haven, Bø represents the first municipality to unilaterally reduce the municipal wealth tax rate since the establishment of wealth taxation in Norway in 1892. We document a significant 66.6% increase in average taxable wealth in response to a 1 percentage point drop in the wealth tax rate. The elasticity of taxable wealth increases to 71.6% when focusing exclusively on wealth taxpayers. We also estimate a significant but more modest 10.3% jump in the weighted mass of wealth taxpayers in the treated municipality. Non-real effects of the reform dominate: mobility of wealthy taxpayers appears as the major behavioral response to the change in the net tax rate, accounting for a staggering 79% of the post-treatment total net wealth in the treated municipality (up from 19% in the pre-reform period). These results emerge in a context with third-party reported wealth data with negligible measurement error, limited evidence of bunching, highly enforced residence-based wealth taxation, and a low degree of out-migration rates.
Nicolas Jacquemet (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) - Discrete Choice under Oaths
March 26, 2024, 16:00-17:00 Aula MArrama
he Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) remains by far the most popular mechanism used to elicit preferences for non-market goods and services. Yet, the actual reliability of DCE still is questionable. Using an induced value experimental design, we show that standard benchmarks achieve no better than 56 to 60% of payoff-maximizing choices. In this paper, we asses whether a truth-telling oath implemented before the DCE improves the reliability of elicited preferences. Three key findings emerge. First, having respondents voluntarily sign a a truth-telling oath achieves a 50% improvement in payoff-maximizing choices. According to response times data, this is achieved thanks to increased cognitive effort. The induced- value design allow us to directly measure attribute non-attendance. Using this measure, we show this increased cognitive effort induces a significant decrease in attribute non-attendance under oath. Second, based on structural utility models, we show the usual welfare measures inferred from DCE responses are unbiased if and only if respondents were first exposed to the truth-telling oath. Third, we show that the type of oath matters to improved DCE decision making—the commitment to honesty via the truth-telling oath improves choices, whereas an oath to task or an oath to duty did not improve choices.
Cinzia Di Novi (University of Padua and JRC European Commission) - Online Health Information Seeking Behavior: Navigating Anxiety, Misdiagnosis, and Healthcare Access in the COVID-19 Era
March 22, 2024, Room 301B, third floor, CU002 (ex Statistica) - P.Le Aldo Moro 5, Rome
Online Health Information Seeking Behavior: Navigating Anxiety, Misdiagnosis, and Healthcare Access in the COVID-19 Era
Javier Vazquez Grenno (Universitat de Barcelona) -Labor Market Stability and Fertility Decisions
January 26, 2024
This paper studies how fertility decisions respond to an improvement in job stability using variation from the large and unexpected regularization of undocumented immigrants in Spain implemented during the first half of 2005. This policy change improved substantially the labor market opportunities of affected men and women, many of which left the informality of house keeping service sectors toward more formal, stable, and higher paying jobs in larger firms (Elias et al., 2023). In this paper, we estimate the effects of the regularization on fertility rates using two alternative difference-in-differences strategies that compare fertility behavior of “eligible” and “non-eligible” candidate women to obtain the legal status, both on aggregate and at the local level. Our findings suggests that gaining work permits leads to a significant increase in women fertility. Our preferred estimates indicate that the regularization increased fertility rates among affected women by around 5 points, which is a 10 percent increase.
Jon Benito (University of Navarra) - TBA
February 23, 2024
Emotional intelligence, analytical skills and contribution to public goods. An experimental study


Ofer Azar (Ben-Gurion University) - Relative thinking in mixed compensation schemes: Some experimental evidence
December 21, 2023
Studies show that people exhibit relative thinking: they are affected by relative price differences even when these are irrelevant. The evidence is based on hypothetical-scenario experiments in consumer-behavior contexts. A previous attempt to show relative thinking in the context of mixed compensation schemes (which include a fixed payment and a pay-for-performance payment) failed to document relative thinking (Azar, 2019). We replicate the main features of this study, but now do find evidence for relative thinking. Subjects are offered to do real-effort tasks of finding letters on pages and all of them are paid the same amount for every correct answer. However, there are two versions that differ in the fixed payment that is added. Effort is lower when the fixed payment is higher. This is explained by relative thinking: the higher fixed payment makes the per-task payment seem smaller compared to it, and therefore results in less effort. This finding has important implications because mixed compensation schemes are prevalent in many jobs, and are also a common feature of experiments (a fixed show-up fee and a payment that depends on performance). We also find some connection between the behavior in the experiment and the decision-making style of the subjects (measured on scales of intuitive, rational, and spontaneous). Subjects with more spontaneous decision-making style make less effort in the experiment. Subjects with more intuitive decision-making style are less affected by relative thinking. Our study offers the first demonstration of relative thinking in the context of mixed compensation schemes.
Nikolaos Georgantzís (Burgundy School of Business) - Risk aversion and the value of risky assets. The role of knowledge
November 17, 2023
We report results on an experiment with incentive-compatible valuations of old wines aging under suboptimal conditions. We confirm that subjects' risk aversion has a negative impact on "risky wine" valuations. However, accounting for individual self-reported and objective (WSET level) knowledge shows that the link between risk aversion and risky wine valuations is only present in the absence of knowledge. Conclusions about the value of knowledge for buyers and sellers have interesting entrepreneurial implications.
Vincenzo Prete (University of Palermo) - Optimal Non-Welfarist Income Taxation for Inequality and Bi-Polarization Reduction
November 7, 18.15-19.15, Room 1D (VI floor)
We adopt a non-welfarist approach to investigate the effect of different redistributive objectives on the shape of the optimal tax schedule. We consider inequality and income polarization reduction objectives and we identify socially desirable three brackets piecewise linear tax systems that allow to collect a given revenue. The optimal tax problem is formalized as the maximization of families of rank-dependent social evaluation function defined over net incomes. These functions allow to incorporate within the same social evaluation model concerns for inequality and for polarization reduction. Both with fixed and variable labour supply the optimal tax schemes substantially differ as the focus moves from the reduction of inequality to the one of polarization. In the case of inequality concerns the optimal tax system is mainly convex exhibiting increasing marginal tax rates unless when labour supply elasticities are higher. While in case of polarization concerns the optimal tax scheme is non-convex with reduced marginal tax rate for the upper income bracket.
Anthony Lepinteur (University of Luxembourg) - Job insecurity and Precautionary Savings: An Italian Natural Experiment
November 3 2023, 13.00-14.00, Aula del Consiglio (VI floor)
Job insecurity has wide-ranging effects beyond the labour market. Using the 2012 Fornero reform in Italy as a natural experiment and employing difference-in-differences regressions with a firm-size discontinuity, we analyse individual-level data from the Italian Survey on Household Income and Wealth and Longitudinal Labour Force Survey. Our findings reveal that greater job insecurity leads to increased savings. Through a series of tests, we establish that this rise in savings is driven by precautionary motives. Our results indicate an elasticity of savings to employment risk of 9% and a risk aversion level of three. Moreover, we observe that workers facing greater job insecurity protect themselves by reducing exposure to financial risks.
Ana Suarez-Alvarez (University of Oviedo) - Internet Use and Wellbeing in Europe
October 24 2023, 18.15-19.15, Room 1D (VI floor)
The Internet's profound impact on society, communication, and the global economy is undeniable. Despite the studies on Internet adoption and frequency of use, little attention has been given to the intensity of usage as measured by the time spent online. In highly developed countries like the European ones, bridging the access gap is nowadays less relevant, as almost everyone has Internet access. Instead, the focus should be on analysing usage intensity to uncover new digital disparities among different groups and understand potential impacts on individuals' subjective well-being (SWB). This study aims to deeply examine Internet usage time, its socioeconomic determinants, and its effects on SWB using data from the European Social Survey (ESS) spanning from 2016 to 2020-22 in 21 European countries. We seek to answer two research questions: (1) How do individuals' characteristics influence Internet usage intensity? (2) What is the impact of Internet usage intensity on individuals' SWB? Our findings show inequalities in Internet usage time driven by individuals' socioeconomic and sociodemographic characteristics. Traditionally disadvantaged groups, both offline and online, exhibit lower Internet usage time, consistent with the existing literature on the digital divide. As for the effect of intensity of Internet use on SWB, after accounting for individuals' characteristics and addressing Internet's endogeneity, we found a negative and significant relationship between Internet usage intensity and life satisfaction, especially for the most intensive internet users.
Stefano Filauro (Bocconi University) - Incorporating Housing Costs, and their variation at local level, into EU Measures of Poverty: Advantages, Disadvantages, Assumptions, and Implications
July 19, 2023, 14.00-15.00, Aula Marrama
The largest expenditure for most households is housing costs, including rents, mortages, and utility bills. The median housing cost in the EU in 2020 amounted to around 13% of the median income, although this ratio can peak at over 30% in some countries (e.g. Greece). Moreover, housing costs vary extensively across regions, especially in countries with secular territorial disparities. Within the same country, the median housing cost in the highest-cost region can be as high as 200% larger compared to the lowest-cost region (in the case of Spain, the Madrid area as opposed to Extremadura). Housing costs also vary meaningfully across regions in Germany, Italy and France. Despite this, housing costs are not usually taken into account into official poverty measurements. However, recent analyses have shown to what extent relative poverty changes when housing costs are somehow factored in a concept of income, whether imputing rents for outright owners or substracting housing costs for all households (Raitano 2022, Tormahleto and Sauli 2017). The cross-country evidence points to a different country ranking in terms of relative poverty as homeownership in widely diffused in Southern-European countries, and this practice improves the overall poverty rates of these countries vis-à-vis Northern EU countries. In this study we take a different approach: we look at the traditional poverty lines, such as the 60% of national median income, and we test their effectiveness against revised poverty thresholds that take into account the within-country variation in housing costs. We discuss advantages, disadvantages, assumptions, and implications of incorporating local housing costs into EU poverty thresholds. We then evaluate whether such adjustments ‘improve’ poverty measures by reducing their mismatch against material deprivation and subjective poverty rates. We use EU-SILC data for all countries reporting housing costs, income dimensions and material deprivation at regional level (NUTS1 or NUTS2). As some housing variables, such as housing quality and type of housing, have been recorded for a sufficient number of countries only since 2010, our analysis focuses on the last decade.
Michela Chessa (Université Côte d'Azur) - An experimental Nash program
May 19 2023, 12:30 - 13:30, Aula Marrama
Bridging the gap between the strategic and cooperative approaches is recognized as a fundamental issue of game theory. Attempted resolutions of this issue, well known as the Nash program (Nash, 1953), have provided many different strategic bargaining mechanisms that sustain the Shapley value at equilibrium. Such mechanisms fit and unify the two approaches, allowing the players who face an allocation problem to bargain in a restricted way, and to converge to a stable solution without the need for an intermediary. We experimentally implement different well-known mechanisms inducing the Shapley value as an ex-ante equilibrium outcome of a noncooperative bargaining procedure. In particular, we focus on the comparison of the demand-based Winter’s demand commitment bargaining mechanism and the offer-based Hart and Mas-Colell procedure. Our results suggest that the offer-based Hart and Mas-Colell mechanism better induces players to cooperate and to agree on an efficient outcome, whereas the demand-based Winter mechanism better implements allocations that reflect players’ effective power, provided that the grand coalition is formed.
Patrick Llerena (Université de Strasbourg) - The Creativ’lab: why and first experiments
May 5, 2023, 12.00-13-00, Aula Marrama
We will present the newly implemented experimental lab conceived to observe collective processes ( decision processes, interactions, creative …). We will show results of first experiments in creativity economics. We will try to disentangle the role of diversity surface and deep-level variables on creative performance at the individual and group levels.
Angela Sutan (Burgundy School of Business) - The man who saw the (end of) the world: is AR a credible tool to enhance pro-environmental behavior?
April 13, 2023, 14.00-15.00, Aula Marrama
We run an experiment on recyclying and incineration decisions based on a public good game design, in which administrators in change of the incinerator can give feedback to participants on their provisional choices. To do so, they have access to AR or static technologies that allow them to visualize group decisions.
Silvia Coretti (Sapienza University of Rome) - Hardening subnational budget constraints via administrative subordination: The Italian experience of recovery plans in regional health services

Since 2007, Italian regions running large deficits underwent recovery plans (Piani di Rientro) imposed by the central government. The goal was twofold: regions were asked (i) to restore a balanced budget and (ii) to continue supply the set of services defined by the constitution. We investigate whether recovery plans have reached their objectives. Our evidence suggests that recovery plans have proved to be an effective mechanism to eliminate subnational governments deficits. We also do not find any significant effects on health care utilization and on citizens' health. Overall, spending efficiency has likely improved.
Vito Peragine (University of Bari) - International migration and income inequality

In this paper we explore the links between international migration and income inequality. After presenting a simple model which considers the role of income distribution in individual decisions to migrate, we estimate a set of models on the determinants of yearly bilateral migration from a very large pool of countries in the period 1960–2019. The empirical results confirm that inequality—in both origin and destination countries—significantly shapes individual choices about where, and whether, to migrate. We find that the effect of inequality at both ends of migration corridors is heterogeneous across countries at different levels of development, most likely due to differences in migration barriers and in the patterns of migrants’ self-selection. In the second part of the study, we explore the direct effect of international migration on global inequality, by assessing how the current level of migration in the world has likely affected income inequality between and within nations. By adopting a counterfactual methodology, we find that migration flows lead to lower between-country inequality and higher within-country inequality, compared with a scenario with no migration. The overall impact is a negligible reduction in global inequality. The impact of migration on inequality, although small, tends to increase over time.
Paolo Di Caro (MEF) - Size, heterogeneity and distributional effects of self-employment income tax evasion in Italy

We measure tax evasion in Italy by estimating a food expenditure equation that disentangles households with prevalent income from self-employment, which is self-declared, from those with mostly third-party reported income. By using a novel dataset that links the 2013 Italian Household Budget Survey with individual tax records over a period of 7 years, we reduce measurement error by a great extent. We also depart from the usual constant share of underreporting, showing that underreporting heterogeneity among self-employed is significant, and is larger for singles and for college-educated households. We show that self-employed workers in Italy exhibit a similar attitude to tax evasion as those in other developed countries. Therefore, we point to the structure of the economy for an explanation of why aggregate tax evasion in Italy is larger than in other developed countries. The estimated heterogeneity of underreporting behavior of households combined with the use of a tax-benefit microsimulation model have allowed us to shed light on the distributional effects of income tax evasion, showing that almost 73% of the missing revenue is attributable to tax-payers at the top of the income distribution.


Giorgia Menta (LISER, Luxembourg) - Depression and Early-Retirement Age: Causal Evidence from a Gene - Environment Setup

Differences in genetic endowments can make individuals more or less reactive to changes in their environment (such as policy interventions and living conditions). We here estimate the role of the individual genetic propensity to be depressed as a moderating factor of the association between the exposure to a pension reform in the UK and health outcomes. Using data from the Understanding Society longitudinal study in the UK and exogenous variations in early retirement age from the 1995 to 2011 Pensions Acts, we first show that women who are exposed to an increase in pension age are more likely to stay in employment and less likely to retire. We then show that the reform has a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health. While the labour-market effect is orthogonal to the genetic predisposition for depression, we find that the adverse health effects of the reform are only found for women with a higher genetic propensity to be depressed. We additionally provide evidence that the health effects of the reform are driven by women whose labour market status is affected by the reform. Our results suggest that labour market reforms can have unexpected effects on individuals’ health that enhance genetic health inequalities.
Alberto Bacchiega (European Commission) - Competition Enforcement - a European perspective

The seminar shed light on how to make markets deliver more benefits to consumers, businesses and the society as a whole, by protecting competition on the market and fostering a competition culture in the EU and worldwide. To this aim Competition policy is an indispensable element of a functioning internal market ensuring that all companies compete equally and fairly on their merits.
Domenico Moramarco (Université Libre de Bruxelles) - Inter-temporal Inequality of Opportunity

We propose an axiomatic approach to characterize normative criteria for the evaluation of lifetime income distributions according to the opportunity egalitarian perspective (Roemer, 1998). In a setting in which both individual incomes and predetermined circumstances are variable over time, we adopt a norm-based approach to the measurement of inequality, and propose two different benchmark distributions, referring respectively to the ex ante and the ex post versions of equality of opportunity. We first aggregate over time, thereby characterizing measures of inter-temporal individual inequality of opportunity, and then aggregate the individual measures into a societal measure. Our individual measure results to be a weighted average of individuals’ opportunity gap experienced in each period. Our aggregate measure is an average of a concave transformation of the individual inter-temporal opportunity gap and can be interpreted as an inter-temporal inequality of opportunity index. We apply our framework to evaluate the Korean distribution of income from an inter-temporal and opportunity egalitarian perspective.
Stepan Mikula (Masaryk University) - Air Pollution and Migration: Exploiting a Natural Experiment from the Czech Republic

This paper examines the causal effects of air pollution on migration by exploiting a natural experiment in which desulfurization technologies were rapidly implemented in coal-burning power plants in the Czech Republic without per se affecting economic activity. The results based on a difference-in-differences estimator imply that improvements in air quality reduced emigration from previously heavily polluted municipalities by 24%. We find that the effect of air pollution on emigration tended to be larger in municipalities with weaker social capital and fewer man-made amenities.
Gianluca Grimalda (Kiel Institute for the World Economy) - Social image concerns promote cooperation more than altruistic punishment

Human cooperation is enigmatic, as organisms are expected, by evolutionary and economic theory, to act principally in their own interests. However, cooperation requires individuals to sacrifice resources for each other’s benefit. We conducted a series of novel experiments in a foraging society where social institutions make the study of social image and punishment particularly salient. Participants played simple cooperation games where they could punish non-cooperators, promote a positive social image or do so in combination with one another. We show that although all these mechanisms raise cooperation above baseline levels, only when social image alone is at stake do average economic gains rise significantly above baseline. Punishment, either alone or combined with social image building, yields lower gains. Individuals’ desire to establish a positive social image thus emerges as a more decisive factor than punishment in promoting human cooperation.
Emma Tominey (University of York) - Mental Health around Pregnancy and Child Development from Early Childhood to Adolescence

We identify the causal effect of mothers' mental health during early - and soon after pregnancy on a range of child psychological, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes measured between ages 4-16. Results suggest a negative effect on children's psychological and socio-emotional skills in early childhood, but these effects fade-out between the ages of 11-13. We find no significant effect on cognitive outcomes. The fade-out of effects may be partly explained by compensatory behaviour of parents, as we find that mental health during or soon after pregnancy raises breastfeeding and improves measures of interaction between mother and child.
Gianluca Mazzarella (JRC) - Two Generations of Siblings and Cousins Correlations Across the Ancestors’ Wealth Distribution

We reconstruct the genealogical tree of all individuals ever appearing in Dutch municipalities records starting in 1995. Using microdata from tax authorities, we compute a measure of their permanent earnings and assess the degree to which pairs of cousins and siblings correlate across two cohorts, those born around the 50s and those born around the 80s. We find that cousins and siblings correlations in earnings vary substantially across ancestors' wealth quantiles. In particular, those having ancestors in the bottom decile, show a much higher correlation in earnings. Further, the intergenerational transmission parameter, estimated through a latent factor model without assuming a steady state process, is much stronger for those families whose ancestors left no inheritance. Even in the relatively equal and wealthy Netherlands, misfortunes are transmitted across generations.
Mattia Nardotto (KU Leuven) - Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies

We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis shows that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e. radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters’ information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies, and government size.
François Velde (FED Chicago) - A Model of Economic Activity in San Francisco During the 1918 Influenza Epidemic

I jointly use daily data on deaths and public transportation ridership in San Francisco in 1918–19 to estimate a model in which agents choose their level of economic activity based on perceived infection risk, modeled as a function of current and lagged infections or deaths. Agents’ choices in turn affect the dynamics of the epidemic by reducing contacts in an otherwise standard SEIR model. Non-pharmaceutical interventions restrict agents’ activity either as a tax or a bound. I estimate the parameters by maximum likelihood and use the best-fitting model to compute counterfactuals. San Francisco’s intervention reduced deaths by a few percent only, and it was away from the Pareto frontier: an earlier and milder intervention would have done better. The behavioral feedback narrows the room for intervention compared to a model with unresponsive agents, and ill-timed interventions can worsen outcomes. Masks also had an effect on transmission rates.
Nuno Palma (University of Manchester and CEPR) - The real effects of monetary expansions: evidence from a large-scale historical experiment

The discovery of massive deposits of precious metals in America during the early modern period caused an exogenous monetary injection to Europe’s money supply. I use this episode to identify the causal effects of money. Using a panel of six European countries, I find that monetary expansions had a material impact on real economic activity. The magnitudes are substantial and persist for a long time: an exogenous 10% increase in the production of precious metals in America measured relative to the European stock leads to a front-loaded response of output and, to a lesser extent, inflation. There was a positive hump-shaped response of real GDP, with a cumulative increase up to 0.9% six to nine years later. The evidence suggests that this is because prices responded to monetary injections with considerable lags.

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