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Seminari di Economia Politica: II semestre 2023/24
Unlocking Circularity: the Interplay between Institutional Pressures and Supply Chain Integration
Martedì 11 giugno 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Tommaso Calzolari (The University of Sheffield)
 This paper investigates the role of Institutional Pressures (IPs) and Supply Chain Integration (SCI) in driving the adoption of Circular Economy (CE) practices. It is hypothesised that, responding to IPs, firms might adopt higher levels of SCI in the attempt to implement CE practices. A research model is developed and tested on a cross-sectional sample of 150 Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs). Textual content from Corporate Sustainability reports is used to measure the constructs of interest through an advanced coding approach. Findings show that IPs are driving the adoption of CE practices primarily through the mediation of SCI; the prominent roles of coercive regulatory pressures (CRPs) and normative pressures (NPs) are also highlighted. CRPs influence on CE practices is partially mediated by SCI, with NPs being fully mediated by it. The study shows that SCI is a key mechanism that lies in between IPs and CE practices; as such, organisations interested in implementing CE practices need to be aware of requirements for achieving higher levels of SCI. This empirical study is the first large scale analysis that conceptualises how MNE-driven supply chains adopt CE practices. The study empirically validates the model and identifies research avenues in Supply Chain Management (SCM) research to support the adoption of CE practices.


For discontinuation’s sake. A theory of autonomous discontinuation
Martedì 4 giugno 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Stefania Sardo  (Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis)
Growing calls for sustainability transformations have attracted the attention of scholars and policy-makers towards processes aimed at deliberately terminating existing socio-technical systems. Drawing on existing empirical and conceptual research on the subject, we contribute to the foundation of a theory of discontinuation as follows. First, we promote a novel typology of discontinuation phenomena based on the key instigating agents, their relationship to the targeted systems, and the gradient of potential conflict involved, thereby identifying a clear empirical set of phenomena in need of theorization. Second, we use Schumpeterian theory and methodology to highlight the crucial analytical differences between innovation and discontinuation phenomena, motivating the need for a theory of discontinuation as an autonomous process. Third, we outline the main functional phases characterizing a discontinuation process, focusing on its less analyzed inception and bridging phases, thus providing a comprehensive understanding of the archetypical phenomenon. We use these contributions to argue that conceptualizing discontinuation as a phenomenon distinct and autonomous from innovation is crucial for analytical purposes and for developing appropriate tools to effectively govern its associated conflicts.


Prospettive di dialogo sociale nel settore agricolo: un'analisi trasversale e multilivello
Martedì 28 maggio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Ilaria Purificato (UniMoRe)
Partendo dall’analisi delle peculiarità del settore agricolo e mettendo in luce le molteplici sfide che tale settore sta affrontando e affronterà per via delle transizioni verdi e digitali, nonché dell'incremento dei fenomeni migratori, che possono trovare origine anche nei cambiamenti climatici e nei conflitti, il contributo si propone di raccogliere e analizzare le più recenti forme di espressione del dialogo sociale a livello europeo e italiano nel suddetto settore. A tal fine l’articolo si focalizza, dapprima, sulle più recenti iniziative promosse dalle istituzioni europee, poi, sulla contrattazione collettiva nazionale. Le prime mostrano un sempre maggiore coinvolgimento dei rappresentanti della società civile e delle ONG nel dialogo con le istituzioni e le parti sociali, mentre lo studio della contrattazione collettiva nazionale rivela che solo i più recenti CCNL del settore iniziano ad affrontare le questioni relative alla partecipazione e al coinvolgimento dei lavoratori. Al contempo, sempre sul piano nazionale, si assiste all’affermarsi di forme di auto-organizzazione dei lavoratori, che agiscono a tutela degli interessi dei lavoratori migranti marginalizzati, denotando una difficoltà degli attori tradizionali a intercettare questi lavoratori e i loro interessi. Lo studio delle pratiche e delle iniziative poste in essere ai livelli considerati lascia emergere la debolezza delle parti sociali, nonché del dialogo sociale per il settore agricolo.


The Antecedents to Habitual Entrepreneurship: Exploring the Role of Entrepreneurs’ Narcissism and Educational Level
Martedì 21 maggio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Simona Leonelli (UniMoRe)
This paper aims to analyze the antecedents leading to habitual entrepreneurship by investigating the role of entrepreneurs’ narcissism and their level of education. While the literature provides a general understanding of what motivates individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas, the possible antecedents to the individual’s decision to become a habitual entrepreneur remain unexplored and untested. Relying on a sample of 343 start-up entrepreneurs, hypotheses are tested through the partial least squares analysis. Results show that entrepreneurs’ educational levels fully mediate the relationship between narcissism and the choice to become habitual entrepreneurs. The study contributes to the literature on entrepreneurs’ personality, decision-making, and human capital, also underlining a few practical implications.
Following in the family footsteps: incidence and returns of occupational persistence
Martedì 14 maggio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Maria Ventura (London School of Economics)
Children often follow their parents into the same occupations. Evidence on the economic returns of occupational persistence is scarce, yet understanding these outcomes and their unequal prevalence across social strata may be key to deciphering patterns of social mobility. In this paper, I leverage administrative data from the Netherlands and a unique policy experiment to document the incidence of occupational transmission and estimate individuals’ additional gains when choosing the same profession as their parents. I find that children are twice as likely to enter a given occupation when it is their parents’, with this rate substantially increasing for those above the top quartile of the parental income distribution. In addition, OLS estimated returns from occupational persistence are 2.8%. Using the random assignment to medical school provided by a lottery admission, I focus on the medical profession to decompose these “naive” returns into a treatment and a selection effect of occupational transmission. Instrumental variable estimates show that “dynastic” doctors experience a 23% income boost relative to individuals who did not follow their parents. Furthermore, I identify a substantial negative selection bias in the OLS coefficients, suggesting that individuals selecting into following their parents perform worse than their peers when pushed into different occupations. The large treatment effect, together with the unequal incidence along the income distribution, highlights the critical role of occupational transmission in exacerbating inequalities.


L'intelligenza artificiale in movimento. L'impatto sui diritti costituzionali della smart mobility
Martedì 7 maggio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Noemi MIniscalco (UniMoRe)
L’intero comparto della mobilità sta vivendo una rivoluzione: il cambiamento, che ha già visto, in una prima fase, l’introduzione della guida assistita, porterà, in tempi non troppo lunghi, alla vera e propria sostituzione dell’intelligenza artificiale all’uomo nella guida, di modo che tutti i mezzi di trasporto saranno totalmente autonomi, ossia capaci di condursi da soli. Muovendo dalle trasformazioni in essere e dalla loro attuale regolazione a livello normativo, il volume indaga i rapporti tra diritti e tecnologia, ricostruendo specificamente l’impatto del fenomeno della smart mobility sui diritti e sulle libertà costituzionali, in termini di maggiori o minori opportunità di godimento di essi.


Expectation-Driven Boom-Bust Cycles
Martedì 30 aprile 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Marco Brianti (University of Alberta)
Using data from the Survey of Professional Forecasters, we observe that a large fraction of analysts’ expectations about future economic growth is not due to technology or other shocks to fundamentals measured by the business cycle literature. We find that these unexplained changes in forecast revisions predict significant boom-bust dynamics in the key macroeconomic aggregates. We offer a novel theory where boom-bust dynamics stem from expectation shocks orthogonal to fundamentals.


Fiscal impoverishment in Italy: A historical perspective
Martedì 23 aprile 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Emanuela Struffolino (University of Milan)
Previous research acknowledged the importance of taxes together with benefits in reducing poverty and inequality. So far, little attention has been paid to the fact that even a progressive tax and transfer system can hurt the poor. Building on prior work looking at the effect of taxation on household poverty in developing countries and subnational contexts, this article considers how the income taxes most rich countries rely on to finance the public sector in many instances also serves to exacerbate and create household poverty. Fiscal impoverishment’s level is measured as the share of the population with higher market than disposable income but disposable income below the poverty line (Lustig and Higgins 2016), i.e., the percentage of individuals who are made poor or poorer as a result of income taxation. We describe trends in fiscal impoverishment over time and across geographical macro-areas in Italy. We use the European tax-benefit model EUROMOD and the Italian module of the EU-SILC data from 2005 to 2019 and rely on the ISTAT absolute poverty threshold for 38 household constellations based on the number and the age of the components depending on their geographical area of residence.


Investment in Digital Technologies and Firms' Labour Demand
Martedì 16 aprile 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Andrea Fracasso (Università di Trento)
The presentation focuses on the effects of investment in new digital technologies (specifically robotics, big data, Internet of Things, virtual reality, and cybersecurity) on firm employment, firms' training and firms’ hiring strategies using a comprehensive and representative survey conducted in Italy in 2015 and 2018. The empirical strategy allows us to identify the causal effects of the investments in the new technologies by combining the predetermined composition of employment at the firm level with the exogenous technological progress in digital technologies occurring at the global level. The main results from the empirical analysis tell different stories about the impact of investment in robotics and in information digital technologies. Robotics investment does not significantly affect employment levels, but influences the composition of contracts. Investment in information digital technologies, on the other hand, has a positive effect on firms' overall employment and on their propensity to hire skilled workers in the future. These results show the coexistence of displacement and reinstatement effects at the firm level. Investment in information digital technologies is also conducive to specific training programmes, in line with the characteristics of this type of investment.


Do endowment inequality and different rates of return affect farmers
Martedì 9 aprile 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Simone Piras (The James Hutton Institute)
Innovation adoption by small producers is key to promoting sustainable food systems in developing countries. However, some innovations require collective management and thus cooperation. Public Good Games (PGGs) are well-established settings to experimentally assess individuals’ willingness to cooperate. Within the H2020 project FoodLAND, we ran PGGs among smallholders in Tanzania, Kenya, and Tunisia. In all countries, the decision how much to contribute to the public good was repeated twice, and in two, the design was changed between rounds. In Tanzania, we alternated different multiplication factors, corresponding to Marginal Per Capita Returns to the public good of 0.20 and 0.15, respectively. In Kenya, we played one round with unequal (two levels) and one with equal endowments, keeping the same total endowment at group level. We find that individual contributions do not vary significantly depending on the rate of return unless smallholders face a lower rate in the second round, in which case the efficiency of cooperation declines. Opposite to our hypothesis, group-level contributions were higher with unequal endowment; however, less endowed players contributed less in both relative and absolute terms. We further control for group size, which does not seem to affect cooperation, and for round-order effects, finding that smallholders reduce their contribution if they have cooperated relatively more than their group members in the previous round. Our results can help derive recommendations for the successful dissemination of collaborative innovations among smallholders farmers.


Trade exposure, immigrants and workers’ health
Martedì 26 marzo 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Mattia Filomena (Masaryk University)
We investigate the impact of globalization on workplace accidents in the Italian manufacturing sector over the period 2008-2019. Our identification strategy exploits a local measure of trade exposure to China using lagged industrial composition of Italian provinces to map sector-specific changes in trade levels, and spatial and temporal variation in foreign-born residents’ province shares to test the impact of immigration. To identify the causal effect of globalization, we instrument the Italian trade measure with the trade exposure in other high-income countries. A further instrumental variable strategy based on historical co-national local settlements is then used for immigration. Our results inform the policy debate on the welfare effects of globalization adding new insights from different perspectives.


CO2 emissions and Inequality: The Income-Wealth-Emissions Triangle Evidence from Italy
Martedì 12 marzo 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Salvatore Morelli (University of Rome III)
We use the 2006 and 2021 Canadian Census Data as well as the 2011 National Household Survey to explore the probability that Canadian-born young adults with Italian heritage reside with their parents. In doing so, we investigate the role of culture in explaining the living arrangements of young adults. We achieve identification by exploiting the difference in coresidence choices of young adults with Italian origins and majority origin (British French or Canadian) young adults. These two groups share the same institutional environment, while they differ in terms of cultural background. Our results show that culture has positive and robust explanatory power. Our findings are robust across time, to changes in the sample criteria, and to alternative variables used as proxies for cultural heritage. The empirical analysis also shows that Italo-Canadians have preferences for remaining with parents that span generations.  In addition, that preference transfers to non-Italians in neighbourhoods with high numbers of Italian households.
Cultural transmission and the Italian diaspora: The Living Arrangements of Italo-Canadian Young Adults
Martedì 5 marzo 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Ravi Pendakur (University of Ottawa)
We use the 2006 and 2021 Canadian Census Data as well as the 2011 National Household Survey to explore the probability that Canadian-born young adults with Italian heritage reside with their parents. In doing so, we investigate the role of culture in explaining the living arrangements of young adults. We achieve identification by exploiting the difference in coresidence choices of young adults with Italian origins and majority origin (British French or Canadian) young adults. These two groups share the same institutional environment, while they differ in terms of cultural background. Our results show that culture has positive and robust explanatory power. Our findings are robust across time, to changes in the sample criteria, and to alternative variables used as proxies for cultural heritage. The empirical analysis also shows that Italo-Canadians have preferences for remaining with parents that span generations.  In addition, that preference transfers to non-Italians in neighbourhoods with high numbers of Italian households.
The Coevolution of Patience and Collaboration
Martedì 27 febbraio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Omer Moav (University of Warwick)
We study the determinants of economic collaboration in an evolutionary model of inherited time preferences. The population consists of patient and impatient agents, with evolutionary fitness depending on income. Individuals choose between home production and going to the market, where they are randomly matched in pairs for collaboration in production. Collaboration has the potential for ongoing higher productivity but is vulnerable to defection. In equilibrium, at least some of the impatient agents go to the collaboration market but they always defect. Patient agents always go to the market and cooperate, even if their fraction of the population is arbitrarily small. In the nontrivial evolutionary steady state, a higher return to collaboration could increase or decrease collaboration in the economy. The provision of law and order, by punishing defectors, unambiguously increases collaboration. Thus, the model generates empirical predictions linking state history to current trust, collaboration, and wealth.
Seminari di Economia Politica: I semestre 2023/24
Commons rules. Regolazione dei beni comuni imprenditoriali e neo-funzionalismo del diritto commerciale
Martedì 20 febbraio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Giacomo Bosi (UniMoRe)
Il portato della dominante riflessività contrattualista – e, più di recente, le considerazioni sviluppate sui pregi riconducibili al riconoscimento normativo di beni comuni anche immateriali – offrono spunti per progettare modelli di diritto dell’impresa che computino la regolazione dei commons, nonché le rispettive forme di governance societaria. Al presente, input convinti provengono in particolare dagli economisti; laddove, giuridicamente, tali approcci sono fatti propri, perlopiù, da chi avalli tesi estreme, o si adattano a circoscritti contesti di cooperazione sociale e del terzo settore. Il diritto commerciale asseconda efficacemente i processi in atto, ma non innova ancora con coerenti soluzioni di sistema. L’intervento normativo dovrebbe attenere alla condivisione delle risorse, anziché alla disciplina dei soggetti; e definire beni comuni, specialmente societari, con regolazione di attività imprenditoriali a tutela dei diritti fondamentali condivisi.


Terrorism and tax morale
Martedì 13 febbraio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Elodie Douarin (University College London)
Does terrorism increase tax morale? Terror attacks have been shown to impact political attitudes, with a shift towards more conservative views, and to increase people’s sense of insecurity. As a result, one could expect terrorist acts to increase people’s willingness to pay taxes to support the efforts of the state to fend off this threat. Alternatively, successful attacks may decrease citizen’s satisfaction with the state and thus lower tax morale. We propose to investigate this relationship, using France as a case study and using Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD): i.e., relying on a terrorist attack that took place as an extensive household value survey was being collected, thus allowing us to compare average views in the population on tax-paying before and after the attack. Specifically, we focus on a terrorist attack that occurred at the end of March 2018 in the South of France, and we use the 2017 European Value Survey, which was collected from early March to mid-August 2018. Over a quarter of the interviews had taken place before the attack. We find a small positive but insignificant effect of terrorism on tax morale in the short-run and in the full sample, but with a significant increase in the variance of tax morale after the attack. We further explore possible sources of heterogeneous response using a variety of sub-samples and respondents’ characteristics, and show that while tax morale is unchanged on average among respondents with extreme political views (right or left) after the attack, tax morale sharply increases among respondents with more moderate political positioning. In a country with relatively high-tax morale to start with, we conclude that terrorism has a limited impact on citizen’s average willingness to pay taxes but polarises views in the population, strengthening existing divides.


Reputation and punishment stabilize cooperation in the Optional Public Good
Martedì 6 febbraio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Simone Righi (UNIMORE)
Cooperative behaviour has been extensively studied as a choice between cooperation and defection. However, the possibility to not participate is also frequently available. This type of problem can be studied through the optional public goods game. The introduction of the ‘Loner’ strategy' allows players to withdraw from the game, which leads to a cooperator–defector–loner cycle. While pro-social punishment can help increase cooperation, anti-social punishment—where defectors punish cooperators—causes its downfall in both experimental and theoretical studies. In this paper, we introduce social norms that allow agents to condition their behaviour to the reputation of their peers. We benchmark this with respect both to the standard optional public goods game and to the variant where all types of punishment are allowed. We find that a social norm imposing a more moderate reputational penalty for opting out than for defecting increases cooperation. When, besides reputation, punishment is also possible, the two mechanisms work synergically under all social norms that do not assign to loners a strictly worse reputation than to defectors. Under this latter set-up, the high levels of cooperation are sustained by conditional strategies, which largely reduce the use of pro-social punishment and almost completely eliminate anti-social punishment.


On-campus accommodation service quality: the mediating role of students’ satisfaction on word of mouth
Martedì 30 gennaio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Linda Gabbianelli (UNIMORE) 
Several researchers have considered student accommodation to be among the most essential facilities provided by higher learning institutions. Najib et al. (2011) noted that students’ intellectual capabilities can be expanded through the facilitation of a good physical environment at their halls of residence and for achieving the goal of improving student performance, the contribution of sustainable campus housing facilities should not be underestimated. In this logic, students in on-campus accommodation are customers, while university management is the service provider. It is therefore the responsibility of university management to provide accommodation that will satisfy their students  (Park, 2006). The aim of  study is to investigate the relationship between on-campus accommodation services and customer satisfaction, and more specifically: (i) to examine the mediating role of student satisfaction in the relationship between on-campus accommodation service quality and word of mouth (WOM); (ii) to determine whether there is any significant difference in students’ satisfaction with on-campus accommodation in terms of gender and halls of residence. The study is based on a survey carried out through an online questionnaire by 381 students living on campus at the University of Urbino. Results revealed that the quality perceived by university students in relation to individual services had a positive impact on their general satisfaction towards the halls of residence experience.


Approaches to international collaboration in clinical research: a study of Italian research hospitals
Martedì 23 gennaio 2024, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Federica Rossi (UNIMORE) 
Understanding what factors promote research hospitals’ engagement in international research collaborations is an issue of general interest, with notable implications for policy and research management. While the factors that promote scientific production in research hospitals have garnered some attention, to the best of our knowledge there is very little research on the drivers of research hospitals’ involvement in international research collaborations. In this study, we analyse how the organisation of clinical research performed within research hospitals – particularly focusing on (i) the degree to which collaborations rely on hierarchical organisation, and (ii) the degree to which they formalise the division of labour between partners – favours different modes of engagement in international collaborations. We exploit publicly available information about Italian research hospitals. Results point to two different approaches to the organisation of research activities within Italian research hospitals, which correspond to different modes of engagement in international collaborations. The first approach to research organisation, which we term ‘group-led’, is characterised by the presence of formalised groups and flatter leadership, and results in higher share of international collaborations, but with a narrow set of countries, particularly high-income countries. The second approach, which we term ‘individual-led’, is characterised by more hierarchical leadership, and results in more geographically diversified collaborations. We derive implications for research policy and management.


Academic Spin-offs team composition: decisional heuristics and the impact of different diversity measures on growth perfomance
Martedì 19 dicembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Giulia Tagliazucchi (UNIMORE) 
Academic Spin-offs (ASOs) are defined as new ventures rooted into the academia research results (Visintin and Pittino, 2014), founded by academics personnel and then pivoted on their academic and scientific knowledge. Among the various factors that may affect ASOs' growth and survivorship, the academic debate has long focused on team composition (Mathisen and Rasmussen, 2019), producing disparate and in some cases conflicting results (Nikiforou et al., 2018). Two issues emerged as of particular interest: the decision-making heuristics underlying the choices of team composition, and the different conceptualizations of team diversity and their influence on ASOs. In addition, a micro-segmentation of the early-phases of ASOs development emerged as needed to better analyze team composition issues (Mathisen and Rasmussen, 2019). After presenting the results achieved on already published research, the seminar focuses on the next steps in grasping the impact of different measures of team diversity applied to ASOs context.


Household Finance under the Shadow of Cancer
Martedì 12 dicembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Daniel Karpati (Erasmus School of Economics)
I study the causal effects of life expectancy on financial, economic, and demographic decisions. My sample consists of individuals who undergo genetic testing for a hereditary cancer syndrome. Genetic testing randomizes tested persons into two groups. Those who test positive learn that they face a high risk of cancer and a shorter life expectancy. Those who test negative learn that their cancer risk is similar to that of the general population. The differences in outcomes between these two groups identify the effects of life expectancy. I find that life expectancy has a positive effect on wealth accumulation. Lower savings rates, safer portfolios, decreased labor supply, and different preferences for household composition explain lower wealth accumulation under reduced life expectancy.


Classroom rank in mathematics and career choices
Martedì 5 dicembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker: Maddalena Davoli (University of Zurich)
We study the impact of classroom rank in math on subsequent educational and occupational choices as well as labor market outcomes. Using the Swiss section of the PISA-2012 student achievement data linked to administrative student register data and earning records from 2012-2020, we exploit differences in math achievement distributions across classes to estimate the effect of students' ordinal rank in the classroom. We find that students with a higher classroom rank in math are more likely to select into training occupations that require a higher share of math and science skills. We then show this has lasting effects on earnings in the labor market several years after completing compulsory school and is associated with a higher willingness to invest in occupation specific further education. We use detailed subject specific survey information to show that students rank in math is associated with an increase in perceived ability in math and with increasing willingness to provide effort in math. The latter channel may offset potential consequences for occupation mismatch if occupational choices are based on perceived rather than actual ability, as we do not find that rank based decisions lead to increases in occupational changes.


Which way for budgeting - Gender? Participatory? Wellbeing? Human Rights? Reflections from research and practice
Martedì 28 novembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Angela O’Hagan (Glasgow Caledonian University)


In the almost 40 years since the initiatives in Australia for gender budgeting, scholarship, institutional engagement, and civil society campaigning have been burgeoning. Has gender budgeting ‘stuck’ as an approach to feminist policy making or gender mainstreaming? Is it sufficiently robust as a concept? Are there weaknesses in implementation? Are there institutional resistances that are deliberate or about weaknesses in knowledge building and implementation? Has the concept of gender budgeting been lost in the mix with the increase in other alternative approaches to budgeting? These are among the series of questions for policy makers, feminist activists, and academic and institutional research arising from recent research and commentary. Gender budgeting seeks to integrate gender analysis in the analytical process of policy development and the process of revenue raising, and resource allocation and spending. Human Rights budgeting aims to secure that international human rights standards and treaty obligations are respected, protected and fulfilled in the formulation of government budgets and management of public finances to secure the maximisation of available resources for the progressive realisation of rights. Both these approaches require and aim to support participation of women and other marginalised voices. Participatory budgeting has increased in popularity as a mechanism to boost community engagement in local decision. making, but does participatory budgeting have an equality and human rights lens, in its design and implementation?


Tree-based mixed-effects models for the assessment of education systems
Martedì 21 novembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Chiara Masci (Politecnico di Milano)


Student learning is a complex process whereby inputs are converted into outputs. Heterogeneity in student performance arises from various sources, including the students themselves, the class, the school and the geographical area. We propose tree-based mixed-effects models to analyze educational data with the goal of untangling the effects stemming from different levels of grouping and to flexibly and efficiently model the educational production function. In particular, we develop and describe innovative Classification And Regression Trees and Random Forest for hierarchical data and generalized response variables. We then leverage the potential of these methods in two primary contexts: analyzing 15-year-old students across countries using the OECD-PISA dataset and predicting student dropout at the university level using the Politecnico di Milano dataset. Results demonstrate that tree-based mixed-effects methods enable the modeling of non-linearities and interactions among covariates, capturing diverse forms of the educational production function. Moreover, these methods produce interpretable and transparent evidence while still accounting for the nested structure of the data.


Euro Digitale: una questione di sovranità
Martedì 14 novembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Matteo Bursi (UNIMORE-DEMB)


This paper aims at studying the Digital Euro project, its compliance with the EU legislative framework and its potential impact on the European economy. In this regard, firstly, we will examine the overall concept of Central Bank Digital Currency — describing also the diffusion of the instrument de quo around the world — and we will analyse the first three progress reports published by the ECB about the topic. Secondly, we will deepen the issue related to the possible legal basis of this innovative tool and we will investigate the content of the Regulation proposals presented by the European Commission on 28 June 2023. Then, there will be an assessment of the fourth progress report of Frankfurt and, finally, we will underline the main reasons, according to our view, at the basis of the Digital Euro project.

Global Livestock Trade and Infectious Diseases
Martedì 7 novembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Cosimo Beverelli (UNIMORE-DEMB)


This Large-scale movement of animals through trade can spread diseases to places where they are not endemic. In this paper, we identify the causal effect of global livestock trade on the spread of infectious animal diseases through an exogenous increase in the demand for imported livestock. The instrumental variable approach exploits an increase in halal livestock imports in Muslim countries during Eid-al-Adha to determine the effect of livestock imports on related infections. Using a dataset that covers 123 countries and five livestock categories in the months between 2004 and 2019, we find an imports-to-infections elasticity of about 0.75. The relationship is stronger for countries that are likely to import infected livestock from their partners. There is also evidence that infections spread through interaction between imported livestock, some of which might be infected, and domestic livestock. These results highlight transmission-through-trade from the origin to the destination.


Global Livestock Trade and Infectious Diseases
Martedì 31 ottobre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Rezart Hoxhaj (UniBa)


This study investigates the emotional experiences of immigrants and native-born individuals in the United States, exploring the relationship between daily activities and feelings of happiness, stress, and meaningfulness. We analyze the entire range of daily activities and their durations, utilizing data from the American Time-Use Survey (ATUS) Well-Being modules. The results reveal that when viewed through the evaluation lenses of the general US population, immigrants engage in less happy, more stressful, and less meaningful activities compared to natives. However, when considering subjective emotional assessments, immigrants are more optimistic and perceive these activities as associated with higher levels of happiness and meaningfulness. The study also finds evidence of emotional assimilation over time, with happiness disparities between immigrants and natives diminishing. However, this process appears incomplete for second-generation immigrants. The findings highlight the importance of recognizing the different perspectives of immigrants to formulate inclusive policies that facilitate integration.


The effects of minimum wage increase on outsourced workers
Martedì 24 ottobre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Marta Fana (European Commission Joint Research Center)


The paper presents an assessment of the distinct wage and spillover effects between outsourced and in-house workers, resulting from a 20% increase in the Spanish statutory minimum wage in 2019. Our empirical approach is based on the standard diff-in-diff estimator applied to matched employer-employee administrative data sourced from social security and tax records. Findings reveal that the minimum wage increase has a positive and significant impact on workers' wages, with a stronger effect observed among outsourced workers compared to in-house workers. We also observe a spillover effect extending up to the median of the wage distribution. Similarly, this effect is more pronounced among outsourced workers compared to in-house workers. Additionally, we provide insights into specific labour market segments, such as migrants and female workers, and discuss potential mechanisms driving the primary effect. In particular, we focus on the likelihood of changing employers and sectors of employment, as well as the probability of transitioning out of sectors providing labour services to other firms.


Attention, sentiment and uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market
Martedì 17 ottobre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Katarzyna Włosik (Poznań University)


The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we assess the impact of attention, sentiment and uncertainty on cryptocurrency returns, trading volume and volatility. Second, we analyze if the relationship varies across cryptocurrency exchanges. The analysis is conducted on both volatile and stable cryptocurrencies traded on three different cryptocurrency exchanges. The study employs attention, sentiment and uncertainty proxies obtained from both the financial market and the cryptocurrency market. The results may be useful for investors for trading purposes and for selecting the cryptocurrency exchange.


The Impact of a Universal Free School Meal Policy on Children's Non-Cognitive Development
Martedì 10 ottobre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Xhiselda Demaj (UNIVE)


School-based policies are promoted to improve, among all, also children's non-cognitive development, a strong predictor of future life outcomes. Relying on a cross-sectional sample of children aged five from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), we investigate the impact of the Universal Infant Free School Meal Policy on children's non-cognitive development. We exploit identifying variations in the timing and location of switching from means-tested to a universal provision of free school lunches using a difference-in-difference strategy. Our results show that exposure to universal free school lunches improves children's Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and Internalizing Difficulties. The effect seems to be driven by young boys, and children living in medium-income households. This suggests that universal lunch provision policies may help to compensate for gender gaps in early childhood and enhance the non-cognitive skills of middle-class income pupils.


Much Ado about Salary: A Comparison of Monetary and Non-Monetary Components of Job Satisfaction
Martedì 3 ottobre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:  Alessandro Tampieri (UNIFI)


We investigate how specific components of job satisfaction influence overall work happiness. We use the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), which includes measures of satisfaction with total pay, job security, the nature of work, and hours worked. Our analysis employs a multi-level model to assess the variations in job satisfaction among different types of occupations. This approach allows for a clear comparison of both monetary and non-monetary aspects of job satisfaction. Our findings indicate that the importance of satisfaction with salary in explaining overall satisfaction is lower compared to other non-monetary aspects. This result holds true even when we narrow down the sample by considering factors such as gender (males or females), employment type (full-time or part-time), further job satisfaction components (available for fewer years), and examining income as a second-level factor rather than job occupation.


ESG-compliant optimal portfolios: Optimizing after screening vs. constraining optimization (or the best of both)?
Martedì 28 settembre 2023, ore 14.15, aula seminari
Speaker:   Beatrice Bertelli (UniMoRe)


The aim of this paper is to compare two philosophically different strategies to obtain (Environmental, Social, Governance) ESG-compliant portfolios and to propose a third one. We confront the risk-adjusted performance of three optimal portfolios: the first results from optimization on an ESG-screened sample, the second is obtained by including a portfolio ESG-score constraint in the optimization on an unscreened sample, the third results from our proposal of taking pros of both by optimizing with an ESG constraint (so as to reach a target) over a slightly screened sample (so as to eliminate companies with lowest sustainability). The optimization approach rests on minimizing portfolio residual risk, it does not require a balanced dataset and it is implemented with Bloomberg ESG scores over a stock sample from the EURO STOXX Index in the period January 2007 – August 2022. Two are the main results. First, the performance of an ESG-compliant portfolio depends not only on the strategy taken (optimizing after screening, constraining optimization, mixed strategy) but also on the feature of the initial investment set in terms of relationship between ESG scores and the risk-reward (monotone, convex, concave). Second, the comparative performance of the three strategies over time does not change much with the financial cycle. The most interesting implication is that, the third strategy we propose, allows sustainable investors to do well by doing good in the presence of both a convex and a monotone investment set, being thus able to attract a larger pool of investors towards ESG-compliant optimal portfolios.