Past

 

  • Repeated Coordination with Private Learning
    • Speaker: Kalyan Chatterjee, Penn State University
    • Date: Wednesday, June 5th, 2019
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      We study a repeated game with payoff externalities and observable actions where two players receive information over time about an underlying payoff-relevant state, and strategically coordinate their actions. Players learn about the true state from private signals, as well as the actions of others. They commonly learn the true state (Cripps et al., 2008), but do not coordinate in every equilibrium. We show that there exist stable equilibria in which players can overcome unfavorable signal realizations and eventually coordinate on the correct action, for any discount factor. For high discount factors, we show that in addition players can also achieve efficient payoffs.
  • Our Distrust is Very Expensive
    • Speaker: Rahul Deb, University of Toronto
    • Date: Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5 PM.
    • Venue: Classroom #13
    • Abstract
      Motivated by reputation management in a variety of different markets for “expertise” (such as online content providers and experts in organizations), we develop a novel repeated-game framework in which a principal screens a strategic agent whose type determines the rate at which he privately receives payoff relevant information. The stage game is a bandit setting, where the principal chooses whether or not to experiment with a risky arm which is controlled by an agent who privately knows its type. Irrespective of type, the agent strategically chooses output from the arm to maximize the duration of experimentation. Experimentation is only potentially valuable to the principal if the arm is of the high type. Our main insight is that reputational incentives can be exceedingly strong: the agent makes inefficient output choices in all equilibria (subject to a mild refinement) and that this can result in market breakdown even when the uncertainty about the agent’s type is arbitrarily small. We show that (one-sided) transfers do not prevent this inefficiency and we suggest alternate ways to improve the functioning of these markets.
  • FDI and International Collusion
    • Speaker: Uday Bhanu Sinha, Delhi School of Economics
    • Date: Friday, May 3rd, 2019
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      We develop a supergame model of collusion between price-setting oligopolists when the trade between countries involves per-unit trade cost and FDI requires a fixed cost of setting up a subsidiary in a foreign country. We demonstrate that cross hauling of FDI may facilitate collusion based on territorial allocation of markets. Whenever FDI is not helpful for sustaining collusion, the collusive arrangement involves no FDI at all. With asymmetric number of home firms or with different sizes of the markets, FDI may facilitate international collusion at lower levels of trade costs and thus our analysis also throws some light on the empirical puzzle regarding the trade liberalisation and FDI flows observed since the 1990s.
  • Are Transparency and Accountability Enough? Open Corruption and Why it Exists
    • Speaker: Ajay Shenoy, University of California, Santa Cruz
    • Date: Tuesday, 30th April, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      The global movement against corruption has long assumed its demise lay in transparency and accountability. We test this assumption by measuring whether highly accountable Indian village council presidents favor their own households while making observable allocations of public works jobs. We link millions of public works records to election outcomes. We find that winners of close elections receive 3 times as many days of labor as losers, earning excess wages equaling two-thirds of the median president’s salary. Using an original survey of council presidents we find suggestive evidence that corruption is “performance pay” used to attract talented candidates into office.
  • Inequality, corruption and cooperation: Evidence from Vietnam
    • Speaker: Saurabh Singhal, Lancaster University
    • Date: Friday, 26th April, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      We examine the effects of randomly introduced inequality on voluntary cooperation and whether this relationship is influenced by exposure to local corruption, using data from a large-scale lab-in-the-field public goods experiment with over 1,300 participants across rural Vietnam. Our results show that inequality adversely affects aggregate contributions. Within groups with heterogeneous endowments, individuals with high endowments contribute a significantly smaller share than those with low endowments. The effect of inequality on cooperation is further exacerbated by corruption. We find that beliefs about others’ contributions are lower in heterogeneous groups in the presence of corruption, and this is an important mechanism explaining our results.
  • How do households finance private school education? Insights from NSSO data
    • Speaker: Bharti Nandwani, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
    • Date: Friday, 12th April, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      According to the 68th round of the NSSO employment unemployment survey (EUS), conducted in 2011-12, of all students attending school, 38.12% attend a private school. This choice is not limited to richer households (HH) only. Even in the lowest consumption quartile, 19% of students attend a private school; this proportion rises to 61.6 for the highest consumption quartile. Typically, attending private school entails a higher burden of out-of-pocket expenditure on education for these HHs. Unconditionally, HHs who send at least one child to private school spend about three times more on education on average when compared to HHs who do not send any child to private school. In this paper we investigate how HHs finance this out-of-pocket expenditure using three rounds of NSS. We estimate the standard Engel curve to show that households which have a higher number of children attending private schools increase their budget share on education. Almost 50 % of this increase is financed by reducing expenditure share on food and institutional medical expenditure. All specifications include various household characteristics to account for observable differences between households. We conclude by computing the welfare cost of sending an additional child to private school using Engel’s method.
  • On the marketing of experience goods: the case of movies
    • Speaker: Sridhar Moorthy, University of Toronto
    • Date: Friday, March 29th, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      Nelson (1970, 1974), in a series of seminal papers, discussed the unique marketing challenges experience goods face. Whereas advertising for search goods can be directly informative—because search attribute claims are verifiable before purchase—advertising for experience goods can only be indirectly informative, via signals such as advertising spending. In this paper we examine the marketing strategy of movies to identify which of these mechanisms might be going on. The data suggest that movies follow two distinct types of advertising strategies, depending on their assets at birth, and later in the lifecycle. However, despite these differences, a single idea unifies all movie marketing: advertise your strong search attributes. Advertising spending strategy and distribution strategy simply follow from this basic decision on advertising content.
  • Measuring the Dynamics of the Achievement Gap Between Public and Private School Students in India
    • Speaker: Punarjit Roychowdhury, IIM Indore
    • Date: Friday, March 15th, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      The academic achievement gap between students attending public and private schools in India is widely documented. However, researchers have only focused on the achievement gap in levels without considering the underlying dynamics of how students move through the distribution of achievement from early childhood to preadolescence. This lack of completeness is important since the extent to which policymakers and researchers should concern themselves with the public-private achievement gap in levels should be relative to how mobile students are through the test score distribution over time. This study aims to explore the dynamics of the public-private achievement gap in India by applying nonparametric measures of distributional mobility to panel data on math and Peabody Picture Vocabulary test scores from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. We find that relative to private school students, public school students have higher staying probabilities of becoming entrenched in the lower end of the distribution while at the same time falling out of the top end of the test score distribution. Overall, compared to private school students, public school students tend to be less upwardly mobile and more downwardly mobile. For math, this differential seems to start emerging at the end of early childhood.
  • The Nitrogen Legacy: Long-Term Effects of Water Pollution on Human Capital
    • Speaker: Esha Zaveri, World Bank
    • Date: Tuesday, 5th March, 2019.
    • Time: 03:35 PM to 5 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      The five-fold rise in the use of nitrogenous fertilizers since the mid-1960s resulted in profound changes to the nitrogen cycle and exacted a toll on India’s waters— runoff of excess nitrogen from fields increased concentrations of nitrate and nitrite in the rivers to harmful levels. Despite ecological evidence of too much nitrogen on the environment such as algal blooms, much less is known about its toll on humans. In this paper, we provide new evidence of the legacy effects of nitrogen pollution and contribute to a growing literature on the persistent effects of early-life exposure on later life health outcomes. We compile a rich dataset of water quality measurements from 1000 monitoring stations along 145 rivers between the years 1970-2016 and use a novel spatial statistical network model for stream data. Our research design exploits the direction of river flow and the upstream-downstream geographic relationship, coupled with cohort variation in exposure to estimate a pollution-health dose-response function. Preliminary findings show that women exposed to nitrate-nitrite pollution in their earliest years of life are more likely to grow up stunted. They are also more likely to experience a stillbirth in adulthood than women of similar circumstances who were not exposed to such pollution. Early-life exposure to nitrate-nitrite pollution also lowers later-life labor productivity and depresses adult wages decreasing overall welfare.
  • Equilibrium Selection in Repeated games with Patient Players
    • Speaker: Dilip Abreu, New York University
    • Date: Friday, 22nd February, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      Folk theorems have received enormous attention in the literature on dynamic games. They assert that all outcomes that could possibly be supported within a rational equilibrium framework, are in fact supportable, when players are sufficiently patient. One might view these theorems as negative results that leave us with no predictive power in dynamic strategic models.
      In the context of repeated games with perfect monitoring we propose a theory of equilibrium selection precisely in those environments (extreme patience) in which the received theory is most agnostic. This theory is based on reputational perturbations as in Abreu and Pearce (Econometrica, 2007) and a theory of renegotiation in repeated games in the spirit of Pearce(1987, 1991)
  • Out-of-merit costs and blackouts: Evidence from the Indian electricity market
    • Speaker: Louis Preonas, University of Chicago
    • Date: Friday, 15th February, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      In the United States, demand for electricity among utilities in the wholesale spot market is assumed to be perfectly inelastic. Consumers therefore face power outages only as a result of infrastructure failure – never because a utility does not purchase enough electricity to satisfy demand. This also implies that inefficiencies on the generation side of the market which raise price do not impact quantity consumed by retail customers. In this paper, we provide evidence that utilities participating in the Indian wholesale market are extremely price elastic: as prices rise, they purchase less power on the wholesale market, meaning that load shedding increases. Using data on plant-specific marginal costs, we document substantial deviations from first-best electricity generation, half of which can be explained by plant outages. These inefficiencies increase the wholesale price, and therefore contribute substantially to rampant blackouts.
  • Why Do Discrete Choice Approaches to Valuing Climate Amenities Yield Different Results Than Hedonic Models?
    • Speaker: Paramita Sinha, RTI International, USA
    • Date: Friday, February 8th, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      Amenities that vary across cities are typically valued using either a hedonic model, in which amenities are capitalized into wages and housing prices, or a discrete model of household location choice. In this paper, we use the 2000 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) to value climate amenities using both methods. We compare estimates of marginal willingness to pay
      (MWTP), allowing preferences for climate amenities to vary by location. We find that mean MWTP for warmer winters is about twice as large using the discrete choice approach as with the hedonic approach; mean MWTP for cooler summers is approximately the same. The two approaches differ, however, in their estimates of taste sorting. The discrete choice model implies that households with the highest MWTP for warmer winters locate in cities with the mildest winters, while the hedonic model does not. Differences in estimates are due to primarily to two factors: (1) the discrete choice model incorporates the psychological costs of moving from one’s birthplace, which the hedonic models do not; (2) the discrete choice model uses information on market shares (i.e., population) in estimating parameters, which the hedonic model does not.
  • Votes and Policies: Evidence from Close Elections in India
    • Speaker: Sourav Sarkar, MIT
    • Date: Friday, February 1st, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      Electoral considerations affect government policies and economic outcomes in various ways. In this paper, I use a close election regression discontinuity design to study the development effects of political alignment between local legislative constituency representatives and state governments in India. I analyze policy and outcome variables from sources of non-proprietary data available annually at a legislative constituency level for the last decade. Constituencies with elected representatives aligned to the ruling party have less growth of visible long term fixed investment goods like new administrative headquarters and educational institutes. However, there is little evidence of aligned constituencies having less receipts and implementation of different government schemes or less growth in night-time luminosity. Together with previous findings of more economic growth due to less regulatory obstacle in aligned constituencies, my results can be rationalized by a theory in which the state government has different types of resources to transfer. The state government substitutes policies attributed more to the local constituency representatives with policies which are attributed primarily to the state government in constituencies whose representatives are not aligned to the ruling political party of the state.
  • The Secret Behind The Tortoise and the Hare: Information Design in Contests
    • Speaker: Alejandro Melo Ponce, SUNY Stony Brook
    • Date: Thursday, January 31st, 2019.
    • Time: 10 AM to 11:30 AM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 1 (Over SKYPE)
    • Abstract
      I analyze the optimal information disclosure problem under commitment of a “contest designer” in a class of binary action contests with incomplete information about the abilities of the players. If the contest designer wants to incentivize the players to play in equilibrium a particular strategy profile, she can design an information disclosure rule, formally a stochastic communication mechanism, to which she will commit and then use to “talk” with the players. he main tool to carry out the analysis is the concept of Bayes Correlated Equilibrium recently introduced in the literature. I find that the optimal information disclosure rules involves private information revelation (manipulation), which is also cost-effective for the designer. Furthermore, the optimal disclosure rule involves asymmetric and in most cases correlated signals that convey only partial information about the abilities of the players.
  • What Do Good Managers Do? Evidence from an Insurance Firm in India
    • Speaker: Samarth Gupta, NCAER, India
    • Date: Monday, January 28th, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      Managers differ in productivity but what do good managers do? In this paper, I find substantial performance differences across manager-led teams in an insurance firm in India, even after controlling for tenure, team size, gender, and location of the manager. To find what good managers do, I regress outcomes of managerial tasks in 2013-15 on team output per worker in 2012. I find that the output of new recruits of a manager and the output per worker in 2012 of the manager’s team are positively correlated. When agents move across teams, I find no change in the output of these workers. Thus, skill differential among managers appears to be the selection of agents. To explore implications of differences in selection, I develop a model where managers are heterogeneous in assessing a candidate’s productivity for the job as an agent. The model provides testable implications on distribution of new recruit’s performance, exit propensity, team size and team output evolution. Empirical results confirm all the implications. The paper demonstrates the role of skill differences across managers in productivity variation.
  • Benefits of Integrated Child Development Services: Later Life Evidence
    • Speaker: Gaurav Dhamija, Shiv Nadar University
    • Date: Friday, January 25th, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      In the year 1975, the Indian government initiated the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the largest national program in the world targeting long-term nutrition and holistic development of the children, to be implemented through village level Anganwadi centers (AWC). ICDS offers a composition of six services which includes supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, nutrition & health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services to the children of 0-6 years of age and pregnant and lactating mothers. Combining
      differences across villages in the year of AWC construction with the birth-year of children, we capture the variation in ‘exposure’ to the program. We estimate the impact of the ICDS exposure through access to AWCs on later life health outcomes of children when they are not eligible for the services anymore. Our findings suggest that the 10-13 year old cohort fully exposed to the scheme during first three years of life, has higher height (by 2.90 cm), weight (by 1.16 kg), Z score of height-for-age (by 0.22 standard deviation) and Z score of weight-for-age (by 0.17 standard deviation), as compared to the 10-13 year cohort, not exposed to the services in initial three years of life. The average impact seems to be as high as 0.89 cm, 0.34 kg, 0.06 and 0.05 standard deviations for an extra year of ICDS exposure through access to AWCs, for measures of height, weight, ZHFA, and ZWFA respectively. However, full exposure to ICDS through AWC access in initial years, does not seem to have much impact on short term morbidities in later lives of the children. Our findings are robust to changing age cohorts and several other specifications. The effect seems to be stronger among non-rich household.
  • The Impact of a Spinoff on the Parent Firm: A Model of Double Adverse Selection with Correlated Types
    • Speaker: Suraj Shekhar, University of Cape Town
    • Date: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 1 (Over SKYPE)
    • Abstract
      A principal and her worker’s type is correlated via the principal’s screening ability (a high ability principal is more likely to hire a high ability worker). The firm’s stage payoff depends upon the worker’s reputation. This paper provides a new explanation for how a spinoff (firm formed when a worker leaves to set up her own firm) can be beneficial for the parent firm. The key idea is that in any market with sufficiently high worker attrition, a firm’s future payoff depends crucially on the belief about the principal’s ability to recruit good workers repeatedly. I show that spinoffs are more likely to be formed by high ability workers. Due to the correlation in types, this result implies that spinoff formation can provide a positive signal about the principal’s type. I further show that there exists an equilibrium which explains a previously unexplained empirical finding – spinoff formation can hurt the parent firm in the short run, but be beneficial over a longer run. My results have policy implications for non-compete covenants.
  • Mutlidimensional and Selective Learning A case study of Bt cotton farmers in India
    • Speaker: Srijita Ghosh, New York University
    • Date: Monday, January 21st, 2019.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 1 (Over SKYPE)
    • Abstract
      Most production technologies require using an optimal combination of multiple inputs. Farmers need to choose the best combination of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. to maximize yield. They can learn about the production function by observing the conditional productivity of combinations of inputs (cell) or by the marginal productivity of each input across cells (average), where both types of learning are costly. I characterize the optimal learning strategy: observing an average is optimal for higher uncertainty and observing a cell is optimal for lower uncertainty. In a sequential learning problem with an optimal stopping time the optimal learning strategy is to start with observing averages and then switch permanently to observing cells. Depending on the uncertainty of averages, learning about averages only can be optimal, at the cost of a higher probability of error (“selective learning”). Selective learning describes the behavior of Indian cotton farmers when they switched to pest-resistant Bt seeds, as they did not reduce their pesticide use sufficiently. This informs about optimal extension policies (what type of information) for various types of production function. I also show that the learning mechanism in a laboratory setting predicts the behavior of subjects in the lab.
  • Wisdom of the confused crowd
    • Speaker: George Mailath, University of Pennsylvania
    • Date: Friday, December 14th, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Classroom #14 (Ground floor)
    • Abstract

  • Intuitive Solutions in Game Representations: The Shapley Value Revisited
    • Speaker: Pradeep Dubey, SUNY Stony Brook and Yale
    • Date: Friday, November 16th, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      We show that any transferable utility game can be represented by an assignment of facilities to the players, in which it is intuitively obvious how to allocate the total cost of the facilities. The intuitive solution in the representation turns out to be the Shapley value of the game, and thus serves as an alternative justification of the value.
  • Virtual Implementation in Nash Equilibrium: Complete Information
    • Speaker: Ritesh Jain, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
    • Date: Friday, November 9th, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      In this paper we characterize the social choice rules which are virtually implementable Nash equilibrium, in the sense of Abreu and Sen (1991), using finite mechanisms. As a starting point, we study environments with complete information. Under a domain restriction known as “Quasi-Transferability,” we show that in a society with more than three agents any social choice rule is virtually implementable in Nash equilibrium via finite mechanism. Also, the mechanism we construct achieves virtual implementation in the iterated elimination of strictly dominated strategies. Thus equilibrium in mixed strategies is explicitly taken into account without relying on infinite mechanisms. Thus our paper extends the permissive results reported in Abreu and Sen (1991) if one restricts to finite mechanisms. The results in this paper build off from a seminal paper by Abreu and Matsushima (1992) on finite mechanisms. In particular, we propose a modification of the mechanism proposed in Abreu and Matsushima (1992) which applies to social choice rules.
  • Incentives for Corporate Social Responsibility in India: Mandate, Peer Pressure or a Crowding-Out Effect
    • Speaker: Madhu Khanna, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • Date: Thursday, October 18th, 2018.
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      The Companies Act of 2013 went into effect in India on April 1, 2014 making it the first law in the world to mandate that companies commit 2% of their profits on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. However, the Act did not impose penalties on firms that failed to do so, requiring them only to disclose the reasons for non-compliance publically. We use panel data for 39,736 firms with a difference-in-difference model to estimate the average treatment effect of the Act on firms ‘eligible’ for compliance with the Act and in particular to investigate the role of peer pressure in influencing a firm’s response to the Act in 2015 and 2016. We also apply the Regression Discontinuity Design method to estimate the average effect of treatment assignment for units near the threshold of eligibility for compliance with the Act. We find that the Act led to a statistically significant increase in the likelihood of reporting of CSR expenditures and in the level of CSR expenditures by eligible firms and this increase was not accompanied by crowding out of other charitable donations by firms. The effect of the Act was also positive and statistically significant on firms at the threshold of criteria for compliance with the Act. In addition to the direct effect of the Act on CSR expenditures, we find strong evidence of peer pressure in motivating CSR by firms and of these peer pressures being stronger on eligible firms.
  • Choice via Social Influence
    • Speaker: Abhinash Borah, Ashoka University, India
    • Date: Friday, October 12, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract
      We introduce a theory of socially influenced individual choices. The source of social influence on an individual are his reference groups in society, formed of societal members he psychologically or contextually relates to. Choices made within an individual’s reference groups have an influence on the choices he makes. Specifically, we propose a choice procedure under which, in any choice problem, he considers only those alternatives that he can identify with at least one of his reference groups. From this “consideration set,” he chooses the best alternative according to his preferences. The procedure is an interactive one and captures the steady state of a process of mutual social influence. We behaviorally characterize this choice procedure. We also highlight the empirical content of the procedure by relating it to both experimental evidence and real world applications.
  • Payment system shocks under Goods and Financial Market Segmentation
    • Speaker: Parag Waknis, Ambedkar University, Delhi
    • Date: Friday, October 5th, 2018.
    • Time: 11 AM to 1:30 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      A surprise demonetization, where certain or all denominations of currency notes cease to be legal tender within a short notice, can be understood as a severe payment system shock requiring agents to immediately shift to alternative payment mechanisms. I use a short-term macroeconomic model featuring goods and financial market segmentation to analyze the effect of such a shock in an economy with substantial informality and cash dependence. I provide a quantitative characterization of the equilibrium dynamics using a deterministic and a stochastic process that mimics the recent demonetization and remonetization process in India.
  • Public Safety for Women: Is Regulation of Social Drinking Spaces Effective?
    • Speaker: Kanika Mahajan, Ashoka University
    • Date: Friday, September 14, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      There is an established link between alcohol consumption and propensity to commit crime. But the causal nature of this relationship has been circumspect due to presence of unobserved variables that influence both behaviours. In India, there has been a recent spate of electoral promises by political parties to regulate liquor sale. Kerala began with a complete crackdown on bars selling hard liquor in 2014. The question of interest is whether public policies which regulate drinking in social spaces affect sexual crimes against women outside their homes? This paper seeks to answer this question by examining the intervention in Kerala on reported cases of violence against women. We find that placing restrictions on alcohol sale through closure of on-premise drinking outlets has a negative effect on incidence of sexual assault and harassment against women but has no effect on rates of domestic violence.
  • No Free Lunch: Using Technology to Improve the Efficacy of School Feeding Programs.
    • Speaker: Sisir Debnath, ISB, Hyderabad
    • Date: Friday, September 7, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      Malnutrition among vulnerable children is often targeted using free school feeding programs in developing countries. This paper studies the role of technology in improving the delivery of school feeding programs. Using the roll-out of a mobile-based monitoring mechanism (Interactive Voice Response System or the IVRS) that aids in cross tallying the number of beneficiaries reported by multiple agents in the delivery chain, we find that increase in resulting accountability reduces leakages in school lunch provision in Bihar, India. We contrast provision of meals in districts of Bihar and its contiguous neighboring states from an independent survey with the official state records. Independently collected data reveals that the technology reform increases the likelihood of lunch provision in a school by 20 percentage points. These results are robust to a number of specifications. The increase in take-up is also accompanied by an improvement in the quality and quantity of meals. By contrast, using official state records, we find that likelihood of lunch provision by a school declined post-reform. Using trend break specifications and the independently collected data, we find that the reform resulted in a decrease in reported enrollment in schools and a substantial increase in attendance. Taken together, we interpret our findings to provide evidence that the IVRS resulted in the reduction in leakage in the school feeding program.
  • Condoning Corruption: Who Votes for Corrupt Political Parties?
    • Speaker: Chandan Kumar Jha, Le Moyne College, USA
    • Date: Friday, August 17, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      Electing corrupt politicians remains much a problem around the world, yet little is known about the factors that determine the election of corrupt politicians. This paper explores the factors that affect an individual’s decision to vote for her preferred party even if that party was involved in corruption. Besides several other factors that are shaped by institutional and cultural environments of the country, the paper finds that a number of individual characteristics such as age, education, income, sex, and political leaning (moderate versus extreme) influence the electorates’ decision to condone corruption by their preferred political party. The study also finds that corruption may have a weakening effect on democracy as some voters choose to abstain from voting if their preferred party was involved in a corruption scandal. The study goes on to explore the factors that determine an individual’s likelihood of abstaining from voting even when a non-corrupt alternative is available. Education, sex, political leaning, exposure to bribery, the prevalence of corruption in politics, among other factors, are found to affect the likelihood of abstaining from corruption (as opposed to voting for another established party that was not involved in corruption).
  • Optimal Taxation in a Federation and GST in India.
    • Speaker: Partha Chatterjee, Shiv Nadar University
    • Date: Friday, August 10, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      Optimal tax models, starting from Ramsey (1927), are often studied using a single government. However, there are several countries which are federations and multiple level of governments have fiscal authority. In this paper we study a federation with several states and a central government. We ask what the optimal design of taxation is and find that optimally either states, or the center should impose a consumption tax, but not both. We then characterize two equilibria, one where both the central government and state governments impose tax and two, where only the center imposes tax rates. We find that in the first equilibrium, though states can potentially impose different tax rates, consumption across states are the same, as is the case in the second equilibrium. However, aggregate consumption in the country is greater in the second equilibrium, when only the center imposes tax. We then calibrate the model to Indian data and find the revenue neutral tax rates. We find that the highest revenue neutral tax rate is 20.1% and the median rate is 11.4%. Using the calibrated indirect tax rates in a regression analysis, we find that tax rates at the state level is negatively related to the growth rate of the state. So, after the implementation of GST in India, some states may see a higher level of consumption tax rate in the state and hence, a fall in growth rate.
  • Scarf’s Lemma and Stable Matchings
    • Speaker: Rakesh Vohra, University of Pennsylvania
    • Date: Tuesday, August 7, 2018.
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      The elegance and simplicity of Gale and Shapley’s deferred acceptance algorithm (DA) has made it the algorithm of choice for determining stable matchings in a variety of settings. Each setting has imposed new demands on the algorithm. Among them are to how to handle complementarities and distributional constraints. However, the simplicity of the DA makes it difficult to accommodate these new considerations except in special cases. In this talk I outline an alternative approach based on Scarf’s lemma for tackling such problems.
  • Encouraging urban households to segregate the waste they generate: insights from a field experiment in Delhi, India.
    • Speaker: Shivani Wadehra, TERI School of Advanced Studies
    • Date: Friday, July 20, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      Encouraging urban households to segregate the waste they generate: insights from a field experiment in Delhi, India Abstract Despite the Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM), 2016 stating that waste generators should segregate their waste before it is collected; most households in Delhi continue to be non-compliant. We conduct a study in 15 localities of Delhi to understand whether information, norms and economic incentive would have an effect on households’ compliance to rules. The study uses field experiments to elicit the impact of the interventions.

      We find that even low cost interventions such as information on segregation and its benefits are effective in changing household waste segregation behaviour. We also find that a combination of information and economic incentives play an important role in inducing the households to begin segregation at source. The efficacy of incentive highlights the importance of defining a differential user fee – lesser amount for those who segregate and a higher amount for those who do not segregate. The field observations also show that the garbage collector could nullify the actions of the household, thus highlighting the importance of educating the garbage collector as well. Our findings can inform Municipal officials and agencies involved in collection and transportation of waste, to induce households to segregate at source.

  • Anonymous Representation under Uniform Improvement Pareto: A
    Characterization of Infinite Utility Domains.

    • Speaker: Ram Sewak Dubey, Montclair State University
    • Date: Friday, July 27, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

  • Equilibrium in Stochastic Games in Extended Markov Strategies.
    • Speaker: Subir K. Chakrabarti, IUPUI
    • Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. (Unusal Time)
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      Recent research show that stationary equilibrium in Markov strategies
      do not exist for stochastic games that have norm continuous transition functions
      which are absolutely continuous with respect to a fixed measure, unless additional
      conditions like coarser transition kernel are imposed. We show here that a stationary
      equilibrium in extended Markov strategies exists for stochastic games under just the
      condition of norm continuity and absolute continuity. Extended Markov strategies
      are functions of the current state as well as the state and actions of the preceding
      period. We apply the result to two dynamic economic models, one on the extraction
      of common property resources and the other on dynamic market competition, and
      show that these have a stationary equilibrium in extended Markov strategies, even
      though these do not satisfy the conditions needed to apply other existence results.

  • Rationalizing dynamic choices.
    • Speaker: Rohit Lamba, Penn State University
    • Date: Friday, July 6, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      An agent chooses a sequence of actions, and before choosing each
      action she observes a signal that informs her of an underlying state
      of the world. As a function of the state and the sequence of actions,
      a terminal payoff is realized. An analyst knows the structure of the
      agent’s payoffs but is not privy to the signals observed by her before
      taking each action. The analyst tries to find some prior and
      sequential information structure that could rationalize the chosen
      sequence of actions under the Bayesian paradigm. We characterize the
      sequences of actions that can(not) be thus rationalized, and exposit
      the usefulness of our result through two applications.

  • Fair Competition Design.
    • Speaker: Dinko Dimitrov, Saarland University
    • Date: Friday, May 25, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      We study the impact of two basic principles of fairness on
      the structure of sport competition systems. The first principle
      requires that if all players are equally strong then each player
      should have the same probability of being the final winner, while the
      second one says that a better player should not have a lower
      probability of being the final winner than a weaker player. We apply
      these principles with respect to a class of competition systems which
      includes, but is not limited to, the sport tournament systems mostly
      used in practice such as league-type competitions and different kinds
      of knockout tournaments, and completely characterize the competition
      structures satisfying them. Our results single out balanced
      competitions and extended stepladder tournaments as having the most
      appealing structure from a theoretical point of view.
  • A Geometric Approach to Inference in Set Identified Entry Games.
    • Speaker: Rohit Kumar, Toulouse School of Economics
    • Date: Friday, May 4, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 1
    • Abstract

      In this paper, we consider inference procedures for entry games with complete information. Because of the presence of multiple equilibria, we know that such a model may be set identified without imposing further restrictions. We propose a method which sharply characterizes this identified set. Here the identified set is not convex, but the set of choice probabilities, implied by the model, is convex. We exploit this convexity to characterize efficiently the identified set using the tools from the convex literature. The number of moment inequalities required to sharply characterize the identified set is however growing exponentially with the number of players. We therefore propose a procedure which selects the appropriate relevant moments. This procedure is computationally feasible for any number of players and does not require to evaluate all the moment inequalities before deciding which ones should be kept. It is based on the geometry of the set. Additionally we provide an algorithm to compute the critical value of the testing procedure that we propose. The critical value can be computed once for all and it drastically improves the calculation time. Simulations in a separate section suggest that our procedure performs well when we compare it with existing methods.

  • Executive Overreach by Minority Governments in India.
    • Speaker: Madhav S. Aney, Singapore Management University
    • Date: Friday, April 27, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      A provision in the Indian constitution allows the executive to make laws in the event one
      of the two houses of parliament is not in session. This provision was intended to allow the
      executive to act in case there’s an immediate legislative necessity and the parliament cannot
      be convened. Using a bargaining model with asymmetric information we show how parties
      within the parliament may reach an agreement on legislations when the ruling party does not
      command a majority (minority government). The model makes predictions about lawmaking
      patterns by the legislature when the parliament is in session, and ordinances by the executive
      when the parliament is not in session. Our three empirical findings are consistent with this
      model. First we find a lack of correlation between legislations and ordinances for majority
      governments but a negative correlation for minority governments as parliament is substituted
      out by the executive when the government lacks the numbers in parliament. Second, we find
      that minority governments are less successful in converting ordinances into parliamentary
      legislation. Third, we find that the spacing of ordinances within a break is skewed towards the
      start of the break for minority governments as they rush to pass ordinances when parliament
      goes out of session. These results indicate that contrary to constitutional mandate, ordinances
      have been used by governments to bypass parliament when they lack the numbers there. This
      strengthens executive power at the expense of the legislature and this may have long run
      institutional consequences.
  • Delegation as a Signal to Sustain Coordination: An Experimental Study.
    • Speaker: Swagata Bhattacharjee, Ashoka University
    • Date: Friday, April 20, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      This paper explores a potentially important role of delegation: as a signal of trust that is reciprocated by more cooperation. I consider a static principal-agent model with two tasks, one of which requires cooperation between the principal and the agent. If there is asymmetric information about the agent’s type, the principal with a private belief that the agent is a good type can delegate the first task in order to signal the agent about his “trust”. This equilibrium is supported by the forward induction argument. I conduct laboratory experiments to test these theoretical predictions and to examine the role of information in equilibrium selection. I find that delegation is used only sometimes to facilitate cooperation; however, when the subjects have information about past sessions, there is a statistically significant increase in the use of delegation. This evidence suggests that experience matters in equilibrium selection in Bayesian games.

  • General Equilibrium effects of (Improving) Public Employment Programs: Experimental Evidence from India.
    • Speaker: Karthik Muralidharan, UC San Diego
    • Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.(Unusal Time)
    • Venue: Auditorium Hall
    • Abstract

      A public employment program’s effect on poverty depends on both program earnings and
      market impacts. We estimate this composite effect, exploiting a large-scale randomized experiment
      across 157 sub-districts and 19 million people that improved the implementation of
      India’s employment guarantee. Without changing government expenditure, this reform raised
      low-income households’ earnings by 13%, driven primarily by market earnings. Real wages rose
      6% while days without paid work fell 7%. Effects spilled over across sub-district boundaries,
      and adjusting for these spillovers substantially raises point estimates. The results highlight the
      importance and feasibility of accounting for general equilibrium effects in program evaluation.

      JEL codes: D50, D73, H53, J38, J43, O18

      Keywords: public programs, general equilibrium effects, rural labor markets, NREGA, employment
      guarantee, India.

  • Integrated Assessment in a Multi-region World with Multiple Energy Sources and Endogenous Technical Change.
    • Speaker: John Hassler, IIES, Stockholm University
    • Date: Thursday, March 22, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      We construct an integrated assessment model with multiple energy sources – including fossil fuels and “green energy” – and multiple world regions. The energy sources are imperfect substitutes and their production involve structures that are endogenous. In particular, firms can decide to lower the marginal cost of producing one form of energy at the expense of the marginal costs of other energy sources: there is directed technical change. In the lowering of these marginal costs, there are also spillovers, which are international. We analyze how (potentially region-specific) taxes affect output and the climate with and without the endogeneity of technology. We emphasize the second-best nature of taxation when optimal world-wide technology subsidies are not implemented.
  • Minimum price Walrasian equilibrium for general preferences: Serial Vickrey
    mechanisms.

    • Speaker: Shige Serizawa, Osaka University
    • Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 03:30 PM to 5:00 PM. (Unsual Time)
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      Assuming each agent receives at most one object and have general (non-quasi-linear) preferences, we propose the Serial Vickrey (SV) algorithm that Önd a “minimum price Walrasian equilibrium” (MPWE) in a Önite number of steps. The SV mechanism introduces objects one by one, and inductively compute an MPWE for k + 1 objects by using an MPWE for k objects in three stages. In Stage 1, a Walrasian equilibrium (WE) for k + 1 objects is derived from an MPWE for k objects. In Stage 2, we check whether the constructed WE is an MPWE. If not, in Stage 3, an MPWE for k + 1 objects is derived
      from the constructed WE. A greedy SV mechanism is also proposed. In particular, if we apply the greedy SV mechanism for restricted preferences, exempliÖed by quasi-linear preferences and Alonso-type ranking preferences, it Önds an MPWE in polynomial time.

      Keywords: Serial Vickrey mechanisms, minimum price Walrasian equilibrium, general preferences, Önite-step convergence

      JEL classiÖcation: C63, C70, D44

  • Efficient Partnership formation in networks.
    • Speaker: Bhaskar Dutta, Ashoka University
    • Date: Friday, March 16, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      We analyze the formation of partnerships in social networks. Players need
      favors at random times and ask their neighbors in the network to form exclusive long-term
      partnerships that guarantee reciprocal favor exchange. Refusing to provide a favor results
      in the automatic removal of the underlying link. When favors are costly, players agree to
      provide the first favor in a partnership only if they otherwise face the risk of eventual solitude.
      In equilibrium, the players essential for realizing every maximum matching can avoid this
      risk and enjoy higher payoffs than inessential players. Although the search for partners is
      decentralized and reflects local incentives, the strength of essential players drives efficient
      partnership formation in every network. When favors are costless, players enter partnerships
      at any opportunity and every maximal matching can emerge in equilibrium. In this case,
      efficiency is limited to special linking patterns: complete and complete bipartite networks,
      locally balanced bipartite networks with positive surplus, and factor-critical networks.
      JEL Classification Numbers: D85, C78.
      Keywords: networks, partnerships, matchings, efficiency, decentralized markets,
      favor exchange, completely elementary networks, locally balanced networks.

  • Condorcet consistency in large elections with boundedly rational voters.
    • Speaker: François Maniquet, UCLouvain
    • Date: Monday, March 19, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM. (Unsual Time)
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

  • Information Transmission with Substitutability and Resource Constraints.
    • Speaker: Raghul S Venkatesh, Aix-Marseille School of Economics
    • Date: Friday, March 9, 2018.
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
    • Venue: Class Room No. 13
    • Abstract

      I study strategic information transmission between an informed Sender and an uninformed Receiver when (i) both players make decisions simultaneously and (ii) decisions are strategic substitutes. In the absence of resource constraints, there is full transparency and information is completely revealed by the Sender. This results in full efficiency for both players. The presence of resource constraints restricts transparency, resulting in partial revelation of information. The most informative equilibrium is ex-ante efficient for both Sender and Receiver, and ex-post efficient only for the Sender. When the Receiver moves first instead (sequential protocol), there is no improvement in transparency but the welfare of both players is higher compared to the simultaneous protocol. Finally, I characterize the optimal commitment mechanism for the Receiver. It exhibits two key features: maximal resource extraction from the Sender and capping of contributions by the Receiver. The commitment protocol ensures both greater transparency and a higher welfare for both players compared to the sequential protocol. This provides a novel rationale for ex-ante commitments in organizations and governments.
  • Climate variability, rice production and groundwater depletion in India.
    • Speaker: Alok Bhargava, University of Maryland
    • Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      This paper modeled the proximate determinants of rice outputs and groundwater depths in 27 Indian states during 1980-2010. Dynamic random effects models were estimated by maximum likelihood at state and well levels. The main findings from models for rice outputs were that temperatures and rainfall levels were significant predictors, and the relationships were quadratic with respect to rainfall. Moreover, nonlinearities with respect to population changes indicated greater rice production with population increases. Second, groundwater depths were positively associated with temperatures and negatively with rainfall levels and there were nonlinear effects of population changes. Third, dynamic models for in situgroundwater depths in 11,795 wells in mainly unconfined aquifers, accounting for latitudes, longitudes and altitudes, showed steady depletion. Overall, the results indicated that population pressures on food production and environment need to be tackled via long-term healthcare, agricultural, and groundwater recharge policies in India.
  • COMMUNITIES, NETWORKS AND DEVELOPMENT.
    • Speaker: Dilip Mookherjee, Boston University
    • Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      This lecture will provide an overview of ongoing research on the role of communities and networks in economic development of India and China. By
      overcoming both market and state failures, they represent important independent drivers of the development process. The first half of the
      lecture will focus on the role of communities defined by social or geographic proximity in explaining variations in the pace and direction of industrial
      entrepreneurship in mid-19th century India and contemporary China. The second half will examine the role of economic and political networks in
      agricultural development and rural inequality in West Bengal villages, and the scope for harnessing local networks to improve targeting of rural development programs.
  • Behavioral Bargaining.
    • Speaker: Yoram Halevy,, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto
    • Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018.
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      This paper investigates what constitutes a reference point in a bargaining environment and how it affects bargaining outcomes. An ultimatum game experiment, which utilizes a novel matching protocol that facilitates fast learning and equilibrium play, is employed to empirically identify the reference points. These are uncovered by studying the comparative statics effect on equilibrium play of an exogenous floor imposed on offers. The experimental results demonstrate that when the floor is binding, responders’ conditional acceptance rates increase, and proposers’ offers decrease (up to the floor). Standard models of other-regarding or reference-dependent preferences cannot account for these findings. A bargaining model between heterogeneous loss-averse agents with simplified other-regarding concerns, whose equilibrium reference point is the highest payment agents can garner with certainty is proposed, and is shown to be consistent with the experimental results. It is suggested that common economic environments may induce similar endogenous reference points, whose effect on bargaining outcomes has not been studied systematically.

  • If People Pay for Improved Biomass Stoves, Do they Use Them More Frequently? Evidence from a Field
    Experiment in Ethiopia.

    • Speaker: Randall A. Bluffstone, Portland State University
    • Date: Friday, February 23, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room 2
    • Abstract

      This paper uses a field experiment and real-time electronic stove use monitors to evaluate over a
      period of more than one year the usage intensity and possibly also the efficacy of one of the most
      important improved biomass-burning cooking stoves promoted in rural Ethiopia. Understanding
      whether, how much and why improved stoves are used are important, because use frequency
      critically determines fuelwood and carbon sequestration benefits. We evaluate how three different
      types of monetary incentives affect usage intensity and carefully distinguish between short and
      longer-run effects. We find that distributing stoves for free is at least as effective for promoting
      longer-run adoption and use as requiring payments or offering usage incentives. We also find in
      all models that installing the stove in a separate kitchen rather than inside the main home increases
      usage.
      Key words: Field Experiment; Improved Stoves; Ethiopia.
      JEL code:C93; I12; O12; O13; Q53.
  • Whose Right Is It Anyway? Welfare Implications of Food Security Programs.
    • Speaker: Sanjukta Das, NCAER
    • Date: Friday, February 2, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      Governments worldwide implement food security programs to combat malnutrition, but there is a debate about which implementation strategy is more effective in developing countries: a universal approach, under which households of all income categories have access to the benefits of the program, or a targeted approach, under which only poor households are eligible. I address this question in the context of the world’s largest food security program, the Indian Public Distribution System (PDS). The PDS provides grains at highly subsidized rates to the poor, and the extent of targeting differs from state to state within India. This provides an ideal quasi-experimental setting in South India to analyze the impact of universal versus targeted food security programs on vulnerability to poverty using a geographic regression discontinuity design. I use household survey data from the India Human Development Survey-II (IHDS II), 2011-12, for the empirical analysis. The results indicate that a more universal approach to food security is more successful in poverty reduction, and the effects are greater for the most marginalized groups. Households use the subsidy from the PDS to make various types of risk averse investments, all of which protect them in contingencies and reduce their vulnerability to poverty. They also increase their labor supply in their primary occupation and reduce the number of casual jobs they take up, thereby reducing variability in income and making them less vulnerable to poverty. These results indicate, that not only are food security measures sufficient for poverty alleviation, but a more universal approach is more effective, at least in the context of developing countries like India..
  • Study of evolution of cooperation in a peer influence based network.
    • Speaker: Ritwik Chaudhuri, IBM Research
    • Date: Friday, January 19, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar 2
    • Abstract

      Understanding the emergence of cooperation has been a center piece of research in complex social networks. Public goods games, a well known game theoretic framework, based models are popularly utilized to understand the dynamics of human interactions in social networks. This work is a summarized study of extent of cooperation achieved using a standard model of repeated public goods game on networks using an intuitive local neighborhood based strategy (i.e. contribution to public good) update rule. These findings indicate a strong need for developing models that capture more pragmatic traits of the evolution of cooperation in complex social networks. To address this research gap, in this work, a novel peer influence aware network-based public goods game model is proposed to effectively explain the evolution of cooperation while simultaneously considering the following pragmatic aspects: network of agents, discrete contribution levels, peer influence on the choice of contribution, rewards, punishments, and dynamic partner selection. Extensive experiments on synthetic data as well as real world social network data using the proposed model demonstrate the emergence of cooperation in social networks more elegantly than certain well known models in the literature.
  • Priority Rules in Project Allocation.
    • Speaker: Madhav Raghavan, HEC, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
    • Date: Friday, January 12, 2018.
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      We consider a model in which projects are to be assigned to agents based on their preferences, and where projects have capacities, i.e., can each be assigned to a minimum and maximum number of agents. The extreme cases of our model are the social choice model (the same project is assigned to all agents) and the house allocation model (each project is assigned to at most one agent). We show that, with general capacities, an allocation rule satisfies strategy-proofness, group-non-bossiness, limited influence, unanimity, and neutrality, if and only if it is a strong serial priority rule. A strong serial priority rule is a natural extension of a dictatorial rule (from the social choice model) and a serial priority rule (from the house allocation model). Our result thus provides a bridge between the characterisations in Gibbard (1973, “Manipulation of voting schemes: A general result”, Econometrica, 41, 587-601), Satterthwaite (1975, “Strategy-proofness and Arrow’s Conditions: Existence and correspondence theorems for voting procedures and social welfare functions”, Journal of Economic Theory, 10, 187-216) and Svensson (1999, “Strategy-proof allocation of indivisible goods”, Social Choice and Welfare, 16, 557-567). We will also characterise the larger class of rules formed when the axioms of group-nonbossiness and limited influence are weakened.
  • Credit Risk: Simple Closed Form Approximate Maximum Likelihood Estimator.
    • Speaker: Sandeep Juneja, TIFR
    • Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2018.
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      We consider discrete default intensity based and logit type reduced form models for conditional default probabilities for corporate
      loans where we develop simple closed form approximations to the maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) when the underlying covariates follow a
      stationary Gaussian process. In a practically reasonable asymptotic regime where the default probabilities are small, say $1-3\%$ annually, the number
      of firms and the time period of data available is reasonably large, we rigorously show that the proposed estimator behaves similarly or slightly
      worse than the MLE when the underlying model is correctly specified. For more realistic case of model misspecification, both estimators are seen to
      be equally good, or equally bad! Further, beyond a point, both are more-or-less insensitive to increase in data. These conclusions are
      validated on empirical and simulated data. The proposed approximations should also have applications outside finance, where logit-type models are
      used and probabilities of interest are small.
  • Advertising strategy in the presence of reviews: an empirical analysis.
    • Speaker: Sridhar Moorthy, University of Toronto
    • Date: Wednesday, November 8, 2017. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM. (Unusal Time)
    • Venue: Auditorium Hall
    • Abstract

      Over the last fifteen years or so, one of the major developments online has been the growth and proliferation of review websites such as TripAdvisor. The ready availability of independent information from past users poses interesting questions for marketing strategy. What role does advertising play in the new environment? How should firms adjust their advertising strategy to the presence of reviews? In this paper we address these questions in the context of the hotel industry. Using a data set of TripAdvisor hotel reviews and another describing hotels’ advertising expenditures, we show, first, that overall ad spending decreased from 2002 to 2015, suggesting that online reviews have had the effect of displacing advertising. Second, in the cross-section, there is a negative causal relationship between TripAdvisor ratings and advertising spending: as ratings go up, ad spending goes down. This suggests that user ratings and advertising are substitutes, not complements. Third, this relationship is stronger for independent hotels than for chains, and stronger in competitive markets than in noncompetitive markets. The former suggests that a strong brand name provides some immunity to reviews, and the latter suggests that when user ratings fail to differentiate, advertising might do so. Finally, we show that the relationship between user ratings and advertising has strengthened over time, as websites such as TripAdvisor have become more influential. This provides further confirmation that the effect of online ratings on advertising operates through the demand side, and not the supply side. Hotels seem to react to reviews if and only if consumers react to them.
  • Culture & Market: A (Macroeconomic) Tale of Two Institutions.
    • Speaker: Mausumi Das, Delhi School of Economics.
    • Date: Friday, November 3, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      This paper explores the macroeconomic implications of cultural transmission of occupational traits. Certain occupations in the society are associated with strong collective spirit and are delivered best by agents who are motivated towards these. The degree of motivation of an agent in turn depends on intergenerational transmission of values and beliefs, working through a socialization process with the parental generation. Through socialization, a young agents picks up some traits which makes her predisposed towards a particular occupation. The acquired cultural trait interacts with the market wages to determine the actual occupational choice. The occupational choice of the parent in turn affects the cultural transmission process by limiting the time available for socialization with their children. We show that the two-way interaction between culture and market may generate complex dynamics resulting in endogenous fluctuations in output accompanied by oscillatory growth. 
  • IPR and Organization of Knowledge.
    • Speaker: Pavel Chakraborty, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    • Date: Friday, October 27, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract
       
  • Petty Services, Profit-Led Growth and Rural-Urban Migration in a Developing Economy.
    • Speaker: Gogol Mitra Thakur, Ambedkar University
    • Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017. 
    • Time: 03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      In this paper we develop a dual economy model consisting of a formal urban manufacturing sector and an informal urban service sector. Urban labour supply depends on rural- urban migration. The formal sector is a typical Kaleckian sector whereas the informal sector is a flex-price sector which residually employs urban labour force as self employed. Long-run dynamics results from wage determination and capital accumulation in the formal sector and growth of urban labour force due to rural-urban migration. We show that the economy can converge to a steady steady state where the two urban sectors grow at the same rate as an endogenously determined growth rate of urban labour force if growth regime in the formal sector is profit led. An implication of the model is that both deterioration of rural infrastructure and improvements in urban infrastructure, to the extent they can speed up rural-urban migration, can increase growth rate of the formal sector as well as share of the informal sector in urban employment.
  • Know When to Run: Making Recommendations in Crowdsourcing Contests.
    • Speaker: Sumit Sarkar, University of Texas at Dallas
    • Date: Friday, October 13, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 01:00 PM
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Crowdsourcing contests have emerged as an innovative way for firms to solve business problems by acquiring ideas from participants external to the firm. As the number of participants on crowdsourcing contest platforms has increased, so has the number of tasks that are open at any time. This has made it difficult for solvers to identify good tasks to participate in. We present a framework to recommend tasks to solvers who wish to participate in crowdsourcing contests. The existence of competition among solvers is an important and unique aspect of this environment, and our framework explicitly considers the competition that a solver would face in each open task. We leverage existing theory to identify different solver, task, and platform characteristics that could impact a solver’s winning probability, and show how probability prediction models can be adapted to this context. Recommendations are made based on the probability or expected payoff of the solver winning an open task. We validate our approach using data available from a real crowdsourcing platform. The recommender system is shown to have the potential of improving the success rates of solvers across all abilities. We find that the relative rankings of tasks that are at similar stages of their timelines remain remarkably consistent when the tasks close. Further, we show that deploying such a system should benefit not only the solvers but also the seekers and the platform itself.
  • Coincident Indicators and Forecasting in Economics using EEDM Analysis: A Study of the IIP
    • Speaker: Manoj Pant, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    • Date: Friday, October 6, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 01:00 PM
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Many phenomena in natural and social sciences requires analysis of time series data to draw inferences about their possible future behavior. In Economics, time series analysis is frequently applied in the context of expected future course of economic activity, for example, movements in GDP, predicting recessionary cycles and so on. Research organisations have built huge macro models which are very data intensive and involve a lot of assumptions on elasticities and aspects of the macro economy to forecast into the long run. However, for small business organisations what is more important is short run estimation and forecasting with limited data requirements. Currently, the latter task is performed using various statistical techniques which are largely linear in approach,are dependent on the choice of the start-end period and have low statistical reliability. This study uses the EEMD (Ensemble Empirical Mode De-composition)  approach which is not constrained by these defects. As an illustration, the Indian IIP series is used to develop a  coincident indicator of movements in IIP which is simple to use, uses real time data and gives accurate forecasts.Key words: Time Series, Leading Indicators, Forecasting ModelsJEL Listing: C22, E32, E37, C53
  • Urbanization, Structural Transformation and Rural-Urban Disparities in China and India.
    • Speaker: Amartya Lahiri, University of British Columbia & CAFRAL
    • Date: Friday, September 15, 2017. 
    • Time: 02:30 PM
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Over the past three decades India and China have experienced rapid economic growth along with structural transformation. Underneath the overall similarity however was one significant difference: rural-urban wage gaps declined in India, but widened in China. In both countries, the majority of these wage dynamics are left unexplained by worker attributes. We formalize a two -sector-two-location model in which structural transformation and urbanization respond endogenously to productivity shocks. While the structural transformation effect widens the urban-rural wage gap, the urbanization effect reduces it, allowing the model to account for wage convergence in India and wage divergence in China. 
  • Mutual Fund Flows and Fund’s Strategic Behavior When Investors Are Inattentive.
    • Speaker: Apoorva Javadekar, CAFRAL. 
    • Date: Thursday, September 7, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      The paper builds on a simple yet novel idea that the way investors react to the recent mutual fund performance depends largely upon the long-term historical performance of that fund. In particular, I find that investors
      react more actively to the fund’s recent performance in case of the funds with good performance history. I show that these effects are strongest for funds which are likely to attract attentive investors such as funds having
      more visibility or funds with high entry loads. Next, I show that investors who are less responsive to the fund performance are also less responsive to the changes in fund fees which suggest that \textit{investor inattention}
      rather than any other rational decision-making process that explains the sluggish capital flows. I build a model which shows how the concentration of attentive investors within fund rise with the historical performance
      which feeds into more reactive capital flows. I provide evidence that mutual funds are aware of the varying degree of investor responsiveness and they adjust their pricing and portfolio risk to maximize the revenue.

       

  • Coalition Formation and History Dependence.
    • Speaker: Bhaskar Dutta, University of Warwick and Ashoka University. 
    • Date: Friday, September 01, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Farsighted formulations of coalitional formation, for instance by Harsanyi (1974) and Ray and Vohra(2015), have typically been based on the von Neumann- Morgenstern (1944) stable set. These farsighted stable sets use a notion of indirect dominance in which an outcome can be dominated by a chain of coalitional ‘moves’ in which each coalition that is involved in the sequence eventually stands to gain. Dutta and Vohra(2016) point out that these solution concepts do not require coalitions to make optimal moves. Hence, these solution concepts can yield unreasonable predictions. Dutta and Vohra (2016) restricted coalitions to hold common, history independent expectations that incorporate optimality regarding the continuation path. This paper extends the Dutta-Vohra analysis by allowing for history dependent expectations. The paper provides characterization results for two solution concepts corresponding to two versions of optimality. It demonstrates the power of history dependence by establishing non emptyness results for all finite games as well as transferable utility partition function
      games. The paper also provides partial comparisons of the solution concepts to other solutions.

       

  • Evaluating Strategic Forecasters.
    • Speaker: Rahul Deb, University of Toronto. 
    • Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2017. 
    • Time: 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Motivated by the question of how one should evaluate professional election
      forecasters, we study a novel dynamic mechanism design problem without transfers. A
      principal who wishes to hire only high quality forecasters is faced with an agent of unknown
      quality. The agent privately observes signals about a publicly observable future
      event, and may strategically misrepresent information to inflate the principal’s perception
      of his quality. We show that the optimal deterministic mechanism is simple and easy to
      implement in practice: it evaluates a single, optimally timed prediction. We study the generality
      of this result and its robustness to randomization and noncommitment.

      KEYWORDS: dynamic mechanism design, mechanism design without transfers, forecasting,
      learning, election predictions.

      JEL CLASSIFICATION: D82, D83, D86.
       

  • Jati inequality in rural India.
    • Speaker: Nishtha Kochhar, Georgetown University. 
    • Date: Friday, August 18, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Caste is a persistent driver of inequality in India. Identification of vulnerable groups within the caste system however, is challenging. Policy-makers and large surveys typically use broad groupings that aggregate the most disadvantaged groups. In everyday life however, caste is lived and experienced as jati, which is a local system of stratification. Little is known about economic inequality at the jati-level. We use a rich source data from poor districts in three states of India to explore inequality at the level of broad caste groups as well as jatis. Though there are considerable regional variations, we find that total inequality in all three states is largely driven by inequality within, rather than between, groups. Moreover, overall inequality is driven by differences within jatis, rather than differences between jatis. This has implications for the implementation of large-scale poverty alleviation programs: we see that the benefits of programs that are targeted to the lowest castes are actually concentrated among specific jatis.

       

  • Cognitive, Socioemotional, and Behavioral Returns to College Quality.
    • Speaker: Subha Mani, Fordham University. 
    • Date: Friday, August 04, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      We exploit the variation in the admissions cutoffs across colleges of a leading Indian university in a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the causal effects of enrolling in a selective college on: cognitive attainment, behavioral preferences, and Big Five personality. We find that enrolling in a selective college improves only females’ exam scores. Further, marginally admitted females in selective colleges become less overconfident and less risk averse while males in selective colleges experience a decline in extraversion and conscientiousness. Higher attendance rates among females explain the gender differences in returns to better college and peer environment.

       

  • Poverty and Migration in the Digital Age: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking in Bangladesh.
    • Speaker: Jonathan Morduch, NYU 
    • Date: Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      We experimentally estimate the impacts of mobile banking in a sample of rural households in northern Bangladesh paired to family members working in Dhaka. The treatment substantially increased the adoption and use of mobile banking accounts, which were used actively to send and receive remittances. Rural households reduced borrowing levels, increased savings on the extensive margin, and experienced significant and substantial positive impacts on health, education and agricultural productivity. Treatment households that were hit by negative agricultural productivity shocks were better insured than those in the control group, and we find a similar result for health shocks when the migrant worker is not simultaneously hit by a negative health shock. Positive agricultural productivity shocks are also exploited more in treatment households. Taken together, the results suggest that mobile money facilitates insurance. For migrant workers, we find increases in formal employment, particularly in garment work, and decreases in self-reported health status which may reflect longer work hours in the garments sector. Savings on the extensive margin also increase among migrant workers while poverty decreases. Overall, the results suggest that mobile banking adoption increases the welfare of rural households but has mixed effects on the welfare of migrant workers.

       

  • On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: New Evidence on Abortion, Fertility, and Parental Investments.
    • Speaker: S Anukriti, Boston College  
    • Date: Friday, July 21, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      The introduction of prenatal sex-detection technologies in India has led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. We investigate their impact on son-biased fertility stopping behavior, parental investments in girls relative to boys, and the relative chances of girls surviving after birth. We find a moderation of son-biased fertility, erosion of gender gaps in breastfeeding and immunization, and complete convergence in the under-5 mortality rates of boys and girls. For every three aborted girls, we estimate that roughly one additional girl survives to age five. Our findings have implications not only for counts of missing girls but also for the later life outcomes of girls, conditioned by greater early life investments in them.

       

  • Surprise in Elections.
    • Speaker: Swaprava Nath, Carnegie Mellon University 
    • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      In real elections, we often encounter scenarios where a sizable part
      of the voting population is surprised after the results are disclosed.
      Reasons that are usually held responsible are media biases and voters’
      personal observations — which collectively lead to a voter’s
      perception of a winner. When there is a difference between this
      perception and the true collective opinion, surprises happen. In this
      ongoing work, we develop a model of the voter’s generation and social
      connection model and show that if a voter’s estimate of the connection
      probability crosses a certain threshold, she is surprised with high
      probability and that surprise is a phenomenon of a closely contested
      election. Using this model, we can also compare the performance of the
      standard voting rules in terms of the probability of surprise.
      Finally, we run experiments with the UK EU referendum (Brexit) dataset
      with realistic voter perception models to illustrate our conclusions.

       

  • Does Regulation distort Costs? Reassessing evidence from the US Electricity Industry.
    • Speaker: Kanishka Kacker , World Bank.  
    • Date: Monday, May 29, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Over the past two decades, the US electricity sector has seen a vast amount of regulatory change, from narrow incentive based regulation to full scale deregulation, in an effort to improve efficiency. Such regulations are typically downstream. Using contract level data on a set of power plant-coal mine transactions, I find such regulatory interventions, including deregulation, by themselves play a minor role in determining upstream behavior. Instead, private contractual arrangements between plants and mines are decisive. Although influenced by regulatory regimes, these arrangements also protect specific investments, reflect relational adaptation and safeguard against transaction complexity. Regulatory distortion, in terms of coal procurement, appears quite limited.

       

  • Insurance contracts with competitive pooling.
    • Speaker: Pradeep Dubey , Stony Brook University.  
    • Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (Unusal Day)
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

       

  • ​Has Money Lost Its Relevance? Resolving the Exchange Rate Disconnect Puzzle in the Small, Open Economies.
    • Speaker: Soumya Suvra Bhadury , National Council of Applied Economics Research.  
    • Date: Friday, May 19, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      The objective of this study is to identify the monetary policy shock causing exchange rate fluctuations in the economies of India, Poland and the UK. For this purpose, an open-economy structural vector autoregression model is utilised, while resorting to data covering the period 2000-2015. The model used in the paper is appropriate for the small, open economies being analysed here as it facilitates estimation of theoretically correct and significant responses in terms of the price, output, and exchange rate to monetary policy tightening. The importance of monetary policy shock is established by examining the variance decomposition of forecast error, impulse response function, and out-of-sample forecast. The model also allows for the precise measurement of money through the adoption of a new monetary measure, namely, aggregation–theoretic Divisia monetary aggregate, which is superior to other comparable models such as ‘no-money’, simple-sum monetary aggregates. The empirical results lead to three critical findings. Firstly, it is imperative to consider the estimated responses of output, prices, money and exchange rate to monetary policy shocks in models using monetary aggregates. Secondly, the incorporation of Divisia money in monetary policy helps in explaining fluctuations in the exchange rate. Thirdly, the inclusion of Divisia money also promotes better out-of-sample forecasting of the exchange rate.

      Keywords: Monetary policy, Monetary aggregates, Divisia, Structural VAR, Exchange rate overshooting, Liquidity puzzle, Price puzzle, Exchange rate disconnect puzzle, Forward discount bias puzzle

      JEL classification: C32, E41, E51, E52, F31, F41, F47

       

  • The Business of Religion and Caste in India.
    • Speaker: Manaswini Bhalla, IIM Bangalore 
    • Date: Friday, May 5, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Class Room No. 14
    • Abstract

      We show that boards of directors of large Indian firms are characterized by high
      levels of cultural proximity, with members on a board belonging overwhelmingly
      to the same religion or caste. Using a unique database of self-reported religions
      and caste from matrimonial websites, we develop a novel methodology to proba-
      bilistically map individuals’ last names to religions and castes. We also develop a
      new homophily index to measure cultural proximity of board members. Results
      show few signs of increase in cultural diversity on boards during 1999-2012. Modest
      heterogeneity exists across firms, sectors, and states, however. Better performing
      firms have more diverse boards. Board diversity also increased in sectors and states
      that witnessed the largest increases in output. Rigorous instrument variable analysis demonstrates that
      lack of diversity on boards is causally associated with lower firm performance.

       

  • Effects of information on energy related choices: Experimental evidence from rural Uttar Pradesh and Kerala.
    • Speaker: P.P. Krishnapriya, Delhi School of Economics 
    • Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Class Room 14
    • Abstract

      This paper studies the effects of information on households’ choices of fuels and appliances using data collected from a field experiment conducted in rural Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. The experiment consists of a set of interventions in the form of information campaigns which provides households with information regarding benefits and costs of using various cooking and lighting fuels, and energy related appliances. Furthermore, the information given to households differed in the mode of dissemination and recipient of information. I use propensity score matching with difference-in-differences to estimate the impact of information on choice of fuels and appliances used by households. Results suggest that households are more responsive to information about lighting alternatives than cooking alternatives. Increase in adoption of pressure cooker and improved stoves are witnessed only for households in Kerala where females were given information.

       

  • Corruption in the Supreme Court of India.
    • Speaker: Madhav S Aney , Singapore Management University  
    • Date: Friday, April 28, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      We investigate whether judicial decisions are affected by career concerns of judges by analysing two questions: Do judges respond to pandering incentives by ruling in favour of the government in the hope of receiving jobs after retiring from the Court? Does the government actually reward judges who ruled in its favour with prestigious jobs? To answer these questions we construct a dataset of all Supreme Court of India cases involving the government from 1999 till 2014, with an indicator for whether the decision was in its favour or not. We find that pandering incentives have a causal effect on judicial decision-making. The exposure of a judge to pandering incentives in a case is jointly determined by 1) whether the case is salient (exogenously determined by a system of random allocation of cases) and 2) whether the judge retires with enough time left in a government’s term to be rewarded with a prestigious job (date of retirement is exogenously determined by law to be their 65th birthday). We find that pandering occurs through through the more active channel of writing favourable judgements rather than passively being on a bench that decides a case in favour of the government. Furthermore, we find that deciding in favour of the government is positively associated with both the likelihood and the speed with which judges are appointed to prestigious post-Supreme Court jobs. These findings suggest the presence of corruption in the form government influence over judicial decision-making that seriously undermines judicial independence.

       

  • Distribution Costs, Product Quality, and Cross-Country Income Differences.
    • Speaker: Kunal Dasgupta, University of Toronto  
    • Date: Friday, April 21, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      We document that the efficiency of trade distribution systems have an important export country specific component: all else equal, wealthier countries have smaller but more frequent export shipments. A model of distribution and trade reveals that (i) this outcome is consistent with wealthier countries having lower per-shipment export costs and (ii) these lower costs give wealthier countries a comparative advantage in high quality products. Using the model’s structure, we estimate export per-shipment costs for a sample of 74 countries. We find that these costs vary widely across countries, with the 90th percentile value of per-shipment costs being almost three times larger than the 10th percentile value. A calibrated version of the model that incorporates these cost estimates reveals that cross-country differences in the efficiency of export distribution systems explain almost forty percent of the observed cross country differences in income, and almost one quarter of the elasticity of export prices with respect to countries’ per capita income. It also shows that policies that reduce export shipment costs lead to significant welfare gains, mainly due to induced quality upgrading.
       
  • Dynamic Tax Competition, Home Bias and the gain from Non-preferential Taxation Regimes: A case for unilateral commitment.
    • Speaker: Kaushal Kishore, University of Pretoria  
    • Date: Friday, April 7, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      In a dynamic two-period model of tax competition, where an investor has home bias for the country where he/she invests in the initial period, we show that a country has an incentive to unilaterally commit to a nonpreferential taxation strategy even when the competitor follows a preferential taxation strategy. The result is novel as it is considered that when two countries compete to attract foreign capital, both countries have incentives to adopt a preferential taxation strategy and competing countries can only do better if they jointly commit to a non-preferential taxation regime.

      JEL classiÖcation: F21; H21; H25; H87
      Keywords: Dynamic Tax Competition; Non-preferential regime; Preferential regime; Home Bias.

       

  • The Role of Political Activists in Clientelistic Settings: Evidence from an Indian Public Works Program.
    • Speaker: Vidhya Soundararajan, IIM Bangalore.  
    • Date: Friday, 31 March, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 PM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      In a setting of clientelistic politics where ruling politicians make preferential transfers to bolster political support, our model introduces a new voter identity: political activists who are influential and potentially change the political allegiance of other voters. Do politicians now offer transfers only to target swing voters who choose political affiliation when presented with transfers, or also to “convert” activists and indirectly influence others? Using novel household data, we provide first empirical evidence on this from the implementation of a decentralized workfare program, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in India. Exploiting the timing of our survey which uniquely captures household political affiliation before they received work under the program, our results show that while political leaders target rival-party affiliates and unaffiliated electors as expected, leaders also preferentially target activists, particularly in areas where citizen involvement in politics is less common. Our results are robust to addressing potential sample-selection issues, as well the various definitions of “activism” itself.

       

  • Earning Risks, Parental Schooling Investment, And Old-Age Income Support From Children.
    • Speaker: Alok Kumar, University of Victoria, Canada  
    • Date: Friday, 24 March, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 PM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Old-age income support is an important motive for parents to invest in the schooling of their children in developing countries. At the time parents choose schooling (human capital) investment for their children, both the parental future income and the return from schooling are uncertain. This paper analyzes the effects of parental income risk and human capital investment risk on the parental choice of schooling investment. It finds that effects of these risks on schooling investment depends on whether the old-age income support is state-contingent (i.e. depends on the realizations of incomes of parents and children). When the income support is state-contingent, increasing parental income risk (human capital investment risk) has a positive (negative) effect on schooling investment. However, when the income support is not state-contingent, effects of these two types of risks may get reversed. Income assistance to parents can increase schooling investment.

       

  • Wheels of power: Long-term effects of a one time targeted program.
    • Speaker: Shabana Mitra, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore  
    • Date: Friday, 17 March, 2017. 
    • Time: 11:30 PM – 1:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 2
    • Abstract

      Expansion of opportunities for the female child may impact her aspirations given the prevailing social norms. Furthermore, the new social equilibrium arising from this expansion feeds back into the social norms. We develop a theory that embeds these features to motivate our empirical analysis. We study the long-term rather than the immediate effect of a one-time targeted transfer to school going girls: the cycle program in the Indian state of Bihar that began in 2006. We use novel survey data for 10,000 girls and boys in three states- Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Using a triple-differences framework we find a girl with a cycle is more likely to complete school (22.9%) or college (5%) compared to a girl who did not get the cycle. We also found that girls with cycle are 4.1% less likely to be working in agriculture. Girls with cycles are more likely to report not getting permission to work outside and not finding suitable work as the main reason for not working. a and more likely to report not having permission to work and not finding suitable work as reason for not working. These findings together suggest a change in their aspirations but also highlight the need for follow-through policies to remove the additional bottlenecks.
       
  • Frequency Based Analysis of Voting Rules..
    • Speaker: Swarnendu Chatterjee., Maastricht university  
    • Date: Wednesday, 15 March, 2017. 
    • Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM.
    • Venue: Seminar Room No. 1
    • Abstract

      The issue here is on anonymous collective decision making in large electorates, where voters’ preferences over the candidates may be quite diverse, along with having some coherence. We study consequences of this coherence by modelling voters’ preference combinations, by frequency distributions. In particular we consider unimodal distributions, where coherence is concentrated around one mode. We show that at unimodal distributions considered here, many well-known collective decision rules choose the mode as outcome. Further, we discuss a set of sufficient conditions for a rule to assign the mode at a unimodal distribution. We check sensitivity of the property of choosing the mode for decision rules –Condorcet-consistent, Borda and plurality, when allowed for small perturbations in the tail of the distribution. This paper includes analysis on multimodal distributions resulting from superposing multiple unimodal distributions.