Returns to Education in China.

Using various estimation techniques, a new GLO Discussion Paper finds that returns to education in China experienced a slight decrease in 2010-2015, but reverted back in 2017. University education remained to have higher returns than those to secondary or compulsory education.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 787, 2021

“Study hard and make progress every day”: Updates on returns to education in China Download PDF
by
Chen, Jie & Pastore, Francesco

GLO Fellow Francesco Pastore and GLO Affiliate Jie Chen

Author Abstract: In this paper, we apply Generalized Propensity Score matching (GPSM) method, which deals with a continuous treatment variable, to estimate the returns to education in China from 2010 to 2017. Results are compared with OLS estimates from the classical Mincerian equation, as well as estimates from two instrumental variable methods (i.e., 2SLS and Lewbel). We use the Chinese General Social Survey data, including a subset newly released in 2020. We find that returns to education in China experienced a slight decrease in 2010-2015, but reverted back in 2017. With the more flexible GPSM method, we also find that returns to university education remain higher than returns to secondary or compulsory education. The GPSM estimates are also closer to OLS estimates, compared to both instrumental variable methods.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Call for Participation & Abstracts: 35th EBES Conference; April 7-9, 2021, Rome, Italy. Submission Deadline March 12!

Interested researchers are cordially invited to submit their abstracts or papers for presentation consideration. The 35th EBES Conference – Rom/Italy will take place on April 7-9, 2021 co-organized with the Faculty of Economics Sapienza, University of Rome. (Online/Virtual Presentation Only)

This is a GLO supported event. EBES is the Eurasia Business and Economics Society, a strategic partner and institutional supporter of GLO. GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann is also President of EBES.

Invited Speakers

EBES is pleased to announce that distinguished colleagues Euston Quah, Dorothea Schäfer, and M. Kabir Hassan will join the conference as the invited editors and/or the keynote speakers.

Euston Quah is the Albert Winsemius Chair Professor and head of the Department of Economics at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). He is a prolific writer with publications in well-known international journals such as World Development, Applied Economics, Environment and Planning, Journal of Environmental Management, International Review of Law and Economics, Journal of Economics, Journal of Public Economic Theory, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, among others, and 6 books. He is the editor of the Singapore Economic Review (SSCI). He is also the President of Economic Society of Singapore and Adjunct Principal Research Fellow at IPS (National University of Singapore). His areas of expertise are environmental economics, resource allocation and cost-benefit analysis, law and economics and household economics.

Dorothea Schäfer is the Research Director of Financial Markets at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and Adjunct Professor of Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University. She has also worked as an evaluator for the European Commission, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Chairwoman of Evaluation Committee for LOEWE (Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz des Bundeslandes Hessen). She managed various research projects supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the EU Commission, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the Stiftung Geld und Währung. Her researches were published in various journals such as Journal of Financial Stability; German Economic Review; International Journal of Money and Finance; and Small Business Economics. She is regularly invited as an expert in parliamentary committees, including the Finance Committee of the Bundestag and gives lectures on financial market issues in Germany and abroad. She is also a member of the Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief of the policy-oriented journal “Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung” and Editor-in-Chief of Eurasian Economic Review. Her research topics include financial crisis, financial market regulation, financing constraints, gender, and financial markets, financial transaction tax.

M. Kabir Hassan is Professor of Finance and Hibernia Professor of Economics and Finance at University of New Orleans (USA), where he holds three endowed Chairs. He has consulting, research and teaching experiences in development finance, money and capital markets, Islamic finance, corporate finance, investments, monetary economics, macroeconomics, Islamic banking and finance, and international trade and finance. Prof. Hassan has been recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award by UNO Research Council in 2019. Prof. Hassan is the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Finance and Management, Senior Editor of International Journal of Emerging Markets and Associate Editor of Review of International Business and Finance, International Review of Economics and Finance, and Pacific-Basin Finance Journal. He has guest edited special issues of many journals as well.

Executive Board
Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, & GLO.
Prof. Jonathan Batten, University Utara Malaysia, Malaysia & GLO
Prof. Iftekhar Hasan, Fordham University, U.S.A.
Prof. Euston Quah, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Prof. John Rust, Georgetown University, U.S.A., & GLO
Prof. Dorothea Schäfer, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Germany, and GLO
Prof. Marco Vivarelli, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Italy, & GLO

Abstract/Paper Submission

Authors are invited to submit their abstracts or papers no later than March 12, 2021.

For submission, please visit our website at https://ebesweb.org/35th-ebes-conference/35th-ebes-conference-rome-abstract-submissions/ no submission fee is required. General inquiries regarding the call for papers should be directed to ebes@ebesweb.org.

Publication Opportunities

Qualified papers can be published in EBES journals (Eurasian Business Review and Eurasian Economic Review) or EBES Proceedings books after a peer review process without any submission or publication fees. EBES journals (EABR and EAER) are published by Springer and both are indexed in the SCOPUS, EBSCO EconLit with Full Text, Google Scholar, ABS Academic Journal Quality Guide, CNKI, EBSCO Business Source, EBSCO Discovery Service, ProQuest International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS), OCLC WorldCat Discovery Service, ProQuest ABI/INFORM, ProQuest Business Premium Collection, ProQuest Central, ProQuest Turkey Database, ProQuest-ExLibris Primo, ProQuest-ExLibris Summon, Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, Naver, SCImago, ABDC Journal Quality List, Cabell’s Directory, and Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory. In addition, while EAER is indexed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics), EABR is indexed in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and Current Contents / Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Furthermore, the qualified papers from the conference will be published in the regular issues of Singapore Economic Review (SSCI & Scopus) and International Journal of Business and Society (ESCI & Scopus) after a fast-track review.

Also, all accepted abstracts will be published electronically in the Conference Program and the Abstract Book (with an ISBN number). Although submitting full papers are not required, all the submitted full papers will also be included in the conference proceedings in a USB. Conference program/abstract book with ISBN and conference proceedings will be available on a cloud server for participants to download as well.

After the conference, participants will also have the opportunity to send their paper to be published (after a refereeing process managed by EBES) in the Springer’s series Eurasian Studies in Business and Economics (no submission and publication fees). This is indexed by Scopus. It will also be sent to Clarivate Analytics in order to be reviewed for coverage in the Conference Proceedings Citation Index – Social Science & Humanities (CPCI-SSH). Please note that the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th (Vol. 2), 21st, and 24th EBES Conference Proceedings are accepted for inclusion in the Conference Proceedings Citation Index – Social Science & Humanities (CPCI-SSH). Other conference proceedings are in progress.

Important Dates

Conference Date: April 7-9, 2021
Abstract Submission Deadline: March 12, 2021
Reply-by: March 15, 2021*
Registration Deadline: March 26, 2021
Submission of the Virtual Presentation: March 26, 2021
Announcement of the Program: March 29, 2021
Paper Submission Deadline (Optional): March 26, 2021**
Paper Submission for the EBES journals: July 15, 2021

* The decision regarding the acceptance/rejection of each abstract/paper will be communicated with the corresponding author within a week of submission.

** Completed paper submission is optional. If you want to be considered for the Best Paper Award or your full paper to be included in the conference proceedings in the USB, after submitting your abstract before March 26, 2021, you must also submit your completed (full) paper by March 26, 2021.

Contact
Ugur Can, Director of EBES (ebes@ebesweb.org)
Dr. Ender Demir, Conferene Coordinator of EBES (demir@ebesweb.org)

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News: Pedro Martins on ‘Employer Collusion and Employee Training’ and Marco Vivarelli on ‘May AI Revolution be Labour-friendly?’.

The GLO Virtual Seminar is a monthly internal GLO research event chaired by GLO Director Matloob Piracha and hosted by the GLO partner institution University of Kent. The results are available on the GLO website and the GLO News section, where also the video of the presentation is posted. All GLO related videos are also available in the GLO YouTube channel. (To subscribe go there.)

Open to GLO members and invited guests, the next seminar is:
March 5, 2021 (Friday); 1-2 pm London/UK time:
Marco Vivarelli (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and GLO) on:
“May AI revolution be labour-friendly? Some micro evidence from the supply side”
Invitations with online links will be mailed in time.


The last seminar was given on February 5, 2021, London/UK at 1-2 pm, by Pedro Martins, Queen Mary University of London and GLO on Employer collusion and employee training. Below find a report and the video of the seminar.

Report

Employer Collusion and Employee Training

GLO Virtual Seminar on February 5, 2021

Pedro Martins, Queen Mary University of London and GLO

Video of Seminar. Presentation slides.

Based on joint work with Jonathan P. Thomas, University of Edinburgh.

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Gender differences in the skill content of jobs

A new paper published online in the Journal of Population Economics finds that women use their cognitive skills less than men even within the same occupation; but there is no evidence of workplace discrimination against women.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 002-Cover-Page-JPopEa.jpg

Gender differences in the skill content of jobs
by Rita Pető & Balázs Reizer

Published ONLINE FIRST 2021: Journal of Population Economics OPEN ACCESS.

Author Abstract: There is significant heterogeneity in actual skill use within occupations even though occupations are differentiated by the task workers should perform during work. Using data on 12 countries which are available both in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies survey and International Social Survey Program, we show that women use their cognitive skills less than men even within the same occupation. The gap in skill intensity cannot be explained by differences in worker characteristics or in cognitive skills. Instead, we show that living in a partnership significantly increases the skill use of men compared with women. We argue that having a partner affects skill use through time allocation as the gender penalty of partnered women is halved once we control for working hours and hours spent on housework. Finally, we do not find evidence of workplace discrimination against women.

Journal of Population Economics
Access to the recently published Volume 34, Issue 2, April 2021.
Workshop presentation of key articles with full video.

LEAD ARTICLE OF ISSUE 2, 2021:
Measuring gender attitudes using list experiments
by M. Niaz Asadullah, Elisabetta De Cao, Fathema Zhura Khatoon, and Zahra Siddique
OPEN ACCESS: Free ReadlinkDownload PDF

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Political economy of labour market institutions in a globalised era

A new GLO Discussion Paper extends the literature on the political economy of labour market institutions by developing a framework in which owners of capital can benefit from both greater labour market flexibility and better rule of law.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Sumon Bhaumik

GLO Discussion Paper No. 786, 2021

Political economy of labour market institutions in a globalised era Download PDF
by
Bhaumik, Sumon Kumar & Frensch, Richard & Huber, Stephan

GLO Fellow Sumon Bhaumik

Author Abstract: The paper extends the literature on the political economy of labour market institutions by developing a framework in which owners of capital can benefit from both greater labour market flexibility and better rule of law. Their choice of location of manufacturing centres can, therefore, by influenced both by reduction in expropriation that is associated with better rule of law and greater bargaining power vis-à-vis workers by way of greater labour market flexibility. It follows that where owners of capital are better placed to influence government choices of these institutions, labour market flexibility is influenced by both labour market institutions intensity of exports and as well as rule of law intensity of exports. These predictions are borne out by a cross-country empirical analysis.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Israel’s vaccination success story. Interview with Professor Gil S. Epstein, Bar Ilan University.

Israel is the front-runner in the global race for jabs. Its success story is a mixture of a competitive government move and efficient local management. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been the company responsible for the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Israel. It is the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer and the largest provider of healthcare products and services in the Israeli market. Placed in the middle of the small country, it has the capacity to store and hold the BionNTech – Pfizer vaccine developed in Mainz/Germany at a temperature of -70 C°. Their cars can leave in the morning and be at any point in Israel at a maximum of 4 hours. And there are forthcoming important elections….. While Europe remains slow, Israel’s public life starts again and the pandemic is expected to be soon under control. GLO Fellow Gil S. Epstein of Bar-Ilan University shares some background information and insights in the interview provided below.

Cars are back & the lights are on

Gil S. Epstein in the streets of Tel Aviv on February 25

Some core messages of the interview below:

  • Israel is a small country with very efficient medical organizations that can execute the vaccinations fast all over the country.
  • The older population has seen the large benefits of vaccinations, and there was an effective and strong public campaign introducing the mission.
  • There is a lot of pressure to open stores and go back to work.
  • The groups left to be vaccinated are the young assuming a low risk of mortality and those fearing negative side effects.
  • A green passport for all with a second vaccination was established. This enables going to concerts and shopping; going to work might be limited to those with such a document.
  • The role of scientists is crucial.
  • Incentives play a very important role.


GLO Fellow Gil S. Epstein is a Professor of Economics and Dean of Social Science at Bar-Ilan University, GLO Country Lead Israel, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics. He was already vaccinated against COVID-19 twice some time ago and carries a green passport. His fields of interest are labor economics, migration and political economy.

Interview

GLO: Why is Israel now by far the global front-runner in the vaccination race?

Gil S. Epstein: The main reason seems to be twofold: Obtaining a large number of vaccines and efficient distribution. Israel is a relatively small country with just over a population of nine million people. Israel obtained a large number of vaccinations in a short period of time. Israel signed a contract with Pfizer to provide them with data regarding the vaccinated population and this seems to be the reason why we were able to obtain so many vaccinations and so fast. Israel is a small country with very efficient medical organizations that can execute the vaccinations fast all over the country. Pfizer couldn’t ask for better conditions to test their vaccination. This gave them the incentive to provide Israel with the number of vaccinations needed.

GLO: What explains the initial dramatic speed of the vaccine campaign, luck or special Israeli factors?

Gil S. Epstein: The first vaccinations were given to the elderly. Those in the high-risk groups. Those that know that the probability of catching the virus with a high mortality rate is high. Elderly people that want to meet their kids and grand-kids want to be vaccinated. They understood that even if there are long run risks from taking the vaccination, the expected quality of life will increase by being vaccinated. Add to this a strong public campaign where the Prime Minister, the President and many other important people had their vaccination live on TV. The media talked about the benefits, and how this will change the life of those getting vaccinated.

GLO: It seems that the corona crisis is over: Shops are opening, strategy or just caused by pressure from the public?

Gil S. Epstein: The crisis is not over. There is a lot of pressure to open stores and go back to work. The data show that those who have received two vaccinations have a very low probability of becoming sick. We have had three lockdowns and small businesses are not doing well. The government issued a green passport for all those who have had two vaccinations. Most of the shops and businesses will, by law, only serve those that have the green passport and this decreases the probability of being sick and increases the incentive to get vaccinated. This week we had for the first time in a long-time live shows and concerts for those having the green passport with a limited number of attendants. In addition, the upcoming elections (in one-month) provide incentives to move forward.

GLO: Israel has seen a drop in immunization rates since making the vaccine available to everyone recently. Who are the anti-vaxxers and will this endanger reaching herd immunity soon?

Gil S. Epstein: We have seen a drop in the immunization rate. The reason for this is that those in the high risk group have been vaccinated, and the groups left is the younger population that do not see themselves at high risk of mortality. The side effects of the vaccine are not yet clear and there are those thinking it may affect fertility or create other health issues, and those issues discourage them from getting vaccinated.
In response, the medical institutes seeing that the public is not willing to be vaccinated decided to go to the public. For example, over the weekends when they saw that many people are vacationing in the parks, they went to the parks and offered to vaccinate those that hadn’t been vaccinated. The idea was to decrease the inconvenience of going to get vaccinated. This seems helping to increase the rate.
If we will not be able to increase the rate of vaccination, this may well decrease the chances of reaching herd immunity.

GLO: Israel has introduced a coronavirus vaccination certificate: A model for the world?

Gil S. Epstein: Israel has introduced a green passport for all those where at least one week has passed since the second vaccination. This will enable them to go to concerts, shopping and there are even talks about limiting the right to work to only those who have the green passport. This creates a strong incentive for people to get vaccinated. The idea is twofold: To create a safe environment for vaccinated people and to provide an incentive to get vaccinated. This seems to work quite well.

GLO: What role have scientists played in the success?

Gil S. Epstein: The role of scientists is very important. Both by passing the information to the public and by helping the decision makers to make the right decisions.

GLO: What are major scientific insights so far we can learn about?

Gil S. Epstein: Incentives play a very important role. Scientists have an important and major part in the decision making. Economics, biology, chemistry, etc., all have a strong impact in getting us out of this crisis. This crisis has brought scientists to the stage.

*************
With Gil S. Epstein spoke Klaus F. Zimmermann, GLO President.

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Weather, psychological wellbeing and mobility during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic

A new GLO Discussion Paper studies important public health costs of lockdown restrictions for mental health and physical activity in the UK.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Apostolos Davillas


GLO Discussion Paper No. 785, 2021

Weather, psychological wellbeing and mobility during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic Download PDF
by
Burdett, Ashley & Davillas, Apostolos & Etheridge, Ben

GLO Fellow Apostolos Davillas

Author Abstract: To reduce infection rates during the first UK wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, a first lockdown was announced on March 23, 2020, with a final easing of the restrictions on July 4, 2020. Among the most important public health costs of lockdown restrictions are the potential adverse effects on mental health and physical activity. Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and Google COVID-19 Mobility Reports we find evidence of reduced park mobility during the initial period of the first UK lockdown and confirm existing evidence of worsening psychological wellbeing. Linkage with weather data shows that contrary to popular belief, weather conditions do not exacerbate the mental health consequences of the pandemic, while we find systematic links between park mobility and weather over the same period. Our results highlight the importance of promoting the existing guidelines on regular exercise during winter lockdowns.

More from the GLO Coronavirus Cluster

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Life Satisfaction, Pro-Activity, and Employment

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that pro-activity during unemployment increases subjective well-being and the likelihood of finding a new job.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 784, 2021

Life Satisfaction, Pro-Activity, and Employment Download PDF
by
Akay, Alpaslan & Karabulut, Gökhan & Yilmaz, Levent

GLO Fellows Alpaslan Akay and Gokhan Karabulut

Author Abstract: Using longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), this paper investigates how pro-active time-use (e.g., in sports/arts/socializing) relates to subjective well-being of the unemployed and their probability of finding a new job. Allowing for a variety of socio-demographic and -economic observed characteristics, we find that pro-activity is negatively associated with the well-being loss upon unemployment. That is, the negative unemployment shock on their well-being is mitigated through various stress-reducing activities including, in particular, art participation, socializing, going on trips, and visiting a church. We also find that the probability of returning to the labor market later is positively associated with pro-activity during the unemployment period. The results are robust to various checks including estimators, measures, and individual personality characteristics which can correlate with time-use activities.

Featured image: Jude-Beck-on-Unsplash

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Sudipta Sarangi talks about his new book ‘The Economics of Small Things’ with GLO President Klaus F. Zimmermann.

You want to enjoy economics and learn crispy lessons about everyday challenges, and how to deal with them? Then try this new book by GLO Fellow Sudipta Sarangi:

By “using a range of everyday objects and common experiences like bringing about lasting societal change through Facebook to historically momentous episodes like the shutting down of telegram services in India offers crisp, easy-to-understand lessons in economics. The book studies the development of familiar cultural practices from India and around the world and links the regular to the esoteric and explains everything from Game Theory to the Cobra Effect without depending on graphs or equations-a modern-day miracle! Through disarmingly simple prose, the book demystifies economic theories, offers delightful insights, and provides nuance without jargon.”

New book!
Sudipta Sarangi, The Economics of Small Things
2020, India Penguin, 296 pages. ISBN: 9780143450375.
MORE INFORMATION. Video.

Some core messages of the interview below:

  • The ultimate goal of any theorist is to explain phenomena around us.
  • Economic theory is all around us, and simple everyday actions can be explained using the lens of economics.
  • Takeaways of the book are: incentives matter, heterogeneity matters, complementarities matter, information matters, cognitive costs matter, and strategic behavior matters.
  • Even grandmas in India are obsessed with cricket!
  • The anecdotes used are true and about actual people and their lives.
  • Being closeted at home due to the pandemic has created curiosities that may not have happened otherwise.

GLO Fellow Sudipta Sarangi is a Professor and Department Head at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). He has received the 2020 Kuznets Prize of the Journal of Population Economics.

Interview

GLO: Neither formulas nor figures: What drives a theorist to be so ‘practical’?

Sudipta Sarangi: This is an astute observation. While it is true that theorists are often considered to inhabit the realms of the esoteric, the ultimate goal of any theorist is to explain phenomena around us. For example, my very first paper was motivated by a real-life observation: Why does the late fee exceed the rental price (or opportunity cost) of an object? That combined with my love for teaching is what resulted in this plain-English book!

GLO: What is the core message you want to convey with your book?

Sudipta Sarangi: Sometimes when I talk about the book, I liken it to Rene Magritte’s painting: The Son of Man. Everything we see around us hides things, and we human being always want to see what is hidden by what we see. I feel that economic theory is all around us, and simple everyday actions can be explained using the lens of economics. So, as in Magritte’s painting, I want to draw attention to the apple covering the face and show people what lies behind the apple – get a closer look at those eyes peeping at us. I believe that this will not only create a curiosity about economics but also provide people better insights about their own behavior and those of the others.

GLO: What are the major insights the various sections of your book provide?

Sudipta Sarangi: Honestly speaking, I did not want to list insights in the book because I felt it would be too pedantic. I just wanted people to enjoy reading a book about economics. However, my wife and a philosopher friend insisted that I needed a set of takeaways. Now these are forces to reckon with! So, I finally gave in and suggested six takeaways: incentives matter, heterogeneity matters, complementarities matter, information matters, cognitive costs matter, and strategic behavior matters. Of course, you will have to read the book to find out how specifically they matter and what might be the caveats.

GLO: Your book can be placed in the Freakonomics tradition with an Indian touch: What makes it attractive for a typical European or American reader?

Sudipta Sarangi: Another insightful question! It is true that in some ways I wanted a book that an Indian reader would enjoy, and there are possibly a couple of chapters that will strongly appeal mostly to Indian readers – like the one on cricket for instance. Even grandmas in India are obsessed with cricket! I think the appeal is universal because the book tries to explain everyday phenomena. For instance – why does no one take that last slice of pizza at the office party? Why do we always offer the first piece of cake to the guests when evolution suggests that you just take it yourself? There is a story of shoe thieves operating in Sweden and Denmark stealing left and right shoes separately in the two different countries. This is used to drive home the importance of complementarities and explore Michael Kremer’s O-Ring theory.

GLO: What economists find insightful or funny is often not shared by non-economists. How do you break this resistance?

Sudipta Sarangi: This is so true – I chuckled to myself as I read this question. I think the most important element is the fact that many of the anecdotes are true and about actual people and their lives. So, the humor is not made up by me. Of course, it takes more than the crowd sourced stories and pop culture references – lots of rewriting, my wonderful editors and the many people from whom I have learnt to write and learnt about economics. The spectrum ranges from my first-grade teacher Mrs. Meera Pradhan to my PhD supervisors Hans Haller and Rob Gilles.

GLO: Is your success with the book related to a weakening of populism caused by the pandemic which demonstrates the importance of science?

Sudipta Sarangi: That is something I would like to believe – although I cannot say that I have a lot of hard evidence in its favor. I feel that being closeted at home due to the pandemic has created curiosities that may not have happened otherwise. I have also observed during several virtual book talks that young people looking for new things to explore are drawn to the book because of its intuitive explanation of economic models. They like the Indian examples, but also enjoy the anecdotes from other parts of the world. That gives me hope for science and the future.

Thank you, Professor Zimmermann, for the insightful questions and this virtual interview. I thoroughly enjoyed answering them. To end with a small quote from the book:

This is a book about the economics of these small things. Over the course of the book, I will delve into the economic concepts behind the events mentioned here and other such phenomena drawn from everyday life. The book invites you to explore these different economic ideas and concepts—and to have fun while doing it. And for those interested in exploring these topics further, there is a detailed reading list at the end.

Happy reading!

*************
With Sudipta Sarangi spoke Klaus F. Zimmermann, GLO President.

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Happiness, Work, and Identity

A new GLO Discussion Paper introduces identity utility to the study of (un)employment and (un)happiness and reviews the related literature in context.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 783, 2021

Happiness, Work, and Identity Download PDF
by
Hetschko, Clemens & Knabe, Andreas & Schöb, Ronnie

GLO Fellows Andreas Knabe and Ronnie Schöb

Author Abstract: This chapter introduces identity utility to the study of (un)employment and (un)happiness. The concept is described in terms of an augmented utility function, the implications of which are assessed in light of the empirical literature on unemployment and well-being. Studies on unemployed persons’ affective and cognitive well-being allow assessing the importance of the loss of identity utility relative to other nonmonetary consequences of joblessness, such as fewer social contacts and a lack of a structure in daily life. Unlike life satisfaction, unemployment leaves affective well-being mostly unaffected, which points to a major relevance of the loss of identity. This view is corroborated further by studies on the importance of the social norms to work and be self-reliant for the life satisfaction of the unemployed, as well as by studies showing the positive life satisfaction effect of retirement on unemployed workers. Based on this strong evidence for identity utility losses of unemployed persons, the notion of identity utility is used to explain heterogeneity in the effect of unemployment on life satisfaction. It is also linked to further consequences of unemployment, such as social exclusion and stigmatization. Moreover, this chapter uses identity utility to assess the likely effectiveness of labor market policies in alleviating the misery of the unemployed. Finally, research on work, happiness and identity is reconciled with a more standard economics view on labor supply based on studies examining the impact of working hours on workers’ well-being.

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