Current projects | Past projects

INSIDE Project (Insights on Immigration and Development)
INSIDE is an independent, non-partisan initiative launched by the Institute for Economic Analysis (IAE, CSIC). We aim at mobilizing and coordinating the research community contributing to the understanding of the causes and consequences of migrations. Special emphasis is also placed on the study of key aspects of economic development and growth of poor countries.

Our mission is to promote research and coordinate the efforts from researchers belonging to different institutions in view to contribute to the public debate on immigration and development issues.

Our interests include macro and microeconomic research, theory and empirics. We are committed to high standards of research.

"Policy intervention in social and economic networks"
ECO2015-67171-P, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Esther Hauk, Sjaak Hurkens, Enriqueta Aragonés, Orestis Troumpounis, Facudno Albornoz-Crespo, Doh-Shin Jeon, Dimitrios Xefteris, Andrea Lanteri

In this project we propose to analyse social and economic networks with the aim of studing how policy intervention may solve their shortcomings. We focus both on specific and currently relevant applications such as the digital markets, as well as on more general issues about the functioning and economic consequences of social and economic networks. The ultimate goal of this project is to guarantee optimal levels of social welfare in all those environments where social or economic networks play a role. Therefore, our main interest would be to characterize the main efficiency problems caused by the existence of networks, to design specific measures of policy intervention and regulations that may overcome this shortcomings, and finally to characterize the features of the political instutions that may guarantee the correct implementation of the designed policies.
With this aim we have structured the contents of the project in two research lines:
1) Social and economic networks, where we analyze its functioning and detect its possible inefficiencies
2) Political institutions and optimal policies, where we design policy intervention and its strategic implementation
Both research lines consist of several subprojects. The first research line attempts to integrate the social preference literature with the social network literature with the aim of understanding the effects of the networks features on social welfare. It also studies market competition with strong network effects in a particular application: the digital market. The second research line proposes a new equilibrium concept in order to study optimal policy, examines the effect of corruption on the society's policy preferences and analyzes a number of political institutions according to their social and economic effects on society's welfare

"Culture and social conflict"
ECO2015-66883-P, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Laura Mayoral, Joan M. Esteban, Hannes Mueller Timothy Besley, Massimo Morelli, Joachim Voth, Gilat Levy, Dominic Rohner, Christopher Rauh, Debraj Ray

The general research theme of our project is the interaction between culture/religiosity, social conflict and political instability. We have set to ourselves three goals: (i) to study in greater depth the two-way relationship between culture and conflict, (ii) to have a richer understanding of the drivers of conflict, with emphasis on the difficulties to reach prior agreements, and (iii) to obtain measures of political risk that allow us to anticipate the onset of violence.
Our first research line focuses on the bidirectional relationship between culture and conflict. Culture is a mechanism that transmits behavioral norms from generation to generation. As situations of extreme violence can alter these norms, the effect of conflict in a society can be perpetuated through cultural transmision.
The second set of issues studies the determinants of conflict onset. First, we consider two independent sets of reasons of why it turns out to often be imposible to reach an agreement. One explanation we offer is that it might me imposible to satisfy the participation constraints of all the potential coalitions threatening peace. Our second explanation wants to develop a model in which 'just' agreements turn out to be an incentive for an even more violent conflict. We characterize sharing rules that lead to peaceful agreements.
In the third set of issues considered we turn to the economic consequences of conflict and weak political institutions. This line of research first aim to develop an empirical method to predict civil wars. The prediction uses several hundred thousand articles from English-speaking newspapers and an unsupervised learning algorithm to generate topics from these texts. These topics are then used to predict instability out of sample. Finally, the project analyses the effect of weak law and order enforcement, which is often found in fragile countries.

"Innovación e información en la economía digital"
201612006, Fundación BBVA- Ayudas a Equipos de Investigación Científica
Matthew Ellman, Roberto Burguet, Sjaak Hurkens, Vaiva Petrikaite, Fabrizio Germano, Tomás Rodriguez-Barraquer

Does the large and growing digital footprint in modern life simply reflect a shift to conduct social and economic interactions in a lower cost medium, or do the new technologies and greater interconnection bring fundamental changes in how people interact? This project seeks answers by building a series of models, based on reduced costs of storage, processing and transfer. In the first line, we focus on how social networks, search engines, advertisers and low cost publishing and distribution affect the quality of the news that gets produced and consumed. In the second, we investigate the use of digital algorithms to support work and innovation via crowdfunding. In the third, we study firms' incentives to accumulate information about people to target advertising and gain a competitive advantage.

Firm behavior under government policies: the interaction of credit markets and labor markets in shaping economic performance
ECO2016 76734-P, Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad
Ana Rute Cardoso, Hugo Rodríguez, David Card, Paulo Guimaraes, Lous-Philippe Morin, Benjamin Olken, Dina Pomeranz

This project focuses on the interaction between firm behavior and government policies, and aims at improving our understanding of the drivers of economic performance. Its core contribution is to bring the firm to the forefront of the analysis, progressing from the previous literature in labor economics, international trade, or emigration, which most often assumed that firms are homogeneous. In particular, we will consider two specific types of government policies that may affect firm behavior: labor market regulations and financial market regulations . Both policy areas have recently witnessed major changes and intense controversies. Financial market regulations crucially determine firms' access to capital , whereas labor market regulations, such as minimum wages and collective bargaining, as well as compulsory education laws, crucially determine firms' access to labor -- beyond its quantity, its quality and price.

We are interested in a broad set of outcomes and will address the following questions:
1) What is the impact of firm access to credit on labor contracts?
2 ) What is the role of firm-to-firm job mobility in shaping workers' lifecycle earnings profiles? Do men benefit more than women from job mobility?
3 ) Are there spillovers of education at the firm level?
4 ) How do minimum wages impact workers' careers? Does collective bargaining hamper economic adjustment and will recovery from the crisis require the dismantling of the European wage setting model?

Emphasis will be placed on empirical microeconomic modeling and task 1 will provide as well theoretical modeling from a macroeconomic perspective.

"Costly consumer search and privacy online markets""
ECO2015-74328-JIN, Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad
Vaiva Petrikaite,

The project will investigate the aspects of online retail markets, determined by seller's and buyer's new incentives and instruments. The analysis will encompass the main aspects of e-commerce by studying costly consumer search, targeted advertising and consumer privacy issues. Thus, the study will provide with a coherent integrated online market analysis that will be used to identify necessary economic policy measures leading to more effeciend digital markets and consumer privacy protection.

"Theoretical and experimental microeconomics"
2017 SGR 1136 , Generalitat de Catalunya
Jordi Brandts, Roberto Burguet, Ramon Caminal, Matthew Ellman, Sjaak Hurkens, Vaiva Petrikaite

We work on theoretical and experimental microeconomics, with emphasis on industrial organization and organizational economics. Specific issues we cover are: crowdfunding, the regulation of the telecom industry, markets for search and experience goods, market phenomena linked to internet trade, the internal organization of the firm, sperformance effects of profit sharing and coalitional bargaining.

"Social and political conflict"
2017 SGR 1359 , Generalitat de Catalunya
Ada Ferrer, Enriqueta Aragonès, Flip Klijn, Ana Rute Pedro Cardoso, Joan M, Esteban, Laura Mayoral, Hannes Mueller

We study social and political conflict issues focusing on: (i) how economic and political conditions, and ethnic composition may precipitate conflict; (ii) the role of economic inequality as a source of conflict; (iii) study economic inequality with a focus on labor market institutions; (iv) consequences of inequality for individuals' behavior and attitudes; (v) migration; and (vi) the behavior of participants in electoral processes and other markets to understand how conflict evolves and the institutions that promote the development of democracy and good functioning of the market. The research is based on theory and empirics, using cutting-edge statistical analysis.

"Theoretical and applied macroeconomics: inequality, partial information and expectations"
2017 SGR 1571 , Generalitat de Catalunya
Albert Marcet, Hugo Rodríguez, Esther Hauk, Joachim Jungherr, Xavier Ramos, Sara Ayllón, Pau Milán, Luis Rojas, Raúl Santaeulalia

Our group Works on the following areas:
1. Expectations: the literature assumes that investors know how prices are formed. We assume limited knowledge and study stock and bond price fluctuations and policy. 2. Debt frictions and Financial Intermediation: we study if banks should be rescued and the issuance of government and bank debt. 3. Optimal Policy: we develop a framework to study policy when the government has imperfect information about the economy, an issue usually ignored, applied to fiscal, monetary and debt policy. 4.Labor Income: we study the implication of countercyclical labor shares for labor market dynamics and human capital misallocations. We study efficiency in occupational choice with endogenous spillovers due to socializing and on the job learning. 5.inequality: we design indeces of social integration and inequality of opportunity and indeces that capture individual well-being. We study inequality reducing policies including redistribution, conditional cash transfer programs and education policies.

"Microeconomics in the digital era"
ECO2017-88129-P, Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad
Mattew Ellman, Roberto Burguet, Ramon Caminal y David Austen-Smith

Advances in digital technology have dramatically reduced the costs of storing, processing, publishing and searching for information. In this project, we plan to build on our past work in the field of microeconomics to investigate how these changes have shifted the way markets function and how people interact within a networked society. We will focus on three sets of issues: (1) how enhanced search and targeting of advertisements affect markets for products, labor and information; (2) how the digital era is affecting the market for news and information and political competition; (3) how strategic interactions on platforms and within markets affect the optimal design of crowdfunding, reputation systems, the gig economy, product innovation, coalitional bargaining and regulatory policy.

"Experimental economics, matching markets, and subjective well-being"
ECO2017-88130-P, Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad
Flip Klijn, Jordi Brandts, Ada Ferrer, Peter Biró, David Cooper, Joan Costa-Font, Enrique Fatas, Karita Gerxhani, Bettina Klaus, Joan Pais, Arno Riedl, Christina Rott y Arthur Schram

This project brings together three research lines in the field of microeconomics:
1. Experimental studies on economic and social issues
2. Experimental and theoretical studies on matching markets
3. Welfare, preferences, and the social and economic context