PhD programmes - Humanities

Guest Lectures and Seminars 2023-2024

Starting from January 2024 the seminar calendar is available here.

  • Thursday, 5 October - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Pierre M. Picard, University of Luxembourg

Quantifying a vertical differentiation trade model

We build a trade model that simultaneously embeds vertical product differentiation, within-country heterogenous income, heterogeneous goods, and many countries. Under some specification of costs and preferences, we can establish the existence of the general equilibrium and obtain a very tractable quantification model. We estimate all the model parameters applying the model properties on OECD countries. We finally quantify the effect of trade costs and economic shocks -like Brexit- on each country's share of high quality goods.

  • Thursday, 12 October - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Christoph Stöckmann, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Synthesizing a new understanding of ambidexterity

Ambidexterity is a widespread construct that aims to combine two seemingly opposing strategic activities—exploration and exploitation—in order to enhance organizational performance. However, the coexistence of different conceptualizations of ambidexterity hampers a unified theoretical and empirical understanding. In this study, we introduce a new conceptual framework to study ambidexterity and its impact on organizational performance.

  • Thursday, 19 October - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Daniel Kaufmann, Universitè de Neuchatel

What Drives Long-Term Interest Rates? Evidence from the Entire Swiss Franc History 1852-2022

We study the role of inflation uncertainty driving movements in real interest rates using newly compiled data for Switzerland and its main trading partners over 170 years. We use a time-varying parameter vector autoregressive model to estimate long-term trends in interest rates, exchange rate growth, and inflation. The model allows us to compute trends in the Swiss term spread and deviations from UIP and relate them to various measures of inflation uncertainty. We focus on these spreads because a good theory of long-term interest rate movements should not only explain the level, but also, differences across maturities and across countries. In addition, we provide a formal theoretical argument why a country focusing more on nominal stability than the rest of the world exhibits lower real interest rates. The Swiss term spread emerged after World War 1, the first time inflation became a persistent phenomenon since the introduction of the Swiss franc. In addition, negative deviations from UIP, that is relatively low Swiss real interest rates, emerged during the Great Inflation period. At the time, Switzerland managed to keep inflation lower than the rest of the world and capital controls largely disappeared. We find a positive relationship between the term spread and deviations from UIP with various measures of inflation uncertainty even after controlling for productivity growth and demographic change.

  • Thursday, 26 October - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Marta Fana, Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The effects of minimum wage increase on outsourced workers: evidence from Spain

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

  • Thursday, 2 November - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Dipak Raj Pant, LIUC

Practical experiences and reflections on helping Italian entrepreneurs embrace sustainability ideas and practices

Sustainability’ has become quite popular in Italian business circles in the past few years. Looking for a new perspective, some Italian business leaders turned to an anthropologist for advice. This seminar intends to present some professional experiences in advising Italian entrepreneurs about ‘sustainability’ in principle and practice. For business organizations 'sustainability' means more business continuity rather than growth, It is about adding value to the existing assets (including the brand) rather than increasing the volume of affairs. To ensure continuity business organizations need to improve not only the quality of their products/services but also the quality of their business system (collaborators and stakeholders) and operational context (community and territory).

  • Thursday, 9 November - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Wessel Vermeulen, OECD Trento

How do mass lay-offs affect regional economies?

Abstract: Mass lay-offs from firms and plant restructuring occur regularly and can have potentially large consequences on places and communities. Policy makers may consider supporting firms, in order to prevent mass lay-offs but at the risk of interfering with economic dynamism, or targeting affected workers, to help them transition to new employment. Which strategy (firms versus workers) is the most appropriate and under which circumstances can be informed by better understanding the nature of the economic impact from mass lay-offs. This paper estimates the impact of mass lay-offs between 2008-18 across small regions (TL3) in Europe on regional employment and productivity. It finds there are persistent negative employment effects of mass lay-offs, and rural regions are more negatively affected on average. In part because of differences in the nature of the firm in the region, its relationship with nearby suppliers and clients, and the broader economic context of the region, productivity effects can be both positive and negative over the longer term.

  • CANCELLED - Thursday, 16 November - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Gylfi Zoega, Birkbeck University of London

Mortgage debt and household expenditures

We take advantage of a unique experiment that took place in Iceland in 2015. Following the collapse of the country's banking system in 2008, the authorities decided on a program of mortgage relief that in effect lowered the principal of mortgages overnight. We measure the effect of the mortgage relief on the saving of every taxpayer in the country using households that were not eligible for debt relief as a control group. While a negative wealth effect on saving could have been expected, households amortize even more in response to the debt forgiveness. The increased amortization is not only due to lower interest costs but also due to higher saving, mostly by highly leveraged and liquidity constrained households.

  • Thursday, 23 November - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Claudio Giachetti, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

How Firms Adapt their Pace of Imitation over the Industry Technology Cycle

This study explores the factors influencing the pace at which firms imitate innovations introduced by competitors, with a specific focus on periods of technological stability and periods of technological transition. We develop a set of hypotheses by integrating theories related to rivalry-based and information-based imitation with the literature on technological change. Analyzing approximately three decades of new product launches in the mobile phone industry, our empirical findings reveal that firms tend to imitate at a slower pace during periods of technological transition when compared to periods of technological stability. Furthermore, we uncover several contingencies that moderate this relationship.

  • Thursday, 30 November - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Salvatore Perdichizzi, University of Bologna

Greening the Economy: How Public-Guaranteed Loans Influence Firm-Level Resource Allocation

This study investigates the underlying reasons for banks' continued support of fossil fuel-based firms and examines the role of public guaranteed loans (PGLs) in redirecting resources towards greener economic activities, thereby facilitating the climate transition process. Using a unique pan-European credit register dataset, we combine supervisory bank data with firm-level greenhouse gas emission data and financial information. Our analysis yields three main findings. Firstly, European banks perceive lending to green companies as riskier compared to their brown counterparts, a phenomenon we term as the "green-transition risk." Secondly, we provide evidence that during the COVID-19 pandemic, European banks have strategically leveraged PGLs to channel resources towards environmentally sustainable activities, thereby augmenting the proportion of green loans in their portfolios and partially shifting the inherent ``green-transition risk" to European governments and citizens. Lastly, our investigation reveals a banking preference for awarding PGLs to financially robust green firms over less profitable, highly indebted green firms, which could pose significant challenges for green businesses requiring financial support during the COVID-19 crisis

  • Thursday, 7 December - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Yasmin Nanabhay, CPUT

Community Development Projects in Higher Education: Enhancing Civic Engagement through service-learning.

This seminar focuses on community engagement, with a special emphasis on service learning as a teaching pedagogy in higher education. Discussion will follow on the significance of service learning to all stakeholders, namely, students, community, government, faculty and institutions of higher education. Service learning is a facet of community engagement, and the reasons why service learning should be part of the university curriculum and how can it be incorporated into business, as well as social science courses is presented. A few projects will be discussed as case studies with the purpose of understanding the expression of this promising teaching pedagogy. ‘Although service learning is an educational endeavor focusing on knowledge and skills in a formal manner, the emergence of dispositions and qualities became more overt for students during the life of the project.’ (Scholtz; 2020) The value of the experience of learning for students, outside of the classroom is immeasurable. Students are exposed to a hint of the real world, and that, in a safe space. The value of an authentic learning experience is unlikely to be afforded in the traditional classroom scenario. The idea of linking the classroom with practice, is an idea of worldwide potency (Tonkin; 2004) This seminar attempts to demonstrate how service-learning is a teaching strategy increasingly used globally within higher education. This is so since studies revealed, both in the United States, Europe and South Africa, the multifarious benefits of producing civic-minded graduates.

  • Thursday, 14 December - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Hans Koster, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The Persistence of Urban Decline: Evidence from France's Largest Coal Basin

Urban decline and urban growth are not two sides of the same coin. When local positive shocks occur it typically leads to an expansion of the building stock, but when negative shocks hit, the existing building stock persists. In this paper, we set up a spatial equilibrium model to disentangle the impact of spillovers and housing quality in determining the persistence of urban decline. We use the history of coal production in France's largest mining basin as a source of exogenous variation in negative economic shocks. The geological delimitation of the basin and the placement of large-scale housing developments in close proximity to mines provide us with the opportunity to exploit very local spatial variation to identify the causal determinants of urban decline. We show that housing prices today drop by 11.2% when entering the mining basin. About 40% of this gap can be attributed to consistently lower housing quality, with the remaining portion being ascribed to spillover effects. The paper is co-authored with Gabriel Loumeau

  • Thursday, 21 December - 2 PM - Seminar Room (Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5)

Speaker: Evgenia Lysova, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Corporate social responsibility and meaningful work: Examining the interactions between calling and job design

Prior research in the fields of micro-Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and meaningful work has put forward that CSR serves as an important organizational source of meaningful work. Yet, empirical research aimed at understanding the CSR-meaningful work relationship remains scarce. In response to calls to focus on the interactions between person-related and contextual factors to advance the knowledge about how CSR affects meaningful work, we examine the interactions of CSR, an individual sense of calling, and job design on meaningful work. Conducting two empirical studies – Study 1, which draws on multilevel data, and Study 2, which draws on an experiment – we find that individuals with a sense of calling experience greater meaningful work when they work in organizations that engage in CSR. Moreover, they experience it to the fullest when their job either enables them to have the necessary autonomy to connect to CSR in a way that aligns with their calling or when their job directly embeds CSR in their daily work activities (CSR in work). CSR in work is even found to be more important for experiences of meaningful work of the called individuals than organizational level CSR (CSR at work). Our findings have important implications for micro-CSR and meaningful work research such as highlighting the need to examine CSR not only at the organizational level but also at the job level as well as practical implications for the implementation and embeddedness of CSR in organizations.




Doctoral School of Social Sciences

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