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Seminars - Doctoral School of Social Sciences

The Doctoral School of Social Science is keen to announce its interdisciplinary Seminar Series, bringing together renown international speakers from various branches of the Social Sciences.
The Seminars take place each third Thursday of the month, from 2 to 4 pm. They are organized by the School’s Director together with the academic directors of the single PhD programmes and aim to stimulate interesting scientific discussions as well as to create an occasion to get together among colleagues (junior and less junior) and exchange ideas also more informally, according to the spirit of the Doctoral School of Social Sciences.
Each senior Speaker is assigned to junior Discussants from different disciplines and ample room is provided for an open floor discussion.

2 PM, Aula Kessler, Department of Sociology and Social Research, via Verdi 26

Tentative programme - academic year 2022/23

  • Thursday, 20 October - Speaker: Vito Peragine, University of Bari
Inequality of opportunity in South Asia

Building on earlier work by political philosophers, economists have recently sought to define a concept of equity that accommodates the fairness of reward to individual responsibility and effort, while allowing for the existence of some inequalities which are unfair and should be compensated. This paper – commissioned as a chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Well Being and Public Policy – provides a critical review of the economic literature on equality and inequality of opportunity. A simple 'canonical model' of equal opportunity is proposed, and used to explore the two fundamental concepts in this (relatively) new theory of social justice: the principles of compensation and reward. Ex-ante and ex-post versions of the compensation principle are presented, and the tensions between them are discussed. Different approaches to the measurement of inequality of opportunity – and empirical applications – are reviewed, and implications for the measurement of poverty and of the rate of economic development are discussed.

Do Brother Correlations in Occupational Status and Income Overlap? Evidence on the Common Family Origins of Attainment in the United States and Denmark

We examine whether brother similarities in occupational status are rooted in the same underlying family characteristics that affect brother similarities in income. We extend previous research using sibling correlations as an omnibus measure of total family background impact on a given outcome by directly quantifying how sibling correlations in occupational status and income overlap. We apply a novel variance components model to data from Denmark and the United States, two countries known to follow a contradictory pattern: While income mobility is much lower in the United States, occupational mobility is virtually similar. Apart from confirming this pattern, we find a substantial overlap, around 70 percent, in brother similarities in income and occupational status in both countries. Conventional family background variables account for only about one-fifth of this overlap in each country, suggesting that shared family origins of attainment in these two domains are constituted by largely unknown family characteristics. We discuss what these characteristics might be.

  • Thursday, 17 November - Speaker: Alfonso del Giudice, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano
Environmental Risk Perception and Green Bond Pricing: Evidence from Natural Disasters

Green bonds are debt securities whose proceeds are used for environmentally friendly purposes. It is a fast growing market with more than$500bn capital raised in 2021. We study how investors’ environmental risk perception affects green bond pricing. To assess causality, we focus on exogenous shocks induced by the occurrence of natural disasters. We use a sample of 781 green bond emissions matched with comparable brown bonds. The evidence shows that the price of green bonds increases relative to that of comparable brown bonds following a natural disaster, both at bond issuance and in the secondary market. Also, the severity of the disaster explains the magnitude of the price increase, as disasters affecting a larger number of people result in a greater increase in price. This price increase is temporary, as green bond prices revert to pre-disaster levels after a few months. Overall, the evidence is consistent with a temporary overreaction by investors in terms of perceived environmental risk.

Mediterranean Capitalism Revisited

By examining and comparing such components as welfare, education and innovation policies, cultural dimensions, and labor market regulation, the contribution attends to both commonalities and divergences between the four Southern European countries, identifying the main reasons behind the poor performance of their economies and slow recovery from the Great Recession of 2007–2008. It also sheds light on the process of diversification among the four countries and addresses whether it did and still does make sense to speak of a uniquely Mediterranean model of capitalism.

  • Thursday, 19 January - Speaker: Stefan Voigt, University of Hamburg
Social Norms - Determinants, Incompatibilities, Effects

Institutional Economics can be considered a huge success story as today, almost nobody would dispute its main claim that “institutions matter”. Yet, for a long time, social norms and other informal institutions played a minor role at best in this success story. In my talk, I will therefore focus on social norms and discuss why they could be so important for societal development, on the necessary compatibility between formal and informal institutions and on why so many informal institutions seem to eschew attempts at deliberate change. Some of these insights have direct policy implications.

  • Thursday, 16 March - Speaker: Maria Bigoni, University of Bologna
How Property Shapes Distributional Preferences

Abstract We study how distributional preferences are affected by a major property rights reform that transformed informal use-rights over land traditionally characterizing rural Beninese villages in a system akin to private ownership. The design combines the randomized control-trial implementation of the reform across villages with lab-in-the-field experiments eliciting villagers' distributional choices -- both when luck is the source of situational inequality and when an unequal distribution is originated by merit considerations. Results show that reforming allocation rules in the direction of impersonal market-alike institutions increases participants' acceptance of inequality determined by luck, while leaving participants' tolerance for inequality generated by merit unaffected. Keywords: Fairness, Institutional Change, lab-in-the-field experiment, Land Tenure Reform, Land Titling JEL Classification: C93, D01, D31

  • Thursday, 20 April - Speaker: Ewa Jarosz - University of Warsaw
Maternal free time - a missing element in fertility studies

Studies on mothers’ time allocation and fertility have predominantly accentuated the importance of paid work for fertility decisions and, in consequence, of policies that would allow combining paid work and family life. In this view, work time is typically seen as the time taken away from the family, and vice versa. This paradigm does not acknowledge that mothers may need time for themselves including rest, and leisure and that it should be set aside from their professional or family life. This study investigates whether the amount of free time available to mothers, maternal tiredness, and maternal satisfaction with the amount of leisure time are associated with second birth transitions. We use the data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, waves 1 to 20, and model the time to the second birth using event history models. We find that a mother’s free time, tiredness, and satisfaction with leisure are significantly associated with second birth risk. Further analyses show that a mother’s education is an important moderator in some of these associations. This study brings attention to the complexity of mothers’ personal lives and emphasizes the need to look at them from a fined-grained perspective. Key words: fertility, leisure, depletion, childbearing, motherhood, education.


The societal tasks of schooling: qualification, allocation, and socialization in comparative perspective

Education has several functions for societal needs: it needs to educate students well in terms of skills and qualifications (the qualification function), it needs to promote a smooth transition from education to the labour market (the allocation function), and it needs to socialize students into society at large, for instance by improving knowledge on and commitment to institutions and politics (the socialization function). Moreover, for all these functions one can have multiple distributional concerns, in particular efficiency and/or equality. In this lecture, I highlight how educational systems vary significantly between societies, and how features of educational systems are related to realizing the outcomes under consideration. By using comparative and longitudinal data on schooling, labour market, and civic engagement outcomes, I conclude that educational policy makers face trade-offs when they want to optimize the functioning of educational systems. While some policies may be positively associated with certain outcomes, other outcomes may in fact be harmed. One example is the vocational education and training (VET) sector: a strong VET sector improves the school-to-work transition, but it also magnifies inequalities in civic and political engagement between education groups.

  • Thursday, 18 May - Speaker: Frank Kalter - University of Mannheim
How much integration is wanted? A vignette study on outgroup mobility threat (OMT) in Germany.

The descendants of immigrants have become increasingly successful in Western European education systems and labor markets, which in principle supports Richard Alba’s new assimilation theory (NAT). Still, acceptance and recognition on the part of the mainstream has not kept pace. We have suggested outgroup mobility threat (OMT), the fear of being overtaken by intergenerational mobility, as one possible explanation. However, Richard Alba has argued that demographic changes widely lead to a non-zero-sum mobility and do not necessarily cause competition threat. In this paper, we relate Richard Alba's reasoning to the concept of OMT, focusing on the German immigration context. We bring together the seemingly contradictory arguments by distinguishing between realistic and symbolic threat and by differentiating between occupations and groups. We measure OMT and test our hypotheses using a vignette study that we recently conducted as part of the kick-off survey of the new National Discrimination and Racism Monitor (NaDiRa) in Germany. Our results confirm that Richard Alba's argument is superior to the simple competitive threat perspective. However, we also show that it is still insufficient, and OMT comes into play when immigrant groups move-up into value-based occupations that are assumed to normatively shape society. Moreover, we demonstrate that this threat is felt particularly when Muslims ascend to these types of occupations.






Doctoral School of Social Sciences

via Verdi 26, 38122 - Trento
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application/pdfJoint seminars 2021 2022(PDF | 303 KB)
application/pdfJoint seminars 2019 2020(PDF | 429 KB)
application/pdfJoint seminars 2018 2019(PDF | 449 KB)