2019 seminars

2019 seminars

Seminars in 2018/19


Speaker: Prof Petter Osmundsen (University of Stavanger)

Date: 19 September 2018

Research Field: Energy Economics

Title: "Petroleum Tax Competition Subject to Capital Rationing"

Abstract: The recent dramatic fall in oil prices has led to extensive capital rationing in international oil companies, and subsequent fierce competition between resource extraction countries to attract scarce investment. This situation is not adequately addressed by the large literature on international taxation and multinational companies, since it fails to take account of capital rationing in its assumption that companies sanction all projects with a positive net present value. The paper examines the effect of tax design on international capital allocation when companies ration capital. We analyse capital allocation and government take for four equal oil projects in three different fiscal regimes: the US GoM, UK upstream and Norway offshore. Implications for optimal tax design are discussed


Speaker: Professor David Collins (University of Suffolk)
Date: 28 September 2018
Research Field: Critical management theory
Title: "Constituting Best Practice: critical reflections"
: This paper offers critical reflections on the construction and propagation of ‘best practice’: a concept which has become increasingly important in the business world and in civic life more generally. Focusing upon the activities of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), we offer an analysis of the awards process instituted to applaud ‘best practice’ in the arena of consulting. Departing from existing academic representations of the advice industry which generally exclude this trade body from the analytical frame, we consider the role that the MCA performs in the field of consulting. Situating the MCA’s attempt to constitute best practice within the work of Bruno Latour, we argue that this construct depends upon the mobilization of an extended network of allies, advocates and spectators whose interactions have been written out of academic analysis. The paper concludes by proposing the need for further research designed to explore, both, the heterogeneity and the porosity of the networks that construct, convey and applaud key knowledge products such as ‘best practice’.


Speaker: Professor Peter Kawalek (Loughborough University)
Date: 3 October 2018
Research Field: Smart cities, governance and big data
Title: "Data as infrastructure"
Abstract: This research attempts to synthesise the existing academic debates and evidence from the implementation of smart city initiatives around a more coherent framework. The framework emphasises the role of urban context, urban vision, big data technologies, data governance strategies on the successful planning of smart city initiatives. The framework will provides a mean for comparing cities that have already taken steps toward planning their smart city initiatives and puts forward a guideline for the ones that are at the starting stage of the process.


Speaker: Prof. Nattavudh Powdthavee (University of Warwick)

Date: 10 October 2018

Research Field: "Behavioural economics, Economics of Happiness"

Title: Impact of Lower Rated Journals on Economists’ Judgments of Publication Lists: Evidence from a Survey Experiment    

Abstract: Publications in leading journals are widely known to have a positive impact on economists’ judgments of the value of authors’ contributions and professional reputations. While conjectures that publications in lower-rated journals likely have a negative impact on such judgments are common, there have been virtually no direct tests of their validity. Our intent is to provide results from such a test, one that involved asking economists from 44 universities throughout the world to rate either a publication list with only higher-rated journals or a list with all of these but with additional publications in lower-rated journals. Our primary finding was that, holding other things constant, adding publications in lower-rated journals to what is typically considered a good publication record does have a significant negative impact on economists’ judgments of the value of the author’s contribution. Most implications of this bias suggest negative impacts on social welfare.


Speaker: Professor John Amis (University of Edinburgh)
Date: 31 October 2018
Research Field: Framing, emotions and visual discourses
Title: "Image, emotion, and the framing of the European migration crisis"
Abstract: The European migration crisis has become one of society’s most pressing social issues with thousands of people dying while trying to enter Europe, predominantly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Drawing on the framing, emotions and visual discourse literatures, we show how framing of the European migration crisis was radically altered by a single event, the publishing of a photograph of three year old Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach. We uncover the mechanisms that showed how the photograph created an emotional resonance that precipitated a shift in field frames. In so doing, we theorize the temporality of field frame change by explaining how emotional resonance can be established more rapidly than cognitive resonance, is essential for realizing frame change, but will also likely atrophy over a short time span. We also explicate the role of the newspaper industry in the framing process. Finally, we contribute to understanding of the mutually constitutive links between individually held emotions and field frame change.


Speaker: Dr Theodore Koutmeridis (University of Glasgow)

Date: 21 November 2018

Research Field: Labour Economics, Economics of Crime

Title: "Shaking Criminal Incentives"

Abstract: We study criminal incentives exploiting a historically unique source of exogenous variation, the unanticipated 1995 Kobe earthquake, which influenced several Japanese municipalities with thousands of deaths and building damages, while it left others unaffected. Natural experimental evidence between 1990-2000 indicates that the decline in burglaries post-earthquake is disproportionally larger for affected municipalities, even after controlling for other key determinants, such as labour market conditions and police forces, indicating the response of housebreakers to damages that reduce the value of prospective takings. Yet, other crime types remain unchanged, eliminating the possibility of generalised effects that influence crime at large or of substitutions across different crime types, implying that there are adjustment costs to changes in criminal specialisation. This is the first comprehensive natural experimental study that explores the direct impact and potential substitution effects across different crime types in response to the changing economic value of prospective criminal takings, a key but overlooked determinant of illegal behaviour.


Speaker: Dr Shqiponja Telhaj (Sussex/LSE)

Date: 28 November 2018

Research Field: Applied microeconomics, Economics of Education, Labour Economics

Title: Atheism and Economic Prosperity: The long run impacts of a national ban on religions

Abstract: Historical as well current differences in economic fortunes are frequently (and controversially) attributed to socio-cultural factors. One of the most prominent of these is religion. This paper investigates the relationship between religion and economic prosperity. Our innovation takes advantage of a unique natural experiment: Albania’s decision in 1967 to declare itself the first Atheist country in the world and ban all forms of religious expression.  We take advantage of this experiment to implement a difference in difference approach, exploiting unique archive data between 1943 – 1988 and the preservation of religious buildings over 500 years old. Our estimates indicate that religion ban did affect economic prosperity: the levels of education and industrial production were increased, and fertility decreased. In addition, our findings suggest that it was the increase in female schooling and labour market participation that is driving this increase.


Speaker: Professor Alberto Palermo (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations)
Date: 09 October 2019
Title: "Does Rent Extraction affect Oligopoly Distortions? A Theoretical Assessment"
Abstract: We study an oligopoly market where, in addition to the business stealing externality, firms face an additional cost, which represents a transfer for the society as a whole. We show how this transfer adds additional considerations on the business stealing effect and can lead to reverse results about the excessive entry theorem.
In addition, we analyse in a principal-agent relationship, the rent-efficiency trade-off when the principal is not a monopolist. Hence, we have an aggregative game where the result of a single match between workers and employer has an externality effect on competitors. This in turn implies that the market forces also affect the rent extraction.

Speaker: Dr Alla Koblyakova (Nottingham Trent University)

Date: 16 October 2019

Research Field: Mortgage Demand, Affordability Gap, Help to Buy, 2SLS, Fractional Polynomials.

Title: "Help to Buy and Mortgage Affordability Gap in England"

Abstract: In April 2013 the government has introduced Help to Buy HTB EL initiative to offset the negative impact of the relatively high first time deposit requirements, and the associated overall mortgage costs, also providing a stimulus to house-building activity by assisting households to obtain a mortgage when purchasing a new-build house. The main criticism is that HTB was not efficient in overcoming affordability and liquidity constraints, also pushing house prices up, increasing housing costs in already unaffordable areas. However, no attention has been to paid to the possibility of that main variables involved in the scheme may be driven by interrelated factors, being jointly determined. This paper addresses these questions. The novelty is that this study applies “temporal dominant”, pooled time series cross sectional (TSCS) design. The key idea is to simultaneously explore demand for the HTB EL, supply of new housing and affordability gap factors, also identifying common factors which influence efficiency of the HTB policy initiative. The modelling approach takes the form of a system of the four simultaneous equations applying 2SLS, Probit with endogenous covariates and Multivariable Fractional Polynomial Regression techniques. The main contribution of the paper is empirical evidence on the regional variations in the efficiency of the HTB EL scheme, also confirming that households benefit from the government subsidy and relaxed affordability constraints. Main findings suggest that policy is efficient in reducing affordability gap. Government measures stimulate new housing supply, having inelastic effect upon house price increase. Policy implications may involve the need for the enforcement of regional consideration in housing/mortgage affordability programs, such as regional variations in house price caps. 


Speaker: Profesor Stavros A. Drakopoulos (University of Athens)

Date: 23 October 2019

Title: The Relation of Mainstream Economics to other Disciplines: The case of Physics and Psychology”

Abstract: Since the emergence of the classical school, the scientific ideal of physical sciences has been a constant influence on economic theory and method. Its influence is still present in contemporary mainstream economics. Similarly to the case of physics, classical economists were very open in incorporating psychological elements in the economic discourse.  This openness towards psychology continued with prominent Marginalist economists, like Jevons and Edgeworth, who were eager to draw from psychological ideas found in earlier authors. In the first decades of the 20th century, a major conceptual change in economics took place which is also known as the Paretian turn. This conceptual change, initiated mainly by Vilfredo Pareto, and completed, in the first decades of the 20th century, by J. Hicks, R. Allen and P. Samuelson, attempted to remove all psychological notions from economic theory. The legacy of the Paretian turn can still be identified in the significant reluctance of the contemporary mainstream economic theory to incorporate the findings of the new behavioral economics, a field with a discernable psychological bent. This paper argues that the history of the relation of those two subjects to economics can lead to some potentially useful observations concerning the nature of contemporary mainstream economics. It will also be maintained that the relationship of mainstream economics to physics ultimately constrained its interaction with psychology.


Speaker :Profesor Markus Milne (University of Canterbury)

Date: 30 October 2019

Title: "Crass empiricism and the social construction of (corporate) environmental performance"

Abstract: The focus of this paper is the perceived inadequacy of empirical work investigating corporate environmental performance and its reporting and disclosure. Ever since Wiseman (1982), social and environmental accounting academics have been aware that what companies say in their annual reports may not correlate with measures of their environmental performance. Empirical studies of performance and disclosure have continued to emerge both in the accounting and management and organization studies literatures (e.g., Clarkson et al., 2008; de Villiers et al., 2011; Cho et al., 2012). Despite the increasing use of sophisticated statistical techniques, and the increasingly scientific appearance of such work, often based on easily available “metrics” and “ratings”, this paper argues that the very notion of corporate environmental performance as constructed in social and environmental accounting research is critically misplaced. 


Speaker: Profesor Armin Schweinbacher (Skema Business School)

Date: 3 November 2019

Research Field: Over-Optimism, Crowdfunding, Decision Making, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Finance

Title: "How do entrepreneurs use reference values during the planning process"

Abstract: Nascent entrepreneurs often overestimate the likelihood of success when planning their own activities, which usually results in excess market entry. But how do entrepreneurs adjust their expectations when they are given historical reference values of comparable projects? Does knowing the historical odds of success help entrepreneurs to make informed decisions about starting a venture by developing more realistic plans and expectations? Drawing on a unique dataset of reward-based crowdfunding initiatives that encompasses the different development steps starting from planning to the ultimate outcome of the campaign, we investigate whether and how nascent entrepreneurs use information on historical outcomes of comparable projects. Our findings suggest that entrepreneurs irrationally use the information to adjust their estimates to account for their belief that they are better than others once they see the historical values, thus resulting in an even higher level of optimism. This result holds across different levels of education, occupation, work experience, age, and gender. Finally, we show that entrepreneurs suffering from over-optimism driven by the irrational use of reference values are more likely to eventually launch a crowdfunding campaign and are also more likely to fail, indicating that the irrational use of reference values has meaningful economic consequences for entrepreneurs. 


Speaker: Profesor Hans Hvide (University of Bergen)

Date: 20 November 2019

Title: "Do Temporary Demand Shocks have Long-Term Effects for Startups"

Abstract: Recent work shows that firms born in cohorts with weak job creation are persistently smaller, even when the aggregate economy recovers. As both demand-side and supplyside factors vary with the business cycle, it is challenging to establish what drives these patterns from aggregate data. We use comprehensive procurement auctions and register data from Norway to study the effect of cross-sectional variation in transient demand shocks on long-run outcomes for startups. Auction winners have more than 20% higher sales and employment than runners-up several years after the auction. They are also more profitable. Investment effects, broadly interpreted, appear important to understand the results.


Speaker: Dr Ajit Nayak (Southampton Business School ) 

Date: 27 November 2019

Research Field: Strategy Process, Emergent Strategy, Dynamic Capabilities

Title: "Iterative and unowned processes: Extending the dynamic capabilities framework from a strategy process perspective"

Abstract: Research on dynamic capabilities has established the importance and significance of processes. Yet, the dominant mode of theorizing process is one that privileges deliberate over emergent. In this paper, I develop a strategy process approach to dynamic capabilities which theorizes process as deliberate and emergent. Drawing on an eight-year longitudinal study of sensing, seizing and developing new capabilities by a large US multinational firm in India, I identify emergent processes which have significant effects on the deliberate processes. My findings reveal the importance of iterative and unowned emergent processes and extend the dynamiccapabilities framework by developing a deliberate-emergent process model.