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Brown Bag 2021/2022  

February, 10th - Antonio Filippin (Università di Milano)

Moral Preferences and Dilemmas in the Time of Coronavirus 

The tradeoff between health outcomes and economic and other human activities, while virtually ubiquitous, is considered a taboo. The Covid-19 pandemic brought it to the forefront of the political agenda, and different approaches have emerged internationally. This project studies the citizens' moral preferences with respect to this dilemma. We measure preferences through an anonymous questionnaire containing choices between different combinations of health and economic outcomes, administered to 2490 participants in Italy, the UK and the US. Questions are in the form of mini-dictator games and span a large space of possible outcomes and of possible tradeoffs. Our core analysis provides a structural estimate of the preferences, under a general and pre-specified form for the utility function. This allows for comparisons across countries and groups that differ by gender, political orientation, risk and time preferences, shedding light on how different people solve this dilemma, and the extent to which policy responses represent the citizens preferences.


February 24th - Veronica Rattini (Università di Milano)

Identity and Cooperation in Multicultural Societies: An Experimental Investigation

The project experimentally investigates the role of identity in shaping preferences and attitudes, with specific attention to the differences between natives and immigrants. At this aim, we run a lab-in-the-field study with immigrant and native youth (6th-8th grade) in two middle schools in Bologna (Italy). For pupils coming from immigrant families, identity is likely to be a composite pattern of elements drawn from the parent's country of origin (ethnic markers) and elements from the host country. The main goal of the project is to analyze how cooperation between individuals can be encouraged by making salient a unitary identity (e.g. living in the same city and attending the same school) rather than multiple identities (e.g. ethnicity). The results show that immigrants are more cooperative than natives at the baseline, however, natives increase their cooperation when the multicultural perspective is made more salient.


March, 17th - Marta Degl'Innocenti (Università di Milano)

The Coercive Power of Mafia Reputation on Trade Credit 

We explore to what extent firms’ economic behavior can be distorted because of the perceived threat of coercive actions from mafia-type organizations. To address this issue, we examine trade credit provision to firms whose top executives share the same surname as known Mafiosi (mafia-surname firms, hereafter). By using the shock induced by the semi-annual publication of the Anti-Mafia Investigative Directive (DIA) on Italian mafia families’ surnames over the period of 2005-2018, we document that mafia-surname firms receive a greater trade credit extension, i.e. payables to cost of goods, compared to similar firms. Such an effect is stronger in the provinces with greater mafia infiltration, where the threat of mafia retorsion is more concrete. The results are robust to endogeneity concerns, different sample selection criteria, alternative model and treatment specification, and placebo tests. Finally, we show that the reallocation of resources due to mafia reputation has relevant consequences for the real economy, since higher payables to cost of goods are positively associated with investment growth and liquidity supply via receivables.


May, 12th - Massimiliano Bratti (UniMi)

Covid-19 and the gender gap in university students’ progression

A new word was forged to indicate the gendered effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on economic activity: "shecession." In fact, there is plenty of evidence that the toll of Covid-19 was higher on women not only in the economic sphere, such as for employment, but also on  mental health. In this paper, we investigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on gender differences in university  students' progression (number of credits earned) using administrative data from a large public university located in one of the mostly affected regions by the first pandemic wave.


May, 17th - Benjamin Le Pendeven (Audencia Business School)

Why are successful social policy innovations not diffused? A story of barriers in the public sector

Innovation in the public and private sectors faces barriers, both at the experimental and diffusion phases. If the barriers at the first phase are deeply investigated by the academic literature, the second phase is at once understudied and critical for diffusing at a large scale successfully tested innovations. This has even more consequences for social and public sector innovations with the ambition to solve significant social problems. In this article, we study the first eight social programs funded by Social Impact Bonds in five different countries. By conducting 32 interviews with their main stakeholders, we highlight the reasons why those successfully tested social policy-oriented innovations mainly stay at a tiny scale after the experimental phase. Our research suggests a unique contribution for understanding the diffusion barriers of successfully-tested innovations. We highlight seven barriers grouped in two main categories : capacity barriers and willingness barriers. We contribute to the knowledge of innovation diffusion, for private, public and third sector organizations.


June, 16th - Andrea Riganti (Università di Milano)

Public Finance and Limits to the Number of Pharmacies

We study the economic consequences of limits to the number of pharmacies allowed to operate in a national territory. We use a reform approved in 2012 in Italy that mandated a sharp increase of 10% in the number of pharmacies allowed to operated in the national territory. Following the reform, we observe that the public expenditure for medicines sold at pharmacies increases, while that to buy medicines for hospital decreases. Then, we set up a regression discontinuity design to study whether limits to the number of pharmacies impact hospitalizations. We find that an increase of 10% in the number of pharmacies lowered the expenditure in medical hospitalizations of 1.3%, and we do not find any impact on surgical hospitalizations. Interestingly, we find that pharmacies reduce both the number and the average length of hospitalizations. We conclude that limiting the number of pharmacies impose to national governments unnecessary monetary costs.


June 23rd - Simone Ferro (Università di Milano)

Triage at Shift Changes

We employ detailed administrative records of millions of Emergency Department (ED) admissions in Italy to investigate how nurses' leniency in the assesment of patients' urgency evolves throughout their shifts, and then how this affects patients. First, we show that identical patients are assigned substantially higher priority toward the end of the nurses' shift. As a result, identical patients arriving just before (after) the shift-change are assigned higher (lower) priority and have to wait longer before being visited by a physician. After ruling out nurses' fatigue from the possible mechanisms, we finally employ the setting as a natural experiment to investigate both the immediate and long-term consequences of waiting time at the ED on patients' behaviour and on their health. Results of our RD analysis show that marginal patients arriving just after a shift change (thus facing longer waiting time) are significantly more likely to leave the ED before being visited by a doctor. In the longer term, these patients are not more likely to be hospitalized, and they are instead less likely to return to the same ED after experiencing longer waiting.

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