Department Brown Bag Seminars

Wednesday 12:00 noon 1:05 p.m.
499 Engineering II

Winter Quarter 2020

January 8
Stefanie Fischer, CalPoly
"Semesters or Quarters? The Effect of the Academic Calendar on Postsecondary Student Outcomes"

January 15
Dan Friedman
"When Are Mixed Equilibria Relevant?"
Mixed Nash equilibria (NE) are a cornerstone of game theory, but their empirical relevance has always been controversial. We study in the laboratory two games whose unique NE is in completely mixed strategies; other treatments include the matching protocol (pairwise random vs population mean matching), whether time is discrete or continuous, and whether players can specify mixtures or only pure strategies. NE mixes predict observed behavior better than maximin in all treatments, but uniform mixes are better predictors than any equilibrium mixture in many treatments. In particular, mixed equilibrium predictions do not seem useful in standard pairwise random matching treatments. By contrast, in a control game with a unique NE in pure strategies, the best point prediction is NE. Regret-based sign preserving dynamics capture regularities across all treatments.

January 22
Zach Bleemer
"Gender Stereotypes in Professor-Student Interactions"
While third-party evaluators' gender biases have been shown to exacerbate labor market inequities, the role of gender stereotypes in subtly shaping interactions between students and their teachers and mentors remains largely unexplored outside of laboratories. In this study, I analyze a novel dataset of more than 1.2 million student evaluations written by UC Santa Cruz professors spanning 1965-1979 and 1999-2009, combined with detailed student transcript records, to identify professors' gender stereotypes and estimate their impact on students' educational decisions. I estimate each evaluation's genderedness by comparing the adjectives and adverbs used to describe different-gendered students who received the same letter grade in the same class, and characterize professors by the degree to which they tend to employ more male- and female-valence vocabulary in describing male and female students (G). I then exploit plausibly-random professor assignments to students' first-quarter courses to quantify small but precisely-estimated effects of high-G professors on their students: students who take courses with high-G professors become more likely to take additional courses with that professor, take more courses in that field, and are more likely to earn a major in that field. These findings are highly robust to alternative specifications; persist in the presence of additional covariates measuring professors' gender, evaluative positivity, explicit gender bias, and attentiveness to students; and exhibit minimal heterogeneity by discipline, time, or other characteristics. The results suggest that both male and female students are encouraged by teachers whose presentation of constructive feedback adapts to the student's gender.

January 29
Laura Giuliano
"Does Screening in Person Affect Who Gets Hired?"

February 5
Brenda Samaniego
"News and Labor Market Dynamics"
We study employers’ and job seekers’ responses to salient information about the regional labor market. We exploit a rich daily dataset on job posting and job seeker behavior coupled with MSA-level unemployment press releases by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We find evidence of employers deferring job posting the week before a BLS announcement if the previous month’s announcement revealed a 3-month unemployment rate high. Our results are also consistent with employers decreasing offered hourly wages after an announcement of a 3 or 6-month high unemployment rate, conditional on including a wage offer in the posting. We next study whether job seekers change the area of their search after an unemployment rate high (or low) in their local labor market. We discuss the implications of our findings for matching function estimation.  


February 12
Gueyon Kim
"Trade-Induced Creation of New Work"
This paper empirically examines the impact of foreign competition on domestic innovation in US local labor markets using new work as measures of innovation. To identify new work, I exploit the emergence of new job titles in each decade (1990-2016) using word embedding models to capture those that reflect new tasks. Features of new work greatly differ over time: new work in the post-2000’s exhibit concentration in the service sector, in occupations with managerial roles, and are intensive in nonroutine, complex tasks. I find that the rising Chinese import exposure is one of the important channels that increases organizational new work in US local labor markets. In my main specification, an increase of $1000 per worker in import exposure leads to an increased intensity in organizational new work (i.e. process innovation) by 0.256 percentage points.

March 4
Jeremy West

March 11
Peter Cramton
"Flow Markets"

Fall Quarter 2019

October 23
Ajay Shenoy
"Revisiting the Impact of Access to College"

October 30
Grace Gu
"China's Impact on Global Financial Markets"

November 6
Giacomo de Giorgi
"Farmers to Entrepreneurs"
Non farming enterprise might constitute an ex-post income smoothing device for uninsured households. So that the decision to initiate an enterprise is led by necessity rather than skills. We test such hypothesis and find that farmers become entrepreneurs in response to negative productivity shocks to farming, while credit constraints do not seem to play a substantial role. Importantly, and consistently with irreversible investment or learning-by-doing, these reluctant entrepreneurs do not revert to full farming following new positive productivity shocks. These reluctant entrepreneurs are typically “bad” entrepreneurs while they were above average farmers. This selection might contribute to the understanding of the dual phenomenon of low-productivity firms and farms coexisting in developing countries while speaking to the structural transformation of the economy.

November 13 --> moved to Nov. 14 as Micro Seminar
David Schonholzer, Stockholm University
"Mesauring the Efficacy and Efficiency of School Faculty Expenditures"

November 20
DJ Jeong
"Creating (Digital) Labor Markets in Rural Tanzania"

November 27
Donald Wittman
"Prediting College Student Success"

December 4
David Lee, BSOE Asst. Professor
"Crowdsourced Labor"