Microeconomics & International Trade Seminars

Spring 2017

Thursday 1:403:00 p.m.
499 Engineering II

May 11
Matt Jackson, Stanford University
"Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network"
Host: Ajay Shenoy
ABSTRACT: Is it possible to identify individuals who are highly central in a community without gathering any network information, simply by asking a few people?   If we use people's nominees as seeds for a diffusion process, will it be successful? We explore these questions theoretically, via surveys, and via field experiments. We show via a model of information flow how members of a community can, just by tracking gossip about others, identify highly central individuals in their network. Asking villagers in rural Indian villages to name good seeds for diffusion, we find that they accurately nominate those who are central according to a measure tailored for diffusion -- not just  those with many friends or in powerful positions. Finally, we run a randomized field experiment in 213 other villages that tests how effective it is to use such nominations as seeds for a diffusion process. Relative to random seeds or those with high social status, hitting at least one seed nominated by villagers leads to more than a 65% increase in the spread of information.

May 30
Melanie Morten, Stanford University
"Migration and Walls: US-Mexico Migration between 2005-2014"
Host: Jon Robinson
The labor market impacts of immigration have been hotly debated by economists. We study a period of wall-building along the Mexico-US border between 2006-2010 and novel bilateral migration data to show how the border wall changed migration patterns of Mexican migrants and affected both destination labor markets in the US and source labor markets in Mexico.

June 8
Elana Asparouhova, University of Utah
"Competitive Off-equilibrium: Theory and Experiment"
Host: Dan Friedman
We propose a Marshallian model for price and quantity adjustment in parallel continuous double auctions. Investors submit orders only for small quantities, and at prices that maximize the local utility improvements. Pareto optimality, on which equilibrium asset pricing theory is built, is eventually reached. Experiments designed with the CAPM in mind show that, consistent with the theory (i) contrary to the standard Walrasian price adjustment model, price changes cross-autocorrelate with excess demands depending on covariances of liquidating dividends; (ii) a risk-weighted endowment portfolio is closer to mean-variance optimality than the market portfolio; (iii) individual portfolios are under-diversified, and more so when dividend covariances are positive.