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Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: The Social Dimension of Quality

Why do consumers willingly pay more for brand name products compared to non-branded products even though the two have the same attributes. This doctoral dissertation research in economics (DDRIE) research project will use economic theory and experimental methods to investigate the social network source of value for a product. The researchers argue that people pay more for a product to signal prestige or because people they look up to consume that product. The researchers will collect data on a number imported and domestically produced consumer goods to test this theory.

Attacking Tax Evasion in Production Networks: Theory and Evidence from Paraguay

This award funds research on the topic of veto bargaining. Veto bargaining concerns situations in which one agent or group can make proposals but another must approve them. Applications can be found in many areas of the social sciences: legislatures (e.g., U.S.

Factor Based Imputation of Missing Data

Missing observations occur in physical and social science research; Missing observations may arise from people not responding to question,; changes in data definitions, technology of data collection, and natural disasters and wars, among others. Many methods have been proposed to impute the missing observations; these methods often impose restrictive assumptions about the nature of the missing values, with missing at random being the most common. Though they work well in practice, the theoretical properties of the imputed data are not well understood.

Interventions on Diffusion Processes

This award funds research in economic theory. The project seeks to improve our understanding of how social networks shape the spread of opinions, products, and ideas. The core objective is to turn insights from theoretical models into practical guidance on how to conduct targeted seeding, how to design regulations for social media, and how to advertise new products with uncertain quality. The award funds three projects. The first project will develop a framework to study how best to target individuals based on their network positions in order to spread a new idea or innovation.

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: The Consequences of Welfare Reform: A Case Study in Michigan

This research will study the effects of losing access to welfare (cash assistance) by taking advantage of a unique welfare reform policy in Michigan that swiftly and unexpectedly removed eligibility from tens of thousands of families from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This project will gather detailed administrative data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on welfare recipients and their families and link it to a large credit bureau data for the investigation.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Governing the Uncommons: The Impact of Technological Change on International Law

The idea that law struggles to keep pace with technological change has in recent years become a trope. New technologies convey social benefits but also unexpected potential harm. This is particularly troubling in the context of international law, where military technological breakthroughs can disrupt multilateral consensus about who owes whom what. Puzzlingly, old laws are often robust to disruptive technological change, even when there are strong incentives for powerful parties to push for overhaul.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Forgive Us Our Debts: Market Expansion, Ethno-Racial Boundaries, and the Democratization of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has long been a locus of struggle over whom is morally worthy of an economic rebirth. Early twentieth century America, as a key period of expanding credit markets and the institutionalization of bankruptcy, wrestled with these tensions. In particular, the Bankruptcy Act of 1898 unexpectedly resulted in skyrocketing personal bankruptcy filing rates, which helped to solidify the perception of bankruptcy as a means for the working person?s economic rebirth.

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: What's in a Name? The Effect of Changing Definitions of "Employer" on Worker Outcomes

his doctoral dissertation research in economics (DDRIE) project will use machine language and modern economic methods to investigate court decisions on who is an "employee" affect worker's labor outcomes, such as employment tenure, wages, benefits, and unionization. There has been a large increase in "contingent workers" - workers who are on temporary contracts, contracted out, or are independent contractors. These workers have weaker protections in terms of compensation tenure and collective action.

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: Spatial Equilibrium and the Value of Public Transit

One of the important issues in an urbanizing world is understanding how public transportation affects the growth and development of regions. Public infrastructure investments are costly and thus understanding their contribution to regional development is imperative to assess the benefits given the high costs. Since public transportation is not randomly distributed across space, it is challenging to disentangle the amenity value of neighborhoods from that of the transportation network itself.

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: Belief Formation and Choice in Games: An Experiment

Much of economic analysis is based on the idea that economic agents respond to incentives and that they will increase their effort to understand the consequences of their actions in order to make the right decisions. This research project will use laboratory experiments to test whether increasing the size of reward or punishment (stakes henceforth) while considering how others will react affect the effort one puts into studying the environment before s/he makes the decision. The research will answer the following questions: (i) does the size of stakes affect people?s choices and beliefs?

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