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- SSEES Centenary
Was Domar Right? The Second Serfdom, the Land-Labour Ratio, and Urbanization in Eighteenth-Century Bohemia
The ‘second serfdom’ is widely regarded as one of the sources of the early modern Little Divergence, during which the economies of eastern and eastern-central Europe are seen as decisively falling behind those of the west. More...
Starts: Jan 20, 2015 5:00:00 PM
This paper investigates the effect of the differential pecuniary costs of sons and daughters on fertility decisions. The focus is on dowries in India, which increase the economic returns to sons and decrease the returns to daughters. More...
Starts: Dec 9, 2014 5:00:00 PM
Economics and Business Seminar Series (E&BSS)
The E&BSS at UCL SSEES (formerly Centre for Comparative Economcis) provides a forum for external and internal speakers to present their new work in Economics and Business. The seminars and the work of the E&B group are linked to our E&B Working Papers Series.
Day/Time: Tuesdays, 17.00 - 18.30
Venue: Roberts 309, Roberts Building,
Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7JE
To celebrate the SSEES Centenary, there will be a special Economics and Business Conference held in 2015. See further details
2014-15 Spring Term Programme
Was Domar Right? The Second Serfdom, the Land-Labour Ratio, and Urbanization in Eighteenth-Century Bohemia; Alex Klein (University of Kent)
Tuesday 20 January 2015, 5pm-6.30pm,
Roberts 309, Roberts Building, Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7JE
The ‘second serfdom’ is widely regarded as one of the sources of the early modern Little Divergence, during which the economies of eastern and eastern-central Europe are seen as decisively falling behind those of the west. But what caused the second serfdom? One influential explanation, advanced by Domar (1970), is that high land-labour ratios (such as those in Eastern Europe) motivated landlords to intensify coercion so as to solve problems of labour scarcity. A diametrically opposed ‘neo-Malthusian’ hypothesis holds that high land-labour ratios (such as those that prevailed after the Black Death) motivated landlords to decrease coercion because peasants had better bargaining power.
Our paper investigates these questions quantitatively for an entire economy under the ‘second serfdom’. For Bohemia (the Czech Lands) in 1757, we have compiled a detailed data set of some 11,800 villages and 500 towns using the Theresian Cadaster (Tereziánký katastr) that allowed us to calculate a quantitative measure of the ‘second serfdom’: the total number of days per week the serfs in each village had to perform forced labour for their landlord. We estimated a reduced-form relationship between the intensity of the second serfdom, factor endowments, and serfs’ outside opportunities.
We find that the second serfdom, as measured by the intensity of labour coercion, was indeed positively associated with the land-labour ratio, as postulated by Domar. We also find that the intensity of labour coercion showed a significant and non-trivial association with the urban sector, although the link is a more complex than postulated in the literature.
Our findings provide the first quantitative exploration of prevailing theories about what factors led serfdom to be stronger or weaker. We find that the intensity of labour coercion exerted by landlords over serfs was indeed positively associated with high land-labour ratios, but that the intensity of coercion was tempered by serfs’ outside options.
Daniel Kral (UCL SSEES), Business Economics
Tuesday 27 January 2015, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Cagatay Bircan (EBRD), Comparative Economics
Tuesday 3 February 2015, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Dimitris Tsomocos (University of Oxford), Macro-Finance
Tuesday 10 March 2015, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Igor Yegorov (Ukraine government), International Economics
Tuesday 17 March 2015, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Bob Rijkers (World Bank), Development and Business Economics
Tuesday 24 March 2015, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
View past events including titles, summaries, speakers and podcasts.
2014-15 Autumn Term Programme
"Measuring regional entrepreneurship: The Regional Entrepreneurship and Development Index (REDI)" Zoltan Acs (LSE)
Tuesday 7 October 2014, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
In this paper the Regional Entrepreneurship and Development
Index (REDI) has been constructed for capturing the contextual features
of entrepreneurship across EU regions. The REDI method builds on the
National Systems of Entrepreneurship Theory and provides a way to
profile Regional Systems of Entrepreneurship. The paper portrays the
entrepreneurial disparities amongst EU regions and provides
“New ventures’ strategy, knowledge spillovers and entrepreneurs’ growth aspirations “ Julia Korosteleva (UCL SSEES)
Tuesday 21 October 2014, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Tuesday 28 October 2014, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Prof. Herakles Polemarchakis is Professor of Economic Theory in the Department of Economics of the University of Warwick. He works in economic theory and, in particular, on the theory of economic policy
He is a leading scholar in the study of the inefficiency of markets and the role government policy can have when financial markets are incomplete. He has published his work on monetary policy, incomplete financial markets, and equilibrium theory in all the leading journals (American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Economic Theory, etc).
Tuesday 25 November 2014, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
Discussants: Christopher Hartwell (President of CASE Research), James Roaf (IMF representative in CEE), Slavo Radosevic (panel chair, UCL SSEES)
How can firms in transition countries become more productive? And how can a dynamic business sector help countries grow? This year’s Report seeks answers to these important questions by analysing firm innovation across the transition region.
The Transition Report 2014 exploits a unique enterprise survey that for the first time unlocks detailed information on how firms innovate by introducing new products, new production processes, new ways to organize themselves, and new ways to market their products and services. The report also takes stock of firms’ investments in research and development (R&D) and provides new insights into how managerial practices influence firm productivity.
A key theme of this report is that individual firms can make a difference. Even in countries that seem ‘stuck in transition’, firm managers can make decisions that have a profound impact on the efficiency and productivity of the businesses they run.
Against this background, Chapters 1 to 4 of the report examine the link between innovation and productivity and look at factors both internal and external to the firm that drive innovation. The last two sections of the report examine recent regional macroeconomic developments, provide an economic outlook for the transition region, and discuss recent trends in structural reforms during 2013-14.
"Daughters, Dowries, Deliveries: The Effect of Marital Payments on Fertility Choices in India" - Marco Alfano (UCL Economics)
Tuesday 9 December 2014, 5pm-6.30pm, Room 432
This paper investigates the effect of the differential
pecuniary costs of sons and daughters on fertility decisions. The focus
is on dowries in India, which increase the economic returns to sons and
decrease the returns to daughters.
The Joint Impact of Labour market Policies and Crises on Total and Youth Unemployment in Europe
Silvia Dal Bianco, London Metropolitan University, UK
This paper analyses the complex joint impact of both labour market policies and crises on total and youth unemployment. We look at the last two decades in the Enlarged European labour market and we construct a time varying and country specific crisis variable, which allows us to test the impact of labour market policies and their interactions with severe and unexpected negative in a completely novel way. We find that too generous passive labour market policies accentuate the impact of the crisis on unemployment but moderate ones mitigate the negative effect on the labour market. On the contrary, relative generous money spent in rotation training and rehabilitation policies might decrease unemployment even very low level of crisis' severity. The younger generations do seem to be hit harder by the crises anyway. Our analysis can highlight some of the weakness and strengths of different European labour market models.
Silvia Dal Bianco (BA Bocconi, PhD Pavia, MSc Oxf), is Senior Lecturer in Economics at London Metropolitan University since 2012. She has been lecturing at Oxford, UCL and Pavia. Her research focuses on growth empirics, the interaction between institutions and economic development and the effects of financial crises on labour market and financial flows. She also worked as a consultant for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Trade and served as research fellow at the Institute for Latin American and Eastern European Studies at Bocconi University.
25 March 2014
Corruption and management practices. Firm-level evidence
Daphne Athanasouli (UCL SSEES)
We investigate the impact of regional corruption on the management quality of firms within the manufacturing sector in Central and Eastern Europe. The empirical challenge is that bribing practices in the public sector may evolve in response to firm behaviours, and regional corruption is measured with error. To identify causal effects, our preferred specifications use a difference-in-differences methodology. We measure the manufacturing industries' sensitivity to corruption using their level of dependence to contract institutions. Controlling for regional and manufacturing industry - country fixed effects, we find that firms in more contract dependent industries located in more corrupt regions tend to have lower management quality, more centralized decision-making process and lower level of education of administrative workers. In more corrupt regions, contract dependent firms are also characterized by lower investments in R&D and smaller product markets. We show that these results are unlikely to be driven by omitted variables, outliers, or reverse causality.
Daphne is Teaching Fellow at UCL SSEES and about to complete her PhD thesis on linkages between corruption and private and public sector management. She presented her research at number of international conference including Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society and Asian Meeting of the Econometric Society.
18 March 2014
A Neo-Institutional Framework To Analyse Tax Evasion by Owners-Managers in the Transition Business Environment
Tomasz Mickiewicz (Aston University; ESRC Enterprise Research Centre, UK)
We build on the new institutionalism approach in order to propose a framework to explain tax evasion in business.
We consider environmental factors operating both at the societal level and at the organizational population level and look at relational carriers of institutional influences. We combine normative, cultural-cognitive and regulatory-instrumental perspectives that can shed light on tax compliance amongst business owners-managers. We also highlight the specific elements that reinforce these factors under a transition institutional environment. We illustrate our model with an empirical application, utilizing survey data on owners-managers of Latvian businesses, testing hypotheses related to institutional dimensions we identified.
Tomasz Mickiewicz is Professor within the Economics and Strategy Group at Aston Business School and his previous position (until 2012) was Professor of Comparative Economics at UCL. He is President of the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies and editor of Regional Studies. His principal research interests are related to entrepreneurship and institutions. He extensively publishes in academic journals and his recent publications included papers in Journal of Business Venturing,Small Business Economics, Review of Development Economics, Journal of Comparative Economics and others.
11 March 2014
Foreign-owned banks and dependent financialization in Eastern Europe
Daniela Gabor (Bristol Business School, UK)
Daniela Gabor is Associate Professor at Bristol Business School.
This paper argues that financialization is not a phenomenon exclusively associated with highly complex financial markets. It also affects countries with 'shallow' financial markets but with a significant presence of transnational financial actors that become a powerful economic and political force. This dependent financialization is characterised by new modes of profit generation for transnational banks, interconnectedness and fragility as the main mechanisms of incorporation in global financial structures. Trading-based, shadow-banking funded bank activities connect and financialize local currency, money and asset markets, both quantitatively (rapid growth, increasingly liquid) and qualitatively (structural changes in demand/supply conditions). In Eastern Europe, recent attempts to impose (informal) capital controls and segment banks' internal capital markets, as in the Vienna Initiatives, should be viewed as attempts to re-embed domestic financial systems.
Daniela Gabor is Associate Professor at Bristol Business School. Her research is concentrated in three related areas. First, she is interested in shadow banking activities, in particular collateral intermediation, and the implications for central banking, sovereign bond markets and regulatory activity. Second, her research develops the theme of transnational banks' involvement in policy deliberations around capital controls and crisis management in both global settings and in emerging markets. Finally, she researches the IMF's conditionality and advice on capital controls. Her recent publications include papers in Review of Political Economy, Journal of Development Studies, Comparative Economic Studies and others.
4 March 2014
European perspectives of Ukraine: the end of multi-vector policy?
Igor Yegorov (Institute for Economics and Forecasting of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)
Eurointegration processes were ‘postponed’ by the Ukrainian government in late November 2013.
The question is how the country could solve its serious economic and social problems in a new geopolitical situation.
This decision could have long-term impact on the development of the country and its relations with the EU. Situation does not look optimistic for a number of other sectors of the national economy and for the state budget, as well. Termination of the Eurointegration could also lead to the important political changes after the Presidential elections in 2015.
Igor Yegorov is Deputy Director of the Institute for Economics and Forecasting of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Professor at the Faculty of Economics at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv Has is working on policy issues in the post-Soviet countries and in Ukraine. He is the author of numerous publications, including articles in Science and Public Policy, Europe-Asia Studies and other leading journals on problems of science policy.
25 February 2014
The urban-rural divide in educational outcome: Evidence from Russia
Chiara Amini (London Metropolitan University, UK)
This paper analyses the differences in educational achievement between urban and rural Russian secondary school students using data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys.
The results show a persistent gap between urban and rural students. The better performance of larger settlements can be primarily explained by the differences in the socio-economic backgrounds of students. Considering Russia's general demographic decline and the increasingly smaller number of school-aged children, which reduced school and class sizes, particularly in rural settlements. The findings point out that severe inefficiencies plague the secondary education system in Russia.
Chiara Amini is Lecturer in Economics at London Metropolitan University. She has completed a PhD in Economics at University College London in 2013. Her thesis analyses three key issues of economic development: foreign direct investment, human capital and poverty. She is currently working on Corporate Social Responsibility, FDI and the economics of education in low and middle income countries. Chiara has also worked as research consultant for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the Department for International Development and the World Bank.
11 February 2014
Bank Lending and Firm Innovation: Evidence from Russia
Ralph De Haas, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, UK
This paper presents evidence on the impact of credit constraints on firms' innovation behavior.
To identify this impact we combine data on the innovation activity of over 4,200 Russian firms; data on these firms' demand for and access to credit (including the lender identity); and data on the geographical location of 45,000 bank branches across Russia. We find that firms are less credit constrained in more concentrated credit markets where foreign banks have a higher market share. We then show that such reduced credit constraints translate into more firm innovation at both the extensive and intensive margins. These findings suggest that banks can play a crucial role in stimulating technological progress in emerging markets
Ralph De Haas is a Deputy Director of Research at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Prior to joining the EBRD, Ralph worked at the Banking Supervision and Monetary Policy Departments of the Dutch central bank and is currently a part-time Associate Professor of Finance at Tilburg University. His main research interests include international banking and financial integration, development economics, and small-business finance. He is currently working on large-scale randomized field experiments to measure the impact of microfinance on poverty alleviation in Bosnia, Mongolia, and Morocco. His recent publications include papers in American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Journal of Banking and Finance, Economic Policy and others
4 February 2014
Financial integration in Europe: Has the model failed for the 'periphery economies’?
Max Watson, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
The integration of financial markets in Europe was seen as boosting economic catch-up in the periphery of the euro area and the EU, as well as in neighbouring economies.
But the results have been mixed, and financial integration in Europe has now gone into reverse. What are the lessons for the EU and for emerging market economies in Europe?
Max Watson is a Visiting Fellow at the European Studies Centre of St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he is Director of the Political Economy of Financial Markets programme, and co-ordinates political economy work on South East Europe. He is also a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and a Trustee of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society. Until December 2011 he was a Director of the Central Bank of Ireland. During 2003-2007, he was adviser to the Director General of Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission. Previously he was at the IMF, where he was head of the International Capital Markets Division, a mission chief to countries in Eastern Europe and the euro area, and subsequently a Deputy Director of the Fund.
28 January 2014
Planning peace. Development policies in postwar Europe and the birth of development economics
Michele Alacevich, Columbia University, USA
The postwar global challenge of development took shape not only as an answer to
the destitution of Third World countries, but also as an attempt to solve the economic and political crisis that had precipitated Europe into totalitarianism and war.
For Europe to emerge from the tragedy of war stronger and at peace, the problem of underdeveloped areas in the European continent itself had to be solved. Those early development ideas and policies, initially conceived for Europe, became the basis of a new development orthodoxy that was subsequently exported to other non-European areas of the world.
This seminar will explore the European origins of the postwar development debate by discussing the analyses that UK and exiled scholars produced on Central and Eastern Europe during World War II, and how those policy recommendations reappeared later with regard to Southern Europe and finally in the larger global development debate.
As surprising as it may seem, all began at UCL…
Michele Alacevich is Associate Director for Research Activities at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, specializes in the history of 20th century development institutions and ideas, and international history. Current interests include the history of development, the policies of postwar reconstruction in Southern Europe, and the history of social sciences in the 20th century, with a focus on the linkages between the history of ideas, economic and political history, and the history of economic thought. His book The Political Economy of the World Bank: The Early Years (Stanford University Press, 2009) has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and Arabic. His publications include articles in Journal of Global History, History of Political Economy, Review of Political Economy, Rivista di Storia Economica, and Journal of the History of Economic Thought.
January 21 2014
Foreign Languages and Trade
(Jan Fidrmuc, Brunel University, UK)
Cultural factors and especially common languages are well-known determinants of trade.
By contrast, the knowledge of foreign languages was not explored in the literature so far. We combine traditional gravity models with data on fluency in the main languages used in EU and candidate countries. We show that widespread knowledge of languages is an important determinant of foreign trade, with English playing an especially important role. The robustness of our results is confirmed when considering a natural experiment of trade between Eastern and Western Europe.
Jan Fidrmuc is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics and Finance, Brunel University. His research interests include political economy, economic development, institutional economics and labour/family economics. He has published his research in leading European and international peer-reviewed journals, including the European Economic Review, European Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Comparative Economics, and Electoral Studies.
14 January 2014
Transition Economics Meets New Structural Economics - A Workshop
26 June 2013
Ownership and Enterprise Performance in the Russian Oil Industry, 1992-2011
Nat Moser (UCL SSEES)
Nat Moser is a Research Fellow in Russian & CIS Energy at UCL SSEES. He has 20 years experience analysing developments in the FSU energy sector from both an academic and investment perspective. He has served on the board of directors of both Russian and Ukrainian oil & gas companies.
19 March 2013
Financial Integration in Europe: Has the Model Failed for the 'Periphery Economies'?
Max Watson (Wolfson College, University of Oxford)
12 March 2013 (This event was cancelled - to be rescheduled)
Soviet Power Plus Electrification: What is the Long Run Legacy of Communism?
Mark Schaffer (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Mark Schaffer is Professor of Economics at the Heriot-Watt University, Director for Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation (CERT), Head of Department of Economics, School of Management and Languages, Research Fellow at CEPR, the William Davidson Institute, and IZA Institute for the Study of Labour. He extensively publish in academic journals in the area of economics of transition in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China; applied econometrics.
5 March 2013
The Energy Policy of Ukraine and Relations with Russia
Igor Yegorov (G.M. Dobrov Center for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies, National Academy of Science of Ukraine)
The presentation will be focused on changes in Ukrainian energy policy in recent period. These changes include development of own energy resources, including shale gas deposits and substitute of Russian gas by local coal. At the same time, Ukraine has ambitious plans of diversification of sources of energy supplies. The problem is how realistic there plans are.
Igor Yegorov is Head of Department for Systemic Studies of Science and Technology Potential, at the G.M. Dobrov Center for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies is the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Has is working on policy issues in the post-Soviet countries and in Ukraine. He is the author of numerous publications, including articles in Science and Public Policy, Europe-Asia Studies and other leading journals on problems of science policy.
19 February 2013
The Impact of Armed Conflict on Firms' Performance and Perceptions
Helena Schweiger (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, UK)
This study is the first to explore the short-run impact of armed conflict on firms' performance and their perceptions of the business environment. It is focused on the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia and uses the Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey data before and after this armed conflict. The results suggest that young firms experienced a scarring effect, which could lead them to close down prematurely. Longer-term impacts of the conflict on firms' performance and local economic development can therefore not be ruled out.
Helena Schweiger is a Principal economist at the EBRD. Her main research interests include applying empirical analysis to understand the causes of differences in productivity and growth. Her publications include papers in Economics of Transition, chapters in books, EBRD WP.
29 January 2013
Return Migration: The Experience of Eastern Europe
Dragos Radu (UCL SSEES)
This paper uses census and survey data to identify the wage earning ability and the selection of recent Romanian migrants and returnees. Evidence that the selection and sorting of migrants by skills is driven by different returns in countries of destination are found. It is also found that the return premium increases with migrants' skills and this drives the positive selection of returnees relative to nonmigrants. A rational-agent model of education, migration and return is simulated. Results suggest that for a source country like Romania relatively high rates of temporary migration might have positive long-run effects on average skills and wages.
Dragos Radu is Teaching Fellow in Economics at UCL SSEES. He extensively publishes in international journals on issues of migration and human capital.
8 January 2013
Fiscal Sustainability, Volatility and Oil Wealth
Sweder van Wijnbergen, University of Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute, the Netherlands
11 December 2012 (This event was cancelled)
EBRD - UCL SSEES Transition Report Launch
Principal Presenter: Peter Sanfey, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Following the recent launch of the EBRD's 2012 Transition Report, Integration Across Borders, this UCL SSEES Economics and Business Seminar Series special event has been convened to highlight and discuss the key findings. This is a free, public event, supported by CEELBAS. All welcome.
27 November 2012
Entrepreneurial Propensity of Innovation Systems in Europe: Theory, Methodology and Evidence
Slavo Radošević and Esin Yoruk Mikhailov (UCL SSEES)
This presentation is pioneering attempt to explore theoretically and empirically entrepreneurship as a systemic phenomenon. Usually, entrepreneurship is perceived only as property of individuals. We argue that entrepreneurship is also property of systems. Hence, we develop conceptually and empirically the notion of the entrepreneurial propensity of innovation system by integrating knowledge intensive entrepreneurship (KIE) and innovation system (IS) concepts. We use a composite index methodology to measure knowledge intensive entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial opportunities at the national level in the European Union. We assess the influence of the system's activities on the KIE. The results show that there is a high correlation between KIE and entrepreneurial opportunities (EO) reflecting the systemic feature of this relationship. We provide evidence that institutions affect entrepreneurial experimentation not only directly but more via technology and markets.
13 November 2012
Comparing China's GDP Statistics with Coincident Indicators
Jenni Pääkkönen (Government Institute for Economics Research, VATT, and Bank of Finland)
The dynamics of GDP growth for China against alternative indicators is discussed. Suggested episodes of statistical inconsistencies are tested by factor analysis. The importance of factors is studied, advancing the understanding of growth in China. The indicator data match the GDP dynamics well and discrepancies are very short.
The seminar will be of particular relevance for PhD and research students who are interested in the Chinese economy. Additionally, advantaged and disadvantaged of macroeconomics indicators that are used as empirical evidences for economic growth will be discussed.
Jenni Pääkkönen is a Senior Researcher at VATT. She publishes extensively in academic journals and her recent publications include papers in Journal of Comparative Economics, Economic Systems, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies and others.
30 October 2012
"Can state language policies distort students' demand for education?"
Oleksandr Talavera (University of Sheffield Management School)
The seminar will be of particular relevance for PhD and research students who are interested in human capital and national minority rights issues in Eastern Europe.
Oleksandr Talavera is a Reader at the University of Sheffield where he has just moved from Durham. He publishes extensively in academic journals and his recent publications include papers in Oxford Economic Papers, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of International Money and Finance, Small Business Economics and others.
16 October 2012