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Essays in applied econometrics

Dal Maso, Carlo (2016) Essays in applied econometrics. Advisor: Ticchi, Prof. Davide. pp. 104. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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Intense political debate surrounded the Italian university system in the last ten years. The latter was widely perceived as auto-referential and inefficient so that each government proposed its own solutions and reforms. These targeted the number of classes offered, the way professors are recruited as well as parameters and amount of public funding toward universities. The present dissertation investigates how interventions affected Italian professors. The first work look at recruitment through the lens of game theory and represent the selection process as a bargain between members of the evaluation committee over the possible candidates. We bring the model to the data and evaluate how the reform of selection rules affected some of the parameters of the model. The second essay, focus on the funding system and in particular on the norms that limit personnel expenses of universities. We exploit the variation of budget constraints in time and across institutions in a quasi-experimental framework and estimate the effect of staff turn over limits on the probability of voluntary leaving academia. Finally, the last work looks directly into the political process and studies the formation and break of coalitions in the Italian parliament through concepts of complex network literature. Chapter 2 A common observation is that individuals strive to neutralize the effect of procedural rules designed to drive choices away from their private optimum. An example of this phenomenon is offered by the reaction of Italian academia to two reforms that modified the procedures of recruitment and promotion, by introducing random selection of the examiners not appointed by the recruiting school and reducing from two to one the number of candidates to be qualified. We model the negotiation occurring within evaluation committees and test the decision rule implied by the theoretical model on the sample composed of all selections to associate and full professorship initiated by the Italian schools of economics between 2004 and 2011. Particularly, we investigate whether these reforms decreased the relative weight of the examiner appointed by the recruiting school on committee’s decision. Empirical results suggest that both reforms had little if no effect on examiners’ weights. Chapter 3 The number of professors employed in Italian universities dropped by 15% between 2008 and 2013. This resulted from two opposite trends: a reduction in new hires and an increment in professors leaving academia. While the first trend can be easily explained by government limits on personnel expenses the second one deserves further explanations. In this paper we investigate whether budget constrains on personnel expenses backfired by pushing Italian professor to quit their positions for private companies or foreign institutions. We exploit the selectivity of the new regulation along with its time variation in a quasi-experimental framework. Results indicate an increase in voluntary leaves among institutions with more severe staff limitations. Surprisingly the latter show lower voluntary leaves on average in both pre and post reform periods. We provide some explanations for these results and point out the limits of our methodologies for future investigations. Chapter 4 We analyze the network of relations between parliament members according to their voting behavior. In particular, we examine the emergent community structure with respect to political coalitions and government alliances. We rely on tools developed in the Complex Network literature to explore the core of these communities and use their topological features to develop new metrics for party polarization, internal coalition cohesiveness and government strength. As a case study, we focus on the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, for which we are able to characterize the heterogeneity of the ruling coalition as well as parties specific contributions to the stability of the government over time. We find sharp contrast in the political debate which surprisingly does not imply a relevant structure based on establised parties. We take a closer look to changes in the community structure after parties split up and their effect on the position of single deputies within communities. Finally, we introduce a way to track the stability of the government coalition over time that is able to discern the contribution of each member along with the impact of its possible defection. While our case study relies on the Italian parliament, whose relevance has come into the international spotlight in the present economic downturn, the methods developed here are entirely general and can therefore be applied to a multitude of other scenarios.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
PhD Course: Economics
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/183
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-27211
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2016 09:16
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/183

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