Public Governance working group

The Public Governance working group is online seminar series focused on state of art research in political economy that uses non-traditional data and data-intensive methods.

The working group give a platform for the research on the role of governance in designing and developing better policies. Key features are the political environment, the role of the media, the engagement of stakeholders such as civil society and firms, the market structure and level of competition, and the independence of public regulators, among others. Particular emphasis is placed on research with NLP methods due to the proven usefulness of transforming text into data for further econometric analysis.

Periodicity: Every Monday from 17h30 to 19h.

To attend, please contact Vladimir Avetian:

Upcoming sessions

2023-04-03 at 17:30h

Clément Gorin (University of Toronto)

The Emergence, Growth, and Stagnation of Cities: France 1760-2020

Abstract: This paper analyses the evolution of French urban areas from a historical perspective. Using building footprints extracted from collections of digitised historical maps covering mainland France in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, we define consistently urban areas and analyse their trajectories along the urban hierarchy. Our findings highlight increasing urbanisation with fewer and larger urban areas, consistent with agglomerations economies. Disaggregate analysis reveals significant heterogeneity, with the emergence, persistence, disappearance of urban areas.

2023-04-17 at 17:30h

Apurav Bhatiya (University of Birmingham)


2023-05-22 at 17:30h

Julian Dyer (University of Exeter Business School)


2023-06-05 at 17:30h

Carlo Schwarz (Bocconi University)


2023-06-19 at 17:30h

Milena Djourelova (University of Chicago)


Past sessions

2023-03-20 at 17:30h

Léo Picard (University of Basel)

Political Metaphors in U.S. Governor Speeches (with Dominik Stammbach)

Abstract: How do politicians use metaphors in their speeches? To provide evidence on this question, we apply a deep-learning-based metaphor detection model to a historical corpus of annual State of the State speeches given by U.S. governors, ranging from 1995 to 2022. Across 9 socio-economic topics, we present the following descriptive findings. First, metaphors are most commonly used on fiscal and economic issues. Second, Democratic governors employ more metaphors on environmental issues relative to Republican governors, who in turn express more metaphors on moral values. Third, we confirm that the language used to express political metaphors is emotionally charged, with a degree of heterogeneity. Our emotion scores increase the most in presence of a metaphor on subjects related to the economy, fiscal issues, and moral values.

2023-03-06 at 17:30h

Michael Poyker (University of Nottingham)

Economic Consequences of the U.S. Convict Labor System

Abstract: I study the economic spillovers of convict labor on local labor markets and firms. Using newly collected panel data on U.S. prisons from 1886 to 1940, I calculate each county’s exposure to prisons. I exploit quasi-random variation in a county’s exposure to the capacities of pre-convict-labor prisons as an instrument. I find that competition from cheap prison-made goods led to higher unemployment and reduced wages (particularly for women) in counties that housed competing manufacturing industries. Affected industries innovated away from the competition and thus had higher patenting rates. I also document that technological changes in affected industries were capital-biased.

2023-02-20 at 17:30h

Peiyuan Li (University of Colorado Boulder)

Who Lost (or Won) China? Land Reform and War Mobilization

2023-02-06 at 17:30h

Miao Ben Zhang (University of Southern California)

The Cost of Regulatory Compliance in the United States (with Francesco Trebbi)

2023-01-16 at 17:30h

Nikita Melnikov (Nova School of Business and Economics)

Mobile Internet and Political Polarization

2023-01-09 at 17:30h

Annalí Casanueva Artís (PSE)

Can chants in the street change politics’ tune? Evidence from the 15M movement in Spain

2022-12-05 at 17:30h

Gloria Gennaro (UCL)

Immigration and Social Distance: Evidence from Newspapers during the Age of Mass Migration

Abstract: By Alessandra Stampi-Bombelli, Gloria Gennaro, Elliott Ash, Dominik Hangartner A constant of human history is the migration of peoples in search of a better future. In destination countries, these new arrivals come into contact with both the host population as well as already established immigrant communities. How does the arrival of new immigrants affect the perception of outgroup distance among the native majority group? And do new arrivals also change the perceived distance between the host population and existing immigrant groups? We address these questions in the context of the Age of Mass Migration (1860-1920), a period during which sizeable and diverse groups of migrants arrived on U.S. shores. Applying advanced computational linguistics techniques to a newly processed corpus of over 1.8 million newspaper issues (9 million pages) published by 3,675 local outlets in that period, we present a novel text-based measure of perceived socio-cultural distance between U.S.-born natives and 32 immigrant groups. For each mention of an immigrant group, we compute a distance measure that captures whether the group's framing more closely resembles contexts used when portraying immigrants, rather than natives. We use this time- and county-varying outcome to analyse the short- and medium-term effects of immigration inflows on local perceptions of socio-cultural distance toward the arriving and existing immigrant groups.

2022-10-17 at 17:30h

Christina J Schneider (UC San Diego)

Globalization and Promissory Representation

Abstract: Promissory representation holds that political parties make promises to voters during election campaigns and generally keep those promises after elections if they have the opportunity to do so. Specific campaign promises let voters know where parties stand on issues, and voters' assessments of governing parties' past records of pledge fulfill- ment is one way in which parties are held to account. Despite the centrality of promise keeping to representation, we know little about how it is affected by economic global- ization, which is one of the defining characteristics of the modern world. We argue that globalization reduces governing parties' ability to keep their campaign promises. Inter- national economic integration increases uncertainty about the feasibility of promises, imposes legal constraints in the form of international commitments that may impede promise keeping in unexpected ways, and empowers market actors that lobby govern- ments when promises threaten their interests. We test the empirical implications of our theory with a mixed-methods approach that combines a large-n quantitative com- parative analysis of pledge fulfillment with a typical case study to trace the underlying causal mechanisms of the theory. The findings indicate that international economic integration exerts a large negative effect on the likelihood of pledge fulfillment in a broad range of contexts and that the hypothesized mechanisms are clearly observable in the detailed case study. These findings have important implications for democratic representation in a globalized world.


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