This paper, which is joint with Emmanuelle Auriol, Diego Delissaint, Maleke Fourati and Pepita Miguel-Florensa, is now published in Economics of Transition and Institutional Change. You can download a preprint here.
We started this project back in 2015.
Here are some pictures of very colorful Ghanaian coffins:
This paper, the result of our project with Jeanne Bovet, Eva Raiber, Weiwei Ren and Charlotte Wang, has come out in the British Journal of Psychology (2018). DOI:10.1111/bjop.12319
You can find the final paper here:
You can find a near-final prepublication version here.
Both parents and offspring have evolved mating preferences that enable them to select mates and children‐in‐law to maximize their inclusive fitness. The theory of parent–offspring conflict predicts that preferences for potential mates may differ between parents and offspring: individuals are expected to value biological quality more in their own mates than in their offspring’s mates and to value investment potential more in their offspring’s mates than in their own mates. We tested this hypothesis in China using a naturalistic ‘marriage market’ where parents actively search for marital partners for their offspring. Parents gather at a public park to advertise the characteristics of their adult children, looking for a potential son or daughter‐in‐law. We presented 589 parents and young adults from the city of Kunming (Yunnan, China) with hypothetical mating candidates varying in their levels of income (proxy for investment potential) and physical attractiveness (proxy for biological quality). We found some evidence of a parent–offspring conflict over mate choice, but only in the case of daughters, who evaluated physical attractiveness as more important than parents. We also found an effect of the mating candidate’s sex, as physical attractiveness was deemed more valuable in a female potential mate by parents and offspring alike.
Just published in Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions 175 (2016), pp. 201-219.
The pdf is here.
This paper models how migration both influences and responds to differences in disease prevalence between cities and shows how the possibility of migration away from high-prevalence areas affects long-run steady state disease prevalence. We develop a dynamic framework where migration responds to the prevalence of disease, to the costs of migration and to the costs of living. The model explores how pressure for migration in response to differing equilibrium levels of disease prevalence generates differences in city characteristics such as land rents. Competition for scarce housing in low-prevalence areas can create segregation, with disease concentrated in high-prevalence “sinks”. We show that policies affecting migration costs affect the steady-state disease prevalence across cities. In particular, migration can reduce steady-state disease incidence in low-prevalence areas while having no impact on prevalence in high-prevalence areas. This suggests that, in some circumstances, public health measures may need to avoid discouraging migration away from high-disease areas.
This article quantifies the relationship between market size and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry using improved, and newer, methods and data. We find significant elasticities of innovation to expected market size with a point estimate under our preferred specification of 0.23. This suggests that, on average, $2.5 billion is required in additional revenue to support the invention of one new chemical entity. This magnitude is plausible given recent accounting estimates of the cost of innovation of $800 million to $1 billion per drug, and marginal costs of manufacture and distribution near 50%.
We develop a theoretical model under which “genuine” or “convincing” smiling is a costly signal that has evolved to induce cooperation in situations requiring mutual trust. Prior to a trust interaction involving a decision by a sender to send money to a recipient, the recipient can emit a signal to induce the sender to trust them. The signal takes the form of a smile that may be perceived as more or less convincing, and that can be made more convincing with the investment of greater effort. Individuals differ in their degree of altruism and in their tendency to display reciprocity. The model generates three testable predictions. First, the perceived quality of the recipient’s smile is increasing in the size of the stake. Secondly, the amount sent by the sender is increasing in the perceived quality of the recipient’s smile. Thirdly, the expected gain to senders from sending money to the recipient is increasing in the perceived quality of the recipient’s smile.
We show that in family or household firms, credit constraints can make business investment a direct competitor to educational investment. We test this theory on data collected in Cameroon. Households that are not restricted by credit constraints invest more in education when demand for the product they produce and sell increases. However, credit-constrained households react in the opposite way: when demand increases, they invest less in education, as predicted by our theory. We obtain these results controlling for endogeneity of family size, of demand conditions, and credit constraints.
The title of the paper has the following origin. The composer’s father, Franz Theodor Schubert, ran a school which he had taken over and reformed to make it more attractive to middle-class parents. Franz Theodor obliged his son to work in the school as a teacher for some years rather than to try his luck as a professional musician. To what extent this was because the father could not afford to invest in his son’s musical career (the hypothesis of our paper) or because he could not find a good substitute for his son’s teaching skills on the open market we are not in a position to say. Suffice it to say that the composer eventually broke free of this constraint and went on to work as a musician and composer, including as the teacher of Count Esterhazy. The rest of the story, as they say, is history – but we would like to claim that it is also economics.