Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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Abstracts WS 2023/24

31. Januar 2024

Prof. Martin Ivanov, PhD (Sofia University and CAS Sofia)

Title: "Did Living Standards Actually Improve Under State Socialism? Evidence From Bulgaria 1924-1989"

Abstract: This paper challenge the view that Centrally Planned Economies functioned  well until the early 1970s, delivering high economic growth and better  living standards. As part of a broader research effort into living  standards under state socialism, it focuses on real wages and  nutritional evidence. Judged by these yardsticks, it was only in the  1970s when the living standards in Bulgarian countryside surpass the  levels achieved already four decades earlier. Our findings are  particularly discomforting for the rural population which was the big  loser of collectivization and forced industrialization policies after  1946. Big Push industrialization reduced nutritional welfare in addition  to coming at high human and societal cost.

31. Januar 2024

Prof. Erik O. Kimbrough, PhD (Chapman University); Prof. Shachar Kariv, PhD (UC Berkeley)

Title: "Revealed Norms"

When  individuals make social choices involving tradeoffs between their own  self-interest and the interests of others, their choices are difficult  to interpret. Do they reflect altruism, inequality aversion,  reputational concerns, etc? We suggest that we can empirically isolate  the normative influences on peoples' choices by focusing on  disinterested third-party decisions on behalf of anonymous others. In  these environments, choices can be understood as revealing normative  principles (norms) rather than preferences. If people are not simply  indifferent, then their choices must be motivated by normative  considerations. We show that third-party allocations across 50 randomly  generated budget sets tend to satisfy the basic axioms of consistent  choice, revealing a widely shared norm of symmetric treatment but  heterogeneous views about what kind of symmetric allocation is  normatively best, ranging from maximin to max(efficiency). When subjects  choose from the same budget sets but have a stake in the outcome, their  choices reveal the extent to which self-interest causes them to deviate  from their revealed norms. We show how to non-parametrically estimate  the weight placed on norms.

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