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Brussels, Belgium, 2021


This paper focuses on the interactions between peers in the academic envi- ronment, building on a widely cited finding in the gender literature that men interrupt women more often than women do. Utilizing a unique dataset from economic seminar audio recordings, this study investigates gender-based peer interactions and uncovers four key findings: (i) Female speakers are interrupted more frequently, earlier, and differently than males; (ii) the extra interruptions largely stem from female, not male, audience members; (iii) audience members of both genders interrupt female speakers with a more negative tone; (iv) female presenters receive more questions, particularly from males and more comments from female audience members. These findings, persistent even after control- ling for variables such as the presenter’s seniority, seminar series, or topic of the presentation, contribute in a novel way to the growing literature on the disparate treatment of women economists.


The COVID-19 crisis has led to substantial reductions in earnings. We propose a new measure of financial vulnerability, computable through survey data, to determine whether households can withstand a certain income shock for a defined period of time. Using data from the ECB Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) we analyse financial vulnerability in seven EU countries. We find that, out of the 243 million individuals considered, 47 million are vulnerable to a three month long income shock (the average length of the first wave COVID-19 lockdown), i.e., they cannot afford food and housing expenses for three months without privately earned income. Differences across countries are stark. Individuals born outside the EU are especially likely to be vulnerable. Being younger, a single parent, and a woman are also statistically significant risk factors. Through a tax-benefit microsimulation exercise, we look into the COVID-19 employment protection benefits, the largest income support measure in the countries considered. Considering as our sample individuals in households where someone receives a salary, we derive household net income when employees are laid-off and awarded the COVID-19 employment protection benefits enacted. Our findings suggest that the employment protection schemes are extremely effective in reducing the number of vulnerable individuals. The relative importance of rent and mortgage suspensions, (likewise, widespread COVID-19 policies), in alleviating vulnerability, is highly country dependent.


In this paper, we study international heterogeneity in the cultural norms about the use of the response scale of subjective evaluative questions, such as the popular happiness and life satisfaction question. We observe and quantify this heterogeneity in a large data set of more than 25 million on-line hotel reviews. We find, for instance, that travellers from Caribbean and eastern European countries, rate the same hotel room systematically in a more positive way compared to travellers from Africa and East Asia. This country-level positiveness is found to be associated with various country-level variables such as income and education level but also main country's religion and language spoken. Interestingly, we observe that the country-level positiveness has large, significant and robust explanatory power in a cross-country subjective well-being regression. In addition through a quasi-natural experiment we find that reporting function is also affected by minor events like the result of a football game. This finding puts into question what can be learned from popular cross-country comparisons of subjective well-being: are respondents in a country really better off or do they adhere to a more positive cultural norm about the use of the response scale?

Does Retirement Improve Individual's Well-Being When we Respect Their Preferences?

In this paper, we measure well-being when individuals transit from employment to retirement and consequently experience a loss of income and an increase in leisure time. We acknowledge the heterogeneity in preferences that individuals may have towards income and leisure. For that we present different welfare orderings of households according to different metrics, which take into account that differences in income might be explained by differences in tastes. One of the techniques used here to incorporate this heterogeneity in the income valuation, are the so called Finite Mixture Models, which allows to decompose the population into classes and estimate, using maximum likelihood, a full set of parameters for each class. With data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) in the period 2005 - 2015, we show an ambiguous effect of retirement on individual well-being. In all the countries of our sample, we identify a group for which individuals' well-being increases when they retire and other group that experiments a decrease in their well-being.

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