News and Announcements

Events and Workshops

November 27, 2018

LWG: Causality in the Time of Cholera: John Snow as a Prototype for Identification and Causal Inference

Thomas Coleman, Harris School of Public Policy

Abstract: Snow's 1855 treatise "On the mode of communication of cholera" can be viewed as a sustained effort to convince skeptics, through argument and a wide variety of evidence, of the waterborne theory of cholera that he articulated in his 1849 essay of the same name. Snow's data and analysis provide a prototype for how to convincingly demonstrate causal effects, as applicable today as in 1855. I consider two of strands of Snow's evidence - the Broad Street outbreak and the south London "Grand Experiment" - as pedagogical examples for using non-experimental data as evidence in support of a causal effect. In doing so I discuss extensions to Snow's south London analysis using modern techniques and tools: difference-in-differences regression and quasi-randomized treatment designs. These provide clear and compelling examples of the modern techniques and tools, while confirming and strengthening Snow's original conclusion on the causal effect of water supply on cholera mortality.

The workshop takes place at 5:15pm at 5750 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Conference Room 180. Please enter through Saieh Hall. This interdisciplinary workshop is open to the campus research community.

November 20, 2018

LWG: Breaking the Links: Natural Resource Booms and Intergenerational Mobility

Kjell Salvanes , NHH Norwegian School of Economics

Do large economic shocks increase intergenerational earnings mobility through creating new economic opportunities? Alternatively, do they reduce mobility by reinforcing the links between generations? In this paper, we estimate how the Norwegian oil boom starting in the 1970s affected intergenerational mobility. We find that this resource shock increased intergenerational mobility for cohorts entering the labor market at the beginning of the oil boom in those labor markets most affected by the growing oil industry. The workshop takes place at 5:15pm at 5750 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Conference Room 180. Please enter through Saieh Hall. This interdisciplinary workshop is open to the campus research community.

Nov 6, 2018

LWG: Social Structure and the Local Structure of Human Mobility in Chicago

James Saxon is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the economics group of the Harris School, and a fellow of the Center for Spatial Data Science. He studies compactness as a tool for districting reform (gerrymandering), the graph structure of American neighborhoods, and the accessibility of public resources. In practice, this means constrained clustering algorithms. The workshop takes place at 5:15pm at 5750 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Conference Room 180. Please enter through Saieh Hall. This interdisciplinary workshop is open to the campus research community.

October 30, 2018

Parental Rearing Practices, Cultural Transmission and Cognitive Development

Avner Seror is research associate at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy. His research focuses on the joint evolution of institutions and cultural norms, political economy and human development. Learn more

October 23, 2018

Gender Development and the Brain

Dr. Eliot’s research is centered on brain and gender development, especially the role of neuroplasticity in shaping neural circuitry and behavior. Learn more

February 4-6, 2019

Breastfeeding and the Origins of Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Priorities

The purpose of this conference is to share evidence, ideas and perspectives about how to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships to accelerate advances in breastfeeding research and lactation science and increase societal support for breastfeeding. Learn more

December 13-14, 2018

Genes, Schools, and Interventions That Address Educational Inequality

This conference will bring together experts in genetics, economics, sociology, psychology, and education, in order to advance an integration of research on the genetics of cognitive and non-cognitive skills, structural determinants of educational inequality, and the effects of large-scale educational interventions. Learn more

November 30 - December 1, 2018

Polygenic Prediction and its Application in the Social Sciences

This conference will bring together scientists with backgrounds in genetics and the social sciences. Learn more

November 2-3, 2018

Next Generation Data Sets for Measuring Child Development

This conference will discuss how the latest advances in data collection can be informed by theory to jumpstart future insights into the factors that influence child development outcomes. Learn more


Visiting dates: October 15 – October 19, 2018

Victor Ronda is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Aarhus University and a researcher at the TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research. Victor has broad interests in labor economics, health economics and child development. His current research includes work on the interplay between genetic endowments and childhood environment in human capital formation, the role of teachers in the development of children’s cognitive and emotional skills, and on the mixed-returns of emotional skills in determining later-life outcomes.

Visiting dates: October 8 – 12, 2018

Alexandra Brentani has been a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics of FMUSP since 2011, working on social and preventive medicine and primary care. Since 2007 she has been involved with the Western Region Project – the Medical school primary care platform. As the Executive Director from 2007-2011, and later as a council member, she participated in the planning, implementation and management of the platform using community-based health care as a model. In the Department of Pediatrics, she has worked with the assessment of health programs and health policies on child development. In 2011, she established a cooperation agreement with the "Harvard Center on the Developing Child" and since then, in cooperation with Professor Gunther Fink, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, she has conducted several research projects.

Visiting dates: February 15, 2018 – July, 2019

Andros Kourtellos is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Cyprus. His primary research interests are econometrics, inequality, social mobility, economic growth, and macroeconomics. His work has documented the existence of status traps in intergenerational mobility, which can reduce the impact of favorable shocks or interventions for disadvantaged children and so hinder upward mobility. Recently, he also developed estimation and inference for a structural threshold regression model, which is particularly useful for the estimation of multiple equilibria and poverty traps. In general, his work focuses on issues of model uncertainly, parameter heterogeneity, nonlinearities, and mixed frequencies. His findings highlight the difficulty in evaluating causal claims when theory provides insufficient guidance for econometric specification, as is typically the case in empirical economic growth.

Visiting dates: February 7 – 22, 2018

Marco Francesconi joined the University of Essex in September 2004. His main area of research is labour economics, with special interest in family economics, intergenerational links and labour market dynamics. Francesconi's recent work has appeared in the Economic Journal, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, European Economic Review and Journal of Human Resources.

Visiting dates: October 30 - November 24 2017

Stefanie Schurer is an Associate Professor (with tenure) in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney. Her research interest is in the Economics of Human Development. Most of her current projects explore the evolution of skills, preferences, and health over the lifecourse and the role that parents and the public sector play in determining these skills. One of her main work hypotheses is that inequality in the home environment - that is scarcity of good parenting - is a powerful determinant of the intergenerational persistence of disadvantage.