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University vice-chancellor pay, performance and (asymmetric) benchmarking

adelina gschwandtnerby Adelina Gschwandtner, University of Kent, and Richard McManus, Canterbury Christ Church University. Discussion paper KDPE 1807, May 2018.

Non-technical summary:

The pay of university vice-chancellors (VC) in the UK has caused a strong debate in the press recently leading to some VCs having to resign.

Academics protest that at a difficult time for UK academia caused by the insecurity faced in the outset of Brexit, the gap between VC and staff pay is increasing. Students claim that at a time when tuition fees are increasing and they are accumulating high levels of debt the increase in VC's pay is unacceptable. Remuneration committees of universities however, argue that the increase is justified giving the VCs outstanding performance, especially during these turbulent times.

Constrained public goods in networks

nizar allouch 120x120by Nizar Allouch, University of Kent, and Maia King, University of Oxford. Discussion paper KDPE 1806, May 2018.

Non-technical summary:

Voluntary contributions account for the provision of many public goods, ranging from essential infrastructure, education, to health care, while at the aggregate level charitable giving represents a significant proportion of GDP in many countries. The seminal contribution of Bergstrom, Blume, and Varian (1986), built on an earlier striking result by Warr (1981), provides a rigorous investigation of the standard model of private provision of pure public goods.

Recent work on public goods in networks, initiated by the key paper of Bramoullé and Kranton (2007), has many interesting facets and applications. The technology of network analysis allows us to generalise from the provision of pure public goods, which benefit all agents, to a more detailed model of local public goods with a heterogeneous benefit structure shaped by a network.

The Fall in German Unemployment: A Flow Analysis

keynes collegeby Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, University of Essex, CEPR, CESifo and IZA; Andrey Launov, University of Kent, CESifo and IZA; and Jean-Marc Robin, Sciences Po and UCL. Discussion paper KDPE 1805, March 2018.

Non-technical summary:

In this paper we investigate the recent fall in unemployment, and the rise in part-time work, labour market participation, inequality and welfare in Germany. Unemployment fell because the Hartz IV reform induced a large fraction of the long-term unemployed to deregister as jobseekers and appear as non-participants. Yet, labour force participation increased because many unregistered-unemployed workers ended up accepting low-paid part-time work that was offered in quantity in absence of a universal minimum wage.

Food and Consumers: Current Issues and Future Directions

iain fraser 120x120A food and consumers research forum was held at the University of Kent on Friday 6th April, the same day in which the UK's so called "sugar tax" came into effect. The event was organised by Professor Iain Fraser (Economics), Professor Ben Lowe (KBS) and Dr Diogo Souza-Monteiro (Newcastle University). Around 30 people registered for the event and speakers came from all over the UK and Europe. We were delighted that Professor Klaus Grunert (Aarhus University, Denmark) could join us to deliver his keynote speech on "Consumer food quality perception and food choice: The rise of credence qualities and the role of labelling information". Professor Grunert is a world leader in the area of food marketing and consumer behaviour and the talk focused on marketers' use of credence attributes such as healthfulness, sustainability and authenticity in positioning new food products.

Workshop on practical GE modelling

canterbury campusThe School of Economics is hosting an Introductory Practical GE Modelling workshop on 10-14 September 2018.

The workshop, which is being run by the Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, will focus on a typical single-region applied general equilibrium model using GEMPACK.

Further information can be found here: http://www.copsmodels.com/courses.htm.

Alternatively, interested participants can contact Professor Iain Fraser (School of Economics, University of Kent, ).

International Centre for Pension Management Award

miguel leon ledesma 120x120A paper by Professor Miguel León-Ledesma on ‘Population structure and asset values’ has received the 2017 International Centre for Pension Management Award.

The paper, co-authored with Kate Rybczynski, Lori Curtis, Stephen Bonnar (University of Waterloo), Jaideep Oberoi (University of Kent), and Mark Zhou (CMHC), analyses the effect of changes in the age structure of population on the prize of risky and non-risky assets. Its results are important for the management of pension systems, as it helps forecasting future returns in countries where the age structure is rapidly changing towards a larger weight of pension-age population.

The prize, endowed with 10,000 CAD, will be used to fund further research in the area by the team. The paper also received the Best Paper Award 2018 by the International Conference of Actuaries 2018.

Research grant for study on marketing agricultural insurance through urban migrants

zaki wahhaj 120x120The School of Economics will participate in a major study, funded by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), on marketing formal insurance to smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso through their urban migrant family networks. The study will be led by Dr Harounan Kazianga (Oklahoma State University) and Dr Zaki Wahhaj (University of Kent) in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action and the micro-insurance provider Planet Guarantee.

Last year a pilot study by the same team demonstrated that the potential client base for formal index-based insurance in developing countries is substantially larger than those directly engaged in rural farming, with significant demand from urban migrants with rural family links. The present study will look at the impact of this marketing strategy on the livelihoods of both rural farmers and urban migrants. Its wider objective is to investigate whether marketing formal index insurance to urban migrants with rural family ties is a viable strategy for increasing use of formal insurance among rural farmers in developing countries.

The study, with a total funding of USD 430,000 over the period 2018-2022 is one of six projects worldwide funded by 3ie under its evaluation programme on agricultural insurance.

Photo: Drs Kazianga and Wahhaj in Ouagadougou in 2017 with IPA country director Nicolo Tomaselli and research assistant Oumar Sory.

Labor Responses, Regulation and Business Churn in a Small Open Economy

anthony savagar 120x120by Marta Aloi, University of Nottingham, Huw Dixon, Cardiff University and Anthony Savagar, University of Kent. Discussion paper KDPE 1804, February 2018.

Non-technical summary:

A long-standing debate in macroeconomics is whether labor hours initially increase or decrease across the economy following a technology improvement. We develop a theory that reconciles both outcomes by observing that:

1. New firms enter the economy slowly after a technology improvement. That is, entry is not instantaneous as often assumed.

Will Urban Migrants Formally Insure their Rural Relatives? Family Networks and Rainfall Index Insurance in Burkina Faso

zaki wahhaj 120x120by Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University and Zaki Wahhaj, University of Kent. Discussion paper KDPE 1803, March 2018.

Non-technical summary:

Large segments of the population in developing countries, especially in rural areas, have a high level of vulnerability to weather-related shocks, but have limited means to insure themselves against them. In recent years, microfinance institutions have experimented with insurance products, in particular rainfall index insurance, to address this need in different parts of the world. But the uptake of these products has generally been very low because of liquidity constraints and unfamiliarity with formal financial products.

Food and consumers: Current issues and future directions

iain fraser 120x120On Friday 6 April, Professor Iain Fraser (School of Economics), Professor Ben Lowe (Kent Business School) and Dr Diogo Souza-Monteiro (Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University) are hosting a one-day inter-disciplinary workshop on consumer choice and food. The workshop brings together an exciting group of researchers from a range of disciplinary areas (eg marketing, environmental economics, agribusiness, psychology, development and social policy) who will examine various aspects of consumer choice as it relates to food. Based on the presentations the forum will cover themes from Consumer Food Security and Nutrition, Economics and Food Choice and Framing of Information and Consumer Choice. The keynote address is to be given by Professor Klaus Grunert (Aarhus University).