The three chapters of this thesis contribute to the understanding of how economic shocks and discriminatory behaviors of recruiters and stakeholders impact the allocation of workers in different jobs as well as their performance at work. Chapter one shows that shocks on international prices impact foreign investments and delocalization decisions of firms, and consequently their demand for skills. Chapter two studies how the stereotypical behavior of recruiters affects hiring and how forbidding discriminatory signals can reduce workplace gender segregation without deteriorating the job match efficiency. Chapter three provides evidence of the negative effect of racist harassment by supporters on the performance of non-white athletes.
This thesis explores the role of the rapid obsolescence of widely used computing technology on economic growth, income distribution, and interplay between economic and political competition. The first chapter of the thesis shows, taking U.S. data as a baseline, that rapid technological obsolescence could lead to the rise of giant firms limiting economic growth and competition, the deterioration of income distribution in favor of owners of these firms, and thus a decrease in payments to workers and small entrepreneurs. The second chapter empirically exposes economic power concentrated in the corporate sector by measuring the market power of large firms in the product markets of different countries. Finally, the third chapter examines whether the concentration of market power among this limited group of large firms has led to a concentration of political power that ultimately undermines democracy. This study reveals that a significant portion of the global democratic decline is directly related to large businesses increasingly becoming more influential in the political and economic arena.
The chapters of my thesis provide coherent studies on distinct dimensions of individual subjective well-being (SWB) and how they relate to important economic outcomes, such as consumption and health. As a portrayal of human well-being, SWB complements standard aggregate well-being measures, such as GDP, and reflects a wider range of experiences, including those unrelated to market exchange. Owing to recent state-of-theart surveying techniques, these distinct SWB dimensions can be reliably and quantitatively measured.
Using SWB as a proxy for utility, chapter one provides evidence for health-state dependence of the utility function and shows that the marginal utility of consumption increases as health deteriorates, highlighting the capacity of consumption to provide a buffer against the negative impact of health shocks on well-being.
Chapter two studies the association of pain with SWB and shows both evaluative and experienced (emotional) well-being dimensions to be markedly lower for people living with pain than they are for those without pain. Further, pain-related differences in time use between people with pain and those without pain are shown as providing only a small compensating effect. Finally, chapter three documents the direct relationship between evaluative and experienced (emotional) well-being dimensions and highlights the importance of the multidimensional nature of SWB.
Since the Great Recession and, then, with the euro-area sovereign debt crisis and the COVID pandemic, fiscal sustainability has started to be a concern not only for emerging economies but also for advanced ones. Given that rising default risk might have serious economic implications, the study of sovereign credit risk has grown in relevance. At the same time, the ability of the government budget to be resilient to crises has become crucial. Thus, the measurement of the space of maneuver available to governments for the implementation of discretionary fiscal policy — dubbed as fiscal space — has increasingly drawn attention. The first two chapters of this thesis propose a new methodology to assess sovereign debt sustainability and measure credit risk. These studies provide estimates of the maximum outstanding sovereign debt that a country can credibly sustain — the fiscal limit — and develop flexible pricing frameworks for different types of sovereign bonds. The latter include debt instruments issued and guaranteed jointly by a group of countries. Furthermore, the third chapter of this thesis focuses on the study of how the evolution of fiscal sustainability — captured through the concept of fiscal space — affects expansionary fiscal policy. In the last chapter, given the current constrainedness of government budgets in many advanced economies, I explore how the effectiveness of fiscal consolidations hinges on the initial state of the economy.
The labor market and the dating market, while at first sight very different, have a fundamental commonality: In both markets we pair up with someone (employer or partner), and who this is has far-reaching implications. This thesis empirically studies how we search for matching partners in the labor and the dating market, what problems occur in this process, and how this affects our outcomes. It shows that – like a highway loaded with more cars than it can accommodate – matching markets can suffer from a congestion problem if everyone wants to match with the same partner (or employer). In the labor market context, the thesis studies the importance of non-wage characteristics of jobs, such as a meaningful work content, or a good leadership culture. It shows that non-wage job values are at least as important as wage in driving our decision where to work, and that inequality between workers is substantially greater if we take them into account.
In Chapter 1, we explain people’s tendency to enter excessively in winner-take-all markets. In such markets, large payoffs are achievable but they are skewed towards a handful of firms or individuals. We test three common explanations for excess entry, none of which is supported. We offer and test empirically a novel explanation for excess entry (Cumulative Prospect Theory). Excess entry into highly competitive markets is not caused by a genuine preference for competing but is instead driven by probability weighting.
Then, we investigate situations where players repeatedly interact across multiple games, i.e., multigame contact. Multigame contact offers great theoretical implications and relates to many real-life situations.
In Chapter 2, subjects play a pair of indefinitely repeated prisoner’s dilemma games either with the same partner, or with two different ones. Surprisingly, multigame contact does not increase cooperation rates. Yet, multigame contact affects behavior and outcomes, acting like a double-edged sword: subjects link decisions across games and outcomes of full cooperation or full defection in both games become more likely.
In Chapter 3, subjects play two indefinitely repeated games: a prisoner’s dilemma and a stag hunt game, either with or without multigame contact. Again, multigame contact does not improve cooperation. In one treatment, multigame contact even leads to less efficient outcomes. Non-credible threats can explain why multigame contact does not help, or even harms cooperation, in our experiment.