Workshops

The Workshops organized by the Institute for Public Economics contribute to the dissemination of academic research on economic and legal institutions among economic and non-economic audiences. This component supports the Institute's mission.


Workshop -- 2020

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Job search assistance programs tend to be costly and have often been found to have modest effects. More recently, governments have turned to using technology (primarily the Internet) to provide assistance at a much lower cost. The speaker will review recent evidence on the effectiveness of the online provision of job search assistance with Canadian focus. Specifically, in 2013, the Canadian government introduced improvements to its electronic Job Alerts notification service that emails job seekers about job openings on an online job board. The improvements included additional advertisement of the service and increases in the frequency and scope of notifications sent to subscribers. The speaker will discuss findings of the intervention's effects and potential reasons for its modest effects.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Vera Brencic is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta. She received her Ph.D degree in Economics from Purdue University. Professor Brencic's research field is labour economics. Her papers touch on issues related to optimal compensation design, factors underlying employers' recruiting practices and outcomes, and the Internet as a labor market intermediary.


PREVIOUS WORKSHOPS


Workshop -- November 2019

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

This talk will review the literature and present empirical observations on the economic determinants of subjective well-being or happiness, mostly from a macroeconomic perspective. Topics include debates on the relationship between economic growth and happiness, the well-being effects of employment, job security, and income growth, the effects of growth engines such as international trade, automation and creative destruction. It will also review the empirical evidence on the links between economic outcomes, happiness and election outcomes.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Huang, Haifang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Alberta. He has a PhD degree in economics from the University of British Columbia. His areas of research include macroeconomics, urban economics and well-being. He has published research articles in British Journal of Political Science, Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Public Policy, Contemporary Economic Policy, Economic Inquiry, Industrial and Labour Relation Review, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Happiness Studies, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Regional Science, Journal of Urban Economics, Papers in Regional Science, and PLOS ONE, as well as chapters in several books. He is an associate editor for World Happiness Report (2017, 2018 & 2019) as well as a contributing author.


Workshop -- October 2019

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Globalization has increased the movement of capital and trade, and multinational enterprises (MNEs) have taken advantage to expand into new markets. MNEs are also an important source of investment in innovation, technology, and skilled labour. Only 0.8% of all enterprises operating in Canada were MNEs, but they held 67% of all assets in the Canadian economy. The corporate income tax in Canada is imposed on the gain of a corporation, and there are also exceptions and credits that can be applied to specific structures and sectors. Foreign investment in Alberta is far behind worldwide levels. It is Canada’s second least attractive jurisdiction to invest mainly due to regulatory restrictions, licenses, royalties, and high taxation. The previous provincial government increased the corporate income tax rate, implemented a carbon tax, and introduced a cap on emissions from oil sands production. The new government, elected in 2019, repealed the carbon tax. Just like Alberta, jurisdictions around the world face political pressure to regulate dirty industries by imposing a carbon tax, create a cap-and-trade market for emission permits, or limiting production directly through quantity restrictions. However, they also face political pressure to attract foreign investment to facilitate job creation and economic growth and to use its tax revenue to provide public goods. This tension creates interesting trade-offs, which need to be fully analyzed. Professor Silva will present a theoretical model where two independent jurisdictions (nations) compete to attract foreign investment (MNEs) and provide public goods. In their arsenal of instruments, there are subsidies supplied to entrant MNEs, and carbon and corporate income taxes.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Professor Silva's research investigates the design and implementation of environmental and energy policies in developed and developing economies. Professor Silva builds game-theoretical models to analyze the behavior of various economics agents, including industries, consumers and governments. He also attempts to test the various behavioral hypotheses that the theory generates with readily available or unique panel data sets. One of the areas of his future work is the oil and gas industry; in particular, he will study: (i) the various innovations that occur within this industry and in its competitors; (ii) the environmental impacts produced by oil and gas production; and (iii) local and federal policy making designed to stimulate production and divide the surplus. Dr Silva's future work will also involve combining theoretical and empirical findings in dynamic and stochastic general equilibrium models that go beyond economics - incorporating also engineering, ecology, chemistry and physics - in order to better understand and predict the interactions and dynamics of social, economic and natural systems in evolving environments in which much needed and scarce natural resources are depleted.


May 2019

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Stigmatization of products and technologies can lead to large monetary losses even when there are no associative risks. In this talk, I will report on three economic experiments that provide insight into the behavioral responses of disgust; particularly focusing on recycled water – a potential solution to many water shortages around the world. In experiment one, I use cockroach-contaminated water to quantify participants disgust responses. In experiment two, I explore how these visceral responses to cockroach-contaminated water may be mitigated through relatively simple and inexpensive means. Lastly, in experiment three, I show how individuals grow more accepting of recycled water when their decisions to consume recycled water consider others as opposed to just themselves. These experiments are the first of their kind (from an economic perspective) to identify pathways to overcome stigma related to sustainable and cost-effective means to provide safe drinking water – an issue that is particularly pressing in the face of increasing climate change.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Maik Kecinski is an Assistant Professor in the department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at University of Alberta. He obtained his PhD from University of Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2012. His research is broadly focused on issues around behavioral responses to environmental risk and climate change. His ongoing and previous work looks at • the behavioral responses of minority groups to contamination, such as arsenic and lead contaminated water through different exposure routes • the behavioral responses of disgust, as explored by cockroach contaminated drinking water and recycled water • perceptions of foods and other agricultural products irrigated with non-traditional water, such as brown and grey recycled water • optimization techniques in land conservation and how governments and other NGOs can use conservation funding cost-effecticvely to preserve more land and endangered species • perceptions of "green" foods, such as willingness-to-pay for oysters that provide ecosystem services • behavior in climate change games, such as preferences for adaptation versus abatement • the establishment and stability of social networks • public goods and common pool resources in northern Indigenous communities.


April 2019

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Women of childbearing age and mothers with young children often face challenges of combining work with family responsibilities, and such challenges have prevented women from fully participating in the labor market, hence posing additional barriers to their career paths. Public policies that are designed to relieve such constraints for women have been put into place mostly in developed countries in the past 30 decades or so. This workshop will focus on childcare policies and discuss the effects of such policies on female labor market outcomes. Empirical evidences will be provided for some most recent public childcare expansions. The presenter will also discuss an important and so-far neglected aspect of female labor supply decision in terms of evaluation of childcare policies.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Xingfei Liu is an assistant professor in economics at University of Alberta. He obtained his Ph.D from Concordia University in October 2012. His research interests are labor economics, economics of education and applied econometrics. He is interested in human capital accumulation, returns to skills, economic assimilation of immigrants, migration decisions and evaluation of labor market policy. Currently, he is working on policy evaluation methodologies and bridges between structural modeling and reduced form evaluation methods. For example, his current projects focus on childcare policies and labor market decisions of mothers.


October 2018

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Even before the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 many macroeconomists, including those working at central banks, questioned whether Inflation Targeting (IT) represents the best possible monetary policy framework. Price-level targeting (PLT) is often mentioned as a promising alternative. There are three main advantages attributed to PLT over IT. First, PLT reduces the uncertainty regarding the future price level. Second, a credible PLT regime has a stabilizing effect on inflation and output. And third, PLT can serve as a credible nominal anchor for public expectations when conventional monetary policy tools are constrained by the zero lower bound on interest rates. After highlighting the main differences between PLT and IT, the presenter is going to review recent research on the costs and benefits of PLT, discussing theoretical results and experimental evidence.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Malik Shukayev is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta. He graduated with a PhD (2005) degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities and with an MA (1997) degree in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Before coming to Alberta in 2016, Professor Shukayev was a researcher at the Bank of Canada. His general research fields are macroeconomics and monetary economics. Professor Shukayev primarily work with general equilibrium models in order to analyze monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policies.


April 2018

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Access to credit is indispensable in financing firm investments and therefore bears on capital-investment and technology decisions. Technology choices include investment in pollution abatement technologies and more generally investment in technologies reducing input requirements, including fuel and material requirements in production. Because pollution emissions are inextricably linked to technology and abatement choices, credit constraints bear on environmental performance whenever they influence investment decisions. This workshop discusses the role of credit constraints in firm investment decisions and the repercussions for firm-level environmental performance and aggregate environmental outcomes. Empirical investigations of the effect of credit constraints on (i) firm-level air pollution emissions for manufacturing plants and (ii) country-level air pollution concentrations demonstrates that well-functioning credit markets significantly improve environmental outcomes.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. Dana Andersen is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Alberta. He received his Ph.D. in Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, and his research fields of interest include Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Public Economics. He has published papers on the role of financial constraints in environmental performance, and welfare accounting of environmental regulations, in journals such as the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economics, and presented his research at a wide-range of institutions such as the World Bank, California Air Resources Board, and Chicago Transit Authority.


March 2017

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

In the last twenty years, electricity markets have undergone substantial changes with a movement towards market-based mechanisms. Since markets were restructured, there have been concerns over the execution of market power and the ability of these market-based mechanisms to attract investment that ensures there is a stable supply of electricity. In numerous jurisdictions worldwide, these concerns led regulators to adopt capacity payment mechanisms that aim to create incentives for firms to invest in generation capacity. In November 2016, the Alberta government announced a change in Alberta’s electricity market design from an “Energy-Only” market design to one that includes a capacity market. This workshop discusses the underlying economics of capacity markets and the specific implications for Alberta, with a focus on the costs and benefits of capacity markets relative to other possible market designs.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. David Brown is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Alberta. Professor Brown received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Florida, where he was the recipient of the Walter Lanzillotti Dissertation Award. He was also the recipient of the Best Dissertation in Public Utilities Award, granted by the Transportation and Public Utilities Group of the American Economic Association. Dr. Brown's fields of research include Energy Economics, Applied Econometrics, Industrial Organization, and Regulatory Policy. His current work focuses on the impact of energy policies on the performance of restructured electricity markets. In particular, he investigates the design of electricity retail tariffs in the presence of a growing penetration of demand-side management resources such as residential solar panels and demand response mechanisms. His previous work analyzes the performance of restructured electricity markets by measuring the degree of market power execution and inefficiencies in wholesale electricity procurement auctions. Dr. Brown's research provides important lessons for the design of electricity markets. Professor Brown has also also written on topics associated with child healthcare policy.


April 2016

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

During the last decades, we have witnessed a surge in patenting activity worldwide. For instance, patent applications and grants in the U.S. have tripled in the last 20 years. This increase in patenting activity has led to concerns about patent quality. Patent examiners have often been accused of granting patents of questionable validity. The traditional patent literature has addressed important questions about the effects of patents on innovation and the design of patent systems. In response to the concerns about patent quality, more recent literature has focused on the internal organization of patent systems. After providing an introduction to the literature on research and development and innovation, Dr. Langinier will discuss patent procedures, patent systems, and the internal organization of these systems. Key differences between patent systems and procedures in Canada and the U.S. will be also addressed.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. Corinne Langinier is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Alberta. Professor Langinier received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Toulouse, where she was the recipient of the French Education Ministry's Research Fellowship. Professor Langinier also held academic positions at Iowa State University and Concordia University. Dr. Langinier primary field of research is Industrial Organization, with interests in intellectual property rights and patents, innovation, and agricultural markets. Her work on patents focuses on the strategic behavior of innovators and the impact of career concerns of patent examiners on patent attributes. Her research provides important insights on the functioning of the patent system and the limits of patent protection. Professor Langinier has also investigated the impact of regulation on research investments, the economic implications of patent litigation, and the welfare implications of changes in the patent system.





February 2016

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION:

Concerns over greenhouse gases and global climate change have increased, garnering greater attention to alternative technologies for producing electricity. Solar photovoltaic systems (PVs) are at the center of policy discussions and debates over the future of renewable electricity generation. In particular, rapidly declining costs, subsidies, and favorable compensation policies have led to an increase in the installation of roof-top solar panels worldwide. These trends are expected to continue, bringing solar PV into the ring as a potential alternative to traditional electricity generation sources. While cost reductions have been extensive, it is widely accepted that the current direct cost of residential solar panels still exceed the costs of generating power from traditional fossil fuel sources. Proponents of roof-top solar panels argue that these systems have the potential to add substantial value to any power network through its time-of-production and locational characteristics. Residential solar panels generate electricity during daylight hours when the value of electricity is high. In addition, by generating electricity at the point of consumption, roof-top solar panels yield potential savings in costs associated with the transmission and distribution (grid) infrastructure. This workshop discusses the current state of the ongoing debate over the costs and benefits of residential solar panels, both to individual consumers and to the electricity power sector as a whole.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. David Brown is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Alberta. Professor Brown received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Florida, where he was the recipient of the Walter Lanzillotti Dissertation Award. He was also the recipient of the Best Dissertation in Public Utilities Award, granted by the Transportation and Public Utilities Group of the American Economic Association. Dr. Brown's fields of research include Energy Economics, Applied Econometrics, Industrial Organization, and Regulatory Policy. His current work focuses on the impact of energy policies on the performance of restructured electricity markets. In particular, he investigates the design of electricity retail tariffs in the presence of a growing penetration of demand-side management resources such as residential solar panels and demand response mechanisms. His previous work analyzes the performance of restructured electricity markets by measuring the degree of market power execution and inefficiencies in wholesale electricity procurement auctions. Dr. Brown's research provides important lessons for the design of electricity markets. Professor Brown has also also written on topics associated with child healthcare policy.