Department of Economics

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Previous spotlight

Students exposed to more informative grading are less likely to graduate from high school

In education, it is commonplace for students to receive feedback in the form of grades. Yet, despite the widespread use of grading feedback in today's schools, we have little knowledge about how the type and, in particular, the precision of feedback affects performance. The findings of a new PhD thesis from Lund University show that exposure to a more granular grading scale has negative consequences for students. 

School absence reduces education and labor market outcomes throughout the life cycle

Student absence from school is pervasive around the world and a central policy issue. Although it is an important determinant of student’s total amount of time spent in school, there is limited knowledge on its’ impact on student’s socio-economic outcomes over the life cycle. A novel research paper shows that student absence may have long run consequences (Cattan et al., 2022). It not only reduces contemporary academic performance, but also reduces final education and worsens labor market outcomes later in life. An important mechanism seems to be that instructional time losses of this kind affects students’ early levels of skills, which then accumulate over time. 

Do students benefit from being surrounded by high achievers at college?

Does the social environment at college determine students’ achievement? A recent study shows that exposure to high achievers during the first week at college can lead to lower course grades and higher dropout rates among academically weaker students. This finding shows that the social environment plays a key role in the transition to college life. By Petra Thiemann

Are women less productive than men due to their unwillingness to take higher risk?

In working with economic development, it is important to understand the underlying factors that influence how successful various projects become. A study from Lund University shows that women are less productive than men when they take more risk. This study is based on a panel survey of 10,800 households from the sub-Saharan African country of Burkina Faso.

Does monetary policy affect the distribution of wealth?

This is a question that is frequently asked by researchers and policymakers. Monetary policy can redistribute wealth through its direct impact on interest rates that, for example, creates a wealth flow between savers and borrowers. This means that there may be winners and losers from a policy change by a central bank. The findings in a new PhD thesis from Lund University suggest that an unexpected monetary policy contraction by the Riksbank redistributes wealth from richer to poorer, from older to younger, and from individuals living in larger cities to individuals living smaller cities. These findings suggest that monetary policy impacts wealth inequality, but the effects are small and uncertain.

Online education led to lower grades for attractive females, but not for attractive males

How are grades affected by student beauty? A paper by Adrian Mehic shows that when education is in-person, attractive females and males both receive higher grades, at least in courses where there is plenty of teacher-student interaction. However, when education moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the beauty premium for females disappeared, while persistent for males. These findings suggest that the beauty premium is likely to be due to a productive trait for males, and the result of discrimination for females.

Why are women less competitive than men? The answer might lie in roles of risk and confidence, new research suggests

Why do men and women have different jobs? A recent laboratory experiment by Roel van Veldhuizen, assistant professor in economics at Lund University School of Economics and Management, suggests that part of the story may be that women are less confident and dislike risks.

Armenians and Greeks in Turkey Left a Positive Legacy on Human Capital and Development

Despite the rising backlash against migrants and minorities, highly skilled minorities can contribute to the economic activities and development of their local communities. But, can the economic legacy of highly skilled groups persist long after they are uprooted from their homelands?

The gender of your classroom peers can have lasting earnings effects

Can school environment contribute to the gender gap in earnings? A recent study of Swedish students shows that gender of one’s schoolmates can affect subsequent earnings. More specifically, girls with more female peers tend to earn more later in life. This is likely explained by them choosing less female-dominated education and professions after school with higher earnings prospects.

Growing inequality in China is shaped by the housing markets

The Chinese economy as a whole has grown massively in the last 40 years, but it did not benefit the complete population equally resulting in increased inequality and potential social tensions. A novel research paper shows that the housing markets are key to understanding this trend (Fischer, 2022). High housing prices in the prosperous urban areas hinder the internal migration that would allow workers to move from the less developed rural areas to the urban economic centers and hence to benefit from the overall growth trend. Moreover, rising housing prices increase inequality also within the city between migrants who rent apartments and their landlords. A model predicts that the pathway of future inequality will, to a large extent, be shaped by the housing markets.

People downplay Covid risks to justify engagement in pleasant activities

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many pleasant activities such as restaurant or gym visits posed substantial health risks both to ourselves and others. To engage in those activities, we systemically underestimated health risks, a new PhD thesis from Lund University argues.

Carrot And Stick: How Can Firms Better Influence Each Other’s Environmental Behavior?

New research by Zahra Hashemzadeh and coauthors from the department of Economics at Lund University analyzed the environmental policies carried out by companies. The results shed lights on the role played by firms’ networks in environmental policies adoption with relevant implications for policy making.

Panel data: Complexity vs Economic Modeling Opportunities

A new PhD thesis from the Department of Economics at Lund University on “mostly panel econometrics” Stauskas (2022) tackles several important issues in the analysis of this rich form of data popularly used in research and more broadly in analytical work. In particular, the research contained in this thesis teaches us novel methods to transform some of the challenges associated with the complexity of panel data into a powerful resource.

Siblings’ gender and inheritance customs shape educational attainment in sub-Saharan Africa

Despite improvements in some other developing regions, the gender gap in educational attainment persists in sub-Saharan Africa. If parents devote more resources to the education of their sons, then having a brother should have negative consequences for one’s own education.

The findings of a new PhD thesis show that the extent to which this is true depends on the traditional inheritance customs practiced in different societies. Specifically, the negative effect of having a brother varies according to whether customs allow inheritance to pass from fathers to son or not.