IIES/SNS International Policy Talks

In 2016, SNS and the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University launched a new platform for policy discussions based on leading international economic studies.

Decision making in public and private life based on knowledge and thorough research tend to lead to successful businesses and policies.

The gap between academia and the surrounding community is occasionally an obstacle for these positive synergies. SNS has launched a new collaboration with the Institute of International Economics (IIES) at Stockholm University in order to offer SNS members policy talks with internationally leading economic scholars. The partnership creates a platform for insights from international economic research to be part of the policy debate in Sweden.

For questions regarding IIES/SNS International Policy Talks, please contact project manager Johanna Öqvist, johanna.oqvist@sns.se.


Elhanan Helpman on globalization and inequality

Can globalization explain the increasing inequalities in income across and within countries? This is the central line of research of Elhanan Helpman, professor at Harward University, and one of the world’s leading researcher of international trade. In this seminar, professor Helpman presents the main themes of his coming book on globalisation and inequality. The seminar is led by professor Harry Flamm, Professor Emeritus of International Economics at the Institute for International Economics Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University, and Chairman of the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council.

How can we develop more efficient programmes for HIV-prevention?

People who are more willing to take economic risks appear more inclined towards riskier sexual behaviour. As a consequence, they are more likely to be infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A group of economists have used these behavioural insights to develop more efficient methods for hiv-prevention. In the SNS research brief “Hivprevention med hjälp av lotterier”*, they describe how a lottery can motivate and help people to protect themselves against HIV.
*Hiv-prevention using lotteries

Gabriel Zucman on tax evasion and inequality

How large is tax evasion at the international level and in Scandinavia? What are the effects for inequality in society? And how can tax evasion be reduced? Gabriel Zucman, Researcher of Economics at University of California, Berkeley, conducts research on the above subjects. Using new micro data from leaks such as “Panama papers” and “Swiss leaks”, together with colleagues he has studied the size and distribution of tax evasion in the Scandinavian countries. Per Krusell, Professor of Economics at IIES at Stockholm University, and Åsa Hansson, Associate Professor of Economics at Lund University, also participated at the seminar.

Matthew Gentzkow on Political Polarization, Social Media and Fake News

Political polarization has increased in both the US and other Western democracies. Does social media contribute to this trend? This is what the award-winning economist Matthew Gentzkow, professor at Stanford University, focuses on in his research. His studies indicate that the growing polarization in the US rather is caused by factors other than the internet and social media. Polarization has increased most in groups that are less prone to use the internet and social media. Gentzkow has also analyzed the consumption of fake news before the 2016 US presidential election. David Strömberg, Professor of Economics at Stockholm University, Karin Pettersson, Political Editor-in-Chief at Aftonbladet, and Sanna Rayman, Columnist and Chief of Debate, Dagens Samhälle, also participated at the seminar.

Matthew Gentzkow’s report on social media and political polarisation.

Lise Vesterlund on barriers in women’s careers (June 2017)

Today, women and men are almost as well educated and have paid employment to the same extent. But there are substantial differences when it comes to wage levels and representation in leading positions. Why is that? That is the award-winning economist Lise Vesterlund’s primary research area at the University of Pittsburgh. Her experiments show that women are more prone to be asked and accept tasks that don’t lead to promotion. It is also more common that they take on non-promotable tasks without being asked. Comments by Anna Sandberg, economist at IIES, who has studied how gender affects inequality on the labor market and will also participate in the discussion.
Interview with Lise Vesterlund.

Is Elitism or Merits Base for the Selection of Leading Politicians? (February 2017)

Torsten Persson, Professor in economics at IIES and London School of Economics presented his new research on competence and social background among Swedish politicians. His and his colleagues’ results show that politicians are smarter and better leaders than the rest of the population. Concerning representability and social background, Swedish politicians are representative to the constituencies.

Jenny Madestam, Senior Lecturer in political science at Södertörn University, commented on the presentation. Among other things, she raised the question of what kind of competence political parties are looking for in their leaders, and the contradictory relationship between popular representation among politicians and the requirements on competence in the same.
The seminar was held in Swedish.

Magne Mogstad on Developments in Disability Insurance (December 2016)

Many developed countries have seen a large and steady rise in participation rates in disability insurance receipt. To limit this growth, several countries have significantly tightened disability screening criteria. What are the effects of these enhanced gate-keeping policies? How does participation in disability programmes reinforce itself across generations?
At his IIES/SNS International Policy Talk Professor Magne Mogstad presented his current research on disability insurance systems and family welfare cultures. Magne Mogstad is one of the most internationally prominent young economists. In 2015 he received the Sloan Research Fellowship.
Gabriella Bremberg, Head of Department for Analysis and Forecast, Social Insurance Agency.
Emma Henriksson, Member of Parliament (The Christian Democrats) and Chair for the Committee on Health and Welfare.
The meeting was led by Peter Nilsson, Assistant professor at IIES.

Xavier Vives about Competition and Stability in Banking (September 2016)

Xavier Vives is professor of finance and economics at the IESE Business School in Barcelona. At SNS he presented his new book “Competition and Stability in Banking – The Role of Regulation and Competition Policy”.

Stanford Professor Raj Chetty on Equality of Opportunity (June 2016)

A seminar with Raj Chetty – one of the world’s most prominent and cited economists. His current research focuses on equality of opportunity and how we can give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding.

Raj Chetty is a Professor in the Economics Department at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Public Economics group at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The meeting was moderated by Arash Nekoei, Assistant Professor at IIES, Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University.