CER-ETH Research Seminar, Spring 2017

Main content

The CER-ETH Research Seminar takes place on Mondays during term time from 5:15 pm to 6:45 pm at ETH Zurich, Room ZUE G1 (Zürichbergstr. 18). Per term we invite 6 to 7 internationally known speakers to present and discuss their work.


Speaker Title

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University

Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters


29.03.2017 (Wed)

Bard Harstad

University of Oslo

ComplianceTechnology and Self-enforcing Agreements



Fabrizio Mazzonna

University of Lugano

Sunset Time and the Economic Effects of Social Jetlag. Evidence from US
Time Zone Borders



Christian Gollier

Toulouse School of Economics

Term structures of discount rates: An international perspective



Pierre Picard

Ecole Polytechnique


Rick van der Ploeg

University of Oxford

Climate Policy under Uncertainty: Big Potatoes or Small Potatoes?

Everyone who is interested is cordially invited!

If you would like to receive our weekly invitation via e-mail, or if you have any other question, please contact Christian Waibel.


Guido Tabellini

This paper studies how voters' selective ignorance interacts with policy design by political candidates. Small groups and voters with extreme preferences are more influential than under full information, divisive issues attract most attention and public goods are underfunded. Rational inattention can also explain the role of parties as labels, why competing candidates do not always converge on the same policies, why efficient reforms are more likely in recessions and how the poor are politically empowered by welfare programs. This is important because if policy distortions are driven by inattention, then some of them can be mitigated at relatively small costs.

Paper Download (PDF, 447 KB)


Fabrizio Mazzonna



Bard Harstad

We analyze a repeated game in which countries are polluting and investing in technologies. While folk theorems point out that the rst best can be sustained as a subgame-perfect equilibrium when the players are suciently patient, we de- rive the second-best equilibrium when they are not. This equilibrium is distorted in that countries over-invest in technologies that are "green" (i.e., strategic sub-stitutes for polluting) but under-invest in adaptation and "brown" technologies (i.e., strategic complements to polluting). Particularly countries that are small or benefit little from cooperation will be required to invest in this way. With uncer-
tainty, such strategic investments reduce the need for a long, costly punishment phase and the probability that it will be triggered. The framework is consistent with the evolution from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Paper Download (PDF, 611 KB)


Christian Gollier

When a policy is evaluated, the rate at which future costs and benefits should be discounted depends upon their maturity and risk profile. When the shocks to the growth rate of consumption per capita are persistent, it is socially desirable to use a decreasing term structure of risk-free discount rates, and an increasing term structure of risk premia. We characterize these term structures when the representative agent has Epstein-Zin-Weil preferences and when log consumption follows an AR(1) process. We calibrate the model for 248 countries and economic zones of the World Bank database. We show that the efficient evaluation rules of long investment projects are very heterogeneous across countries. Using standard estimations of the preference parameters, the country-average 1-year and 20-year risk-free discount rates −1.42% and −3.27%. The 1-year and 20-year aggregate risk premia are respectively 4.21% and 7.12%. This study stresses both the necessity to use country-specific discount rates and the importance of estimating the risk profile of long-dated investment projects.

Paper Download (PDF, 1023 KB)


Building ZUE
Zürichbergstrasse 18, 8092 Zürich

Please note: ETH Zurich uses maps from map.search.ch for its location search. If you are searching for a location that does not yet appear on the map.search.ch maps, you can use the ETH Zurich pdf overview.

From the “Bahnhofplatz/HB” stop: Tram no. 3 (towards Klusplatz) as far as the "Kunsthaus” stop (3 stops), then change to tram no. 5 (towards Kirche Fluntern) or tram no. 9 (towards Hirzenbach) as far as the "Kantonsschule" stop (1 stop). Then follow the Zürichbergstrasse to house no. 18.

You will require a ticket that is valid for zone 110 (city of Zurich).

Page URL: http://www.cer.ethz.ch/research/research-seminar.html
Tue Mar 28 17:29:55 CEST 2017
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