EPoS Interviews

Interview with Antonio Ciccone: World War Refugees Fuelled Productivity and Wages

The number of refugees globally is constantly on the rise, due to war, civil conflicts, economic collapse, climate change and natural disasters. According to estimates of the
United Nations, the number of refugees reached 100 million in mid-2022, the highest figure ever recorded.

Refugees often stay for good in the receiving country. In this context, economists Antonio Ciccone from the University of Mannheim and Jan Nimczik from the European School of Management and Technology Berlin investigated the long-term effects of migration in Germany after the Second World War.
In the years after the end of the war, millions of people were displaced westward, making up more than 15 per cent of the population in the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.

The authors scrutinised today’s economic consequences of migration at the border between the French and the US occupation zone between 1945 to 1949 in South-West Germany. At the time, the US zone admitted refugees during the occupation period whereas the French restricted access.
It is the only longer border segment where municipalities in both occupation zones ended up in the same state of the Federal Republic of Germany – Baden-Württemberg.

The following interview with Antonio Ciccone focuses on the results of the study and the long-term economic consequences of migration.

Interview with Wladislaw Mill: Political Polarisation Has Become Deeply Rooted

In the U.S., the polarisation of the Democratic and Republican Parties is increasing in current years and is higher than at any other time since the Civil War, recent studies show.
At the same time, a divided America bears costs, as political polarisation leads to destructive behaviour, according to a recently published article of economists Wladislaw Mill from the University of Mannheim and John Morgan from the University of California, Berkeley.
The authors investigated the attitudes of supporters of Donald Trump and of Hillary Clinton towards each other and how these attitudes affect spiteful behaviour.
The key insight is that the participants are more likely to behave spitefully towards people who voted differently, and shows that partisanship spills over into the non-political realm. Interestingly, this result is driven mainly by the behaviour of Clinton voters.
The following interview with Wladislaw Mill focuses on the results of the experiment and the societal and economic repercussions for the United States.

Interview with Andreas Gulyas: “Zero Effect” of Austria’s Gender Pay Gap Legislation

Gender disparity in earnings is a persistent feature of labour markets around the world. Women earn about 20 per cent less compared with their male colleagues and 15 per cent less on average across the European Union.
There is an ongoing debate among academics, policy makers, as well as the general public about the reasons behind and best policy instruments to close the gap. To fight inequality, the Austrian government in 2011 adopted a Pay Transparency Law.
The law was rolled out in phases, starting off with the largest firms and then gradually cov-ered smaller companies. By 2014, all firms with more than 150 employees were required to publish and update income reports every second year. While the wage reports must be made available to all employees within the respective firm, the reviews are company secret and not public information.
Still, the Austrian transparency initiative had “no discernible effect” on the country’s gender pay gap, a recently published study by Andreas Gulyas and Sebastian Seitz from the Univer-sity of Mannheim and Sourav Sinha from Yale University showed.
The authors scrutinised employment records from the Austrian social security administra-tion from 1997 to 2018 which comprised 1.2 million employees within more than 14,000 companies. The following interview with Andreas Gulyas focuses on the weaknesses and strengths of Austria’s legislation and tries to shed some light on possible repercussions for the political debate when it comes to fighting gender pay disparities.

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