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Empirical Microeconomics Workshop



Coordinators: Fall 2017 -  Bingxiao Wu and Jennifer Hunt
                       Spring 2018 - Anne Piehl and Rosanne Altshuler

  • The seminars meet on Fridays in New Jersey Hall 3rd Floor Library from 2:00 to 3:30 pm unless otherwise Noted.
  • Papers can be downloaded from the Department's website when available in advance.
  • Schedule of Dates and Speakers may change.

See all Empirical Microeconomics Workshops in the calendar

Fall 2017

September 15
Jing Li, Weil Cornell Medical College at Cornell

Plastic Surgery or Primary Care?
Altruistic Preferences and Expected Specialty Choice of U.S. Medical Students
Understanding physicians' decisions when faced with conflicts between their own financial self-interest and patients’ economic or health interests is of key importance in health economics and policy. This issue is especially salient in certain medical specialties where less altruistic behavior of physicians can yield significant financial gains. This study adopts an experimental approach to examine altruistic preferences of medical students from schools around the U.S. and whether these preferences predict their expected medical specialty choice. The experimental design consists of a set of computer-based revealed preference decision problems which ask the experimental subjects to allocate real money between themselves and an anonymous person. These data are used to derive an innovative measure of altruism for each participant which we are the first to apply in health economics. We then examine the association between altruism and expected specialty choice, after controlling for an extensive set of covariates collected from a survey questionnaire which we fielded. We find substantial heterogeneity in altruistic preferences among experimental subjects. Medical students with a lower degree of altruism are significantly more likely to choose high-income specialties. This altruism measure is more predictive of specialty than a wide range of other characteristics including parental income, student loan amount and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score.

September 22
Abby Alpert. University of Pennsylvania
“Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes: Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids”

Abstract: Overdose deaths from prescription opioid pain relievers nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, making this the worst drug overdose epidemic in U.S. history. In response, numerous supply-side interventions have aimed to limit access to opioids. However, these supply disruptions may have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of substitute drugs, including heroin. We study the consequences of one of the largest supply disruptions to date to abusable opioids – the introduction of an abuse-deterrent version of OxyContin in 2010. Our analysis exploits across state variation in exposure to the OxyContin reformulation. Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we show that states with higher pre-2010 rates of OxyContin misuse experienced larger reductions in OxyContin misuse, permitting us to isolate consumer substitution responses. We estimate large differential increases in heroin deaths immediately after reformulation in states with the highest initial rates of OxyContin misuse. We find less evidence of differential reductions in overall opioid-related deaths, potentially due to substitution towards other opioids, including more harmful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Our results imply that a substantial share of the dramatic increase in heroin deaths since 2010 can be attributed to the reformulation of OxyContin.

September 29
William Skimmyhorm, USMA - West Point

October 6
Tatiana Homonoff, New York University

October 13
Hannes Schwandt, University of Zurich

October 20
Andrew Barr, Texas A&M University

October 27
Jieun Choi, Ph.D. Student, Rutgers University joint with Ning Li, Ph.D. Student, Rutgers University

November 3
Jeah (Kyoungrae) Jung, Penn State University

November 10
Yaa Akosa Antwai, John Hopkins University

November 17
Leonard Wantchekon, Princeton University

December 1
John Bowblis, Miami University

December 8
Jessica Van Parys, CUNY Hunter College

Spring 2018

February 9
Suresh Naidu, Columbia University

February 23
Jonathan Morduch, Wagner School, New York University

March 2
Li Liu, International Monetary Fund

March 23
Arik Levinson, Georgetown University

April 20
Matthew Weinberg, Drexel University


Contact Us

New Jersey Hall, Room 202
75 Hamilton Street, (CAC)
New Brunswick, NJ
P  (848) 932-7363 (undergraduate)
P  (848) 932-7451 (graduate)
F  (732) 932-7416
Thomas Prusa - Department Chair
Donna Ghilino - Senior Department Administrator
Barry Sopher - Undergraduate Program Director
Hilary Sigman - Graduate Program Director
Undergraduate Inquiries - Help and Advising
Graduate Advisor