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13  Nov  2017  

STICERD Atkinson Lecture - Media and behaviour change: unpacking social effects

Eliana La Ferrara (Bocconi University)

In this lecture Eliana La Ferrara presented some recent research done in collaboration with Abhijit Banerjee (MIT) and Victor Orozco (World Bank). The authors test the effectiveness of an entertainment education TV series, MTV Shuga, aimed at providing information and changing attitudes and behaviors related to HIV/AIDS. Using a simple model they show that “edutainment” can work through an “individual” or a “social” channel. They conducted a randomized controlled trial in urban Nigeria where young viewers were exposed to MTV Shuga or to a placebo TV series. Among those exposed to MTV Shuga, additional variation was created in the `social messages' they received and in the people with whom they watched the show. The authors find significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes towards HIV and risky sexual behavior. Treated subjects are twice as likely to get tested for HIV eight months after the intervention. They also find reductions in STDs among women. These effects are stronger for viewers who report being more involved in the narrative, consistent with the psychological underpinnings of edutainment. The experimental manipulations of the social norm component did not produce significantly different results from the main treatment. The “individual” effect of edutainment thus seems to have prevailed in the context of the study. Eliana La Ferrara is Professor of Economics at Bocconi University, Milan. Her research is in the field of development economics, with a particular focus on the role of ethnicity, social norms and institutions.

28  Nov  2016  

STICERD Atkinson Lecture- Midlife morbidity and mortality in Europe and America: Why has the US left the herd?

Anne C. Case (Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, Princeton University)

After a century of nearly uninterrupted progress, all-cause mortality rates among white men and women in middle age stopped falling in the US, in the late 1990s, and began to rise. While midlife mortality continued to fall in other rich countries, and in other racial and ethnic groups in the US, white non-Hispanic mortality rates increased from 1999 through 2014. Mortality from the two biggest killers in middle age – cancer and heart disease – declined between 2000 and 2014, but were offset by marked increases in drug overdoses, suicides, and alcohol-related liver mortality. Increased mortality in midlife, led by these “deaths of despair,” is now large enough to offset mortality gains observed for children and the elderly, leading to the first decline in life expectancy among whites observed in several decades. Mortality increases for whites in midlife are mirrored by reported deterioration in health and mental health, and increased reports of chronic pain. Many theories have been put forward to explain this turnaround, and its roots in deaths of despair. In this paper, we examine economic, cultural and social explanations for this decline, using current and historical data from the US and Europe. We discuss hypotheses that could potentially explain the increased deaths of despair that we observe in the data, and compare outcomes predicted by these hypotheses to the spatial, temporal and demographic characteristics of this quietly unfolding epidemic.

26  Nov  2015  

Atkinson Lecture

Philippe Aghion (Harvard)

Professor Philippe Aghion's main research work is on growth and contract theory. With Peter Howitt, he developed the so-called Schumpeterian Paradigm, and extended the paradigm in several directions; much of the resulting work is summarised in his joint book with Howitt entitled "Endogenous Growth Theory". He is Centennial Professor at the LSE and Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University. STICERD's Atkinson Lecture series is in honour of LSE’s Centennial Professor and STICERD associate Sir Tony Atkinson

28  Oct  2014  

STICERD Atkinson Lecture: The Economics of Beliefs and Misbeliefs

Roland Benabou (Princeton)

This is the inaugural STICERD Atkison Lecture in honour of LSE’s Centennial Professor and STICERD associate Sir Tony A. Atkinson. Roland Bénabou is Theodore A. Wells '29 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. His recent work lies in three main areas. The first links inequality, growth, social mobility and the political economy of redistribution. The second centers on education, social interactions and the socioeconomic structure of cities and the third is that of economics and psychology ('behavioral economics').