The 5 Areas

Area 1: Secure Careers in a Global Economy

This area will focus on the efficiency of regulations and social security systems and of corporate human resource policies. Its research program investigates in particular issues including:

  • Unemployment insurance
  • Analysis of mobility
  • Vocational training
  • Employment protection and flexicurity
  • Subsidies for employment or setting-up firm
  • Social costs of labor mobility
  • Human resources policies.

The interactions between labor economists, macroeconomists, and human resources managers is essential to this area. The macroeconomic component in particular is key to the research area’s capacity when making public policy recommendations.

To help structure research by ENSAE-CREST and HEC into labor markets and mobility, a Secure Career Watchdog will be created.

Area 2: Financial Market Failures and Regulation

This area proposes to solve three main challenges:

  • Providing tractable frameworks to help policy-makers understand interbank linkages and deal with extreme risk. Using datasets from existing exchanges, the role of collateral rules on the probability of a breakdown is particularly under scrutiny.
  • Mastering complexity inherent to modern finance with the leading example being automated trading which may destabilize markets and exacerbate volatility with potential macroeconomic consequences. Combining econometrics, game theory and stochastic modeling, studies are carried out to assess its overall impact. The complexity of financial products is on the increase but this implies studying the welfare gains from such products as well as new efficient pricing techniques that better incorporate the notion of risk.
  • Financing innovation. Here, the research area studies the impact of regulatory changes on firm creation designed to reduce entrepreneurial liability, public policies to promote venture capital funding, the role played by the specific contractual features in venture capital in screening firms with the most promising potential.

This research requires a combination of field knowledge in entrepreneurial finance and management, and state-of-the-art econometric techniques to evaluate the causal impact of public policies. To organize this research area, a Center for the Prevention of Financial Market Failures will be set up.

Area 3: Product Market Regulation and Consumer Decision-Making

To develop realistic decision-making models, using results from psychology, as well as experimental and statistical data, this research area intends to assess the performance of product market institutions. The team investigates how real-life decision-making processes affect economic efficiency and the sharing of the surplus between consumers and firms in market environments.

It involves strong cooperation between researchers from the three institutions with different specialties: behavioral economics, psychology, game theory, and applied econometrics.

Policy recommendations will be derived from the ensuing empirical and theoretical analyses of such market “imperfections” both for existing markets as well as for the creation of new markets.

Area 4: Evaluating the Impact of Public Policies and Firms’ Decisions

This area intends to develop research into the evaluation of causal effects along four dimensions

  • New econometric tools for program evaluation
  • New field experiments to go beyond the numerical impact of a decision and rather identify the most prominent channels generating the effects
  • Randomized evaluation techniques to analyze social choices, in particular to help design efficient public policies against poverty
  • Scientific evaluation of corporate decisions (product attributes and pricing, production technologies, human resources policies and management, financing, and, in general, marketing decisions).

A Center of Decision Evaluation (CoDE), will help in the setting up of collaborations, in developing field experiments in firms, and in defining the dissemination strategy. Because the techniques promoted by the Center are going to be used by all three previous research areas, the CoDE will be a locus of interactions between all LABEX members. The strategy of this area does not limit itself to public policies evaluation but also addresses  the evaluation of corporate decision making, so that it is planed to open multiple avenues for cooperation with companies.

Area 5: New Challenges for New Data

Sources of data are more and more diverse, and each source generates vast amounts of information: the internet generates data on social networks; firms have access to data with more variables than observations, administrative data that may include the entire population (on employment, health…). The quantities produced are so enormous that classical statistical methods are often not adapted to handle them, either because of the number of variables or because of the number of observations.

This area therefore intends to couple the Center for Secured Access to Data (CASD, an EQUIPEX) with a Center for the Study of Big Data where econometricians, statisticians, and micro-economists will identify new forms of data and then design the relevant new methods to use this kind of data.

Because information is often stored at the individual or the firm level, privacy concerns become central. The Center tackles these issues by fostering cooperation between statisticians and lawyers. It is believed that the use of the CASD will overcome the reluctance of firms and administrations to let researchers access to these data. This in turn should open wide a fantastic, but so far unexplored, field of new multi-disciplinary research