Upcoming Events

UBS Center Seminar
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
Abhijit Banerjee (MIT) and Esther Duflo


From Amazon to Google to Walmart: Since 40 years, the power concentration in the core industries have been increasing, leaving smaller companies with little to nothing. David Dorn, alongside four other top-economists, investigated the rise of so-called "superstar companies".

NZZ am Sonntag Online (in German)

New research by David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson find that men and women from the US react completely different in times of economic troubles. The study shows that the decline of manufacturing has affected the supply of what the authors’ deem “marriageable” men. Men with lower wages often struggle to make ends meet and can spiral down into drug and alcohol abuse, while women in the same situation are more likely to marry and have children. Evidence proves that when men don’t earn much more than women do, fewer people get married, and more children are being born out of wedlock. This is because when the economic prospects for men decline, they migrate elsewhere, join the military, or fall out of the labor force. The inability of policymakers to help workers adapt is creating a crisis, which is affecting the entire U.S. economy, political system, and prosperity of future generations.

World Economic Forum Online
The Atlantic Online
AJC Online

In interviews with NZZ am Sonntag and SRF News, Ernst Fehr talks about new findings indicating that management enumeration often does not correspond with their objective achievements and are based on a false index.

Interview with SRF (in German)
Interview with NZZaS (in German / download PDF)

The most important organization of economists in the world, the American Economic Association (AEA), has named the Zurich economist Ernst Fehr as a foreign honorary member. He is thus the first scientist who conducts research at a Swiss university to receive this honor.

Press release

Trade economists typically believe that in addition to lower prices for imported goods, trade liberalization also brings import variety and domestic productivity gains. In a recently published VOX column, Ralph Ossa (together with Chang-Tai Hsieh, Nicholas Li, and Mu-Jeung Yang) account for these ‘new’ gains in a careful reconsideration of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. The authors state that although the agreement did see improvements in Canadian income associated with import variety and domestic productivity, these were far outweighed by the welfare loss associated with the reduction in domestic variety. Nonetheless, Canadian welfare did improve overall when one takes into account the ‘traditional’ gains associated with lower import prices.

VOX Columns

More than 300 persons attended this year's economic podium entitled "Does Switzerland need a new migration policy". Top specialists from Switzerland and abroad discussed the migration problematic and its consequences for the economy and society. Keynote speaker Sir Paul Collier (Oxford University) spoke with the German "Handelszeitung" at the event. In the interview, Collier discussed the precarious position of refugees in Jordan and summaried an alternative plan for local help.

Interview with Collier in the Handelszeitung (in German)

The resource curse and problems with minorities are significant causes for conflict. The Swiss political system shows, how even minorities can exert influence. The Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft recently published an article by Dominic Rohner on this issue. The article provides a summary of his Public Paper on "The Economics of Peace".

FuW article (in German)
Public Paper: The Economics of Peace

The University of Antwerp conferred an honorary doctorate to Prof. Ernst Fehr. He received this for his groundbreaking contribution to the development of economics into a multidisciplinary behavioral science and, in particular, for his pioneering role in neuroeconomics, in which insights and methods from neuroscience are used to expose the foundations of human decision-making in a socioeconomic context.

Video announcement

In the current edition of the Weltwoche David Dorn talks about the effect of digitalization on productivity and workforce. Dorn argues that the ongoing discussion does not give enough credit to the extent of technical innovation that the second industrial revolution caused. Compared to that, today’s advancements of computers and networks are relatively small. It is even more surprising that such major technical advancements in the past did not lead to the substitution of human labor but lead to the creation of new jobs in new industries. Furthermore, Dorn does not believe that it will be different this time.

Weltwoche article (in German)

There is a huge gap within the labor market in Switzerland. Whereas salaries of well-qualified workers constantly increase in many industrial countries, workers with simple tasks have been facing decreasing salaries. Hence, there has been an increase of wage inequality. In an interview with Alexander Trentin from Finanz und Wirtschaft, David Dorn elaborates on the reasons for the decreasing share of labor income for economic output.

FuW article (in German)

The UBS Center welcomes three new advisory board members: Prof. Manuel Arellano (CEMFI), Prof. David Autor (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Nobel Laureate Prof. Oliver Hart (Harvard University).

Advisory Board Website

In light of the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, SRF dedicated a television broadcast to the issue of globalization. What level of globalization is enough? Are there any limits? These questions took center stage in the «ECO Spezial» one day before the opening of the 2017 WEF. Moderator Patrizia Laeri discussed the issue with Harvard-Professor Dani Rodrik, Oxford-Professor Kevin O’Rourke, and Professor David Dorn from the University of Zurich.

Watch "ECO Spezial" on SRF1 (in German)

With Ralph Ossa and Florian Scheuer, two outstanding researchers from the University of Chicago and Stanford University, respectively, are joining the UBS Center at the University of Zurich. Prof. Ralph Ossa’s research focuses on international trade, economic geography, and economic development. He has been appointed to the Professorship in Economics of Globalization and Emerging Markets, endowed by the UBS Center. Prof. Florian Scheuer has been appointed to the Professorship in Economics of Institutions, endowed by the UBS Center. His research focuses on public finance, taxation, inequality, public policy, and political economy.

Ralph Ossa’s webpage
Florian Scheuer’s webpage

Trump has promised that by restricting international trade he would bring back those jobs which have been lost in the U.S. due to globalization. In a recently published article in Finanz und Wirtschaft, Dorn explains why the chances of success for Trump’s campaign promise are very low. If you want to actually help the globalisation-losers, you need a different approach.

Finanz und Wirtschaft Article (in German)

The NZZ am Sonntag has published a feature on Dina Pomeranz in their latest edition. The article focuses on her academic career and her work in the field of development economics. Professor Pomeranz’ research is far away from the ideological approach which characterized the field of development economics during the movement of 1968. Modern approaches of development economics – to which Dina Pomeranz relates – focus on empirical facts. That is why she worked closely with tax authorities from Chile, Ecuador, and Kenya for her research projects on tax fraud containment policies. Professor Pomeranz is currently working on a study about the transfer price policy of international corporations.

NZZaS Artikel (in German)

The Big Idea is a platform from Vox for smart, often scholarly excursions into the most important issues and ideas in politics, science, and culture. Vox recently published an article by Filipe Campante and David Yanagizawa-Drott on how social mobility in the U.S. influenced voting behaviour during the presidential election. Did declining social mobility cause Trump’s rise? No, say Campante and Yanagizawa-Drott, but the influence of social mobility on voting seems to be growing.

VOX - The Big Idea

After Donald Trump's unexpected win on Tuesday, November 8, which will make him the 45th U.S. president, experts are trying to get to the bottom of his election victory. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled “Jump in Chinese Imports Gave Trump Election Boost, Study Finds,” referring to a new study by David Dorn, David Autor, Gordon Hanson, and Kaveh Majlesi. Furthermore, David Dorn was interviewed by Swiss Television (SRF) for a special on the 2016 U.S. elections. His research shows that cheap imports from China led to an immense job loss in the U.S. economy. Interestingly, those regions which were hardest hit by Chinese import competition became much more likely to elect politicians from the far right or far left. This effect of strong ideological polarization became evident in the current elections. Moreover, Professor Dorn’s professional opinion on the U.S. economic policy under Trump can be found in several newspapers and online articles which are based on a news report by SDA-ATS (e.g., swissinfo.ch). While Dorn predicts little change for Switzerland, he identifies major uncertainties for the future of economic policy in the U.S.

Wall Street Journal
Swiss Television (in German)
Swissinfo.ch (in German)

The way in which parents interact with their children affects the formation of human capital, which in turn is a crucial determinant of long-run growth and future inequality. In Finanz und Wirtschaft Fabrizio Zilibotti shows that different parenting styles influence the future success of children in different ways and explains why income inequality has a strong effect on the choice of parenting styles.

Finanz & Wirtschaft (in German)

The German economist program "makro" interviewed David Dorn on the decisive factors of globalization and the effects on the political landscape in areas in which the losers outnumber the winners of the process. David Dorn explains how the manufacturing workers in the US are hit hardest: They have fewer options to find new employment in other sectors and are more likely to have to take on lower paid jobs than their better educated colleagues.

Program (in German)
Interview (in German)

The number of professors of economics at the University of Zurich has increased substantially from 23 to 30, with a corresponding contribution to research and teaching. Due to this growth of about 30 percent, the Department of Economics has gained a decisive advantage in the international competition between universities. This progress is largely due to the support from the UBS Center. After the University of Zurich appointed the first two of the professorships endowed by the UBS Center last year, two more full professorships, one assistant professorship, and one affiliated professor have now joined the Center and the University.
Media release (PDF)
Research Profiles
NZZ Interview Ernst Fehr (PDF)
(in German)

In a current article in the «Finanz und Wirtschaft», Joachim Voth elaborates on the fact that most people are not only interested in doing well, they rather want to be better off compared to others. For them, the competition among consumers and the related egotism are part of our economic system. Voth discusses whether the positive effect of social comparison does outweigh its downside. Can the resulting higher collective economic performance make up for costs of individual unhappiness, overconsumption and private bankruptcy?

Article in Finanz und Wirtschaft (in German)

Last Thursday – 70 years after Winston Churchill’s historical speech on Europe that took place in the aula at the University of Zurich - Paul Krugman talked about the future of Europe with a focus on fiscal and monetary policies and the European Monetary Union. Krugman’s lecture which was hosted by the UBS Center attracted over 600 people and received considerable media attention. If you missed the speech, you can watch the whole lecture on YouTube.
Video on YouTube
Interview in NZZ
SRF News (in German)
Article in F&W (in German)
Article in Tagesanzeiger (in German)

Will the development of intelligent machines lead to an increase of unemployment in the near future? In a recently published article in Finanz und Wirtschaft, David Dorn gives a clear answer to this question. On the one hand, humans still outdo computers in tasks requiring creativity, decision-making, and problem-solving skills (which remain highly paid) and lower product prices lead to more demand for personal services, on the other hand automation creates jobs on both ends of the income scale. However, this is not true for middle-income jobs, which are mostly affected by automation. Thus, the current phase of automation leads to an increasing income gap.

FuW article (in German)
Public Paper “The Rise of the Machines”

In a recent interview for China’s largest Newspaper «People’s Daily», Fabrizio Zilibotti explains how China is now standing at a historical point in time, moving from an investment and export driven to an innovation driven economy. China’s investments into R&D in relation to its GDP are at a similar level as within the EU, pushing forward the innovation based growth strategy. Professor Zilibotti continues recommending further steps: eliminating entry barriers and breaking up monopolies, loosening financing restrictions for SMEs and further investment into building high-tech industrial parks.

Read the article (in Chinese)

Fabrizio Zilibotti has been invited to hold the Fredric B. Garonzik Lecture at Brown University. Zilibotti will talk about „China at a Turning Point: The Difficult Transition from Investment-Led to Innovation-Led Growth”. The lecture is hosted by the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance and will take place on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

Brown University Website

From August 22 to 26, 2016, nearly 1,800 members of the European Economic Association (EEA) and the Econometrics Society (ES) converged to Geneva for the annual EEA-ESEM Congress. Prof. Fabrizio Zilibotti, President of the EEA, held the Presidential Address entitled, “Growing and Slowing Down Like China” on Wednesday evening. In his talk Prof. Zilibotti analyzed the post-reform Chinese growth and explained why the growth in China is set to slow down.

Slides of the Presidential Address Youtube Video