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InsTED Institutions Trade & Economic Development - Our mission is to better understand the role of institutions, both domestic and international, in the process of economic development

Reforming the Global Institutions: The case of WTO

Friday 9 October 2020
13:00 – 14:30 (BST, London), 14:00 – 15:30 (CEST)

The ongoing selection process for the new Director General of the WTO has prompted renewed focus on reforming that institution and also provides an opportunity to rethink the reform of global institutions more broadly. This panel of policy makers, academics and practitioners will discuss the key directions for change to make the WTO and other global institutions more fit for purpose.


Jonathan Fried, former Canadian Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Hector Torres, former Executive Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF).


Piroska Nagy Mohacsi, Interim Director, Institute of Global Affairs at the LSE School of Public Policy.


Erik Berglof, Chief Economist, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); Professor (on leave), LSE School of Public Policy and Fellow, CEPR.

Link to the Event

Immigration, Voting and Redistribution: Evidence from European Elections

By Simone Moriconi (IESEG School of Management and LEM), Giovanni Peri (University of California Davis), and Riccardo Turati (Université Catholique de Louvain)

The idea that political support for redistribution and public good provision is lower in societies with high exposure to immigration and diversity is widely acknowledged. In the US, the great migration inflows of the early 20th century, despite having positive economic effects, reduced public support for the provision of public goods.[1] Similarly in Europe, the inflow of low skilled immigrants during the 2000s weakened citizens’ preferences for redistribution.[2] Natives generally perceive immigrants as a burden to their country’s welfare system, especially if their income is lower, and if they choose their location based on the generosity of the local welfare state (the so-called ‘welfare magnet theory’).  Recent experimental evidence confirms these findings and demonstrates that immigrants’ characteristics are important in affecting the link between immigration and natives’ attitudes towards the welfare state.[3] For instance, high-skilled immigrants, who are most often perceived as net contributors to the welfare state, do not generate anti-welfare attitudes in natives.

Given this evidence, it is important to see how the effect of immigration on preferences translates into policies. A straightforward way is to look at the effect of immigration on voting outcomes. This is the objective of our recent paper, which discusses how migration affected voters’ political preferences over welfare state and public education expansion over 28 elections in 12 European countries between 2007 and 2016.[4] For this analysis, we have primarily used data from the European Social Survey (ESS). These extremely detailed individual data include the name of the party voted for by survey respondents at the last national election. Thus, we selected countries characterized by at least 2 elections during the sample period and linked to each party a synthetic measure, drawn from the party’s political manifesto, of that party’s support for an expansion of the welfare state or for public education. Finally, we merged these data with the stock of immigrants, classified by their education level, who were resident in the region of the survey respondent in the year of the election.

Using these data, we show that voting outcomes are significantly related to the local exposure to immigration, with different effects of low skilled and high skilled immigrants. An increase of high skilled immigration to the region makes individual voters more prone to vote in favour of parties with a political manifesto favourable to welfare and public education expansions. This remains true after accounting for confounding factors, most importantly omitted variable bias driven by the fact that migrants may choose to go to richer regions, and where natives are more pro-redistribution. Our dataset also allows us to show that the effect of high skilled migration on voting outcomes varies with voters’ characteristics. Figure 1 shows the effect is generally larger among the less educated, male voters, residing in small rural areas and it is concentrated either in the younger cohort of natives (below 38 y.o) or the older ones (above 58 y.o.). Educated, female, prime-age and urban voters don’t seem to respond with the same intensity.

Figure 1 : New Welfare State Expansion and Natives’ Individual Characteristics

Source: Moriconi, Peri, and Turati (2019). The graphs plot the coefficients for the effects of the share of high skilled and low skilled immigrants on the indicator of preference for a net welfare expansion. Coefficients are estimated on different subsamples by individual characteristics of natives: education (a), age (b), gender (c) and location (d). All the coefficients are estimated with IV estimations. The shadowed area represents the 95% interval of confidence. All the regressions include individual and regional controls, NUTS2 and year fixed effects. These are the authors’ calculations on ESS, Manifesto Project Database and Eurostat data.

What about the effects of low skilled migration? As for the welfare state dimension of redistribution, low skilled migration does not seem to have much effect on the voting behaviour of natives (see Figure 1). However, we find that natives respond to low skilled immigration by voting for parties that propose to reduce public education: natives may prefer to reduce spending on local public goods fearing that these will benefit primarily less-skilled (and low-income) immigrants.[5] And public education could be benefitting especially newly arrived migrants, who are younger and have more children.

Are the estimated effects sizeable ones? Our estimated coefficients suggest that an increase in the stock of high skilled immigrants by 3 percentage points implies a shift of voters from a moderate Centrist-agenda on education provision and redistribution to the more progressive type of political platforms that characterize most Socialist parties in Europe. An effect quantitatively similar, but with an opposite sign (i.e. a switch towards parties less-favourable to redistribution) is induced instead by an increase in the share of less-educated immigrants by 6 percentage points.

We also perform a complementary exercise to check whether country-level immigration induces parties themselves to change their political agenda. We find that an inflow of low skilled migrants induces parties in a country to propose a political manifesto less favourable to welfare state expansion. This suggests that not only voters, but also parties are to be considered “political agents”, as they adjust their attitudes towards redistribution. As shown in Figure 2 below, this is not only the case for conservative types of parties, but also for some “pro-redistribution” parties such as the Christian Democrats. Our findings suggest that in response to low skilled immigration, European countries’ party systems may have evolved over time to support smaller government size, and this would amount to a change in policy preferences revealed by parties even if voters did not much change their vote across parties.

Figure 2: Parties Families – Average position and Variation
Source: Moriconi, Peri and Turati (2018). The top panel plots the average position of political families, using the initial and the average political position of parties. Initial position is measured by the manifesto in the last available election before the start of the sample period, or the first year when the party is present in the political arena during the sample period (2007-2016). Average political position is measured as the average political manifesto of a party during the sample period 2007-2016. Number of parties in each family are reported over the bars. The bottom panel plots the variation of political families average position regarding welfare state expansion keeping a balanced sample of parties.


Alesina, A., A. Miano & S. Stantcheva (2018). “Immigration and Redistribution.” NBER Working paper 24733.

Card, D., C. Dustmann & I. Preston (2012). “Immigration, Wages and Compositional Amenities.” Journal of the European Economic Association 10(1): 78–119.

Moriconi S., Peri G. and R. Turati (2019). “Immigration and Voting for Redistribution: Evidence from European Elections.” Labour Economics 61 (2019) 101765.

Murard, E. (2017). “Less Welfare or Fewer Foreigners? Immigrant Inflows and Public Opinion towards Redistribution and Migration Policy.” IZA DP No. 10805.

Tabellini, M. (2020). “Gifts of the Immigrants, Woes of the Natives: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration.” Review of Economic Studies 87(1): 454–486,


[1] See Tabellini (2020)

[2] See e.g. Murard (2017)

[3] Alesina et al. (2018)

[4] Moriconi et al. (2019)

[5] Card et al. (2012)

CANCELLED: 7th InsTED Workshop Lancaster 2020

Hi everyone,

We hope you are safe and well.  We’re writing to let you know that after serious consideration with the local organisers at the University of Lancaster, we have reached the difficult decision to cancel the 7th InsTED -Lancaster 2020. The health and safety of participants is our primary concern and the main reason we have made this decision. We want to thank you all for your trust and understanding.  We are also grateful to Lancaster for leaving open the possibility that we may hold this event there another year.

With best regards,

Ben & Isleide
27 May 2020


Advances in Institutions, Trade & Economic Development

The 7th InsTED Workshop will be held at the Department of Economics, Lancaster University Management School, from 18-19 September 2020. We invite submissions of theoretical and/or empirical papers at the intersection or union of institutions, trade and economic development.

The keynotes for the workshop will be delivered by:

Early Career Researchers are especially encouraged to apply.  For previous InsTED workshops, please see here. There will be a registration fee of GBP 120, which will cover lunches and dinners on both days.

Submission Deadline: May 31th 2020.

Please send submissions to with the subject line “InsTED Lancaster Submission”.  Priority will be given to complete papers.

For any queries regarding local arrangements (travel, accommodation, etc.), please email Pavel Chakraborty () and/or Saurabh Singhal ()

Decisions will be communicated by June 30th 2020.

Important Dates:

  • 31 May – Submission deadline
  • 30 June – Target date for acceptance notification
  • 18-19 Sept – Workshop dates


Pre-call announcement: Centres Competition 2020

In April 2020 the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is planning to announce an open competition for Research Centres. The competition will be open to applications of excellent quality in any area of social science within the ESRC remit. The call will also include a highlight notice in the area of demographic change, in particular ‘connecting generations’.

Research Centres are major ESRC strategic investments. In addition to taking forward an ambitious research agenda and making significant economic and/or societal impact, they add value by increasing research infrastructure, building capacity, encouraging interdisciplinary working in social science and beyond, and enabling research collaboration in the UK and internationally.

Research Centre funding is aimed at experienced research leaders who require longer-term or extended support for research groups, inter-institutional research networks, programmes of research, medium to large surveys, other infrastructure or methodological developments, or any related larger-scale projects. Research Centres also have a distinct role in supporting the development of early career researchers and building new research capacity. They are expected to be high-impact investments over the longer term.

The ESRC will be investing up to £45m 100% full economic cost (fEC) over five years through the open element of this Centres Competition, with up to a further £10m 100% fEC for the highlight notice. The competition is for proposals ranging from £2.5 million to £10 million 100% fEC with a term of up to five years. ESRC will meet 80% of the full economic costs on proposals submitted. It is anticipated that ESRC will fund up to five Centres under the open call and a further Centre under the highlight notice. All proposals to this call must be led by a researcher at an eligible UK Research Organisation (RO) and will need to be submitted through the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

We anticipate considerable interest in this competition which will be run as a two-stage application process and, as in previous competitions, we will ask ROs to limit the number of applications to support the most competitive bids. We will be looking for evidence of long term institutional commitment, including additional financial resources from the RO to extend the work programme beyond the 100% fEC funding requested.

Highlight notice

Dedicated funds will be available to support a Centre in the area of demographic change, in particular ‘connecting generations’. It is our expectation that the successful Centre will seek to address aims set out under the Changing Populations priority area of the ESRC 2019 Delivery Plan ( Specifically, the Centre will fulfil our commitment to a Connecting Generations programme that expands research on demographic change and its consequences for transfers between generations.

We are currently working to finalise the scope for the highlight notice and this will be made available alongside the full call when it is published.

Provisional timetable

Full guidance on eligibility, closing dates, how to apply to the call and assessment criteria will be published on the ESRC website in April 2020. A provisional timetable is shown below.

  • Call published – April 2020
  • Deadline for submitting outline proposals – June 2020
  • Deadline for submitting full proposals – January 2021
  • Award start date –  October 2021

Further information

Enquiries about this announcement can be sent to . However, please note we will not be able to provide additional information about the call in advance of its publication.

Call for Paper ITSG (Italian Trade Study Group) – Ancona June 29-30, 2020

The next meeting of the “ITSG – Italian Trade Study Group” will be organised by the Department of Economics and Social Sciences of the Università Politecnica delle Marche and Fondazione Manlio Masi on June 29-30, 2020.

The Scientific Committee of this meeting includes: Alessia Lo Turco (Università Politecnica delle Marche), Giulia Bettin (Università Politecnica delle Marche), Roberto Esposti (Università Politecnica delle Marche), Giulia Felice (Politecnico di Milano), Giorgia Giovannetti (Università di Firenze), Daniela Maggioni (Università Cà Foscari di Venezia), Gianluca Santoni (CEPII), Lucia Tajoli (Politecnico di Milano).

Complete paper (or advanced drafts) should be submitted to the Segreteria Fondazione Masi –  by April, 30, 2020. The acceptance of the papers will be notified no later than May 15, 2020.

For logistic information about the meetin will be posted in due time on the following website:

Job Opportunity: Assistant Professor of Environment, Energy or Development Economics (tenure track) Tufts University

The Department of Economics invites applications to fill a full-time faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor, starting September 1, 2020.  Candidates for this position should have research and teaching interests related to Environment, Energy or Development Economics and will be expected to teach and advise doctoral students in the economics and public policy Ph.D. program offered jointly by the Economics Department and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Candidates should possess potential for significant research accomplishment and excellence in teaching. They should have a Ph.D. or expect to receive their Ph.D. prior to the start of the appointment.

To apply, all candidates should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a job market paper via Interfolio, at Candidates should have three writers of reference letters submit their letters directly to Interfolio.

Review of applications will start immediately and continue until the position is filled. Questions about the position may be directed to Debra Knox, Department Administrator at .

EEO/AA Policy
Tufts University shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR §§ 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status or disability.

Call for Papers: Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE)

The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), organized by the World Bank’s Development Economics (DEC) Vice Presidency, is one of the world’s best-known series of conferences for the presentation and discussion of new knowledge on development. The conference aims to promote the exchange of cutting-edge knowledge among researchers, policymakers, and development practitioners.

The next conference will take place on June 22, 2020 at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The theme of the conference will be “Global Unrest”.

Social unrest across regions is intensifying, from East Asia to Latin America, even as much of this unrest stems from frustrations experienced more locally — within regions and specific country contexts. The forms, sources and intensity of this unrest vary considerably: in some places it is long-simmering concerns over rising economic inequality and opportunity, in others it is more recent populist mobilization around the basis on which particular social identities (e.g., immigrants) confer political rights, while in still others it is the performance and legitimacy of government itself. Perhaps paradoxically, this domestic discontent is occurring at a time when most national and global development indicators continue to show steady (if uneven) improvement.

The ABCDE Organizing Committee is issuing a call for innovative papers that examine the drivers of this global dissatisfaction, its similarities and differences with previous episodes of widespread civic unrest, whether and how such discontent can be addressed, and whether there may be common threads connecting these developments. Of interest are papers which explore these issues with respect one or more of the following sub-themes:

  • Rising Inequality
  • Rising Aspirations
  • Unmet Expectations
  • Resistance to Authoritarianism
  • The Role of Social Media
  • The Use and Abuse of Evidence

Papers that do not fit into these sub-themes, but are related to the main conference theme, are also welcome. The selected papers will be presented in the main sessions of the conference.

Those interested should submit a complete paper (proposals will not be accepted) by Monday, March 16, 2020, 11:59 pm EST through the ABCDE website.

The Organizing Committee will evaluate all papers in terms of originality, analytical rigor, and policy relevance. Authors of accepted proposals will be informed by email by Monday, April 6, 2020. A final draft paper will be required by Monday, May 25, 2020.

For external authors of selected papers, travel and accommodation expenses for the conference will be covered. Additional information on the overall conference program will be posted on the ABCDE website in the coming days. The ABCDE secretariat can be contacted via email at .

Economic Determinants of Multilateral Environmental Agreements

By Tibor Besedeš (Georgia Institute of Technology), Erik P. Johnson (Carthage College), and Xinping Tian (Hunan University)

Multilateral environmental agreements come in many flavors. Between 1950 and 2012 over 1100 such agreements have been negotiated between countries. These agreements cover a variety of issues including newer concerns such as global warming and climate change as well as older ones such as acid rain, degradation of habitats, and overfishing. The large number of agreements points to a telling difference between environmental agreements and another type of agreement countries often negotiate, namely the one dealing with international trade. A pair of countries tends to negotiate a single trade agreement that is either comprehensive and covers the entirety of trade between the two (such as NAFTA) or excludes some goods from coverage (many agreements Japan negotiates do not cover agriculture). In the environmental arena, agreements tend to be more issue-specific resulting in the same pair of countries signing many more agreements. For example, prior to 1990 France had ratified 213 multilateral agreements. Among these 179 are between France and Germany, its EU partner, with the agreement underpinning the EU being the sole agreement covering international trade between the two. France and Mexico are both parties to 69 agreements, while prior to Slovakia’s entry into the EU, France had no environmental agreements with Slovakia despite their close proximity to each other. The reasons for the different number of agreements are varied. Some have to do with proximity. France and Germany are neighboring countries and have entered into agreements to deal with transboundary environmental issues such as management of resources spanning the common border or pollution that straddles the border. Given Mexico and France are separated by the Atlantic Ocean, there are significantly fewer environmental issues the two have in common and hence fewer agreements that both are parties to.

The distance between France and Germany on one hand and France and Mexico on the other plays an important role in determining what kinds of environmental agreements they enter. The common border shared by France and Germany generates transboundary issues that need to be managed, be they resource management or habitat preservation. Mexico and France have no such issues. Rather, Mexico and France are much more likely to be signatories of large multilateral agreements that many or all countries in the world sign on to, such as the Montreal Protocol (negotiated to phase out production of substances that deplete the ozone) or the Kyoto Protocol (negotiated to reduce greenhouse gases). France and Germany are also party to such agreements, but also are parties to more agreements that are small in nature, in terms of the number of signatories. These small agreements are between fewer countries as they are designed to deal with specific issues affecting a small set of countries near each other that share common pool resources that need to be managed.

The number of signatories to an agreement is also an important variable, as it may determine how effective and stable agreements are. Several theoretical papers have shown that self-enforcing environmental agreements between many countries will arise when the difference in net benefits between the non-cooperative and fully cooperative outcomes is very small.[1] In other words, large agreements will be formed only when commitments that countries must agree to are small or non-existent. On the flip side, small agreements, between few signatories can be much more effective at dealing with a variety of environmental issues.[2] In other words, large agreements may be an expression of a desire to do something about an issue at some point but entail no immediate commitment to act. Small agreements are more likely to contain binding commitments. Large agreements may be examples of what Scott Barrett characterizes as consensus agreements, which are “broad but shallow”, rather than “narrow but deep,” which tends to be a more apt description of small agreements.[3]

The main thrust of our recently published paper in this area is to understand the economic determinants of environmental agreements.[4] A common concern attributed to many environmental agreements is that they will usually result in additional regulation and new limits on economic activity resulting in economic losses. As such, it is important to understand the extent to which economic factors play a role in countries agreeing to sign an environmental agreement. Given the above discussion, we hypothesize that economic determinants play an important role in determining two countries becoming parties to a small agreement with few other countries. However, when it comes to large, globe-spanning agreements, we hypothesize that economic factors play no role in determining whether two countries sign it.

We use data on multilateral environmental agreements from Ronal Mitchell’s International Environmental Agreement Database Project (2002-2015) on agreements signed between 1950 and 2012.[5] We use these data to examine two aspects: the likelihood that a pair of countries signs a (new) environmental agreement and the number of agreements the pair is currently a party to. We use three groups of explanatory variables. The first are variables used in the international trade gravity literature: sum of GDPs, difference in GDPs, distance, and common language. The second are economic integration variables: sum of imports and existence of a trade agreement between the two countries. The last group of variables are proxies for common pool resources: the length of border between the two countries, whether they are in the same geographic region, or whether they are in neighboring regions. We separately analyze agreement with less than 26 signatories, the median number of signatories of all agreements in our sample, and agreements with more than 68 signatories, which is the 75th percentile in the distribution of the number of signatories across all agreements.

The first step in our analysis is to show that proxies for common pool resources are good proxies. We do so by collecting data on two types of common pool resources we could find that span across countries, namely aquifers and transboundary waters. In both cases, countries that have a longer border, and/or are in the same or neighboring regions, are more likely to either share aquifers or transboundary waters.

In the second step we examine the determinants of the likelihood that countries enter into an environmental agreement. A pair of countries with larger joint GDP but with smaller differences between them (i.e., countries more similar in economic size), that trade more, that are closer in distance, that have a longer border, that share a common language, that are in the same or neighboring regions, and that have a trade agreement are more likely to sign an environmental agreement that has a small number of signatories in virtually any year of our sample. These same factors also cause a pair of countries to be parties to more agreements, except for common language and being in neighboring regions which do not have significant effects. When it comes to large agreements, these same factors either do not have significant effects, or their effect decreases over time.

The conclusion we reach based on our results is that economic factors play a role in determining whether a pair of countries signs a small agreement. In these cases, economic factors matter as small agreements have bite: they usually come with binding commitments that often manifest themselves in costs. On the other hand, when it comes to agreements with many signatories, economic factors play a minor role at best because such agreements entail no costs making it easier for countries to join. The lack of costs associated with the agreement implies that there are few economic considerations countries have to worry about when joining such agreements.


Asheim, Geir B., Camilla Bretteville Froyn, Jon Hovi, and Frederic C. Menz (2006), “Regional versus Global Cooperation for Climate Control,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 51 93-109.

Barrett, Scott (1994), “Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements,” Oxford Economic Papers 46, 878–894.

Barrett, Scott (2002), “Consensus Treaties.Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 158 (4), 529-547.

Besedeš, Tibor, Erik P. Johnson, and Xinping Tian (forthcoming), “Economic Determinants of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.” International Tax and Public Finance, doi: 10.1007/s10797-019-09588-z

Gelves, Alejandro, and Matthew McGinty (2016), “International Environmental Agreements with Consistent Conjectures.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 78, 67-84.

Hovi, Jon, Hugh Ward, and Frank Grundig (2015), “Hope or Despair? Formal Models of Climate Cooperation.” Environmental and Resource Economics 62(4), 665-688.


[1] See Barrett (1994) and the references therein.

[2]  See Asheim et al. (2006), Gelves and McGinty (2016), and Hovi et. al. (2015).

[3] See Barrett (2002).

[4] Besedeš, Johnson and Tian (forthcoming).


GEP Summer Trade Workshop

Call for Papers
“The Dynamics of Trade”

Nottingham, United Kingdom
8-9 June 2020

The Nottingham Centre for Globalization and Economic Policy (GEP) are pleased to announce that their annual summer trade workshop will take place at University of Nottingham 8-9 June 2020. This year, the common topic will be on dynamic aspects of trade (broadly defined).

Scientific Committee:

Facundo Albornoz, Arnaud Costinot, Thibault Fally and Andrés Rodríguez-Clare

Confirmed invited speakers:

Paula Bustos – CEMFI
Arnaud Costinot – MIT
Thibault Fally – University of California-Berkeley
Emanuel Ornelas – Sao Paolo School of Economics
Alessandro Ruggieri – University of Nottingham

We are looking to add 3-4 more presenters for this workshop. We offer accommodation and can cover travel costs if needed. There is no conference fee.

Please submit your paper to no later than 1 March 2020.

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