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2nd section


Updated A.Y. 2022-2023

In this module we will read and discuss recent empirical papers covering topics in Public Economics (Inequality, Preferences for Redistribution, Effects of Taxation, and Climate Change).

Typically, each session will have a “key paper” that all students are required to read in advance and one student will do a 30-45 minutes presentation of the paper (depending on class size, presentations will be done individually or in groups). All other students are also required to carefully read the paper and prepare three discussion slides. Following the 30-45 minutes presentation, a randomly drawn student will be asked to present their three slides. Class discussion will ensue.

For some sessions, you will be asked to do a short “data assignment.” This will involve downloading some publicly available data, carrying out basic data analysis, and drawing some conclusions.


You can expect the following from this module:

  • Be exposed to frontier research in topics related to Public Economics.
  • Familiarize yourself with reading academic papers.
  • Practice how to distill and summarize complex information into a short presentation.
  • Improve public speaking skills
  • Think critically about papers, engage in class discussions.


List of topics and reading list: 

  1. Inequality
  • Wojciech Kopczuk, Emmanuel Saez, Jae Song, “Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data Since 1937,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 125, Issue 1, February 2010, Pages 91–128, https://doi.org/10.1162/qjec.2010.125.1.91
  • Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, “Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 131, Issue 2, May 2016, Pages 519–578, https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjw004
  • Piketty, Thomas, Li Yang, and Gabriel Zucman. 2019. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015." American Economic Review, 109 (7): 2469-96.


  1. Preferences for Redistribution
  • Alesina, Alberto, Stefanie Stantcheva, and Edoardo Teso. 2018. "Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution." American Economic Review, 108 (2): 521-54.
  • Paola Giuliano, Antonio Spilimbergo, “Growing up in a Recession,” The Review of Economic Studies, Volume 81, Issue 2, April 2014, Pages 787–817, https://doi.org/10.1093/restud/rdt040
  • Kuziemko, Ilyana, Michael I. Norton, Emmanuel Saez, and Stefanie Stantcheva. 2015. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments." American Economic Review, 105 (4): 1478-1508.
  • Mounir Karadja, Johanna Mollerstrom, David Seim; “Richer (and Holier) Than Thou? The Effect of Relative Income Improvements on Demand for Redistribution.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 2017; 99 (2): 201–212. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/REST_a_00623


  1. Effects of Taxation
  • Akcigit, Ufuk, Salomé Baslandze, and Stefanie Stantcheva. 2016. "Taxation and the International Mobility of Inventors." American Economic Review, 106 (10): 2930-81.
  • Akcigit, Ufuk, John Grigsby, Tom Nicholas, and Stefanie Stantcheva. 2021. “Taxation and Innovation in the 20th Century.” Forthcoming in Quarterly Journal of Economics.
  • Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen, Camille Landais, and Emmanuel Saez. 2013. "Taxation and International Migration of Superstars: Evidence from the European Football Market." American Economic Review, 103 (5): 1892-1924.
  • Kleven, Henrik, Camille Landais, Mathilde Muñoz, and Stefanie Stantcheva. 2020. "Taxation and Migration: Evidence and Policy Implications." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 34 (2): 119-42.
  • Yagan, Danny. 2015. "Capital Tax Reform and the Real Economy: The Effects of the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut." American Economic Review, 105 (12): 3531-63.


  1. Global Warming
  • Cattaneo, Cristina, and Giovanni Peri. "The migration response to increasing temperatures." Journal of Development Economics 122 (2016): 127-146.
  • Dell, Melissa, Benjamin F. Jones, and Benjamin A. Olken. 2014. "What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature." Journal of Economic Literature, 52 (3): 740-98.
  • Deschenes, Olivier, and Enrico Moretti. "Extreme weather events, mortality, and migration." The Review of Economics and Statistics 91.4 (2009): 659-681.
  • Desmet, Klaus, and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg. "On the spatial economic impact of global warming." Journal of Urban Economics 88 (2015): 16-37.
  • Nordhaus, William. 2019. "Climate Change: The Ultimate Challenge for Economics." American Economic Review, 109 (6): 1991-2014.
  • Park, R. Jisung, Joshua Goodman, Michael Hurwitz, and Jonathan Smith. 2020. "Heat and Learning." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 12 (2): 306-39.