Category Archives: notes

comment on Prestigious Law School

This Tuesday was a disaster for me, because I stayed in the classroom and listened to different things for nearly 10 HOURS! But I shouldn't complain anything, anyway it was my own choice.

At that busy and painful day, I listened to a seminar. As usual, here is related information.

Title: The Returns to Attending a Prestigious Law School

Author: Paul Oyer (Stanford University)

UPF Labor, Public, and Development Seminar

Ok, I should admit that I was too tired to follow and focus on all points of the presentation. Anyway, it was a typical empirical work from labor economists, or education. However, the paper is available online here:

Copy some conclusions from his paper:

  • In 2002 and 2007, those lawyers that went to top 10 law schools made, on average, 25% more than those that went to schools ranked 11-20 and over 50% more than those that went to schools ranked 21-100.
  • Graduates of Top 10 schools were also much more likely to work in large law firms in leading law markets.
  • We find that at least a third of the large returns to law school reputation are due to selection, but this selection is almost entirely on a single variable - quality of the undergraduate institution attended.
  • Our results are consistent with a reasonably large causal effect of attending an elite law school, but the exact size of the premium depends varies with assumptions about the role of unobservables.

For anyone interested, please download the paper and read. I was just interested in the topic, and it indicated it is true that "selection" is the main factor, which means those who attend top law schools are expected better than the rest peers. In the other word, they may be also successful even they are in other areas...

investment for marriage

Every Monday means a new week, but my intensive classes always start from Tuesday. Therefore, the best choice for Monday may be to go and listen to the seminars. This afternoon I listened to this presentation:

Marriage as a rat-race: Pre-marital investments and assortative matching
V. Bhaskar (UCL)
UPF Microeconomics Seminar

Well, I should admit his title really attracted me. Although I have somehow realized that marriage has something to do with investment, but due to my poor scope of knowledge, I know nothing about how to build an economic model and explain the investment behaviors that people take for marriage. His model is not complicated, but very persuasive. By assuming the "match" process with probabilities and noises, he explained how the equilibrium exists and what are  (Pareto) efficient conditions. Here it seems meaningless to put some math equations, and what has drawn my interests is that he considered a special case: the unbalanced population in China/parts of India. I was always wondering how people outside of China analyze China's problems or phenomenon. Today I got a part of answer. At least from the public statistics about Chinese population structure, there are about 50% more men than women, so the boys only have a chance (equals the female/male ratio)  to find his wife (the question here is that because of the "one-child policy" in China, when the first baby of a couple is a girl, they may choose to not  report the birth to the government so that they can try the second chance to see whether they can get a boy. Thus, I don't really believe the public data). And apparently, it influences their investment behaviors and the final efficient equilibrium conditions.

I am wondering what would happen if we consider the dynamic change of marriage market (if it can be regarded as a market match process). What may be taken into account is that not boys/men in China are intending to get married later and later, while girls usually get married at their early age. For example, some of my friends (girls) have a boyfriend 5 or even more years older than them. That is to say, if a boy cannot match a girl when he is young (20-25), he is still possible to find a wife when he becomes older and have more wealth in hand which may attract young girls. Although in the long run it is not a question, I still want to know whether this kind of "match" will have effects on boys' investment behaviors or not.

Similarly, in the labor market, if people feel hard to find a job now, they may go back to school and pursue higher degrees. What will happen if all people do this?  (just like what university graduates do in China now: they spend more time on get an admission from graduate schools with the expectation that they may find a better job with a master degree. However, will individual rationality result in group non-rationality?)

I'm looking for the full text of this paper but unfortunately it is not available online since it seems really new. Hope the author will post this paper on his websites soon, then I'll update the link here.

[Update Oct, 8] I have received the full text from Prof. Bhaskar. If anyone who is also interested, please leave a message below this post with your email address. When he puts it on his website, I'll update the link if possible.

Our results are consistent
with a reasonably large causal e§ect of attending an elite law school, but the exact size of the
premium depends varies with assumptions about the role of unobservables.

Optimists and Pessimists

Today it seemed that I had nothing better to do so I picked up two guys and went to a seminar. It was about "Optimists and Pessimists", or more specifically, the title was Insurance and Perceptions: How to Screen Optimists and Pessimists, offered by Johannes Spinnewijn from London School of Economics as a series of UPF Microeconomics Seminar. Well, I should admit that he is really young (just graduated from MIT last year)...Although there is no decent published papers listed on his CV, according to today's speech, he is supposed to be a good researcher and teacher.

As the titled says, his paper is about how to distinguish two kinds of people in the insurance market: who are optimistic and who are pessimistic. He has got some interesting conclusions by separating the optimistic behaviors into two kinds: baseline-optimistic and control-optimistic. Then follows the discussions in competitive market and monopoly market respectively, there appears the different actions what the agent and principal take. I love one of his conclusion that "people with heterogeneous abilities or risks, but identical perceptions cannot be separated" while "people with different perceptions can be separated with a menu of screening contracts, even when the true abilities or risks are the same". That indicates (I hope I understand it correctly) the expectation plays a more important role than the true abilities when deciding people's behavior. Thus, whatever your true ability is, your attitude partly decides the situation you are facing/living in. At the end, he also considered the government's role and regulation/subsides, but that was not what I really cared about then.

At last, one interesting episode. Mas-colell suddenly appeared when the seminar was going. I was shocked because I've heared that Mas-colell didn't really take part in teaching or any thing else related to our program or GSE. But he appeared... It seemed that he was still caring about what the latest economic researches are doing. Great! (But anyway, during the discussion, he didn't say any words...)

(the temporary loss of my Chinese blog forces me to post in English... Is it good or bad? I have no idea... )