MSM Forschungsseminar

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Wintersemester 2023/2024

18.10.2023Sebastian Ottinger, CERGE-EI, Charles University Prague

The American Origin of the French Revolution (joint with Lukas Rosenberger)

France sent five thousand men to fight alongside George Washington's army in the American Revolutionary War. We show that the French combatants' exposure to the United States of America increased support for the French Revolution a decade later. French regions (départements) from which more American combatants originated had more revolts against feudal institutions, revolutionary societies, volunteers for the revolutionary army, and emigrants from the Old Regime’s elite. To establish causality, we exploit two historical coincidences: i) originally, a French army of seven and a half thousand was ready to board ships, but one-third did not sail to America because of logistical problems; ii) among the regiments who fought in America against the British, some regiments were stationed for one year in New England before the main battle, and in Virginia afterwards, while others were stationed in the Caribbean colonies. We find that only the combatants who were exposed to the United States affected the French Revolution after their return.

08.11.2023Ro'i Zultan, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
22.11.2023Johannes Jaspersen,  LMU Munich

Insurance Take-up as Premiums Increase (joint with Benjamin L. Collier, Tobias Huber, Andreas Richter)

The growing costs of severe climate events raise new questions regarding property oweners' willingness to insure their homes against catastrophes. We examine the responses of existing policyholders to an exogenous price increase on their heavily subsidized flood insurance. This high-risk population was informed that despite the price increase, their insurance remained cheaper than the actuarial price. Using a differnece-in-differneces estimation on a panel of over two million policy-year observations, we find that about one fourth of the homeowners stopped insuring due to the reform. The forgone insurance was a large free lunch - the median homeowner paid 20 % of the actuarial value - making this behavior surprising. The most likely mechanisms - adverse selection, liquidity constraints, and the reforms' effects on home values - do not appear to explain homeowners' choices. Instead, consumer non-renewals appear to reflect negative sentiment as they closely correspond to periods of media coverage of the reform. Our findings speak to housholds' difficulties in assessing risk-based contracts and the challenges of increasing climate risk.

10.01.2024Oliver Bos, ENS Paris-Saclay
24.01.2024Giorgio Ottonello, Nova

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