Work in progress / Working papers

(Click the title for abstract)

Complexity, Education, and Voting in the Danish Parliament

(previously circulated as 'Bill Complexity and Voting')

Current research on the quality of politicians identifies education as a significant factor leading to good performance. However, the mechanisms through which education improves performance remain largely unclear. Using data from the Danish parliament, this paper studies the role of education and the relationship between complexity of parliamentary agenda and legislator's voting behaviour. I find that politicians with different education react significantly differently to complexity in proposals. As the results are inconsistent across different complexity measures, there is no plausible interpretation for this variation. However, the results for language complexity are consistent with the Dunning-Kruger effect. I further demonstrate theoretically that this pattern can also be produced by a simple model with costly information acquisition. Therefore, complexity appears to be a relevant factor mediating the relationship between education and parliamentary activity and its effect on performance should be further studied.

School Performance and Retrospective Voting: Evidence from Local Elections in Denmark

with Nicola Maaser

This paper studies whether voters in Denmark hold local politicians accountable for the performance of local schools. Using register data and polling-station-level voting records, we study this effect for Danish municipal elections in 2013 and 2017. We find robust evidence of retrospective voting in 2013. In 2017, however, incumbents' electoral success was independent of changes in school performance. Moreover, our results for 2013 show that the effect is strongest for relatively richer and more educated voters, in areas with more intensive political competition, and applies only to right-wing incumbents.

Populism and Inequality: Does Reality Match the Populist Rhetoric?

with Andrea Sáenz de Viteri, Martin Rode, Christian Bjørnskov

Populists since the Roman Republic have argued for redistribution from an elite to ordinary people and depicted themselves as the true representative of the ‘people’. However, very little research has explored whether populists actually affect the distribution of income or consumption when in power. We therefore ask if populists actually achieve redistribution. After a short theoretical discussion, we do so by using new data on populism in Latin America and the Caribbean, which we combine with information on income and consumption inequality since 1970. Our estimates suggest that populist governments in the region generally have achieved no redistribution. We therefore conclude that the redistributive aims of populists are mainly empty rhetoric.

Here's a brief introduction to the paper by Christian (in Danish or Google Translate)

Loan Provision Methods for Microcredit Group Lending

with Karel Janda

(based on my MA thesis)

Over the years, the lending procedures of microcredit have evolved. The original joint liability group lending with simultaneous financing (loans provided at once) has been replaced by sequential financing (loans provided one by one). Moreover, recent studies suggest individual liability lending in groups to be the optimal framework. While there are numerous theoretical studies, none presents a comparative analysis of relevant trade-offs across these models. In this study, we model three schemes within the framework by Van Tassel (1999). Our findings prove that, in the presence of information asymmetry, group lending with joint liability dominates individual liability lending. Furthermore, the interest rate of the sequential model is more sensitive to changes of monitoring costs or opportunity costs of capital than in the sequential setting. On the contrary, sequential approach allows for higher degree of within-group heterogeneity of loan sizes. None of the models strictly dominates others in terms of profit and lower interest rate. Therefore, the optimal approach is primarily determined by the characteristics of borrowers.


(Click the title for abstract)

Practical Introduction to Mathematics, Logic, and Statistics for Sociology and Social Sciences, Karolinum, Charles University Press, 2019 & 2021 (2nd ed.)

(In Czech: “Základy matematiky, logiky a statistiky pro sociologii a ostatní společenské vědy v příkladech”), with J. Hendl, M. Moldan, T. Ranošová, J. Siegl, and J. Žáček

Introductory textbook for courses at Institutes of Political Science and Sociological Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University

Official annotation of the 2nd edition:

This textbook, intended for students of fields which are not primarily focused on mathematics, covers the basics of university mathematics, logic, sets, Boolean algebra and probability theory. The second half of the book focuses on descriptive and inductive statistics. All chapters include exercises with solutions. Students can practice and verify their knowledge of the covered material using multiple choice questions and many other types of exercises with key. The book also includes an overview of formulas. No previous knowledge is expected, however, the exposition sometimes builds on mathematical skills covered in elementary and secondary school.

Smoking Czechs: Modelling Tobacco Consumption and Taxation, Prague Economic Papers, 2019, 28(1), 3-29.

with Karel Janda

(pre PhD - based on my BA thesis)

We model the future tobacco consumption, size of smoking population and governmental tax revenues in the Czech Republic. The main model assumption states that smokers determine their future tobacco consumption behaviour as adolescents. Further assumptions make the model applicable to the data from the Czech National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Future teenage smoking rates and average consumption are the inputs to the model; consumption growth coefficients for each age category are estimated using zero-inflated negative binomial regression. Several scenarios are built to model possible developments, including extreme cases. All our scenarios show that all model outcomes are going to grow until 2028 in a very similar pattern. In particular, the projected number of smokers in 2028 is by 4-8% higher than in 2013, the total daily tobacco consumption and tax revenue by 7-26%. This increase is induced by ageing of large birth cohorts.