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Meet the 2023/2024 Stone Centre Postdocs

We had a chat with the 2023/2024 Postdoctoral Fellows of the Stone Centre at UCL.

Christiane Szerman and Micole De Vera share with us what they plan to do during their time at the Stone Centre and afterwards, what their research is about, and what they think are the most pressing issues economics should address.

Christiane Szerman

What drew you to UCL and the Stone Centre?

The research fit was definitely an important dimension: UCL has one of the best economic departments and applied microeconomics groups worldwide. In addition to the outstanding academic community, I was particularly attracted to the Stone Centre’s mission to advance research on the causes and consequences of economic inequality and to the opportunity to be involved in this agenda.

What are your research interests?

I work on core topics in labour, development, and public economics, with a special focus on how firms influence inequality for workers.

Labour market institutions and policies can provide a source of countervailing power for workers, especially the most disadvantaged ones, against the rise in income inequality. I am interested in understanding how several of the most common policies, ranging from minimum wage and mandated employment regulations to family-friendly policies in the workplace, ultimately affect firms and workers and their implications for the overall economy.

What do you hope to achieve during your Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Stone Centre?

I hope to support and contribute to the vibrant research community at UCL and the Stone Centre while I finalise some projects and start new ones.

What do you think are some of the pressing economic issues at the moment?

There is a lot of uncertainty about how labour markets will evolve in the next few years. As the cost of living skyrockets and real wages decline, workers’ preferences and employer-employee relationships have been rapidly changing.

Firms have been adopting new technologies, such as big data and AI features, and meeting Environmental, Social and Government (ESG) standards. We can expect that certain jobs and workers’ skills will gain importance, while others will disappear.

There has been an unprecedented level of awareness of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in many organisations, from the hiring to the promotion stages. We know very little about how these new trends will affect firms and workers, how these impacts will vary among low-, middle-, and high-income countries, and what policies governments should implement to address potential market failures arising from these trends.

 

What do you plan to do after your post-doc?

Next year, I will join the Department of Economics at the London School of Economics as an Assistant Professor.

Micole De Vera

What drew you to UCL and the Stone Centre?

The Stone Centre at UCL is housed in the Department of Economics, one of Europe’s top economics departments.

I was attracted by, and firmly believe in the Centre’s dual mission to advance research on inequality but also to bring the best economic research into the classroom through CORE Econ.

I am extremely fortunate to contribute to this alongside people who are well-respected and leaders in the profession.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in topics related to labour economics, with a special focus on applied econometrics. In general, I aim to combine detailed administrative and survey data with novel econometric tools to measure inequality and understand its sources and consequences.

More specifically, my current research interests revolve around two themes:

  1. the role of firms in labour market outcomes, and
  2. inequality in income risk

What do you hope to achieve during your Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Stone Centre?

In the next year, I hope to find my feet as I begin my professional career taking advantage of the resources and opportunities the Stone Centre will open to me. This would include finishing research I started during my PhD and expanding on the same work, as well as contributing to CORE Econ.

I am also excited to interact with the people in the department and attend seminars which would hopefully inspire new projects.

What do you think are some of the pressing economic issues at the moment?

There is still a lot of uncertainty about how secular trends (rise in automation, demographic shifts, rise of the gig economy and remote work, climate change, etc.) and their interactions will affect the future of work.

This makes it particularly difficult for us to design appropriate policies and programs on labour regulation, taxes, welfare, and education to anticipate these effects.

What do you plan to do after your post-doc?

In September 2024, I will be joining the Bank of Spain as a Research Economist.

Authors

Stone Centre

Stone Centre at UCL.

Stone Centre

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