Our completed ANR projects
ANR Projects awarded in 2016
Strategic Communication : Theoretical and Experimental Investigations (StratCom)
ANR "Tremplin-ERC" Grant awarded in December 2016 for a duration of 18 monthes
Awardee : Eduardo PEREZ-RICHET
The importance of hard information for communication has been growing with recent technological evolutions as information is becoming more easily verifiable, and more data becomes available to individuals, firms and public institutions. I seek to increase our understanding of strategic communication and information design, both from a theoretical and an experimental perspective, with a focus on hard information.
The first part of this proposal is concerned with the design of mechanisms with evidence. In practice, individuals often have access to evidence, yet most of the mechanism design literature assumes cheap talk communication between the privately informed participants and the principal. I will assume that privately informed agents can communicate with evidence. I will study implementation of a social choice function, with applications to several familiar mechanism design problems, including matching, bilateral trade and auctions.
The second part develops an experimental approach to strategic communication with evidence. In a first project I will study a series of sender-receiver games with varying incentives for the sender, with the goal of understanding the determinants of sender and receiver behavior. In a second project, I will study deliberation with evidence before voting, with the goal of understanding how voting rules and incentives affect communication, and how deliberation changes the effects of voting rules. Other projects will consider additional strategic situations, and introduce new aspects such as dynamics.
The last part analyses the value of additional information to decision makers that are already strategically informed by a biased adviser. In the absence of an adviser, any additional information benefits the decision maker. But an adviser who knows that additional information is available may decide to be less informative, so that the decision maker may end up worse off. I intend to characterize when this is the case.
anr projects awarded in 2015
University Technology Transfer & its Optimization (UTTO)
ANR Grant awarded in November 2015 for a duration of 36 monthes
Partner : Emeric HENRY
Economists, as well as policy-makers, agree nowadays that university-generated knowledge contributes decisively to the economic growth of nations and local economies. The Bayh-Dole Act introduced in the US in the early 80's, was the key policy initiative aimed at encouraging the commercialization of academic research results. Many observers suggest that the recent technological success of the USA owes a lot to this new “commercial model” of university technology transfer. Similar reforms have now been initiated in many advanced countries and most research universities and public research organizations have set up technology transfer offices (TTOs) which commercialize academic knowledge and manage the rights. France in particular, has adopted a series of policy reforms progressively introducing this new model, aiming at improving the social and economic returns of academic research.
We show in this proposal, thanks to a first investigation of the French data that we intend to expand and reliabilize in this project, that if public patenting has significantly raised in the last decade (up to 14% of all patent families in 2012), it is mainly due to a sharp modification in the ownership structure of academic patents that is accompanied by a contrasted evolution of their quality indicators. These first results stress a series of interesting questions that we will address in this project. Are traditional academic incentives aligned with this new goal of contributing to technology transfer? Are the different scenarios of technology transfer associated with different levels of effectiveness, and if so, why? What are the impacts of the recent changes of the legislation and of new policy instruments on technology transfer?
To answer these questions, we need to rely on a consistent micro-economic understanding of the new commercial model of university technology transfer, at the interplay between the three typical actors of the transfer: the professor (or researcher), the TTO and the company. On the empirics side, we need to rely on very recent, and very complete data. Therefore, we will match, at the professor and researcher level, individual information, patent data, publication data and project funding data. To some extent, France will be considered as a case study in itself. No such precise and complete empirical analysis has already been performed in any large industrialized country. A survey of academic inventors, interviews of TTO CEOs, as well as case studies on the Bordeaux and Strasbourg sites will complement our information when national wide data are not available.
So as to contribute to the policy debate on technology transfer, we will identify the impact of policy initiatives which target only some part of the reference population and evidence the differential behavior of “treated” and their controls. We will also expand our investigations to the European level and exploit cross-country policy variations in time. Our goal is to provide robust policy recommendations to improve (tentatively optimize) university technology transfer.The team members are experts on the issue of academic patenting and technology transfer. They are spread over four sites, but many of them have already collaborated in the past. The cohesiveness of the team, including the strong reliability of the connection with the OST (as data provider) will ensure a timely execution of the project. New collaborations will also be undertaken, by matching, in this project, expertises on microeconomic theory, professional practices, applied micro-econometrics, identification techniques for observational data, and different data collection methods. The project should, in addition, significantly contribute to building a strong French research base on university technology transfer, in connection with policy makers, practitioners and students.
ANR Projects awarded in 2011
Quantitative Public Policy Evaluation using ex-ante and ex-post techniques (EVALPOLPUB)
ANR Grant awarded in 2011 for a duration of 36 monthes
Coordinator : Etienne WASMER (with Yann ALGAN and Thierry MAYER)
Research in economics is divided somewhat artificially into two different strands of different but complementary logics.
On the one hand, ex-post evaluation methods generally use data collected from natural experiments. The typical approach is to use a difference-in-difference estimate of the causal impact before and after the exogenous event and in comparison with a control group (e.g. a region/state similar to Florida or Northern France labor markets). The approach, extensively used by prominent researchers at MIT (e.g. Esther Duflo for development policies or Joshua Angrist for labor and education policies) consists of two steps : first, find a natural experiment such as the two previous examples, or design an experiment with randomized groups, some receiving a “treatment” and others being a “placebo group” ; second, estimate a parameter of interest, e.g. the impact of the “treatment” on the average of a variable X of the treated group. Another example of this logic is the very rich set of evaluations of the Self-Sufficiency Project in New Brunswick and in British Colombia to estimate the impact of employment subsidies to poor workers.
These approaches are parsimonious in terms of the theory used: economic theory has traditionally only been invoked to describe the context and with simple demand and supply concepts, generally without complex intertemporal optimization behavior. In what follows, they are termed as “reduced-form approaches” even though this is obviously arbitrary or simplistic.
A second and different logic is to develop so-called structural models, that is models where agents make optimal choices under some constraints. These agents are consumers, workers, firms, families, or even government bodies. The equilibrium of the model is then computed and calibrated, that is, some key parameters are estimated or guessed from statistics or from estimates from other works. In the absence of a sound theoretical understanding, reduced-form approaches are typically unable to estimate general equilibrium effects. For example, an ex-post evaluation may isolate positive effects of a job training program on employment. However, the extra jobs may be obtained at the expense of the surrounding individuals. Generalizing this program on a national scale may not deliver similar results, if for example, the total quantity of jobs is determined at a national level. Moreover, reduced-form approaches are unable to deliver “counterfactual” experiments, ie what the outcomes could have been, had the reform been slightly different.
However, structural models alone are not always able to deliver the full answer raised by the need of policy evaluation, in particular due to a number of arbitrary choices. These models are often based on non-testable assumptions, and sometimes untransparent calibration exercises. The ex-ante estimates delivered by structural models are rarely compared to more rigorous ex-post reduced-form approaches, although this exercise could validate the model.
The overall logic of the project is to reconcile those two approaches.
anr projects awarded in 2010
Risk-sharing and international portfolio decisions (INTPORT)
ANR "Chaire d'Excellence" awarded in 2010 for 36 monthes
Awardee : Nicolas CŒURDACIER
In the last two decades, financial globalization has led to a surge in cross-border capital flows, a large increase in countries gross foreign asset and liability positions, together with increasing global imbalances. Hence, understanding how private investors (and Sovereign Wealth Funds) structure their international asset portfolios has recently become a critical macro policy issue. This is especially true in the wake of the current crisis as we are expecting big changes in savings positions and large shifts in investor portfolios. This feature has generated a renewed attention by researchers to incorporate non-trivial portfolio choice models into standard dynamic model of the world economy. Indeed, while the real side of globalization has previously attracted a lot of attention, the financial aspect of globalization has been mostly neglected until recently. Dynamic models of the international macro-economy used by Central Banks or International Organizations do not incorporate international portfolio decisions. This is an important issue as cross-border financial flows in turn might endogenously affect the real side of the economy, in particular the way shocks are transmitted internationally and the degree of synchronization of business cycles. The main objective of this research is to incorporate such portfolio decisions in an otherwise standard macro-model and confront the model predictions to the data.
Such a contribution would allow one to better analyze the adjustment of external global imbalances, the joint dynamics of exchange rates and asset prices, as well as the international transmission of shocks. This is particularly relevant regarding the recent macroeconomic developments since international financial linkages have been playing a key role in propagating globally the US financial shock.
An important aspect of the modelling strategy will be to extend existing research in the field along three main dimensions.
First, I will allow for a broader class of assets to be traded internationally and in particular incorporate cross-border debt positions in existing models (Task 1). Most of the literature has been focusing on equity positions but in the data cross-border debt positions in different currencies are large and generate significant wealth transfers across countries following movements in exchange rates. The empirical implications of the model will be tested using a new constructed dataset on cross-border investment positions for a large sample of countries across various types of assets (equities, public and private debt, bank loans).
Second, I will introduce financial market incompleteness by allowing limited participation in asset markets within countries (Task 2). These restrictions in the access to international financial markets to some households will bring existing models closer to the data as most people do not have the possibility of insuring themselves internationally against bad shocks. An empirical test of the model will involve extending the standard tests of international risk sharing to allow for heterogeneous agents by using household level surveys on consumption and income. In particular, tests of international risk-sharing will be performed by looking at the cross-country consumption growth of participants versus non-participants.Third, I plan to provide new methodologies to solve these models even in a presence of large macroeconomic shocks, large risk premia on financial assets and/or incomplete financial markets (Task 3). Indeed most macro models rely on ‘local’ approximations around a deterministic steady-state and might not be accurate in such contexts. This last issue is particularly relevant in the context of the current financial crisis.
More about Nicolas CŒURDACIER and his research (insérer lien)
ANR projects awarded in 2009
Innovation and Diffusion of Knowledge : Do We Need Patents ? (INNOV)
ANR "Chaire d'excellence", awarded in 2009 for a duration of 36 monthes
Awardee : Emeric HENRY
Innovation is one of the essential engines of growth. In this context, patents have been viewed as the main instrument to both encourage investments in innovative activities and facilitate their diffusion. However, recently, some academics and outside observers have started arguing in favor of a weakening of patent protection. In parallel, certain sectors, such as software have witnessed the emergence of an open innovation movement founded on the idea that innovation is more susceptible to flourish in the absence of intellectual property rights. The project I propose aims both at studying mechanisms that generate profits for innovators in the absence of patent protection and at examining some inefficiencies in the diffusion of technologies when intellectual property rights exist.
The first part of the project will examine how licensing can lead to large rents for innovators even in the absence of patent protection. Initial results suggest that the profits could be close to monopoly in certain situations. The basic mechanism is the following: competition on the market for licenses decreases the price of entry for later imitators who thus have an incentive to wait before imitating the invention. If these results are confirmed, this would be a radical challenge to the traditional view on the need for patent protection.
The second part of the project will focus on a different mechanism that could generate profits for innovators in the absence of patents. This idea is motivated specifically by the observation of the software open source movement. It seems that imitators, although they can legally copy inventions, limit their imitation activity to preserve the incentives of the initial innovator to improve her product. This interaction between innovator and imitator seems to follow the model of a parasite that optimally chooses to preserve the health of its prey. We will attempt to confirm this intuition in a theoretical model.
Finally the last part will examine the timing of diffusion of technology. This part will be both theoretical and empirical. The objective is to show that even under full patent protection, deviations from the socially optimal timing of licensing can occur due to asymmetric information. The results will be tested on data from the pharmaceutical industry.