Urban economics seminar

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Urban economics seminar: Session 6

Friday October 23, 2015


Room H402
Sciences Po, 28 rue des Saints-Pères, 75007 Paris

Attendance is free, open untill full.
Interested participants should register on this link





Jens Ludwig (University of Chicago)

Jens Ludwig is the McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research working group on the economics of crime. He works on a variety of urban problems related to crime, education and poverty. In 2012, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Paper: "Thinking, fast and slow? some field experiments to reduce crime and dropout in Chicago" (joint paper with Sara Heller, Anuj Shah, Jonathan Guryan, Sendhil Mullainathan & Harold Pollack) 

AbstractThis paper describes how automatic behavior can drive disparities in youth outcomes like delinquency and dropout. We suggest that people often respond to situations without conscious deliberation. While generally adaptive, these automatic responses are sometimes deployed in situations where they are ill-suited. Although this is equally true for all youths, disadvantaged youths face greater situational variability. This increases the likelihood that automaticity will lead to negative outcomes. This hypothesis suggests that interventions that reduce automaticity can lead to positive outcomes for disadvantaged youths. We test this hypothesis by presenting the results of three large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions carried out on the south and west sides of Chicago that seek to improve the outcomes of low-income youth by teaching them to be less automatic. Two of our RCTs test a program called Becoming a Man (BAM) developed by Chicago-area non-profit Youth Guidance; the first, carried out in 2009-10, shows participation improved schooling outcomes and reduced violent-crime arrests by 44%, while the second RCT in 2013-14 showed participation reduced overall arrests by 31%. The third RCT was carried out in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) in 2009- 11 and shows reductions in return rates of 21%. We also present results from various survey measures suggesting the results do not appear to be due to changes in mechanisms like emotional intelligence or self-control. On the other hand results from some decision-making exercises we carried out seem to support reduced automaticity as a key mechanism..



Mathilde photo

Mathilde Poulhes (Doctoral fellow in Economics, Sciences Po & 

Economist at the Commissariat Général au Développement Durable (SOeS)


Mathilde Poulhes is a PhD student in Economics. She is working on the "Real estate: durable good, productive investment and financial asset" under the supervision of Denis Fougère & Alfred Galichon. 

paper_thinking fast and slow_NBER WP_Ludwig.pdf2.94 Mo