Young Labour Economist Prize Winner 2020

The prize of € 500 is available for a single authored paper written by someone who has no PhD or received a PhD no longer than 3 years ago.

Jury: Arnaud Chevalier, Sandra McNally, Arthur van Soest, Andrea Weber and Erik Plug

2020 winner:

Felix Koenig (Princeton University ,Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz in fall 2020.)

Technical Change and Superstar Effects: Evidence from the roll-out of Television.

Motivation of the Jury:
This year the jury has chosen to give EALE’s young labour economist’s prize to Felix Koenig. He has written a very innovate paper which contributes to our understanding of the causes of income inequality at the top of the distribution. As this source of income inequality has increased so much in recent decades, it is a topic of great relevance to economists and policy makers. Felix brings together two literatures to address this question – on the role of “skill biased technical change” and “superstar effects”. He investigates a setting that facilitates cleanly identified evidence on the link between technical change and superstar effects. Specifically, he uses the launch of television as a natural experiment for studying superstar effects in the entertainment sector. Prior to television, entertainers’ performances could be viewed only by a selective audience (i.e. those who could attend local venues) whereas television can be watched my millions. Felix uses local variation in the pioneering period (from the 1940s) to study the relationship between scale related technical change and superstar effects. The data collection effort, knowledge of the industry and the historical context is very impressive. The identification strategy is very clear and has a strong underlying framework. The findings show that the increase in production scalability has profound effects on inequality. In this setting, the share of income going to the top 1% nearly doubles whereas many workers further down the ‘talent distribution’ end up out of work.  Another insight of the paper is that competition for talent is a key driver of superstar effects, whereas top income growth is muted in settings with limited competition. In this original, well-written paper, Felix shows how great scholarship can contribute to understanding of important contemporary issues.

Previous Young Labour Economist Prize winners:

Sara Signorelli  (Paris School of Economics)
Do skilled migrants compete with native workers? Analysis of a selective immigration policy

Dylan Glover, (INSEAD Paris)
Job Search and Intermediation under Discrimination: Evidence from Terrorist Attacks in France

Ines Helm, (Stockholm University, Stockholm)
National Industry Trade Shocks,Local Labor Markets and Agglomeration Spillovers

Jan Sebastian Nimczik, (University of Mannheim)
Job Mobility Networks and Endogenous Labor Markets

Joan Monras  (Sciences Po, Paris)
Economic Shocks and Internal Migration

Alex Armand (University College London, UK)
Who Wears the Trousers in the Family? Intra-Household Resource Control, Subjective Expectations and Human Capital

Susanne Ek
Gaining from Lower Benefits? Unemployment Insurance and Job Quality

Effrosyni Adamopoulou
Peer Effects in Young Adults’ Marital Decisions

Rasmus Landersø
Does incarceration length affect the labor market outcomes of violent offenders?

Emma Tominey
The Timing of Parental income and Child Outcomes: The Role of permanent and Transitory Shocks

Juanna Joensen
Timing and Incentives: Impacts of Student Aid on Academic Achievement

Martin Halla
The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce

Thomas Siedler
Family and politics: Does parental unemployment cause right-wing extremism?