Description: Department of Economics

Description: Johannes Spinnewijn

| LSE Economics |

| CV |

| Publications |

| Working Papers|

| In Progress|

| Teaching|

| Miscellaneous|

Johannes Spinnewijn

Position: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Economics

Research Interests: Public Economics, Contract Theory, Behavioral Economics

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Working Papers

  • Heterogeneity, Demand for Insurance and Adverse Selection - REVISED - (Web Appendix)

    Abstract: Recent empirical work finds that surprisingly little variation in the demand for insurance is explained by heterogeneity in risks. I distinguish between risk preferences and demand frictions underlying the residual variation. Demand frictions induce a systematic difference between the true and revealed value of insurance. Using a sufficient statistics approach that accounts for this alternative source of heterogeneity, I find that the welfare conclusions regarding adversely selected markets are substantially different. The source of heterogeneity is also essential for the evaluation of policy interventions intended to reduce adverse selection like insurance subsidies and mandates, risk-adjusted pricing and information policies.

  • Production vs. Revenue Efficiency with Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan - R&R at Journal of Political Economy - (with Michael Best, Anne Brockmeyer, Henrik Kleven, Mazhar Waseem) - Slides

    Abstract: This paper analyzes the design of tax systems under imperfect enforcement. A common policy in developing countries is to impose minimum tax schemes whereby firms are taxed either on profits or on turnover (with a much lower tax rate on turnover), depending on which tax liability is larger. This is a production inefficient tax policy, but has been motivated by the idea that turnover taxes are harder to evade. Such schemes give rise to kink points in firms' choice sets as the tax rate and tax base jump discontinuously at a profit rate threshold. Using administrative tax records on corporations in Pakistan, we find large bunching around the minimum tax kink. We show that the combined tax rate and tax base change at the kink provides small real incentives for bunching, making the policy ideal for eliciting evasion. We develop an empirical approach allowing us to put (tight) bounds on the evasion response to switches between profit and turnover taxation, and find that turnover taxes reduce evasion by up to 60-70% of corporate income. Our analysis sheds new light on the use of production-inefficient tax tools in countries with limited tax capacity and can easily be replicated in other contexts as the quasi-experimental variation needed is ubiquitous.

  • Rewarding Schooling Success and Perceived Returns to Education: Evidence from India - NEW - (with Sandra Sequeira and Guo Xu)

    Abstract: This paper tests two specific mechanisms through which individuals may form expectations about returns to investments in education: receiving recognition for one's schooling performance, and exposure to successful students through family or social networks. Using a regression discontinuity design, we study the impact of a fellowship program recognizing the schooling performance of young girls in secondary school in India. We find that the fellowship award is associated with a significant increase in the perceived value of education, by both increasing the perceived mean of earnings and decreasing the perceived variance in earnings associated with additional years of schooling. Being exposed to successful students does not affect perceived returns to education for those in their family or social networks. This exposure is however associated with holding more information on potential sources of funding for schooling and a higher intention to apply for the fellowship.

  • Revising Claims and Resisting Ultimatums in Bargaining Games - R&R at Review of Economic Design - (with Frans Spinnewyn)

    Abstract: We propose a mechanism which implements a unique solution to the bargaining problem with two players in subgame-perfect equilibrium. Players start by making claims and accept a compromise only if they cannot gain by pursuing their claim in an ultimatum. The player offering the lowest resistance to his opponent's claim can propose a compromise. The unique solution depends on the extent to which claims can be revised. If no revisions are allowed, compatible claims implement the Nash solution. If all revisions are allowed, maximal claims implement the Kalai-Smorodinsky solution.

In Progress

  • The Perceptions of Employment Prospects during the Unemployment Spell (with Andreas Mueller)

  • The Identification of Risk Preferences and Perceptions using Choice Data (with Philipp Kircher)

Current Courses Taught

  • Public Economics (PhD, LSE course, ec534)
  • Public Economics (MSc, LSE course, ec426)
  • Contract Economics (BSc, LSE course, ec301)
  • Introductory Microeconomics (Summer, LSE course, ec101)

Press Coverage/Other Writings

  • "Hard cash or a secure job - which is better?" featured in Financial Times (February 7, 2009) (link)
  • "The Role of Commitment" comment on "On the interaction between subsidiarity and interpersonal solidarity" by Jacques Dreze (link)
  • "En als we langdurig werklozen meer zouden betalen?" Op-ed in De Morgen (February 12, 2012) (link)
  • "De ivoren toren van economen is een mythe" Op-ed in De Standaard (August 3, 2013) (link)
  • "De mythe van de hangmat" Op-ed in De Standaard (May 15, 2014) (link)

© 2014 London School of Economics. All rights reserved. Picture by Jef Boes.