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He wrote a thesis about economic decision-making within the family

News: Mar 26, 2020

On March 27, Simon Schürz defended his thesis Economic and Intergenerational Decision-Making in Families at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.

Your thesis is about economic decision-making within the family and household. Why did you choose that subject?

– Many important economic policies in the public debate center around social mobility and investments to the next generation. To optimally design such policies we have to really understand how decisions about intergenerational transfers are formed within families, between parents and children. This helps to point out areas where policy-makers can address inefficiencies or problems that hold back economic development over time.

The first chapter in your thesis is titled Parental Decision-Making and Educational Investments: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania. How did you do the research for that?

– I had the opportunity to spend a substantial period of my doctoral studies in the field visiting primary schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and conduct interviews and economic experiments with families. It was great experience made possible by the connections and collaboration that the Environment for Development Initiative at Handelshögskolan has with the University of Dar es Salaam.

What were your conclusions?

– In this project, I find that due to a large inequality in decision power between mothers and fathers in many families, spouses do not collaborate well when they invest in their childrens’ education. Mothers often avoid to bargain with the father on the purchase of school materials. As a consequence, they are not able to pool household resources to finance large items at the start of the school year and their children achieve lower test scores. These results call for an effort to empower women, e.g. through access to formal savings, and secure important school inputs for children.

The Defense on March 27, 10:15, was possible to follow by link.

Candidate: Simon Schürz, Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg
Title of Dissertation: Economic and Intergenerational Decision-Making in Families
Opponent: Professor Kjetil Bjorvatn, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Grading Committee Members:
Professor Bereket Kebede, University of East Anglia
Professor Salvatore Di Falco, University of Geneva
Associate Prof. Ann-Sofie Isaksson, University of Gothenburg
Chair: Professor Mikael Lindahl


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