Geary Institute Research Collection

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The research programme of the UCD Geary Institute is conducted by a team of economists, psychologists, political scientists and others drawn from across the University and from other national and international partnerships.

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  • Publication
    Back to school: Labor-market returns to higher vocational schooling
    This paper examines the labor-market returns to a new form of postsecondary vocational education: vocational master's degrees. We use individual fixed effects models on a matched sample of students and non-students from Finland to capture any time-invariant differences across individuals. We find that attendance in vocational master's programs leads to an earnings increase of more than seven percent five years after entry. The estimated effect remains positive even if selection on unobservables is twice as strong as selection on observables. Earnings gains are similar by gender and age, but they are marginally higher for those in the health sector than for those in the business or technology and trades sector.
      26Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Everyday Administrative Burdens and Inequality
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-02-02) ; ;
    Administrative burdens may deepen inequality by creating costly experiences for vulnerable groups. Research to date typically focuses on how burdens affect decisions in specific policy contexts, thus little is known about everyday experiences of burdens and their distribution in society. This is the first study to document everyday administrative experiences, accounting for time and emotional costs across ten domains: tax, retirement, government benefits, bills, goods and services, savings, debt, health, childcare, and adult care. Results from 2,243 UK adults show that administrative tasks are a significant part of life (one hour per day). Time and emotional costs vary by domain; government benefits emerge as particularly costly. There is evidence that administrative burdens are regressive, not only through their effects on decisions, but through their unequal distribution in society. Those in poor health and financial insecurity focus on tasks salient to them (e.g. benefits, health, debt), but are less likely to engage in beneficial longer-term tasks (e.g. savings, retirement), and suffer higher emotional costs from engaging in tasks relevant to their disadvantage, compared to non-disadvantaged groups. A choice experiment shows that (hypothetical) burdens discourage beneficial action in general, but even more so for some disadvantaged groups.
      39
  • Publication
    Pessimism and Overcommitment: An Online Experiment with Tempting YouTube Content
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2022-01-24) ;
    This paper explores the possibility that demand for costly commitment may prove unnecessary and thus excessive. In an online experiment, subjects face a tedious productivity task where tempting YouTube videos invite procrastination. Subjects can pay for a commitment device that removes the videos with some probability less than one, allowing us to compare their willingness to pay with realized material and psychological costs of temptation. A significant share of subjects overestimate their commitment demand, being overly pessimistic about their performance when tempted. However, the total realized ex-post disutility from undercommitment is greater than that from overcommitment.
      40
  • Publication
    Football is becoming more predictable; network analysis of 88 thousand matches in 11 major leagues
    (The Royal Society, 2021-12-15) ;
    In recent years, excessive monetization of football and professionalism among the players have been argued to have affected the quality of the match in different ways. On the one hand, playing football has become a high-income profession and the players are highly motivated; on the other hand, stronger teams have higher incomes and therefore afford better players leading to an even stronger appearance in tournaments that can make the game more imbalanced and hence predictable. To quantify and document this observation, in this work, we take a minimalist network science approach to measure the predictability of football over 26 years in major European leagues. We show that over time, the games in major leagues have indeed become more predictable. We provide further support for this observation by showing that inequality between teams has increased and the home-field advantage has been vanishing ubiquitously. We do not include any direct analysis on the effects of monetization on football’s predictability or therefore, lack of excitement; however, we propose several hypotheses which could be tested in future analyses.
      68
  • Publication
    What, when and where of petitions submitted to the UK government during a time of chaos
    (Springer, 2020-07-11) ;
    In times marked by political turbulence and uncertainty, as well as increasing divisiveness and hyperpartisanship, Governments need to use every tool at their disposal to understand and respond to the concerns of their citizens. We study issues raised by the UK public to the Government during 2015–2017 (surrounding the UK EU membership referendum), mining public opinion from a data set of 10,950 petitions, which contain 30.5 million signatures. We extract the main issues with a ground-up natural language processing method, latent Dirichlet allocation topic modelling. We then investigate their temporal dynamics and geographic features. We show that whilst the popularity of some issues is stable across the 2 years, others are highly influenced by external events, such as the referendum in June 2016. We also study the relationship between petitions’ issues and where their signatories are geographically located. We show that some issues receive support from across the whole country, but others are far more local. We then identify six distinct clusters of constituencies based on the issues which constituents sign. Finally, we validate our approach by comparing the petitions’ issues with the top issues reported in Ipsos MORI survey data. These results show the huge power of computationally analysing petitions to understand not only what issues citizens are concerned about but also when and from where.
      51Scopus© Citations 3