As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Christopher Woodruff, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Oxford.
He will present his work, joint with Joyce Sadka and Enrique Seira, titled Information and Bargaining through Agents: Experimental Evidence from Mexico’s Labor Courts.
Abstract: Well-functioning courts are essential for the health of both financial and real economies. Courts function poorly in most lower-income countries, but the root causes of poor performance are not well understood. We use a field experiment with ongoing cases to analyze sources of dysfunction in Mexico’s largest labor court. Providing the parties with personalized outcome predictions doubles settlement rates and reduces average case duration, but only when the worker is present to receive the information. An intervention before plaintiffs contact a lawyer increases pre-suit settlement. The experiment illuminates agency issues among plaintiffs with private lawyers. For most workers, the treatment appears to improve welfare, as measured by discounted payouts and ability to pay bills.
About the speaker
Christopher Woodruff is a Professor of Development Economics in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on enterprises in low-income countries, with noted work on returns to capital investments in microenterprises and the effect of formal registration on enterprise performance. He is a pioneer in the use of field experiments in firms. He currently holds an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for work measuring productivity in the readymade garment sector, with a particular focus on the challenges women face in moving into supervisory positions in the Bangladeshi garment sector.