Grants to ECON Members from the Independent Research Fund Denmark

The department is well represented among the recipients of grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark in this round. So far, the following recipients from the department have been published:

2018.11.20 | Birgitte Højklint Nielsen

Alexander Koch has received DKK 5,896,298 for his project entitled ”ReGAME – Evaluation of research-enabling game-based education in Danish lower secondary schools”. The research team behind the project also includes Julia Nafziger and Michael Rosholm. The project deals with the evaluation of new educational tools that combine gamification and citizen science. Because science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills are important for the individual and society, many nations aim to broaden the appeal of STEM among pupils. Within a randomized controlled trial, this interdisciplinary project will develop, run, and evaluate an innovative education concept: Research-Enabling Game-Based Education takes conventional inquiry-based learning further by utilizing gamification and citizen science. Pupils (and their parents) explore a current scientific problem in an online game, generate data through their game play that helps scientists solve the problem, and learning tracks connect the problem to the school curriculum. The project aims to have an impact on STEM teaching practice and student learning, and to address important social science research topics by estimating the causal effect of parental involvement on educational outcomes and by studying whether the intervention reduces inequality in educational outcomes across pupils.

Elena Mattana has received DKK 1,994,478 for her project entitled “The life-cycle effects of student debt”. Mette Trier Damgaard is also part of this project. The project will examine whether students who exit university with debt do worse or better than students who do not finance their education with debt? The existing literature on the effects of student debt on later-life outcomes faces important limitations in data availability and in conducting causal inference. The project proposes to overcome these limitations by combining theory, exogenous variation from several reforms of the Danish student aid, and unique data on study aid take–up, student loan repayment and default from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Student debt is determined by individual characteristics and college behaviour: The first part of the project will focus on estimating a behavioural model of selection into debt to understand who borrows and how the design of the student loan system affects both student debt and academic outcomes at exit. Despite the fact that student loans are subsidized and offer advantageous conditions, relatively few Danish students borrow. The second part of the project uses variation in parental exposition to student debt to identify debt aversion and the extent to which preferences for debt take-up are transmitted from parents to children. Finally, in the third part of the project, exogenous variation in debt at exit and insights from the behavioural model are used to estimate the life-cycle effects of student debt on labour market outcomes and wealth accumulation.

Torben M. Andersen, Michael Svarer and Jonas Maibom take part in a project led by Nicolai Kristensen, VIVE, entitled “Dynamic effects of public expenditures”, which has received DKK 9,802,928 in total. There exist very limited knowledge about the “dynamic effects of public expenditures”, such as behavioral responses to policy changes that affect, for instance, employment and wages, and therefore in turn tax-bases, making tax reductions partially self-financing. The project contributes to increase this knowledge and develops a general theoretical structure for analyzing the dynamic effects of public expenditures. Furthermore, the project estimates models for the partial effects of public expenditures over the life-cycle. The fiscal consequences of these partial behavioral responses, the ‘dynamic effects’ on the government budget, will be incorporated into a computable general equilibrium model of the Danish economy (DREAM). Lastly, the project formulates and estimates a structural dynamic general equilibrium model. By taking general equilibrium effects into account during estimation, net effect on the government budget can be computed directly.

Read more at DFF's website