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Lunch seminars

Dear colleagues,

The next FORS Lunch Seminar will take place on Wednesday December 6th 2017 from 12:15 to 13:15 in room 5899 at Geopolis.

Professor Damian Räss from the World Trade Institute of the University of Bern will give a talk entitled:

​The Demand-Side Politics of China’s Global Buying Spree: Individual Attitudes towards Chinese Inward FDI Flows
Abstract: China’s growing economic engagement around the world through foreign direct investment (FDI) has provoked heated reactions.  However, no rigorous quantitative analysis has yet studied mass attitudes towards Chinese investment inflows in advanced economies.  One key challenge has been data limitations.  Using original survey data from MOSAiCH 2015, the paper examines the political-economic determinants of Swiss citizens’ attitudes towards FDI inflows from China in comparative perspective.  The paper does not compare attitudes towards Chinese investment cross-nationally, rather the comparative dimension consists in contrasting attitudes to FDI from China, the US and the EU, thereby contributing to the debate on whether China is unique from other international investors.  We are interested in three questions.  First, are individual-level foreign economic preferences egocentric, and, if so, on what basis (factors or firms)?  Second, how do labor market institutions influence attitudes towards FDI?  Finally, how do attitudes towards investment from abroad compare across different sending sources of capital?  We do not find any support for the factor endowment model while we find only mixed evidence for the predictions from ‘new new trade theory’ in that foreign sales only correlates with pro-EU FDI.  Second, we find strong support for the institutionalist explanation derived from the Varieties of Capitalism literature: trade union members oppose American FDI whereas they do not oppose European investment, and collective bargaining coverage increases support for US FDI more strongly than it does support for EU FDI.  However, against our expectations, trade unionists don’t perceive Chinese FDI as particularly threatening and this perception of low threat to working conditions seems to carry over to the broader public as collective agreement coverage do not increase support for Chinese FDI.  These findings suggest an absence of opposition towards incoming Chinese FDI based on fears of the hollowing out of employment conditions not just among the public at large but also, and more surprisingly, among trade union members.

I hope to see many of you there.
Kind regards,
Dr. Carmen Borrat-Besson | FORS | c/o University of Lausanne, Géopolis | Lausanne, Switzerland | +41 21 692 3741


FORS lunch seminar of Wednesday November 8, 2017

Presenters:  Ursina Kuhn and Laura Ravazzini

Wealth distribution in Switzerland and Germany: Evidence from Survey Data

The project “Wealth distribution in Switzerland and Germany: Evidence from Survey Data” is carried out jointly by FORS, the University of Neuchâtel and DIW Berlin. We started in 2017, so it is time to present some first results.
After a short overview of the entire project, we will present three data-related parts of the project in more detail. The first part is about data quality, which we assess following the criteria proposed by the OECD guidelines on data collection of wealth. The analysis compares descriptive statistics from SILC, SHP and Share and addresses issues such as question wording, comparability with national accounts and imputation of item non-response.
The second part focuses on pension entitlements, which present an important wealth component, but are often ignored in wealth measures.  To estimate entitlements for the first and the second pillar in Switzerland (AVS and caisse de pension), we linked 2015 CH-SILC data to the AVS registry that contains the earnings history of each respondent. We will share our experience with the data-linkage process and show some first results. As expected, wealth inequality declines considerably once pension entitlements are included in wealth measures.
In the third and last part, we present the construction of a joint distribution of income and wealth, which can be used to estimate poverty and inequality indicators. We find that poverty rates are overestimated when wealth is not taken into account. This overestimation is particularly relevant for the poverty risk of the elderly.


FORS lunch seminar of Tuesday September 19, 2017

Presenters: Carmen and Sarah Vilpert

What matters in end-of-life (EOL): perceptions of people aged 55+ in Switzerland

The power of medical technologies to extend final stages of life (sometimes at the cost of quality of life) as well as the recent trend to delegate medical decisions to the dying patients and their families has led to an increase in the number of studies examining people’s preferences for the EOL and discussing what should be considered as a “good death”. However, most of these studies focus on patients that are already severely ill, their family members or health care providers. Empirical evidence exploring the EOL preferences in the general population as well as the social characteristics that may shape these preferences is lacking.
The aim of our study is to gain insight in EOL preferences in the general population using the data of sixth wave of SHARE (the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement Study in Europe). Respondents were asked in a paper-and-pencil questionnaire to evaluate 23 attributes related to EOL on a 4-point Likert scale. We first conducted an exploratory factor analysis to assess the factorial structure of these attributes. We then regressed each factor on sociodemographic characteristics. The results showed that our attributes could be summarized in four dimensions that we labelled: “Peace/Anxiety”, “Physical Aspects”, “Control” and “Burden”. Significant differences between subgroups of the population were found for each dimension.


FORS Lunch Seminar of Wednesday Mai 31, 2017
Presenters: Renate Kunz and Sybil Krügel on the Data and Research Information Services of FORS.

Curious about what the Data and Research Information Services of FORS really does?

We will give an overview of the different teams at DARIS: how and what data and research information are collected at DARIS; what happens to research data once they are deposited in FORSbase; what promotional activities are organised. Additionally, we will cover our current national and international projects, with special focus on the Data Seal of Approval (DSA). FORS, as a CESSDA Service Provider, is aspiring to obtain the DSA, the basic form of certification for trusted digital repositories on an international level. The aim is to present the data service as trustworthy to external partners and stakeholders, including researchers, funders, national statistical offices, and government agencies.

Click here to view the presentation