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Teaching Exchange at Humboldt University 2011

The Teaching Exchange at Humboldt University in Berlin will take place 21-27 May 2011.

Below follows an overview of the lectures, including a brief abstract, that the Max Weber Fellows will give at Humboldt:


Alexandre Afonso (SPS)

European integration and the changing nature of social concertation in the European Union

Date:    Thursday 26th May
Time:    12-2 pm 
Venue:  Institute for Social Sciences, Universitaetsstraße 3b, Room 201
(Within Prof. Immergut’s ColloquiumComparative analysis of political systems)


Why do governments sometimes involve and negotiate with trade unions and employers in the design of labour market and welfare reforms, whereas sometimes they do not? Does European integration undermine these patterns of social concertation? To answer these questions, I propose to explore the political underpinnings of cooperation and conflict between governments, trade unions and employers in Europe with a focus on two policy domains: the regulation of labour mobility in the context of EU enlargement, and unemployment protection. Drawing upon a comparison of policy sectors with varying degrees of Europeanization and countries inside and outside the EU, I argue that European integration does not systematically undermine or strengthen social concertation at the domestic level. Instead, the political calculations of governments are the main drivers of social concertation. Cooperation with organised interests is a strategy of compromise-building when governments and ruling parties are faced with internal divisions, or when trade unions manage to politicise issues in a way that can have risky electoral consequences 



Giulia Andrighetto (SPS)

The Normative Power of Punishment. A cognitive and simulation model

Date:   Tuesday, 24th May, 
Time:    6-8 pm
Venue: Berlin School of Mind & Brain, Luisenstrasse 56, House I, Room 220
(Within the School’s Colloquium)

Theoretical, empirical and ethnographic studies have demonstrated that punishment in human societies promotes and sustains cooperation in large groups of unrelated individuals and more generally plays a crucial role in the maintenance of social order (Fehr and Gachter, 2002; Boyd and Richerson, 1992; Boyd, Gintis and Bowles, 2010). Although these studies have provided key insights, they have largely looked at punishment from the classical economic perspective, as a way of changing people's conduct by increasing the cost of undesired behaviour (Becker, 1968). 
I claim that this way of considering punishment – that I refer to as instrumental punishment - is incomplete and not likely to maintain social order, at least at reasonable costs for the social system. Instead, I argue that punishment is effective in regulating people's behaviour not only through economic incentives, but also for the normative request it asks people. 
In this talk, I will explore, by means of cognitive modelling and agent based simulation, the specific ways in which instrumental punishment and normative punishment favour the achievement of social order and the spreading of social norms in social systems.  



Elise Dermineur (History)

Women in rural society: local economy and patriarchy in early modern France

Date:    Thursday 26th May
Time:    4-6 pm 
Venue:  History Department, Mohrenstraße 40, Room 219/220
(Within Prof. Burschel’s Seminar on Historical Anthropology)

This lecture will investigate the ordinary lives of female peasants in early modern France with particular reference to their economic role. It will emphasize their economic importance through different examples in different regions. Gradually, female peasants became incontrovertible economic actors and partners.



Nathan Marcus (History)

What pornographic cartoons teach us about hyperinflations  

Date:    Monday, 23th May
Time:    6-8 pm 
Venue:  History Department, Friedrichstr. 191, Room 5009 (5th floor)
(Public evening lecture hosted by Prof. Wildt)

An analysis of pornographic cartoons published by Vienna's Die Bombe during the years of Austrian hyperinflation reveal the fears and hopes of Austrians during a time of monetary instability and their gendered understanding of the process of currency depreciation and price increases. 



Yane Svetiev (Law)

The European Competition Network. Tools and Prospects for Enforcement Cooperation

Date:   Thursday, 26th May
Time:   10-12 am
Venue: Law Faculty, Bebelplatz 1, Room 140/142 
(Within Prof. Bodewig's lecture on European and German Competition Law)

The lecture will focus on key features of the design of the European Competition Network (ECN), which was formalised in the Modernisation Regulation that came into force in 2004. The ECN is a vehicle for enhanced cooperation among the competition enforcement authorities in the EU, including both the Competition Directorate of the European Commission and the national competition agencies of the Member States. Some of the tools introduced by the Regulation for cooperation among the competition authorities will be examined, as well as the possibilities for the authorities to engage in review of each other’s work. Apart from the formal instruments, we will also look at evidence about the actual operation of the network and make some comparisons to other multi-level enforcement settings, such as the US.



Dean Vuletic (History)

Politics Goes Pop: Yugoslavia at the Eurovision Song Contest 

Date:     Wednesday 25th May
Time:     4-6 pm
Venue:  History Department, Friedrichstraße 191, Room 5061
(Within Prof. H. Grandit's Colloquium Latest research topics on South East and Central Europe)

How has the Eurovision Song Contest effected political change in Europe? Using Yugoslavia as a case study, this lecture will explain the political significance of Eurovision for the construction of national identities and international relations. During the Cold War, Yugoslavia was the only Eastern European, Slavic and socialist contestant in Eurovision: its ruling Communist Party was more open to Western cultural influences than any of its Eastern European kin, and participation in Eurovision was used to fashion an international image of Yugoslavia as liberal, modern and open. However, this cultural cooperation with the West was not ideologically or politically unproblematic for Yugoslavia’s cultural and political establishment, whose geopolitical anxieties and economic alienation were constantly articulated on the Eurovision stage. Based on original archival sources from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Yugoslav Radio and Television and the European Broadcasting Union and using footage from the contest, this lecture will chart the rise and fall of Yugoslavia as a cultural and political actor on the European stage—whose swan song came in 1990 when it hosted Eurovision in Zagreb. A timely topic as Düsseldorf will host Eurovision in May 2011, when the German media will undoubtedly abound with reports on the cultural and political significance of the event. 

Dean Vuletic is a Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow at the European University Institute. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in 2010 with the dissertation Yugoslav Communism and the Power of Popular Music.



Blaz Zakelj (Economics)

Inflation expectations and monetary policy design: Evidence from the laboratory

Date:    Wednesday 25th May
Time:     12-2 pm
Venue:  Economics Faculty, Spandauer Str.1, Room 23  
(Within Prof. Burda’s Brown Bag Lectures)


Using laboratory experiments, we establish a number of stylized facts about the process of inflation expectation formation. Within a New Keynesian sticky price framework, we ask subjects to provide forecasts of inflation and their corresponding confidence bounds. We study individual responses and properties of the aggregate empirical distribution. Many subjects do not rely on a single model of expectation formation, but are rather switching between different models. About 40 percent of the subjects predominantly use a rational rule when forecasting inflation and about 35 percent of agents simply extrapolate trend. Around 5 percent of subjects behave in an adaptive manner, while the remaining 20 percent behaves in accordance to adaptive learning and sticky information models. Furthermore, we find that subjects in only 60 percent of cases correctly perceive the underlying uncertainty in the economy when reporting confidence intervals. However, empirical analysis does not support a significant countercyclical behavior of individuals’ confidence intervals.



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