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Department of Political and Social Sciences

SPS theses of the month: November

The EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences is delighted to announce that during the month of November two PhD researchers have successfully defended their dissertation.

27 November 2023 | Research


Congratulations to Annika Lehmus-Sun and Elena Pisanelli from the EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences for receiving their doctorates in November 2023, after unanimous decisions from the jury.

Annika Lehmus-Sun has defended her thesis entitled, From Making Work Pay to Making Welfare to Capacitate. Social Investment's Promise of Wellbeing, while Elena Pisanelli defended her thesis on Artificial intelligence, gender and work.

Annika Lehmus-Sun's dissertation adds a new chapter to the social investment debate by taking up the question of 'subjective' rather than 'material' wellbeing. The thesis provides novel evidence on how social investment policies (early childhood education and care, active labour market policy, flexible retirement, and older worker access to training) improve on subjective capacities. The findings are particularly strong for young parents having easy access to childcare and older workers receiving training whilst being able to retire in a gradual fashion, but less strong for unemployed workers partaking in active labour market policies. The study greatly enhances our understanding of the positive effects of social investment welfare provision.

Read Lehmus-Sun's thesis in Cadmus.

Elena Pisanelli's thesis is a fine piece of analytical and rigorous scholarly work. Her core research question is whether and why AI increase or decrease gender inequality in the labour market. This question is motivated by puzzling theoretical and empirical evidence that she reports in her thesis. Starting from the original introduction and implementation of AI as the best tool to avoid biases, followed by the mixed findings on whether that is the case, Elena proposed in her research that a proper investigation of her question requires an analytical and empirical distinction between two types of AI: predictive algorithms and assessment software. During the defense, Elena showed both what her original motivation/puzzle was, and what the main takeaways and contributions of her thesis are. Congratulations to Elena on her work!

Read Pisanelli's thesis in Cadmus.

Last update: 27 November 2023

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