Topics for master theses

Topics for master theses

Behavioural Economics

  • GOGGLES ON GOOGLE

    GOGGLES ON GOOGLE

    Background:

    A strand of research has identified that even small cues of being observed (such as a picture of eyes) can affect anything from criminal behavior to charitable giving. Many of the studies, however, suffer from poor research designs and small sample sizes. In addition, there are also studies reporting null-findings, which means that the overall support still is inconclusive. The idea of this proposal is to use Google trends data to see if specific stigmatized search terms are less prevalent during days when Google’s logo is altered in a way such that it includes a pair of eyes (for an example, follow this link: https://www.google.com/doodles/kathe-kollwitzs-150th-birthday). The thesis will introduce the students to an interesting field of research, allow them to learn about and master Google trends data, as well as applying different econometric methods.

    Key references:

    Ekström (2012), Do Watching Eyes Affect Charitable Giving: Evidence from a Field Experiment, Experimental Economics

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO, INB, MARKETING

    Supervisor: Mathias Ekström

  • Paying with money or paying with personal data

    Paying with money or paying with personal data

    Background:

    During the last years concerns have been raised regarding the business model of several tech companies, which base their revenues on advertisements from third parties in exchange of customers’ personal data. From a consumers’ perspective, an important question behind this growing debate is how to quantify a price on personal data. Do consumers attach the same value to their personal data as they do to money? Is it even possible to put a price on your personal data? Previous literature has found a mismatch between willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA) the sharing of personal information, but understanding behind this gap has not been fully explored. This master thesis project should conduct experiments to study a trade-off between paying with money and paying with personal data. In particular, it should explore potential explanations that could explain the mismatch between WTP and WTA of privacy.

    Key references:

    Acquisti, Alessandro, Leslie K. John, and George Loewenstein (2013). “What is privacy worth?.” The Journal of Legal Studies 42.2, 249-274.

    Winegar, A. G. and C. R. Sunstein (2019). “How much is data privacy worth? A preliminary investigation.”Journal of Consumer Policy 42(3), 425–440.

    Brynjolfsson, E. and Collis, A. (2019). “How Should We Measure the Digital Economy?”

    Harvard Business Review, 97(6): 140-48. doi: 10.1257/aer.20170491

    Data:

    Collect your own data either by conducting an experiment on the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk or by doing a survey experiment.

    Supervisors: Researchers from FAIR and Telenor Research.

  • UNDERSTANDING PATERNALISM

    UNDERSTANDING PATERNALISM

    Background:

    The extent to which it is acceptable to restrict the freedom of individuals in order to promote their own best interest is at the core of much political debate about the relationship between the state and its citizens: Should the state institute mandatory retirement savings, require motorcyclists to wear helmets or refuse to enforce certain types of contracts? Questions about the legitimate role of paternalism are also important in many interpersonal relationships, in particular between parents and their children, and people’s views on these matters may be of great importance for understanding their willingness to accept inequality in society. The master thesis project should conduct experiments to study a person’s willingness to reduce another individual’s freedom in order to promote that individual’s best interests. For example by studying how the willingness to act paternalistically depends on the characteristics of the individuals whose freedom is being restricted, such as how well informed they are, their competence, and their age.

    Key references:

    Julian Le Grand & Bill New (2015): Government Paternalism: Nanny State or Helpful Friend? Princeton University Press, 2015

    Data:

    Collect your own data either by conducting an experiment on the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk or by doing a survey experiment.

    Suitable for profiles:  ECO, ECN, STR, INB, ENE

    Supervisor: Alexander W. Cappelen

  • UNDERSTANDING THE DETERMINANTS OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR

    UNDERSTANDING THE DETERMINANTS OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR

    Background:

    What drives individuals to commit crime, what factors explain aggregate crime rates, and what factors are most important?  Economic factors such as unemployment, wages, inequality, and poverty?  Demographic factors such as population, urban density, and education levels?  And how effective are anti-crime measures and how do criminals respond to them?  This master thesis project aims to examine some of these factors and the effects they have on crime.

    Key References: Freeman (1999): Chapter 52 The economics of crime, Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, 1999.

    Data: Collect your own data, examples of possible sources include FBI Uniform Crime Reports and publicly available Nordic Register based sources such as data available from ssb.no or statistikbanken.dk.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO, STR

    Supervisor: Patrick Bennett

  • THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL PREFERENCES: EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM INTERNATIONAL PILOTS

    THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL PREFERENCES: EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM INTERNATIONAL PILOTS

    Background:

    We are seeking master students who would like to write their master thesis as part of a project on the development of fairness preferences. The project is a collaboration between FAIR professors Alexander W. Cappelen and Bertil Tungodden.

    Data:

    We have recruited children from kindergartens and schools in Bergen to take part in a lab experiment we are implementing in September 2018. We have also collected comparable data for adults from Norway and Shanghai as well as for children from kindergartens and schools in Shanghai.

    Key references:

    Almås, Cappelen, Sørensen and Tungodden (2010): “Fairness and the Development of Inequality Acceptance”, Science 328(5982): 1176–1178. (2) Almås, Cappelen, Salvanes, Sørensen and Tungodden (2017): “Fairness and family background”, Philosophy, Politics and Economics 16(2) 117-131. (3) Cappelen, List, Samek and Tungodden (2016): “The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences”, NBER Working Paper No. 22898.

    Suitable for:

    NHH master students who are interested in helping to implement pilot experiments internationally during the fall and in writing their master thesis as part of the project are welcome to send an e-mail to Adriana Condarco-Quesada. It should include your name, your CV and a short note on why you would like to write your master thesis on this subject. Please also send any questions you might have regarding the project to Adriana.

    Supervisor: Bertil Tungodden

  • The role of the telco industry towards screen addiction

    The role of the telco industry towards screen addiction

    Background:

    In the context of conducting fair business practices, a relevant question in the telecommunication industry is whether telco companies should allow and push for unlimited internet data usage. The particular issue at stake is whether providing unlimited data package would push consumers into increasing their social media use and their phone in general, and consequently increasing screen addiction. Telco companies obviously gain by costumers using more their phones. However, this issue raises ethical considerations regarding overdose and potential addiction consequences, which may eventually backfire on the companies’ long term profitability. The master thesis project should conduct experiments or surveys to gather information about people’s perspective on the role of telco companies towards screen use. In particular, it should focus on understanding the view on companies’ interventions when the consumer lacks the will power and/or intrinsic motivation to reduce his/her data consumption.

    Key references:

    Alter, A. (2017). “Irresistible: The rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked”. Penguin.

    Data:

    Collect your own data either by conducting an experiment on the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk or by doing a survey experiment.

    Supervisors: Researchers from FAIR and Telenor Research.

  • WHAT DRIVES CONSUMERS TO CHANGE ELECTRICITY PROVIDER?

    WHAT DRIVES CONSUMERS TO CHANGE ELECTRICITY PROVIDER?

    Background:

    In markets characterized by subscription services, such as electricity, banking and telecommunications, we often find that consumers change providers or plans to a very low extent despite considerable price differences between seemingly similar (or even homogenous) products. There are many potential explanations for this phenomenon, e.g., lack of information, costs of switching, and strong preferences for particular providers. Understanding the sources of passive consumer behavior is important for both regulation, business planning, government policy and market design. We find clear signs of consumer passivity also in the Norwegian electricity retail market, and data sources available to this supervisor can allow a talented student to shed light on some of the potential channels.

    Key references:

    von der Fehr and Hansen (2010): "Electricity Retailing in Norway", The Energy Journal 31: 25-45 (Basic reference); Hortacsu et al (2015): "Power to Choose? An Analysis of Consumer Inertia in the Residential Electricity Market", NBER Working Paper No. 20988 (Advanced reference)

    Data: Monthly data on number of subscriptions and sales (kWh) for the largest retailers within local areas will be provided by the supervisor, as well as weekly contract prices and monthly visitor statistics for the contract comparison website of the Competition Authority. Wholesale electricity prices and other useful market statistics can be gathered from Nordpool.

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, ENE, BUS, FIE, INB

    Supervisor: Morten Sæthre

  • Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    (Note: Theses under this topic can be eligible for an Equinor scholarship for master theses.)

    Description:

    Assessments of potential savings from energy efficiency investments have suggested the existence of an "Energy Efficiency Gap"; that consumers do not undertake energy efficiency investments with even large positive returns. Though the conclusion has been hotly debated in the academic literature, we still lack a solid understanding of drivers and barriers to energy efficiency adoption, which is necessary for designing appropriate policies. Currently, most countries employ some combination of regulation and subsidies to increase energy efficiency, e.g., 100-300 mNOK in yearly Enova subsidies for households in Norway.

    Under this topic, you will contribute to our understanding of green technology adoption under the supervision of one or more experienced researchers with competences targeted to different approaches and research questions. Examples of specific projects are "Inattention and green technology: Do temporary shocks to electricity prices spur adoption?", "Does increased electricity demand lead to energy efficiency investment: Evidence from electric vehicle take-up", and "Are green technology subsidies regressive?", "Constrained wallets or constrained minds: The role of mental budgeting and relative thinking in green technology investment", or "Green loans vs investment subsidies: The optimal mix". The examples are far from an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to contact us if you could see yourself writing your master thesis within this topic and want to learn more.

    Key references: 

    Hunt Allcott and Michael Greenstone (2012) "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap", Journal of Economic Perspectives 26, pp. 3-28

    Hunt Allcott (2016) "Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview", Annual Review of Economics 8, pp. 145-176

    Anna Sahari (2019) "Electricity prices and consumers' long-term technology choices: Evidence from heating investments", European Economic Review 114, pp. 19-53

    Data:

    Electricity prices and consumption data from Nordpool and Statistics Norway, Enova subsidies, statistics on sales of efficient heating systems. It might be possible to gain access to household data given availability and project needs.

    Suitable for profiles: BUS, ECN, ECO, ENE, FIN

    (Tentative) supervisor: Samuel D. HirshmanHarim KimEirik G. KristiansenMateusz Mysliwski and/or Morten Sæthre

Development Economics

  • Bulk Buying and Poverty

    Bulk Buying and Poverty

    Background:

    Buying in bulk is a common way that consumers use to obtain lower prices on their purchases. There is now some evidence that low income consumers are not exploiting this strategy well, despite the large potential gains. The thesis will review the issue, and use an innovative detailed dataset from India to investigate it in a new setting.

    Key References:

    Brian Dillon, Joachim De Weerdt, Ted O’Donoghue, Paying More for Less: Why Don’t Households in Tanzania Take Advantage of Bulk Discounts?, The World Bank Economic Review, Volume 35, Issue 1, February 2021, Pages 148–179.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO

    Supervisor: Vincent Somville

  • High Frequency Poverty

    High Frequency Poverty

    Background:

    Poverty is typically measured at annual level. High frequency data reveals that potentially many households cross the poverty line for significant periods even if they are not poor on average on an annual basis. The thesis will investigate transitory poverty using weekly financial diaries from India.

    Key References:

    Jonathan Morduch. Rethinking Poverty, Household Finance, and Microfinance. Forthcoming in Handbook of Microfinance, Financial Inclusion, and Development, edited by Robert Cull and Valentina Hartarska. Forthcoming.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO

    Supervisor: Vincent Somville

  • THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL PREFERENCES: EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM INTERNATIONAL PILOTS

    THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL PREFERENCES: EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FROM INTERNATIONAL PILOTS

    Background:

    We are seeking master students who would like to write their master thesis as part of a project on the development of fairness preferences. The project is a collaboration between FAIR professors Alexander W. Cappelen and Bertil Tungodden.

    Data:

    We have recruited children from kindergartens and schools in Bergen to take part in a lab experiment we are implementing in September 2018. We have also collected comparable data for adults from Norway and Shanghai as well as for children from kindergartens and schools in Shanghai.

    Key references:

    Almås, Cappelen, Sørensen and Tungodden (2010): “Fairness and the Development of Inequality Acceptance”, Science 328(5982): 1176–1178. (2) Almås, Cappelen, Salvanes, Sørensen and Tungodden (2017): “Fairness and family background”, Philosophy, Politics and Economics 16(2) 117-131. (3) Cappelen, List, Samek and Tungodden (2016): “The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences”, NBER Working Paper No. 22898.

    Suitable for:

    NHH master students who are interested in helping to implement pilot experiments internationally during the fall and in writing their master thesis as part of the project are welcome to send an e-mail to Adriana Condarco-Quesada. It should include your name, your CV and a short note on why you would like to write your master thesis on this subject. Please also send any questions you might have regarding the project to Adriana.

    Supervisor: Bertil Tungodden

  • What effect daugthers have, globally?

    What effect daugthers have, globally?

    Background:

    There is some evidence from western countries that fathering daughters changes men’s attitudes towards women in general, and can also affect the household structure.

    The students will use a global data base covering dozens of countries to investigate the global effects of daughters, and how they affect the economics of families.

    Key References:

    Washington, Ebonya L. 2008. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers." American Economic Review, 98 (1): 311-32.

    Jan Kabátek, David C Ribar, Daughters and Divorce, The Economic Journal, Volume 131, Issue 637, July 2021, Pages 2144–2170.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO

    Supervisor: Vincent Somville

Economic History

  • BERGEN AS A MARITIME CAPITAL

    BERGEN AS A MARITIME CAPITAL

    Background:

    The Norwegian consultancy group Menon publishes an annual list of “The leading maritime capitals of the world”. Bergen is not included in the list of 15 cities evaluated in the report, but has been included in a longlist of 30 nominated cities that are benchmarked according to a set of 24 indicators. The aim of the thesis would be to analyze a) the basis for the ranking; and b) measures that would make Bergen a leading maritime capital.

    Key literature: Menon report

    Data: developed together with the supervisor

    Suitable for profiles: STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Stig Tenold

  • BERGEN AS A MARITIME SERVICE PROVIDER

    BERGEN AS A MARITIME SERVICE PROVIDER

    Background:

    Bergen plays a key role as one of the leading maritime cities internationally. Bergen shipping companies have dominant positions in several markets (chemical tanker transport, open hatch bulk shipping), and there are also world-class companies in auxiliary services (in particular ship finance, insurance, ship registry). Combining historical perspectives and economic theory, the aim of the thesis would be to analyze to which extent the success of these auxiliary services is based on linkages to the local industry, and to which extent it is a result of the international orientation of the service providers themselves.

    Data: Veritas, surveys developed together with the supervisor

    Suitable for profiles: STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Stig Tenold

  • Innovation and the patent system

    Innovation and the patent system

    Background:

    Intellectual property rights are usually associated with the patent system – patents and patent laws. The relationship between patents and innovations has been studied extensively, for example how patent laws create incentives to invent, promote innovation and encourage economic growth. Historical or modern data analysis do, however, give no clear answers, and there is a potential for research that addresses several questions: Does the existence of strong patent laws encourage innovation?  What proportion of innovations is patented? Is this share constant across industries? How does patenting and licensing affect the diffusion of knowledge? Such questions have only to a limited extent been studied in a Norwegian context.

    Key reference:

    P. Moser, ‘Patents and Innovation: Evidence from Economic History’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 27 (1), 2013.

    Data:

    Patent and innovation statistics from the Norwegian Research Council (NFR) and Patentstyret. Norwegian policy documents, company annual reports.

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Bjørn L. Basberg

Environmental & Resource Economics

  • CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE ARCTIC AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

    CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE ARCTIC AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

    Background:

    The climate change is evident in the Arctic in the way of increased temperatures, decreasing ice and consequently increased accessibility. Maritime transport, fisheries and resource exploitation (mineral oil in particular) are industries that already are pushing the frontiers further north. Since the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by several national states (Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway and Denmark / Greenland), the political tension in the region has increased in a classic ‘race for property rights’ that has historic parallels. Other non-Arctic nations, China in particular, shows increased interest in the region.

    There are many potential issues and questions that could be analyzed in an economic framework. What have been the recent trends, and how do businesses and stakeholders view the future? How does the government-business interaction play out in different countries involved? The climate change involves changes in both costs and benefits. How could this be modelled and analyzed?

    Key references:

    A.S. Crépin et.al., ‘Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society (ACCESS): Integrated Perspectives’, Ambio, Dec. (46) 2017, 341-354 and G. Eskeland and L.S. Flottorp, ‘Climate Change in the Arctic: A Discussion of the Impact on Economic Activity’, in Glomsrød et.al. (eds.), The Economy of the North, SSB, 2006.

    Data:Climate change reports, government papers and statistics, business prospects.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, STR, INB, BUS.

    Supervisor: Bjørn L. Basberg

  • COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES IN THE ANTARCTIC REGION

    COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES IN THE ANTARCTIC REGION

    Background:

    The Antarctic region has a long history of resource exploitation (sealing, whaling). Today, human activity in the region is dominated by science, but there are also industries like fisheries, tourism and bio-prospecting. Such industries have to a small extent been analyzed in an economic context and several questions are interesting to pursue. What is the economic scale of these operations? What is the economic and financial importance for the companies involved? Are management and regulatory systems sufficient?

    Key reference:

    B.L. Basberg, ‘Perspectives on the Economic History of the Antarctic Region’, International Journal of Maritime History, VO. XVIII (2), 2006,

    Data: Economics and business statistics on tourism from the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) and on fisheries from the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Bjørn L. Basberg

  • ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES ON TOURISM IN THE POLAR REGIONS

    ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES ON TOURISM IN THE POLAR REGIONS

    Background:

    Polar tourism, especially ship born cruise tourism both in the Arctic and in the Antarctic has increased for many years. Business prospects and plans seem to indicate that this will continue.

    There are, however, serious challenges ahead. The climate change involves increased accessibility, but also alters the unique experience that constitutes the rationale for the industry. Concerns about long travels is also a factor that creates uncertainties about future demand for such travels.

    Several questions could be analyzed about this industry in an economic context. Is it possible, within a traditional business model, to create an environmental and social sustainable industry? There seems to be large future uncertainties connected both to the supply and the demand side in this market. How could that be modelled and analyzed?

    Key reference:

    M. Lamers and B. Amelung, ‘Climate Change and its Impact for Cruise Tourism’ in M. Lück et. al. (eds), Cruise Tourism in Polar Regions. Promoting Environmental and Social Sustainability? London 2010, p. 147-165.

    Data: Climate change reports, statistics and reports from the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), tour operator plans and annual reports.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Bjørn L. Basberg

  • Reflections of climate change: suffering and regret

    Reflections of climate change: suffering and regret

    Background:

    With increasing consumption and production of many goods and services, the humanmade effects on climate change are getting bigger and bigger. For some activities the potential effects are well-known, such as plastic taking at least 400 years to dissolve completely in the nature. For some other activities the effects can be ambiguous and unknown to the consumers, such as the impact of an e-mail box size on the environment. When there is ambiguity about the consequences of their actions, people may suffer from both the direct effects of climate change and the regret from contributing this. The master thesis project should investigate regret and regret aversion when making decisions have potential consequences for the climate. Treatment variation could be driven by using manipulated regret lotteries for consumption (or digital) decisions.

    Key References:

    Imas, A., Lam´e, D., Wilson, A. J. (2020). Reversals between one-shot and repeated decisions in incentive design: the case of regret. Mimeo

    Robinson, P. J., Botzen, W. J. (2018). The impact of regret and worry on the threshold level of concern for flood insurance demand: Evidence from Dutch homeowners. Judgment and Decision Making, 13(3), 237-245.

    Volpp, K. G., John, L. K., Troxel, A. B., Norton, L., Fassbender, J., Loewenstein, G.

    (2008). Financial incentive–based approaches for weight loss: a randomized trial. Jama, 300(22), 2631-2637.

    Zeelenberg, M., Pieters, R. (2007). A theory of regret regulation 1.0. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17(1), 3-18.

    Data:

    Collect your own data either through a survey experiment or by conducting an online experiment on a crowdsourcing platform.

    Supervisors: Researchers from FAIR and Telenor Research.

  • Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    (Note: Theses under this topic can be eligible for an Equinor scholarship for master theses.)

    Description:

    Assessments of potential savings from energy efficiency investments have suggested the existence of an "Energy Efficiency Gap"; that consumers do not undertake energy efficiency investments with even large positive returns. Though the conclusion has been hotly debated in the academic literature, we still lack a solid understanding of drivers and barriers to energy efficiency adoption, which is necessary for designing appropriate policies. Currently, most countries employ some combination of regulation and subsidies to increase energy efficiency, e.g., 100-300 mNOK in yearly Enova subsidies for households in Norway.

    Under this topic, you will contribute to our understanding of green technology adoption under the supervision of one or more experienced researchers with competences targeted to different approaches and research questions. Examples of specific projects are "Inattention and green technology: Do temporary shocks to electricity prices spur adoption?", "Does increased electricity demand lead to energy efficiency investment: Evidence from electric vehicle take-up", and "Are green technology subsidies regressive?", "Constrained wallets or constrained minds: The role of mental budgeting and relative thinking in green technology investment", or "Green loans vs investment subsidies: The optimal mix". The examples are far from an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to contact us if you could see yourself writing your master thesis within this topic and want to learn more.

    Key references: 

    Hunt Allcott and Michael Greenstone (2012) "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap", Journal of Economic Perspectives 26, pp. 3-28

    Hunt Allcott (2016) "Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview", Annual Review of Economics 8, pp. 145-176

    Anna Sahari (2019) "Electricity prices and consumers' long-term technology choices: Evidence from heating investments", European Economic Review 114, pp. 19-53

    Data:

    Electricity prices and consumption data from Nordpool and Statistics Norway, Enova subsidies, statistics on sales of efficient heating systems. It might be possible to gain access to household data given availability and project needs.

    Suitable for profiles: BUS, ECN, ECO, ENE, FIN

    (Tentative) supervisor: Samuel D. HirshmanHarim KimEirik G. KristiansenMateusz Mysliwski and/or Morten Sæthre

Firms & Ethics

  • Diversity in Firms, top teadership, financial and technology sector

    Diversity in Firms, top teadership, financial and technology sector

    Background:

    Societies and firms increasingly become diverse in terms of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, language background, age. Gender imbalances are particularly pronounced when we look at top leadership, but also sectors such as the financial and technology sector. But the goal of firms of increasing diversity is not restricted to gender balance, but also other demographic characteristics such as age, ethnic background etc.

    Equality is high on the political agenda and more and more firms acknowledge that in order to recruit the best workers they need to make diversity and inclusive worklife part of their strategic goals. Firms increasingly integrate gender equality and business ethics as part of their corporate management strategy.

    A masterthesis in this area can be an empirical thesis where students assemble or collect novel data that allow to measure diversity in firms and policies that firms design to increase diversity. Students could measure corporate social responsibility along various dimensions and investigate whether such policies do lead to improved firm performance. Students could also study in their thesis more conceptually why firms care about diversity.

    Depending on the study profile of the student this thesis can focus on financial outcomes, socio-economic outcomes, careers or theory and empirical methods.

    Data:

    SNF database merged with other data (for Norway)

    Orbis database (for international study)

    Suitable for profiles: ECON, STR, BUS, FIN

    Supervisor: Astrid Kunze

  • Firm behaviour, recruitment and personnel policies

    Firm behaviour, recruitment and personnel policies

    Background:

    I am looking for masterstudents who are interested to work together with a firm and evaluate certain firm policies and personnel data. The thesis may require designing a survey, preparing confidential data, analysing data collected by the firm. Topics may be on performance evaluation, recruitment, careers, firm performance, accounting. The students could also come with their own ideas.

    If students have interest or an idea please get in touch early in the process of planning the masterthesis.

    Data: They will be prepared together with the supervisor.

    Suitable for profiles: ECON, BUS, ECN, FIN, STR

    Supervisor: Astrid Kunze

  • Who should get internet?

    Who should get internet?

    Background: 

    Access to broadband internet has been found to increase employment and wages, labour productivity, financial technology and banking, education, among other things. A question that still needs to be answered is how to evaluate the expansion of broadband internet in developed countries, where penetration rates are already very high. For example, in Norway 11% of the population does still not have access to internet broadband. A recent public debate has raised the issue on whether the Norwegian government should step in and extend the coverage to the entire population. The master thesis project should investigate people’s perspectives on broadband expansion in Norway. It should, for example, elicit the willingness to pay for (fast) broadband and evaluate different scenarios in a cost and benefit analysis of a potential public investment. Moreover, based on previous evidence that connectivity can enable higher economic productivity, the project could explore whether resources for the broadband expansion should be allocated to all the uncovered areas or whether they should only focus on the most productive areas with more growth potential.

    Key references:

    Akerman, Anders, Ingvil Gaarder, and Magne Mogstad (2015). ”The skill complementarity of broadband internet.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 130.4 : 1781-1824.

    M. Bhuller, T. Havnes, E. Leuven and M. Mogstad (2013). “Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?” Review of Economic Studies, 80, 1237-1266.

    Data:

    Collect your own data either by conducting an experiment on the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk or by doing a survey experiment.

    Supervisors: Researchers from FAIR and Telenor Research.

International Trade & Globalization

  • How will BREXIT and the new trade agreements affect Norway and Norwegian industry?

    How will BREXIT and the new trade agreements affect Norway and Norwegian industry?

    Background: The UK decision to leave the EU (BREXIT) will have implications not only for the UK and the EU, but also for other countries.  After a long period of debate and negotiations, the UK and the EU agreed on the new “Trade and Cooperation Agreement” on the 24th December 2020.  The agreement has been in place since 1st January 2021.  In June 2021 Norway, together with the other EEA countries (Iceland and Liechtenstein), agreed on a free-trade agreement with the UK, and the agreement was confirmed in Parliament (Stortinget) on 17th June 2021. It was signed by all parties in July 2021.

    Both the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU and the new free-trade agreement between the UK and the EEA countries will have profound implications for trade between the UK and Norway, for many reasons.  First, the UK is an important trading partner for Norway, for goods and services, as well as when it comes to investments and mobility of labour.  All of this will be affected by Brexit, even if new agreements are in place. Secondly, through the European Economic Area (EEA) Norway is part of the single market, but not part of the EU Customs Union. Hence, the UK’s departure from the EU customs union will have implications for Norway’s trade both with the EU and the UK.  And thirdly, Brexit has initiated a new discussion about the EEA (EØS) agreement in Norway; hence the implications may be even more serious.  

    Approach:  There could be many interesting ways of approaching the question of how BREXIT may affect Norway and Norwegian industry. One approach could be to take a general national view and discuss possible implications of BREXIT and the new trade agreements for overall trade and economic interactions between the UK and Norway. Another approach could be to select a particular industry and study the possible implications for that industry. And a third option could be to focus on the implications of a possible future change in the trade relations between the EU and Norway. All three approaches would need a good combination of theoretical understanding of trade agreements and possible future trade regimes, and empirical observations and analysis of the actual trade relations between the two countries.

    There could be room for several master theses with different approaches, or with focus on different industries.

    Key references: Standard international economics textbooks for the understanding of trade policies and trade agreements.  www.wto.org for more specific information about the multilateral trade system and regional trade agreements. For BREXIT the literature is evolving constantly.  A good source is UK Trade Policy Observatory (https://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/uktpo/) with many blogs and reports on recent developments.  When it comes to the new trade agreement between Norway and the UK, there are so far few independent analyses of possible consequences, but official information about the agreement is given on the governments’ webpages:
    Norwegian Government: https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/inngar-historisk-frihandelsavtale-med-storbritannia/id2857147/ 
    UK Government’s: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/united-kingdom-signs-free-trade-deal-with-norway-iceland-and-liechtenstein

    Data: Industrial characteristics and trade data.

    Suitable for: ECN, INB

    Supervisors: Jan I. Haaland and Linda Orvedal

Labour Economics

  • GENDER DIFFERENCES IN LABOUR MARKETS

    GENDER DIFFERENCES IN LABOUR MARKETS

    Background:

    Despite the fact that great gender convergence in employment is observed in labour markets, large gender differences remain. Women earn 16 per cent on average less in terms of hourly wages than men in the EU. Women also work in very different occupation and industries than men. True, if we compare men and women in the same job and in the same firm, we find very small wage differences; however, very few men and women work in the same job in the same firm. There are many more differences in labour markets between men and women which invites to important research questions suitable for a masterthesis. You could look for questions related to graduates in economics and business administration (use data from NHH. e.g.). You could study questions at the national level for Norway or another country, or internationally. International evidence is very important to learn and valuable to your career if you work, for example, in a company that does trade with EU and the world. Germany is a country important to learn about, since it is one of the main trading partners of Norway, followed by the UK etc.

    Data:

    •   SIAB (German register data, employer-employee matched panel, 1975-2015

    •   SOEP (Socio Economic Panel for Germany, 1984-2016)

    Mikrodata.no at NSD provides access to the Norwegian register data

    •    NHH annual graduate survey

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, FIN, STR

    Supervisor: Astrid Kunze

  • HOW DID THE INTERNET CHANGE THE CHANNELS OF JOB SEARCH?

    HOW DID THE INTERNET CHANGE THE CHANNELS OF JOB SEARCH?

    Background:

    People that search for a job have several options to find it: read newspapers, go to employment agencies, browse the web and mobilize their local networks of friends and relatives. Networking has increasingly become important for job search. Social networks are an important source of information in the labor market and many workers find jobs through friends and relatives. On the other hand, an increasing number of people use the Internet to look for new jobs. One reason online job search has become so popular is that it has changed the search process considerably. Employment websites allow job seekers to access thousands of job offers and use intelligent filter mechanisms to find suitable vacancies.

    Key references: Kuhn, P. J. and M. Skuterud (2004): “Internet Job Search and Unemployment Durations," The American Economic Review, 94, 218-232.

    Data: Norwegian Labor Force Survey

    Suitable for profiles:  ECO, ECN, STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Aline Bütikofer

  • Human capital, apprenticeship training, aspirations to success, early career, youth unemployment and youth labour markets

    Human capital, apprenticeship training, aspirations to success, early career, youth unemployment and youth labour markets

    Background:

    Some research has debunked the argument that job-hopping can propel a person onward and upward more rapidly than would be possible by staying in one place. In this thesis students can study and quantify mobility during the early career after first entry into the labaour market and after completion of education.  How do high achievers perform during the early career who eventually will fill top positions. Students could also analyse how women versus men’s early career looks like. Is it important to be mobile, or how long is it optimal to stay in the first job?

    The thesis can focus more on firms and careers and strategic human capital or take a more labour economics and empirical methods direction.

    See an example of a paper here:

    Bonet, R., Cappeli, P., Hamori, M. (2020). “Gender differences in speed of advancement: an empirical examination of top executives in the fortune 100 firms”. Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 41 (4): 708-737

    Data:

    This project requires individual panel data on employment and wage histories.

    •  SIAB (German register data, employer-employee matched panel, 1975-2015)

    •  SOEP (Socio Economic Panel for Germany, 1984-2016)

    •  Mikrodata.no at NSD provides access to the Norwegian register data

    Suitable for profiles: ECON, BUS, ECN, FIN, STR

    Supervisor:  Astrid Kunze

  • Labour markets, gender differences and family policy

    Labour markets, gender differences and family policy

    Background:

    Despite the fact that great gender convergence in employment is observed in labour markets, large gender differences remain. Women earn 16 per cent on average less in terms of hourly wages than men in the EU. Women also work in very different occupation and industries than men. True, if we compare men and women in the same job and in the same firm, we find very small wage differences; however, very few men and women work in the same job in the same firm. In addition, differentials build up over careers and these may not be reflected in cross-sectional differentials.

    There is a great need for studies focusing on occupations, industries, and selected groups. Students could look for questions related to graduates in economics and business administration using data from NHH surveys.). Students could study questions on labour markets and policies fighting unfair differences at the national level for Norway or another country, or internationally (EIGE database).

    International evidence on labour markets is very important to learn and valuable to your career if you work, for example, in a company that does trade with EU and the world. Labour is the main input factor to the firm. Germany is a country important to learn about, since it is one of the main trading partners of Norway, followed by the UK etc.

    Data:

    • EIGE database, ILO
    • SIAB (German register data, employer-employee matched panel, 1975-2015
    • SOEP (Socio Economic Panel for Germany, 1984-2016)
    • Mikrodata.no at NSD provides access to the Norwegian register data
    • NHH annual graduate survey

    Suitable for profiles: ECON, BUS, ECN, FIN, STR

    Supervisor: Astrid Kunze

Macroeconomics

  • ASSESSING THE NORWEGIAN MACROECONOMIC POLICY FRAMEWORK

    ASSESSING THE NORWEGIAN MACROECONOMIC POLICY FRAMEWORK

    Background:

    The design of monetary and fiscal policy has moved towards a rule based framework, exemplified by the so-called Taylor rule or the “Handlingsreglene” governing the management of the oil fund in Norway. How does monetary and/or fiscal policy respond  to shocks affecting the Norwegian economy? Are the responses of macroeconomic policy stable over time. How did the economy and financial markets respond to the introduction of these rules?

    Key references:

    Clarida, R., J. Gali and M. Gertler. (1999). The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective, Journal of Economic Literature 37(4): 1661-1707. J. Taylor (2000). Reassessing Discretionary Fiscal Policy. Journal of Economic Perspectives 14(3): 21-36.

    Suitable for profiles:  ECN, ECO, FIE

    Supervisor: Gernot Doppelhofer

  • NOWCASTING AND PREDICTING THE NORWEGIAN ECONOMY

    NOWCASTING AND PREDICTING THE NORWEGIAN ECONOMY

    Background:

    A large number of indicators have been proposed to predict the current and future state of the economy. Many macroeconomic or financial data are being reported at different points in time and some are subject to revisions. The measurement of current and future economic conditions is essential for the conduct  of macroeconomic policy, dating of business cycles and household or financial decision making . What are important factors predicting current and future economic activity and financial variables, such as exchange rates, stock prices, …?

    Key references:

    Stock, J. and M. Watson. (1999). Forecasting Inflation. Journal of Monetary Economics v44(2): 293-335

    Suitable for profiles:  ECN, ECO, FIE

    Supervisor: Gernot Doppelhofer

  • Price-changes among manufacturing firms

    Price-changes among manufacturing firms

    Background:

    To understand how prices are adjusted, and why, is very important, for both consumers, firm-owners and -managers, regulators and macro economists. The typical IO question; How does a firm set the price or quantity in relation to other market participants? Macro economists: Monetary policy has only a real effect if prices (and wages) are sticky (think of the IS-LM or AD-AS models). Price adjustment costs and their nature are central for industrial organization and the macro economy. What do we know empirically about the micro behaviour of firms? Do we see some patterns in firms’ price setting? Do we observe immediate responses to demand-, technology-, and cost-shocks?

    Based on survey information from Statistics Norway about product prices in the manufacturing industry, merged with register data on firms’ revenues, costs, investments, and labour demand there are several topics for empirical master theses on pricing behaviour, either seen through the lenses of an IO scholar, or a macro economist.

    Data: 

    As the data include highly sensitive information, it is necessary to apply for access to the data.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN

    Supervisor: Prof. Øivind A. Nilsen

Microeconomics & Industrial Organization

  • Determinants of the willingness to pay for small item insurance

    Determinants of the willingness to pay for small item insurance

    Background:

    Small item insurance is an insurance product that reimburses the owner of small items (e.g. mobile phone) in case of loss or damage. This thesis project would estimate the attitudes towards such small item risks on the basis of data from a survey where 900 Norwegians were asked about their willingness to pay for such insurance under various deductible scenarios. 

    Key references:

    Eeckhoudt L, C Gollier and H Schlesinger (2005) Economic and financial decisions under risk (Princeton: Princeton UP), ch 3.

    Eeckhoudt L & C Gollier (1995) Risk: evaluation, management and sharing (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf), (Part 2).

    Greene W (2018) Econometric analysis (ch 17 Binary Outcomes and Discrete Choices)

    Data: Survey data on the willingness to pay for insurance

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, FIN

    Supervisor: Fred Schroyen

  • DO ECONOMIC BOOMS AND BUSTS AFFECT SLEEPING PATTERNS AND THE NUMBER OF HOURS OF LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

    DO ECONOMIC BOOMS AND BUSTS AFFECT SLEEPING PATTERNS AND THE NUMBER OF HOURS OF LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

    Background:

    Although health is usually thought to worsen when the economy weakens, substantial recent research suggests that mortality actually declines during such periods. Could this decline in mortality be explained by people enjoying more free time and more sleep during recession?

    Key references:

    Christopher J. Ruhm (2000): “Are Recessions Good for Your Health?” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115 (2): 617-650.

    Data: Norwegian time use survey 1971-2010

    Suitable for profiles:  ECO, ECN, STR, INB, BUS

    Supervisor: Aline Bütikofer

  • DO SMOKING POLICIES AFFECT SMOKING BEHAVIOR AND DO BETTER-EDUCATED INDIVIDUALS REACT FASTER TO POLICY CHANGES?

    DO SMOKING POLICIES AFFECT SMOKING BEHAVIOR AND DO BETTER-EDUCATED INDIVIDUALS REACT FASTER TO POLICY CHANGES?

    Background:

    The strong correlation between education and health, even after controlling for income, has been recognized as a robust empirical observation in the social sciences and economic literature (Deaton and Paxson 2003; Lleras-Muney 2004). The decision to smoke or not to smoke is a conscious choice that directly affects the health status and ultimately the mortality of individuals. It therefore provides an interesting opportunity to investigate how education, by influencing behaviors, affects health outcomes.

    Key references:

    Damien de Walque (2010): “Education, Information, and Smoking Decisions: Evidence from Smoking Histories in the United States, 1940–2000” Journal of Human Resources, 45:682-717.

    Data: Norwegian smoking habit survey from 1973-2011

    Suitable for profiles:  ECO, ECN, (STR, INB, BUS)

    Supervisor: Aline Bütikofer

  • HOW CAN WE EXPLAIN CEO PAY?

    HOW CAN WE EXPLAIN CEO PAY?

    Background:

    There is a widespread suspicion that top managers and other key person are overpaid. They are frequently lavishly rewarded when the firm is lucky and not penalized when the firm is unlucky. Some receive discretionary severance pay that the firms are not committed to pay. Pay structure and level seem to depend on the owner structure. There are a large set of observations that are puzzling if you believe that owners should provide cost efficient incentives to managers. The project might examine pay structure in a particular industry or across countries and compare observations with empirical predictions from analytical models.

    Key references:

    Bebchuk, L. A. and J. M. Fried (2004) Pay without performance: The unfulfilled promise of executive compensation, Harvard University Press

    Data: TBD

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, FIN

    Supervisor: Eirik Gaard Kristiansen

  • How should we pay for drugs? Is Netflix a model?

    How should we pay for drugs? Is Netflix a model?

    Background:

    Health plans negotiate rebates on list prices with drug companies. If the net price is sufficiently low, the health plan may decide to include the drug in their plan so that the drug is reimbursed and available for patients. The current model is that health plans pay a uniform net price per unit purchased from the drug company. Recently, there has been proposed a different payment regime – called the Netflix model. Instead of paying a uniform price, proponents of the Netflix model argue that health plans should instead pay a fixed (subscription) fee to the drug company for getting access to the drug at marginal costs (or zero costs). The argument is that two-part tariffs is more efficient given the high innovation costs and low production costs. Opponents argue that the Netflix model will extract more consumer surplus and lead to higher costs for health plans. Some countries and health plans are now testing the Netflix model, which also seems to be relevant for the new covid-19 vaccine.

    Key literature:

    Barros, P. and X. Martinez-Giralt (2012) Health economics: an industrial organization perspective. Routledge. Chapter 17

    The Economist (2019): The antibiotic industry is broken. Take inspiration from the entertainment industry. Leader.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO, BUS, STR

    Supervisor: Kurt R. Brekke

  • THE EFFECT OF BORDER TRADE RESTRICTIONS ON THE DEMAND FOR ALCOHOL IN NORWAY

    THE EFFECT OF BORDER TRADE RESTRICTIONS ON THE DEMAND FOR ALCOHOL IN NORWAY

    Background:

    Many Norwegians buy alcohol outside Norway: across the border in Sweden or in duty-free shops at the airport/on the ferry. During the corona crisis, such purchase opportunities have been closed. This has given rise to a notable increase in the sale of alcohol through Vinmonopolet. The thesis would model and estimate the effect of travel restrictions on the demand for alcohol.   

    Key references:

    G Henriksen & J Kvile, Nordmenns grensehandel. Fysisk grensehandel. SSB notat 2020/01.

    Data:

    Data from SSB and Vinmonopolet.

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN

    Supervisor: Fred Schroyen

  • MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND FIRMS

    MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND FIRMS

    Background:

    We know very little about the management practices in Norway. International data have shown that great differences exist between family businesses, multinationals and that the public sector has relatively worse management practices. Questions related to measurement and comparison of management practices invite to a great number of research ideas for a master thesis. You can explore  existing data sets, and create extended data by merging additional firm level information.

    Key references:

    Corecon. Empirical Project 6: Measuring Management Practices

    Data: World Management Survey

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, FIN, STR.

    Supervisor: Astrid Kunze

  • Maximum likelihood estimation of a demand system

    Maximum likelihood estimation of a demand system

    Background:

    The almost ideal demand (AID) system was developed by Deaton and Muellbauer (1980).  It specifies a household’s set of demand functions for different goods and services.  The AID system combines flexibility and consistency with theoretical properties with a specification for the demand equations that allows for tractable estimation.

    However, one of the weaknesses of the AID system is that the crucial property of negativity (that compensated demand functions should always slope downwards—the “law of demand”) cannot be imposed under estimation without giving up the flexibility of the system.

    To remedy this weakness, Moschini (1998) suggested incorporating the negativity property “at the mean data point”, i.e., to make sure that if the household has the average income level and faces the average prices in the dataset, then its behavior respects the “law of demand”.  While not solving the problem completely, this is a big step forward.

    The purpose of the thesis would be to write a maximum likelihood estimation programme in Stata that incorporates Moschini’s restriction, and use it on household budget survey data for Norway to obtain estimates for income and price elasticities.  

    References:

    Deaton A and J Muellbauer (1980) An almost ideal demand system, American Economic Review 70, 312-336.

    Moschini (1998) The semi-flexible almost ideal demand system, European Economic Review 42, 349-364.

    Data: Household budget survey data collected by Statistics Norway (SSBs Forbruksundersøkelsen 1999-2012)

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN

    Supervisor: Fred Schroyen

  • Merger remedies: Is the cure effective in restoring competition?

    Merger remedies: Is the cure effective in restoring competition?

    Background:

    Mergers that restrict competition should be stopped by competition authorities. However companies may propose remedies that reduce or eliminate the competitive harm to get the merger cleared. Such remedies can be structural or behavioral. Structural remedies imply usually that competing activity are divested to a new or existing company in the market. Behavioral remedies are usually commitments to abstain from various forms of anti-competitive behavior for a given period after the merger. Merger remedies can be a win-win in the sense that the harm to competition can be solved and otherwise profitable mergers can be carried out. However recent studies show that this instrument in merger control is inefficient in restoring competition and that mergers that are cleared with remedies tend to result in price increases after the merger. Why is that? Is the problem mainly related to behavioral remedies? Are there inherent incentive or information problems? How can merger control be improved? This project should combine theory and data. Data can be made available upon request.

    Key literature:

    Kwoka, J. (2015): Mergers, merger control and remedies: a retrospective analysis of US policy. The MIT Press.

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO, BUS, STR

    Supervisor: Kurt R. Brekke

  • THE PEAK-END-RULE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    THE PEAK-END-RULE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    Background:

    The peak-end-rule says that the most memorable parts of an experience is the peak (i.e the most enjoyable period) and the end. Daniel Kahneman and co-authors have for example shown that you can make patients better off by simply extending a painful medical treatment with a more joyful period at the end. The idea of this thesis proposal is to test the peak-end theory in a relevant, high-stake, real-world environment. In particular, the aim is to combine data from e.g. the Premier League in England  with regional data on domestic violence and other offensive behavior, and test whether football fans are more upset, and therefore make more criminal acts, when their team lost because of a goal occurring in the final minutes of the game as opposed to the same nominal loss, but were the score was determined earlier in the game. The thesis will also include a replication of the paper by Card and Dahl (2011) on prospect theory and violence

    Key reference: 

    Card and Dahl (2011), Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior, Quarterly Journal of Economics

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO

    Supervisor: Mathias Ekström

  • The use of budget survey data to estimate demand functions

    The use of budget survey data to estimate demand functions

    Background:

    In many countries, the statistical office regularly carries out a household budget survey.  Such a survey documents how households allocate their budget over different commodity and service groups.  The same statistical office also constructs price indices for different consumption categories.  Using these two data sources, the project would consist in estimating a system of demand functions that describes the price and income sensitivity of the different consumption categories, and in testing the microeconomic properties of such functions.  Estimation can be carried out with existing user friendly Stata programmes.

    Key references:

    Deaton A and J Muellbauer (1980) An almost ideal demand system, American Economic Review 70, 312-336.

    Banks J, R Blundell and A Lewbell (1997) Quadratic Engel Curves and Consumer Demand, Review of Economics and Statistics 79, 527-539

    Data: Household budget survey data and price indices for your country

    Suitable for profiles: ECN, ECO.

    Supervisor:  Fred Schroyen

  • Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    (Note: Theses under this topic can be eligible for an Equinor scholarship for master theses.)

    Description:

    Assessments of potential savings from energy efficiency investments have suggested the existence of an "Energy Efficiency Gap"; that consumers do not undertake energy efficiency investments with even large positive returns. Though the conclusion has been hotly debated in the academic literature, we still lack a solid understanding of drivers and barriers to energy efficiency adoption, which is necessary for designing appropriate policies. Currently, most countries employ some combination of regulation and subsidies to increase energy efficiency, e.g., 100-300 mNOK in yearly Enova subsidies for households in Norway.

    Under this topic, you will contribute to our understanding of green technology adoption under the supervision of one or more experienced researchers with competences targeted to different approaches and research questions. Examples of specific projects are "Inattention and green technology: Do temporary shocks to electricity prices spur adoption?", "Does increased electricity demand lead to energy efficiency investment: Evidence from electric vehicle take-up", and "Are green technology subsidies regressive?", "Constrained wallets or constrained minds: The role of mental budgeting and relative thinking in green technology investment", or "Green loans vs investment subsidies: The optimal mix". The examples are far from an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to contact us if you could see yourself writing your master thesis within this topic and want to learn more.

    Key references: 

    Hunt Allcott and Michael Greenstone (2012) "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap", Journal of Economic Perspectives 26, pp. 3-28

    Hunt Allcott (2016) "Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview", Annual Review of Economics 8, pp. 145-176

    Anna Sahari (2019) "Electricity prices and consumers' long-term technology choices: Evidence from heating investments", European Economic Review 114, pp. 19-53

    Data:

    Electricity prices and consumption data from Nordpool and Statistics Norway, Enova subsidies, statistics on sales of efficient heating systems. It might be possible to gain access to household data given availability and project needs.

    Suitable for profiles: BUS, ECN, ECO, ENE, FIN

    (Tentative) supervisor: Samuel D. Hirshman, Harim Kim, Eirik G. Kristiansen, Mateusz Mysliwski and/or Morten Sæthre

Public Economics

  • HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE NORWEGIAN INCENTIVE SCHEMES FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES?

    HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THE NORWEGIAN INCENTIVE SCHEMES FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES?

    Background:

    Several countries, including U.S.A., Canada and Norway, have introduced incentives to encourage the sale of electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. There is a debate over the effectiveness of these policies in achieving the desired policy goals, such as reductions in CO2 emissions. The Norwegian incentive scheme is notable for high subsidies as well as other extensive benefits, including exemption from the registration tax, free toll roads, free parking, and programs for building charging stations. More detailed knowledge about the effects of specific parts of the incentive scheme would be helpful, both to inform possible improvements of the incentive schemes, but also for planning purposes in businesses and local governments. There are several open questions regarding the effect of the rich incentive scheme. One question regards how much the different policies contribute to increasing electric vehicle sales. A related question is whether they have differential impact on which modes of transportation consumers substitute away from, e.g., whether consumers substitute away from regular cars, public transport and biking, both at the intensive and the extensive margin. A master thesis on this topic could focus on one or several specific policies and subquestions.

    Key references:

    Fearnley et al (2015): "E-vehicle policies and incentives - assessment and recommendations", TØI report 1421/2015; Chandra et al (2010): "Green drivers or free riders? An analysis of tax rebates for hybrids vehicles", Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 60: 78-93; Holtsmark (2012): "Elbilpolitikken - virker den etter hensikten?", Samfunnsøkonomen 5: 4-11

    Data: Detailed data about car ownership including some usage measures per vehicle can be provided by the supervisor, in addition to data on tollroads and charging stations.

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, ENE, BUS, FIE, INB

    Supervisor: Morten Sæthre

  • REGULATION OF FINANCIAL MARKETS: HOW CAN THE POLITICAL PROCESS PRODUCE VERY DIFFERENT REGULATIONS ACROSS COUNTRIES?

    REGULATION OF FINANCIAL MARKETS: HOW CAN THE POLITICAL PROCESS PRODUCE VERY DIFFERENT REGULATIONS ACROSS COUNTRIES?

    Background: 

    Improved financial market regulation ensure that information is widely spread and investors can trust information and contracts. However, not all parties benefit from better regulation. For example, some established firms dislike that new entrants obtain financing, demand for labour may increase which again will increase wages.  In an influential book, Rajan and Zingales describe how financial regulation across countries can be explained by political forces in favour and against better regulation. A possible project would be to discuss how strong labour unions, industry structure, openness to trade and other institutional characteristics can explain the current regulation in Norway. The project might combine insights from analytical approaches discussed in Tirole with the empirical literature discussed in the book by Rajan and Zingales.

    Key references:

    Rajan R. G. and L. Zingales (2003), Saving capitalism from the capitalists Princeton University Press.

    Tirole, J (2006) The theory of Corporate Finance, see chapter 16 on Institutions, Public Policy and the Political Economy of Finance, Princeton University Press.

    Data: TBD

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, FIN

    Supervisor: Eirik Gaard Kristiansen

  • TECHNOLOGY MARKETS: HOW TO (NOT) SELL TECHNOLOGIES?

    TECHNOLOGY MARKETS: HOW TO (NOT) SELL TECHNOLOGIES?

    Background:

    The best innovators are often not the best producers. Many patented technologies with different owners need to be used together in order to produce a valuable product. Consequently, there should be a vivid market for technology transactions. However, many claim that the market is smaller than expected and not working very well. Knowhow is not easy to sell: None are willing to buy something before they have seen it, and when they have seen it (and can use it) why should they pay for it? Will the patent system solve the problem or can patenting prevent investments in new technologies. You might use Apple (or another firm) as a motivating example for a study of how firms might organize sales and purchases of technologies?

    Key references:

    Bessen, J. and M.J. Meurer, (2008) Patent failure: How judges, bureaucrats, and lawyers put innovation at risk, Princeton University Press.

    Jaffe, A. B. and J. Lerner (2004): Innovation and its Discontents: How our broken patent system is endangering innovation and progress, and what to do about it, Princeton University Press

    Data: TBD

    Suitable for profiles: ECO, ECN, FIN, STR

    Supervisor: Eirik Gaard Kristiansen

  • Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    Energy efficiency and electricity consumption: Drivers of green technology adoption

    (Note: Theses under this topic can be eligible for an Equinor scholarship for master theses.)

    Description:

    Assessments of potential savings from energy efficiency investments have suggested the existence of an "Energy Efficiency Gap"; that consumers do not undertake energy efficiency investments with even large positive returns. Though the conclusion has been hotly debated in the academic literature, we still lack a solid understanding of drivers and barriers to energy efficiency adoption, which is necessary for designing appropriate policies. Currently, most countries employ some combination of regulation and subsidies to increase energy efficiency, e.g., 100-300 mNOK in yearly Enova subsidies for households in Norway.

    Under this topic, you will contribute to our understanding of green technology adoption under the supervision of one or more experienced researchers with competences targeted to different approaches and research questions. Examples of specific projects are "Inattention and green technology: Do temporary shocks to electricity prices spur adoption?", "Does increased electricity demand lead to energy efficiency investment: Evidence from electric vehicle take-up", and "Are green technology subsidies regressive?", "Constrained wallets or constrained minds: The role of mental budgeting and relative thinking in green technology investment", or "Green loans vs investment subsidies: The optimal mix". The examples are far from an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to contact us if you could see yourself writing your master thesis within this topic and want to learn more.

    Key references: 

    Hunt Allcott and Michael Greenstone (2012) "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap", Journal of Economic Perspectives 26, pp. 3-28

    Hunt Allcott (2016) "Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview", Annual Review of Economics 8, pp. 145-176

    Anna Sahari (2019) "Electricity prices and consumers' long-term technology choices: Evidence from heating investments", European Economic Review 114, pp. 19-53

    Data:

    Electricity prices and consumption data from Nordpool and Statistics Norway, Enova subsidies, statistics on sales of efficient heating systems. It might be possible to gain access to household data given availability and project needs.

    Suitable for profiles: BUS, ECN, ECO, ENE, FIN

    (Tentative) supervisor: Samuel D. HirshmanHarim KimEirik G. KristiansenMateusz Mysliwski and/or Morten Sæthre