These seminars are hosted by your area of study and closed to the public; distinguished faculty from other universities present their latest papers and findings.
On April 6, 2017, Assistant Professor Gautam Rao of Harvard University presented his paper, “Status Goods: Experimental Evidence from Platinum Credit Cards.” Rao’s paper provided the first field-experimental evidence on status goods, working with an Indonesian bank that markets its platinum credit cards to high-income customers. The first experiment showed that demand for the card was substantially higher than demand for its benefits and services, with transaction data revealing that cardholders are more likely to use their car in social contexts, implying social image concerns. The second experiment offered evidence of positional externalities from the consumption of status goods. Lastly, Rao’s paper and subsequent talk showed how higher self-esteem reduces demand for status goods, looking at how self and social image are substitutes.
GEM was also pleased to host Professor Rohini Pande, also from Harvard, who presented her paper, “E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India” in April of 2017. That month, we also hosted MIT Professor Amy Finkelstein, who presented her paper, “The Value of Medicaid: Evidence and Interpretation from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment.”