Tag Archives: lecture

“Ruka Juu” with Dr. Bertil Tungodden — Does Media Appeal to the Entrepreneur in Us?

We usually speak about television in negative terms. But can television inspire development? On Monday, the CERGE-EI community went on an intellectual journey to Tanzania through the illustrative seminar presented by Professor Bertil Tungodden (Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway).  Seminar participants were treated to an in-depth analysis of a randomized field experiment designed to see if entrepreneurial skills and attitudes can be communicated through television programming.

The experiment was based on an ‘edutainment’ show called Ruka Juu (Swahili for “jump-up”), a televised reality-based entrepreneurship competition. It aired on national television in Tanzania in the spring of 2011. The overall aim of Ruka Juu was to educate, inform and motivate Tanzanian youth (aged 15-30) on issues related to entrepreneurship, business skills and financial literacy.

Professor Tungodden and his co-authors wanted to see if the program was making real impacts in educating and inspiring the Tanzanian people. They decided to document how the show was influencing key ‘entrepreneurial variables’ in the population, such as ambitions, knowledge, risk-taking, patience, and willingness to compete.

The engaged seminar participants learned how the authors faced the daunting task of designing a field experiment able to identify the impact of a nationally broadcasted program; particularly the challenge of establishing a proper “control group.” The trick was to randomly select some schools and incentivize this “treatment group” to watch the edutainment show; meanwhile they incentivized a control group to watch a classic soap opera instead. Frequent power outages and lack of television sets were some of the obstacles they faced. However they eventually arrived at notable results, finding strong evidence that ‘edutainment’ both inspired the viewers to learn more about entrepreneurship and motivated them to start their own business.

The experiment also leads the authors to conclude that the impact of edutainment on business knowledge is much weaker. In sum, their results suggest that the media may be a very powerful tool to foster entrepreneurship among young people, but also points to limitations of edutainment as a tool to communicate business knowledge.

Edutainment needs to be supplemented with other efforts to increase business knowledge and skills. But overall, Dr. Tungodden’s lecture at CERGE-EI made a convincing argument: media encouragement and educational television programming can be used to inspire young Tanzanians to realize their potential. Finally something good on TV!

Author: Liyousew G. Borga, 2nd Year PhD Student


The Economics of Voting with Professor Dirk Engelmann

Professor Dirk Engelmann was back at CERGE-EI; this time to share his latest research on the intriguing behavioral science of voting. Now a Professor at the University of Mannheim and Director of the Experimental Economics Laboratory, Engelmann was a Reader and Professor of Economics at Royal Holloway, University of London and an Assistant Professor here at CERGE-EI before limiting that role to a senior researcher. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the American Economic Review, associate editor of The Economic Journal and co-editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

Knowing his academic and research competence first hand, the CERGE-EI community was eager to listen to his insightful lecture on a very interesting area. And they were rewarded with a fascinating talk on how to model the efficiency aspects of democracy, elections, and majority voting. The seminar was entitled “Choosing How to Choose: Efficiency Concerns and Constitutional Choice”, and it was based on an experimental study of group decision-making to document the (in)efficiency of majority voting.

Continue reading The Economics of Voting with Professor Dirk Engelmann


‘Going Global’ with Professor Vega-Redondo

On October 18th, Professor Fernando Vega-Redondo visited CERGE-EI to present his paper ‘Social Networks and the Process of Globalization.’ Professor Vega-Redondo specializes in Game Theory, Evolutionary Theory, and Social Networks. A graduate from University of Minnesota, he is currently on faculty at the European University Institute in Florence.

In the beautiful interior of CERGE-EI, Dr. Vega-Redondo gave an interesting and thought-provoking lecture on his most recent research on globalization (which he did in collaboration with Georg Duernecker). In the paper, the authors propose a dynamic model to understand the role of social networks in the process of globalization. They define globalization as the process when distant agents interact, and they use this ‘spatial’ theoretical framework to understand the relationship between globalization and economic growth. Their model allows for the existence of social networks – the only channel through which geographically-distant agents can cooperate in economic activity. Without the phenomenon of ‘global social networks,’ economic activity will stagnate.

To shed light on the main objective of the paper, the lecturer started by answering two important questions related to the paper – ‘What is globalization?’, and ‘Why is globalization important?’  He then continued on to the main focus of the paper – the dynamic model itself.  The model incorporates the idea that ‘connections breed connections’ by providing linking opportunities and building trust between agents.

Presentation of the model was divided in two parts: the first part covered the setup of the model with social networks included; the second part described the evolution of the social network itself. He explained how ‘going global’ can in fact be an abrupt occurrence in a social network, and how the right level of a local economy’s ‘geographical cohesion’ is crucial in this process.

Dr. Vega-Redondo’s visit to CERGE-EI provided for stimulating discussion about the global changes happening in the world economy. His research provides a much-needed theoretical contribution to the predominantly empirically-based literature on globalization processes. CERGE-EI would like to sincerely thank him for his visit!