Danila Serra

Southern Methodist University
Department of Economics

email: dserra@smu.edu

Phone: (+1) 214-768-4298

Address: SMU, Dept. of Economics

3300 Dyer Street, Suite 301C

Umphrey Lee Center
Dallas TX 75275-0496

 

I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, TX (since August 2012). I am a member of the SMU Center for Global Health Impact, and of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) research network. I am also a research affiliate at the Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), at the University of Oxford. Before joining SMU I was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida State University and a member of the FSU Experimental Social Science Research Group (2009-2012).

 

Education:

·        PhD in Economics, University of Oxford and Centre for the Study of African Economies (2009);

·        MSc in Economics, London School of Economics (2003);

·        BS (laurea) in Economics and Social Sciences, Bocconi University, Milan (2001).

 

Research fields: Economics of Corruption, Development Economics; Experimental and Behavioral Economics, Gender and Economics.

 

Teaching fields: Experimental and Behavioral Economics, Development Economics; Economics of Corruption, Intermediate Microeconomics, Behavioral Development Economics (PhD).

 

 

*NEWS*: I am honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Vernon L. Smith Ascending Scholar Prize. The $50,000 prize is presented by the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics (IFREE).   The prize is given to an exceptional scholar in the field of experimental economics whose work embodies IFREE’s mission to Promote Human Betterment through Experimental Economics to Improve the Understanding of Exchange Systems. For more info, see the IFREE’s announcement and the SMU’s Press Release.

 

 

Google Scholar Citations

 

Here is a link to the Laboratory for Research in Experimental Economics (LREE) at SMU

 

Check out the SMU Women in Economics Club, founded by my students!

 


 

CV

Field Projects

Teaching


 

 

·        Some of my thoughts and research on corruption have appeared in The Atlantic. Read the piece “Does corruption happen slowly or all at once?”

 

·        Other research has been featured in the New Scientist. Read the article, titled The underhand ape: Why corruption is normal”, here , or here.

 

 

 

·      FEATURED NEW WP: “Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models” with C. Porter (Heriot-Watt). Updated: April 2018. PDF here.

Abstract: We report results from a field experiment aimed at increasing the percentage of women majoring in economics by exposing students enrolled in principles of economics classes to carefully chosen career women who majored in economics -- our female role models. Our results suggest that, while the role model intervention had no impact on male students, it significantly increased female students' likelihood of expressing interest in the economics major (self-reported) and enrolling in intermediate microeconomics classes (administrative data), which we show are good predictors of majoring in economics. The intervention was especially effective on top-performing female students. Our data also show that the women that were impacted by the intervention were previously planning to major in fields with lower expected earnings, suggesting that our low-cost intervention could have a significant impact on the future income streams of the treated young women.

 

·         Read a summary of the study: SMU Press release.

·         Watch a short video of me talking about the study.

·         Media Coverage: Dow Jones Moneyish, Pacific Standard, The University Network

 

 

EDITED VOLUME

 

 

New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption, edited with Leonard Wantchekon (Princeton University), Emerald Group Publishing, June 2012.

 

 

 

PUBLISHED ARTICLES

 

Corruption and competition among bureaucrats: An experimental study”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU).  Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, forthcoming. PDF. Experimental instructions here

 

 

Is more competition always better? An experimental study of extortionary corruption”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU). Economic Inquiry, forthcoming. PDF.

 

 

 Corruption, Social Judgment and Culture: An Experiment”, with T. Salmon (SMU). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 142: 64-78, 2017. PDF.

 

 

 I paid a bribe: An experiment on information sharing and extortionary corruption”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU) and James Tremewan (U of Vienna). European Economic Review, 94: 1-22, 2017 (lead article). PDF

 

 

Participatory accountability and collective action: Experimental evidence from Albania”, with A. Barr (U of Nottingham) and T. Packard (The World Bank). European Economic Review, 68: 250–269, 2014. PDF

 

 

Intermediaries in corruption: An experiment”, with M. Drugov (Carlos III de Madrid) and J. Hamman (FSU). Experimental Economics, 17(1): 78-99, 2014. PDF.

·            Winner of the Editor’s prize for the best paper published in Experimental Economics in the year 2014.

 

 

Combining top-down and bottom-up accountability: Evidence from a bribery experiment”. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 28(3): 569-587, August 2012. Online advance access here.

 

 

Anti-corruption Policies: Lessons from the Lab”, with K. Abbink. In D. Serra and L. Wantchekon (eds.) New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption, Research In Experimental Economics Volume 15, Bingly: Emerald Group Publishing, June 2012.

 

 

Intrinsic motivations and the non-profit health sector: Evidence from Ethiopia”, with P. Serneels (UEA) and A. Barr (U of Nottingham) Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3): 309-314. PDF.

 

 

How corruptible are you? Bribery under uncertainty”, with D. Ryvkin (FSU), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 81(2012): 466-477. PDF.

 

 

Corruption and Culture: An experimental Analysis, with A. Barr (U of Nottingham), Journal of Public Economics, 94, Issues 11-12, December 2010. PDF .

 

 

The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment”, with A. Barr (U of Nottingham), Experimental Economics, 12 (4): 488-503, 2009. PDF.

 

 

Discovering the Real World –Health Workers’ Career Choices and Early Work Experience in Ethiopia, with P. Serneels (UEA) and M. Lindelow (World Bank), The World Bank, Washington DC.

 

 

Empirical Determinants of Corruption: A sensitivity Analysis,” Public Choice 126 (1-2), 225-256, 2006. PDF.

 

 

 

WORKING PAPERS AND WORK IN PROGRESS

 

Motivating Whistleblowers” with J. Butler (UC Merced) and G. Spagnolo (SITE, Stockholm School of Economics). REVISED October 2017: PDF. R&R at Management Science.

We employ a novel laboratory experiment to investigate if and how monetary incentives and expectations of social approval or disapproval, and their interactions, affect the decision to blow the whistle against managers’ law-breaking behavior.

 

 

 “Gender Differences in the Choice of Major: The Importance of Female Role Models” with C. Porter (Heriot-Watt). New draft: April 2018. PDF

We report results from a field experiment aimed at increasing the percentage of women majoring in economics by exposing students enrolled in principles of economics classes to carefully chosen career women who majored in economics -- our female role models.

 

 

Health Workers’ Behavior, Patient Reporting and Reputational Concerns: Lab-in-the-Field Experimental Evidence from Kenya, with I. Mbiti (U of Virginia). IZA working paper, February 2018. PDF. Instructions of the lab-in-the-field experiment here.

We use lab-in-the-field experiments to examine the effectiveness of accountability systems that rely on patient reporting in Kenyan health clinics. We evaluate patients’ willingness to file complaints on service providers, and providers’ responsiveness to the possibility of receiving such complaints, when knowing that the number of received complaints would be disclosed to professional peers.

 

 

The Gender Leadership Gap: An Experiment” (working title) with P. Chakraborty (SMU). Coming soon.

Upper-level managerial positions involve the necessity of making controversial employment choices that may lead to backlash from employees. Do gender differences in aversion to negative judgment contribute to the gender leadership gap? We address this question through a novel laboratory experiment that simulates corporate decision-making. We find that: 1) women are significantly less likely to self-select into a managerial position when facing the possibility of receiving negative messages from employees, 2) there are no gender differences in manager performance, 3) male and female managers have different leadership styles, and 4) female managers receive significantly more angry messages from male workers.

 

 

Corrupt Police” with K. Abbink (Monash University) and D. Ryvkin (FSU). Coming soon.

We experimentally investigate the impact of police corruption on rule violations within a society. We then test and contrast the effectiveness of two anti-corruption policies. The first relies on the payment of small financial rewards to officers based on the crime rate observed within the society. The second relies on the payment of small rewards based on the bribery rate observed within the society.

 

 

Education Outcomes, School Governance and Parents’ Demand for Accountability: Evidence from Albania” with A. Barr (U of Nottingham) and T. Packard (World Bank), Policy Research Working Paper No. 5643, The World Bank. PDF.

 

 

“Influencing educational aspirations of primary school students in Somalia through role models” (working title), with Elijah Kipkech Kipchumba (Save the Children), Catherine Porter (Heriot-Watt University) and Munshi Sulaiman (Save the Children). In the field.

 

 

Parental participation in primary schools in Angola: An experimental investigations of motivations, information sharing and collective action problems” (working title) with Pedro Vicente (Nova University of Lisbon). In the field.

 

 

How identity, norms and narratives can be used to reduce corruption in Police Service (traffic police) in Ghana”, with Oana Borcan (U of East Anglia), Stefan Dercon (University of Oxford) and Donna Harris (University of Oxford). Design stage.

 

 

 “Supply Chain Corruption: A Field Experiment” (working title), with Krista Saral (Webster University Geneva). Design Stage.

 

 

Updated June 2018

 

 

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