The IAB Special Lecture Series 2023 / 2024

hosted by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB)


The IAB Special Lecture Series invites outstanding international researchers across the Social Sciences to present their current work. Guest lecturers are selected on exellent academic merit and typically have made significant contributions to their respective fields and continue to actively shape internationale research agendas. The IAB Special Lecture Series aims to provide a unique opportunity to the IAB researchers as well as researchers from other research entities to discurss the work and share their expertise with the speaker during the presentation, and to receive feedback on their own research projects during individual talks with the speaker.


The IAB Special Lecture Series will be held at the IAB, Regensburger Str. 100, 90478 Nuremberg.


» 27 July 2023, 1.30 pm - 3.00 pm - Katherine S. Newman 

Katherine S. Newmann  is Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs of the University of California and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Her research ranges from technical education and apprenticeship, to the sociological study of the working poor in America’s urban centers, middle class economic insecurity under the brunt of recession, and school violence on a mass scale.  She has written on the consequences of globalization for youth in Western Europe, Japan, South Africa and the US, on the impact of regressive taxation on the poor, and on the history of American political opinion on the role of government intervention. She recently published her new book „Moving the Needle. What Tight Labor Markets do fort he Poor, More information can be found at:

Lecture: Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor
Most research on poverty focuses on the damage caused by persistent unemployment.  But what actually happens when jobs are plentiful and workers are hard to come by? Moving the Needle examines how very low unemployment boosts wages at the bottom, improves job quality, lengthens job ladders, and pulls the unemployed into a booming job market. Drawing on over seventy years of quantitative data as well as interviews with employers, jobseekers, and longtime residents of poor neighborhoods, this lecture investigates the most durable positive consequences of tight labor markets and focus on the mechanisms that produce positive outcomes: matching processes that include the dispossessed, job ladders that grow within the low wage sector, and increasing human capital that can be parlayed into internal and external upward mobility.  Dr. Newman will also consider the downside of overheated economies, which can fuel surging rents and ignite outmigration. She will conclude with a discussion of policies and practices that can sustain the benefits of tight labor markets when unemployment begins to rise.

» 30 August 2023, 1.00 pm - 2.30 pmJeffrey Smith 

Jeffrey Smith is Paul T. Heyne Distinguished Chair in Economics and Richard Meese Chair in Applied Econometrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Associate Director for Research and Teaching of the Institute for Research on Poverty, and a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1996 and taught at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan prior to coming to Wisconsin in January 2018. His research centers on experimental and non-experimental methods for the evaluation of interventions, with particular application to social and educational programs. He has published papers on many aspects of the evaluation and operation of active labor market programs, along with papers examining the labor market effects of university quality, teacher value-added in developing countries, and the use of statistical treatment rules to assign persons to government programs. 

Lecture: "Quantifying Non-Sampling Variation: College Quality and the Garden of Forking Paths"

Abstract:  "Empirical economics papers report standard errors to take into account uncertainty associated with sampling variation but rarely consider non-sampling variation from researcher choices about measurement of key variables, functional form choice, identification strategy, and data set. In this paper, we review the literature on alternative methods for taking account of non-sampling variability, develop a typology of sources of non-sampling variation, and conduct an empirical exercise in which we estimate the relative and absolute importance of different types of non-sampling variation. The empirical exercise proceeds in the context of the literature that seeks to estimate the causal effect of college quality on educational and labor market outcomes."

» 01 December 2023, 10.00 am - 11.30 am - Filiz Garip
Filiz Garip is a Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Her research lies at the intersection of migration, economic sociology and inequality. Within this general area, she studies the mechanisms that enable or constrain mobility and lead to greater or lesser degrees of social and economic inequality. More information can be found at:

Lecture: Climate Change, Migration, and Inequality
Existing work presents mixed findings on the impact of weather events on international mobility. Relying on fine-grained data over 1980-2018 in the Mexico-U.S. setting, we turn to machine learning (ML) tools to first determine if weather events can predict migration choices of 140,000+ individuals. We use random-forest models which allow us to include a comprehensive list of weather indicators measured at various lags and to consider complex interactions among the inputs. These models rely on data-driven model selection, optimize predictive performance, but often produce ‘black-box’ results. In our case, the results show that weather indicators offer at best a modest improvement in migration predictions. We then attempt to open the black box and model the linkages between select weather indicators and migration choices. We find the combination of precipitation and temperature extremes and their sequencing to be crucial to predicting weather-driven migration responses out of Mexico. We also show heterogeneity in these responses by household wealth status. Specifically, we find that wealthier households in rural communities migrate in the immediate aftermath of a negative weather shock (relative to the ‘normal’ weather in their community), while poorer households need to experience consecutive and worsening shocks to migrate to the United States. This pattern suggests that migration as an adaptation strategy might be available to select households in the developing world.

 » 05 February 2024, 10.00 am - 11.30 am - Gabriela Spanghero Lotta

Gabriela Spanghero Lotta is a Professor of Public Administration and Government at Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Sao Paulo, Brasil.
Lecture: "Navigating Vulnerabilities: Exploring Trust Dynamics in Citizens-State Interactions for Access to Public Services"
This lecture delves into the multifaceted dynamics of the state-citizen relationship within the realm of service delivery in vulnerable contexts, with a specific focus on the crucial roles played by health workers, teachers, and social workers. Examining these interactions against the backdrop of high vulnerabilities, characterized by factors such as limited trust, resource constraints, perceived lack of state legitimacy, and pervasive inequalities, our discussion aims to uncover the nuanced impact of contextual challenges on encounters between citizens and frontline service providers. Drawing on various research studies concerning frontline workers in Brazil, we will explore the underlying mechanisms that either reduce or reproduce existing inequalities when implementing policies in contexts of high vulnerabilities.

 » 20 June 2024 - Giovanni Peri
further information coming soon.

» tba 2024 - David Autor

David Autor is Ford Professor in the MIT Department of Economics, codirector of the NBER Labor Studies Program and the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative. His scholarship explores the labor-market impacts of technological change and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earnings levels and inequality, and electoral outcomes. Autor has received numerous awards for both his scholarship—the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of Labor Economics, the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2019, the Society for Progress Medal in 2021—and for his teaching, including the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship. In 2020, Autor received the Heinz 25th Special Recognition Award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work “transforming our understanding of how globalization and technological change are impacting jobs and earning prospects for American workers.” In a 2019 article, the Economist magazine labeled him as “The academic voice of the American worker.” Later that same year, and with equal justification, he was christened “Twerpy MIT Economist” by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight in a segment on automation and employment. 


  • Claudia Globisch (IAB, University of Erlangen), 
  • Simon Janssen (IAB), 
  • Yuliya Kosyakova (IAB, University of Bamberg) 
  • Adrian Lerche (IAB)



For any questions refer to

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