March 25: Roland Molontay (QSMS Seminar)

Roland Molontay (BME, department of Stochastics) will introduce the HSDSlab: Network science and machine learning in empirical social sciences on March 25th at 16:00 PM, room QA323.


In this talk, I will review some recent works of the Human and Social Data Science Lab (HSDSLab). HSDSLab is a young research group based in the Institute of Mathematics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. HSDSLab conducts both methodology-oriented basic research in data and network science and applied research with a human-centered and societal focus. The talk will revolve around three main topics: (1) Educational data science. (2) Social media analysis. (3) Science of science. I will sketch some of our data-driven research projects from the educational domain, including identifying students at risk of dropping out using explainable artificial intelligence, assessing the predictive validity of the admission system, and quantifying the relationship between student evaluation of teaching and grade inflation. Next, I will present our findings about the virality of social media posts, especially regarding the local and global context of image-with-text memes. Moreover, I will also briefly mention our recent project on a novel measure to evaluate the impact of scientific journals.

March 18: Anastas P. Tenev (QSMS Seminar)

Anastas P. Tenev (Corvinus University of Budapest) will present the paper “Planned vs. Dynamic Obsolescence (Authors: Vyacheslav Arbuzov, Toygar T. Kerman, Anastas P. Tenev) on March 18th at 15:00 PM, room QA323.


A durable-goods monopolist might practice planned obsolescence by deliberately producing goods that have short lifespans to ensure repeat purchases in the future. We consider a two-period model where a durable-goods monopolist might engage in “dynamic obsolescence” by changing the durability of the good in period 2 from what was planned in period 1 once consumers have bought it. This could be the case with goods that need repeated software updates. The monopolist faces a time-inconsistency problem due to misaligned incentives across time. We show that, given the opportunity to do so, the monopolist adjusts the durability across periods and chooses a lower durability than the initially chosen one in the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium of the game. Moreover, we show that if the monopolist could commit to the initially chosen durability, then he would achieve a higher profit compared to the case of dynamic adjustment of durability.

March 11: George Marten (QSMS Seminar)

George Marten (Heriot-Watt University) will present his paper “EUK Air Pollution: Gross Damages vs Value Added” on March 11th at 10:30 AM, room QA405.


Gross Value Added (GVA) is overestimated due to the creation of air pollution, but the extent of this overestimation might have declined over the last two decades of improved to air quality in the UK. This paper will adjust a model developed for US air pollution accounting in Muller and Mendelsohn (2007), which has been applied extensively to US data. Estimating gross external damages of air pollution will help in evaluating the relative benefits of various recent emissions policies in the UK, specifically within cities.

March 4: Ildikó Furka (QSMS Seminar)

Ildikó Furka will present her paper “Exploring the cultural value orientation of a higher education institution – a case study” on March 4th at 10:30 AM, room QA405.


The number of international students has increased dramatically at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) up to 12% of the student body as a result of internationalization in the past years (Molnár, 2021). The Centre for Modern Languages has been in contact with a significant number of them either in English for Academic Purposes courses, in Hungarian Language courses, or through the regularly offered courses. This unique insight was consulted when the university Student Career Path Programme (HÉP) carried out a survey on communication habits among international students (n=186), their instructors (n=90), and some of the administrative staff (n=19) to find what reasons might be at the root of misunderstandings. The open-ended question responses prompted the opportunity for a content analysis within the cultural value orientations framework (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov, 2010; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1995; Hall, 1976), cross-cultural linguistic analysis (Hinds, 1987), and cross-cultural rhetoric (Kaplan, 1966; Gillet, 1989). Having triangulated the results with value orientation data on Hungary found in the literature (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1997; Falk Bánó 2014, Bakacsi et al 2002; Hajnal, Kádár & Kovács, 2018) and on cultural differences among educational systems (Loh & Teo, 2017; Hecht & Kahrens, 2021), a cultural profile might emerge where BME is an organization that has a value system of high power distance, high-context communication, reader-responsibility (Hinds, 1987), and a tendency towards individualism, masculinity, monochronic time management, and achievement orientation. The profile can be used to make recommendations for international students and their instructors on how to manage their interactions and adjust their teaching and learning styles, as well as to help higher education management to review their organisational practices and processes.

February 19: Noemie Cabau (QSMS Seminar)

Noemie Cabau  (Co-author: Arseniy Samsonov) will present their paper “Signaling Effort: Information Structures in a Principal-Agent model” on February 19th at 10:00 AM, room QA405.


We propose a principal-agent model with moral hazard and non-contractible output where the agent can design a signal about his effort. If there is no signal besides the agent’s, the latter appropriates the first best surplus in every equilibrium. If there is an external signal, the principal can offer a default contract conditioned on it. The agent’s incentive to provide further information stems from the trade-off between lowering the expected punishment and decreasing the expected reward. We show that the agent’s equilibrium signal is informative if he faces a severe and likely punishment under the default contract. We find that the agent benefits from correlating his signal to the outside one and that a more precise external signal may not benefit the principal.

February 7: Daniel Rehsmann   (QSMS Seminar)

Daniel Rehsmann  (University of Vienna) will present his paper “Contesting Fake News” on February 7th at 10:30 AM, room QA406.


We model competition on a credence goods market governed by an imperfect label, signaling high quality, as a rank-order tournament between firms.  In this market interaction, asymmetric firms jointly and competitively control the underlying quality ranking’s precision or verifiability by releasing individual information.  While the labels and the information they are based on can be seen as a public good guiding the consumers’ purchasing decisions, individual firms have incentives to strategically amplify or counteract the competitors’ information emission, thereby manipulating the label’s (or ranking’s) discriminatory power.  Elements of the introduced theory are applicable to several (credence-good) industries which employ labels or rankings, including academic departments, books, music, and investment opportunities.

February 2:  Hanyi Wang  (QSMS Seminar)

Hanyi Wang  (University of California, San Diego) will present her paper “Beyond Borders: The Impact of Embodied Carbon Policy Costs on Industrial Firm Performance” on February 2nd at 11:00 AM, room QA406.


While policymakers generally regard carbon pricing as effective and efficient, the average price of emissions worldwide remains low. A major concern is that unilateral enhancement of carbon policy could negatively impact firms’ competitiveness and performance. This paper investigates the impact of carbon policy on industrial firm outcomes in Europe, introducing a novel measure of embodied carbon policy costs that incorporates multi-region input-output linkages. In contrast to prior studies that have found limited effects from direct carbon policy costs, the inclusion of indirect costs via the global value chain leads to findings here that include a decrease in firm employment and output and an increase in total factor productivity and investment. These impacts tend to be more pronounced for small firms and for capital-intensive firms. Finally, a novel test for input substitution in this context estimates the extent to which carbon policy costs drive European industrial sectors to source inputs from countries lacking carbon regulations.

January 31:  Nadine Hahn (QSMS Seminar)

Nadine Hahn (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) will present her paper “Who Is in the Driver’s Seat? Markups, Markdowns, and Profit Sharing in the Car Industry” on January 31st at 11:00 AM, room QA406.


I develop a general framework for markup and markdown estimation that allows for profit sharing along value chains without making assumptions on conduct between vertically related firms. I derive the conditions under which the markup and markdown estimates relate to the firms’ equilibrium bargaining weights. To account for vertical and horizontal product differentiation in the production function estimation, I include plant-level prices and employ car characteristics as demand-based quality controls. Between 2002 and 2018, the European car manufacturers’ margins on their input and product markets combined were stable around 10% to 15% on average. The manufacturers’ share of the margin on the input market, however, depends on the car segments in which they produce. The suppliers’ share depends negatively on the variety of their product portfolio and depends positively on their relationship intensity to car manufacturers. The analysis shows that the manufacturers’ bargaining weights decreased during crisis years, such as the financial crisis in 2007 or the diesel gate scandal in 2015.

January 24:  Evgeniya Kudinova (QSMS Seminar)

Evgeniya Kudinova (London School of Economics and Political Science) will present her paper on “Exploration, Exploitation, Amelioration: Experimentation with Endogenously Changing Arms” on January 24th at 11:00 AM, room QA406.


I analyse how economic agents adapt to new risky opportunities, such as new technologies, when the agents can invest in increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome, while also learn about its original quality. I build on a single risky arm Poisson bandit environment and explore how the ability to endogenously change the arm, by investing, affects the incentives for experimentation. More specifically, I assume that successful investment turns a bad arm into a good one. As opposed to standard good news Poisson bandits, I find that beliefs may evolve non-monotonically and that the agent may get stuck on a certain belief and invest at some intensity until the news arrives. In the context of adaptation, this means that the agent may keep pursuing the new opportunity forever despite not reaching a success for a long time, in contrast to necessarily giving up according to the traditional experimentation models. This creates discontinuity in the long-term outcomes of experimentation and suggests strong implications for innovation design and organisational strategies for technological adaptation.

January 25:  Evangelia Spantidaki (QSMS Seminar)

Evangelia Spantidaki (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) will present her paper on “How Narcissists Match and Play in Games” on January 25th at 11:00 AM, room QA405.


I investigate experimentally how subjects choose their partners and how they play depending on their personality characteristics. In particular, I study the role of narcissism within the context of games of collaboration, fairness, and competition. I find that no matter how narcissistic participants are, they tend to prefer to be matched with less narcissistic individuals in all games. Participants’ level of narcissism significantly predicts behavior in all contexts. The higher their level of narcissism, the less they contribute in a public goods game, the smaller the offer in an ultimatum game, and the poorer the performance in competition is. In the context of collaboration, participants adjust their behavior based on the characteristics of their partner; the more narcissistic the partner, the less they contribute. Subjects do not adapt their behavior in the context of competition and fairness. This paper sheds light on the under-investigated topic of matching and economic behavior of individuals across different levels of narcissism.