NBER Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar

Call for Papers: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar
Economic Behavior and Inequality
June 6-8, 2022: Copenhagen, Denmark

Inequalities across people in income, wealth, and many other key outcomes are pervasive. Individual decision-making is potentially important for the formation of inequalities and for the optimal design of public policy, but our understanding of its role is incomplete. Behavioral responses to tax and transfer policy can reduce policy effectiveness dramatically. Additionally, administrative burdens can impact the take-up and efficacy of tax and transfer programs. The presence of behavioral biases and biased perceptions can have strong effects on economic choices and can affect the design of policies for reducing inequality. Recent research has significantly enhanced our knowledge on these issues, for example by exploiting access to large-scale administrative data sets, sometimes combined with experimental or survey data, and by using modern identification strategies to identify causal effects and using new insights on decision-making from behavioral economics.

To foster new insights on the interactions between economic behavior, inequality, and public policy, the Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality at the University of Copenhagen (CEBI) and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) will organize a Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar on June 6-8, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The program will be arranged by Hilary Hoynes (University of California, Berkeley and NBER) and Claus Thustrup Kreiner (CEBI, CESifo and CEPR).  The conference will include about ten papers, and there will be two keynote addresses. Hilary Hoynes will speak on Current U.S. Policies around Child Poverty, including findings from a recent National Academy of Sciences report, and Richard Blundell (University College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies) will report on The Deaton Review, a multi-year study of economic inequality being conducted by the IFS.  Authors of papers presented at the conference may opt to have their manuscript considered for a special issue of the Journal of Public Economics, subject to the normal refereeing process.  

The conference organizers welcome submissions on any topic related to the general theme of economic behavior and inequality, including but not limited to:

  •  Formation of inequality in various key outcomes and the role of economic behavior
  •  Role of heterogeneity and biases in behavior and perceptions for inequality and policy effectiveness
  •  Role of family background and early-life experiences for economic behavior and disparities later in life
  •  Role of administration, benefit take-up, and compliance behavior for economic outcomes and the effectiveness of tax and transfer programs

Emphasis will be given to empirically oriented research, but applied theoretical research is also welcome.  Submissions from scholars who are early in their careers, from researchers who are not NBER affiliates, and from researchers from under-represented groups are encouraged.  In keeping with the NBER’s long-standing requirement, papers should refrain from offering policy recommendations or normative statements about policy.

Papers will be selected on the basis of abstracts of about 750 words or, when possible, completed papers.  Abstracts and/or papers may be uploaded at:


The deadline for submission is midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. Authors chosen to present papers will be notified by December 31, 2021.  

CEBI and NBER will cover the cost of economy-class travel as well as local expenses for one presenter for each paper.  Other co-authors are also welcome to attend at their own expense.  Questions about this meeting may be addressed to confer@nber.org.