research

ERC Consolidator Grants awarded to Profs. Libertad González and Gaël Le Mens

A total of 22 competitive grants from the European Research Council have been awarded to current Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors.

Two Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors have been awarded ERC Consolidator Grants in the latest call from the European Research Council. They are Prof. Libertad González (UPF and Barcelona GSE) for her project, "The Causal Effect of Public Policy and Income on Child Health and Human Capital," and Prof. Gaël Le Mens (UPF and Barcelona GSE), for his project, "The Implications of Selective Information Sampling for Individual and Collective Judgments."

European Research Council Consolidator Grants are awarded to talented researchers with 7-12 years of experience who want to establish their research teams and continue developing a successful career in Europe. Grant proposals are evaluated by selected international peer reviewers on the basis of excellence as the sole criterion. The selection is very competitive, with only 13% of projects selected out of 2,538 submitted to this year's call for Consolidator grants.

As the President of the ERC, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, explained, "The funding will encourage these mid-career scientists to explore further the unknown and develop their most daring ideas at their own initiative. By leaving them freedom, the ERC is enabling breakthroughs. This conditions the capacity of Europe to respond to a number of challenges and to improve the lives of its citizens if the appropriate policies are adopted."

Current Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors at all stages of their research careers have received a total of 22 ERC grants:

  • 9 ERC Starting Grants for promising researchers just establishing their careers
  • 7 ERC Consolidator Grants for mid-career researchers
  • 6 ERC Advanced Grants for established research leaders

Full list of ERC Grant recipients and projects in the Barcelona GSE research community


About the new ERC projects

Libertad González, "The Causal Effect of Public Policy and Income on Child Health and Human Capital"

faculty

Professor González plans to study the effects of early shocks on health and human capital formation during childhood. She will do so by taking advantage of several natural experiments in a country, Spain, for which high quality administrative data are available for the past 35 years. State of the art econometric techniques, combined with large sample sizes, will allow her to evaluate credibly and precisely the causal effects of a number of different public policies and shocks on child development.

Professor González will consider five different “shocks” in early childhood, affecting: i) Household material resources (an unconditional mother’s allowance); ii) Parental time (subsidized paternity leave); iii) Medical treatments around birth (elective delivery); iv) The availability of family planning services (access to abortion); and v) Aggregate demand shocks to different sectors of the economy.

She will evaluate their impact on health and cognitive development at ages 0-15. She will also study the potential channels linking treatments to child outcomes. Her results will help us understand how shocks in early life can have long-term effects on human capital, with direct policy implications.

Gaël Le Mens, "The Implications of Selective Information Sampling for Individual and Collective Judgments"

faculty

The polarization of attitudes across social groups is at the root of crucial challenges faced by our societies such as the rise of nationalism or populist ideologies. Professor Le Mens will study the mechanisms leading to such attitude polarization.

His project will combine insights from psychology, sociology and economics to understand how the way we select information shapes beliefs and attitudes. This project is timely, because social media are quickly transforming how people access information. Social media are making it easier for people to be exposed to news sources that agree with their opinions. And they can easily avoid information that questions or goes against their views. Professor Le Mens will try to explain how these patterns of information consumption facilitated by social media affect individual and collective attitudes.

His results will help understand phenomena that range from the impact of fake news to the persistence of negative stereotypes toward social groups that are different from our owns.


Media coverage

ERC press release

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