CIDER

The Centre for Innovative Data in Economics Research (CIDER) is a hub for data-driven research.

CIDER fosters innovative data-intensive research focused on economics and related fields. The centre creates and supports unique opportunities for faculty and students to engage in new data uses to uncover insights about the economy, society, and the environment.

Work with Us

We offer the following support to our researchers:

  • Liaise around UBC and in the community to solve administrative problems for researchers
  • Facilitate and support existing initiatives and explore ways to foster new collaboration
  • Assist with the administrative preparation of grant proposals
  • Help communicate economics research at UBC and beyond, thereby maximizing its impact
  • Provide service to launch and administer future inter-university initiatives
  • Ensure students access training opportunities and build experience with research projects

Small Grant Projects

Economic growth and socio-economic well-being depends on the essential interaction between workers and employers. Data collected will shed new information on wage growth, inequality, and employment, and its relationship to other societal forces such as migration, demographic and cultural change, and economic booms and recessions.

Worker Heterogeneity and Firm Productivity

Siwan Anderson
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project will be a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to study the impact of ethnic heterogeneity (religion and caste) on team production in a large firm that produces packaged bakery products in West Bengal, India. This study will show whether greater integration at the workplace can positively affect perception, reduce existing prejudice, and impact productivity.

Linking the Longitudinal Worker File to the Employment Insurance Status Vector

Thomas Lemieux
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The proposal is to link the Employment Insurance Status Vector and the Longitudinal Worker File. This will help understand a range of novel and policy-relevant research questions about unemployment behaviour and the labour market that is not answerable with either data set separately.

Income Inequality, Wage Rates and the Returns to Education: Trends and Cross-Country Comparisons

Florian Hoffmann
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project aims to study the rise of income and wealth inequality by quantifying the contribution of the increase in labour income inequality to the increase in total income inequality over the last five decades using data from four major economies – the US, the UK, France and Germany.

Low Entrepreneurial Intent and the Legacy of Indentured Mining Labour in South Africa

Thomas Lemieux
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This study proposes to test the hypothesis that the low levels of self-employment and informal sector activity in contemporary South Africa can be linked to the legacy of labour recruitment in South Africa's gold mining industry by combining historical recruitment data with contemporary, geo-coded survey data to estimate the long run impact of the centralized mining recruitment on contemporary self-employment.

Network Structure of Labour Markets

David Green
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Labour economists typically define markets by occupation, industry, and geography. However, workers

frequently transition across these categories. This project will use to use a combination of restricted administrative data and back-end data from online job boards to identify labour markets defined by the network of worker transitions.

Economic Development and Labor Market Dynamics in the British Empire

Florian Hoffmann
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Digitized internal personnel data of the bureaucrats of the British Empire for the years 1863 to 1966 (including all former colonies but India) will be matched with the historical colony-year socioeconomic and political outcomes to study the dynamic decision making and allocation process of colonial administrators in the defunct British Empire and link it to colonies' past and present performances.

Online Labor Market Efficiency and Algorithmic Recommendations

Gene Lee
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This project will use field experiments and structural estimation, to estimate the changes in market efficiency when algorithmic recommendations are offered to all market participants. The study will also measure the effect of recommendations on the well-documented human biases and find whether they are corrected or amplified by the algorithms in the long run.

Job Creation Impacts of Immigration

David Green
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Using administrative data for all the immigrants who arrived in Canada after 2000, the impact on job creation will be measured. This study will suggest how migration plays a role in job creations and how does it fit the model in which an increase in the available number of workers makes it easier for entrepreneurs to try out new ideas.

How do Bank Bailout Affect Firm Decisions? Evidence from Danish Banks and their Customers

Rajesh Vijayaraghavan
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

Detailed bank and firm-level data building on administrative data will be used to study the relationship between banks and the firms that they lend to, particularly when the banks faced a credit crunch during the financial crisis. This will help understand the determinants of banks that applied for a bailout and the firm responses to their banks receiving the bailout from the government.

Data collected on market and industry provide important insights to firm owners, policymakers and other stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding the impacts of infrastructure investment, legislative statutes, and socioeconomic resource management at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Market Power and Investment Stimulus

Terry (Seok Min) Moon
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project studies the effects of firms' market power on their investment responses to corporate/capital tax cuts by putting together innovative (unique and big) propriety data sets. Quantifying the magnitude of market power as a channel for investment responses would be key for designing effective tax policies and studying the role of market power on firm dynamics.

Two-sided Heterogeneity and Sorting in the US Retail Industry

Keith Head
Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This project deals with consumer heterogeneity and the effect of trade on market structure and aggregated productivity. The goal of the study is to measure the consumer implications of international trade.

Spending Effectiveness and Sources of Revenue: Evidence from DRC Savings Groups

Munir Squires
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The project aims to seek an answer as to why poor countries have weak and ineffectual states. Using a small experimental group in Congo author will conduct an experiment to test general public perception towards taxation and government spending.

Gender, Race, and Entrepreneurship: A Randomized Field Experiment on Venture Capitalists and Angels

Will Gornall
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

The proposal aims to study the impact of gender and race in high‐impact entrepreneurship using a tightly controlled random field experiment. The proposal will study the evidence and causes of gender discrimination in high-impact entrepreneurship.

Nutrition over the Business Cycle: the Effects of Recessions on the Distribution of Nutritional Intake

Giovanni Gallipoli
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project aims to quantify the effects of income fluctuations on the nutritional content of food consumed at home in a large panel of households. The study will describe demographic and geographic variation in the quality of food intake and develop a simple model of households' shopping over the business cycle.

Prices in Emerging Market Economies: Theory and Evidence from India

Viktoriya Hnatkovska
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This proposal is to build a micro-level price database for a large emerging economy, India. The database would be novel and would help address several questions related to price setting, monetary policy, inequality and responses to shocks in an emerging economy.

Empirical Studies of Regulated Energy Markets

Margaret Slade
Professor emeritus, Vancouver School of Economics

Large data set that contains detailed information about US and Canadian natural gas and electricity markets will be used to study natural gas pipeline rates and capacity releases. This project will also undertake new research on contracting in natural gas markets, local marginal pricing in electricity markets, and investigating the historical determinants of peak electricity demand.

Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas

Valencia C Felipe
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Aim of the project is to study the importance of technology and innovation for economic growth. This study will provide the first systematic historical evidence on the role of engineers in supporting technological adoption and structural transformation in the US.

Investment Behaviour and Heterogeneous Financial Policy, Evidence from Canada

Kevin Milligan
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This study will test the theory of corporate taxation and investment behaviour for Canada. This will help to understand the differences in the long-run investment decisions of small and large firms.

The Effects of Exchange Rates on Cross-Border Economic Activity

Michael Devereux
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Database of retail prices and quantities for the US economy will be used to explore the impact of exchange rate fluctuations within areas close to the US border with Canada and Mexico, using a structural model of firm entry, product choice, pricing, and sales. The methodology will allow a precise measure of the impact of exchange rates within a narrow geographical area and to infer the importance of trade costs at the local level.

New Product Development and Mergers and Acquisitions: Insights from the USPTO Trademark Data

Kai Li
Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

The proposed research will employ novel trademark data from the US Patent and Trademark Office to shed light on the sources of synergistic gains in Merger & Acquisitions and their differential effects on new product development of acquirers and target firms.

Platform Competition: Mobilizing Complementors by Creating Social Foci

David Clough
Assistant Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This study will examine whether a developer's exposure to a company's programming tools at a coding event affects their subsequent adoption of these tools. Co-adoption of different platforms' tools will be further examined to study the interdependences between platforms. This will help to understand the economics of digitization and the implementation of platform-based strategies.

Investment and Uncertainty with Time to Build: An Application to US Natural Gas Pipelines

Paul Schrimpf
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Consequences of uncertainty for investment in a regulated industry that involves construction concerning the US Natural Gas Pipelines will be assessed. Publicly available data will be collected and annotated. The study will help investigate the effects of regulation on investment and help make informed policy decisions.

Does Climate Change Affect Real Estate Prices? Only If You Believe In It

Marcus Baldauf
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This project aims to use new data to empirically test whether real estate valuations reflect these differences in beliefs. Data on local projections of expected sea-level rise and beliefs of the US population on climate change will be used to investigate this link.

Blockchain and Intellectual Property

Yi Qian
Associate professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

Intellectual property has become one of the fundamental drivers of a firm's overall success, which serves as a platform for new product development and signals new product development to financial markets. This proposal will study the impact of Blockchain technology on incentives to innovate and engage in entrepreneurial activities.

Multinationals and the Welfare Consequences of Market Concentration

Vanessa Alviarez
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

In recent years' evidence suggests that market power is on the rise. This research proposal research proposal intends to bring a new set of evidence to the issue of rising market power, viewed through the lens of a tractable oligopoly model that has recently been usefully applied in other contexts.

Individuals with their relationships and beliefs define the society in which they live. New data and innovative methods will provide an opportunity to observe relationships and their impact on political, social and cultural behaviour and the subsequent impact on economic growth and development.

Distributional Health Consequences of Wildfire Air Pollution

Patrick Baylis
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Understanding the distributional consequences of air pollution is a fundamental input into health care and tax policy. This project will investigate the effect of air pollution on human health and healthcare utilization, and examine how these effects differ across socioeconomic status (SES) groups, and identify the underlying mechanisms driving these differences.

Collateral Damage: The Legacy of the Laos Secret War

Juan Felipe Riaño
PhD candidate in economics

The US conducted a "Secret War" in Laos from 1964-1973, making it the most heavily bombed country per capita in human history. This project documents the negative long-term impact of conflict on economic and social development, using highly disaggregated data on bombing campaigns and nighttime satellites.

Census Linking: A Bounds Approach

Sam Hwang
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project proposes a new 'bounding' method to link large-scale datasets that lack unique identifiers. The aim is to study the bias created by sample selection when using historical US Census data in applied empirical work.

Meritocratic Promotion during China's Corruption Crackdown

Patrick Francois
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The study aims to understand how meritocratic promotion affected China's GDP before and after the 2012 corruption crackdown.

A Large Procurement Auctions Data Set as a Source of Identification

David Green
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The objective of this project is to obtain a large administrative data set. It contains firm-specific quasi-experimental shocks that will be useful in the study of labour markets and firm behaviour.

The Real Effects of Accounting Measurement

Alexander Bleck
Assistant Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This project deals with the use of innovative regulatory data to test a theory of bank Regulation. The theory explains the contribution of accounting standards in the banking sector to the financial crisis.

Developing a Public Archive of Choice Data to Support Modeling of Individual Differences in Investment Risk Tolerance

Dale Griffin
Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

In this study, researchers propose working with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to measure the risk attitudes of a sample of investors working with financial investors to develop a retirement investment plan. The goal is to create a choice-based measure that is relatively brief and simple.

Trust Unraveled: The Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War

Valencia C Felipe
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project aims to study the impact of the Spanish Civil War on social capital, using geo-located data on historical mass graves and disaggregated modern-day survey data on trust.

Nepotism and State Capacity Building Family Networks and the persistence of Bureaucrats in the Public Service

Juan Felipe Riaño
PhD candidate in Economics
Supervisor: Francesco Trebbi

This project will focus on the role of family networks and nepotism in the formation and persistence of bureaucratic elites in developing countries. This study will help to study the determinants of state capacity and the functioning of bureaucracies in developing countries.

Local Council Elections in Uganda

Siwan Anderson
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

For the first time since 2002, local-level democratic elections will be held this summer in rural Uganda. One unique component of this election is the voting procedure. This project will conduct an observational study of this unique election process.

What Does Health Insurance Insure? Evidence From Big Data on Insurer Coverage Decisions

Joshua Gottlieb
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Health care is a complicated business, which makes health insurance a complex part of insurance. Health insurers have to make complex coverage decisions, and there are no research studies available to study these coverage decisions. This study will use innovative methods with big data to understand insurance coverage decisions in the US which can be applied within Canadian provinces as well.

Cousin Marriage in the US.

Munir Squires
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The cross-country correlation between rates of cousin marriage and economic and political outcomes is strongly negative. Causation is unclear, but cousin marriage may impede integration, societal trust, and political participation by sustaining tightly knit clan structures. This proposal will study this question by exploiting US state-level legislation banning cousin marriage in the 19th and early 20th century.

Census Linkage and Longitudinal Data: 1900-40

Henry Siu
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The purpose of the project is to create longitudinal data for the US between 1900-1940 by linking individuals across decennial US Censuses that are now available in their entirety. This will allow researchers to study mobility—geographical, occupational, intergenerational—during the early 20th century.

Data Science and Scientific Computing Infrastructure for Classes and Research

Jesse Perla
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project will help to help build and host a data-science course intended to have its own course-code in the new "technical" stream bachelors; provide computational infrastructure for the PhD class; and to provide computational infrastructure for Julia/Python/R to "democratize" access to the Compute Canada cluster.

How Trust, Beliefs and Information Help Institutions Work: Field Experiments on ROSCAs in the Congo

Patrick Francois
Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The importance of institutions is a central topic of economic development. Despite this importance, little is understood about what makes institutions function better in some settings than in others. We propose to test the effect of pro-social values (such as trust or altruism) in the functioning of a common and economically relevant institution.

Longitudinal Data on Academic Careers

Marit Rehavi
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project will use CV data of the individuals from EconJobMarket (EJM) and from PhD economists' subsequent CVs into a longitudinal data set of the careers of every economist who's received a PhD in North America since 2009. These data will be paired with job application data from EJM to create a complete data set of initial conditions at the time of the job market and early career outcomes. This study will help to match and to test for gender disparities.

The Health Consequences of Coal-Fired Power Plants: Evidence from the Fracking Revolution

Joshua Gottlieb
Associate Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Innovative machine learning techniques will be used to determine the consequences of the shift from coal to natural gas, due to the fracking revolution, on the air quality. Further effects of changing air pollution will be measured on illness, hospitalization, and mortality among the Medicare population.

Testing the No Safety School Theorem Using Field Data

Sam Hwang
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Administrative data set from Ontario Universities' application Centre would be used to test whether high school students' choice of college application portfolios is consistent with the No Safety School Theorem. These findings would have implications for researchers who model simultaneous search problems and researchers interested in post-secondary education.

Natural Language Processing for Economic Research: Defending Against Air Pollution in Delhi

Patrick Baylis
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Natural language processing of geo-located statements on social media in combination with data from recently deployed pollution monitors will be used to estimate the extent to which localized information on environmental threats is incorporated into households' daily activity choices. This study will uncover hidden relationships between social media content such as tweets and local unemployment conditions.

Since when did Education Matter: A Study of 19th Century English Education

Mauricio Drelichman
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project will study the effects of education on intergenerational mobility, using British census and parish school data from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Probabilistic matching, big data methods, and optical character recognition software will be used to link census records and parish education data. This information would be useful to study the relationship between education and labour market outcomes.

The Evolution of Wealth Inequality in Canada between 1982 and 2014: A New Perspective Based on Newly Combined Data on Assets and Liabilities

Giovanni Gallipoli
Associate professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The objective of this project is to characterize both the level and evolution of wealth (net worth) inequality in Canada between 1982 and 2014. It will further examine its effects on different groups based on gender, age, family structure, region of residence, income, and portfolio composition. It will provide a detailed overview of the distribution of net worth within Canada.

Innovative Use of Data for Better Gatekeeping in Emergency Department

Yichuan (Daniel) Ding
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

The decision to admit an emergency department (ED) visitor to the inpatient units or discharged home is constantly being made by the ED doctors every day. This proposal will study some non-clinical factors that help guide those decisions.

Firms play a critical role in mediating the effects of trade on the economy through the flow of goods and services. The new detailed data on firms, products, and trade will allow us to ask important questions about firms engaged in trade and investment.

Measuring Trade in Value‐Added with Firm‐level Data

Ken Kikkawa
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

Global Value Chains have been central in economic policy debates. Yet, a key concept-trade in value-added is likely mismeasured because of aggregation bias stemming from the reliance on sectoral input‐output tables. The study will use Belgian administrative data on domestic firm‐to‐firm sales to study this bias.

Nepotism, Need, and Negligence: Why do so many firms in Africa hire kin?

Jamie McCasland
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

A large share of employees in African firms are non-household relatives of the owner. This project will test the hypothesis that firm owners hire kin to provide economic support to family despite being less productive than non-kin using a large-scale Universal Basic Income project in Kenya. This is the first study of its kind to identify a "shock" to kinship taxation rates.

Kinship Taxation and Firm Growth: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania

Munir Squires
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Requests from extended family for financial support are pervasive for successful African entrepreneurs, and evidence suggests some go to great lengths to avoid them. One way to avoid fulfilling such requests is by simply limiting the scale of one's business. This study aims to estimate the extent of this behaviour and its cost using a combination of lab and field experiments in Tanzania.

On the Boundary of the Firm: Firm-to-Firm Production Network Data Combined with Employer-Employee Data

Ken Kikkawa
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This project will analyze the firm's boundary and provide a view of production that is integrated over all suppliers of the firm and over all workers of the suppliers by combining two datasets in Belgium.

Cross-Border Intra-Firm Trade and the Propagation of Idiosyncratic Shocks

Vanessa Alviarez
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This project aims to study how ownership linkages in international production networks affect the transmission of trade shocks which was highlighted during the recent turbulent renegotiation of NAFTA.

Understanding the Relationship between Credit Ratings of Firms and the Credit Risk of their Banks

Rajesh Vijayaraghavan
Assistant professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

This proposal aims to find the relationship between credit risk information disclosed in the financial statements of banks and the credit ratings of the firms that they have a lending relationship.

Unpacking Costs of Switching Sectors

Tomasz Swiecki
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Black-box costs of switching sectors denoted in utility terms are frequently used to rationalize observed differences in residual wages across sectors. Machine learning techniques will be used to detailed household survey data to find patterns associated with restricted worker mobility. These results will inform follow-up research developing a model with endogenous switching costs.

Worker Effort and Kinship Taxation: Experimental Evidence from the DRC

Munir Squires
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The ability of firms to incentivize effort may be limited if their workers are `taxed' by their kin. Evidence from field experiments suggests that unlike in developed countries, workers in developing countries are unresponsive to incentive pay. This study will provide the first direct measure in a natural setting of the costs of this type of distortion, 'kinship taxation'.

Vancouver School of Economics Professors David Green, Kevin Milligan, Thomas Lemieux, Nicole Fortin, and Erik Snowberg

This project evaluates a Basic Income as a policy tool; we need first to identify the goals advanced by advocates of the approach. The Basic Income is a radical policy tool (though elements of it are already present in current policies), and various proponents have articulated four goals:

  1. Reducing or eliminating poverty by providing a guaranteed floor level of income through unconditional cash transfers.
  2. Restructuring society to both affect redistribution in the face of a poorly operating labour market and allow workers to choose types of work that are more rewarding, creative, and potentially, add more to the community.
  3. Eliminating the cumbersome, stigmatizing, demeaning, and intrusive aspects of the current welfare system and easing enrollment and maximizing take-up of benefits.
  4. Eliminating various cash and in-kind social programs and the associated administrative cost and bureaucracy.

Database of Political Institutions Technical Proposal

Cesi Cruz
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

The Database of Political Institutions is a key tool for research into the political economy of development, covering more than 100 political and institutional characteristics of more than 100 countries, with yearly data since 1975. This project is to expand the coverage of the Database of Political Institutions.

Selection and Impact of Modern Industrial Employment: Experimental Evidence from a Garment Factory in Tanzania

Munir Squires
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

Foreign firms and foreign direct investments are crucial to developing low-income countries: they stimulate structural transformation from agricultural to industrial production, foster technological transfers, and disseminate advanced managerial practices. This study will inform firms' design of a combination of screening criteria, incentives, training, and social complementarity to increase the quality of matches between modern manufacturing sector firms and workers in low-income countries.

Open-Source Software and Online Textbooks in Quantitative and Computational Economics

Jesse Perla
Assistant professor, Vancouver School of Economics

This project is to create an open-source, interactive web and cloud-based textbook that is believed to be the first of its kind for economics and data science. The textbook is a series of lectures that combine computer programming with data science and scientific computing and applies these topics across various economic applications.

Annual World Happiness Report

John Helliwell
Professor emeritus, Vancouver School of Economics

World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. For the first time, the World Happiness Report 2020 ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.


Message from the Director

CIDER supports work that breaks new ground to combine the data science of statistics, computational methods, and machine learning with the social science of economics. This innovative research uses big data to ask big questions about the world we live in and where we’re headed.

As a leader in data-driven economics research, our centre is at the forefront of this emerging academic field. I am excited that as a centre, we can offer the support, resources, and network for faculty and students to take their research to the next level.

We welcome opportunities to collaborate with researchers and institutions through grant-giving, conferences, workshops, exchanges, and visits.

Our funding is generously provided by the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) Program, and I would invite you to learn more about the unique work we do with your visit to this page.

Thank you for stopping by.

–  Dr. Kevin Milligan, CIDER Academic Director


Who We Are

Dr. Erik Snowberg Scientific Director
Dr. Kevin Milligan Academic Director
Jay Shankar Operations Manager
Vivian Lee Administrative Support
Corey Allen Communications Mgr.

Pre & Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdocs

Name Time
Peifan Wu Sept 2019 - August 2022
Steven Wu Sept 2020 - August 2021

Predocs

Current:

Name Time
Xianya Zhou June 2020 – May 2022
Alim Faraji Oct 2020 – March 2022
Ellen Munroe Aug 2020 – Aug 2022
Everett Stamm Sept. 2021 – Sept 2022
Jordan Hutchings Sept. 2021 – Sept 2022

Past:

Name Time
Wa Tim (Oscar) Chan September 2018 - June 2020
Ahn Chiyoung May 2018 - June 2020
Arnav Sood June 2018 - May 2020
Daniel J. Sonnenstuhl March 2019 - February 2020

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