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PhD defense (Janos Karoly Divenyi): Three Essays on Causal Effects: Identification in a Novel Setting and Two Empirical Studies

Budapest campus
Monday, October 26, 2020, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm


The Department of Economics and Business cordially invites you to the online Public Defense of the PhD Dissertation
Janos Karoly Divenyi
Three Essays on Causal Effects: Identification in a Novel Setting and Two Empirical Studies

Members of the Defense Committee:
Supervisor: Robert Lieli (CEU)
External member: Gabor Korosi (KRTK KTI)
Internal member: Gabor Bekes (CEU)

Chair: Andrea Weber (CEU)



The thesis consists of three chapters on causal effects: in each of them I aim to deepen our understanding about causal relationships. In the first chapter I investigate how we can identify causal effects from adaptively collected data which is becoming more and more widespread in the modern on-line world. Running Monte-Carlo simulations I illustrate how adaptivity biases the standard treatment effect estimators and I recommend a new strategy that balances between the decision-maker’s welfare and estimation goals. The remaining two chapters are empirical studies aimed at estimating causal effects in two policy-relevant settings. In the second chapter I examine the effect of retirement on cognitive performance, taking a unifying approach by replicating previous studies and tracing back the differences in their results to various identification problems. I propose a new identification strategy that suggests that the effect is close to zero. In the third chapter (co-authored with Sandor Sovago) we study the effect of elite schools on competency scores using non-parametric bound identification. Our results show that the effect is heterogenous being more expressed for high ability students; this result has important implications for the validity of previous studies that mainly estimate the effect around the admission cutoffs exploiting the discontinuity.


For further information, contact Veronika Orosz, program coordinator (