Presentations - PhD students - EM - third year

6 October 2020
Versione stampabile

9.30 AM, Laboratory 4 - Doctoral School of Social Sciences, via Verdi 26

To book your place, please contact school.socialsciences [at]

  • Valeria Fanghella

Behavioral intervention to conserve energy in the workplace: A difference-in-difference approach
Together with Giovanna D’Adda (University of Milan), Massimo Tavoni (Politecnico di Milano)


This study investigates the effect of a large-scale behavioral intervention to conserve energy in the workplace, consisting of an energy-saving competition among a bank’s branches. More than 500 branches are involved, for an intervention period of one year. Using a difference-in-difference estimation, we find that the competition significantly reduces monthly energy consumption outside the work schedule. However, this effect is not strong enough to affect total consumption. Moreover, we do not find any heterogeneity in program effect depending on branch characteristics. Our results stress the importance of considering contextual characteristics when implementing behavioral programs and suggest caution in their application in the workplace.
Keywords: Behavioral intervention; Energy conservation; Workplace; Difference-in-difference; Energy efficiency

  • Austeja Kazemekaityte

Weak in Control, Strong in Procrastination: a Study on Perception of Control and Intertemporal Preferences


Feeling of control is a fundamental component of psychological well-being. Differences in its perceived level affect cognition and behaviour in numerous ways. Moreover, the sole act of remembering a situation of (no) control has been shown to activate the concept of control in one’s mind, which in turn triggers certain cognitive and behavioural patterns. Certain decisions such as saving, investment in education or health, decision to commit to work now to avoid missing deadlines later, require more future orientation. If experience or memories of the low control situation affect intertemporal preferences, this implies that individuals experiencing such situations will exhibit biases in their decision making.
This work delves deeper in the relation of perceived control and intertemporal preferences. Previous works have indicated that those who feel in control exhibit more patience when choosing whether to receive less money now or more money later. Through an online experiment we seek to distinguish between different types of control and different domains of temporal discounting. We raise a hypothesis that recollection of social and non-social situations in addition to different levels – low vs high - of control can produce different emotional responses, which in turn affect choices in time differently. Moreover, in this study we seek to distinguish between discounting in different domains - money and effort. With this work we contribute to the discussion on how the concept of control impacts everyday decision making, in particular, the potential channels through which it influences intertemporal decisions. Results of this work can be informative to policy makers: as certain groups (e.g., those of low socioeconomic status or undergoing temporary hardships) may be more prone to experiencing low control situations, our findings can suggest how to administer non-monetary incentives that can strengthen person’s perception of control and thus avoid biased decision making. 

  • Lucia Pederiva

Trading-off flexibility: Contingent workers or human resource practices? A neo-configurational approach

Together with Andrea Signoretti (Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento) and Enrico Zaninotto (Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento)


Although atypical work has been proven to hinder firms from competing in higher segments of markets and to reduce labor productivity, companies still hire atypical workers in order to gain flexibility in case of unfavorable market conditions. The characteristics of jobs that lead to the deployment of atypical workers have previously only been considered individually. Using a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis technique, we analyzed interviews with managers of Italian firms belonging to the service sector to identify configurations that limit the deployment of atypical workers. A limited use of atypical workers is found not only among firm-specific and complex tasks but also when firms adopt human resource management and organizational practices aimed at increasing internal flexibility for routine and non-specific tasks. Firms can take advantage of a stable workforce by using organizational flexibility as an alternative to labor market flexibility.

Keywords: Contingent workers; Human capital theory; Job design; Working time; Qualitative comparative analysis