The Boris Mints Institute 2020 Research Webinar

The Boris Mints Institute is opening its 6th year of Activity with research webinar, which featured an opening statement from Prof. Itai Sened, head of BMI and presentations from Prof. Milette Shamir, TAU Vice President, Prof. Liat Kishon-Rabin, Dean for Innovation in Teaching on the topic of New Horizons in Research for TAU International and Innovation in Teaching and BMI Researchers and Graduating fellows on a variety of topics featuring conflict resolution, inequality and demographics.


Opening Statements

  • Prof. Itai Sened, Head of BMI and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences ​

New Horizons in Research for TAU International and Innovation in Teaching​

With the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic, universities had to find alternative methods of teaching in order to continue giving education to students. Most popular methods included teaching via ZOOM and online assignments, however it is still very different from in-class methods of teaching and learning. The pandemic had emphasized the need for innovation in both teaching and learning, which have a codependent relationship with each other. Nonetheless, as was explained during the webinar - the new situated forced by the Coronavirus creates both a challenge and an opportunity, and while the challenge seems more or less obvious - most students do have a harder time learning through online systems - there is a promising opportunity for virtual mobility of students to different institutions, being able to engage in various courses and projects which were previously inaccessible due to physical and economic limitations. This perhaps even acts to accelerate globalization to some extent. With the work being done by the TAU, both in attracting more international students and by implementing innovations in teaching and learning, it will be interesting to see how things unfold in the upcoming academic year, having learnt the lessons of the second semester of the Year 2019-2020.
  • Prof . Milette Shamir, TAU Vice President

  • Prof. Liat Kishon Rabin, Dean for Innovation in Teaching

Research Presentations: New Researchers and Graduating Fellows​

  • Psychological Interventions for Promoting Intergroup Conflict Resolution

Dr. Boaz Hameiri, Department of Public Policy

and The Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program

One of the many ways of looking at resolution of Intractable Conflicts is the psychological approach of intervening. There are different psychological barriers to attitude changes in conflict and there is a need to develop effective methods of intervention in such conflicts. One of the examples of such conflicts presented by Dr. Hameiri is the Colombian conflict, resolved in 2016, between the Colombian government and FARC guerilla forces. In terms of the barriers that appear within the framework of psychological approaches to conflict resolution, there are self-censorship and meta-perceptions. For example, negative meta-perceptions (the ways people perceive the other side) are always more negative than the reality. There are two ways of fighting such barriers in psychology: paradoxical thinking - where one changes their beliefs and attitudes; and de-biasing, which corrects one’s misperceptions and meta-perceptions through getting rid of one’s bias.

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  • Outside Options in the Labor Market

Dr. Oren Danieli, School of Economics

In the current economic situation, heavily influenced by the pandemic, it is important to understand various ongoing processes within the labor market. More job opportunities affect wages through workers finding a better match or better outside options. Availability of job opportunities could vary between different workers. It all depends on the local labor market, the worker’s willingness to commute and transferability of skills. This could generate lower wages even for equally productive workers. Women may have fewer options on average if they are less willing or able to commute. So which workers have more options? Usually it is men, who are citizens of the country with some level of higher education. By calculations of Dr. Danieli, such people earn 5% more because of more labor options through the Outside Options Index, which is determined by worker flexibility and job supply.

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  • The changing locus of lifespan inequality in the United States

Dr. Isaac Sasson, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

An important aspect of inequality is the gaps between different populations in regards to life expectancy and longevity. A look at the Gini index of age at death reveals that as life expectancy increased globally, inequality in age at death declined. However, with that in mind - the social inequalities in mortality are persistent. Mortality inequality often mirrors other dimensions of social inequality. Dr. Sasson’s research project aims to understand how social inequalities in length of life have changed over time. There is a rising significance of the Socioeconomic Status for longevity. The significance of gender (30.5% on average in some high income countries) and race (50% in the U.S.), however, is declining. Individuals having greater material and nonmaterial resources are better positioned to benefit from health-preserving technologies, information, environments and social ties especially in the era of chronic disease. Capital-rich individuals are now also rich and tend to have high human capital. Another growing phenomenon is assortative mating – a positive correlation between partners' education and earnings, when both partners work. There is a higher rate intergenerational transmission of wealth, income and human capital compared to the past, partly due to higher cost of education, lower taxation on inheritance. These factors combine to result in an increase in income inequality and longevity.

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  • A new era of radical populism in European politics a challenge or an opportunity?

Karen Umansky, Ph.D., Graduating BMI Fellow

Radical populism and radical parties in general are on the rise globally, but particularly in European states. So what accounts for the success of New Radical Parties (NRPs)? Karen Umansky, Ph.D. proposes that is the “legitimate enemy” strategy - NRPs utilize antagonistic articulation of public concerns, i.e. enemies in their political agendas and translate them into threats that are believed to endanger the collective identity of the people, thus legitimizing their existence. It begins with a public concern that the parties in power do not pay much attention to, that is then included in a radical party’s agenda, presenting the legitimate enemy. This is due to the rise in public concerns on issues of Terrorism and Immigration between 2013 and 2017, resulting into the Alternative for Germany (AfD) becoming the third biggest party in the country. Germany is not the only country that is experiencing this phenomenon in Europe, hence it needs to be paid close attention to as radical populism is the opposite of liberal democratic governments.

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