Category Archives: notes

Last one in UPF

Yesterday I went to one conference, which may be the last one for me in UPF:

CREI-CEPR Conference on Institutions and International Capital Flows

As the usual CREI-CEPR style, it was pretty macro. I went for the first two in the first day:

Financial Regulation, Financial Globalization and the Synchronization of Economic Activity


The Flight Home Effect: Evidence from the Syndicated Loan Market During Financial Crises

Macro, finance and econometrics... this combination defines my feeling - could not really understand many things. Yes, in some sense these topics are interesting, and financial crisis is worth paying attention to, but to what extend are those researches replicable...

Oh, one point I should mention here. The second one mentioned the "flight home effect", which was a new term to me. As operators of modern financial system, and one industry, the banks always attract special focus...It was nice to know their operations and some associated phenomena 🙂

Getting Close to China!

I don't know why, but recent days I have seen so many papers on China - both from the historical and modern perspectives. Today I was so lucky to enjoy Noam Yuchtman's presentation on two of his papers:

“Teaching to the Tests: An Economic Analysis of Educational Institutions in Late Imperial and Republican China”

“Intergenerational Mobility and Institutional Change in 20th Century China” (with Yuyu Chen and Suresh Naidu)

Both of them are revelant to education, but from differnet angles. The first one focus on the historical sharp change in the education system (the abolishment of the traditional system, 科举制度), and the establishment of modern studies on polyscience in China. He uses the individual level data of employees from the Tianjin- Pukou railway company and checks the difference in wages and departments among people with different educatoin backgrounds. The second one exams the intergenerational mobility regarding the insituitional change during the 1949 (the establishment of the People's republic of China) to the 1978 (the reform). That is really interesting...

The Jinpu Railway actually passes Jinan, haha! However, it is a shame that the old Jinan railway station was deconstructed in 1992! I have never seen the real building in my life!!! Here is just a photo as a momory.

A few days ago I also read an article related to Chinese people, and it is a doctoral thesis of Xiaohuan Lan:

Permanent Visas and Temporary Jobs: Evidence from Postdoctoral Participation of Foreign PhDs in the U.S. (2009)

The Prevalence of Low-Paid Postdoctoral Positions: The Impact of Foreign PhDs on the Wage of Natives. (2010)

Visa Policies and Research Productivity of Postdocs in the U.S. (2011)

The brief introduction from the  author is available in Chinese on his blog. As you can read from the title, it is about the Green Card and the post-doc market. In the labor market it is always interesting to see the impact of policy changes.

OK.... Overall, it is always nice to enjoy great papers answering interesting questions. Acutally I'm also writing a paper on China now. It is about an innovatoin in the financial system in the ancient China. Hopefully I can get some intersting results! Although most time I care about social network, or theories, it is also great to have the chance to do a research on CHINA! With so many great historical records, I don't really understand why there are comparably only a few papers...hence, no matter how little my contribution is, I would like a try!

note on beliefs and expectation

Yesterday and today I spend several hours on the conference held by Crei,

Information, Beliefs and Expectations in Macroeconomics

20 & 21 May 2011

Organized by Kristoffer Nimark (CREI & UPF) and Bartosz Maćkowiak (European Central Bank).

To be honest, I have waited for the conference for a while, as I was writing things on beliefs and expectations. However, this conference is a little bit out of my expectation - so again, my expectations deviates from the truth. My poor background in macro is definitely not enough to support me for understanding the presentations, and among all of them, I picked a few to stay and thus make myself confused. They were:

Exogenous Information, Endogenous Information, and Optimal Monetary Policy
Luigi Paciello | Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance
*Mirko Wiederholt | Northwestern University
Discussant: Jordi Galí | CREI & Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Learning about Consumption Dynamics
Michael Johannes | Columbia U., Columbia Business School
Lars Lochstoer | Columbia U., Columbia Business School
*Yiqun Mou | Columbia U., Columbia Business School
Discussant: Francisco Barillas | Emory U., Goizueta Business S.

Public’s Inflation Expectations and Monetary Policy
Leonardo Melosi | London Business School
Discussant: Francesco Bianchi | Duke University

Just as I had expected, it was too easy for me to get lost in these presentations. In a few minutes I got the feeling that I don't know what's going on so ever. well...Except for the fantastic graphs I have seen, I haven't gained much intuition from them.

A noteworthy point is in Mou's presentation, he empirically showed the convergence to rational expectation. I should admit I don't really understand the techniques he utilized, and so are the debates afterwards. After his presentation, I talked to him with the learning process a little bit, but haven't benefited a lot... there is still a long way to go.

Also, I found another interesting book to read,

1587, a year of no significance : the Ming dynasty in decline / Ray Huang

Very nice book on history. I really treasure this period of time that I have got enough space to read and think across different subjects. As planned before, I also found Keynes' book,

A Treatise on probability

Things are so beautiful!

Fresh Economics History

This term I'm taking "International Economics History" - although there is the word "international economics" in the title of the course, actually it is all about growth. Remember last time when I went to  Barcelona GSE “Trobada” VIII, the teacher, Davide Cantoni, stands out among all speakers... so impressed! Well, now I can say that I have waited for this course for half a year, haha!

Yesterday I also went to his seminar (partly for the free sandwich~), it was

Date: 06/04/2011
Speaker: Davide Cantoni (UPF)
Title: Clueless? The Impact of Television on Consumption Behavior (with Leo Bursztyn)

as well as another following seminar on economics history today

Date: 07/04/2011
Speaker: James Fenske (Oxford)
Title: Ecology, trade and states in pre-colonial Africa

From this two seminars, I can feel that a fresh trend of econometrics-based economics history is blooming. Recall that this year's job market star from UPF, Peter Koudijs, who writes a paper "The Boats that did not sail. News, Trading and Asset Price Volatility in a Natural Experiment", is focusing on analyze and provide insights of modern economic research from the historical view. I think that is how people should (re)define economics history now. The traditional economics history, e.g. what I learned in China at the undergraduate level, is all about how the economic theories evolve. From the ancestor Adam Smith, to the recent mainstream guys, that's what the course can tell me. In contrast, the economics history course I'm learning now is all about how to support your theory from the historical view - which reminds me the famous Chinese saying that “History is a mirror that reflects the vicissitude of life (以史为镜,可以知兴替)”。BTW, I'm a kind of feeling now that China can really draw people's eyeballs. Today in another class, the professor quoted Confucius'

By three methods we may learn wisdom:  First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Well, I really need to search for it...and it turns out to be


Oh well... OK, if it means that.... I'm pretty confused now.

Davide Canton's speech was about an natural experiment, the reunion of west and east Germany, and its influence on television signals. Pretty interesting idea and nice paper. On the other hand, James Fenske shows me how to utilize the modern econometrics methods with historical evidence and from then on, how can it provide insights to those unclear questions in economic theories. Notable, he is such a careful research! Have a look at his robustness check part - so impressive!

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and
third by experience, which is the bitterest.