Category Archives: notes

the week of seminars

This week was pretty busy: seminars, my own presentation and of course, problem sets, and especially, Chinese New Year.... Well, it worth a brief summary.

Seminars began from the past Tuesday: I skipped the boring advanced macro class and went to the labor seminar series. The presentation was:

Alessandro Tarozzi (Duke University)
"Micro-loars, Insecticide-treated Bednets and Malaria: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Orissa (India)"

Due to the reason that I may need to work on a public health/ health econ topic joint with a classmate as the final master project, I have to learn more about what they are doing in health econ. Although the presented paper was from an applied/metrics view, it was still interesting to see what problems they had met in the field works...

Another seminar was one of the recruiting one, offered by:

Speaker:    Konrad Burchardi (London school of Economics)
Title:    The Economic Impact of Social Ties: Evidence from German Reunification (with T. A. Hassan)

I should admit that I have been always curious about the job market papers: they can be downloaded from the Internet, and well-packed. How incentive compatiable they are! Moreover, I do care about this topic: social ties.... well, it was so sad that when he talked about the German history, I knew nothing and was quite confused with the process which he did not need to explain too much to other poor storage of European history knowledge! To be honest, during the seminar, I was wondering one thing: is he reading EJMR as well? From the forum, they are discussing this year's job market hotly, so there is a big chance that some of the speakers may also be a part of the readers/contributors. Woo, that would be an intersting question if their true types have been finally revealed by linking the real person with the online IDs....

Actually, just before the recruiting seminar, I gave my first (academic) presentation in class. Since it was the first time for me to present in front of a group of Ph.Ds and totally in English, I felt quite stressful  before the presentation. But it went much better than I had expected. I was pretty impressed by the active classmates - they were so kind and offered valueable comments. It automatically reminded me of the previous experience when I presented something in my undergraduate school. Nobody really cared about what I was researching. Fine... Such a sharp contrast. Maybe it is exactly the reason why that many talent researchers need to go outside of China and receive more advanced education in world leading universities: not only for the knowledge itself, but also with consideration of the environment, the people who they are going to work with. It is also exciting for me to see that our draft is growing mature and meaningful. At least, a very good and precious practice for me.

Another interesting episode:  after the seminar, I was walking with several classmates, and then we met our dear director Ciccone. He smiled to us, and suddenly said "that is impressive that you econ students  have time for seminars"... Well, yes we are pretty busy, but, I love seminars.... irreplaceable by normal lectures.

Now, I am at UAB, for the reason that today here is a workshop on network topics:

MOVE Meeting: Coalition Theory Network Workshop (16th Edition)

They have got numerous interesting papers, like

Kalyan Chatterjee:    "Word of Mouth Advertising, Credibility and Learning in Networks" (with Bhaskar Dutta)

Agnieszka Rusinowska:    "Iterating influence between players in a social network"

However, I was so tired and lazy this morning and I missed the first one... Actually, most of the papers are highly techinical, and I am not really interested in the technical tools they have used/developed in their papers. I care more about how they have applied the complex network theory to economic analysis and what they are paying attention to nowadays.

Ok. I think this summary is enough. Great week by any means. On the Chinese New Year's Eve I made dumplings for a few friends, mainly Chinese. Eh... Later tonight I need to make dumplings by hand again for my dear non-Chinese friends. Haha. Nice night awaits!

the role of economic analysis - a reconsideration

A few days ago I went to the recruitment seminar of CREI, and the speaker was Dina Pomeranz from MIT. I don't know her before, but since both Ciccone and Azmat have mentioned her to me, I didn't want to miss her speech. So I was there.

I should admit that she made an interesting presentation. Her topic was pretty attractive - it was about VAT (value added tax). The title of her paper is "No Taxation without Information", and she mainly talks about the links among upstream and downstream firms in the VAT report process. It is pretty interesting that the information transmission plays such an vital role in this reporting cycle - how can we design an experiment/mechanism to prevent those firms from cheating/collusion.

Well, instead of repeating her presentation, I would like to talk about the role of economic analysis here. An interesting question is that: where do those people go after their postgraduate study in economics? I do not have the evidence, but I think that a big proportion of those economics students will end up being an analyst - especially those positions who offered by the government.  Then, they are doing economic analysis from the government's view, and offering advice for those policy makers. Perhaps it is the first time for me to realize that what can economic analysis provide for the running of the society. We are not only building those abstract and seemly useless models, but actually contributing to the constructions of several projects. That sounds somewhat great.

Vertical Foreclosure and Risk Aversion, from Hansen and Motta

I swear it is the last time for me to go to the seminars and write posts before the final exams. Eh... But I cannot stop myself from going to this talk: first, it is from my dear micro teacher Hansen; second, it is somehow related to behavioral economics... So how can I keep on staying in my room?

As before, here is the basic information:

Vertical Foreclosure and Risk Aversion
Massimo Motta and Stephen Hansen (UPF and Barcelona GSE)
UPF Micro and Behavior Economics Seminar

Apparently, the topic was related to vertical foreclosure and risk aversion.  In his model the influence of risk aversion behaviors on principal's optimal contract choice has been considered. Although he only used typical P-A model and profit-max, the results turn to be really beautiful, especially when he generalizes the number of firms to a bigger size, and infinite.

The only thing I can think of is that if there is additional management/transaction cost when N goes lager, will there be an optimal size N? Although it is not the main point that he wants to stress, it is still somehow valuable to take in to account, since in the real world no body can ignore the transaction costs. But, anyway, his beautiful results are enough for me to enjoy~

Fine, I need to keep things short and efficient. After the exam, I will begin to work on my master project and read more papers. Hopefully it is possible to finish what I want to do in the final project in the next spring. Time always goes too fast...

Labor Market Dynamics, Persuasion

As the final exams coming, the time-budget has been more and more tight for me. I really want to go to the seminars, but there is not enough time for me to do that -- I always feel so tired....

Anyway, last Friday there was a workshop I cannot miss:

CREI-CEPR Workshop "Changes in Labor Market Dynamics"

Because Jordi Galí and Thijs van Rens, CREI and CEPR organized it.....And I'm really interested in labor market.

I listened to the first three speeches,

Demand Shocks Trigger Productivity Increases
Yan Bai, Arizona State University | W.P. Carey S. of Business, *José Víctor Ríos Rull, University of Minnesota, Kjetil Storesletten, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity
Jordi Galí, CREI, UPF & Barcelona GSE, Thijs van Rens, CREI & UPF

The Demise of Okun’s Law and of Procyclical Fluctuations in Conventional and Unconventional Measures of Productivity
Robert Gordon, Northwestern University

Eh..... Maybe due to the limit of time, they only introduced their works briefly. The problem for me is that I learned more labor related topics in a microeconomic view, not the macro one. Therefore, although the presentations were talking about labor, I still felt unfamiliar. Anyway, listening is a kind of learning and enjoying. Why not?
This afternoon was the regular microeconomics seminar, and it was

Bayesian Persuasion and Competition and Persuasion
[click here to download PDF]
Emir Kamenica (Chicago Booth School of Business)
CREI-CEPR Workshop "Changes in Labor Market Dynamics"

UPF Microeconomics Seminar

Again, I failed to catch up with all of his content. I was enjoying the first 1/3 part of his presentation, and then suddenly I realized that I cannot understand him any more. Haha... The interesting thing was not only me, but also most of the audience in the room kept silent. Nearly no questions, no discussions and answer when the speaker asked something. Haha~ Anyway, perhaps the difference between economics and business are still big, so we don't really understand what's their aim. Or the models are quite different.... I cannot find any more possible explanations. Forgive me!

Ok, this post has successfully become a normal record of my day. I don't really want to lost my feeling for economics, but the problem sets....are still there. No choice.