Tag Archives: barcelona

the cry of the sky

Today Barcelona rained again. Throughout the rain, I can feel the cry of the sky. Yes, the sky cried for me, instead of me... How many clouds do they need to cry like this? Peaceful, but endless...

I have cried for the past four days... actually today I decided not to cry anymore, then met a song, and then tears just fell... I don't like that, but unfortunately, nothing could have stopped it.

When the sky cried, I realized that there was no need for me to contribute my tears anymore. The city is crying...

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That's Tirole

You know you will not be able to understand some big guys' speech, but you still want to torture yourself and see them. That's exactly what I did last night for Tirole. Well, not until last night had I realized how bad my micro foundation was and how poor my knowledge of finance was.

It was one of the "Barcelona GSE Lecture Series", and

Prof. Jean Tirole (Toulouse School of Economics)

"Regulating systemic risk"

Hence, with the words "risk" and "regulation", you can imagine what he was talking about. I knew so little about finance, and then it became a disaster for me to stay there. In contrast, a friend who sat besides me was really enjoying the lecture and benefited a lot - he is a Ph.D in Econ/Finance. That's fair~

Anyway, it is a little out of my initial expectation but fair, that in UPF, the traditional Macro school, I have touched more macro compared to micro, although I was so interested in micro. Maybe it is a good thing that I do not need to close myself within a narrow room. Who knows? You can never go back and do something different. Whatever I have archived, I appreciate.

Barcelona GSE Lecture Serie"Barcelona GSE Lecture Series

Heckman's talk on inequity

Today, I was so luck to have enjoyed Heckman's speech. As usual, the information is attached here:

MOVE Distinguished Visitor Lecture
Speaker: James Heckman
Date: March 24, 2011

Heckman is well-known for the development of theoretical and empirical models of human development and lifecycle skill formation, with a special emphasis on the economics of early childhood education.

To be honest, I know Heckman because of his famous contribution to theoretical econometrics - actually, I just learned Heckman two-step estimation this month... Then he came here, and I got the chance to see the "real" version. Out of my expectation, he is such a good speaker! I concentrated on his speech for two continuous hours without a second to relax. OMG... I thought he was a technical guy - from the typical impression he should not care about anything else but math... However, I was totally wrong! He also works a lot on applications and empirical works which reflects the responsibility of a real economist. Like today, he talked about inequity. Although he was going to "sell" his academic idea, it was so good and so intuitive that can really convince you what is going on in the real world. So fresh, and comes to you with tons of inspirations.  Nice~

Tomorrow the more academic-targeted workshop will take place in UAB. Last time when I went to MOVE's workshop, there were only 20 people in a very big lecture hall and some of them were even sleeping... This time, from today's observation, I think there will be over 100 people tomorrow, and a big proportion of them will be brilliant researchers. It should be impressive. The basic info is attached here:

ICREA-MOVE Conference on Family Economics

Program Committee:Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Christopher Flinn, Jeremy Greenwood, Nezih Guner and James Heckman
Local organization: Nezih Guner
Date: March 25-26, 2011
: Campus de Bellaterra-UAB

It is so nice to enjoy this kind of high-quality workshop here in Barcelona. Fortunately, I think the school here, as well as those nice organizers, really encourage students to take part in these kinds of seminars. Therefore, most time I can just walk in the conference room and pick a seat without registering in advance. Thank them so much for tolerating me -_-||

Oh one thing at last. Yesterday dear Ghazala also offered a seminar on her own research, which focused on gender difference in the labor market:

Date: 23/03/2011
Speaker: Ghazala Azmat and Rosa Ferrer (UPF)
Title: Gender Inequality, Performance Pay and Young Professionals

Since it was her, it had no reason to be not good.Meanwhile, the active audiences were impressive as they had always been.

Moreover, today there was also another Chinese professor who talked about his economic history research,

Date: 24/03/2011
Speaker: Debin Ma (LSE)
Title: Rock, Scissors, Paper: the Problem of Incentives and Information in Traditional Chinese State and the Origin of Great Divergence

I did not have enough time for this presentation, since the time was a little conflicted with Heckman's speech. However, I stayed there for half an hour and got the basic idea what was going on. It seemed that he was talking about the popular issue "Great Divergence (中文相当于李约瑟之谜)", and reminded me the time when I read Kenneth Pomeranz (彭慕兰)'s book last year:

  • Kenneth Pomeranz, The great divergence: China, Europe, and the making of the modern world economy (Princeton University Press, 2001).

When it comes to China, I cannot just stand there and say "I do not care", right? But the Great Divergence is not only a question on China, but also for the whole world. Institution or technology? All of us are curious which one drives the economy to grow on earth...

Barcelona under the wind

Today it rained a lot. I haven't seen this kind of heavy rain and strong wind here for a long time. Usually, in this kind of bad weather, I would not leave my warm room. However, it is the exam season now so there are a lot of works to do. Among all tasks, I have to go to campus and discuss the research proposal with one classmate. Actually we have found an attractive topic and are trying to combine economics and psychology as close as we can. Then, with the game I designed, no idea how to solve it... That is to say, some assumptions should be simplified in order for us to get a very good intuition about what is going on. It is a pretty interesting process, and we are really enjoying it.

Well... since I had to go to campus, I left my room in the afternoon under the heavy rain as normal. However, when I passed the twin building near Port Olimpia, the cloud above my hear shocked me. The last time that I saw cloud at such a close distance was last summer when I climbed the famous Mount Tai before came here. The difference is that, last time I was out of the city, so I was well prepared for the natural's magic; but this time, I was not expecting anything. Then, I could not stop myself from taking a turn to the opposite direction from school and go to the beach. The wind was really strong at that time, and the sea was not peaceful at all, compared to how it usually performs - actually I don't understand why the sea here is so peaceful. The waves were trying to show its anger, which had been stored for months. Although I had an umbrella in hand, it did not help at all. My shoes got wet, the mercyless rain drops hit me from every possible angle, and the wind blew as a crazy man...

I do not know which side of the sea I should love more. It was too peaceful as nothing would make a difference, so there would be no surprise. However, when it gets mad, I do not know whether I can stand the pressure. At least, I have seen both sides of the sea, and fortunately I did not miss it. That's fine than none.