Tag Archives: health economics

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 audience....my 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!

mother breastfeed and children health

This is an interesting topic: the behavior of mother breastfeed and children health. Yes, it is the topic of a seminar I audited yesterday.

As usual, here is the related information:

Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India [click here to download PDF]
Seema Jayachandran (Stanford University)
UPF Labor, Public, and Development Seminar

Well, although I'm a kind of being addicted to theoretical works, this kind of empirical is still attractive.  She analyzed the development of children health with respect to mothor's breastfeed behaviors. As she said, it is like "quality instead of quantity", and mothers are paying more and more attention to ensure the health of their children.

Fortunately, one guy who lives nextdoor to me has been worked in the field of public health for the last year, and he has lived in India for several years, thus before the seminar he told me many things about the real situation in India. In this way, far beyond listening to the seminar itself, I have learned more about public health, or health economics which is really hot now.

The forever pain for an econometric or empirical analysis is the accuracy of data. She was using NFHS (National Family Health Survey) and DHS  (Demographic and Health Survey) data. However, my nextdoor told me that there were some problems in the questionnaire used, which will influence the reliability of the data, or the answer from those women. He doubted whether it would have potential influence on the regression analysis.

It was also interesting to hear that so many audience there had different kinds of interesting questions.  That is partically why I love economics seminars. But still the question for me is that I am still not able to follow all of the presentation. Apparently I need to store more knowledge.

By the way, I also listened to another seminar this week, it is

Misspecification in Models for Trends and Cycles
Andrew Harvey (University of Cambridge)
UPF Occasional Econometric Seminar

Well, it was a theoretical work, but it was theoretical economics, and I have no idea with that. Unfortunately, I went there early and sat down in the second row of the classroom. Therefore, I had to pretend that I was focusing on what he talked about, but in fact I could not understand anything except HP filter. Oh my poor econometrics, and my poor time series analysis. It also proves that I need to learn more to completely understand the top seminars. Carry on!

At last, I'd like to copy some conclusions from Semma's paper here.

  • the duration of breastfeeding negatively correlates with the mother's likelihood of a subsequent birth.
  • breastfeeding increases with birth order; if parents have a preference for sons, then boys are breastfed more than girls; children with older brothers are breastfed more; these gender e ects are smallest for high and low values of birth order
  • breastfeeding the current child helps prevent or delay a subsequent pregnancy, and a subsequent (perhaps unwanted) pregnancy often causes mothers to wean the current child.
  • If contraception crowds out breastfeeding, then policy makers might consider pairing contraceptive campaigns with promotion of breastfeeding or improvements in water quality. Conversely, if contraception enables a mother to breastfeed her children longer because she can space them further apart, then policies that expand access to contraception might have an added bene t of encouraging breastfeeding.

Survival Analysis, health economics and alive economics

This post is only used to record that I have listened to this seminar:

Survival Extrapolation with applications in health economics [click here to download PDF]
Nikos Demiris (Agricultural University of Athens)
UPF Statistics and Operational Research Seminar

However, I didn't understand anything except the exponential equation. I had thought I would understand more, since I know a little about survival analysis (What I have learned on the Chinese R conference), and a little about health economics. But on the seminar I realized that it was beyond my scope of knowledge. Anyway, there were only 4 people (before I showed up), and my dear math teacher Lugosi was there! Lugosi, YOU ARE AMAZING!

Since I didn't actually benefit something from the lecture, it is impossible to leave any comments here. Therefore, I'd like to talk about something about economics. Well, I always wonder whether I can always pick up someone to go to the seminar together with me. It is not important whether you are able to understand what they are saying, but the atmosphere can help you adapt to the way that economists think in. Without doubt, there are only few people who prefer seminars to those time-consuming problem sets. Thus, the final conclusion is that I should go anywhere alone.

I have no right to force anyone to do anything. It's their own choices - and I choose seminars. Maybe it is a bad habit, since it is probable that I cannot get anything useful from a seminar. But I love the way they talk and communicate in the seminar, and I love the different stories that the researchers show in their presentations.

As what I wrote on the front page of this website (www.cloudlychen.net) -  "Love life, love economics", I always regard economics as a living object. Economics is from the real world, not the mathematical equations. Although we need math that complicated enough to describe the economic world specifically, the economics is, and will always be focusing on the real world. Apart from those who are engaging themselves into developing new mathematical methods for economics (e.g. theoretical  econometricians and mathematical economists), who want to explore the world of economics should pay attention to the real life of economics.

Fine, anyway I should judge anything. At least, for me, economics is always alive around everybody and everyday.