We have a number of excellent talks scheduled for this term that should be of interest to our majors. Indiana University appears to be well represented. Each of these talks is at 4:30 in Wriston Auditorium.
Thursday, February 16, 4:30 p.m., Wriston Auditorium
Deal (with) the Burn: The Political Economy of U.S. Wildfire Management.
Ostrom Workshop and Department of Economics
Friday, February 17, 4:30 p.m. Wriston Auditorium (Senior Experience speaker)
Seven Secrets of Germany: Economic Resilience in an Era of Global Turbulence
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Thursday, March 2, 4:30 p.m. Wriston Auditorium (Cancelled)
The Brazil Economy in Transition: Beliefs, Leadership, and Institutional Change
Ostrom Workshop and Department of Economics
Alston’s NBER paper is here, accessible on LU campus.
Speaking of Professor Finkler, on Friday he will be giving a talk for the Alumni College. Here are the particulars:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Care (aka Obamacare):
An Efficient and Equitable Path to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health?
Professor Marty Finkler
Warch Campus Center Cinema
Friday, June 17
Professor Elizabeth J. Wilson from the Humphrey School of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota will be here Monday to talk about the (potential) future of electricity systems.
Professor Wilson is a rather extraordinary interdisciplinary scholar, with a background in environmental science and a Ph.D. in Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. She is the recipient of one of the inaugural (2016) Andrew Carnegie Fellowships for her project “Nuclear Futures in a Windy World: A Comparative Analysis Balancing Energy Security, Climate Change, and Economic Development.” She will spend the 2016-17 academic year in Denmark working on that.
Here is a blurb of her talking about sustainability and interdisciplinary research.
We will see you there.
Image from the Bloomberg article, “Economics is Really Hard, Even for Harvard Ph.D.s.“
More on the LU homepage here.
We are fortunate to have on campus one of America’s rising public intellectuals, Ta-Nehisi Coates, to deliver the Convocation on Thursday. His talk is “Race in America: A Deeper Black,” starts at 11:10 in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
Mr. Coates is a recipient of one of this year’s Macarthur “Genius” Awards, and his recent book, Between the World and Me, is a finalist for the National Book Award in non-fiction.
I became familiar with Coates from his writing in The Atlantic, where last year he wrote “The Case for Reparations,” where he argues that African Americans should be compensated for the past abuses of slavery, Jim Crow, “separate-but-equal,” and continuing racist housing policies. A more recent piece, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration” explores the devastation that a confluence of racist housing policies, drug laws, and differential policing has had on black families and communities. The tragic thesis that Coates forwards is that the mass incarceration of African-American men is mostly by design, and not some unintended consequence of ill-conceived public policies.
The Convo is at 11:10. I suggest you get there early if you want a seat.
Big Science + Big Data = Big Opportunities: An Overview of Statistics in Astronomy
Department of Statistics
Carnegie Mellon University
Progress in disciplines such as astronomy is increasingly being made through large-scale, multi-institution projects, often referred to as “Big Science.” It is only through careful statistical analysis that the massive amount of information (the “Big Data”) produced by these endeavors will be translated into answers to the questions of interest. This talk will make a connection between fundamental statistical concepts and the challenges facing astronomers and cosmologists as they seek to make use of the flood of data that result from modern experiments.
Monday, May 18, 4:30 p.m.
Steitz Hall 102
Economics majors are welcome to an Ice Cream Social Friday at 4:30 in Briggs 217 (and probably the surrounding area). Typically, the faculty member chosen for the Convocation Award has lunch with a few students after the Convo, but I actually have class in this slot and I decided that I wanted to include more than a handful of students.
I expect several of my colleagues on the faculty will be in attendance as well.
We have budgeted for 50 students, so ice cream priority will be given to those with either a Convo program or a ‘selfie’ taken at the Convo. A selfie with an Econ prof will give you preferential access to the toppings. You can forward the selfies to me some time prior to Friday. Please exercise discretion when taking the selfies (i.e., *not* during the performances or during Professor Niblock’s invocation).
If you could send an RSVP to Linda Peeters email@example.com by Friday at noon, that would be super.
I am the Convocation speaker Thursday at 11:10. It is Honors Convocation, meaning a number of your fellow students will be recognized.
Here are two upcoming talks that are certainly of interest:
What you need to know about GMOs
Tuesday, April 7 in Warch Campus Cinema. 7 p.m.
Explore the benefits and drawbacks of GMOs in a panel discussion led by Professors Beth De Stasio and Dave Hall. They will cover the facts and myths of GMOs and how they affect human health and the environment.
For a recent economics survey article on GMOs, see Geoffrey Barrows, Steven Sexton, and David Zilberman. 2014. “Agricultural Biotechnology: The Promise and Prospects of Genetically Modified Crops.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(1): 99-120.
For Sale: Markets in Eggs, Sperm and Human Milk in Modern America
Kara Swanson, Associate Professor, Northeastern University School of Law.Thomas Steitz Hall of Science 102 – Lecture Hall. 4:30 p.m.
Here is a recent interview with Professor Swanson in The Atlantic Monthly. For a recent economics survey article on blood, see Robert Slonim, Carmen Wang, and Ellen Garbarino. 2014. “The Market for Blood.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(2): 177-96.
For those of you interested in financial markets, we have an upcoming talk and a fall seminar that may be of interest. First up, this Monday, Grinnell College professor, Mark Montgomery, will give a lecture about the ins and outs of “The Notorious Efficient Market Hypothesis,” as he calls it.
The efficient market hypothesis is essentially in two parts: First, that all publicly available information is immediately internalized into the extant stock price. Immediately is pretty fast, so it’s tough to beat the market. So, secondly, it is not possible to earn above average returns without taking above average risks — a disheartening message for any would-be financiers. I’m certain that Professor Montgomery will give us a lively talk.
The talk is Monday at 4:30 p.m. in Seitz 102.
For those of you interested in learning about how economists think about investments should consider the Investments directed study that we will offer in the fall of 2015. In the next few weeks we will roll out our 2015-16 schedule, so watch this space for details.
Monday, February 16, 4:30 p.m., Steitz 102
Mark Montgomery, Grinnell College, “The Notorious Efficient Market Hypothesis,” Economics Colloquium
Wednesday February 18, 4:30 p.m., Steitz 102
Merton Finkler, Lawrence University, “Health Policy – A Comparison of UK and US Approaches,” London Week Special
Thursday, February 19, 7:30 p.m., Wriston Auditorium
Merton Finkler, Lawrence University, “China Ranks #1 or Does It? Should We Care?” Povolny Lecture, Wriston Auditorium
Tuesday, March 3, 4:30 p.m., Wriston Auditorium
Werner Troesken, University of Pittsburgh, “The Pox of Liberty: How the Constitution Left Americans Rich, Free, and Prone to Infection,” Economics Colloquium sponsored by the Mellon Senior Experience Grant
Have you ever wondered if school boards matter? What the trade-off is between administrative expertise and the public will? If so, it’s your lucky day…Knowledge, Vision, and Academic Return on Investment: Do School Boards Matter? Arnold Shober, Lawrence University Michael Hartney, Lake Forest College
What is the trade-off between representation and expertise? The American school board is an iconic institution of representative, local government, but one that attracts very little attention. Fewer than 10 percent of voters bother to meander to the polls for school board elections. Yet school boards are in the center of high-stakes debates about the Common Core, academic achievement, property taxes, school finance, and teacher assessment. Using a national survey of school board members and our own calculation of district-level student achievement, we describe whether school board members appear to have the capacity to govern — and how that capacity relates to a key policy output, students’ academic performance.
Wednesday, October 1, 4:30 p.m.
Steitz Hall 102
Here’s some more advice to potential majors — to all majors, in fact — come to the first Econ Tea of the fall term Wednesday, September 24 at 4:30 p.m. in Briggs 217. We will be welcoming our new faculty members, Hillary Caruthers and Jonathan Lhost.
We will probably have some assortment of refreshments, depending on our department budget and prevailing market prices.
Hillary Caruthers, a visiting professor at Berry College, will visit campus Thursday and deliver the next edition of the Economics Colloquium. Professor Caruthers is a recent Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her talk will be at 4:30 Thursday in Steitz 102.
“Household Risk Management and Rural to Urban Migration in Indonesia”
ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the role of risk in rural to urban migration decisions using Indonesian household-level panel data. Specifically, I use consumption data and measures of household risk aversion to test whether rural to urban migration is a means of managing risk among uninsured households via the diversification of household income flows. Most previous studies of risk and migration do not analyze the migrant’s choice of destination but instead focus on the relationship between risk aversion and the likelihood of migration; however, if migration is motivated, in part, by household risk management, then the level of risk aversion should impact both the propensity to migrate and the destination of migration. In this paper I generate predictions regarding the relationship between household risk aversion and the economic riskiness of receiving regions and test these predictions using a multinomial logit estimation. Empirical results generally affirm the predictions of the model. Households prefer to send migrants to destinations with lower consumption variability and, as predicted, this preference is stronger among households with higher risk aversion. Also, all households prefer destinations where average consumption is less correlated with home consumption.
You can see a draft of the paper here.