The title of the talk is Economics Red in Tooth and Claw, and it’s about Cuba.
More on the LU homepage here.
The last Economics Colloquium of the year, at 4:30 on Wednesday, May 27th, Steitz 102:
Data Science for Humans
Shilad W. Sen Macalester College,Associate Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science
Data scientists mine massive datasets to help software understand our tastes, needs, and routines. Want to become a data scientist? Many new data science degrees incorporate coursework in statistics and computation. However, most programs focus shallowly on data, without deeply connecting to existing domain knowledge in the fields in the social science, humanities, marketing, etc. Continue reading Data Science for Humans
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
University of Pittsburgh
Tuesday, March 3
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
Professor of Government
UNHCR’s Gender Policy for Refugees in Sierra Leone: Economic vs. Political Agency
ABSTRACT: The challenge of integrating refugee women into societies recovering from warfare is a difficult one. Although numerous programs by the UN and other actors exist to promote women’s economic agency and political participation, few studies have examined their impact. This project tries to close that gap by examining the gender policy of the Refugee Agency of the UN in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Based on research in the Kailahun District, the site of the recent Ebola outbreak, this talk will argue that while many projects benefited women and girls by improving economic livelihoods and access to education, similar efforts to improve health care failed. In addition, the talk will consider how to best promote the participation of women in a democratic political process.
Thursday, October 30
Steitz Hall 202
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
Alexander J. Field from Santa Clara University will be on campus Thursday to deliver a public lecture based on his book, A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth (Amazon link here).
Professor Field argues that despite the bottoming out of aggregate demand, total factor productivity growth increased faster during the Great Depression than any other decade in U.S. history. My read of the book makes the assertion almost uncontroversial, yet the notion of rapid productivity growth disrupts conventional views on the role of World War II in terms of “getting the US out of the depression,” and also in terms of setting the stage for the post-WWII economic boom. Field makes this case quantitatively, walks through some of the implications, and puts it in historical context, including his thoughts on some recent events. This is very high quality economics and should play very well with economics students and a general audience.
You can read a brief interview with Field on his work in the New York Times.
The talk is Thursday, May 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Wriston Auditorium.
This is the Phi Beta Kappa lecture as part of the Visiting Scholars Series. We are fortunate that the Senior Experience is providing funding to bring Professor Field to campus.
Scraping Data and Making “Big” Inferences
Abstract: “Big Data” does little to explain the human condition, but it offers unprecedented opportunities to model how people choose. Professor Shober will describe how Google and Amazon know what you want with uncanny accuracy, and how in his research program he uses similar tools to examine how journalists cover politicians. He will also discuss some of the practical and statistical difficulties when analyzing billions of data points.
The talk is March 6 at 11:10 a.m. in Steitz Hall 102.
UPDATE: A very good talk. Unfortunately, we did not get video for his one.
Health Care: It Took Years to Build Up this Much Duct Tape
Eva Dziadula, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois-Chicago and an instructor at Lake Forest College, will be on campus on Tuesday for a lunchtime Economics Colloquium. The talk will be at 11:10 Tuesday in Steitz 102.
You can take a look at the paper and bring your questions.
University of Illinois-Chicago, Lake Forest College
Abstract: This paper builds on a model of the naturalization process in which personal characteristics, characteristics of the country of birth and of the destination region in the United States are shown to be important determinants of acquiring citizenship. While the existing literature has examined the role of education in determining naturalization, I introduce the notion of country specific human capital and suggest that higher education acquired in the United States should have a larger impact on naturalization than education acquired elsewhere. Empirically, I show that the impact of education depends strongly on where the education was acquired, suggesting that years of education is a crude proxy for human capital in this context. By contributing to a better understanding of the mechanism through which education impacts naturalization, this paper helps further the literature on immigrant naturalization as well as the study of human capital more generally.
Jeffrey Shook from the University of Pittsburgh will be on campus next week to talk about his work on juveniles in the criminal justice system. The talk, co-sponsored with Lawrence Scholars in Law program, will be Thursday, January 16 at 7 p.m. in the Warch Campus Cinema. The talk title is “From Roper to Miller: Legal and Policy Implications of Recent Supreme Court Decisions on the Punishment of Juveniles.”
Professor Shook is an outstanding scholar and also committed to service, having won the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013.
He is a man of many talents, after received his degree in economics (!) from Grinnell College, he went on to earn a law degree from American University and a Ph.D. in social work and sociology from the University of Michigan. Acording to his bio:
His research examines the intersection of law, policy, and practice in the lives of children and youth, focusing on the transfer of juveniles to the adult criminal justice system, the administration of juvenile justice, the movement of youth across child and youth serving systems, and the experiences of youth “aging out” of the child welfare system. Jeff also is involved in efforts to end the sentencing of juveniles to life sentences without the opportunity for parole both in Pennsylvania and nationally.
He is a very busy guy that works on some fascinating issues, as this selection of his publications attests:
Visser, Joanna and Jeffrey J. Shook. 2013. The Supreme Court’s emerging jurisprudence on the punishment of juveniles. Court Review Journal, 49(24-39).
Shook, Jeffrey J., Sara Goodkind, Ryan Pohlig, Lisa Schelbe, David Herring, and Kevin Kim. 2011. Patterns of mental health, substance abuse, and justice system involvement among youth aging out of the child welfare system. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81(420-432).
Shook, Jeffrey J., Michael G. Vaughn, Sara Goodkind, and Heath Johnson. 2011. An empirical portrait of youthful offenders who sell drugs. Journal of Criminal Justice,33(224-231).
Shook, Jeffrey J. 2011. Prosecutorial decisions to treat juveniles as adults: Intersections of individual and contextual characteristics. Criminal Law Bulletin,47(341-387).
Shook, Jeffrey J. and Sara Goodkind. 2009. Racial disproportionality in juvenile justice: The interaction of race and geography in pretrial detention for violent and serious offenders. Race and Social Problems, 1(257-66).
Shook, Jeffrey J. and Rosemary C. Sarri. 2008. Trends in the commitment of juvenile offenders to adult prisons: Toward an increased willingness to treat juveniles as adults? Wayne Law Review, 54(1725-65).
See you Thursday.
Our schedule of economics and policy talks coming over the next two terms is coming together nicely. We have these three events in the books, and have a couple of other speakers in the works.
Jeffrey J. Shook, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, January 16, 2014 (Time TBA) “From Roper to Miller: Legal and Policy Implications of Recent Supreme Court Decisions on the Punishment of Juveniles.” This is co-sponsored by Lawrence Scholars in Law.
Travis Andersen, President of St. Elizabeth Hospital, February 20, 4:30 p.m. Mr. Andersen will address how hospitals and doctors get paid.
Alexander Field, Professor at Santa Clara University, will give the Phi Beta Kappa Lecture on his book, A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and US Economic Growth. May 15, 2014. This is part of the Senior Experience for many economics majors. More on Field’s work here.
Arnold Shober in Government has also agreed in principle to give a talk on his current project and the data “scraping” methods he’s been employing.
And for those of you who missed it, or who just can’t get enough, Paul Fischbeck’s talk, “Quantitative Policy Analysis: Risk Analysis and Risk Communications from Cape Cod to Nairobi,” is now available. Click here to see his excellent presentation.
Quantitative Policy Analysis: Risk Analysis and Risk Communications from Cape Cod to Nairobi
Monday, November 11
The next Economics Colloquium will feature Paul Fischbeck, Professor of Engineering & Public Policy and Social & Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. His talk focuses on several of his current research projects. The first topic relates to his work chairing a National Academy of Sciences examining risks of oil spills in Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal. A second addresses the ability of buildings in Nairobi to withstand extreme events.
Professor Fischbeck will be on campus to assist in curricular developments quantitative decision making. He has been recognized as an outstanding educator, and in particular his “expertise in leading team project-oriented courses that teach students problem-solving skills.” In 2010 he picked up the Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching, a university-wide award at Carnegie Mellon.
Professor Fischbeck has a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Stanford University, an M.S. in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a B.A. in architecture from the University of Virginia. He is a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy.
UPDATE: Here is a link to the talk.
Menna Bizuneh from The College of St. Benedict and St. Johns University will be on campus Friday for the second Economics Colloquium of the year.
The talk, “Are We Floating Yet?” will be at 4:30 in Steitz 102.
Here are the particulars: Continue reading Economics Colloquium, Friday at 4:30
UPDATE: The talk is in Steitz 102.
The first Economics Colloquium of the year is our own Professor Marty Finkler talking about some of his recent work on the U.S. employment situation. He will give a 30-40 minute talk, after which we will adjourn for Econ Tea in Briggs 217 at 5:15.
Please join us for Professor Finkler’s talk, and to meet our visiting faculty, Satis Devkota and M. Taylor Rhodes.
The abstract is below:
Employment and Monetary Policy: The Role of Relative Price Distortions
Merton D. Finkler
Professor of Economics
The economic recovery from the recession of December 2007 to June 2009 featured real GDP returning to its pre-recession level while employment continues to lag behind to its pre-recession level. One possible reason is that employment patterns contain both cyclical and structural components. In this paper, changes in the price of labor, unit labor costs, and the cost of equipment and software are studied as key structural components. Separate regressions with changes in employment as the dependent variable are performed for goods producing, service producing, and manufacturing sectors. In each case, explanatory power is increased with the inclusion of a representation of the cost of labor; thus, macroeconomic policy that seeks to stimulate employment growth should consider the effects of the chosen policy on the relative cost of labor and not just on aggregate demand.
On the Desirability of Unemployment Accounts
Assistant Vice President
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Unemployment insurance programs are often criticized because they encourage various forms of shirking: the unemployed may not try hard enough to look for a new job or may turn down reasonable job offers. Also, the taxes that finance such programs are thought to decrease the labor supply. This talk will look at an alternative way of insuring against unemployment events through personalized unemployment accounts. We will discuss their advantages but also warn against potential pitfalls. The discussion will be backed up by simulations performed on the labor markets of Oregon, Austria and France.
Tuesday May 14
Steitz Hall 102