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Past Distinguished Lectures

Submitted by srtariqu on Mon, 03/31/2014 - 9:51am

2016 Distinguished Lecturer - The Evolution of Culture and Institutions: Evidence from the Kuba Kingdom

04 Mar 2016

Nathan Nunn, Harvard University

Nathan Nunn is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Professor Nunn was born in Canada, where he received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2005. Professor Nunn’s primary research interests are in economic history, economic development, cultural economics, political economy and international trade.

The paper of the talk can be downloaded here:

Host: Arvind Magesan

Using Field Experiments to Make the World a Better Place

06 Mar 2015

John A. List, University of Chicago

Abstract: Life is a Lab.  That is the view of John List, this year’s distinguished lecturer. In this lecture, List showcases some of his recent field experiments that shed insights on why women earn less money than men, why inner city schools continue to fail, why people discriminate, and how we can use field experiments to make the world a better place.  His experiences range from conducting large-scale governmental field experiments in the UK and the US to experiments on Craigslist that are essentially free.

John A. List received his PhD from the University of Wyoming and is currently the Homer J. Livingston Professor of Economics and the Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. List has been at the forefront of environmental economics and has served as senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers for Environmental and Resource Economics. He is best known as one of the world’s leading experts on experimental economics. List has pioneered work using field experiments in which he developed scientific methods for testing economic theory directly in the marketplace. He received the Kenneth Galbraith Award in 2010 and the 2008 Arrow Prize for Senior Economists for his research on behavioral economics in the field. His work has provided insight on such issues as pricing behavior, market structure, the valuation of nonmarketed goods and services, the impact of environmental regulation, the economics of charitable giving, and the impact of incentives on education and weight loss. List recently wrote international best seller “The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life,” co-authored with Uri Gneezy. In the fall of 2014, Professor List was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Tilburg University for his contributions to the science of economics.

Confronting Climate Change: Economics, Fairness, And Political Feasibility

14 Mar 2014

Lawrence H. Goulder, Stanford University

Shuzo Nishihara Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, Director of the Stanford Center for Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis

Abstract: How can climate change policies be designed to be not only environmentally effective but also cost-effective and fair? And how can they be made more acceptable politically? Lawrence Goulder's talk will explore how these different and often competing goals can be approached. While acknowledging that no perfect approach exists, he will suggest some potentially promising directions, drawing from academic research and recent climate-policy experience at the national and international levels. In considering these issues he will explore the potential roles for carbon taxes, cap and trade, performance standards, and direct technology promotion.

Lawrence H. Goulder is the Shuzo Nishihara Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Center for Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis. He is also the Kennedy-Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford, a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Institute for Economic Policy Research, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and, a University Fellow of Resources for the Future. Goulder's research covers a range of environmental issues, including green tax reform, the design of cap-and-trade systems, climate change policy, and comprehensive wealth measurement ("green" accounting). He has served as co-editor of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and on several advisory committees to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and the California Air Resources Board. 

The slides of this lecture can be downloaded here.

Causes And Consequences Of Early Life Health

21 Mar 2013

Janet M. Currie, Princeton University

Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Director of the Center for Health and Well-Being

Professor Currie’s research focuses on the health and well-being of children. She has written about early intervention programs, programs to expand health insurance and improve health care, public housing, and food and nutrition programs. Much of this research is summarized in The Invisible Safety Net: Protecting the Nation’s Poor Children and Families, Princeton University Press. Her current research focuses on socioeconomic differences in child health, and on environmental threats to children’s health from sources such as toxic pollutants.

Janet Currie is the Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and the Director of Princeton’s Center for Health and Well Being. She also directs the Program on Families and Children at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Since receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1988, she has taught at University of California, MIT, and Columbia University.

Monetary Policy Strategy: Lessons From The Crisis

15 Mar 2012

Frederic S. Mishkin, Columbia University

Alfred Lerner Professor of Banking and Financial Institutions

This lecture examined what we have learned and how we should change our thinking about monetary policy strategy in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. It started with a discussion of where the science of monetary policy was before the crisis and how central banks viewed monetary policy strategy. Then it examined how the crisis has changed the thinking of both macro/monetary economists and central bankers. Finally, it looked at how much of the science of monetary policy needs to be altered and draws implications for monetary policy strategy.

Frederic S. Mishkin is the Alfred Lerner Professor of Banking and Financial Institutions at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, co-director of the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum, and a member of the Squam Lake Working Group on Financial Reform. Since receiving his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, he has taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Princeton University, and Columbia.

The slides of this lecture can be downloaded here.

Information, Beliefs, And Common Learning

18 Mar 2011

Larry Samuelson, Yale University

A Douglas Melamed Professor of Economics

Information is central to our economy - a relationship enshrined in the oft-heard phrase “information economy.” However, an effectively functioning economy requires not just information, but common information. This talk will examine the difference between information and beliefs about information, and common information or common beliefs. We will see that the coordinated activity that provides the foundation for a healthy economy requires the full strength of common information, while any shortfall can be crippling.

Lawrence (Larry) Samuelson is the A. Douglas Melamed Professor of Economics at Yale University. He is currently Coeditor of the American Economic Review, and a former coeditor of Econometrica. Larry is an economic theorist who has written on an incredibly broad range of topics from the theory of multinationals, through contributions to growth theory, to perhaps most importantly, information economics and game theory.

Policy Making In The Global Financial Crisis

25 Mar 2010

Tim Besley, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Kuwait Professor of Economics and Political Science

The financial crisis of 2007–2010 has been called the worst crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the trillions of U.S. dollars, substantial financial commitments incurred by governments, and a significant decline in economic activity. Governments and central banks responded with unprecedented fiscal stimulus, monetary policy expansion, and institutional bailouts.

Tim Besley is the Kuwait Professor of Economics and Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). From September 2006 to August 2009, Professor Besley was an external member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee. In this lecture he talked about his experience as a policy maker during this turbulent time, what he believes we can take away from the global meltdown and how governments and central banks responded to it.

The slides of this lecture can be downloaded here.

Trading Tasks: Globalization In The Information Age

13 Mar 2009

Gene M. Grossman, Princeton University

It is difficult to overestimate the impact of Professor Grossman’s work on our understanding of the global economy.  Professor Grossman will discuss globalization in the information age. Most international trade is not in goods, but instead in intermediates, components, or pieces of the production chain that we may call “tasks.” While many would fear the idea of competing with India or China in a global marketplace for tasks, low skilled workers may instead gain from this new form of trade as it brings new productivity gains and can alter how international trade affects the distribution of income both within and across countries.  How do international trade and the globalization of tasks affect the incomes of workers?

Gene M. Grossman is the Jacob Viner Professor of International Economics at Princeton University, Chair of Princeton’s Economics Department, and the Director of the International Economics Section.  He received his B.A. in Economics from Yale University in 1976 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.  Professor Grossman joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1980 and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Economics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The slides of this lecture can be downloaded here.

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