Look for the next GCER Newsletter in June. Past Newsletters can be found here.
News Archive - Page 13
Jan 15, 2014
An NBER study on obesity by GCER Fellow Matthew Harding was recently reported in the January 14, 2014 edition of the Huffington Post. Harding, a Visiting Fellow from Stanford University, and co-author Michael Lovenheim of Cornell examine the potential effect of a sugar tax on obesity outcomes in the U.S. Using data on 123 million food purchases made in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007, they find that a 20% tax on sugar would result in an 18% reduction in overall caloric intake Americans. ( Read here for more information ).
Dec 19, 2013
Congratulations to Georgetown Economics PhD student Alison Weingarden for her recent merit-based grant by the U.S. Department of Labor. The award is the result of a competition initiated by 2013 Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Research Papers Program, and is intended to provide funds for PhD students for research projects related to employment dynamics and job training programs.
Alison's project will examine data on layoff episodes by U.S. companies in order to investigate the timing and size of mass layoff episodes.
Oct 13, 2013
# Oh what a tangled web we weave... † Anderson and Smith explore the dilemmas of deception. On the evening of November 14th 1940 the German Luftwaffe raided Coventry. That night, 515 German bombers destroyed one third of all buildings in the city, while only losing one bomber to Coventry's over-matched air defenses. Some have claimed that Winston Churchill had advanced knowledge of the attack, and yet made a calculated decision not to act. While this claim is disputed, consider the dilemma that a fully informed Churchill might have faced. By taking measures to protect Coventry, he could have limited British casualties and made the raid more costly to the Germans. However, if the Germans detected a shift in British air defenses, they might have realized that the allies had cracked the German code used to transmit orders. The Germans would then abandon the compromised code, and the Allies would lose a valuable source of military intelligence. This example highlights a unique quality of information: Merely using it often gives it away. This "use it and lose it" property of information applies in many important environments. A stock trader attempting to exploit inside information about a company sees his market advantage evaporate with every trade he makes. Attempting to extract gold from public land sparks gold rushes, as on the beaches of Nome, Alaska 1899. Using cutting edge technology in new products allows for reverse engineering by competitors, sacrificing the technological advantage. In their paper ["Dynamic Deception"](http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/aza/DynamicDeception.pdf) (forthcoming in The American Economic Review), GCER Fellow and Georgetown Professor [Axel Anderson](http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/aza/) and co-author Lones Smith of the University of Wisconsin explore the dynamic use of private information in competitive environments. They posit a model in which an agent with an informational advantage competes over time with a rival. The more the advantaged agent aligns his actions with his information the greater his current benefit. But, his rival observes a noisy signal of his actions --- the more intensely the advantaged agent exploits his informational edge the faster he loses it. By solving for the unique equilibrium of this dynamic game, Anderson and Smith are able to offer sharp predictions about both the dynamics of behavior and the rate at which the informed player monetizes his informational advantage. Further, Anderson and Smith determine the value of information gathering efforts by the uninformed rival, and use this value to overturn a standard result on information demand in non-rivalrous settings. Finally, Anderson and Smith investigate a form of deception that occurs often: the costly veiling of action by adding observational noise to the situation. One such example is a diversion to distract the enemy's attention before a military invasion. † Sir Walter Scott in Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17
Sep 15, 2013
The second in the series of Distinguished Lectures in 2013-14 will be delivered by Preston McAfee, a leading research economist at Google. McAfee's talk is entitled "Digital Advertising: Benefits and Costs." This talk summarizes recent experimental results on the effectiveness of internet display advertising (graphic images on web pages). Three issues are considered: does the length of display time matter? Is it more effective to switch ads during a page view? What is the user cost of obnoxious or annoying ads?
The lecture will be held on October 17th at 4:15-5:45pm in McShain Large Lounge in Kennedy Hall at Georgetown University.
Preston McAfee is Director of Google Strategic Technologies. Previously, he was a Vice President and Research Fellow at Yahoo! Research where he led the Microeconomics and Social Systems group. Before that, he was the J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Business, Economics, and Management at the California Institute of Technology. McAfee has published extensively across a wide spectrum of topics in economics, and is particularly well known for his work on auction theory.
A big advocate of open access to academic publishing, Professor McAfee maintains an online database on the costs of academic journals to university libraries, and has published number of open-access online books and articles. He has served as Editor of the American Economic Review and Economic Inquiry, and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society.
Sep 9, 2013
A recent article in GU News reports that Georgetown economist and GCER Fellow Martin Ravallion was elected to lead the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ). Ravallion will lead the group, which is devoted to human development issues, after serving as its president-elect for two years.
Please click here to see the full GU News article.