Look for the next GCER Newsletter in June. Past Newsletters can be found here.
News Archive - Page 21
Nov 8, 2011
GCER is pleased to announce that David Card, the Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, will present the 2012 Razin Policy Lecture at Georgetown University.
This year's Razin Lecture is entitled "Social Interactions" and takes place on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at 4:00 pm in the BSB 490 Fisher Colloquium.
Professor Card was honored by the American Economic Association in 1995 with the John Bates Clark Medal. More he received the Frisch Medal in 2007 for the outstanding research paper (with D. Hyslop) published in Econometrica in 2005, and the IZA Prize in Labor Economics in 2006, from Germany's Institute for the Study of Labor, the leading award for labor economists.
David Card's research spans a wide range of issues and problems in labor economics. He research topics include the effect of minimum wage, the impacts of immigration, the consequences of racial segregation, and the effects policy changes on health insurance utilization and on health. Card's most recent work studies peer effects and inequality in the workplace.
Sep 10, 2011
The Georgetown Department of Economics and Center for Economic Research is very pleased to announce that John Rust will be joining the department in the Fall of 2012 as Professor and GCER Faculty Fellow. Rust will be moving over to Georgetown from the University of Maryland where he has resided as Professor of Economics since 2001.
Rust's research is internationally renowned, and spans both the technical frontier and the practical side of economics. He is best known for his research on the development of computationally tractable methods for solving and estimating models of dynamic decision making under uncertainty.In a series of widely acclaimed publications Rust demonstrated that these discrete dynamic programming models provide accurate predictions of actual human decision making in a variety of contexts. Along the way, he pioneered new algorithms for solving these problems, attracting the attention of leading computer scientists and mathematicians working in the field of computational complexity as well as the economists working in this field.
Rust has received numerous awards for his research. He was awarded an Alfred Sloan Fellowship in 1988 and a fellowship at the Hoover Institution in Stanford in 1991. He was elected as a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 1993 and became a fellow of the TIAA-CREF Institute (the largest retirement fund for college professors) in 2003. In 1997, Rust received the Ragnar Frisch Medal from The Econometric Society for his first empirical application of the method in the paper, "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher."
Rust has been on the editorial board of numerous journals including serving as an Associate Editor at Econometrica and co-editor of the Journal of Applied Econometrics. He has been a consultant to the U.S. Social Security Administration and a member of the Long Term Modeling Advisory Panel at the Congressional Budget Office. He has served as a member of the Economics Panel of the National Science Foundation and the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academy of Science, as a member of the Panel on Retirement Income Modeling, and served as an advisor to the Steering Committee that advised on the design of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS).
Most recently Rust has served as a member of the Technical Advisory Panel to the Social Security Advisory Board, and a consultant to the Social Security Administration on long term policy modeling via a research contract between SSA and the Urban Institute.
Rust received his PhD from MIT in 1983, specializing in applied econometrics. He held previous faculty positions, first at the University of Wisconsin from 1983 to 1995, and then at Yale from 1996 to 2001. In all his faculty appointments, he has been Professor of Economics since 1990.
Aug 15, 2011
Georgetown Department of Economics and Center for Economic Research welcomes its newest member, Pedro Carneiro who now joins the Department and GCER in the Fall of 2011. Carneiro arrives from University College London where he currently holds the rank of Reader, and will hold the rank of Associate Professor at Georgetown.
Carneiro comes to GCER with an outstanding record of scholarship and expertise in the areas of labor economics and applied microeconometrics. His research focuses on human capital development, that is, the ways in which individuals acquire the skills that determine their earnings potential. These include early childhood development, education, and on-the-job training.
Carneiro has much-cited publications in Econometrica and The American Economic Review among other highly respected outlets. His work figured prominently in a number of areas. One paper, in particular, that has received much attention was co-written with James Heckman and concerns heterogeneous treatment effects. A policy designed to increase college attendance, for example, can have a strong effect on some parts of the target population but weak (or even negative) effects on other parts of that population. For many purposes, it is important to be able to estimate the distribution of treatment effects. Carneiro and Heckman use a ``latent factors" approach to estimate the heterogeneous treatment effects, and this approach is now considered to be a major methodological innovation in the field.
Carneiro received his PhD at the University of Chicago in 2003. After completing his PhD, he joined the faculty of University College London.
Aug 5, 2011
GCER Economist and former Fed Monetary Affairs Director Brian Madigan was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal in an August 2 article on Federal Reserve Bank policy. Madigan, along with other recent Monetary Affairs directors Donald Kohn and Vincent Reinhart, signaled support for a new Fed bond purchase program if inflation slows and the economy continues its recent slowdown.
Jun 23, 2011
Ludema, Mayda, and Mishra show that when firms talk, governments listen.
How do firms obtain favors from the government? The usual answer is, by spending money, though debate rages in the literature about what kind of spending, lobbying expenditures or campaign contributions, is more important. GCER faculty fellows Rodney Ludema and Anna Maria Mayda, along with IMF economist, Prachi Mishra, challenge this spending-centered view in their recent paper, "Protection for Free? The Political Economy of U.S. Tariff Suspensions." They study the political influence of individual firms on Congressional decisions to suspend tariffs on U.S. imports of intermediate goods.
Ludema, Mayda, and Mishra develop a model in which firms influence the government by transmitting information about the value of protection, using verbal messages and political spending. They estimate this model using firm-level data on tariff suspension bills and political spending from 1999-2006 and find that indeed verbal opposition by import-competing firms, even without spending, significantly reduces the probability of a suspension being granted. They further find that spending by proponent and opponent firms sway this probability in opposite directions. The effect of verbal opposition is substantially larger than that of both opponent and proponent spending. This is explained by a combination of two factors: verbal opposition conveys more information than opponent spending does, and the government values the harm to opponents more than the gain to proponents.
The table below is taken from the paper and shows how the success rates of bills depend on the actions of the firms. The overall success rate is of suspension bills is 79%. If the proponent of the bill is an "organized" firm (defined as one that makes positive lobbying expenditures), the success rate is 80%, whereas if it is unorganized, it is only 75%. If the definition of organization is expanded to include positive PAC contributions in addition to lobbying, the success rates are 81% and 72%, respectively. If a bill is unopposed the success rate is 90% on average. The success rate drops to a mere 29% if the bill is opposed by an unorganized domestic firm (27% under the PAC definition) and only 11% if the opponent is organized (16% with PAC). Thus, while the presence of a political organization effect is in line with expectations, this effect appears to be much smaller than the effect of verbal opposition.