Look for the next GCER Newsletter in June. Past Newsletters can be found here.
News Archive - Page 13
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.
Sep 5, 2013
The second year of the GCER Distinguished Visitor series features a number of prominent economists who will spend time in the Department during the 2013-14 academic year.
Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, October 7-11, 2013.
Professor Rios-Rull has published extensively on consumption inequality, wealth and income distribution, financial integration, and fiscal policy. His work on general equilibrium models with heterogeneous agents is widely regarded as a major advancement in quantitative macroeconomics. His development of macro models of political economy with Per Krusell is standard reading for PhD students. He is currently the Carlson Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society. He has held past faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon. Professor Rios-Rull will visit the Georgetown Econ department during the week of October 7-11 where he will present his latest research in the Macroeconomics workshop, and will meet with faculty and students.
Nobuhiro Kiyotaki March 17-21, 2014.
Nobuhiro Kiyotaki is Professor of Economics at Princeton University and Fellow of the Econometric Society. He is well known for his work in monetary theory, imperfect competition, and credit markets. His research on the role of fiat money with Randall Wright, and on credit cycles with John Moore has gained wide influence among a generation of monetary economists. Professor Kiyotaki has held previous positions at the Universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the LSE. He will visit the Department during the week of March 17-21 where he will present his latest research in the Macroeconomics workshop, and will meet with faculty and students.
Ellen McGrattan March 31-April 4, 2014.
Ellen McGrattan is a monetary advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and an adjunct professor of economics at the University of Minnesota. Long known for her innovative methods in quantitative and computational macroeconomics, Professor McGrattan's research examines the aggregate effects of monetary and fiscal policy on GDP, investment, the allocation of hours, and the stock market. Prior to coming to Minnesota, she taught at Duke University. She will visit the Department during the week of March 31--April 4 where she present her latest research in the Macroeconomics workshop, and will meet with faculty and students.
Aug 16, 2013
Second Lecture to be delivered in October by Google's Preston McAfee
The 2013-2014 GCER Distinguished Lecture series resumes in September with Professor Charles Manski as its first speaker. Professor Manski will deliver series of lectures at GU on September 9-10 on his new book, Public Policy in an Uncertain World: Analysis and Decisions (Harvard University Press, 2013) and on some technical articles that form the foundation for the book. In the book, Manski describes the practice of policy analysis and the inferential problems that researchers confront. He argues that credible analysis typically yields interval rather than point predictions of policy outcomes. He examines how governments might reasonably make policy decisions when they only have partial knowledge of policy outcomes.
Schedule for the Manski lectures:
Lecture 1 (September 9, 2:00 - 3:30 PM) Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude.
Lecture 2 (September 9, 4:00 - 5:30 PM) Predicting Policy Outcomes, Predicting Behavior.
Lecture 3 (September 10, 9:00 - 10:30 AM) Planning with Partial Knowledge, Diversified Treatment.
Lecture 4 (September 10, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM) Case Studies: Medical Decision Making and Fiscal Policy.
All lectures will be held in the Mortara Center for International Studies, 3600 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20057
Charles Manski is Board of Trustees Professor at Northwestern University. He had made critical contributions in areas of econometrics, decision theory, and social policy. He has served as Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty and editor of the Journal of Human Resources. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.