Look for the next GCER Newsletter in June. Past Newsletters can be found here.
News Archive - Page 21
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.
Jun 10, 2011
Professor Reinhart at the Alumni Conference
Keynote Speaker Carmen Reinhart Presents Data on "Financial Repression"
The Inaugural GCER Alumni Conference was held on June 2-3 at Georgetown University. The conference, organized largely by former PhD students from Georgetown, featured research presented by many prominent economists including former Georgetown students who now hold faculty and scholarly positions at universities and research institutions world-wide.
The conference's Keynote speech was delivered by Professor Carmen M. Reinhart,Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics. Professor Reinhart spoke about her latest paper on financial repression which evaluates the consequences of restrictive interest rate policies by governments.
Apr 13, 2011
Professors Pande and Wantchekon
The Annual Mini-Conference on Political Economy will take place on Wednesday, April 27 from 2:30pm – 5:30pm in the Mortara Center for International Studies, 3600 N Street. This year's talks are:
"Do Informed Voters Make Better Choices? Experimental Evidence from India," by Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
"Deliberative Electoral Campaigns and Transition from Clientelism: Evidence from Benin," by Leonard Wantchekon, Professor of Politics and Economics, New York University.
The event is jontly sponsored by GCER, the Departments of Economics and Government, and the School of Foreign Policy. For further details, see GCER's Monthly Calendar.