News Archive: 2013

Dec 19, 2013
GU Ph.D. student is awarded a Department of Labor grant for a U.S. labor market study.

Congratulations to Georgetown Economics Ph.D. student, Alison Weingarden for her recent merit-based grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The award is the result of a competition initiated by the 2013 Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Research Papers Program and is intended to provide funds for Ph.D. 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
Fall 2013. Featured Research Profile.

#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“(forthcoming in The American Economic Review), GCER Fellow and Georgetown Professor Axel Anderson and co-author Lones Smith of the University of Wisconsin explores 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
GCER Distinguished Lecture to be delivered in October by Google’s Preston McAfee

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 from 4:15-5:45 pm in McShain Large Lounge in Kennedy Hall at Georgetown University.

Preston McAfee is the 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 a 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
GCER Fellow Ravallion will lead an Academic group focused on inequality according to GU News.

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
Distinguished Visitor Series resumes for 2013-14.

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 Ph.D. 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 a Professor of Economics at Princeton University and a 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
The distinguished Lecture Series resumes in September with Charles Manski.

Second Lecture is 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 a 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

Professor Manski’s lectures can be downloaded here.


Charles Manski is a 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.

Aug 9, 2013
Eighth Monetary Policy Conference: Call for Papers


Please click the picture above or here to enlarge it.

Jun 20, 2013
New Research by GCER Fellow Arik Levinson Featured in Recent WSJ Article.

[Levinson] A recent article in the Wall Street Journal’s online edition features new findings by GCER Fellow Arik Levinson. The article examines an NBER working paper by Levinson that questions whether regulation may have caused a drop in California electricity consumption.

Jun 15, 2013
GCER Fellow Martin Ravallion was recently elected Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

[Martin Ravallion] GCER Fellow Martin Ravallion was recently elected Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Professor Ravallion joined the Department and GCER in 2012 as the inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chaired Professor in Economics.

Among his various prizes and awards, in 2012 he was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize from the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Professor Ravallion has also given recent keynote addresses at the Midwest Development Economics Conference, the Canadian Economics Association, the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, and the Annual Conference of the Michelsens Institut in Norway.

As a Research Associate in the NBER’s Development Group, Professor Ravallion will attend the NBER’s semi-annual program meetings, and in addition, participate in the NBER Summer Institute.

Jun 4, 2013
Winter/Spring, 2013. Featured Research Profile.

Unintended Consequences in the Struggle for Equal Rights: Anderson and Genicot explore the surprising relationship between suicides and female property rights in India.

A woman’s right to inherit property is restricted in many developing countries. These restrictions, and the ensuing battles for equal rights, have been a source of great conflict in many traditional societies.

To understand how these conflicts play out, GCER Fellow and Georgetown Professor Garance Genicot explore the little-known but significant link between suicides and female property rights in India. In a recent paper entitled “Suicides and Property Rights in India”. Professor Genicot and co-author Siwan Anderson of the University of British Columbia document this link and provide a compelling explanation for its cause.

India presents a fascinating case study because, while the original Hindu Succession Act of 1956 mandates equal treatment in inheritance rights between sons and daughters, the Act contained two major loopholes. Both joint property and tenancy land were originally excluded.

Anderson and Genicot exploit the fact that from 1956 until a nationwide amendment in 2005, different states in India independently chose to strengthen women’s inheritance rights at different dates. Using these differences across states and time, they find that strengthened property rights for women decreased the ratio of female to male suicide rates, but increased the absolute numbers of both male and female suicides.

Since a large majority of suicide victims in India are married, and since “family problems” constitutes the main reported cause of suicides for both men and women, a natural conjecture is that marital discord is the main channel through which improving female property rights raises suicides. Consistent with this hypothesis, Anderson and Genicot show that improving property rights for women increases the proportion of suicides due to household conflict, and, using individual-level data, they show that it increases the prevalence of domestic violence.

The authors root their explanation in a theoretical model of household bargaining under asymmetric information. The model predicts separations (divorce) as well as suicides in a manner consistent with the empirical findings. It shows that, as the share of assets held by women increases, the ratio of female to male suicide rates decreases, and conflict can increase. Periods of conflict are costly and reverting to normalcy takes time, so that either party may choose the “ultimate exit” and commit suicide.

The model shows that when women have nothing, they accept everything and therefore there is little conflict. Ironically, as women’s share of assets increases, their outside options improve slightly. They will not accept everything anymore and intra-household conflict will rise. Male suicide would increase, while the effect on female suicide could go either way.

May 15, 2013
The Second IZA-GCER Young Scholar Conference is set for September 23-27, 2013.

IZA and the Georgetown Center of Economic Research (GCER) of Georgetown University Economics Department are very pleased to announce the Second IZA@DC Young Scholar Program which will take place from September 23 — 27, 2013 at Georgetown University in Washington DC. The program is a joint effort by GCER and the IZA to bring outstanding Ph.D. students to Washington, DC.

The program encourages interaction between talented Ph.D. students and labor economists located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. On each of the five days of the program, a leading labor economist will present his/her frontier research. Students will be given the opportunity to collectively meet with each of the speakers and to discuss their own research. In addition, the students will formally present their own research. They will also visit IZA Research Fellows located in Washington, DC at their home institutions.

The program is designed for advanced Ph.D. students from outside the US working in the field of labor economics with an interest in joint research projects with local universities or public institutions in the DC area. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 10 students.

For a complete program of this year’s conference, please see GCER-IZA Program.

For more information about last year’s conference, please see Program 2012.

May 5, 2013
GU Econ Ph.D. student Claire Brunel receives the prestigious Jordan Award

For the second straight year, The Economic Club of Washington presented its prestigious Vernon E. Jordan Jr Fellowship Award to a GU Ph.D. student. This year’s Jordan Fellowship recipient is Claire Brunel for her winning essay, “Green Innovation and Green Imports: Links between Regulation, Innovation, and Trade.” Ms. Brunel follows last year’s recipient, Mauricio Villamizar, another GU Ph.D. student. As this year’s Jordan Fellow, Ms. Brunel will present her research results to The Economic Club of Washington in the Spring of 2014.

Apr 8, 2013
Annual Political Economy Seminar

This year, political economy is at Georgetown University, Monday, April 29th, 2013 from 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm at Mortara Center for International Studies.

There will be two speakers: Pravin Krishna, Johns Hopkins University, and Peter Rosendorff, New York University.

please click here for more details

Apr 7, 2013
Joint Initiative gui²de launched by GU Econ, GPPI, and GCER.

GPPI Professors Nada Eissa and James Habyarimana and Georgetown Economics Professor Billy Jack recently launched gui²de, the Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation. gui²de assesses the effectiveness of interventions and policies aimed at empowering individuals in developing countries through field-based research. Read more about gui²de here.

Apr 6, 2013
GCER Fellow to present joint research with GU Ph.D. student at Chicago Fed Banking Conference.

GCER Fellow Pedro Gete will present his work, “Imperfect Information, Lending Standards, and Capital Requirements” at the Chicago Fed Banking Conference in May. The research is joint work with Georgetown Ph.D. student Natalie Tiernan. The Conference will feature notable economists and policymakers around the country, including Ben Bernanke, Edward DeMarco (FHFA), and William Isaac (former Chairman, FDIC).

Please click here for details 

Apr 5, 2013
Richard Blundell is to deliver Spring Seminar, Thursday, April 11, at 2 pm in the Leavey Program Room

The talk is entitled: Female Labour Supply, Human Capital and Tax Reform

The UK together with many other countries has put in place a system of tax credits to subsidize work for low-paid individuals. We consider the impact of such tax policies on women over the lifecycle. We focus on the effects of tax credits on education choice, employment, hours, and human capital accumulation. By modeling education choices and introducing a channel of impacts through on-the-job human capital accumulation we are able to better understand both the short-run incentive effects and the longer-run implications for poverty and inequality for tax credits and other aspects of tax and welfare benefits. Moreover, individuals in the model are risk averse and can accumulate financial assets which serve for short-run smoothing, retirement, and precautionary savings. Within this context, we can also assess the insurance value of these major welfare programs and the welfare effects of risk in the presence of public insurance. We find substantial labor supply elasticities. We also find that for lower education individuals the welfare programs have substantial insurance value.

Apr 4, 2013
The 12th Annual Carroll Round is set to take place on April 18-21, 2013 at Georgetown University.

The Carroll Round Steering Committee cordially invites you to save the dates for the 12th Annual Carroll Round at Georgetown University. This year, the international economics conference will be April 18-21, 2013 with presentation sessions and speakers on that Friday and Saturday.

A formal RSVP invitation will follow in the coming weeks with details.

For more information on Carroll Round events, please visit our website at

Apr 4, 2013
Fall of 2013, Laurent Bouton joined GCER and GU Econ Faculty.

GCER is pleased to announce that Laurent Bouton will be joining the Economics faculty at Georgetown University and GCER in the Fall of 2013. Professor Bouton received his Ph.D. from ECARES, Université libre de Bruxelles (Brussels) in 2009. After leaving graduate school, he joined the faculty of Boston University where he resided as an Assistant Professor until now.

Professor Bouton specializes in Political Economy and Microeconomics. His research focuses on the effects of information imperfections under various electoral systems, including runoff elections, plurality, and approval voting. His work has appeared in a number of prestigious journals including The American Economic Review and Econometrica. According to Frank Vella, the Chair of the Economics Department, “Laurent is an outstanding young scholar and he will provide additional strength in research areas where our Department is already very strong. We are all very excited to welcome him to Georgetown.”

Apr 3, 2013
Call for papers for the 2013 round of the GCER conference.

The conference will take place on May 23-24; the deadline for paper submission is March 31.

We are pleased to invite you to participate in the Georgetown Center for Economic Research’s second biennial conference, which is organized jointly by the GU Economics department alumni and faculty, and aims to bring together recent Ph.D.s, faculty, and current graduate students as well as other researchers in the greater DC area. The conference will include sessions in different areas of economics; at least one session will be reserved for current graduate students intending to go on the job market.

Papers are invited from all areas of economics. Completed manuscripts or extended abstracts should be emailed (as attachments) to Yamin Ahmad at Please use “GCER 2013 Submission” as the subject line. 
All submissions must be received by March 31, 2013.

More information can be obtained here.

The same information can also be obtained online at

Apr 1, 2013
Fall, 2012. Featured Research Profile.

Gale and O’Brien sing the blues over Use-or-Lose!

Crowded airports are an unfortunate fact of life. As the demand for air travel grows, regulators must deal with increasingly stringent limits on airport capacity. Many U.S. and European airports use takeoff-and-landing slots to determine which airlines fly at peak times. One concern is that airlines may hoard slots solely in order to reduce competition. In hopes of mitigating this inefficiency, regulators have imposed so-called “use-or-lose” provisions. These provisions require that the airlines utilize a certain minimum percentage of their slots on a monthly or annual basis. (Water rights, mineral leases, and fishing quotas have also been subject to use-or-lose provisions.) GCER Fellow Ian Gale and co-author Dan O´Brien from the Federal Trade Commission have examined the impact of use-or-lose provisions on social welfare.

In a recent paper, “The Welfare Effects of Use-or-Lose Provisions in Markets with Dominant Firms” (forthcoming in the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics),   Gale and O´Brien find that use-or-lose provisions may be ineffectual or worse. While the provisions are imposed with the aim of inducing firms to divest themselves of unused capacity, the provisions may actually induce those firms to acquire capacity from competitors. A consequence is that aggregate output and social welfare may both fall. Gale and O´Brien conclude that the welfare effects of use-or-lose provisions are ambiguous overall, and they depend on the particular market in ways that make policy prescriptions difficult.

Mar 29, 2013
2012-2013 GCER Distinguished Visitor Series.

The inaugural program features three distinguished economists who will spend time in the Department during the 2012-13 academic year.

The inaugural program features three distinguished economists who will spend time in the Department during the 2012-13 academic year.

Dirk Krueger
Professor of Economics at U Penn has published extensively on issues relating to consumption inequality, redistribution, and social insurance. His work has been prominently cited in top press outlets such as The Economist, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Professor Krueger visited the department in December of 2012, where he presented his recent work on “Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession” in the Macroeconomics workshop. He returns on February 11-13 and will consult with faculty and students in the department.

Guido Lorenzoni 
Associate Professor of Economics at Northwestern U, is one of the rising stars in the profession. He is known for his research on the macroeconomic implications of credit market frictions. Professor Lorenzoni will visit the department during the week of April 15-19 where he will present his latest research in the Macroeconomics workshop and will meet with faculty and students.

Gianluca Violante
Professor of Economics at NYU is well known for his quantitative assessments of the U.S. labor market. His work spans a number of critical policy issues ranging from social security reform to welfare-to-work programs to labor market implications of the fiscal stimulus. Professor Violante will visit the department during the week of March 11-15 where he will present his latest research in the Macroeconomics workshop and will meet with faculty and students.

Mar 13, 2013
Sixteenth Annual Razin Prize.

The Graduate Committee is pleased to announce that Mauricio Tejada has won the sixteenth annual competition for the Razin Prize, for his paper “Dual Labor Markets and Labor Protection in an Estimated Search and Matching Model.” Congratulations to Mauricio and his thesis advisor Luca Flabbi.

The award ceremony will be held on April 3rd, 2013, and will coincide with the annual Razin Lecture in Economic Policy by Ronny Razin (LSE). Further details will follow.

Mar 12, 2013
Professor Ronny Razin to deliver Razin Policy Lecture in April

GCER is pleased to announce GCER is pleased to announce that Ronny Razin, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics will present the 2013 Razin Policy Lecture at Georgetown University. This year’s Razin Lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, from 4:00 – 6 pm at McShain Large Lounge (Kennedy Hall). His talk is entitled “The Debate about Online Debates: What Can We Learn From Economic Theory”

Ronny Razin is an internationally recognized political economist whose work spans a wide range of issues and problems. Some of his best-known work concerns the critical question of whether democracies aggregate information properly. In most democratic countries, voters are motivated to use the information they have to determine the winning candidate. In one of his more widely acclaimed studies, Professor Razin suggests a second motivation, one no less important: voters are motivated to use their votes to affect the policy choice of the winning candidate by influencing candidates’ beliefs. Professor Razin’s research shows how and why these two motivations may conflict to produce unsatisfactory electoral results and policy outcomes.

Professor Razin has also published several prominent papers on interest groups and party formation and political communication. His current work studies the unusual political economics of religion, and its role in voting participation, social cooperation, and policy making. This year’s Razin Prize Recipient is Mauricio Tejada for his excellent paper on: “Dual Labor Markets and Labor Protection in an Estimated Search and Matching Model”, under the guidance of Luca Flabbi.

Professor Razin is the brother of the late Ofair Razin in whose honor the Lecture is named. The Razin Lecture is to be accompanied by the awarding of the Razin Prize for the best research paper by an advanced graduate student. Click here for more on the Razin Prize and Policy Lecture, its background, and history.