2014-15 Economics Department Newsletter, Vol. 10
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Economics Department Newsletter

November 18, 2014
In This Edition:
  • Seminars
  • Student Conferences
  • Call for Undergraduate Papers
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Interesting Reading

Thursday, November 20;  4:00pm, Griffin 6
Economics Class of 1960 Scholars SeminarRandom Policies in Federations by James Hines, University of Michigan and NBER

From the abstract:  "This paper compares outcomes in which centralized and decentralized governments adopt policies of random quality. With freely mobile populations, jurisdictions adopting superior policies experience population inflows. If uncorrected congestion costs are small, then policy diversity promotes higher welfare levels. With significant convex congestion costs, however, this welfare ordering is reversed: competition induces so great a concentration of population in jurisdictions adopting superior policies that consumer welfare is lower than with centralized (and harmonized) policies. To the degree that interjurisdictional mobility is limited by deliberate congestion pricing, rising costs of local fixed factors, or heterogeneous preferences, diversity among decentralized governments may again produce higher welfare than harmonization. Hence the welfare impact of centralization and accompanying policy harmonization depends critically on the nature of crowding costs and the extent to which market forces, preferences, or government policies inhibit population mobility."
Student Conferences:

LSE SU Alternative Investments Conference 2015
The LSE SU AIC, the world's largest student-run conference on hedge funds and private equity, is seeking applications from students interested in attending.  Details can be found in their
invitation and flyer.
Call for Undergraduate Papers:

Hemispheres: The Tufts Journal of International Affairs
From their announcement:  "The Tufts Undergraduate Journal of International Affairs, one of the oldest undergraduate journals in the field, is now accepting submissions relating to this year’s theme of Marginalized Populations.  To view paper requirements and guidelines, please visit
We welcome and encourage a broad interpretation of the theme. Potential research topics may include, but are not limited to:  global inequality, the global North vs. South, gender roles and perspectives, changing role of religion, impact of natural disasters, impact of war, the effect of international institutions and norms, psychological warfare, resource access, migrations and refugees, internally displaced persons, minorities, the effect of nationalism, stateless populations, civil war, ethnic conflict, class dynamics" 

Submission Deadline: December 19, 2014
Employment Opportunities:

Law and Economics Research Assistant - Yale Law School
A full-time RA position with a law and economics professor will be available in July 2015.  The job description and application instructions can be viewed


Multiple Positions - Harvard Kennedy School
The Student Social Support R&D Lab at Harvard Kennedy School is currently hiring for positions that can begin immediately or later and includes the following:

Research Fellow (Project Manager)

Research Fellow (Data Manager)
Interesting Reading:

Roger Bolton, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Research Associate in Environmental Studies, suggests the following reading:

A Rocking Horse? or a Herd of Wild Horses?
The chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, has become known recently for an analogy to the modern economy. In a November 2013 speech at the U.K. Treasury, "Teaching Economics As If the Last Decade Mattered," he said the traditional neoclassical economic theory sees the economy as a "rocking horse": when disturbed by some exogenous source, it fluctuates in a regular cycle, predictable from a knowledge of its basic structure, and gradually returning to its original stability. (The rocking horse idea comes from the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell nearly a hundred years ago.) But in fact, says Haldane, the modern economy is more like a "herd of wild horses": if you hit one horse in the herd, you can't predict what will happen, but most likely the horse will run into another horse, which will run into another, and ... there will be a chain reaction ending in the herd racing off in an unpredictable direction.
You can learn more from this recent interview with Haldane:


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