2014-15 Economics Department Newsletter, Vol. 7
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Economics Department Newsletter

October 21, 2014
In This Issue:
  • Seminars
  • On-Campus Recruiting Events
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Student Call to Present Research
  • Graduate School Programs
  • Meet the Professor

Wednesday, October 22;  4:00pm, Griffin 7
Economics Department SeminarMaternal Bargaining Power, Parental Compensation and Non-cognitive Skills in Rural China by Jessica Leight, Williams College Economics Department

From the introduction:  "In recent years, both research and policy debates have placed increasing emphasis on the importance of non-cognitive skills in determining long-term economic outcomes. Data primarily from industrialized countries has suggested that non-cognitive skills have a large impact on adult economic outcomes, including earnings and labor productivity (Heckman and Rubinstein, 2001; Heckman, Stixrud and Urzua, 2006; Carneiro, Crawford and Goodman, 2007). One author has argued that gender differentials in non-cognitive skills account for a substantial portion of the gap in attainment in higher education between men and women in the U.S (Jacob, 2002). Perhaps most important, considerable evidence has been presented arguing that non-cognitive skills are more malleable at later ages than cognitive skills. This conclusion suggests that policies targeted to induce catch-up by children or young adults exhibiting unfavorable socioeconomic outcomes vis-a-vis their peers should prioritize the development of these skills (Cunha et al., 2006; Carneiro and Heckman, 2003) ..."


Thursday, October 23;  4:00pm, Griffin 6
Economics Department SeminarRounding the Corners of the Policy Trilemma:  Sources of Monetary Policy Autonomy by Michael Klein, Tufts University

From the abstract:  "A central result in international macroeconomics is that a government cannot simultaneously opt for open financial markets, fixed exchange rates, and monetary autonomy; rather, it is constrained to choosing no more than two of these three. In the wake of the Great Recession, however, there has been an effort to address macroeconomic challenges through intermediate measures, such as narrowly targeted capital controls or limited exchange rate flexibility. This paper addresses the question of whether these intermediate policies, which round the corners of the triangle representing the policy trilemma, afford a full measure of monetary policy autonomy. Our results confirm that extensive capital controls or floating exchange rates enable a country to have monetary autonomy, as suggested by the trilemma. Partial capital controls, however, do not generally enable a country to have greater monetary control than is the case with open capital accounts unless they are quite extensive. In contrast, a moderate amount of exchange rate flexibility does allow for some degree of monetary autonomy, especially in emerging and developing economies."


Monday, October 27;  4:00pm, Griffin 6
Economics Class of 1960 Scholars SeminarLand Use Regulation and Productivity - Land Matters: Evidence From a UK Supermarket Chain by Paul Cheshire, London School of Economics

From the abstract:  "Using store-specific data for a UK supermarket chain we first estimate the impact of planning policies on store output. Exploiting the variation in policies between England and other UK countries, we isolate the impact of Town Centre First (TCF) policies introduced in England to restrict new retail development to specific more central locations. We find they directly reduced output by forcing stores onto less productive sites imposing a loss of output of 32 percent on a representative store opening after their rigorous implementation in 1996. Additionally, we show that, household numbers constant, more restrictive local authorities have fewer stores and lower chain sales within their areas. The declared aim of TCP was to make cities more ‘sustainable’ and retain access to shops to those without cars. So in the second part of the paper we provide the first evidence of their impact on travel for shopping trips. We use novel data on local shopping travel for 1998 and 2008 to test the effect of changes in supply of grocery stores on average shopping travel costs. We use two approaches. In 1) we compare changes in shopping trips in England compared to Scotland where TDF policies were imposed later and less tightly. Then 2) within England, we compare places located at different distances from Town Centres (TCs) and estimate the effect exploiting differences in the intensity of the treatment. Both approaches strongly suggest that, by restricting new retail units to Town Centres, TCF relatively increased shopping travel costs in England."
On-Campus Recruiting Events:

Thursday, October 23;  7:00pm, Mears House Lewis Room
The Brattle Group - Information Session

Wade Davis '13 will be visiting on behalf of The Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm that is currently hiring full time research analysts and summer interns to start in summer 2015.  A detailed job description is located
Employment Opportunities:

Mathematica Policy Research - Research Assistant / Programmer
MPR, a social policy and research firm, is recruiting 2015 spring graduates for multiple Research Assistant / Programmer vacancies in their various locations.  The review process will begin in the upcoming weeks, but applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and into the spring.  Job description and application details are
Student Call to Present Research:

University of Notre Dame Human Development Conference
The 2015 student-led
University of Notre Dame Human Development Conference (HDC) announces their call for papers.   More information is located here.
Graduate School Programs:

University of Pennsylvania The Wharton School’s Doctoral Program in Applied Economics
Meet the Professor:  Q. Ashraf

Professor Ashraf has been at William since 2009. His scholarly interests lie in the areas of economic growth and development, population economics, and macroeconomics.  His main research program has been focused on exploring the deep, historically rooted cultural, institutional, and geographical determinants of long-run economic growth and the dynamics of global cross-country comparative development, including the influence of prehistorically determined intra-population diversity and of the biogeographic determinants of the transition to sedentary agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution. His other work has focused on using simulation-based models of economic growth to quantitatively assess the aggregate implications of economy-wide policy interventions to improve public health or reduce population growth; and applying the methodology of agent-based computational economics to investigate various macroeconomic phenomena, including the real costs of inflation and the role of the banking system in macroeconomic crises.


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