Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brad Delong at EHA

Delong's talk is available here.
(My blogging activity has been low. Sorry for that.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pure Bliss

Yesterday, Joel Mokyr, Richard Easterlin, Jeffrey Williamson and Brad Delong debated the role of economic history on economic policy. Amazing. One of the best sentences:
"Theory is distilled history."
Brad Delong

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Coase Workshop 2008

I strongly recommend applying to the event (and to the fellowship). I have very fond memories of the workshop that happened in Rio many years ago:
The Ronald Coase Institute
First Asia Workshop on Institutional Analysis
January 5-10, 2008 Singapore

Co-sponsored by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy/
Asia Competitiveness Institute, National University of Singapore
Apply by September 30, 2007

Attend this inaugural workshop in Asia to
• Learn more about institutional analysis
• Present your current research and receive comments from established scholars
• Become part of a worldwide network of institutional scholars.

Who is eligible?
• Postdoctoral social scientists - early in their careers
• Advanced graduate students - in economics, political science, and other social sciences
• Scholars from developing/transitional countries in Asia are particularly invited to apply.
Participants will be selected on the basis of their research abstracts. Admission is strictly limited,
and the pace is intense. Participants must attend all sessions and give as well as receive feedback.

As a participant, you will
Hear established scholars discuss their strategies to formulate research questions, design
projects, and draw important and practical conclusions.
Make two presentations of your own research
(1) in a small group, receiving faculty guidance
(2) after revisions, to the entire workshop, with discussion following.
Network through close, informal contacts with faculty and workshop alumni from
50 countries who have an enduring interest in institutional analysis.

How to apply (deadline September 30, 2007)
E-mail an abstract - 350 words maximum - of a current research project of yours, plus
a one-page curriculum vitae, to Work already published
is not eligible.

At the top of your abstract, list the title, your name, and the number of words in the abstract.
Any co-authors must be listed here.

On your one-page CV, list your current professional status and the academic degrees you have
received, with university, year, and field of study. Also include your citizenship, date of birth,
and country of residence. Give as references the names, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers
of two scholars familiar with you and your work.

As e-mail subject line, use Application for 2008 Singapore Workshop. Please attach your
abstract and CV as Microsoft Word files, using filenames yyy abstract.doc and yyy cv.doc
where yyy is your surname.

Abstracts will be judged on the clarity and importance of the research question, and on their institutional focus. Please do not submit any longer documents, as they will not be read.

The cost of the workshop - tuition and meals - is $2395 USD. This does not include hotel accommodations or travel expenses.

Some fellowships will be awarded competitively to scholars from developing and transitional countries, for tuition, meals, and hotel accommodations. If you wish to be considered for a fellowship, you must state that in your application. Tuition and meal costs for participants who are Singaporeans, Singapore permanent residents, or faculty members of Singapore universities will be covered through the sponsors.

At the close of the workshop, participants may submit papers based on their workshop projects
to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, to be considered for publication in a special volume
produced by the School.

For more information about the Ronald Coase Institute and its previous workshops, see

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Economic History Association Meeting

I am alive, but really busy. Now I am on the way to Austin to presentthis paper. Comments are welcome!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Epainos Award 2007

The Epainos Award goes to the best paper presented by a young researcher at ERSA. Yesterday Roberto Picchizzolu, a PhD candidate at LSE, shared the prize with Piyapong Jiwattanakulpaisarn. Roberto's paper is superb and the discussion, leaded by Philip McCann, was amazing. I was lucky enough to be there and I guess that it was the best paper/session of the whole conference.
The abstract goes like this:
Entrepreneurial Risk and the Geographical Concentration of Industries: Evidence from the UK Manufacturing Sector.This paper provides an analysis of the effects that conditions of imperfect information and irreversibility of investment exert on location decisions, and subsequently produce some empirical evidence in support of those theoretical results, by looking into the concentration of manufacturing industries in the UK. We analyse the location decision of a firm that has to undertake a non-recoverable investment in order to enter a new market. Localities are characterised by their level of efficiency. The potential entrant faces two types of uncertainty: 1) industry profits are aleatory and 2) the characteristics of the single localities are unknown. Due to the existence of sunk costs and uncertainty over future profits the potential entrant faces the risk of producing losses from the venture (entrepreneurial risk). Our main hypothesis is that agents will use the location of existing plants in the industry to infer information on the characteristics of the single localities: the existence of an industry in a locality signals “good” local endowments. As a consequence, the expected level of profits conditional on the locality being “active” will be higher than the unconditional. This difference is bigger the higher the variability of industry profits. Our main prediction is that high-risk industries will be more concentrated geographically, ceteris paribus. We test this hypothesis on the geographical distribution of manufacturing activity in the UK. We do so by running a series of linear regressions of NACE Rev.1 4-digit industries’ Ellison and Glaeser’s gammas on a measure of entrepreneurial risk, after controlling for transport costs, natural resource intensity and Marshallian economies of agglomeration. Our results confirm a significant positive effect of entrepreneurial risk on geographical concentration. As additional contributions, a new proxy for vertical linkages is introduced, which performs consistently better than the alternatives used in previous empirical studies, and a discussion on how to proxy for transport costs in studies of the geographical concentration of industries are carried out.