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The Year in Seminars: over 200 lectures across the spectrum of economics fields

During the 2009-10 academic year, master students could complement their coursework with a full menu of more than 200 conferences and seminars.

In many of these lectures, the same professors teaching classes in the GSE's master programs presented their own research, giving students a chance to engage first-hand with the wealth of academic research conducted by faculty. In other cases, visiting academics or professionals from institutions around the world put master classwork in a new context.

Seminars tailored to enrich master curricula

Among the more than 20 seminar series open to all members of the GSE community, several are designed with master students in mind. Below is a brief look at just a few of the lectures:

Regulation and Competition Seminar Series: What is fair? And who gets to decide? Dr. Mario Mariniello (DG Competition - European Commission) examined these questions and others in his lecture "Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms (FRAND)."

Students note that the seminars in this series address not only up-and-coming trends in the market place, but also how theories learned in classes are utilized in actual merger cases by active practitioners.

"Dr. Mariniello's seminar was interesting because the debate of what is fair and what is not, along with what is reasonable and non-discriminatory, differ from person to person and organization to organization," said Edgardo Lara, a student in the GSE's Competition and Market Regulation program. "I found it appealing to hear Dr. Mariniello's personal views of actual cases he has worked on since he is a practitioner himself."

Fellow student Jordi Prats agreed, also observing that the sessions provide excellent networking opportunities for students and professionals. "The seminars provide an opportunity to be in touch with people in the market. They also offer future prospective along with knowledge and know-how," Mr. Prats said.

Financial Institutions Seminar Series: The series kicked off with a talk by Dr. Lorenzo Isla, who is responsible for the Structured Credit and Credit Derivatives business at BBVA. Dr. Isla presented a state-of-the-industry look at the new financial landscape. Among the topics he covered was the growing industry-wide focus on risk management and regulation (both topics covered in the Master in Finance and other Barcelona GSE master programs). He advised students that while current policies aim to facilitate economic recovery, the industry will soon need to adapt to policies such as the new Basel Accord, which will target systemic risk and stronger market discipline.

Students were eager to know how these changes would shape the job market in finance and banking. Dr. Isla discussed possible career options for “quants” – pure or applied mathematicians – who design and implement mathematical models for the pricing of derivatives, assessment of risk, or predicting market movements.

International Trade, Finance, and Development (ITFD) Policy Specialists. As reported by ITFD student Johannes Eugster:

Why do countries engage in trade liberalizations? What determines their timing and their form? Why has the most recent liberalization effort – the Doha Round – been in an impasse for so long; and how can it be overcome? These were some of the questions analyzed in the Policy Course taught by Prof. Simon Evenett in the first week of June. Due to his strong engagement in both the academic as well as the applied side of international trade, Prof. Evenett was able to shed light on some of the hottest dilemmas of contemporary trade policy.

In short, the Doha Round is stuck: “less than full reciprocity”, tariff overhangs and a lack of political and economic incentives have reduced the scope for possible deals or what Prof. Evenett calls the “landing zone." A series of significant changes seem to be required to provide a solution to the impasse. Only the future will tell us whether it will work out. Prof. Evenett and the students of the ITFD program will be watching closely.

Professor Simon Evenett was the first of three invited professors who presented their field of expertise in the context of the Policy Course. The other two experts were Prof. José García-Montalvo and Prof. Eduardo Levy Yeyati. The students of the Barcelona GSE were thus given a unique opportunity to see the application of the economic knowledge they have aquired in a concrete and policy oriented manner.

 

The Barcelona GSE community organizes a variety of regularly occuring seminars, as well as special events such as the Barcelona GSE Lecture Series and the annual Economics Trobada. This year, students also had the opportunity to attend the first Calvó-Armengol International Prize Lecture, given by the award's inaugural winner, Prof. Esther Duflo (MIT). A small sample of other seminars and conferences on the 2009-10 event calendar:

Seminars by Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors:

Presenter Lecture Title Seminar Series
Pablo Casas (UPF and Barcelona GSE) "Opportunism and incomplete contracts" UAB Micro Seminar
Omar Licandro (IAE and Barcelona GSE) "Trade, Firm Selection, and Innovation: The Competition Channel" CREI-DEE Seminar
Evi Pappa (UAB and Barcelona GSE) "Fiscal Expansion May Affect Unemployment, but They Increase It" UAB Macro Seminar
Joachim Voth (ICREA-UPF, CREI and Barcelona GSE) "The Three Horsemen of Riches: Plague, War, and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe" UAB Macro Seminar

 

Seminars by invited speakers:

Presenter Lecture Title Seminar Series
Georges-Marios Angeletos (MIT) "Noisy Business Cycles" CREI-DEE Seminar
Luis Cabral (NYU and CEPR) "Dynamic Price Competition with Network Effects" UPF Microeconomics Seminar
Filipo Ippolito (Bocconi University) "Debt Structure and Debt Specialization" UPF Finance Lunch Seminar
Dennis Kristensen (Columbia Univeristy) "Stochastic Demand and Revealed Preference" UAB Applied Seminar
Markus M. Mobius (Harvard University) "Measuring Trust in Peruvian Shantytowns" Special UPF Microeconomics Seminar

 

 

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Dr. Lorenzo Isla answered questions during a Financial Institutions Seminar this spring. 

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Master students got to watch their own teachers engage in spirited academic debate during a roundtable at the annual Economics Trobada

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Prof. Suzanne Scotchmer (Berkeley), a renowned scholar in the economics of innovation, delivered one of the lectures this year.

 

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