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Economics seminars and workshops

We run a regular programme of seminars for staff, students and the wider public.

Our seminars usually take place on Wednesdays between 16:00 and 17:30. In addition, there are also workshops, which take place on Fridays between 13:00 and 14:30.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all seminars and workshops will be held online until further notice.

Please contact the economic seminar organiser, Dr Pipat Wongsa-art, if you are interested in attending these events or require additional information.

Upcoming events

Can we afford a defined benefit pension in a low interest rate environment?

Woon Wong, Reader in Financial Economics, Cardiff University
Date: Friday 15 October 2021,13:00-14:30


The research investigates, under current low interest rate environment, the welfare offered by various pension schemes that are organised as individual defined contribution (IDC), collective defined contribution (CDC) and defined benefit (DB). It is found that IDC offers significantly less welfare than the latter two due to lack of risk sharing in IDC.

Risk sharing between age cohorts (often referred to as intergenerational risk sharing) not only enhance welfare, but also enables a pension scheme to invest more in high return risky assets. The findings are applied to the case of USS, where the impacts of various regulatory rules such as prudence and self-sufficiency are investigated.

Measuring productivity: challenges and opportunities

Josh Martin, Head of Productivity, Assistant Deputy Director Productivity, Research Partnerships and Professional Development, ONS
Date: Friday 22 October 2021, 13:00-14:30


In the days of Adam Smith, measuring productivity was much easier than it is today. The 17th century economy was much more manufacturing-orientated, so measuring output was easier. Inputs, as workers and machines, were usually tangible and easier to measure too. The modern economy however presents many challenges: the output is more heterogeneous and services-based, and the inputs are more often intangible and flexible. Workers sometimes have multiple jobs, or work varying hours. Software and know-how are as important as machines.

And haircuts have replaced pins. Josh will describe the approaches to measuring productivity in the modern economy: the challenges, the knowledge gaps, and the opportunities. He’ll touch on measurement of the productivity of public services, which present special challenges due to a lack of market prices, and measurement of intangible assets. Using the latest official data, he will also chart the so-called “productivity puzzle”.

Arnab Bhattacharjee, NIESR Fellow, Professor and Head of Economics, Heriot-Watt University

Date: Wednesday 27 October 2021, 16:00-17:30

Topic and abstract to be confirmed.

Spatial Dynamic Panel Data Models with Interactive Fixed Effects: M-Estimation and Inference with Small T

Zhenlin Yang, Professor of Economics and Statistics, Singapore Management University
Date: Friday 29 October 2021, 10:00-11:30


We propose an M-estimation method for estimating the spatial dynamic panel data models with interactive fixed effects based on short panels. Unbiased estimating function (EF) is obtained by adjusting the concentrated conditional quasi score, given initial values and with factor loadings being concentrated out, to account for the effects of conditioning and concentration.

For inference, the EF is decomposed into a sum of n nearly uncorrelated terms. Average of outer products of these n terms together with a covariance adjustment gives a consistent estimator of the variance-covariance (VC) matrix of the EF and hence the VC matrix of the M-estimator. Consistency and asymptotic normality of the proposed estimator are established, and consistency of the VC matrix estimator is proved.

Monte Carlo results show the proposed methods perform very well in finite sample. Compared with the existing methods, our methods are much simpler, more efficient in point estimation and more reliable in inference when T is small.

A tale of two recessions: The global financial crisis and pandemic recession compared

Grant Fitzner, Chief Economist, Director, Macroeconomic Statistics and Analysis Economic Statistics Group, ONS
Date: Wednesday 3 November 2021, 16:00-17:30


The 2008-09 global financial crisis saw an unprecedented fall in economic output, the worst since the Great Depression. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Despite some similarities, the impacts of these two ‘great’ recessions – and the ways in which governments have responded – have been markedly different.

This poses a range of questions, including: Why have young workers been hardest hit? Have government support schemes reduced economic scarring? Is large public sector debt manageable? I will also talk about the steps that we’ve taken at the Office for National Statistics to modernise how we measure the economy and identify business cycle turning points, and why that matters for economists and policy makers.

Finally, this presentation will identify some economic lessons we’ve learned and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Emily Hopson, Head of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey, ONS

Date and time, topic and abstract to be confirmed.

Past events

16/10/202013:00Maroš Servátka, Macquarie University - Online seminarProcrastination in Charitable Giving
23/10/202012:00Silvia Griselda, Melbourne University - Online seminarCan the Format of Questions Explain the Gender Gap in Mathematics?
30/10/202013:00Sofia Amaral Garcia, Université Libre de Bruxelles - Online seminarMedical Device Companies and Doctors: Do their interactions affect medical treatments?
04/11/202016:00Woon Wong, Cardiff Business School - Online seminarUSS 2020 valuation: low interest rate, yield on productive assets and risk
06/11/202013:00Benjamin Elsner, University College Dublin - Online seminarAchievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College
18/11/202016:00Johannes Stroebel, New York University - Online seminarFive Facts about Beliefs and Portfolios
25/11/202016:00Yuliya Kulikova, Bank of Spain - Online seminarFamily-Friendly Policies and Fertility: What Firms Got to Do With It?
04/12/202013:00Maren Froemel, Bank Of England - Online seminar Monetary policy, corporate finance, and investment
17/02/202116:00Melanie Luhrmann, Royal Holloway University of London - Online seminarLong-run Health and Mortality Effects of Exposure to Universal Health Care in Infancy
03/02/202116:00Pipat Wongsa-art, Cardiff University - Online seminarFunctional Time Series Approach to Analysing Returns Co-movements
10/03/202116:00Vasily Korovkin, CERGE-EI - Online seminarProduction Networks and War
12/03/202113:00Aldo Elizalde, Adam Smith Business School (Glasgow) - Online seminarPublic good or public bad? Indigenous institutions, nation-building, and the demand for road infrastructure in Mexico
21/04/202116:00Hale Utar, Grinnell College - Online seminarGlobalisation, Gender, and the Family