IFS announcements

Announcements about IFS research and researchers.

Masterclass by Dave Donaldson, Empirical Models of Comparative Advantage and the Gains from Trade

We will begin with a presentation of standard models of comparative advantage that have been used to explain the pattern of trade (who trades what with whom) and the normative effects of trade (who gains and who loses when trade becomes easier to do) both between and within nations.  This will span the perfectly competitive models of Ricardo and Heckscher-Ohlin (including their modern versions such as that due to Eaton and Kortum), as well as the monopolistically competitive models of Krugman and Melitz.

We will then turn to the recent empirical literature that aims to connect these models to the data in order to understand the consequences of various trade policies, both realized (e.g. China’s entry into the WTO, or the construction of a vast railroad network) and counterfactual (e.g. the future consequences of post-Brexit UK trade policy).
Because of the complexities of the many cross-market interactions that occur in multi-market spatial settings, we will emphasize some of the recently developed methods (“sufficient statistic”-like strategies, but ones that are applicable to general equilibrium problems) that researchers use to enhance credibility by reducing empirical dimensionality.
These tools have been applied to problems in the fields of International Trade, Urban Economics, Labor Economics, Development Economics, and Economic History.  

IFS and Ghanaian Ministry of Finance disseminate their joint work at event in Accra, Ghana, attended by key public sector, private sector and international stakeholders

Researchers from IFS TAXDEV were in Accra on 7th March 2018 for an event hosted by the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance (MoF). The event was a chance to present ongoing work on tax policy analysis that is being undertaken in collaboration with the MoF and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and to get feedback and suggestions from key stakeholders. 

IFS researchers David Phillips and Ross Warwick and MoF analysts Seth Anoff Akuffo and Andara Kamara from the Revenue Policy Division (RPD), presented three strands of their joint work:

1. Refining approaches to costing new tax policies, including accounting for the potential impacts of policies on taxpayer behavior.

2. Building a tax and transfer microsimulation model (GHATAX) to assess the impacts of tax and transfer policies and policy proposals on the incomes of different sections of Ghanaian society

3. Improving the availability of micro-level tax data, to allow more reliable and accurate tax policy analysis

Anthony Dzadrza, director of the RPD, introduced and closed the event, and Edward Abrokwah, Principal Economics Officer of the RPD set out the background to our joint work, and chaired discussions. 

The event was attended by representatives from several divisions of the MoF, the GRA, the Ghana Statistical Service, the International Growth Centre, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, the University of Ghana, the IMF, USAID, GIZ, DfID, PwC, KPMG and Ali Nakyea and Associates. Attendees provided useful comments and suggestions on taking this work forward and provided positive feedback on the work undertaken to date. 

Ghanaian officials meet with IFS researchers

Ghanaian officials, and key public sector, private sector and international stakeholders meet with IFS researchers

Masterclass given by Robert Miller (Carnegie Mellon): Identifying and Estimating Dynamic Discrete Choice Models

This masterclass develops structural approaches for analyzing large cross sectional and longitudinal data sets, by exploiting restrictions derived from the equilibrium dynamic outcomes in individual discrete choice optimization problems and non-cooperative games. We investigate empirical content, characterize identification of the primitives and  counterfactuals, and evaluate alternative estimators and testing procedures.

CPP director Richard Blundell awarded honorary doctorate from Ca' Foscari University of Venice

CPP director Professor Sir Richard Blundell CBE FBA has received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Economics from Ca' Foscari University of Venice.  He delivered his Lectio Magistralis on 'Economic Policy Reform and the Challenge of Inequality'.  

In his speech, Professor Blundell stated: "inequality is probably the most pressing issue facing modern society. We need to actively support complementary activities to innovation and human capital. Universities have a key role to play in these and other aspects of delivering equitable growth".

A Conference on Optimization and Machine Learning in Economics organised by Alfred Galichon and Sokbae Lee, March 8-9 2018

Optimization is coming back as a major developing research area in economics. There are at least two reasons for this. The first one is the emergence of online platforms, which act as central planners and need to solve complex optimization problems such as matching service providers with customers, introducing potential dating partners, performing dynamic pricing  tasks, etc. The second reason is that econometric methods have been cross-fertilized by novel techniques from machine learning, that heavily rely on optimization tools. This conference is a chance for experts on optimization, machine learning, and economics to meet and discuss the current frontier of the scientific knowledge at these intersections.