Tag Archive for economics

Grossman Discussant at Economics Research Conference

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

On Oct. 24, Richard Grossman, professor of economics, was a discussant at a conference titled “Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development,” organized by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Grossman commented on a paper by Dan Bogart (University of California at Irvine) titled “Securing the East India Monopoly: Politics, Institutional Change, and the Security of British Property Rights Revisited.” The paper focuses on the history of the English East India Company and ways it yields new insights on the relationship between politics, institutional change, and the security of property rights in Britain.

Grossman Joins Economics Research Organization in Germany

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman, professor of economics, was invited to become a Research Network Fellow of CESifo, a leading European economic research organization based in Munich, Germany.

The CESifo Group consists of the Center for Economic Studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the Ifo Institute of Economic Research, and the CESifo Munich Society for the Promotion of Economic Research. CESifo combines the theoretically oriented economic research with empirical research and is often at the center of economic policy debates in Germany and throughout Europe.

As a fellow, Grossman will be a member of the Network’s Money, Macro, and International Finance area and will join prominent economists from all over the world who collaborate on research through participation at conferences and less formal meetings in Munich. Grossman’s research will be published in CESifo’s working paper series and other outlets.

Hornstein, Nguyen ’12 Published in International Review of Financial Analysis

Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics, and her former thesis student, Zachary Nguyen ’12 are the co-authors of a paper titled “Is More Less? Propensity to Diversify via M&A and Market” published in the International Review of Financial Analysis, June 2014, pp. 64-88.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) could lead to a firm diversifying into new industries, and the impact of this may be related to the firm’s prior diversification. By using a panel of 1,030 M&A transactions from 2000-2010, Hornstein and Nguyen found that that previously diversified firms are more likely to pursue industrially diversifying M&A.

“Both previous and contemporary diversification measures are not associated with the firm’s cumulative abnormal returns (CAR) at time of announcement but have a lasting effect on various performance measures up to two years later,” Hornstein explained. “We find evidence supporting both a diversification discount and premium, which can be predicted by the sign of the CAR at time of announcement.”

Their study suggests that while diversification is necessary to explain firm value, it is not sufficient.

After graduating, Nguyen worked at Charles River Associates in Boston 2012-14 and is now a first year student at The University of California — Berkeley School of Law.

Craighead’s Paper Published in Macroeconomics Journal

Bill Craighead

Bill Craighead

Bill Craighead, assistant professor of economics, is the author of a paper titled “Monetary Rules and Sectoral Unemployment in Open Economies” published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Macroeconomics.

Search theory has given us a more realistic mechanism to study unemployment in macroeconomic models. In this paper, Craighead integrated search theory into an “open economy” macroeconomic model – i.e., a model of an economy that interacts with the rest of the world.  One important question in open economy models is what measure of inflation should monetary policy respond to – consumer prices, which include imported goods, or producer prices (the prices of domestically-produced output).  In this model, Craighead shows that monetary policies that focus on producer prices do a better job of stabilizing unemployment.

Grossman Leads Public Lecture on Economic Policy Disasters in Germany

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman gave a public lecture about his book, WRONG: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn From Themat the Center for Economic Studies/Institute for Economic Research at Munich University on April 7. He delivered the talk in German. More information about the Munich Seminars is here. The book was published in November 2013 by Oxford University Press.

A video of the lecture is available here.

Cohen, Hornstein, Nakamura, Shusterman Awarded Tenure

Newly tenured faculty are, from left, Lisa Cohen, Abigail Hornstein, Miri Nakamura and Anna Shusterman.

Newly tenured faculty are, from left, Lisa Cohen, Abigail Hornstein, Miri Nakamura and Anna Shusterman.

The Board of Trustees recently conferred tenure to four Wesleyan faculty. Their promotions take effect July 1.

They are: Lisa Cohen, associate professor of English; Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics; Miri Nakamura, associate professor of Asian languages and literatures; and Anna Shusterman, associate professor of psychology. Other tenure announcements may be released after the Board’s May meeting.

“Please join us in congratulating them on their impressive records of accomplishment,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth.

Brief descriptions of their areas of research and teaching are below:

Lisa Cohen joined the English Department’s creative writing faculty in Fall 2007. Her courses are focused on nonfiction writing, the literature of fact, modernism, and gender and sexuality studies. She has published a wide range of essays and the critically acclaimed book, All We Know: Three Lives (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012). In this work, she presents the biographies of three 20th-century women whose significance in modernist culture in England and the United States is equaled only by their absence from previous historical investigations. Critics have widely recognized the stylistic achievement of her writing, as well as the innovations of her archival project and her reframing of the genre of biography.

Abigail Hornstein teaches courses in a variety of areas, including corporate finance, investment finance, and econometrics. She has a particular interest in multinational strategy and China, and her work addresses such questions as how corporate characteristics affect the quality of corporate capital budgeting decisions, and how corporate and country-level governance mechanisms affect both foreign direct investment in China and the stock listing patterns abroad of Chinese firms.

Miri Nakamura teaches courses on literary and filmic approaches to Japanese modernity. More particularly, she works on Japanese literature from the Meiji era to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 – with a focus on fantastic fiction, including robot literature and gender theory. In her forthcoming book, Monstrous Bodies: The Rise of the Uncanny in Modern Japan, she brings methodologies from literary studies, cultural history, and critical theory to bear on understanding the link between monstrosity and femininity in the modern Japanese imagination.

Anna Shusterman offers courses in developmental psychology and on relations between language and thought. Always interested in building bridges between laboratory-based findings and real-world interventions, she focuses on the cognitive development of young children and that of populations with varied linguistic backgrounds. Her research has shown multiple ways that humans become more effective at spatial and numerical reasoning once they master the relevant language, such as “left” and “right” in the domain of space or the natural numbers in the domain of mathematics.

Grossman Argues for Diversity at Central Banks

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman is the author of an op-ed titled, “The Monetary Cosmopolitans,” published March 27 on Project Syndicate, a website that publishes commentary “by global leaders and thinkers.” Grossman expresses support for a new trend toward countries appointing foreigners, and those with considerable foreign experience, to what is widely considered a country’s second most important post: that of the head of the central bank.

“This represents a major departure from the tradition of filling central banks’ top leadership positions with people who have spent most of their careers there—a tradition that, over time, allowed central banks to be taken over by ‘groupthink.’ With the entrenchment of a particular ideology or mode of thinking, monetary policymakers increasingly missed—by choice or inertia—opportunities to change, reinvigorate, and improve the running of these vital institutions.”

Read more here.

Professor Emeritus Whitin Dies at Age 90

Thomson Whitin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science, Emeritus, died Dec. 9 at the age of 90.

Whitin had already achieved distinction when he joined the Wesleyan faculty as a professor of economics in 1963. He graduated from Princeton University in 1943 and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the aircraft carrier the Bonhomme Richard. Having obtained a doctorate in economics from Princeton University, and teaching there until 1952, he joined the faculty of M.I.T. as an assistant professor. While on leave from M.I.T. from 1956–58, he served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; subsequently he rejoined the M.I.T. faculty 1958-60 before joining the University of California, Berkeley, as a full professor in 1960. During his long tenure at Wesleyan, he twice served as a visiting professor of administrative science at Yale University and received fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He retired in 1993.

The author of two books, The Theory of Inventory Management (Princeton University Press, 1953) and Analysis of Inventory Systems co-authored with George Hadley (Prentice-Hall, 1963), Whitin also published dozens of scholarly papers and reviews. He served as a consultant to numerous organizations, including the RAND Corporation, Stanford Research Institute, and the U.S. Navy.

The Economics Department will be offering the inaugural Barber/Whitin Prize this spring for the best undergraduate paper in economic theory or institutional economics.

Whitin was an avid tennis player; he could be found frequently on the Wesleyan courts holding his own with the some of the best tennis players on campus. He served as an advocate for the mentally ill through his association with the Connecticut chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Connecticut). Whitin was predeceased by his wife, Edith Osborn Sherer, and is survived by four children: Charles, Sonia, Holly, Richard; and three grandchildren, Emilie, Aya and Sophia.

Craighead’s Journal Paper Examines Current Account Reversals

Bill Craighead, assistant professor of economics, is the co-author of a paper titled, “As the Current Account Turns: Disaggregating the Effects of Current Account Reversals in Industrial Countries,” published in the December issue of The World Economy. An abstract is available online here.
In the paper, Craighead examines “current account reversals” which occur when a country significantly reduces its international borrowing and its trade deficit.
“While there has been quite a bit of study of these episodes in economics, most of it has looked at the impact on the overall economy.  What we did was look at how these episodes influence different parts of the economy and, therefore, how the composition of output and employment changes.  We found that the most sensitive parts of the economy tend to be investment-related (e.g., construction), while, on the other hand, sectors related to natural resources tend to do relatively well,” he explained.

Grossman Speaks on Economic Policy Mistakes at Boston Public Library

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman, professor of economics, spoke about the poor thinking behind nine of the worst economic policy mistakes of the past 200 years at Boston Public Library Dec. 4. Grossman is the author of the newly-published book, Wrong: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them.

He also spoke about economic policy mistakes at the Seminary Coop Bookstore in Chicago on Nov. 14 and the Museum of American Finance in New York on Nov. 21.

At Wesleyan, he teaches classes in American and European economic history, macroeconomics, and money and banking. Grossman also is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.

 

 

 

Imai Participates in Stanford Summer Juku

Masami Imai, professor of economics, participated in the first annual Stanford Summer Juku on the Japanese Political Economy. He discussed a paper titled, “Banks restructuring sonata: How capital injection triggered labor force rejuvenation in Japanese banks” by David Vera. Learn more here.

3 Op-Eds by Grossman Published in National Media

Richard Grossman, professor of economics.

Richard Grossman, professor of economics.

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman recently had three op-eds published in major newspapers. All related in different ways to the U.S. Congress’ negotiations over the budget and debt ceiling, and the resulting shut down. Grossman is the author of a new book, Wrong: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them, published this month by Oxford University Press. Read more about it in this Wesleyan Connection story.

The Hartford Courant on Oct. 4 published an op-ed by Grossman arguing that the Republicans were on an “ideological crusade” in their refusal to pass a continuing budget resolution unless substantial changes were made to the Affordable Care Act. Pointing to examples as diverse as the 19th century Irish famine and Japan’s refusal to confront its ailing banks in the 1990s, Grossman writes: “Republicans should take a lesson from history, which has shown time and time again that such ideological crusades, when applied to economic policy, can have disastrous consequences.”

And on Oct. 19, USA Today published another op-ed calling upon policy makers to regularly conduct “autopsies” of economic policy—particularly when things go wrong, as with the recent government shut-down and near-breach of the debt ceiling. “Although the current shut-down is a pitiful attempt by the Republicans to reverse what is settled law and policy (Obamacare), it is not clear that the Democrats have advanced any sound agenda for solving our national budget issues during the last two years either,”  Grossman writes. “It is time to call in a pathologist. Even though digging through the viscera of the political stalemate in Washington would no doubt turn our collective national stomach, it’s an autopsy that is well worth conducting.”

And on Oct. 20, The Boston Globe published another op-ed by Grossman, in which he writes that October should be labeled “Financial Crisis Month.” Over the past two centuries in the U.S. and Europe, October—and, more generally, the autumn months—have seen a string of serious financial crises. Grossman explains the historical reasons behind this trend, from the timing of the harvest to the bursting of asset bubbles. Today, he writes, politicians returning from their summer vacations and doing “stupid things” is most likely to blame for the continued popularity of financial crises in October.