Distinguished Lecture Series

Summer 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

PDFPersonality Psychology and Economics

James Heckman

Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics

Nobel Laureate in Economics

University of Chicago

Hoffman Hall-Room 2

10:35-11:35 AM

Fall 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PDFThe Evolution of Time Preference

Arthur Robson

Professor of Economics

Canada Research Chair in Economic Theory and Evolution

Simon Fraser University


Winter 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

PDFAltruism, Favoritism, and Guilt in the Allocation of Family Resources: Sophie's Choice in Mao's Mass Send Down Movement

Mark Rosenzweig
Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics
Director of Economic Growth Center
Yale University

KAP 319
4-5:30 PM


Winter 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Development and Transition: Idea, Strategy and Viability

Justing Yifu Lin

Professor and Director

China Center for Economic Research

Peking University

Incoming Chief Economist World Bank

The Board Room

USC Marshall School of Business

3-4:30 PM


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Health Human Capital and Economic Development: 

Assessing Causal Connections and their Implications for Policy

PDF Abstract

PDF Health Human Capital and Economic Development

T. Paul Schultz

Malcolm K. Brachman Professor Emeritus of Economics

Department of Economics

Economic Growth Center

Yale University

KAP 319

4:00 PM


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Variety, Quality, and Prices: Macroeconomic Lessons from Micro-Data

PDF Globalization and the Gains from Variety

PDF From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimation of Trade and Growth

PDF Product Creation and Destruction: Evidence and Proce Implications

David E. Weinstein

Carl Sumner Shoup Professor of Japanese Economy

Columbia University

KAP 319

5:00 PM



Fall 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Adaptive Minimax-Regret Treatment Choice with Application to Drug Approval

PDF Adaptive Partial Drug Approval

Charles F. Manski

Board of Trustees Professor of Economics

Northwestern University

KAP 319

5:15 PM

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Partial Identi?cation of Counterfactual Choice Probabilities

Charles F. Manski

Board of Trustees Professor of Economics

Northwestern University

KAP 319

5:00 PM


Spring 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Possibility of a Green Revolution in Africa

Keijiro Otsuka
Foundation for Advanced Study of International Development



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

PDF Quality, Trade and the 'Moving Window': The Globalisation Process

John Sutton
Sir John Hicks Professor of Economics

London School of Economics

KAP 319

4:00 PM

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Evaluation of Financial Systems in Developing Economies: Growth, Inequality, Poverty and the Distribution of Gains in Thailand

Robert M. Townsend
Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor of Economics
University of Chicago

KAP 319

4:00 PM


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Economic Lives of the Poor

Abhijit Banerjee
Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics


Davidson Conference Center*
Alumni Room
4:00 - 5:30 PM


*Davidson Conference Center is located on the USC Campus at 2315 Figueroa St.
On the USC map it is located at 4-H, the corner of Figueroa St. and Jefferson Blvd.,
as a blue building labeled "4"
For further information please contact ext. 03521

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Career Progression and Formal versus on the Job Training

A number of countries in Europe, with Germany being the prime example have (or have had) apprenticeship systems which essentially are formal vocational training courses combined with on-the-job training. Such apprenticeship systems do not relate just to white collar jobs but also to blue collar ones. Moreover they are subsidised by the state, which offers the classroom component. In contrast other countries, including the US have no such organised formal system. The key difference seems to be between specific and in depth training in a particular occupation, versus the possibly more general acquisition of skills conferred directly by the labour market. The question is how is the career of a blue collar worker affected by participation in apprenticeship and more generally, how does the apprenticeship system affect the ability of an economy to absorb shocks and adapt to new conditions? To offer answers to at least some of these questions we can compare the careers of blue collar workers who opt for an apprenticeship and those who do not, using a very detailed German data set which includes careers starting from the moment that statutory schooling ends.

Apprenticeship careers may differ from informal acquisition of skills in a number of ways. First they may increase wages in the long run, because of educational investment, but they may also involve a substantial investment at the start of one's career. Secondly they may affect job opportunities in a number of ways. This includes layoff rates, job finding rates and the variability of potential matches. On the one hand the apprentices may be considered more desirable because they are better trained in a particular area, which could affect both job retention and job finding. On the other their specific training could make them less flexible and thus harder to place. In fact this lack of flexibility is a central question for understanding the pros and cons of the system in terms of allowing the economy to absorb reallocation shocks (Heckman reference here).

To address these issues it is necessary to link education choices and labour market careers within a complete life cycle setting and to study the way that incentives at different parts of the life cycle affect education choices. This paper specifies and estimates a life cycle model of education choice and labour market careers for men who complete standard schooling at 16. Individuals face the choice of formal apprenticeship or the standard labour market. Once in the labour market they can search so as to improve the quality of their job match. While working they face wage growth by experience and job specific learning (tenure). Estimation of such a model requires data on complete work and earnings histories, including information on job mobility, which is available to us. We observe individuals from the moment they enter the labour market, whether as candidate apprentices or as workers. We also observe the exact date of the start of a job. Their complete history is thus available from the age of 16 onwards with all transitions and corresponding wages observed.

The source of variation that identifies such dynamic models is not always transparent. In this paper we have attempted to combine data from a large number of cohorts who enter the labour market at different point in the business cycle This provides age fluctuations, over and above a general macroeconomic trend that allows one to identify the role of changing opportunity cost of education. Thus controlling for time trends and for permanent regional effects we use the differential changes in the opportunity cost of education as a source of identification within our structural model. Using a difference in differences approach, we demonstrate in the descriptive part of the paper that the variation we use is indeed informative as far as educational choices are concerned.

The model we estimate is ideally suited for evaluating the longer term effects of interventions such as the US EITC or changes to the Unemployment Insurance system. Other than the usual targeted outcome of employment, such policies may well affect human capital accumulation as discussed on Heckman, Lochner and Cossa (2002). They may affect in particular early education choices as well as job to job transitions and the accumulation of "search capital". Our model, is ideally suited to examine these issues by simulation; we thus conclude our paper by using the model to consider precisely these issues.

Costas Meghir
Professor of Economics
University College London

KAP 319
4:00 PM


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Understanding Social Interactions

Groups, Social Influences and Inequality

Identifying Social Interactions: A Review

This lecture will provide an overview of the recent economic research on social interactions, a body of work which has attempted to integrate substantive sociological ideas into economic modeling. Social interactions analyses have provided a new set of theories for understanding phenomena such as persistent inequality. At the same time, the expansion of economic analysis to incorporate social influences has generated significant econometric challenges with respect to the identification of such effects. The lecture will cover theoretical, econometrics, and empirical aspects of this new literature. In addition, policy implications will be discussed.

Steven N. Durlauf
Kenneth J. Arrow Professor of Economics
University of Wisconsin - Madison


Davidson Conference Center
Alumni Room
4:00 - 6:00 PM

Monday, November 14, 2005

Resource Allocation Mechanisms: From Theory to Practice

Paul R Milgrom
Shirley R. and Leonard W. Ely, Jr. Professor of Humanities and Sciences
Professor of Economics
Stanford University


Davidson Conference Center
Alumni Room
4:00 - 5:30 PM

Thursday, October 6, 2005

The Role of Zombie Firms in Japan's Lost Decade

Anil K Kashyap
Edward Eagle Brown Professor of Economics and Finance
University of Chicago


Davidson Conference Center
Alumni Room
4:00 - 5:30 PM

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Economics of Happiness

Andrew Oswald
Professor of Economics
Warwick University, England,
Jacob Wertheim Fellow
Harvard Law School, USA

This lecture looks at patterns in American happiness, mental health and job satisfaction. It uses large statistical samples to answer questions like: Does money buy happiness? How are people affected by having children, marrying, and getting older? How, over the last few decades, has the balance of happiness changed between men and women in the United States? And how does the US compare to Europe?

Andrew Oswald's work has been discussed in the New York Times, the Financial Times, and in many international newspapers and television programs.

Radisson Hotel Midtown Los Angeles*
Emerald Room

*The Radisson Hotel is located by the USC Campus at 3540 Figueroa St.
On the USC map it is located at 6-G,
as an orange building labeled "6"
For further information please contact ext. 03521

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line

Dennis J. Aigner
Professor of Economics / Public Policy
University of California, Santa Barbara

Over the past 15 years, there have been a growing number of instances of companies going "beyond compliance" with regard to their environmental performance. Beginning in about 1996, empirical studies began to emerge that suggested a positive relationship between corporate environmental performance and corporate financial performance in many industries. More recently, a new "industry" has sprung up that evaluates the environmental, economic and social performance of publicly-traded firms, correlates that performance to stock prices, and sells the rankings to the investment community.
In the presentation, we will critically review the empirical evidence linking corporate environmental and financial performance and other aspects of the "movement" toward improved environmental performance, better worker health & safety, and investing in the communities within which businesses operate, which has been dubbed "Corporate Social Responsibility".

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Diagnosing the California Electricity Crisis

Frank A. Wolak
Professor of Economics
Stanford University

What were the underlying causes of the California Electricity "crisis" and why did it end?
This talk will argue unilateral expected profit-maximizing bahvior by electricity suppliers can explain the events leading up to the Summer of 2000, as well as the Summer and Autumn of 2000 in the California market. The federal and state regulatory framework that allowed the crisis to occur and facilitated its transition into full-fledged economic disaster will be described. Interactions between the electricity market and its major input markets, such as natural gas and NOx emissions permits will be shown to be major contributing factors that enhanced the ability of electricity suppliers to exercise unilateral market power. The costs to California consumers of this unilateral profit-maximizing behavior during the first three years to market will then be quantified. These analyses will form the basis for a comprehensive diagnosis of the causes and cure for the California Electricity crisis. Lessons for the design of electricity markets and other energy markets will also be provided.

View the full-length "Diagnosing the California Electricity Crisis" paper

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Plan Ahead: What's Next for the US and California?

Edward Leamer
Chauncey J. Medberry Chair
Anderson School of Management - UCLA

Monday, March 1, 2004

Discounting the Distant Future

Christian Gollier
University of Toulouse


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