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Department of Economics shines at the Royal Economic Society's Annual Conference

Posted on 24/04/2013

For the second time, Royal Holloway’s Department of Economics hosted the prestigious Royal Economic Society’s annual conference. The conference, which ran from Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th April, saw more than 600 delegates from institutions across the globe participate in an extensive programme of plenary sessions, key note addresses and specialist lectures. In one plenary session, sponsored by the Bank of England, delegates debated the question ‘What should macroprudential policy do in a bust?’ specifically looking at the interconnection between financial stability and the detrimental effects of a safer financial sector on economic growth. The theme of economic growth was continued in a session chaired by the LSE Growth Commission, ‘Investing for Prosperity’, in which participants looks at how the growth performance of the UK could be improved in a sustainable way. Special lectures included the Presidential Address on ‘Income Dynamics and the Evolution of Inequality: Wages, Earnings and Consumption’ as well as the Sargan, Economics Journal and Hahn Lectures.

The Department of Economics at Royal Holloway played an important role in facilitating the varied conference programme. Special sessions were chaired by Juan Pablo Rud and Arnaud Chevalier on ‘Pollution and Productivity’, and ‘Public Economics: Economics of Education’ respectively. Papers were presented by five of our academics, including 3 PhD students. A highlight for Royal Holloway was three papers receiving national media coverage. These were:

‘Compulsory Education and Teenage Motherhood’ by Tanya Wilson, a PhD student in the Department, who found that the change in the school leaving age led to a 7% decline in young women entering motherhood before the age of 20. This trend of decline was particularly high for those aged 16 or under, showing a 17% decrease on the incidence of motherhood. Tanya’s research was reported in the Guardian.

‘Crime after a Fertility Shock’ by Arnaud Chevalier, with Olivier Marie (University of Maastricht), who found that the sudden collapse of the Communist regime led to an uncertainty about starting families and thus there was a 40% decline in the birth rate which continued to fall until 1994. Arnaud’s research was reported in the Telegraph.

‘Subject Specific League Tables and Students’ Application Decisions’, by Xiaoxuan Jia, whose research showed a correlation between departments moving up league tables and stronger application rates. Individual departments with improving league table results experienced a rise in applications of nearly 5%. The trend is particularly pronounced amongst overseas applicants. Xiaoxuan’s research was reported in the Guardian.

Other papers were presented by Alessandro Contuoso (‘A Dynamic Model of Belief-Dependent Conformity to Social Norms’); Lei Lu (‘The Impact of Chinese Income Growth on Nutritional Outcomes’) and Arnaud Chevalier (‘Making it Count: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Assessment Rules, Study Incentives, and Student Performance’).

Apart from the conference programme, delegates were able to hear ‘From Russia with Love’ performed by CHROMA on the Wednesday of the conference. Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet no. 3 in Eb minor Op. 30 was complemented by three Russian romances and Borodin's String Quartet no. 2 in D. CHROMA is the resident ensemble at Royal Holloway. This was followed by drinks accompanied by the Chris Whiter Quartet, a group of talented young jazz musicians also based at Royal Holloway.

The Royal Economic Society was founded in 1890 to promote and foster the study of economic science. Today, it achieves its aims through regular, high impact publications from a range of international authors, organising an annual conference as a forum for general and specialised presentations, providing its younger members with the support they need to undertake research, and promoting economics in schools and universities. The Royal Economic Society also has a number of awards and grants available to those studying economics across all levels. Visit the website for more information: www.res.org.uk


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