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Spring 2011

2011 Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Annual Economics Conference
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Moulton Union
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Economics Department Seminar Series Spring 2011

Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Searles Hall room 315

Better Living Through EconomicsJohn Siegfried
Vanderbilt University

Better Living Through Economics
(Book description adapted from the Harvard University Press website, www.hup.harvard.edu.)

Professor Siegfried will speak on the subject of his recent edited volume, Better Living Through Economic (Harvard University Press, 2010).  The book consists of twelve case studies that demonstrate how economic research has improved economic and social conditions over the past half century by influencing public policy decisions. …

[E]conomists built the foundation for eliminating the military draft in favor of an all-volunteer army in 1973, for passing the Earned Income Tax Credit in 1975, for deregulating airlines in 1978, for adopting the welfare-to-work reforms during the Clinton administration, and for implementing the Pension Reform Act of 2006 that allowed employers to automatically enroll employees in a 401(k). Other important policy changes resulting from economists’ research include a new approach to monetary policy that resulted in moderated economic fluctuations (at least until 2008!), the reduction of trade impediments that allows countries to better exploit their natural advantages … and the adoption of tradable emissions rights which has improved our environment at minimum cost.

Thursday, April 21, at 4:00 p.m.
Nixon Room, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, 3rd floor

Paola Boel Bowdoin College Paola Boel
Bowdoin College

Heterogeneity and the Welfare Cost of Inflation: an International Perspective

We quantify the redistributive effects of anticipated inflation in a model with equilibrium dispersion in wealth and earnings. The model is calibrated to several OECD economies, specifically Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Italy, Spain and the U.S.

In all economies considered except Australia, a representative agent would give up less than 1% of consumption to avoid 10% inflation. The redistributive effects of inflation, instead, are found to be significant in all countries examined. Moreover, such redistributive effects vary depending on the type of financial assets present in the economy. If money is the only asset, then inflation hurts the wealthier agents (top 2 income quintiles), while those who are poorer benefit from it. The opposite is true if agents can insure against consumption risk with other assets besides money.

Thursday, May 5, at 4:00 p.m.
Shannon Room, Hubbard Hall

Andrew CasseyAndrew Cassey
Washington State University

The Agglomeration of Exporters By Destination

Precise characterization of informational trade barriers is neither well documented nor understood. Using Russian customs data, we find exporting firms agglomerate geographically with respect to their shipment's destination in addition to agglomeration around ports, suggesting behavior responding to a trade barrier. To account for this fact, we build on Melitz (2003) and Chaney (2007) by postulating an externality in the international shipping of goods. We test the model's prediction on region- and state-level exports using Russian and U.S. data. Our model accounts for up to 40% more of the variation than in gravity-type models without agglomeration.