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With Nathan Nunn (Prof. Economics, Harvard), Enrico Spolaore (Prof. Economics, Tufts), William Easterly (Prof. Economics, NYU), Gerard Roland (Prof. Economics, UC Berkeley).
Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 09:00 AM   Absolutely Free
Kimmel Center at NYU, 60 Washington Square South

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There has been increasing interest over the last decade in understanding the role of culture in shaping development outcomes. The push has come from many directions: from studying economic history, from the institutions & growth literature, from political economy, & more recently from a literature that has explicitly tried to measure dimensions of culture & their evolution & their impact on economic interactions & on the process of development. Culture, defined loosely as shared ideas, customs, & social behavior, is from the perspective of economics a deeply endogenous variable, in other words, something that is determined through a history of economic, social, & political interaction. At the same time, once a culture forms, it acquires its own valence, shaping the way individuals interact, transact, & aggregate into a process of growth.

Conference Program:

MCs: Rajeev Dehejia, (New York University) & Yaw Nyarko, (New York University)

8:00am-9:00am Registration, coffee & pastries

9:00am-9:05am DRI welcome remarks by Rajeev Dehejia, (New York University)

9:05am-9:10am Introductory remarks by Yanoula Athanassakis, Associate Vice Provost, Academic Affairs & Special Projects; Director, Environmental Humanities Initiative, (New York University)

9:10am-9:50am Nathan Nunn, (Harvard University). "The Importance of Culture & Context for Development Policy"

9:50am-10:30am Enrico Spolaore, (Tufts University). Modern Fertility"

10:30am-10:45am Break with coffee & pastries

10:45am-11:25am William Easterly, (New York University). "Does Ethnicity Predict Culture?"

11:25am-12:05pm Raquel Fernandez, (New York University). "Cultural Change

12:05pm-12:45pm Alberto Bisin, (New York University). "The Joint Dynamics of Culture & Institutions"

12:45pm-1:45pm Lunch for audience & speakers

1:45pm-2:25pm Gerard Roland, (University of California, Berkeley). "The Deep Historical Roots of Modern Culture

Nathan Nunn is Frederic E. Abbe Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Professor Nunn's primary research interests are in economic development, cultural economics, political economy, economic history, & international trade. He is an NBER Faculty Research Fellow, a Research Fellow at BREAD, & a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA). He is currently a co-editor of the Journal of Development Economics.

Enrico Spolaore is the Seth Merrin Chair & Professor of Economics at Tufts University, & a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research is in the areas of political economy, growth & development, & cultural economics. His publications include articles in economics journals (American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economics & Statistics, etc.), the book The Size of Nations (with Alberto Alesina, MIT Press), & two edited volumes on Culture & Economic Growth (Edward Elgar). Spolaore received an undergraduate degree (Laurea) in Economics & Commerce from the University of Rome, a doctoral degree (Dottorato di Ricerca) from the University of Siena, & a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. He lives in Lexington (MA) with his wife Deborah & their golden retriever Alfred

William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University & Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute, which won the 2009 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge in Development Cooperation Award. He is the author of three books: The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, & the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (March 2014), The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill & So Little Good (2006), which won the FA Hayek Award from the Manhattan Institute, & The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures & Misadventures in the Tropics (2001).

He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed academic articles, & has written columns & reviews for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Review of Books, & Washington Post. He has served as Co-Editor of the Journal of Development Economics & as Director of the blog Aid Watch. He is a Research Associate of NBER, & senior fellow at BREAD. Foreign Policy Magazine named him among the Top 100 Global Public Intellectuals in 2008 & 2009, & Thomson Reuters listed him as one of Highly Cited Researchers of 2014. He is also the 11th most famous native of Bowling Green, Ohio.
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Raquel Fernandez is a Professor in the Department of Economics at New York University. She is also a member of Equality, Social Organization, & Performance at the University of Oslo, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), & Institute for Labor Economics. She has previously been a tenured professor at the London School of Economics & Boston University & held visiting positions at various institutions around the world. She has served as the Director of the Public Policy Program of the CEPR & is currently a Co-Director of the Inequality group at the NBER. She has been a Panel Member of the National Science Foundation & a Program Committee Member of the Social Science Research Council, & has served as a Co-Editor of the Journal of International Economics, a Co-Editor of Economic Development & Cultural Change, an Associate Editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics, & is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Literature. Currently she is Vice President of the Latin American & Caribbean Economic Association & in the past served as Vice President of the AEA. She is the recipient of several National Science Foundation grants, of a Spencer Fellowship from the National Academy of Education, & was awarded a National Fellow at the Hoover Institute & a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a fellow of the Econometric Society & of BREAD. Her most recent research is primarily in the areas of culture & economics, development & gender issues, inequality, & political economy.

Alberto Bisin is Professor of Economics at New York University. He is an elected fellow of the Econometric Society. He is also fellow of the NBER, CESS at NYU, & the CEPR. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics Economic Theory & of Research in Economics. He is the co-organizer of the annual NBER Meeting on Culture & Institutions. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, obtained in 1994. His main academic contributions are in the fields of Social Economics, Financial Economics, & Behavioral Economics. He has published widely in economics journals. He co-edited the Handbook of Social Economics & is in the process of co-editing the Handbook of Historical Economics. Finally, he is founding editor of & contributes op-eds for the italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Grard Roland is the E. Morris Cox professor of economics & professor of political science at the University of California Berkeley where he has been since 2001. He has received many honors including an honorary professorship from the Renmin University of China in Beijing in 2002. He is the author of over 150 journal articles, chapters in books, & books & has been published in leading economics journals. He wrote the leading graduate textbook Transition & Economics published in 2000 at MIT Press & translated in various languages, including Chinese & Russian. He co-organized with Olivier Blanchard a Nobel symposium on the transition economics in 1999. In recent years, his research has broadened to developing economies in general with special emphasis on the role of institutions & culture. He wrote a new undergraduate textbook on Economics of development (2013, Pearson Addison-Wesley).
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