The International Conference on Applied Economics in Perm HSE in September
Last year the HSE-Perm established a new Scientific Research Laboratory for Industrial Organization Empirical Analysis. Grigory Kosenok, Full Professor of the New Economic School and Research Manager of the Laboratory, talks about the laboratory and the International Conference on Applied Economics which will be held in Perm HSE in September on September 18-20, 2013 where international specialists to be keynote speakers at the Conference have been invited.
What was the idea behind the laboratory? How did it start?
I have been visiting branches of the Higher School of Economics for several years already to lecture on various subjects. Once when I was giving a course in Perm on Industrial Organization Empirical Analysis, Dmitry Potapov suggested that I get involved in training city personnel. He took the initiative to create the laboratory and asked me to become its research manager. Having discussed some of the details, we agreed that I would give lectures and provide scientific guidance to the Laboratory. The Laboratory hired about ten employees on a competitive basis.
As you know there are people in the economy who create theories on models of human behavior, corporate behavior, and the behavior of economic agents, and there are people who engage in applied economics, which means they consider a particular economic situation, perform diagnostics, and make some recommendations. One most often comes across economists who confine themselves to the diagnosis that everything is bad and something needs to be done about it. And, fewer economists exist who can at the same time say exactly what should be done. Applied economists in turn fall into one of two categories: those who just analyze the situation and those who process empirical economic data. The latter provides qualitative analysis: for example, if you want to reduce unemployment, you should increase inflation; others perform quantitative analysis: if you want to reduce unemployment by 1%, you should increase inflation by 3%. Our Moscow campus has a laboratory similar to the one in Perm, but it focuses on qualitative applied research of test markets, whereas the Perm laboratory specializes in quantitative research.
Our laboratory performs industrial organization empirical analysis which means it studies the economic behaviour of companies and people in a specific environment. However, our primary goal is to achieve a world-class level of research in this field. The Laboratory is based at the Higher School of Economics which as our Customer calls for proof of such level and our laboratory staff’s publications in English in international peer-reviewed journals will prove that.
What countries, universities, and research centers serve as a reference point for you?
There are international standards on research quality; many people in the world perform empirical industrial organization analysis, and with the Internet and the World Wide Web, we have the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with virtually every specialist’s scientific achievements in any country. We study other specialists’ methodologies, develop our own, conduct economic research, and we are going to try to publish the results of our research in international journals.
Russian economists tend to develop their own independent, domestic science. They develop their own good standards of research and follow those standards. Therefore, there is a tendency to isolate Russian economic science. One of our laboratory’s major goals is to fight against this isolation and bring our national economic science up to international standards. Ideally, we want to perform research that is on par with the research conducted by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the London School of Economics. The International Conference on Applied Economics will be held in Perm on September 18-20, 2013, and we have invited some leading international specialists to be keynote speakers at the Conference.
What are your main research areas? What topics are you developing right now?
Most topics will involve measuring the demand for a particular good or service. We are going to apply advanced international tools for studying the dependence of prices and volume. Some laboratory staff will be involved in measuring the so-called production function and answering questions like: if there are X number of workers and X number of machines at a plant, what will the product yield be?
The Laboratory aims, on the one hand, to prepare such specialists so that we can make our laboratory a source of manpower. On the other hand, after becoming a specialist, no one will need to quit their jobs at the Laboratory; they’ll be able to remain lab specialists and be involved in other projects, including international ones. We are now growing and preparing specialists, and these specialists are sure to be in demand since they are addressing burning economic issues.
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