2013/14 Autumn Term: Week 10 (w/c 2 December 2013)
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Warwick Economics 
Staff Newsletter

Your weekly email roundup of what's happening in the department

As good as it gets?

Eugenio Proto and Aldo Rustichini's new research into national happiness sparked a whirlwind of media interest when it was published last Thursday, with the study making headlines around the world, and Eugenio making an appearance on a number of radio channels, including BBC Radio 5 Live.

The study findings show that there is a 'sweet spot' of satisfaction at £22k GDP per capita (as per the UK), beyond which point happiness levels begin to dip as aspiration kicks in. Eugenio said: "As countries get richer, higher levels of GDP lead to higher aspiration. There is a sense of keeping up with the Joneses as people see wealth and opportunity all around them and aspire to having more. But this aspiration gap – the difference between actual income and the income we would like – eats away at life satisfaction levels. In other words, what we aspire to becomes a moving target and one which moves away faster in the richest countries, causing the dip in happiness we see in our analysis." Read an abstract from the paper: 'A Reassessment of the Relationship between GDP and Life Satisfaction'. 


Congratulations to Andrew Oswald on receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel last week. The award was in recognition of Andrew's significant research in the field of labour economics and the economics of well-being, and for the mentoring of young economists.

Faculty speaking engagements this week

On Tuesday, Jonathan Cave will be speaking at the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) Regulatory Conference 2013 on ‘Data Protection: impact of a new framework on citizens, industry and governments’. On Wednesday, he will be giving a talk in Warwick’s Complexity Forum on 'Computer trading in complex networked financial markets - self-organised regulation or an unending sequence of crises?'.

On Monday, Rocco Machiavello and Chris Woodruff will give a policy briefing at the British Embassy in Brussels on 'Insights into enterprise in developing countries'. Rocco will talk about the role that large buyers in developed countries can play in fostering enterprise capabilities in low-income countries, and the key challenges that exporters face in forming and managing relationships with large foreign buyers. Chris will talk about how training for management can lift productivity in enterprises in emerging economies. The key note speeches will be followed by a lively debate moderated by journalist Geoff Meade and will include Dr Lucian Cernat, Chief Economist and Trade Analysis, Head of Unit, DG Trade, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, Chef de Cabinet, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, and Dr Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit - ACP and South Africa, FAO, G8/G20, DG Agriculture.

On Thursday, Eugenio Proto will give a talk at the International Policy Workshop on 'Mind and Culture: The behavioural and social foundations of economic development - from research framework to practice' in preparation for the World Development Report 2015 in Berlin. 

Kimberley Scharf will be presenting 'Are donors afraid of charities' core costs? Scale economies in non-profit provision' at the CMPO Workshop in Bristol on Thursday.

This coming weekend, Marcus Miller will be presenting his joint paper with Lei Zhang on 'Avoiding costly default: a jungle tale' at the Central Bank of Uruguay and at a Roundtable on 'Capital Flows, Capital Controls and Monetary Policy' in Montevideo.

Papers & Publications

Kimberley Scharf has had her paper 'Private provision of public goods and information diffusion in social groups' accepted for publication in the International Economic Review. 

Kim has also had another paper, 'Impure pro-social motivation in charity provision: Warm glow charities and implications for public funding' accepted by the Journal of Public Economics. 


On Monday, Sanchis Llopis (University of Valencia) will present the Economic History Lunchtime Workshop on the topic of 'Spillovers from electricity in the most progressive decade. Spain, 1958-1970'.

Monday's Political Economy Seminar will be given by Francesco Trebbi (British Columbia) on the subject of 'The dictator's inner circle'. Francesco is Co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research. His primary research and teaching interests are in political economy and macroeconomics (essentially monetary and fiscal policy), having worked on political institutions and their design, elections and campaign finance, housing and banking regulation, and lobbying.

On Wednesday, Alberto Vanzo (Department of Philsophy, Warwick) will talk at the DR@W Forum on Early modern experimental philosophy. The forum will introduce experimental philosophy, tackling philosophical questions by means of systematic experimentation and statistical analysis. Alberto moved to Warwick from the University of Birmingham in January to work with Tom Sorell on an EU-funded project on the origins of the standard narrative of early modern philosophy centred on the contrast of empiricism and rationalism. This project stems from earlier research on early modern experimental philosophy.

We are also delighted to welcome Michelle Sovinsky to the department this week. Michelle will be joining the faculty shortly, and will be in the department to meet with her new colleagues until Thursday. She can be found in room S0.74, so do please pop along to say hello and make her feel welcome.
Contact Rachael Brogan to arrange to meet up with any of our guests.
View the full week's events calendar...


Kimberley Scharf has had two blogs published this week:
'Engaging with the Third Sector: An academic’s perspective', has been published by the BIG Blog, Warwick Manufacturing Group.
'How behavioural economics can help your charity: A Q&A with Kimberley Scharf", has been published by JustGiving.

And in case you missed it, catch up with Mark Harrison's blog on 'Which dead economist must I follow?'.

Bulletin: now available online

Our termly research publication, The Bulletin, is now available to read and download on our website. Catch up with the latest research from the department on the theme of 'Brainpower', including Anandi Mani on the effects of poverty on mental resources, Fabian Waldinger on the impact of immigrant scientists, Victor Lavy on the negative effects of pollution on exam performance, Ilan Kremer and Motty Perry on the tension between information providers and consumers demonstrated by crowd-sourced technologies, and Abhinay Muthoo and Siobhan Benita give the Final Word on Indian brainpower. Read it now.
Got some news for our next edition? Email the editor, Georgina Alexander with details.

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