Conference brings Nobelist to Tartu

From 24 to 27 May, the international Nordic Econometric Meeting, organised by the University of Tartu School of Economics and Business Administration, is held in the Dorpat Convention Centre. One of the keynote speakers is winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2011 Christopher A. Sims. The conference concentrates on professional skills required by the financial sector in future, monetary policy and interactions between business cycles and financial markets.

According to one of the organisers of the conference, UT Associate Professor in Macroeconomics and Senior Economist of the Bank of Estonia Lenno Uusküla, the plenary session of the conference focuses on analytical skills required by central banks and the financial sector in the future. “We have a lot of big data databases, which make it possible to make more precise forecasts, and Facebook and Google use their data for targeted advertising. Science moves towards more complex methods, in recent years, for example the neural network or the random forest methods have gained popularity, which are, however, like black boxes for a person and do not provide reasonable explanations. How to address the public as the central bank and say that inflation is rising, and that we believe it because the machine has told us so?” Uusküla comments on the core topics of the conference.

The debaters at the future skills panel discussion are Governor of the Bank of Estonia Ardo Hansson, Head of Research of the Bank of Finland Jouko Vilmunen, Chief Adviser at the National Bank of Denmark Kim Abildgren, Chairman of the Board of Swedbank Robert Kitt and Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania Marius Jurgilas.

Professor Christopher A. Sims of Princeton University has been invited to the conference; he is an expert in business cycles and has thoroughly studied the interactions of financial markets and business cycles. One method for studying such interactions is the SVAR (structural vector autoregression) model created by Sims. The other topic Sims discusses at the conference is the functioning of monetary policy and the important role of the central government in maintaining the reliability of central banks.

This year’s conference is the ninth conference of the Nordic Econometric Network and it is the second time the University of Tartu School of Economics and Business Administration has organised it. UT School of Economics has primarily taken part in the network’s activity and conferences with applied research studies and involved the Bank of Estonia in the activities of the network and organisation of conferences.

Christopher A. Sims is the John J.F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton University since 1999. Previously, he has also worked at the University of Minnesota and Yale University. Christopher A. Sims holds a PhD from Harvard University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences together with Tom Sargent in 2011 for their empirical research on cause and effect in macroeconomy. He has published in virtually all top economics journals.

More detailed schedule of the event is available on the conference website. The working language of the conference is English and everyone is welcome.

Additional information: Katrin Tamm, UT School of Economics and Business Administration, Senior Specialist for Research, Conference Secretary,, 737 6116 

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