Saturday, November 22, 2008

New submission

Finally, I decided that I shouldn't wait anymore for feedback on polishing my second essay from my dissertation. Since I haven't made huge modifications since it became a working paper in Kiel, basically these 8 months were close to wasted. Instead, I could have been better off by just submitting it; at least, by now, I would have got some referee reports and probably accommodate them. Hence, I decided not to wait anymore. I opted for an outlet that is specialized in Economic Comparisons and especially ones involving transition and developing countries. I really see a good match with my work and I hope I will be able to publish it there. Moreover, Journal of Comparative Economics has a pretty good impact factor: 0.69-1.12, pending on the reference, and some prestigious scholars in the editorial board:D. Berkowitz (Pittsburgh), G. Roland (UC Berkley), A. Banerjee (MIT), S. Djankov (World Bank), W. Easterly (NYU), S. Johnson (MIT).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Keen on Social Network Analysis

Social network analysis views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. There can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. Research in a number of academic fields has shown that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.

Diffusion of innovations theory explores social networks and their role in influencing the spread of new ideas and practices. Change agents and opinion leaders often play major roles in spurring the adoption of innovations, although factors inherent to the innovations also play a role.
But besides all this wiki stuff, now we can also do network regressions which seems a lot better than all the previous measures (Betweeness, Centrality etc.) that resemble more with descriptive statistics. To me that is exciting and I have to look more into it soon.
Some Resources:;;;

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Job Market
Yes, it already is that time of the year. Yesterday's PhD student looking for a nice summer and long break becomes today's sturdy candidate for an academic position and tomorrow's colleague. For some it might come naturally and obviously but for others might be different. While I look forward to finish my PhD and move to the next stage of my life, I still miss a couple of weeks that could make a difference on how one settles everything into place.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Excitement of Something New

These couple of months I had to come up with an idea for a third essay of my dissertation. While aiming for something very different and more micro oriented, I still wanted to keep the focus of my thesis on the international aspects of innovation and technology transfer and especially on developing countries. And yes, after a couple of weeks and meetings with my advisor, I am happy to say that I found something nice. The basic idea is to look at alliances in the global the tire industry between different firms and see who is providing technology, to whom and why. There are about 350 firms globally, all producing tires in various countries of the world. Every year about 50 to 70 such technological agreements occur usually between firms from developed and developing countries, but not always.Moreover, the tire industry, although a mature one, has a good pace of technological innovation and high competition, which make it even more interesting.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The busiest time ever

Well, after all the travel and presentations, now comes the heavy stuff. October and November are the months when one graduate student in Economics who's going to be on the market this year needs to do the lion's share of the work: read & collect the relevant job adds from AEA's JOE, ERN, AMA and whatever they think is a fit for them, polish the job market paper, publish "it" or "them" if one is lucky enough to have more finished project, write nice CVs and letters for your future possible employers and keep working on your dissertation. Although is challenging and (sometimes) even fun, these days are quite crazy for me, working at least 15hrs per days in trying to accommodate all of the above. It would be also desirable to get some nice results in terms of job perspectives but one can only hope so, since competition is going to be tough this year. However, "Semper Spes!"

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Importing Excel To LaTeX

It might seem trivial to you, but importing Excel tables is not that easy to do in LaTeX. I have used this program Xcel2Latex that basically generates an add-on in Excel which allows you to export the table as a TXT file that I recognized by your TEX editor. Although migration works fairly well in this manner, it is desirable to keep the table as simple as possible (less merged cells etc) and work with it under LaTeX afterwards.
Happy Tabulating!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pleasant reminescence from the past

Today shuffling the email I got dealing with transition economies, I was surprised enough to find a paper co-authored by one of my previous professors. Although it is mostly a short monography not destined for academic puposes, the topic is interesting and it is good to see people from Romania finally aiming towards some international exposure and recognition. However, my prior opinion stay firmly rooted: in social science we have a pretty darn long way to cover since we are still back in the 80's. Hopefully we'll get there.. somehow.. Otherwise, probably in 25 years we'll all take lessons from some Chinese or Indian professor.:)
Link to the paper.

Monday, October 27, 2008

BeerEconomics - Mixing Business with Pleasure?

LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance is organizing the first ever Beeronomics Conference from the 27th to 29th May 2009 in Leuven, Belgium.

The first Beeronomics Conference is meant to provide a forum to exchange ideas and high-quality economic research related to the economics of beer, brewing and related activities. It covers a wide array of topics, including, but not limited to: production, trade, industrial organization, economic history, law and economics, marketing, consumption, policy and regulation, macroeconomics, etc.

As the country of beers, we thought that Belgium would be the appropriate place for this conference, and as the city hosting the famous “Old Market” (well known among beer lovers), the headquarters of InBev (the world’s largest brewing holding), and a prestigious university (the Catholic University of Leuven), Leuven would be the perfect town.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Never-ending game of polishing your paper

Today I stated to revise (again) my paper on R&D spillovers but as always, there is a trade off between how radical one want the revision to be and the available and desirable time to invest in it. I believe I made the right choice by moderating myself and all the "other" things can be addressed in future work rather than struggling and stressing over right now. Anyways, I manage to migrate the whole paper in TEX format after some time and it looks fairly good. Another thing that struck me was how much we change and evolve in a matter of months: you get excited about a topic, write something, get some presentations out, are close to publishing and then move on to a different topic; the distance starts to increase between your current interests and the paper; you submit it somewhere; more months pass by and you are almost finishing the other paper; pending on the name/status of the journal you've submitted your 1st piece, other months pass by, you get the second paper out and start presenting it; in the meanwhile you get the referee report and it asks you for some things; you have to dive back into the first one, although you may not want to, etc; do the required things, get back into those issues and things, etc. pretty strange duality, so more papers and different you have, the harder you're making it for yourself. The second funny thing is word/expression perishability in a matter of months I discovered that I could have formulated some things a whole lot better than I initially did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Good News
Today I finally heard back from the targeted journal. The two magic words "R&R" were not explicitly there but from the overall positive tone and general remarks I already felt very good. Indeed somewhere in the text, this suggestion was inserted between a praise and a comment. The very good news is that I have already revised the paper and attempted to deal with what (I thought that) seems weak in it, thus, I already have accommodated most of the reviewers' comments. Now, I just need to address the rest in a careful manner and resubmit it, which shouldn't take more than two weeks to do. So, back to work!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Revisions(the ever lasting need for)

Just finished revising an older paper..and it's no fun. Adding new data, modifying everything (tables, graphs) and even beyond (model, variables etc.) which gave again rise to those emotions associated with running some new regressions and not knowing what to expect and how would it be optimal to go about it. As usual, no advising assistance and this time nor much access to the literature (home base "advantages"). However, everything came out right, better and sharper than before. However, just finished this work (deadline for conference can be such a nice incentiviser) but already know how and what to do to make it bigger and best. It will ever end?:))

Friday, June 20, 2008

Evolutionary vs. Neoclassical Economics

It is in the man's nature (and especially the homo economicus one) to question everything and criticize it as best as he or she can. Although I agree with the vast majority of these critiques, people forget a couple of things: first, the neoclassical tools are just the tip of the iceberg..some formal old school stuff that insert in your mind crucial economic concepts (like scarcity or utility etc) that will shape your view of the world. The main thing is to understand, accept and develop it. but afterall, NO GOOD ECONOMIST takes it literally. On the other hand, I would like to see concrete alternatives to it. But...naturally there aren' we stick to the same old thing or we make simple incremental contributions. Which is fine. Big minds need to grow also. Plus, in order to be constructive and throughout in these assertions, one also has to know the neo-classical world pretty well. ( be continued) It is hilarious however, to be in the middle...while attending tight econometric conferences to be called an airhead while in the opposite case being labeled as "neoclassical" which is among the lower lifeforms on Earth.:))

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Finishing the Job
After a couple of (more) weeks of struggle I finalized my second ASP paper with a bang, this being that I used some LaTeX to type it in. Regardless of the fact that I am a novice in that and I couldn't find the perfect shell for my taste, the paper looks great and I am pleased also by the content:))..In this one, I compare the contribution of embodied versus disembodied spillovers of knowledge from abroad on transitional countries from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as former Soviet states from Central Asia. The results reveal trade (in intermediate and in direct technology purchases) to be the most important channel, while foreign direct investment and patenting are significant carriers of technology but with lesser impacts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Off to publication: Where? Why?

I guess is hard to know when exactly is your paper ready to take a life of its own into the pages of a journal. Moreover, which journal and how to optimize your submission. These are pretty tough questions, one needs to answer on its own. What I personally did to try in figuring out which journal to target is to answer to the questions below and then fine-tune your search accordingly:
1. What kind of CONTRIBUTION you make (theory/empirics) (major/minor) etc?
2. What is the TOP JOURNAL for your field?
3. Where do most of your references come from?
4. Decide between "diversify" or stick with your "pack" of the literature?
5. Inter-temporal trade-offs: Do you have 1-2 years to publish in a top 20 journal or you need a publication faster?
6. Ask people around (although you may easily get "no convergence" between answers and even a huge dispersion, pending on the other person's background, preferences, abilities and aim).
Good luck!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Back Again

I started working on a second ASP working paper which due to time constraints will be shorter and probably more theoretical. The point would be to criticize & improve the existing weighting schemes used in the literature, and empirically, to explore direct technology diffusion via patenting. However, the patenting data is quite bad thus, I am a bit dissapointed since I will have to put in about 50 hrs of work just for the data. And that's not nice if nothing worthwhile comes out, especially since it is not one's fault.

Friday, March 07, 2008

First time - always special

I finally made today the big step of sending a paper for publication. Indeed, it is a big step, especially if one finds him/herself alone in this process, which is highly bureaucratic (at least from all the guidelines et al. - we still have to check that in practice -) and demanding. After revising your paper for a couple of good times and presenting it in various conferences, there is no way back. At least for me. I felt like I need to do it now. Especially, if one thinks about the lag between submission and actual publication. We are young...but maybe not that eager to wait. March the 7th, hopefully under a good sign. And a good journal (Research Policy) which has drawn me from the start and is exactly representative for this field.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

There is nothing like a bit of spam

Today I had to clean this blog of all comments, since I guess they were all spam. Anyways, it would be nice to have a tool that doesn't allow people to leave links in the comments section.
Revision for Submission

I started today to revise my first thesis essay. It is time for it to fly somewhere more official that on my hard drive. Moreover, I think I have reached the limits of the tiny dataset and problems associated with transitional countries. Finally, I opted for a FGLS estimator and included the 2007 patent data as well. With this occasion I have noticed two things: 1)how fast I have adapted and improved my writing style (I think my second paper is far better written and structured than the 1st) 2)how fast we forget things we've worked for ages.(it is really hard to get back into it and do it again, and do it better). However, somebody has to do it. Also it would be nice as an outcome a publication in a good journal over the next year. howgh!
Robustness is the buzzword

This last weekend I have spended all my time and energy to perform one more robustness check..the ultimate one that is. It just consists of re-doing all the spillover variables using a different weighting scheme. Initially, I have used the original Coe and Helpman (1995) ones. This time around the Lichtenberg and Van Pottelsberghe (1998) weights were applied to the international R&D stocks in order to tease out the spillovers arising via trade and FDI. With relief and pleasure one finds out that the results hold and are very similar. Triple stars around your estimates are always welcomed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another (the last) one bites the dust

The last course, that is. International Banking and Finance. Was not a great display of econometric skills (deh, that's the value of this literature just like in some strains of business administration) but at least it was a chill, thanks to the instructor: Dr. Degryse from KU Leuven and Tilburg. "Plenty" of time now to get to business and figure out a topic for the next paper and take care of a zillion other administrative stuff.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The next step: Powerpoint Presentation

After working hard on it, it is only natural that you get to present your creation in public. This week is just the ASP conference paper, but a good rehersal for things to come (e.g. the next DIMETIC session in Strasbourg). Anyways, I am (again) really pleased with both the content and the look of my presentation, which is really strange:))..knowing how peaky I am, but good overall.

Finally, I almost forgot. A friendly and funny reminder with what and how NOT to do a presentation. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

An outside view of (these cynical) Economists

A nice article about it in NY Times

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Endogenous growth course

This week the reason for taking on this ASP program will reveal itself to me. Innovation and Growth (taught by Dr. Zilibotti of University of Zurich)is basically what made me choose this program which overall it has a very good one anyways.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Akward Mobile office

For the last hours in the Budapest airport, I had to beat down the fatigue through work. It's a funny feeling though to work while hundreds of people pass you by. Loud music helps as always. Some future ideas and conference applications have been successfully born in the time spent here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Finishing touch

Yes, I finally called it off. After a couple of robustness checks and sensitivity analysis, which in the end I have decided to not report even, due to the lack of space, I decided that is enough. Thus, I did a reading proof and attached the JEL codes to my abstract and my brand new paper is done. The result resembles me much like a Huf house, meaning exquisite, clean and robust, so I am quite excited about it and I will probably submit it somewhere before this summer.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tweaks & tests on my first essay - revisions

The Breusch-Pagan Lagrange multiplier test for random effects tests if variances of groups are zero. The BP LM values reject the null only in the first and second model, suggesting that random effects should be used in these cases against an OLS estimator.
Using a likelihood-ratio test, homoskedasticity is rejected firmly in all models. Thus I take this into account by using White cross-sectional standard errors which are robust. Beyond this, serial correlation could be biasing the estimates so I use the test described by Wooldridge (2002) and implemented in Stata. However, the null of no serial correlation can be rejected at 5 percent significance lavels in all relevant models, proving that this is not an issue for these estimations.
To make sure that my regressions are not spurious, I perform the most common two panel unit root tests involving regressions on lagged difference: Levin Lin and Chu (2002) which assumes a cross-sectional common unit root and Im, Pesaran and Shin (2003) that allow for individual unit root processes across sections.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Satisfaction of a good job

I have just finished writing my paper last Friday. After a dog-week period when I worked around the clock to write it and do all the necessary analysis, the result looks promising and the paper very professional. In the end, I included various cointergration tests (e.g. Pedroni and Kao) plus all the relevant panel unit-root tests (Levin Liu and Chu, Breitung, Im Peshran and Shin, Breitung and Hadri). Eviews gives all that almost for free. Naturally, nobody knows the true spec so one includes everything (trend, itercept etc) and hopes for the best (I(1) that is). Happily for me it worked like a charm. On top of that, besides the usual OLS fixed effects model, I also managed to get some DOLS estimates which seem to outperform both OLS and FMOLS in small samples. So , everything looks good and healthy around here. Just need to finish the fine tunings and additions and send it to some journal.:)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Writing is the name of the game

I have started to write up the paper yesterday. Although I have bits and pieces already, it is not that easy to put them all together, and I would really like to avoid duplicative efforts. On the other hand, it's just a first draft (from not more, hopefully than two or three) so perfection should come second.