Sunday, 10 March 2013

Public Choice Society Conference Day 2

The Conference continues. Today the conference was even more exciting and fulfilling than yesterday, with several plenary sessions lifting the experience altogether. 

I started off by attending the "Institutions and Entrepreneurship" session to look into a paper on how informal institutions influence entrepreneurial spirits (or at least this is what I was hoping to find out). Unfortunately that paper is still a work in progress so I haven't had a chance to find out more, but the author gave me a promise that in the next couple of months he will continue his work on this very interesting topic. I'm interested in the idea purely from the perspective on how informal institutions influence the incentives to become an entrepreneur in different economies. In particular how can formal institutional changes affect the low quality informal institutions (meaning norms, customs or mentality preventing entrepreneurial ideas from happening), in order to generate better economic outcomes. 

After this there was a plenary session chaired by Nobel prize winner Vernon Smith on "Experimental Economics", featuring speakers Charles Plott, Daniel Houser, Bart Wilson and Ryan Oprea, who all had an interesting point of view on explaining the importance of naturalized experiments in economic and social science research. After this there was a panel discussion on Brennan and Lomasky's book "Democracy and Decision: The Pure Theory of Electoral Choice", (20th anniversary of its publication) which I just recently read and was hence interested to hear what Heckelman, Munger and Vanberg had to say as a comment. 

Because of this I had to unfortunately miss a promising session on "Empirical Papers in Electoral and Institutional Change", where two papers in particular caught my attention; "Democratic Transitions and Institutional Change", by Rode and Bjørnskov, and "How Do Institutions Change? Economic Institutionalism and Theoretical Approaches to Institutional Change" by Caballero, along with some others as well. 

The awards luncheon that followed afterwards awarded the best papers published in Public Choice in 2012, and presented us with two new tributes to the Elinor and Vincent Ostrom and James Buchanan. Same as yesterday, the tributes were very touching and respectful towards these three biggest names (or at least some of the biggest names) in public choice theory and social sciences altogether. I found the video commemorating James Buchanan on youtube: 


Afterwards I attended the session on "Corruption, Freedom and Growth", followed by the final plenary on the "Future of Social Choice and the Past Presidents of the Public Choice Society", chaired by Bernard Grofman and featuring presentations from Christian List, Iain McLean, Norman Schofield and Maxwell Stearns. Needless to say they were a great ending to another fruitful day at the Public Choice Society Conference. 

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