Initially focused primarily on teaching, ICEF has been purposefully and consistently building a research community within its team since the start of international recruitment of PhD researchers in 2005. ICEF has a very vibrant research seminar, several research groups, and two laboratories. Alexis Belianin, ICEF Assistant Professor and Head of the Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics, and Carsten Sprenger, ICEF Assistant Professor, Head of the International Laboratory of Financial Economics, told The HSE Look readers about the achievements and plans of ICEF team in research.
Alexis Belianin about ICEF research areas and achievements:
ICEF faculty conduct research in all major areas of economics, including microeconomic theory, macroeconomics, game theory, industrial organization, corporate finance, asset pricing and market microstructure theory, labour economics, international economics, development economics, applied econometrics, experimental and behavioral economics. Research of ICEF faculty has been published in all major Russian and many international peer-reviewed journals, and the trajectory of cumulative publications of ICEF as a rising academic department has been the steepest of all young departments in Eastern Europe.
This has been manifested, among others, in the fact that in recent years, two of the prestigious national prizes for outstanding research (the Gaidar young economists prize) have been awarded to ICEF researchers – Anna Yurko and Fabian Slonimczyk (for their paper «Assessing the Impact of the Maternity Capital Policy in Russia», Labour Economics, 2014) and Roman Zakharenko (for his paper Trade costs, conflicts, and defense spending, published in Journal of International Economics, 2015). ICEF faculty members create a strong research environment and regularly participate in the research seminar which attracts many guest scholars.
Besides more informal research groups, ICEF has an International Laboratory of Financial Economics and also hosts one of the first laboratories in experimental economics in the country, which provides experimental facilities for the whole university and many international colleagues.
Carsten Sprenger about the International Laboratory of Financial Economics:
When I arrived at ICEF in 2007, there was a plan to develop it further into an institute that combines economic research at best international standards with high-quality teaching. We felt that we could have a comparative advantage in the area of financial economics. Research requires resources, such as data, research assistants, and most importantly a network of scholars who can give advice or could become collaborators on some projects. One way to attract good scholars was to establish an annual conference. Together with Christian Julliard from the LSE, the academic director of the Laboratory, we have been organizing such a conference every year since 2011.
As far as the topics are concerned, every faculty member has his or her own research agenda, and we are few people whose research overlaps only to a small extent. Rather, it has been a vehicle to get access to those resources that we need and to connect us to the international network of researchers. Grant funding allowed us to bring visitors for research collaboration, such as Professors Dmitry Livdan from University of California at Berkeley, Norman Schuerhoff from University of Lausanne and Bart Taub from the University of Glasgow, and many seminar speakers.
In addition to the faculty members, students also benefit from the laboratory: those who worked as research assistants got hands-on experience in data work, econometric analysis, programming and bibliographical search, to name a few skills. Moreover, all students benefit from the availability of databases, many of which were acquired by HSE upon the initiative of members of the Laboratory, and use them for their Bachelor’s and Master’s final research papers.
Read more articles about ICEF in The HSE Look July 2017 issue.