ESCoE Conference on Economic Measurement 2024 – a student perspective


ESCoE Conference on Economic Measurement 2024 – a student perspective

Following ESCoE’s May 2024 conference at Alliance Manchester Business School, ESCoE and King’s College London PhD and Masters students reflect on the event and how it will help their research going forwards.

Arjun Shah, ESCoE PhD student

“The conference was a great space for learning about new research on economic measurement and networking with other academics.

Plenary sessions with keynote speakers Chad Syverson, Catherine L Mann and Rohini Pande were a brilliant opportunity to learn from and engage with experts. The contributed sessions covered a wide array of research, from labour markets and R&D (Research and Development) and innovation to climate change. Special sessions introduced us to datasets that could be useful in future research.

I found the special session on “The economic geography of innovation – data and methodological challenges“particularly interesting as it discussed challenges in data construction as well as the latest datasets available on R&D and innovation. This is very close to my PhD research, and it was exciting to see new data that could potentially be used going forwards.”

Anisha Rasan, King’s College London Masters student

“This year I attended the conference as a Masters student at King’s College London. I found it a very different experience to when I attended as a Treasury economist last year. Attending as a student allowed me to really appreciate the different innovative methods used to interpret data.

I have spent the last year working through theoretical problems, after focusing on the application of economic theory at the Treasury. The conference allowed me to bring these two areas together through exploration of new research where theoretical methods have been used to tackle economic problems.

The special session on UK management practices and the UK Management and Expectations Survey was very relevant to my research as it is the dataset and topic I am covering for my Masters dissertation. I found it interesting to see the same question tackled from different perspectives, including from the view of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and The Productivity Institute.”

Josh Martin, ESCoE PhD student and Bank of England

“I’ve been to every ESCoE conference since the first in 2018, and always have a great time. This year was no exception. For me, it’s as much about the people as the papers – an opportunity to catch-up with colleagues and collaborators, past, present and future. The spirit of the ESCoE conference is always so positive and engaging, with economic measurement being the bond that everyone shares.

I thought Chad Syverson’s keynote on productivity was excellent. Productivity has been one of the golden threads running through the ESCoE agenda from the beginning, and Chad touched on several related topics in his talk. I particularly enjoyed the measurement points that he made: first, on the role of un-measured intangible investment leading to bias in productivity estimates (the J-curve effect); second, on the “strange and awful path” of [measured] productivity in the construction industry, which he suggested might relate to the deflator for construction output.  Chad also reminded us that if mismeasurement is going to ‘explain’ the so-called “productivity puzzle” (the slowdown in productivity growth since the mid-2000s) then it must be “mismeasurement that gets worse, at a particular point in time”. This is an important point – there is always mismeasurement, but that fact alone cannot explain a productivity slowdown.”

Mechelle Viernes, ESCoE PhD student

“The Conference was a good opportunity to share and gather feedback on methodologies. Coming from a statistical office, I was interested in measurement techniques being adopted by different countries as well as experimental statistics currently being explored. I was happy to see participants and presenters from different parts of the world.

I was particularly interested to hear about what additional information might be required to produce more relevant indicators of economic performance and social progress and the need to explore the feasibility of alternative and complementary measures. One session examining this topic was the panel session on economic measurement of the household in developing countries.

Overall, I gained a richer knowledge of economic measurement. Events like these create more excitement around the work I am doing and will do in future. I feel inspired to further contribute to advancements in economic measurement through my research.”

John Lourenze Poquiz, ESCoE PhD student

“This was my second in-person ESCoE conference. Outside of King’s Business School and statistical agencies, I don’t know many people working on economic measurement. ESCoE conferences provide a great opportunity to speak with a wider range of people and get their thoughts on my research ideas.

I really enjoyed the panel discussion on communicating uncertainty in economic statistics. Most of my research explores new ways of compiling official statistics, like the National Accounts. The session reminded me of the importance of thinking about the communication of research rather than just the technical aspects. As a former journalist, I understand the need to be critical of government releases and the importance of transparency and clarity in conveying complex statistical information to the public. The session highlighted the need to ensure that the public and policymakers understand the inherent uncertainties and limitations in statistical data. Communicating this uncertainty effectively is crucial for maintaining trust and making informed decisions. As researchers, it’s easy to forget this when conducting our research, and our focus may be on reflecting the ideal without thinking about how this may play out in terms of communication.”

Juan Reyes, ESCoE PhD student

“Events like this are incredibly valuable for early career researchers. They provide a platform for showcasing our work, which helps to increase our visibility and credibility within the academic community. Additionally, these conferences foster the exchange of ideas and perspectives, which can inspire and motivate us to improve our methodologies and explore new areas of research.

One of the most interesting sessions I attended focused on nowcasting, which involves analysing and predicting real-time economic trends. The methodologies presented by Andrea De Polis and Fausto Grinspun were directly relevant to my own research. They offered insights on how to improve the accuracy and timeliness of economic estimations. The practical examples shared during these sessions were particularly valuable, as they provided me with ideas that I could incorporate into my own work.

Another session that stood out for me was Ping Wu’s presentation. She discussed the use of microeconomic data in macroeconomic models through Pseudo VARs. This innovative approach aligns closely with my research interests, as I am also interested in integrating micro-level data to enhance macroeconomic models.”

ESCoE’s 2024 Conference on Economic Measurement took place on 15-17 May at Alliance Manchester Business School. The conference focuses on recent research advances in economic measurement and statistics. Slides and recordings from sessions (where available) are now ready to watch.

The next ESCoE conference will take place in Spring 2025 at King’s College London – ESCoE’s host institution. Before then, you may want to attend the General Conference of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW) at King’s Business School on 26 to 30 August 2024. Find out more and register.

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