Summer School 2014

The I.S.E.O Summer School was held for the 11th time in 2014 in Iseo (Northern Italy). This edition attracted 63 students from 30 different countries ( from Uzbekistan to USA, from Philippines to Brazil…) and from a total of 49 universities spread in the world.

It featured three Nobel Laureates: James Mirrlees (1996), Robert Engle (2003) and Michael Spence (2001). Also Professor Richard Tol from the University of Sussex, Camilla Toulmin, the director of IIED, and from Oxford University PhD Emanuele Ferragina were amongst this prestigious group of speakers. During the week, participants attended dynamic lectures held by the speakers and had the possibility to interact with them during free time. Three of the summer school participants were also selected to present their own research in “Your Lecture” sessions in front of the other Summer School participants.

Also this year the students had the chance to share their research ideas and get invaluable feedback from the Nobel laureates and spend free time with them after the lectures, on dinners, and on our free time activities in Brescia and on our boat trip to Monte Isola to truly get to know the great minds behind the theories they have studied.

During the 2014 Summer School participants attended excursions to the cities of Venice and Brescia. Additionally, the participants could taste traditional Italian dishes and local specialties in various restaurants in Iseo. Furthermore, the refined gala dinner organized in the nearby Berlucchi vineyard was surely an unforgettable event. Participants of the Summer School could also explore the charming lakeside town of Iseo and take part in recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing and hiking.

The opening speaker of this year’s Summer School was Professor Michael Spence: the topic of his lecture was “Will the growth and convergence of developing economies continue or has it been derailed?” and he also spoke about the meaning of public investment on innovation and economic growth. After the lecture, Matthew Agarwala from the London School of Economics presented his research “Are national economies (virtually) sustainable? An empirical analysis of natural assets in international trade” in front of the audience during the first “Your Lecture” session, which was moderated by Prof. Michael Spence. In the afternoon PhD Camilla Toulmin, who is the Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, spoke about building a green economy that works for low-income countries and the status of the global transition towards a greener global economy.

Professor Richard Tol from the University of Sussex lectured about international climate policy and solutions to solve the climate problem.

On the 18th of June Professor James Mirrlees held his class about urbanization in a global economy. He lectured about the optimal size of cities and the negative externalities caused by the ever growing urban population. After this, we had the second “Your Lecture” by Sheng Zhong from Maastricht University on “Energy Consumption, Energy Intensity and Economic Development between 1995 and 2009: A Structural Decomposition Approach”. Our second lecturer on Wednesday was PhD Emanuele Ferragina, a lecturer in comparative social policy from Oxford University. His topic was on the theory and practice of welfare state, equality and social capital.

On the 19th June, participants attended a public conference organized by the I.S.E.O Institute entitled “Risk Society” held at the city of Brescia. This conference featured Prof. James Mirrlees, Prof. Robert Engle and PhD Emanuele Ferragina. During the conference, the speakers discussed some of the most topical issues related to the current economic crisis in front of the students but also to general audience which came to attend the conference.

The last lecture of the ISEO Summer School 2014 was on Friday on the 20th of June by Robert Engle, a Nobel Laureate from 2003. His topic was the Financial Stability for a Sustainable Economy, and the discussion was focused around how the markets value long term risks such as the climate change. After this, Valeriia Dzhamalova from the University of Lund held the third “Your Lecture” session, presenting research done by her and another participant of the Summer School on “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Innovation and Growth: Evidence from Technology R&D”.

Also the 2014 edition was characterized by the great debate that every lecture stimulated among the participants who were keeping on discussing about economic issues even after classes: at dinner, during trips, in any occasion they could. Nobel laureates and speakers were always among students sharing the whole week with them. On the other hand the other feature of the 11th edition was the perfect balance between academic moments and leisure time spent discovering Italian corners, gastronomy and beauties.