On February 11th, ISET hosted Olivier Harlem, Ph.D. of the Erasmus School of Economics, Rotterdam. Dr. Harlem presented his job market paper, “Earmarks”. Earmarks were U.S. federal funds that are designated for local projects and were easy for local representatives to obtain for their electoral districts. Some of the reasons why earmarks are interesting is that they are seen as: (i)”[a] symbol of broken spending”, (ii)”[a] gateway to corruption” and (iii) a “political carrot for speeding up [the] legislative process”. From an academic point of view, studying earmarks is interesting, as they reflect the aspects of both politicians’ behavior and the impact of public funds on the electoral process.

Dr. Harlem used specifications from Grossman and Helpman’s model to build the essence of his empirical approach.

On January 22, Dr. David Ubilava, from the the University of Sydney, led a seminar on the subject of his recent paper, "Rises and Falls in Primary Commodity Prices: Blame it on ENSO or Leave Them Kids Alone?"

The speaker began by introducing the essence of his research, which aims to estimate the effects of ENSO on commodity prices. ENSO is an abbreviation of El Niño Southern Oscillation, which refers to the effects of a band of sea surface temperatures that are anomalously warm or cold for long periods of time.

This process has a cyclical character and strong effect on the production and distribution of different commodities. If ENSO-related weather disturbances are synchronized across commodity producer countries, the causal relationship between ENSO and commodity price movement becomes an economic corollary; however, this causality is not always there. The strength of the linkage depends on the concentration of the primary commodities in the ENSO-affected regions, the availability of close substitutes, and the ability of producers to adapt to climate shocks in the short term.

ISET Policy Institute hosted Claus Hipp, CEO and owner one of the largest baby food manufacturer in Germany. Messenger and Georgia Today covered the event. Please find the full article below.

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