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Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (SITE)

Overview

Every summer, Stanford's Department of Economics hosts a series of workshop sessions in economic theory and mathematical economics. This program is known as the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (SITE).  Its purpose is to advance economic science for the benefit of society and to support cutting-edge work of economic theorists within specialized areas of research.

History

For the past five decades, Stanford University has hosted a series of summer workshops in economic theory.  From 1969 to 1988, the Stanford Summer Workshop program was organized by the Economics section of the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences (IMSSS), headed by Mordecai Kurz.  In 1989, IMSSS was reorganized with a stronger commitment from Stanford and became part of the newly created Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (SITE).

Objectives

The objectives of the SITE Workshops are to contribute to the "dissemination of scientific knowledge, to strengthen both empirical and theoretical economic analysis and research methods, and to improve the understanding of the processes and institutions of the U.S. economy and of the world system of which it is a part."

Each SITE session combines leading senior researchers in the specified topic areas with those newer to the field.  Moreover, the workshops provide an exceptional environment for diverse members of the economic community to interact and connect with fellow participants for the following opportunities:

  • to exchange ideas and engage in critical scientific discussion;
  • to benefit from exposure to new developments in their field as well as exposure to problems, questions and ideas beyond their immediate areas of research;
  • to gain valuable experience working with new and varied concepts, methods, and tools;
  • to promote exchange across disciplines;
  • to initiate and collaborate on new research;
  • and to enrich academic and professional development

With overall direction by Professor Fuhito Kojima, sessions are organized in a decentralized fashion by small groups of economists including selected senior collaborators from outside Stanford.

Submission Instructions

To submit a paper for consideration in any of the sessions listed below, follow the “Submit a Paper” link. You will need to create an ExOrdo account. Click on “Submit an Abstract”, and you will then be able to choose the workshop (“track”) to which you would like to submit. Submissions require a title and abstract, but you are strongly encouraged to submit a full paper in the “additional information” section. Please be aware of the submission deadlines for your desired workshop, as listed below.

2019 Workshops

Session 1: Banks and Financial Frictions

July 1-2, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Rm 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: April 1, 2019

This session will feature post-crisis research on the central role of banks in the economy, their incentives for risk-taking, developments in fintech, the role of banks for financial stability and payments provision, and the importance of financial frictions for households and firms more generally.

Organizers: Juliane Begenau (Stanford Graduate School of Business), Lars Peter Hansen (University of Chicago) and Monika Piazzesi (Stanford)

Session 2: Occupational Licensing

July 8-9, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Rm 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: April 1, 2019

The goal of this session will be to bring together empiricists and theorists studying occupational licensing. We invite frontier research studying the economics of occupational licensing from any angle. Specific topics likely to be covered include: their effects on the prices and quality of outputs, the reputation of firms, the entry of competitors, the mobility of workers, the opportunities of minorities and the emergence of nascent occupations as well as historical studies of licensing laws, and potential policy alternatives to existing laws. An additional goal of the workshop will be to discuss new data sources and methodologies for studying occupational licensing regulations.

Organizers: David Harrington (Kenyon College), Brad Larsen (Stanford) and Mindy Marks (Northeastern University)

Session 3: Empirical Implementation of Theoretical Models of Strategic Interaction and Dynamic Behavior

July 10-12, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Rm 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: April 1, 2019

The papers for this session are invited from the fields of empirical Industrial Organization (IO), Labor Economics, Public Finance, and Health Economics, Environmental and Energy Economics, and Development Economics. The unifying feature of the papers should be that they each contain a theoretical model of an economic interaction and an empirical implementation of this theoretical model using actual data. Popular topics for papers from previous years—the empirical implementation of models of auction market equilibrium, discrete choice models of differentiated product demand and oligopoly equilibrium, dynamic models of individual and group behavior, and analysis of experiment data of policy interventions in circumstances of non-random assignment or self-selection. A clear link between the theoretical economic model and econometric model should be a hallmark of the papers presented.

Organizers: John Asker (Columbia) and Frank Wolak (Stanford)

Session 4: Dynamic Games, Contracts and Markets

August 7-9, 2019 | Graduate School of Business, 655 Knight Way, Stanford
Deadline for Papers: April 15, 2019

The idea of this session is to bring together microeconomic theorists working on dynamic games, mechanisms, and contracts with more applied theorists working in macro, finance, organizational economics, and other fields. First, this is a venue to discuss the latest questions and techniques facing researchers working in microeconomic dynamics. Second, we wish to foster interdisciplinary discussion between scholars working on parallel topics in different disciplines, in particular, helping raise awareness among theorists of the open questions in other fields.

Organizers: Simon Board (University of California, Los Angeles), Daniel Garrett (Toulouse School of Economics), Yingni Guo (Northwestern University), Andrzej Skrzypacz (Stanford Graduate School of Business), Takuo Sugaya (Stanford Graduate School of Business) and Felipe Varas (Duke) 

Session 5: Experimental Economics

August 12-13, 2019 | Koret-Taube Conference Center, 366 Galvez St, Stanford
Deadline for Papers: April 15, 2019

This workshop will be dedicated to advances in experimental economics combining laboratory and field-experimental methodologies with theoretical and psychological insights on decision-making, strategic interaction and policy. We invite papers in lab experiments, field experiments and their combination that test theory, demonstrate the importance of psychological phenomena, and explore social and policy issues. In addition to senior faculty members, invited presenters will include junior faculty as well as graduate students.

Organizers: Christine Exley (Harvard Business School), Muriel Niederle (Stanford), Kirby Nielsen (Stanford), Alvin Roth (Stanford) and Lise Vesterlund (University of Pittsburgh)

Session 6: Psychology and Economics

August 14-16, 2019 | Koret-Taube Conference Center, 366 Galvez St, Stanford
Deadline for Papers: April 15, 2019

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers working on issues at the intersection of psychology and economics. The workshop focuses on evidence of and explanations for non-standard choice patterns, as well as the positive and normative implications of those patterns in important economic decision-making contexts such as lifecycle consumption and savings, labor supply, effort provision, financial contracting, and firm pricing. Many past presenters at this workshop have built upon insights from other disciplines, including psychology and sociology. Theoretical, empirical, and experimental studies will be included.

Organizers: B. Douglas Bernheim (Stanford), John Beshears (Harvard Business School), Vincent Crawford (Oxford), David Laibson (Harvard) and Ulrike Malmendier (University of California, Berkeley)

Session 7: Asset Pricing Theory and Computation

August 19-22, 2019 | Lou Henry Hoover Bldg, 580 Serra Mall, Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 1, 2019

This session focuses on recent advances in the theory of asset pricing and the use of computational techniques such as machine learning. Possible topics include but are not limited to the following: learning and ambiguity in asset pricing models, investor heterogeneity, new preference structures for pricing models, or using machine learning to understand the cross-section of returns. As the analysis of such models often requires the use of computational methods, we encourage submissions that develop and make use of new numerical techniques.

Organizers: Kenneth Judd (Hoover Institution, Stanford), Walter Pohl (Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen), Karl Schmedders (IMD Lausanne and University of Zurich) and Ole Wilms (Tilburg University)

Session 8: The Macroeconomics of Uncertainty and Volatility

August 21-23, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Rm 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 1, 2019

The session will cover recent work on the causes and effects of changes in volatility and uncertainty in the aggregate economy, which is incredibly topical given the ongoing Brexit turmoil and US election outcomes. Many observers, including policymakers such as Bernanke, Summers and Romer, have highlighted that these have been major driving factors in the recent credit-crunch recession and advanced heuristic arguments of why this might have been the case. Unfortunately, our theoretical and empirical understanding of these topics is limited since only recently have macroeconomists started working on these issues from a more systematic basis. Nevertheless, the preliminary results in the literature, to which all four of us have contributed, are rather encouraging. Changes in volatility and uncertainty similar to the ones observed for the U.S. economy can be shown to be quantitatively significant factors in business cycle fluctuations and a key element in a successful explanation of aggregate fluctuations. Moreover, the presence of changes in volatility and uncertainty has important implications for the design of optimal policies and for our assessment of the responses of central banks and fiscal authorities to recent developments in the world economy. Therefore, the session will aim to include about 20 recent papers on these topics. Our goal is to have a balanced mix of theoretical and empirical papers and a strong interest in applications to policy.

Organizers: Nick Bloom (Stanford), Steve Davis (University of Chicago), Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde (University of Pennsylvania) and John Rogers (Federal Reserve Board)

Session 9: The Micro and Macro of Labor Markets

August 28-29, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Rm 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 1, 2019

The idea of this session is to bring together labor economists and macroeconomists with interests in labor markets with two goals. The first goal is to be a venue to discuss the latest research about labor markets. The second goal is to promote intellectual exchange among scholars working on similar topics, but with different approaches. Specific topics will depend on the submissions.

Organizers: Gregor Jarosch (Princeton University) and Isaac Sorkin (Stanford)

Session 10: Global Income Dynamics

August 30-31, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Room 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 1, 2019

The goal of the conference is to bring together economists working on income inequality and income dynamics with administrative data from different countries. The main interest is in comparative analyses: Why is inequality rising in some countries and flat in others? Is income volatility or income risk rising as much as inequality? What about wage volatility? What are the trends in intergenerational mobility and the transmission of inequality across generations? Do we see similar trends in other countries? What is the importance of firm effects in the evolution of wages across different countries? Are changes in institutional features responsible for some of the differential trends? Teams from several countries will discuss common challenges, share and exchange ideas. The organizers’ ultimate goal is to edit a special issue of a peer-reviewed academic journal containing the different country-specific contributions.

Organizers: Fatih Guvenen (University of Minnesota), Luigi Pistaferri (Stanford) and Gianluca Violante (Princeton University)
Sponsors: National Science Foundation, Washington Center for Equitable Growth and the Minnesota Economics Big Data Institute

Session 11: Financial Regulation

September 3-5, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Rm 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 15, 2019

The idea in this session will be to discuss the latest advances in theoretical and empirical issues related to financial regulation, defined broadly. Topics will include, but will not be limited to, connections of regulation for intermediaries, households and policymakers in the U.S. and outside the U.S. This is the third in the sequence of annual SITE conferences on this topic that we have held since 2017.

Organizers: Gregor Matvos (University of Texas at Austin) and Amit Seru (Stanford Graduate School of Business) 

Session 12: The Dollar's Special Status

September 5-7, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Room 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 15, 2019

The U.S. dollar plays a unique role as the major reserve currency in the international financial system. The dollar’s status also creates special demand by foreign investors for safe assets denominated in dollars. This SITE session invite papers that explore why the dollar plays this role, and how the dollar’s special status affects exchange rate valuation, international capital flows, the trade balance, etc. We are also interested in papers that explore the role of financial intermediaries in currency markets.

Organizers: Arvind Krishnamurthy (Stanford Graduate School of Business), Hanno Lustig (Stanford Graduate School of Business) and Matteo Maggiori (Harvard University)

Session 13: Migration

Sept 9-10, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Room 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 15, 2019

Migration is one of the key issues both in the U.S. and around the globe. Economists study migration from several perspectives: history, labor, trade, and development. Yet, too often researchers across fields do not present work in the same forum. This SITE session will start this conversation and bring together economists who study questions of migration from different perspectives to stimulate cross-field conversation and share insights and research findings. We plan a two-day conference, with 10-12 papers presented, and plenty of time to discuss and engage with work during the conference.

Organizers: Ran Abramitzky (Stanford), Ethan Lewis (Dartmouth College) and Melanie Morten (Stanford)

Session 14: Macroeconomics and Inequality

September 11-13, 2019 | Landau Economics Bldg, 579 Serra Mall, Room 134 (A), Stanford
Deadline for Papers: May 15, 2019

Macroeconomics increasingly emphasizes inequality. When heterogeneous agents interact in frictional markets, macro aggregates depend on the distribution of wealth and cannot be characterized by a representative agent. At the same time, macro shocks and policies have redistributive effects.

Just like last year, this session aims to bring together researchers working on macro and inequality. We welcome theoretical work on heterogeneous agent models, empirical studies with micro data and combinations thereof. We expect to attract both macroeconomists as well as applied microeconomists working on labor economics, firm dynamics, international economics, urban economics and household finance.

Organizers: Adrien Auclert (Stanford), Kurt Mitman (IIES Stockholm), Martin Schneider (Stanford), Chris Tonetti (Stanford Graduate School of Business) and Arlene Wong (Princeton University)