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Stanford Institute for Theoretical Economics (SITE)

Changes Due to COVID-19

SITE IS GOING VIRTUAL! To protect the health and safety of presenters, attendees and staff, SITE is shifting to an online format. Some workshops are unfortunately canceled - see program schedule below.  Join any of our workshops that are hosting online for a variety of top-quality talks.  Attendance is FREE by signing up at the Registration link located in the left navigation bar of this website.  We look forward to seeing you online.

2020 Workshops

Session 1: Negotiation (CANCELED)

July 6-7, 2020

Bargaining/negotiation is one of the oldest and most common forms of transaction and interaction; at the same time, it is a complex, multi-faceted situation raising many theoretical and empirical questions. Calls for a better understanding of bargaining/negotiation settings have arisen from federal agencies and courts in recent years. Researchers from the fields of economics, psychology, organizational behavior, and law all study negotiation, but cross-discipline interaction is rare on this topic. The goal of this session will be to bring together empiricists and theorists from each of these fields. We invite frontier research studying negotiation from any angle--experimental, structural, theoretical, etc. An additional goal of the workshop will be to provide time for researchers to interact and discuss research beyond formal presentations. In addition to senior faculty members, invited presenters will include junior faculty as well as graduate students.

Organized by:

Brad Larsen (Stanford University), Margaret Neale (Stanford GSB), Jen Overbeck (Melbourne Business School), Xun Tang (Rice University) and Shoshana Vasserman (Stanford GSB)

Session 2: Empirical Implementation of Theoretical Models of Strategic Interactions and Dynamic Behavior

July 8-10, 2020

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.

Organized by:

Steven Puller (Texas A&M University) and Frank Wolak (Stanford University)

Session 3: Asset Pricing, Macro Finance, and Computation

July 15-17, 2020

This session focuses on recent advances in asset pricing and macro finance as well as the use of computational techniques in these areas. Possible topics include but are not limited to the following: investor heterogeneity, learning and ambiguity, 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.

Organized by:

Kenneth Judd (Hoover Institution, Stanford University), Walter Pohl (University of Groningen), Karl Schmedders (IMD Lausanne and University of Zurich) and Ole Wilms (Tilburg University)

Session 4: Causal Inference and Machine Learning

July 20-21, 2020

In recent years economists have started adopting and adapting machine learning methods that are revolutionizing data science for empirical analyses in economics. In this session we plan to bring together economists and econometricians interested in the use of machine learning methods in economics. We plan to include in the program both methodological papers developing methods for analyzing economic data and applications of machine learning methods to economic problems, including applicaPons using reduced form and structural methods. The hope is to expose the methodologists to the type of questions empirical researchers are interested in, and to expose the empirical researchers to cutting edge methodologies. We intend to take a broad view of causal inference and machine learning, and include both experimental designs, as well as observaPonal studies and the use of non-standard data.

Organized by:

Susan Athey (Stanford GSB), Guido Imbens (Stanford GSB), Greg Lewis (Microsoft) and Jann Spiess (Stanford GSB)

Session 5: Political Economic Theory

July 30-31, 2020

This session will bring together researchers from political science and economics who apply economic theory to the study of politics. This includes work in the areas of voting theory, political bargaining, policy-making and implementation, lobbying and regulation, and the media and information environment in which politics takes place. The session will encourage productive dialogue between researchers in economic theory that have developed ideas and tools relevant to the study of politics, and those in political science study questions and topics that can be addressed by economic theory.

Organized by:

Avi Acharya (Stanford University), Kyle Bagwell (Stanford University), Steve Callander (Stanford GSB), Hulya Eraslan (Rice University), Dana Foarta (Stanford GSB) and Tom Palfrey (California Institute of Technology)

Session 6: Dynamic Games, Contracts, and Markets

August 3-5, 2020

This session brings together microeconomic theorists working on dynamic games 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 dynamic games and contracts. 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. We’re aiming for a roughly even split between micro theory papers and papers from other areas.

This is a continuation of successful SITE sessions in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Last year, we attracted people from economics, finance, operations research, political economy, and other related fields, ranging from PhD students to senior professors. We hope to have a similar number of attendees this year as in the past. Specific topics likely to be covered include repeated and stochastic games, dynamic optimal contracts, dynamic market pricing, reputation, search, and learning and experimentation.

Organized by:

Simon Board (University of California, Los Angeles), Laura Doval (California Institute of Technology), Annie Liang (University of Pennsylvania), Andrzej Skrzypacz (Stanford GSB), Takuo Sugaya (Stanford GSB) and Caroline Thomas (University of Texas at Austin)

Session 7: Experimental Economics

August 10-11, 2020

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 would 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.

Organized by:

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

Session 8: Psychology and Economics (CANCELED)

August 12-14, 2020

This SITE workshop brings together researchers working on issues at the intersection of psychology and economics. The segment will focus on evidence of and explanations for non-standard choice patterns, as well as the positive and normative implications of those patterns in a wide range of economic decision-making contexts, such as lifecycle consumption and savings, workplace productivity, health, and prosocial behavior. The presentations will frequently build upon insights from other disciplines, including psychology and sociology. Theoretical, empirical, and experimental studies will be included.

Organized by:

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

Session 9: The Macroeconomics of Uncertainty and Volatility (CANCELED)

August 19-21, 2020

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 macroeconomist 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. Our goal is to have a balanced mix of theoretical and empirical papers and a strong interest in applications to policy.

Organized by:

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

Session 10: Financial Regulation

August 24-26, 2020

This session will 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 US and outside the US. This is the fourth in the sequence of annual SITE conferences on this topic that we have held since 2017 (i.e., 2017, 2018, 2019).

Organized by:

Gregor Matvos (Northwestern Kellogg School of Management) and Amit Seru (Stanford GSB)

Session 11: Advances in International Macroeconomics & Finance

August 26-28, 2020

We are interested in papers at the frontier of international macroeconomics and finance. Empirical papers using new methods and or new large scale datasets on portfolios flows, firm level activity, tax havens, and global banks. Theoretical papers shedding new light on global financial intermediation, the role of safe assets, policies that mitigate the excessive volatility of capital flows. We are also open to papers investigating the challenges and opportunities posed by innovations in global payment systems and store of values, such as stablecoins.

Organized by:

Arvind Krishnamurthy, Hanno Lustig, and Matteo Maggiori (all Stanford GSB), and Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan (University of Maryland and IMF)

Session 12: The Micro and Macro of Labor Markets

August 31, 2020

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. 

Organized by:

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

Session 13: Macroeconomics and Inequality (CANCELED)

September 2-4, 2020

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.

For the third consecutive 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.

Organized by:

Adrien Auclert (Stanford University), Kurt Mitman (IIES Stockholm), Martin Schneider (Stanford University), Chris Tonetti (Stanford GSB), and Arlene Wong (Princeton University)

Session 14: Banks and Financial Frictions

September 8-9, 2020

This segment 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. 

Organized by:

Juliane Begenau (Stanford GSB), Ben Hebert (Stanford GSB),  Lars Peter Hansen (University of Chicago) and Monika Piazzesi (Stanford)

Session 15: Development Economics (CANCELED)

September 10-11, 2020

The workshop aims to bring together researchers working on both theoretical and empirical analyses of economic development, with an emphasis on “networks,” interpreted broadly. We seek papers on social or family networks, labor market networks, trade networks, migration networks, transportation networks, etc., that consider the interaction and spillover effects within such networks.

Organized by:

Arun Chandrasekhar (Stanford University), Pascaline Dupas (Stanford University), Sara Lowes (Stanford University and University of California, San Diego), Melanie Morten (Stanford University) and Meredith Startz (Stanford University)