For the second time, Universidad EAFIT and the Colombian Central Bank hosted the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (Lacea) annual meeting, which, this time, was simultaneously held with the Latin American Meetings of the Econometric Society (Lames). The event took place since Thursday, November 10th, until Saturday, November 12th.
The simultaneous presence of two winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Finn E. Kydland and Edmund Strother Phelps, who presented their macroeconomic theses and shared with the audience their thoughts on Latin America’s growth and development, was one of the highlights of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (Lacea) and the Latin American Meetings of the Econometric Society (Lames) annual meeting, which ended this Saturday, November 12th, at Universidad EAFIT.
Along with the Nobel Prize laureates, a group of keynote speakers, amongst researchers and experts in economics—Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee, Eddie Dekel, Ricardo Hausmann, Matthew O. Jackson and Augusto de la Torre—from the continent’s leading organizations and universities, presented 360 lectures sharing their most recent papers and studies in the different fields of economics, from public policies and fiscal adjustment, through issues such as inequality, education, regional integration, to the impact of crime and corruption in societies.
“Colombian economists play a significant role in Latin America and the Caribbean, not only because of the quality of their scientific research, but also because they are very active in the knowledge networks; there are many public policy makers who work in the most important multilateral entities. Proof of the Colombian economists’ influence is that we are the only Latin American country that has hosted four Lacea meetings,” emphasized Juan Felipe Mejía Mejía, dean of School of Economics and Finance at EAFIT.
This important event, hosted for the second time by Universidad EAFIT—which was appointed during the meeting held last year in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia)—and the Colombian Central Bank, included the participation of professors whose research works allow them to connect with international organizations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
“1,200 papers were submitted, of which 360 in all research lines of economics were accepted to be presented at the meeting. We had a record of presentations this year, and, along with Universidad de los Andes and Universidad del Rosario, we were the university with more presentations,” emphasized Mejía.
Over the past years, Medellín has consolidated itself as the venue for major events, hosting international conferences, fairs and summits. Natalia Ortiz Gómez, logistic coordinator of this academic meeting at EAFIT, states that the city has been one of the best locations ever to host the Lacea Lames meeting.
“In terms of planning, we did very well because the University supported the development of the event, and it’s been a good teamwork with a very positive outcome for everyone. Participation was massive, with around 900 people who attended the meeting,” she said.
For his part, Eduardo Lora, president of Lacea, described the content and planning of this meeting’s edition as “very special”, thanks to the presence of the two winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, the participation of first-class speakers in the continent, and the record of papers proposed (more than 800). “The technical level of the meeting was very good, and it was a great success.”
The researcher adds that, in both Lacea and Lames, he found very innovative subjects, which demonstrates that economics has opened to new fields connected to other sciences such as psychology, biology or politics. “Research in economics is going through a thematic and methodological innovation process, and we experience it here, because one of our goals is that what is discussed at Lacea is related to development and is at the border of knowledge,” highlights the president of Lacea.
For economists and university directives, the academic meeting not only makes the city’s university research work visible, but also turns EAFIT into a thinking center that impacts the Latin American region. From this position, this economists’ meeting opens up new ways to conduct joint economic projects and studies and, therefore, strengthen the market in issues such as added value or diversification of export products of the Latin American countries.
“New opportunities open up to reflect on the benefits of a more vigorous integration of economies, where factors, such as work and capital, can be more dynamic and where they can be connected to other world economies, including the Asian and the European ones. I believe that this is a way to be able to grow based on exports and diversification of production processes, even in a world threatened by protectionism,” indicates Augusto de la Torre, chief economist at the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the speakers during the academic meeting.
One of the benefits provided by this annual meeting of economists to Medellín—considered Colombia’s business capital and a city that has specialized in the services industry—is its projection as an entrepreneurial city regarding finances and banking matters.
“Besides the traditional macroeconomic and microeconomic issues and the impact assessment, the meeting addressed very important state-of-the-art matters, such as Matthew Jackson’s ideas, who spoke about the economy of networks. Moreover, we had time to discuss behavioral finance issues and the role ‘big data’ and new technologies will play in the future,” concludes the dean of the School of Economics and Finance.
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