Research Economics

At Bocconi, with the Econometric Society, the Largest Ever Online Congress of Economists

, by Fabio Todesco
From 17 to 21 August, 4,500 participants will discuss all the current topics in economics, with 1,300 scientific presentations and speeches by Nobel Laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee

With its 4,500 participants, 1,300 presentations and over 300 sessions, the Econometric Society and Bocconi University Virtual World Congress, from 17 to 21 August, will be the largest ever online congress for economists.

The Econometric Society, a self-defined "international society for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics", is the most important association of economists with a global reach. The World Congress is held every fifth year ("less often than the Olympics", smiles Massimiliano Marcellino, Professor of Econometrics at Bocconi and Chair of the local organizing committee) and hosting it gives international prestige to a University. It was held in Europe for the last time in 2005.

Two of this year's three Nobel laureates (Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee) will be among the speakers. They are development economics scholars, confirming the breadth of the topics on a program ranging from inequality to climate change to trade wars, with methodologically rigorous forays into highly topical issues such as racial discrimination or the effects of unconventional fiscal and monetary policies (partly due to the COVID emergency) on the budgets of households, businesses and governments.

"The issues of artificial intelligence and machine learning and the use of consumer data will also be addressed," recalls Massimiliano Marcellino, "providing space to hear from big companies, with representatives of Amazon and Microsoft. The traditional topics of econometrics will not be missing, but the association has now extended its scope to the whole of economics, when researched with methodological rigor".

"The Congress crowns a well-established relation between Bocconi and the Econometric Society", says Bocconi President, Mario Monti. "We are happy to host such a rich and timely program and speakers of such great prestige, even if not having the participants physically in Milan is a great loss. Everything was ready by the end of February, but then everything changed".

"In fact", continues Massimiliano Marcellino, "it was like organizing two congresses, something made possible only by the dedication of all the members of the University". The program is divided into pre-recorded and live sessions, but all the discussions at the end of the sessions will be live, to maintain a lively debate, as well as other significant moments.

"Bocconi is widening its areas of interest to computer science, political science and others, maintaining the common denominator of methodological rigor", concludes the Rector, Gianmario Verona. "Hosting such an event in collaboration with a society that, thanks to the method, has established itself in its own and related fields will be a great experience".