Conversations with Economists Lecture Series

Presented by the Department of Economics at Boston University and open to the public.  For information, please contact: Norma Hardeo at or (617) 353-4623.

Upcoming Lectures

There are no lectures currently scheduled.

Previous Lectures

Quantitative Easing and the Role of Forward Guidance

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2:00PM – 4:00PM

Hillel House, 213 Bay State Road

Presented by Michael P. Dooley, UCSC
Michael P. Dooley joined the faculty at UCSC in 1992 following more than twenty years service at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. His research covers a range of issues in open economy macroeconomics including Bretton Woods II, crises in emerging markets, debt management, capital controls, capital flight and liberalization of financial markets.

He is a Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, International Research Fellow, Kiel Institute of World Economics and edit the International Journal of Finance and Economics.

Other affiliations have included visiting teaching positions at Bucknell University, George Washington University, The University of Texas, The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, the IMF Institute, the World Bank Economic Development Institute and the Kiel Institute of World Economics. Consulting relationships include the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the Federal Reserve Board and the Bank of Japan.

Register for the event at the BU Center for Finance, Law & Policy website.

The US is Bankrupt and Nobody Knows It

Thursday, October 3, 2013

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Room 315

Department of Economics, 264 Bay State Road

Presented by Larry Kotlikoff, A William Fairfield Warren Professor and Professor of Economics
The U.S. is, perhaps, in the worst long-term fiscal shape of any developed country, including Greece. But rather than face the facts, successive Administrations have dug our country into an ever deeper hole. This Conversation with Economists will explain why things are so bad, explain how to fix them, explain why things won’t get fixed, and clarify the economic carnage that will likely result.

The Euro Crisis

Monday, April 8, 2013

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Room 315

Department of Economics, 264 Bay State Road

Presented by Hans-Werner Sinn, President, Ifo Institute
The Eurozone is experiencing a major crisis. In his lecture, Hans-Werner Sinn offers insights into the current situation and shows that system failure poses a threat to Germany, and is forcing it to make concessions in negotiations over bailout packages.

Stand-Up Economist Yoram Bauman

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

5:30 – 7:00pm

Morse Auditorium

602 Commonwealth Ave.

Presented by Yoram Bauman, PhD
The world’s first and only stand-up economist. Comedian, author, and economist!

Left Populism in Bolivia:
Economic Policies and Consequences

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

5:00 – 6:30 pm

Room 315

Department of Economics, 264 Bay State Road

Presented by Juan Antonio Morales, Former President of the Central Bank of Bolivia
Juan Antonio Morales will present a critical examination of the policies and politics of the government of Evo Morales

Culture Change:
The Greatest Challenge in Business

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

5:30 – 7:00pm

Room 315

Department of Economics, 270 Bay State Road

Presented by Steve Brown , Former Chairman and CEO of John Hancock Financial Services
Mr. Brown believes that corporate culture is both the most critical determinant of success, and the most difficult thing to change. He will illustrate this in relation to his own career at John Hancock, and comment, as well, on the impact of corporate culture on the many ethical and other issues we read about in today’s business pages.

Grand Pursuit:
The Story of Economic Genius

Thursday, September 27, 2012

4:00 – 5:30pm

Photonics Room 206

8 St. Mary’s Street

Presented by Sylvia Nasar
In a sweeping narrative, the author of A Beautiful Mind will take you on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.

International Money

Monday, October 3rd, 2011
CAS, Room 224
725 Commonwealth Avenue (map)
Presented by Philip Turner, Bank of International Settlements (BIS)
What is international money?”. The 2007-20xx financial crisis has given thisold question new life. Central banks are not only the ultimate providers of domestic money, but also have the capacity to influence exchange rates and long-term debt markets. Because most international contracts are in dollars,the Federal Reserve has a pivotal role that has been reinforced by the crisis.But the massive dollar investments of other central banks also have an impact.What the international banking system does to “multiply” (or more recently“divide”) the money that central banks “create” will change over time. We try to understand how central banks should in turn respond to the reactions of international banks.

Trailer Park Economics

March 28, 2011
6:00 – 7:30 pm
CAS , Room 313
725 Commonwealth Avenue (map)
Presented by
Charles M. Becker, Research Professor of Economics, Associate Department Chair, Duke University
Caitlin Gorback, Research Assistant, Federal Reserve Bank, NY, Snr undergrad honors student, Duke
While the mortgage crisis has focused attention on the housing market, virtually no attention has been paid to a particular segment — manufactured housing. And within the manufactured housing market, of particular interest is the peculiar American institution of mobile home parks. Yet manufactured housing and trailer parks are important components of the housing market, especially in the southeast and southwest. In North Carolina, more than 1.5 million of the state’s 9 million people live in manufactured housing. Yet, those who live in trailer parks have minimal security of tenure: as a rule, structure and site owners differ, “mobile” homes are not really mobile, and homeowners face disastrous losses if evicted. We explore economic models that would give rise to this phenomenon — there turns out to be several — and offer preliminary empirical indications of the importance of different explanations.

Psychology of a Superorganism: Collective Decision-making by Ant Colonies

March 31, 2011
5:00 – 6:30 pm
264 Bay State Road, Room 315
Presented by Stephen Pratt, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
Ant colonies can be thought of as “superorganisms” that combine the actions of many individuals into a highly integrated whole. Like an organism, a colony acts as a single cognitive entity, making decisions about what to eat, where to live, and how to defend itself. I will describe the behavioral rules and communication networks that allow many poorly informed ants to make a good collective choice. Borrowing ideas from psychology and economics, I will show how colonies amplify the limited cognitive capacity of single ants and how they evade certain irrational consequences of individual choice.