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2012 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics

Lecture and Conference - May 15-17, 2013

"State Building: A Political Economy Perspective"

Daron Acemoglu
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Many of the poorest nations in the world are characterized by a lack of stable state institutions. State building is more than a process of constructing a bureaucracy. It also involves a process of political centralization, which creates a major political economy challenge. The process of state building is often initiated by individuals and groups with visions and interests distinct from those of the rest of society, and it can easily translate into their domination or even dictatorship over society. This talk will present historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives on how state institutions matter for economic development, how the process of state building is constrained by political economy factors, and how state centralization if not accompanied by the strengthening of inclusive political institutions, creates its own political trap.

Video of the lecture


Thursday, May 16, 2013


Keynote Address

Simon Johnson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): The Value of Connections in Turbulent Times: Evidence from the United States (joint with Daron Acemoglu, Amir Kermani – both Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Todd Mitton – Brigham Young University, and James Kwak – University of Connecticut)


Alessandro Lizzeri (New York University): Government Policy with Time Inconsistent Voters (joint with Alberto Bisin - New York University, and Leeat Yariv - California Institute of Technology)

Guido Lorenzoni (Northwestern University) - discussant


Pierre Yared (Columbia University): Fiscal Rules and Discretion under Persistent Shocks (joint with Marina Halac – Columbia University)

Georgy Egorov (Northwestern University) - discussant


Nancy Qian (Yale University): Elections in China (joint with Monica Martinez-Bravo - Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros, Madrid, Spain, Gerard Padró i Miquel - London School of Economics, Yiqing Xu - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yang Yao - Peking University)

Paola Sapienza (Northwestern University) - discussant


Nicholas Bloom (Stanford University): Innovation, Reallocation and Growth(joint with Daron Acemoglu - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ufuk Akcigit - University of Pennsylvania, and William Kerr - Harvard University)

Fabrizio Zilibotti (University of Zurich) - discussant


Richard Blundell (University College London): Consumption Inequality and Family Labor Supply (joint with Luigi Pistaferri and Itay Saporta-Eksten - both Stanford University)

Alessandra Voena (University of Chicago) - discussant

Friday, May 17, 2013


Keynote Address

Robert Shimer (University of Chicago): Competitive Search and Competitive Equilibrium (joint with Veronica Guerrieri - University of Chicago)


Veronica Guerrieri (University of Chicago): Markets with Multidimensional Private Information (joint with Robert Shimer - University of Chicago)

Mehmet Ekmekci (Northwestern University) - discussant


Leena Rudanko (Boston University): Unions in a Frictional Labor Market(joint with Per Krusell - Stockholm University)

Dale Mortensen (Northwestern University) - discussant


Keynote Address

Laura Veldkamp (New York University): Germs, Social Networks and Growth (joint with Alessandra Fogli - Bocconi University)


Ufuk Akcigit (University of Pennsylvania): Transition to Clean Technology(joint with Daron Acemoglu - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Douglas Hanley - University of Pennsylvania, and William Kerr - Harvard University)

David Berger (Northwestern University) – discussant


Mikhail Golosov (Princeton University): Was Stalin Necessary for Russia's Economic Development? (joint with Anton Cheremukhin - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Sergei Guriev - New Economic School, Russia, and Aleh Tsyvinski - Yale University)

Joel Mokyr (Northwestern University) - discussant

Short Course

Short course for faculty and graduate students on "Political Economy, Institutions and Development." The course was held in May 2014. View the:
Slides - Lecture 1
Slides - Lecture 2
Slides - Lecture 3
Slides - Lecture 4
Slides - Lecture 5