This summer, Vladimír Novák, our PhD student, attended the 6th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, where 350 young international economists from 66 countries met with 17 Nobel Laureates. The meeting lasted for 5 days and was packed with lectures, panel discussions (all of them now available online), special breakfasts or dinners, but also with coffee breaks and other informal gatherings where participants could have fruitful discussion on whatever topic they liked.
Read what caught Vladimír’s attention the most:
What would I say about the opportunity to meet 17 Nobel Laureates in one place for five days? I would like to mention just a few highlights.
Given the tenth anniversary of the onset of the global financial crisis and the approaching meeting in Jackson Hole, the worldwide media was focused on the opening keynote speech by the president of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi, in which he commented on the measures taken by the ECB in the aftermath of the crisis. After watching the whole media circus from the front row, I was astonished by the journalists’ knowledge of academic papers. At the same time, I realized how hard it is to explain your research to the general public unambiguously.
For our new PhD students seeking inspiration, I would definitely recommend watching two panel discussions: the first about contracts, incentives and organizations; and the second about new conditions for monetary and fiscal policy.
The most interesting part of my stay, however, was the informal talks with the laureates and other students. To hear, for example, how difficult it is to deal with obstacles and keep your integrity after winning the prize: it suddenly makes you an expert on everything in the eyes of journalists and the public. You have an unprecedented opportunity (but also responsibility) to use your voice and influence public matters more than ever before. Or to hear how some of the laureates witnessed other laureates being rejected on the job market, because back then hiring teams didn’t believe they were good enough for the job. Those were the moments that I will remember for the rest of my life, and also reasons why the Lindau Meeting is so special.
The importance of the Lindau Meeting also lies in getting together with other young economists from all over the world. This might sound like a cliché, but such interaction with bright motivated minds can remind you why you have chosen economic science as your field of interest. Listening to the hurdles of students from currently less developed or fortunate democracies reminds us of our own (forgotten) memories. It reminds us what Central and Eastern Europe has accomplished and how big a role institutions such as CERGE-EI played. However, we should not forget that there is still a lot to be done to improve the research institutions and education in economic sciences in the CEE countries.
I hope that many other students from CERGE-EI will have the possibility to visit the next Lindau Meeting in 2020. Meanwhile, I will leave you with a tip for your further research from James Heckman: “Choose a topic which you are really interested in, otherwise your PhD will just be a normal job”.
For more pictures of the 6th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, please visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/nobellaureatemeeting/page1