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Getting up to Speed on the Financial: A One Weekend Reader´s Guide
Gary Gorton y Andrew Metrick

[Keywords: financial crisis; JEL: E02, F34, H12]

All economists should be conversant with “what happened?” during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. We select and summarize 16 documents, including academic papers and reports from regulatory and international agencies. This reading list covers the key facts and mechanisms in the build-up of risk, the panics in short-term-debt markets, the policy reactions, and the real effects of the financial crisis.

Understanding financial crisis through accounting models
Dirk J. Bezemer

[Keywords: credit crisis, recession, prediction, macroeconomics, flow of funds, neoclassical economics, accounting research JEL: E19, F37, G01, M41]

This paper presents evidence that macroeconomic accounting models helped to anticipate the credit crisis and economic recession, whereas equilibrium models, ubiquitous in mainstream policy and research, did not. This study traces the intellectual pedigree of the accounting approach as an alternative to neo-classical economics, and the post-war rise and decline of flow-of-funds models in policy use. The paper includes contemporary case studies of both types of models, and considers why the accounting approach has remained outside mainstream economics. Finally, it provides constructive recommendations for revising financial stability evaluation methods, and advocates an ‘accounting of economics.

Material economics: Body and brain
Santiago Alonso

[Keywords: neuroeconomics, behavioral economics, microeconomic behavior; JEL: D87, D03, D01]

Neuroeconomics gives a material foundation to economics. The basic framework of this paper is one that takes into account cognitive psychology, economics, biology and neuroscience in general. Specifically, it is a review of findings which aim to make explicit the idea that it is the body and brain that determine individual economic behaviour. In other words, decisions are a function of revealed biolog y. The basic hypothesis is that a rational organism must be consistent with its revealed biology.

Adaptive agents, learning, and environmental structure: an alternative approach
Arturo Lara Rivero [pdf][html]

[Keywords: agent adaptive, learning, complex adaptive systems, internal models; JEL: D03, D83 ]

This paper contrasts the concept of a complex, adaptive agent with the idea of a programmed agent, and develops a new vision of agent learning and structure. The concept of the agent is analyzed through a consideration of internal models, practice, the concept of routine and its influence on the agent's behavior, and the importance of ex ante and ex post learning. Finally, it demonstrates how problem solving is subject to the restrictions of the agent, and describes the different ways to explore solutions space with three types of scanning: exhaustive, random and selective.

Bounded rationality in the wold risk society
Francisco Augusto Laca Arocena [pdf][html]

[Keywords: rational choice, risk society, cognitive biases; JEL: D03, D81, D83]

The economic theory of rational choice was accepted for decades as a general theory to explain human behaviour which other social sciences lack. This paper reviews some limitations of the former . Through cognitive psychology, the paper describes the cognitive biases of people when assessing data and making choices, which puts into question the idea that the human mind is programmed to follow the assumptions of rational choice. On the other hand, the increased risks in modern civilization (monetary, ecological, geopolitical) and their global character define our society as “ the society of global risk ” . The author discusses the limits of our rationality in regard to making choices as a troubling issue for coping with increasing global risks.

Deeds and words: the Colombian reality as seen through the press.
Juan Manuel Caicedo, Alejandro Gaviria y Javier Moreno [pdf][html]

[Keywords: Colombia, newspapers, institutional change, culturomics; JEL: O54, Z10]

This paper presents the first application to Colombia of culturomics, a novel research method in the social sciences that describes cultural, social and linguistics trends based on the quantitative analysis of millions of digitized texts. The paper uses all news and editorials published during the past two decades in three national periodicals in order to analyze the trajectories of several social and economic phenomena: corruption, economic optimism, the relative power of the judicial branch, etc. Beyond its specific findings, this paper showcases how culturomics can be used to describe the changing reality of a developing country.

Forced Displacement and State Intervention in Colombia
Andrés Mauricio Mendoza Piñeros [pdf][html]

[Keywords: forced displacement, rights-based index, human rights approach, household panel data; JEL: R23, D74, I38, C23]

In this paper, we build an index to measure the extent to which displaced households can effectively realize their economic and social rights. Based on the results of the index, we conclude that during the reparations and resettlement process, a displaced household, on average, is able to exercise 60% of the rights associated with economic and social stability. This result is four points below the average level at which poor nearby households are able to exercise their rights. Using panel data on a group of households, our technical work illustrates that between 2007 and 2008, the ability of displaced households to exercise their rights deteriorated to the point where, in effect, 45% of the households saw a regression in their ability to exercise at least one right during this period. We also identified other factors threatening the sustainability of the socio-economic stabilization policy, and some recommendations are made.

Input-Output matrices and multiplier analysis: An application for Colombia
Gustavo Hernández [pdf][html]

[Keywords: Input-output, multipliers, linkages; JEL: C67, C81, D57]

Input-output analysis is widely used in different scenarios, because it is easy to implement and interpret. Nevertheless, it is important to note that input-output coefficients should be built with caution, especially in the case of secondary production, as this may imply negative coefficients. To overcome this problem the coefficients were constructed indirectly, applying this methodology using data from the 2007 national accounts, base 2000. Using these new coefficients, we performed a traditional multiplier analysis to obtain the key sectors of the economy. This analysis is sensitive to the level of disaggregation used.

Regional inequality in the distribution of educational level of teachers in Colombia
Luis Armando Galvis y Leonardo Bonilla Mejía [pdf][html]

[Keywords: profesionalización docente, gasto en educación, Nuevo Estatuto Docente; JEL: C10, I21, H52]

This paper aims to study the differences in the degree of professionalization of teachers in Colombian educational institutions. We break down the inequalities in the supply of teachers according to their degree of professionalization using the Theil index. Next, we estimate the determinants of professionalization, taking into account characteristics of the school and the municipalities where the institutions operate. We evaluate two hypotheses: first, whether more public spending on education personnel by local authorities has helped to improve the level of teacher training in government institutions; and we assess the impact of the teacher professionalization law of 2002 on the degree of teacher professionalization.

The Bolivar Railway and the consolidation of the port of Barranquilla (1865-1941)
Juan Santiago Correa Restrepo [pdf][html]

[Keywords: Colombian railroads, foreign direct investment, Barranquilla; JEL: N76, N96, F21, F22]

The text analyzes the process of construction and operation of the Ferrocarril de Bolívar, which despite its limited extension , generated significant economic activity and a profound change in the dynamics of power in the “Bolivar Grande” (which included several of today's Colombian departments) , as it allowed the thriving development of one of its subregions in the second half of the nineteenth century. The study of the construction contracts for this railroad provides a clear view of the Colombian states vulnerability with respect to greed y investors , who saw in railroads an opportunity for financial speculation.



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