Armenian Economic Association
Workshops and Seminars
Macroeconomics workshop on Growth Theory, by Vahagn Jerbashian, University of Barcelona, Spain
hosted by CRRC at 2-4PM on  Monday, June 20, 2016.


This workshop is state of the art lecture on modern economic growth  theory. It starts with a brief discussion of neoclassical growth  
theories and earlier contributions by Ramsey (1928) and Solow (1957).
It shows that these earlier contributions cannot explain long run  growth. It proceeds to a brief discussion of endogenous growth  theories
with human capital accumulation and ideas/knowledge (Lucas,  1988; Romer, 1990) which are suited for explaining long run growth.  
Modern theories of growth with ideas posit exchange of ideas but do  not model the microeconomics of it. This workshop discusses a recent
model which adds market for ideas to a stylized growth model and shows its growth and welfare implications.

Location: 1 Alex Manoogian Street, YSU Library building, 6th floor, room 602
Duration: 2-4 PM

Lecture notes: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AoyEZJ6snbHHgYpnGWqBYsueVnSLmg

Prerequisites: Audience should be comfortable with calculus.

About the instructor: Vahagn Jerbashian is an Assistant Professor of economics at the University of Barcelona, Spain. He holds a Ph.D. in
economics from CERGE-EI, Czech Republic.

AEA thanks CRRC for hosting the workshop and Professor Jerbashian for donating his time.
INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH: THEORY AND EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE IN ARMENIA
Thursday, 31 March 2016, 16:00-18:30 Hours
Manoogian Hall, American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia


Synopsis
Inclusive economic growth has become a popular topic of discussion not only among academics but also policymakers, international financial
institutions, and the civil society in general. The international experience suggests that policies promoting inclusive growth are a crucial
factor to ensure sustainable economic development while enhancing social justice and reducing conflict.

The seminar, which is open to the general public, will feature a public lecture by Professor Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University focused on the
theory and practice of inclusive economic growth and an empirical application in the case of Armenia provided by Aleksandr Grigoryan of the
American University of Armenia. The event is part of a broader Asian Development Bank’s study on: “Good Jobs for Inclusive Growth in
Central and West Asia”. Discussions will cover issues related to inequality in terms of income and opportunities, social protection, as well as
development of institutions and human capabilities.

AGENDA
15:30–16:00 Registration

16:00–16:10 Chair: Vardan Baghdasaryan, Armenian Economic Association
Welcome Address
Randall Rodes, Provost, American University of Armenia

16:10–17:00 Public Lecture
Inclusive Growth: Global Forces and National Policies
Guest Speaker: Ravi Kanbur, Professor of Economics, Cornell University

17:00–17:15 Coffee break

17:15–17:40 Inclusive Growth and Income Distribution: The Case of Armenia
Aleksandr Grigoryan, Professor, American University of Armenia

17:40–18:00 Discussants:
Guanghua Wan, Director for Research, Asian Development Bank Institute
Gayane Barseghyan, Assistant Professor, American University of Armenia

18:00–18:30 pen floor discussion

18:30 End of Seminar
Forecasting techniques and forecast evaluation, Tatevik Sekhposyan, Texas A&M University at College Station
Hosted by the Central Bank of Armenia at 10AM-3PM, on June 22nd, 2015.

This workshop examines time series models used for forecasting macroeconomic series and discusses forecast evaluation techniques. The
main emphasis is on forecast evaluation techniques covering tests of relative and absolute evaluation and briefly considering the
assessment of predictive density calibration. The workshop will involve both theoretical and empirical aspects of forecast evaluation.

Duration: 10AM-3PM; 2-hour lecture segment, with an hour break in between

Prerequisites: This is a graduate level workshop. Audience should be comfortable with simple algebra and familiar with basic concepts of
econometrics.

About the instructor: Tatevik Sekhposyan is an Assistant Professor of Macroeconomics at the Texas A&M University at College Station. She
has worked previously at the central Bank of Canada and holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill. See more at
http://www.tateviksekhposyan.org/

AEA thanks the Central Bank for hosting the workshop and Professor Sekhposyan for donating her time.
Workshop -Modeling Market Risk in Mathematica by Branko Urosevic, Professor of Finance, University of Belgrade
The workshop is scheduled for 10AM to 12PM, Monday, June 23rd.

With the creation of global financial networks, banking systems of most countries have become increasingly inter-linked. At the same time,
changes in equity prices, interest rates, commodity prices and currencies, i.e. market risk, began to play an increasingly important role in
overall risk exposure of financial institutions. Recent global financial crisis forcefully demonstrated great importance of properly measuring
and managing risk and, in particular, market risk.

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss fundamental concepts and provide an overview of the key models most frequently used in
measuring market risk. This is done in an environment particularly suited for building such models, namely using the software Mathematica
(by Wolfram Research). All concepts are illustrated using real data. After the workshop, participants shall be given the fully functional
interactive lecture notes written in Mathematica that they can later use to further explore these topics and continue learning about this
important subject.

The workshop plans to cover most of the following topics:
• Stylized facts about asset returns
• Key measures of market risk: Value-at-Risk (VaR) and Conditional Value-at-Risk (CvaR)
• Historical Simulation VaR
• RiskMetrics approach to measuring VaR and CVaR
• Modelling conditional volatility dynamics: GARCH models
• Comparing VaR models
• Modeling non-normality of standardized asset returns
• Backtesting and stress testing market risk models

The Workshop will be conducted by Branko Urosevic (PhD in Finance, UC Berkely, USA), Professor of Finance, University of Belgrade, and
advisor to USAID/FED.
Workshop on the state of art in public finance, by David Joulfayan, hosted by the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on October 21, 2013
Armenian data sources and their role in shaping public policy, by Zareh Asatryan, ZEW
Hosted by Central Bank of Armenia, 10AM-noon, Friday, June 23, 2017

This workshop explores different types and sources of micro and macro data that are instrumental for evidence based public policy design,
and presents several examples of such research from Armenia. Sources of data include firm-level administrative tax-returns, matched
household and individual-level surveys, scraped registrar data on firm ownership aggregated to town-level, as well as historical
country-level datasets. The usefulness of several other data sources, the value of merging these datasets, and the important role of
utilizing natural experiments in these applications are discussed.

Such data is then used to evaluate the effectiveness of public policy in Armenia, particularly focusing on fiscal and tax policy. Issues and
questions of interest include:
i) the effectiveness of traditional-type government interventions, such as sectoral tax subsidies or size and place-based tax exemptions on
firm performance and entrepreneurship,
ii) the role of behavioral properties of public policy, such as the potential effects of nudges, framing and information on small-business
tax compliance or on individual savings rates,
iii) the institutional setup of fiscal governance with the goal of achieving sustainable public finances.

Location: Central Bank of Armenia, 6 Vazgen Sargsyan St., Yerevan
Duration: 10AM-noon

About the instructor: Zareh Asatryan is researcher at ZEW's Research Department "Corporate Taxation and Public Finance". He completed
his doctorate in Economics from the University of Freiburg, Germany. For additional details, see http://www.zew.de/en/team/ZAS/

AEA thanks CBA for hosting the workshop and Dr. Asatryan for donating his time.
Macro workshop, by Vahagn Jerbashian, hosted by Central bank of Armenia, October 15, 2012.
DSGE Modeling, by Gayane Barseghyan, hosted by CRRC, October 15, 2011
The Sources and Uses of Survey Data on Armenia, by Shushanik Hakobyan, hosted by CRRC, September 18, 2009.
Slides
Modeling Wealth Distributions by Bruce Boghosian, professor of mathematics at Tufts University,
Central Bank of Armenia, Dilijan, 2-4PM, August 3, 2017

Abstract:
Today there are six people in the world who have as much combined wealth as half the human population.  In 2010, that figure was 388,
so we live in a world where wealth is rapidly concentrating. Understanding how and why this is happening, and what if anything needs to
be done about it is an interdisciplinary problem that will ultimately involve mathematicians, economists, physicists, political scientists, and
specialists in ethics, justice, and public policy.

In the 1990s, a number of physicists began to apply methods of statistical physics to the study of wealth and income distributions.  
Particular progress was made with a class of agent-based models called "asset-exchange models."  These models represent an economy
by a collection of economic agents who exchange wealth in pairwise transactions according to idealized rules.

In this talk, I shall describe recent results obtained using a very simple asset-exchange model with only three free parameters, all of
which are motivated by particular features of the society's microeconomics.  The first feature is a measure of the level of redistribution
present.  The second is the degree to which the society confers an advantage to wealthier agents.  The third is a measure of the extent
to which there are negative-wealth or "underwater" agents in the economy.

In spite of the simplicity of this model -- no advanced mathematics will be used for its description in this presentation -- we will see that it
has a number of interesting features:

  • It is capable of explaining the actual wealth distribution of the United States between 1989 and the present with remarkable
    accuracy.
  • It provides a natural explanation of the phenomenon of oligarchy, in which a finite fraction of a society's wealth is held by a
    vanishingly small fraction of its population.
  • It relates useful economic metrics, such as "upward mobility," to the underlying transactional model.

Finally, I shall relate the asset-exchange model described above to transactions between agents based on a stochastic version of
General Equilibrium theory.  In doing so, I will explain the origin of the widespread belief that free-market economies are inherently
stable, even in the absence of imposed redistribution.  I will also explain why this model strongly suggests that this belief is wrong.

Location: Central Bank of Armenia, Dilijan
Duration: 2-4PM

About the presenter: Bruce Boghosian is a professor of mathematics at Tufts University, and President Emeritus of the American University
of Armenia.  His research on wealth distributions has appeared in, inter alia, Physical Review E, the Journal of Statistical Physics, and
Physica A.  For the convenience of CBA and AEA members, the most recent of these papers can be temporarily downloaded from the
following address <https://tufts.box.com/s/qx6a0bi3pv8y7xx955c18wk0j22ch9oq>.

AEA thanks CBA for co-sponsoring and hosting the workshop, and Professor Boghosian for his presentation.
International reserves composition: central banks, exchange rate targets and gold, by Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, St.
John’s University
Hosted by the Central Bank of Armenia, Dilijan, 11:00-13:00PM, August 2, 2017


Abstract:
This paper explores the composition of international reserves under an exchange rate target. The model allows for numerically calculating
the shadow price – interpreted as the central bank’s sacrifice of policy precision given one more unit of portfolio variance – of the target
exchange rate. The simulations indicate a two-regime demand for gold. The multiple equilibria results indicate that increasing the demand
for gold from 0 to 21 percent shares of international reserves leads to a lower but unstable policy sacrifice. The next minimum sacrifice
occurs approximately at around 40 to 60 percent of gold in the reserve portfolio. These results, therefore, indicate a wide range of
possibilities for a central bank targeting the exchange rate to vary its demand for gold. Moreover, the results suggest that the ability to
target the exchange rate is unaffected by the higher volatility of monthly returns on gold.

Location:  Central Bank of Armenia, Dilijan, Armenia

Duration: 11:00-13:00PM

About presenter: Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan is assistant professor at St. John’s University, NY. His recent book (co-editor with Otaviano
Canuto) Financial Deepening and Post-Crisis Development in Emerging Markets was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2016.This research
is co-authored with Tarron Khemraj of New College of Florida and Central Bank of Barbados.

AEA thanks CBA for co-sponsoring and hosting the workshop, and Professor Gevorkyan for his presentation.
Employment Prospects in the Era of Automation, by Vahagn Jerbashian, Barcelona University, Spain.
Hosted by the Central Bank of Armenia, 6 Vazgen Sargsyan St., Yerevan, 10:00AM-Noon, July 20, 2018

This workshop discusses how the recent wave of automation of tasks in workplace affects labor demand. This wave of automation comes
with significant drop in prices of computers and information technologies, in general.

Technological changes have affected labor demand in the past too. For example, steam engine powered cotton and woollen mills
replaced a great deal of high-skill and specialized manual labor in textile factories during the Industrial Revolution. The movement of
Luddites emerged because of this technological change. Luddites protested and destroyed these steam engines and mills. The
mechanized production of textile, however, increased the demand for low-skill labor. Low-skill labor was required to operate industrial
machines.

The technological changes of distant past have had a rather local effect on a small group of industries and occupations. They have usually
created more jobs than they have destroyed. This time it might be different however. The reason is that computers and information
technologies are used everywhere.

Computers excel in executing routine and repetitive tasks, which are usually performed in middle wage occupations. Computers also
facilitate analytic work and communication, which are usually required in high wage occupations. During the workshop, we discuss
occupations which are likely to be replaced by computers. I also show evidence that technological progress in computing and the
resulting fall in computer prices has reduced employment in middle wage occupations and has increased employment in high wage
occupations.

The presentation will draw on professor Jerbashian's work in http://home.cerge-ei.cz/vahagn/files/paper7.pdf.
Location:  Central Bank of Armenia, 6 Vazgen Sargsyan St., Yerevan
Duration: 10:00AM - Noon

About presenter: Vahagn Jerbashian is an assistant professor of economics at Barcelona University, Spain. He received his PhD in
economics from CERGE-EI in Prague.

AEA thanks CBA for hosting the workshop, and Professor Jerbashian for his presentation.
Workshop on Tax Evasion by Zareh Asatryan, of ZEW and the University of Mannheim, Germany.
Hosted by the Central Bank of Armenia, 6 Vazgen Sargsyan St., Yerevan, 11AM-1PM, August 6, 2018.

Description:

Tax evasion affects the cost of raising taxes as well as the relative burden of taxation along the distribution of income and wealth. Policy
attention to tax evasion and enforcement in Armenia has gained substantial momentum after the recent events. Additional revenue
raised from the fight against evasion can be used to finance worthy government projects and to cut tax rates for honest taxpayers.
However, eliminating tax evasion is not costless, and, therefore, the real policy question is whether eliminating evasion would necessarily
improve the efficiency and equity implications of public finances.

In this workshop, we first lay down the important principles of the economics of tax evasion. Focusing mostly on recent empirical
contributions, we then sketch the current knowledge in economics beginning from the extent and nature of evasion by firms and
individuals. Tax evasion is notoriously hard to uncover, therefore we spend significant attention on the state of the art methods of
studying evasion. We then discuss the deterrence and behavioral related factors behind agents’ (non)compliance decisions. The
workshop concludes with a discussion on issues related to tax administration, and a conversation on how to best go with fighting
evasion given the cost of doing so.

Some prior material on tax and fiscal policy in Armenia is available here: https://sites.google.com/view/asatryan/public-policy-advice

Location:  Central Bank of Armenia, 6 Vazgen Sargsyan St., Yerevan
Duration: 11AM - 1PM

Registration is free but required per security. If interested, please register at the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/xSmuvnSDdzp0Vgko1

About
the instructor:
Dr. Zareh Asatryan is a senior researcher in ZEW’s Research Department “Corporate Taxation and Public Finance”, and a lecturer at the
University of Mannheim. He received his PhD in economics from the University of Freiburg. For more, see  https://www.zew.
de/en/team/zas/

AEA thanks CBA for hosting the workshop, and Dr. Asatryan for his presentation.

AEA employs the conference and workshop formats to advance scholarship in economics and create an environment nurturing of
research. Please write us back with your feedback on this and past events and suggestions for future academic gatherings.