Jul 2018

Info Pack: How to prepare for the Workshop?

Q&A guide to prepare for Yep-D 2018


Q: The Workshop covers 36 hours without proper rest. Is it difficult to complete the workload? / A: No, it is not difficult. In 2016 and 2017 instances of the Workshop, participants endured very well. In addition, in the night of the first day some couple hours are allowed for free discussions and sleep.

Q: Is it possible to attend the first day or the second day only? / A: No, the design of the Workshop content requires full attention and uninterrupted effort of participants.

Q: Do the participants work on their own? / A: No, teamwork is essential in Yep-D. Teams are established at the beginning of the first day and cooperation and collaboration are encouraged.

Q: Do the teams receive any guidance during the Workshop? / A: Yes, there will be three Workshop organizers and mentors in the Workshop venue. Mentors are chosen among the participants of previous instances of Yep-D, so they know the rules as well as spirit so well.

Q: What about the lectures offered during the Workshop? / A: The lectures are intended to convey the views of invited academics or specialists affiliated with respected institutions.

Q: Do the participants deliver any product in Yep-D Workshop? / A: Yes, indeed. At the end of each task during the Workshop, each team is supposed to deliver its results by appropriate means. The mean of delivery was “short reports” in 2016 and “posters” in 2017. This year’s product will be introduced at the beginning of Yep-D 2018 on 28 July.

Q: Do the participants need to bring their computers to Workshop? / A: This is optional. When they deem necessary, participants may bring their laptop or tablet computers to Workshop venue. To us, a scientific calculator is essential for easily performing a number of “back of the envelope” calculations.

Q: How can a participant prepare for the Workshop? / A: This is a good question. Good preparation involves reviewing a number of readings and data sources. The Great Recession induced a long sequence of scientific writings and discussions in addition to reshaping our data environment.

Q: What are those readings? / A: Not surprisingly, many scientific articles have been published on the Great Recession. Using the online journals section in your University library, you may download and read a large portion of those. In addition, you are invited to review and read papers published in the Working Paper series of the major international or renowned national institutions. Among those, International Monetary Fund (IMF), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) and European Central Bank (ECB) can be counted. In addition, reports by the World Economic Forum might be useful. Indeed, any academically sound work is a good candidate as a reading.

Please follow twitter.com/yepdworkshop where we will be posting the essentials as well as trivia.

Q: What are the data sources? / A: Prior to Workshop, it may be a good practice to go over the World Economic Outlook database (available on the IMF website) at http://www.imf.org/external/ns/cs.aspx?id=28

Other databases will be introduced during the Workshop when needed.

Q: Anything else? / A: Visual material can also be quite informative in addition to being fun. In that, you may see Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (2010), The Wolf of the Wall Street (2013) and The Big Short (2015).

Q: What about the fundamentals? / A: As Workshop organizers, we target a specific range of student interests each year. This year, by the very nature of the topic, we expect the participants to have a solid interest in macroeconomics, monetary economics and finance with a global emphasis. Having such an interest, the participants must have a good command of at least intermediate macroeconomics. In that, basic definitions and key macroeconomic relationships are assumed to be well-known.

You are first invited to the fascinating world of economic data. By the very nature of our workshop, we tend to underline macroeconomic data, indeed. Let’s turn to our key questions. What is data? What is the origin of this word? Is it singular or plural? What does distinguish macroeconomic and microeconomic data? Why do we talk about time series and cross section dimensions of data? By the way, what is panel data? Have you ever encountered these before, possibly in your statistics or econometrics courses? What do you understand when one talks about the dissemination of data? What is a dissemination calendar? Is it a real-time process?

Then, turn your attention to forecasting of economic variables. Consider the most popular of such an exercise: How can we sense the upcoming pace of economic activity? If it is said that the growth rate of Turkish economy will be 4% in 2018, would you trust my forecast? Why? Why not? Should every forecast be based on econometric analyses? If not, what can you cite as alternative tools? You know about forecasting now. What about backcasting or nowcasting? Do you thing judgment is a crucial element of forecasting?

Finally, there is a (minimal) list of economic concepts for you to review. These are the fundamental economic relationships and laws: (1) Fundamental Identity of Macroeconomics, (2) Phillips Curve, (3) Expectations-augmented Phillips Curve, (4) Quantity Theory of Money, (5) Okun’s Law, (6) Taylor Rule, (7) Uncovered Interest Parity (8) Zarnowitz Rule. Without proper reference to those it would be almost impossible to generate reliable forecasts of an economy. By the way, are accuracy and precision the same things?

Q: Any clues about policymaking? / A: You are invited to spend some time prior to Workshop to refresh your knowledge on the following. You can use any respectable resource like your earlier textbooks, encyclopedias, handbooks, lecture notes or web pages of respected institutions. Homework sites or ordinary blogs might not be a wise choice. Remember that internationally renowned textbooks are the best tie-breakers when two different resources deliver different information on the same thing.

Let’s begin with policy. Obtain a formal definition of policy and rewrite it in your own words. In a way, you are expected to have your own definition. Once you are done with this, you can start elaborating the definition of policymaking.

We believe design is an integral dimension of policymaking. Some may argue against that view, yet a design perspective is mostly useful to a holistic understanding. By the way, what does holistic mean?

It is often said that good analysis is essential for reliable synthesis. So, what is analysis? What is synthesis? Do you think synthesis is in connotation with design? How can analysis be good? What is reliability? What is the meaning of Garbage In Garbage Out?

Can somebody develop useful policies in the absence of sound/scientific knowledge? Do you agree with the view that policymaking is more of an art rather than science?

Have you ever heard about the Ockham’s Razor (sometimes written as Occam’s Razor) or any philosophical razor principle? Have you heard about the principle of parsimony? While building a model or writing down a project report, your professors often say Keep It Small and Simple (or Keep It Stupid Simple). Do you observe any parallels among the key terms mentioned in this paragraph?

You have possibly heard about Jan Tinbergen, famous scientist, policymaker and Nobel laureate. Indeed, he visited Turkey in 1960s and contributed to founding of the State Planning Organization. Please go ahead and read about him. At one point, you will encounter and read about the Tinbergen Rule. What does the Tinbergen Rule say? Is it a strict rule or more of a principle? We believe you will somehow benefit the rule during Yep-D, do you agree?

Q: Any final remarks? / A: Yes, indeed. Professional life is heavily based on communications. So is Yep-D. A significant portion of communications today takes place in electronic environments. E-mails are important. So is how fast one pays attention to professional e-mails. So is how properly one responds to business correspondences. Fortunately, smart phones, tablet computers and push e-mail notifications make our lives easier. One does not even have to check e-mails, they pop-up. More importantly, viewing e-mail attachments are now easier than it has ever been. There is a multiplicity of free mobile software regardless of the mobile operating system.