December 14, 2016. The highly anticipated 2016 Summer Institute for Economic Research (SIER) officially kicked off at 9:30 am on Monday with an opening ceremony that welcomed all participants to the second edition of the conference that will take place from 12 – 17 December 2016. In his opening remarks, the Founder and President of the African School of Economics (ASE), Professor Leonard Wantchekon briefly presented ASE and its aims, and further highlighted how SIER gives an opportunity to ASE students to share their work with researchers from some of the best universities in the world, and to expand their professional networks at the same time. He also made special mention of some of his friends and colleagues from various universities who will be presenting their research during SIER. Some of these distinguished guests include Constantine Manda from Yale University, Kizito Omala from the University of California at Berkeley, Luis Alberiko Gil-Alaña from the University of Navarra and Giorgia Barboni from Princeton University. He also welcomed a delegation of researchers from Accra, Ghana who will also be participating in the conference. From ASE, he welcomed faculty who will also be presenting their research, notably the Director of the Institute for Economic Research in Political Economy (IERPE), Dr. Markus Olapade, and Associate Professors Sam Aguey, Alice Bonou and David Gbaguidi. He also congratulated the exceptional ASE students and pre-doctoral students who will also be presenting their work during the conference.

The program for this year’s event does not only include an impressive list of presentations by researchers from all over the world, but also covers a wide range of topics in Economic research, including research methodology, finance, politics and education (click here to download the program). Although most of the program will take place on ASE’s campus in Abomey-Calavi, the conference will officially close on Saturday, December 17th at the Palais de Congrès in Cotonou after which ASE’s graduation for the Class of 2016 will take place.


Prof. Leonard Wantchekon gives the opening remarks


Lunch break


Still of a presentation



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Résumé de la cérémonie d’ouverture du SIER 2016

Suite à la mise en place des invités et des participants, le SIER a débuté à 9h30 par la cérémonie d’ouverture présidé par le Président fondateur de l’ASE en la personne du Professeur Léonard Wantchekon. Durant son allocution, après avoir présenté brièvement l’ASE et les différents programmes qu’ils couvent, il n’a pas manqué de préciser que le Summer Institute for Economic Research(SIER) qui est à sa deuxième édition est un creuset de réflexion et d’échanges qui réunit plusieurs chercheurs de différents pays notamment des Etats Unis, de différentes universités et plusieurs participants. Le Professeur Léonard Wantchekon a fait part de la grande joie qui l’anime d’accueillir ses amis et ses collègues qu’il a convié au SIER pour des présentations. A cet effet il n’a pas manqué de présenter quelques-uns d’entre eux qui étaient déjà présents sur les lieux, notamment Constantine Manda qui vient de Yale University, Kisito Omala de l’University of California at Berkeley , de Luis Alberiki Gil-Alana de l’University of Navarra et de Giorgia Barboni de Princeton University à qui il souhaite la bienvenue. Il a ensuite également précisé qu’une forte délégation d’une dizaine de chercheurs ont fait le déplacement depuis le Ghana pour prendre part au SIER avant de présenter le corps professoral de l’ASE, notamment le Directeur de l’IREEP Markus OLapade,  Sam Aguey , Alice Bonou , David Gbaguidi qui prendront une part active au SIER.Il a souligné également les étudiants de l’ASE sont venus nombreux participer au SIER, notamment les doctorants, les Pré-doctoral students , les étudiants du Master II et ceux du Master I. Il a fini son allocution en présentant brièvement le programme du SIER qui se tiendra du 12 au 16 décembre à Abomey Calavi, au campus de l’ASE et le 17 décembre au palais des congrès,le tout qui sera clôturé par la cérémonie de graduation de l’ASE CLASS of 2016.Il a également fait une brève présentation du contenu du SIER qui se déclinera en trois grandes sessions , que nous pourrons parcourir dans le programme.

December 12, 2016. The ASE community had the great honor of hosting Dr. Justin Yifu Lin last week (December 8). Dr. Lin has served several renowned institutions throughout his career, including former World Bank Chief Economist as well as Professor and Founding Director of the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University.

Dr. Lin is a longtime friend of Professor Leonard Wantchekon (founder of ASE) and it is evident that they share the same passion and desire to train the next generation of social scientists, particularly in Economics. In his discussion he talked about his education and how it helped him make a significant contribution to China’s growth over the past decade. He also elaborated on what Africa can do to attain this kind of development, as is outlined in his book titled New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy. Dr. Lin explained that in 1987 he was the first Chinese national to obtain a PhD in the US and that when he returned he established the China Center for Economic and Research. The center has grown a lot since then, and provides training in Politics, Economics and Philosophy. One of the thoughts that govern his work, which he also emphasized during his lecture, is that “the right ideas lead to development whilst bad ideas destroy”.

By comparing China’s GDP in 1960 versus Benin’s GDP compared to their GDPs today, Dr. Lin demonstrated the importance of implementing “good ideas” in economic policy in order to attain higher productivity. The event ended with a TV interview with the national television station and a group picture in ASE’s courtyard.


Sill of Dr. Yifu Lin's presentation

Sill of Dr. Yifu Lin and Prof. Wantchekon addressing the audience


November 30, 2016. Finance & Development, a journal published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes in its December issue a detailed profile of Prof. Leonard Wantchekon. The text, authored by Ismaila Dieng, covers topics ranging from his most recent research findings to his memories from when he was held prinsoner in Benin.

Click here to access the full text.


November 30, 2016. Representatives from the International Statistical Institute (ISI), Mrs. Nadège Dansou and Mr. Justin Djossou visited ASE last Friday December 25 to present the 2016-2017 International Statistical Literacy Project (ISLP) poster competition. The ISLP is under the umbrella of the ISI, which is a committee that was established in 1994 to encourage the development of quantitative skills around the world. Its mission is to promote understanding and good practice of statistics worldwide especially in the application of quantitative knowledge in developing countries. The competition invites students around the world to design a statistical poster. There are two stages for Beninese applicants: a national competition followed by an international competition. The best posters at the national level will be submitted for the international competition and the winner will be announced at the 61st Congress of the ISI in Marrakech, Morocco on July 16-21, 2017.

The theme of the competition this year is “your own country’s history”. Candidates are invited to design a poster that tells a story about their country (or region, district, village etc.) using various statistical methods. After the two representatives explained all the instructions and deadlines for the competition in detail, and a couple of students asked some more questions regarding eligibility and the age restrictions for competing teams. The deadline for poster submissions is January 9, 2017.


Justin Djossou and Nadège Dansou


Still of the presentation

November 22, 2016. The African School of Economics (ASE) community was pleased to welcome Dr. Djalalou-Dine A.A. Arinloye, an Agricultural Economist and Marketing Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to speak during our weekly Academic research seminar. He presented a paper entitled "Marketing Channel Selection by Smallholder Farmers" which studies Beninese smallholder farmers' selection of high value markets such as the pineapple market.

Dr. Arinloye began his presentation by introducing himself. He talked about his background, his professional experience, and briefly described his role in his current position at ICRAF. ICRAF is present in several parts of the world and Mr. Arinloye is based in the Sahel Office. The data he uses in his paper is obtained from a survey of 219 pineapple farmers in different locations in Southern Benin. Using a multivariate probit approach, his results indicate that Beninese pineapple farmers select market channels with high values when they have the expertise and know-how to cope with quality recommendations. Mr. Arinloye's presentation took the form of an interactive discussion, allowing students to ask questions at various points during the talk. At the end of the seminar, students took a group photo with the guest in the courtyard of ASE.


Djalalou-Dine A.A. Arinloye


Group picture