Day 3 of SIES: Onward into Econometrics!

“What are the main constraints/drivers of entrepreneurship in the informal sector? Access to credit, or entrepreneurial skills?”

This may seem like a chicken-and-the-egg conundrum at first glance. Is it difficult for an aspiring entrepreneur to succeed because banks lack confidence in the individual—and, consequently—refuse to lend much-needed funds? Or does a lack of training limit the would-be entrepreneur’s ability to thrive?

The third day of the Summer Institute of the Econometric Society (SIES), led by Dr. Pierre Nguimkeu and Dr. Doko Tchatoka, tackled this and many more questions by delving into the realm of econometrics.

Dr. Pierre Nguimkeu, a Cameroonian professor at Georgia State University, first posed the above-mentioned problematic in a 2014 article published in the Journal of Development Economics. At SIES he led the audience through this application in his morning lecture on “Limited Dependent Variables & Panel Data Models.” He estimated an occupational choice model to hypothesize that people’s decision between conducting subsistence activity and informal-sector entrepreneurship depends on both individual skills and access to credit. This particular application employed panel data, data that have both a temporal and a spatial dimension.

The afternoon lecture began with Dr. Prosper Dovonon (Concordia University), the co-organizer of the 2018 Africa Meeting of the Econometric Society, warmly welcoming Dr. Firmin Doko Tchatoka to the floor. This session was a particular treat, as Dr. Doko Tchatoka returned to his home country of Benin for the first time in more than dozen years for the lecture, traveling all the way from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Dr. Tchatoka’s lecture dealt with instrumental variables, the Two-Stage Least Squares (2SLS) estimator, and Generalized Method of Moments (GMM). The presentation was remarkable not only for its technical rigor, but also for Dr. Doko Tchatoka’s infectious passion for the subject.

Top: Dr. Pierre Nguimkeu discusses properties of the Maximum Likelihood Method.

Below: Dr. Doko Tchatoka presents various econometric concepts.

Conference-goers enjoy the ocean breeze during an afternoon coffee break.

Many economists traveled from Nigeria to participate in the SIES and the ensuing Africa Meeting of the Econometric Society.

Professor Wantchekon talks to a group of students from the Instituto Technológico Autonómo de México (ITAM) in Mexico and from Princeton University.