The Laboratory for Aggregate Economics and Finance (LAEF) was established in July 2005 to address important questions on growth and fluctuations in national, or aggregate, economies. LAEF is directed by Professor Finn Kydland, Jeffrey Henley Professor of Economics, and is located in a suite of offices in the vicinity of the Economics Department. Four leading macroeconomists from outside UCSB serve as advisors to LAEF, their charge being the identification of timely economic questions, issues and/or anomalies which may be addressed in a conference or workshop setting. In addition to sponsoring conferences and workshops, the Laboratory provides an environment in which to conduct topical research in quantitative aggregate theory by resident and short-term visiting scholars.
What We Do
For each activity under the auspices of LAEF, we aim to maintain a clear focus on a particular question or anomaly or puzzle. That is what will produce new findings and clarify where the profession stands on the respective issues. The activities may include:
- Workshops in which about ten scholars from anywhere in the world spend one-to-two weeks. During that period, the participants make occasional presentations, but the focus will be on working on aspects of the issue at hand while in residence.
- Extremely focused two-to-three-day conferences with five or six presentations per day. The number of outside participants may be 15-20.
- An environment in which two or three researchers (one of whom could be from UCSB) get together for anywhere from a week to a month or more (in some cases, possibly as part of a sabbatical) to work on a particular question or issue.
- Postdocs (and, under some circumstances, possibly even predocs) spending time at LAEF.
- Making modern research findings and approaches accessible in the class room, especially at undergraduate and master’s levels. Such efforts may build upon the progress already made in co-operation with the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen. So far, they fully support a closed-economy real-business-cycle model, with ability for students to produce tables of business-cycle statistics for data and model, along with plots of impulse responses. On a more limited basis, they also support an open-economy model, which adds focus on aggregates such as the terms of trade and the trade balance.
For regular reports to the profession, please see the LAEF newsletter.