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Fall 2022 Call for Participation: Live-Streamed Courses in Economics

5 August 2022

The University of Central Asia's (UCA) Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA), in cooperation with the Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education's Economics Institute (CERGE-EI) Foundation, invites all master level students, faculty members, applied researchers, and other interested individuals to participate in a live-streamed economics course starting in September 2022. Courses will be delivered online from CERGE-EI’s Digital Media Center in Prague and coordinated by UCA from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to allow live streaming to multiple locations. Teaching Assistants from UCA will also provide basic assistance in course delivery.

Costs and Tuition Fees
Courses are offered free of charge to course participants from Central Asian countries.

The language of instruction for all courses offered by the CERGE-EI Foundation is English.

Course Schedule
In Fall 2022, courses will be offered on Energy Economics & Electricity Markets, International Trade, Modeling Macroeconomics: How Macroeconomists Understand and Predict the World, Public Policy, Innovation Economics, Environmental Economics. All courses will be conducted in 6-week modules, with the final exam scheduled for Week 7 and the make-up exam scheduled for Week 8. Participants who successfully complete courses will be awarded CERGE-EI Foundation certificates.

Admission Requirements
The program is intensive and rigorous, advanced BA/introductory MA level of Economics knowledge is required. Participants should expect to be challenged and should be able to demonstrate self-motivation. UCA reserves the right to select only those applicants that it believes to have the necessary qualifications and experience to succeed. All courses will require the active participation of all students. Teachers will utilize modern technology to engage students, encourage their active involvement in the course work and class discussions.

The number of places is limited. To register for a course, please fill in the registration form until August 25, 2022, following the link below:

Part 1: Energy Economics and Electricity Markets, International Trade, and Modeling Macroeconomics: How Macroeconomists Understand and Predict the World

  • Classes: September 12 – October 21, 2022
  • Final exam week: October 24 – 28, 2022
  • Make-up exam week: October 31 – November 4, 2022

Energy Economics and Electricity Markets

Brief description: Energy is a necessity of daily life and a vital input to industry in any society.

Energy also plays a central role in climate policy. The course, taking mostly the viewpoint of economic markets and economic regulation, aims at giving the student knowledge about various topics related to the energy system. The focus will be on electricity and electricity markets, as a massive paradigmatic shift has been transforming electricity systems all over the world from centrally planned engineering systems to regulated markets over the past decade. This transformation is still underway and stirring up many new, important questions, such as the correct pricing of electricity and supporting services. Special focus will be given to gas, a fuel playing a major role in electricity generation. Moreover, electricity is expected to play a special role in the decarbonization effort of energy systems.

The course is focused on giving the tools to better understand and appraise the present policies regarding energy and electricity. Especially regarding investment in different kinds of power plants, the use of the electricity grid, and possible supporting policies such as capacity markets or renewable subsidies. Special attention is paid to the results of energy policies in energy change frontrunners, such as California, Denmark, and Germany.

Prerequisites: Microeconomics and macroeconomics at the intermediate level.

Main instructor: Silvester van Koten, Ph.D.

Silvester is an economist specializing in Economics Experiments and Energy Economics with a special interest in the economics of regulation, market design and energy markets. He holds a Ph.D. in economics (from CERGE-EI) and a MA in Psychology (Utrecht University). Presently, Silvester is a senior researcher at the Department of Economics at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, and a research associate at CERGE-EI in Prague. Silvester’s current research appraises the effect of the structure of spot market prices on the forward premium in electricity markets and the effectiveness of self-regulating organizations using theory, computer simulations and economics experiments. In previous research, Silvester analyzed the effects of more transparent financial markets on competition and prices in the EU electricity markets. His work was published in journals such as Energy Economics, Energy Policy, European Economic Review and the Journal of Regulatory Economics.

Teaching assistant: Madina Junussova

Dr. Madina Junussova is a Research Fellow at UCA's Institute of Public Policy and Administration and a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow. She is a member of the International Public Policy Association and the International Society of City and Regional Planners (Isocarp). Dr. Junussova holds a PhD in Public Policy from Carleton University and degrees in architecture, urban and regional planning awarded by the Ministry of Education and Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

International Trade

Brief description: This is a course about international trade, its determinants and its consequences. We will study the ways that the patterns of international trade might be shaped by, and might in turn re-shape, a country’s available resource endowments, its technology, income distribution, economic growth, and politics. The course starts with the concept of comparative advantage, the gains from trade, and the determinants of the patterns of trade. We will further explore the costs, benefits, and impact on income distribution of different instruments of trade protection; the effects of free trade areas (trade creation and trade diversion); and of factor mobility. Students will learn to apply the analytical toolbox of trade theory to real-world situations in order to make qualitative predictions of the effects of measures, such as tariffs or export subsidies. Students will not only learn the theory, but they will have a chance to use and analyze actual trade data. We will also include the discussion of relevant current issues, including international supply chains, the use of network theory, and the effects of trade sanctions and embargoes.

Prerequisites: Microeconomics and macroeconomics at the introductory level. If in doubt, please discuss your background with the main instructor.

Main instructor: Vilém Semerák, Ph.D.

Vilém Semerák is a researcher at the Economics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and senior lecturer at the Institute of Economic Studies of Charles University (IES FSV UK). He graduated from the University of Economics, Prague (VŠE) and the Institute of Economic Studies of Charles University (IES FSV UK), studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and at CERGE, Charles University. He has worked on research projects in China (Shandong Economic University in Jinan, 2004-2005; East China Normal University in Shanghai, 2006; SIIS Shanghai, 2016), taught in Myanmar (University of Mandalay), and in other international projects. Currently he focuses on empirical trade analysis based on gravity models and input-output analysis.

Teaching assistant: Saule Chalbasova

Saule Chalbasova is a Research Associate at the Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA) of University of Central Asia (UCA). She holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Economics from the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland. Saule’s research focuses on Central Asian socio-economic development, international trade and agriculture.

Modeling Macroeconomics: How Macroeconomists Understand and Predict the World

Brief description: The aim of this course is to acquaint students with the general ideas behind structural macroeconomic modelling and how it can be applied to better understand real-world data, whether GDP fluctuations, evolution of lifetime income, or propensity to consume out of a monetary transfer. We will cover 2-3 basic macro models focusing on economic growth, the development of income and consumption inequality over the lifetime of individuals, and the differences in behavior of poor vs. wealthy households. For each model, we will define the decision problems of agents in a model (households/firms/government), acquire basic intuition on how a model works, and then describe how a model is calibrated to real data. The discussion of each model will conclude with a debate on how it compares with the real world and what it fails to explain.

Prerequisites: The main prerequisites are critical thinking, a readiness to discuss and challenge model assumptions and predictions, and introductory level macroeconomics and microeconomics. Some very basic knowledge of calculus (e.g., first order derivatives) is welcome.

Main instructor: Daniil Kashkarov, M.A., Ph.D. cand.

Daniil is a Ph.D. candidate at CERGE-EI. He joined CERGE-EI’s Ph.D. program after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from the University of Economics in Prague. He also holds an M.A. in economics from CERGE-EI. Last academic year, Daniil spent time at Yale University developing his research on the adjustment of workers to individual and aggregate shocks on labor markets. His research interests include: the macroeconomics of labor, life-cycle modelling, technological change, and skill and human capital accumulation. Daniil enjoys studying and developing quantitative macro models.

Teaching assistant: Mariia Iamshchikova

Mariia Iamshchikova, Junior Research Fellow at UCA's IPPA. She holds a BA in Economics from the American University of Central Asia. Her research field includes but not limited to the socio-economic development, food security and nutrition, and development economics.

Part 2: Public Policy, Innovation Economics, Environmental Economics

  • Classes: November 7 – December 16, 2022
  • Final exam week: December 19 – 23, 2022
  • Make-up exam week: December 26 – 30, 2022

Public Policy

Brief description: This course covers the key concepts in public economics, a field of economics that studies the role of government in the economy. The course is designed to introduce seminal theoretical concepts and discuss the most recent empirical developments in public economics with the aim to understand: (i) why and how governments intervene in an economy, (ii) how individuals and firms react to these interventions, and (iii) what are the implications of those interventions for the overall welfare and economic development.
Prerequisites: Microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics at the introductory level.

Main Instructor: Olga Popova, Ph.D.

Olga is a senior researcher with tenure at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), Regensburg, Germany; a research associate at CERGE-EI; and a research fellow at IZA-Institute of Labor Economics and Global Labor Organization (GLO). She holds a Ph.D. in economics from CERGE-EI (2012). Her research interests include health and environmental economics, economic history, development economics, and public economics. She is an associate editor at the Journal of Population Economics, Journal of Happiness Studies, and Comparative Southeast European Studies, served as a consultant for the World Bank, and was Second Prize winner of the 2014 Young Economist Award from the Czech Economic Society. Her research has been published in the Journal of Public Economics, Economic Inquiry, Journal of Comparative Economics, and Small Business Economics, among others, and was featured by the leading research policy portal VoxEU.

Teaching assistant: Madina Junussova

Dr. Madina Junussova is a Research Fellow at UCA's Institute of Public Policy and Administration and a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow. She is a member of the International Public Policy Association and the International Society of City and Regional Planners (Isocarp). Dr. Junussova holds a PhD in Public Policy from Carleton University and degrees in architecture, urban and regional planning awarded by the Ministry of Education and Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Innovation Economics

Brief description: This course will cover selected topics on the economics of innovation. It will help students to answer the most common questions about the economic aspects of innovation: Why do firms innovate and why do they strive to be first in a race of research and development? How can employees be motivated to produce innovative outputs? How do innovative ideas spread and foster creation of a new knowledge? How is the intellectual property of innovators protected and what are the costs and scope of such protection? Where can innovative start-up firms get money to finance their projects? The contents of this course are based on insights from macro- and microeconomics, contract theory and corporate finance. Previous knowledge in these subjects will be beneficial but is not required.

Prerequisites: Microeconomics at the intermediate level.

Main instructor: Taras Hrendash, M.A., Ph.D. cand.

Taras received a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in finance from the Black Sea State University (BSSU) in 2011 and M.A. in economics from CERGE-EI in 2015. He is a Ph.D. candidate at CERGE-EI (Ph.D. expected in 2023) and a junior researcher in the economics of science, technology change, and innovation at IDEA Think Tank. Taras has taught several economics courses, including “Innovations and Entrepreneurship” at CERGE-EI. His research interests include geography of collaboration networks, clustering of innovation, accelerated examination of patents, aging of scientists, scientometrics, and gender homophily in science.

Teaching assistant: Zalina Enikeeva

Zalina Enikeeva is a Research Fellow at UCA's Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA). She holds MA in Economic Governance and Development from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Her expertise includes integration of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), international trade, food security, agricultural policies, tourism etc.

Environmental Economics

Brief description: This course introduces major concepts in the field of environmental economics. It is designed to help students understand theories related to natural resources and make use of microeconomic and statistical analysis. This course will also focus on valuation techniques for environmental goods used in the real world by analysts and policy makers. There is a growing demand in economics and public sectors for individuals with quantitative skills who can understand and apply these techniques, analyze results, and produce reports. By the end of this course, students will be able to analyze economic problems related to environmental goods using rigorous valuation techniques.

Prerequisites: Microeconomics and statistics/econometrics at the introductory level. Since this course includes empirical applications, it is expected that universities provide students the STATA software.

Main instructor: Vladimir Otrachshenko, Ph.D.

Vladimir is a research associate at the Center for International Development and Environmental Research (ZEU), Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Nova School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal. His research interests are environmental and resource economics, health and population economics, development economics, climate change, non-market valuation of public goods, field experiments, and quality of life with a focus on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He contributed to several Horizon projects and currently is involved in the SDGnexus project. He taught at Venice International University, Italy; and the University of Regensburg, Germany; at undergraduate, master, and Ph.D. levels. He has published in peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Public Economics, Economic Inquiry, Journal of Comparative Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, Ecological Economics, and Land Economics.

Teaching assistant: Baimat Niiazaliev

Baimat Niiazaliev, Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy and Administration of the University of Central Asia. He holds MSc in Economic Analysis from the Corvinus University of Budapest in Hungary. His expertise includes agricultural economics, food security, poverty.

About the University of Central Asia and the Institute of Public Policy and Administration

The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through an International Treaty signed by the Presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan; ratified by their respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. As a university focused on the development of mountain societies, UCA's undergraduate programmes are located at its purpose-built world class residential campuses in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, and Khorog, Tajikistan near the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains respectively. Established in 2011, UCA's Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA) strengthens public policy making in Central Asia. It provides in-depth analysis of current and emerging policy issues facing the region and works on improving the analytical capacity of governments and civil society to use evidence-based decision-making through professional development. IPPA is part of University of Central Asia’s Graduate School of Development.

About CERGE-EI and the CERGE-EI Foundation

The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education (CERGE) was established in 1991 in the Czech Republic to offer a western-style PhD in Economics to students from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It subsequently formed a joint workplace with the Economics Institute (EI) of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Today, CERGE-EI offers two additional master level programs: one-year long Masters in Applied Economics and two-years long Masters in Economic Research. All faculty are western-trained and CERGE-EI graduates receive degrees that are recognized in the EU and in the US. The CERGE-EI Foundation is a major financial supporter of CERGE-EI and, through its Teaching Fellows Program, supports western-trained economists teaching at universities across the region.