26 June 2012

Leading international economics scholars are in Brisbane for the first workshop to be held in Australia by the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET).

Chair of the program committee, Professor Flavio Menezes said hosting the workshop in Australia reflected the research strengths and international reputation of the University of Queensland’s School of Economics.

Public and Private Partnerships (PPPs) is the theme of the 2012 APET Workshop, co-hosted by APET and the University of Queensland (UQ) School of Economics at Tangalooma Island Resort, from June 25-26.

Although PPPs have become an increasingly popular tool for development, results have been mixed.

Professor of Economics and Head of UQ’s Economics School Professor Menezes said the topic of the workshop could not have been more appropriate.

“PPPs reached nearly $1.2 trillion dollars globally in 2006. However, around 50% of PPPs never reach the financing stage and of those that do, about 50% are renegotiated,” he said.

“Given the relevance of PPPs, it is imperative to understand what works and what doesn't, and how to improve PPPs.

This workshop has brought together world renowned as well as junior scholars in the area of PPPs to discuss this important issue, and it gives us the opportunity to showcase UQ Economics to them.”

Among the impressive line-up of presenters from Europe, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, are the keynote speakers, Eduardo Engel (Yale University) and David Martimort (Paris School of Economics).

APET president, Myrna Wooders, also is a guest at the workshop. She is Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University (Tennessee, U.S.).

Professor Engel, is Professor of economics at Yale University and co-author of a book on PPPs soon to be published by Cambridge University Press, opened the workshop yesterday with his keynote address – Public-Private Partnerships: When and How? Professor Engle reviewed the experiences to date with PPPs and highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of PPPs over traditional public procurement.

Later in the day, Professor Martimort gave his keynote address – How to Design Infrastructure Contracts in a Warming World? A Critical Appraisal of Public-Private Partnerships. Professor Martimort examined the desirability of PPPs in a context where projects are subject to a very large degree of uncertainty such as that emerging from climate Change.

The key message is that environment shorter term contracts might be able to handle such uncertainty more efficiently than a PPP long-term contract.

Other topics being covered at the workshop include tender design; bundling of construction and operation; optimal allocation of risk; contract design; and the effects of default and renegotiation.

Following on from the workshop, a lunch seminar by Professor Engel will be held at Customs House in Brisbane on Thursday, June 28. It is a sell-out event.

The Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET) and the UQ School of Economics are co-hosting the 12th SAET Conference at UQ’s St Lucia campus from June 30 - July 3.

More than 250 economic theorists from all over the world will attend SAET 2012 – the first time this conference has been held in Australia.

The Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) is dedicated to the promotion of theoretical research in all areas of public finance and to the facilitation of communication among economists working in this area.

For more information: Louise West, 07 3365 4482 / louise.west@uq.edu.au


Professor Eduardo Engel

Professor of Economics at Yale University and the University of Chile. He also is a Research Associate at the National Bureau for Economic Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the International Growth Centre (London, UK).

Before moving to Yale in 2001, he spent a decade in the faculty of the University of Chile, where he directed the Centre for Applied Economics. He holds a PhD in Economics from MIT, a PhD in Statistics from Stanford University, and an engineering degree from the University of Chile.

Professor Engel has been a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank. He was the founding President for the Chilean Society for Public Policy (2010-2011). Professor Engel is Vice-President and President- Elect of the Latin American and Caribbean Economics Association (LACEA).

Professor David Martimort

Directeur d'Etudes at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and Professor at Paris School of Economics.

He holds a PhD from Toulouse University under the supervision of Jean-Jacques Laffont. David is a specialist in theory of incentives and its applications and co-authored with Jean-Jacques Laffont the reference textbook The Theory of Incentives, 2002, Princeton University Press.
His research spans are broad in areas from industrial economics to development economics, political economy and public economics, with a special emphasis on regulatory and public governance issues.

David has published widely in top economic journals such as Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Economic Theory, The Rand Journal of Economics, Theoretical Economics and the Journal of Public Economics.

Professor Martimort has been a Fellow from the Econometric Society and the European Economic Association since 2005. He also has served as an editor and is on the boards of several important journals including the Rand Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Theory, Econometrica, and Theoretical Economics.

Professor Myrna Wooders

Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University and a Fellow of the Econometric Society. She is the Editor of Journal of Public Economic Theory, President of the Association of Public Economic Theory, Founding Editor of Economics Bulletin, Charter Member of the Game Theory Society, and a former elected member of the Game Theory Society Council.

Professor Wooders has researched primarily in the areas of public economic theory, game theory and network theory. She has published extensively on club theory, the theory of local public goods and coalition theory. Her publications include articles in Econometrica, Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Economic Behavior, and other leading journals.

Professor Wooders has held visiting appointments at Paris 1, Yale, Bonn, CentER for Economic Research (Tilburg), Hebrew University, CORE (Louvain-la-Neuve), the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and California Institute of Technology, among other institutions.

Among more than 15 of her co-authors are Nobel Laureate Reinhard Selten (Bonn), Professor Martin Shubik (Yale) and Professor Stef Tijs (Tilburg).

Her awards include the prestigious Connaught Fellowship in the Social Sciences and a Humboldt Research Award for Foreign Scientists (Germany). She has organised numerous scientific events, including Program Chair of the 1994 North American Summer Meetings of the Econometric Society, and been guest editor of several journals, including Social Choice and Welfare and Games and Economic Behavior. Her recent research continues her work on club theory and coalitional games and new lines of research on stereotyping, and networks.