This summer semester, ZEW Mannheim again offered students in the PhD track the opportunity to attend summer courses taught by internationally renowned professors. More than 80 young researchers from ZEW and the University of Mannheim participated in the seven courses, which dealt with cutting-edge topics such as data science, health economics or migration economics. The ZEW Summer Courses are part of the close cooperation in the economics PhD programme of ZEW and the University of Mannheim and are financially supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Symbol image with different electronic devices, the hands of three people and tea cups.
This Year’s ZEW-CDSE Summer Courses reflected important developments in economics.

ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach stresses: “I am very pleased that we have once again been able to attract a number of top-class international speakers for this year’s ZEW Summer Courses. Our goal is to focus on up-to-date research topics and methods. Despite pandemic-related restrictions, we have succeeded in offering PhD students an excellent course programme. This special offer by ZEW Mannheim in cooperation with the PhD track of the Department of Economics at the University of Mannheim is only possible thanks to the support of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg. We would like to express our sincere thanks for this and look forward to further cooperation.”

Great variety of topics in the courses

This year, the courses reflected important developments in economics and covered topics such as health economics, which has gained even more relevance due to the pandemic, machine learning, migration, market design and data science. From June onwards, the ZEW Summer Courses were held by seven distinguished external professors from international universities.

Professor Albrecht Glitz from Pompeu Fabra University in Spain kicked off with a course on migration economics, in which he provided an overview of the key concepts in this field. The economics of credence goods was the subject of the course given by Professor Alexander Rasch from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. He provided students with an understanding of the economic incentives of experts as well as the knowledge to evaluate policy-relevant issues in expert markets and to design market institutions to overcome the information asymmetry inherent in credence goods. Professor Luigi Siciliani from the University of York, UK, dealt with the highly topical subject of health economics. He provided a theoretical foundation as well as concrete tools to be able to classify and work on research questions in the field of hospital/health economics. Professor Nicolas Schutz from the University of Mannheim gave a comprehensive introduction to applied theory for empiricists.

As last year, Professor Michael Lechner from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland again held a course on causal machine learning, a highly relevant subfield of artificial intelligence. Students acquired basic knowledge about different popular machine/statistical learning methods, about the most important causal research designs and about how to combine both to obtain reliable causal inference in empirical studies. A new course on data science was offered by Professor Grant McDermott from the University of Oregon, USA. He introduced students to the modern data science toolkit, including all the practical tools and techniques that make it easier to start a career in science. Professor David A. Jaeger from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland concluded with his course on identifying causal effects in empirical economic research. He gave the PhD students an insight into robust identification strategies for estimating causal effects in non-experimental data, which is particularly crucial for empirical researchers.

After the lectures, the students had the opportunity to engage in individual and informal discussion. Both the summer classes in general, and the online format in particular, were very well received by the lecturers as well as the participants. Nevertheless, the ZEW Summer Courses are scheduled to take place as face-to-face lectures in summer 2022.

The ZEW Summer Courses are elective block courses aimed at supporting doctoral students with their thesis. As a special feature, these lectures, delivered by renowned professors from different universities, are held from the end of June to August during the period between terms in addition to the comprehensive range of courses offered as part of the CDSE PhD track at the University of Mannheim.