Scientific Qualification in Cooperation with the University of Mannheim
This summer semester, ZEW Mannheim offered students in the PhD track the opportunity to attend face-to-face summer courses taught by internationally renowned professors again. More than 80 young researchers from ZEW and the University of Mannheim participated in the five courses, which dealt with cutting-edge topics such as causal inference, experimental household finance and environmental economics. The ZEW Summer Courses, financially supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg, are part of a close cooperation with the University of Mannheim as part of the PhD track of the Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics (CDSE).
ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach comments on the successful outcome of the summer courses: “It was important and pleasant for us that the summer courses could take place in presence again this year. Our doctoral students benefit hugely from the intensive personal exchange with renowned scholars. At the same time, we are offering those who cannot attend due to the pandemic the opportunity to stream the event so that everyone can participate. I would like to extend my thanks to the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts for its support and for making these courses offered by ZEW in cooperation with the PhD track of the Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics at the University of Mannheim possible.”
Great variety of topics in the courses
This year, the courses reflected important developments in economics by covering topics such as environmental economics and household finance, as well as methods, e.g. in causal inference, simulation and experimental economics. From June onwards, the ZEW Summer Courses were held by five distinguished external professors from international universities.
Professor Scott Cunningham from Baylor University in Texas, USA, made the start with a course on causal inference. In the economic literature, he gained worldwide recognition for his work on robust identification of causal effects. In his intensive course on the current state of research, he presented the latest developments in microeconometric methodology. Professor Christoph Böhringer from the University of Oldenburg addressed the cutting-edge topic of environmental economics. Against the background of climate change, his course on simulation methods in the field of climate policy was highly relevant for PhD students and society alike. Professor Christine Laudenbach from Goethe University Frankfurt gave the doctoral students an understanding of experimental methods and budgetary finance. Experimental methods are an important instrument for data and knowledge acquisition, while household finances play a major role especially against the backdrop of demographic change.
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. Professor Nicolas Schutz from the University of Mannheim gave a comprehensive introduction to applied theory for empiricists.
The face-to-face format gave the students ample opportunity for individual exchange with each other as well as with the professors and ZEW staff. Feedback from professors and participants on the summer courses was consistently positive, both in terms of organisation and content.
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.