Interview with Nicolas Coeurdacier

Nicolas Coeurdacier is currently a professor of economics at Sciences Po, specialising in International Macroeconomics and Finance as well as Financial Macroeconomics. He is also a Research Affiliate of the Centre for Economic Policy Research. He has a PhD from the Paris School of Economics. Nicolas kindly took some time out of his schedule to talk to us about ECON+ and so after explaining it ECON+ to Nicolas, I get started with the questions.

1. What do you find attractive about ECON+?

The first thing that Nicolas praises about ECON+ is the fact that it shows how young people care about important economic matters. Something we agree on. Following on from these sentiments Nicolas is keen to see more PhD students involved. Another great idea we agree with and we’re going to follow up on.

2. What do you think are the key economic issues of today?

After a few moments of reflection Nicolas starts with the caveat that there of course are a multitude of economic issues that face us today. When trying to look at the main issues however he underlines some long-term ones: sustainability, financing, aging populations and demographic transitions (notably in emerging markets), as well as some short term ones: new perspectives for better regulation of financial markets, fiscal policy and fiscal intervention and the adjustment of external imbalances. He finishes by asking two important questions: What about the growth of nations, especially developing ones? and What shall we do about divergent economies?

3. In your opinion, what needs to be done to address these?

Right on cue, Nicolas brings in ECON+ as a way to answer these important economic issues.

4. What role do you think there are for young people in this?

Nicolas reflects on the current debate over economic matters, highlighting the ideological debate which often overshadows this debate. This, he thinks, often comes from a lack of education in economic matters. Nicolas goes on to explain – “because economics is complex, and there are no single remedies, we shouldn’t put things in a box like some people do.” He hopes that young people can therefore help create that more constructive dialogue about these important topics. To do so, he believes we need to engage in constructive debate and not ideological battles.

5. What advice would you give to someone in our network wanting to carry out research?

As an apt and prolific economic researcher Nicolas advises anyone taking up research to use a clear scientific approach. “Confront what you read with respect to the data… Go back and forth from theory to data… Furthermore, don’t be afraid to review other people’s research and send it to them to read over.” One more excellent idea we’ll be taking Nicolas up on.

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