Conference Trip to Pori

This week, I was lucky lucky to be in the Annual Meeting of the Finnish Association (KT-päivät), which is the biggest conference in my field in Finland. Here are some few words about the keynote speakers in the conference and photos of the facilities.

The conference started with coffee that we missed and a registration around 10 am. It took 2.5 hours by car to get there and we enjoyed seen the sunrise. In the fist day, we had one amazing keynote speaker Ulrike Malmendier who spoke about experimental economics that is a new field withing economics taking into account the psychological capacity of humans. She told us about research ideas that related to own experience counting for more than read knowledge. Her students had made a small experiment with Chinese farmers. They had one control group, one group that was told how beneficial the (heavily subsidized) insurances were (from now on "more educated group") and one group that played games ("own experience group").

In the games, the farmer fist chooses to take or not to take the insurance and the crops were lost with fixed probability and the game was played repeatedly. The students reported that the insurance was taken most in the this group. Additionally, the "more educated group", took it more but not as much as the "own experience" group. In the control group, the insurance taking had became more popular but not as much as in the more educated group.

In the next morning, we had a keynote speaker from Sweden.The one of Finnish favorite subjects is to compare Finland to Sweden. Sweden is like a big brother for Finland in many ways and a good for comparison because it is also a small open economy. This time, the object was the labor market. We are very concerned about the rising unemployment in Finland. Yet, Sweden is doing good at the same time. We didn't get any concluding reason for this, but we did see some pretty statistics. Next photo has the unemployment rates of high educated.

The following photo shows the development of unit of labor costs, the main reason of worry in the Finnish Government. The red line is Finland. In 2014 the unit cost was 1.25 times more than 2007. Sweden, green line, had 1.2 times more, Euro area (orange) in general 1.2 and Ireland (black line) less than 0.9. Greece (blue) had slightly higher unit labor costs than it had in the benchmark year of 2007. 

All in all, the city of Pori is full of pleasant surprises. First of all, there are 4 universities working in the same building (University Consortium of Pori) and there is a cool shopping center (Puuvilla) nearby. The city hall is renovated to its old glory. Additionally, the city is compact and still it has lots of different small firms. It would be a nice small city to live and work.


(c) Saara Vaahtoniemi


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