Old Members Trust Travel Grant Report – Jan David Bakker
Thanks to the support by the ‘Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Grant’ I was able to participate in the 8th Economic Geography and International Trade Research Meeting at the Ifo Institute in Munich.
This research meeting provides a forum for junior researchers to present their academic work and get feedback from more experienced researchers in the field of economic geography and international trade.
I presented a draft of my first chapter that explores the effects of an exogenous population shock on the distribution of population in the urban system using the end of Apartheid in South Africa as a natural experiment. Michele Battisti and Gabriel Felbermayr, the director of the Ifo Center for International Economics, served as discussants for my paper and provided valuable feedback that will significantly improve the quality of the paper. The subsequent discussion focused on challenges relating to the identifying assumptions and possible extensions that focus on the ethnic diversity within South African cities.
In one of my other chapters I want to analyse the distribution of firms in space and how it has changed over time. Some of the more experienced researchers have written very influential paper on similar issues using various data sets. Wolfgang Dauth and Jens Südekum have worked with the German Establishment History Panel of the Institute for Employment Research a 50% sample of the universe of firms. Since I plan to analyse the same data, this was a great opportunity to discuss with them potential ideas and problems I am likely to face in this analysis.
It was also a great pleasure to meet fellow PhD students and other junior researcher from all over Europe that are interested in similar topics to discuss ideas and potential collaborations.
Overall, this trip allowed me to get valuable feedback on my first chapter, to practice presenting at academic conferences and to discuss the ideas for my second chapter with leading researchers in the field as well as people who have worked with the data I am planning to use.
I am very grateful to the trustees and contributors of the Trust that enabled me to participate in the conference.