Meredith Startz (Economics) is one of eight graduate students selected to speak at the Review of Economic Studies meetings in May. Informally known as the “REStud Tour,” the Review selects “promising graduating doctoral students in economics and finance to present their research to audiences in Europe.”
The meetings are held over the course of a week at the economics departments or institutes of three or four European universities to “introduce bright US-based scholars to European economists, and vice versa.” This year, the sessions will meet at Universität Bonn/University of Cologne, Bologna University, and University of Southampton.
Startz studies international development and trade. Her research focuses on how contract enforcement problems shape trade patterns, and how this relates to the process of economic development. Her talk will investigate information costs in international trade, using original data she collected on Nigerian consumer goods imports. She finds that traveling to source countries like China to do business in person is a common way of dealing with both search problems (finding out what goods are available around the world) and contracting problems (ensuring that partners follow through on agreements in an environment with poor legal enforcement).
Startz determined that search and contracting problems pose nearly as much of a barrier to trade as tariffs and transportation costs combined. According to her research, such barriers can have a large effect on consumers in countries like Nigeria by reducing the variety of goods that are available and making those that are available more expensive and out-of-date. She hopes her paper will bring more attention to the importance of market integration policies beyond transportation and tariffs.
The paper she will present is part of her dissertation, advised by Mark Rosenzweig, the Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics. Originally from Seattle, Startz earned her undergraduate degree from Yale. Following graduation in May, she will pursue postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Stanford, after which she will join the Stanford economics department as an assistant professor.
The REStud Tour has been held annually since 1989. Over the years, six former Yale graduate students as well as several past and current Yale Economics faculty have been chosen to participate.