Renowned economists around the world attended the 7th Biennial Conference of the Hong Kong Economic Association held at Lingnan campus on 13-14 December.
Some of the top economists were invited to give keynote speeches as follows:
- “Do We Need a New Economic Theory?” by Prof James Mirrlees, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- “How Do We Analyze Extreme Global Catastrophic Risks Rationally? Climate Change and Expected Utility Maximization” by Prof Ng Yew-kwang, Monash University
- “Can Basic Entrepreneurship Transform the Economic Lives of the Poor?” by Prof Imran Rasul, University College London
- “Political and Economic Institutions of China and Constitutionalism” by Prof Xu Chenggang, The University of Hong Kong
In his keynote speech, Prof Mirrlees reviewed economic theories such as general equilibrium, macroeconomics, taxes and externalities, as well as models of monopolistic competition, contracts with imperfect information, public goods and reciprocity, to name a few. Although these models and theories are far from perfect, some of them are more relevant for certain topics than the others. Economists know a lot about them, but seldom apply them. After discussing the shortcomings of some economic models and theories, Prof Mirrlees made it clear that it is impossible to develop a comprehensive theory that fits all situations. Economists need not be ashamed of the model methodology too. While he agreed that new models are needed, Prof Mirrlees called on economists to fully absorb the existing theories and apply them as appropriate.