I have just returned from spending ten days in Beijing and Tianjin. Do U.S academics enjoy too much leisure? To my slight surprise, I was asked to give a Sunday seminar at Tsinghua University and roughly 20 people attended my talk. I had the opportunity to meet my co-author Siqi Zheng's research team. Several of these students have worked on my projects as research assistants and it was nice to meet them face to face. The students in the room listened and appeared to be interested in what I was saying. I also gave a seminar at Nankai University's economics department in Tianjin where my friend Jingkui Zhou teaches. In addition to these talks, I also gave 10 hours of lectures for the Lincoln Institute's "Teaching the Teachers". This was a one week short course consisting of lectures by me, Chip Case and Dan McMillen. We had a good time hanging out together. On top of all of this, this last weekend there was an International Conference sponsored by the Lincoln Institute in which 30 academic papers were presented. Pretty intense stuff.
When I wasn't talking to new friends about economics, I was walking around in the humid, hot air and sightseeing. There is new construction taking place everywhere in China and it is fascinating to just watch it.
One perk of this trip was that I flew business class from LAX to Bejing. Business Class is classy stuff and the 12 hour flight flew by. On the most recent leg home, I watched 2 comedies, read 300 pages of a book and slept for a few hours and talked to the young guy sitting next to me. Time flew by.
My only problem is that I'm well aware that I told a number of people that I would get back in touch with them after I returned home from China. This week I need to catch up.
While I missed my family and LA's blue skies and perfect weather, I really like China's big cities.
On an unrelated note, the average quality of economics bloggers is rising! Gernot Wagner has started up a very high quality blog. When his new book is published this September, I will review it here.