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Surrounded by the best economists of our time: Cindy Lopes-Bento & Eric Finn Schaanning on meeting 17 Nobel Laureates



Two young promising economists from Luxembourg had the rare opportunity to be surrounded by 17 Economics Nobel Prize winners, along with hundreds of talented economists, when they were selected to attend the 2017 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Economic Sciences. The FNR spoke to them about the experience.

Cindy Lopes-Bento

Cindy holds a PhD in applied economics from the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), jointly with LISER (former CEPS/INSTEAD). After her PhD, Cindy completed an AFR Postdoc, co-funded under the Marie Curie Actions of the European Commission at KU Leuven. Cindy currently holds a position as tenure track Assistant Professor at the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University.

Cindy delivering a presentation at the Lindau Meeting, titled ‘The Lives of Others: On Knowledge Spillovers From Subsidised R&D and the Productivity of Non-Subsidised Firms’, in a session attended by several of the laureates.

How was the overall experience for you?

“It was an overall amazing experience. Being surrounded by the best economists of our time is very inspirational. But not only the Laureates contributed to that atmosphere. The presence of so many promising and motivated young economists was also truly inspiring.”

Cindy with Prof Dr James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize in 2000

What were the highlights for you?

“I think the entire meeting was stimulating. But probably the chance to present my own work was a really great opportunity to get feedback from the Laureates and also to set the ground for ongoing discussions after the presentation, with the Laureates and the other participants alike.”

Cindy with Prof Dr Finn Kydland, after her presentation. Kydland won a Nobel Prize in 2004 for his contribution to macroeconomics.

What was your impression of the Nobel Prize winners?

“They are all very friendly and humble! Very accessible to listen to you, provide feedback, give general advice or smile for your pictures.”

Cindy with her young son and Prof Dr Christopher Pissarides, who won a Nobel Prize in 2010 for his contribution to the analysis of markets with search frictions

Cindy, you brought your young son with you, how was this experience?

“I think that I am very lucky that I have been able to bring my son. On the one hand, this was enabled by my good babysitters (my parents) and on the other hand by the support of the organizers. They were indeed very helpful. While the shorter nights made it even more challenging to cope with the tight schedule, I still consider it a big chance to have been able to participate despite having a small child.”

View a short video of Cindy giving her take on the big policy questions facing economists

Eric Finn Schaanning

Eric Finn Schaanning holds an AFR PhD in Systemic Risk from Imperial College London, in collaboration with Norges Bank. During his PhD, Eric developed an operational ‘stress test’ model that is already being used by two European Central Banks. Eric is currently Senior Advisor at Norges Bank. He was also recently featured in the FNR campaign ‘Spotlight on Young Researchers’.

How was the overall experience for you?

“The overall experience was great! As I come from a maths/physics background, I found it very interesting to see how much disagreement there was among laureates on certain questions or economic theories. In the natural sciences you may also have competing theories, but as soon as new evidence confirms or falsifies a theory, most scientists adapt their views and there is general agreement on the established results.”

Eric with Prof Lars Peter Hansen, who won a Nobel Prize in 2013 his for development and application of the econometric ‘generalized method of moments’

What were the highlights for you? 

“I met a number of researchers from Switzerland, Egypt and the Czech Republic who also work on systemic risk, and from which future collaborations might emerge. I also met a young economist from Germany; when the refugee crisis broke out she chose to volunteer for several months, even though she was close to submitting her thesis. Meeting individuals with this level of drive and idealism was also very inspiring.”

Eric with Prof Dr Finn Kydland

Watch Eric talk about what he thinks are the big questions facing economists:

Cidy 2nd left Eric 2nd right
eric & cindy with pissarides


Cindy Lopes-Bento with her young son, and Eric Finn Schaanning were selected to attend the Lindau economics meeting which only takes place every 3 years