1st Tinbergen Institute Conference, 2006

18-20 December 2006

Scientific Committee:
Philippe Aghion, Harvard University
Josh Lerner, Harvard University
Luis Garicano, University of Chicago
Enrico Perotti, University of Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute
Herman Vollebergh, Erasmus University and Tinbergen Institute

The goal of the First Tinbergen Conference was to start a series of cutting edge scientific conferences attracting the best international researchers around targeted themes. Its theme was The Formation of Innovative Firms. It was organized by Enrico Perotti and Herman Vollebergh jointly with Philippe Aghion and Josh Lerner (Harvard University) and Luis Garicano (Univ Chicago and LSE).

This ambitious initiative combined an international conference, a high level policy panel and an experimental two day workshop dedicated to brainstorming on the issue of new idea creation and the formation of innovative firms. It also represented a first, highly visible initiative on the new CEPR program on Science Innovation and Growth.

The conference was quite successful, with contributions from researchers from top US and EU schools. The workshop was particularly intense and was ultimately praised for its innovativeness. It focused on four underexplored themes which the scientific committee felt deserve much more research attention, namely

  • Movement of Ideas and Movement of People
  • Elaborating Ideas and Team Formation
  • Generating Ideas: Academic and Applied Research
  • Financing before Venture Capital

US based researchers proposed to adopt the format for future meetings of the prestigious NBER research program in Organizational Economics.

The panel after the conference included David Wright, senior EC director for financial market regulation at DG10, Philippe Aghion from the Harvard Economics Department, Prof Luc Soete from MERIT and Prof Perotti from the UvA. The panel discussed the comparative position of the US and EU. David Wright spoke of recent trends in the competition for stock market listings between the EU and the US, while Philippe Aghion, Enrico Perotti, Luc Soete spoke about the comparative performance of EU vs. US firms in innovative sectors. The follow up is an invitation from the EC representative for researchers to participate in defining ideas for an EU innovation policy initiative.

The following presentations were held:

  • What are Firms? Evolution from Early Business Plans to Public Companies – Per Stromberg (Swedish Institute for Financial Research)
  • Skill vs. Luck in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital: Evidence from Serial Entrepreneurs – Josh Lerner (Harvard Business School)
  • Circulation of Ideas – Thomas F. Hellman (University of British Columbia) and Enrico C. Perotti (University of Amsterdam)
  • Management of knowledge workers – Eirik H. Kristiansen (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
  • Credit Constraints as a Barrier to the Entry and Post-Entry Growth of Firms – Philippe Aghion (Harvard University)
  • The Importance of Trust for Investment: Evidence from Venture Capital – Thomas F. Hellmann (University of British Columbia), Laura Bottazzi (Bocconi University) and Marco DaRin (Bocconi University and University of Tilburg)
  • Optimal Contracts for Employees’ Ideas – Alfonso Gambardella (Bocconi University) and Claudio Panico (University of Toulouse and Bocconi University)