10th Anniversary of the Annual Workshop on the Global Economy

09 May 2023

The Annual Workshop on the Global Economy, the workshop which brings together leading scholars to discuss economic and geopolitical issues, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this May.

We talked to Professor Warwick McKibbin, Director of the ANU Centre for Applied Macroeconomics Analysis (CAMA) in the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and a co-organiser of the workshop about the origins and the future of this significant event.

What is the purpose of the Annual Workshop on the Global Economy?

Commencing in 2014, the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at the Australian National University (ANU) has convened an invitation-only Workshop on the Global Economy in Washington, D.C., focussing on important global macroeconomic issues. In previous years this workshop was jointly organised as a joint conference between the ANU and the Brookings Institution. I have been the organiser from the ANU with Dr Adele Morris representing the Brookings Institution. With Adele’s move to the Federal Reserve Board in 2021, the ANU began solely hosting the event in 2022, jointly organised by myself and Professor Renee Fry-McKibbin.

The workshop aims to inform the research of the organising institutions, other research institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, and the individual scholars who participate. Each year, we have leading scholars and policymakers in macroeconomics and strategic studies from around the world involved. We also invite participants from the private sector to provide a business perspective to the discussion. These are usually companies that contribute to research funding at ANU. Rio Tinto has been a significant supporter of this project since it began.

Why did you want to start this program?

The program started from the realisation that the policy community and academic researchers who were working on similar issues could reinforce the research agendas of both groups. The policymakers wanted to hear about the latest academic research on global economic issues, and many researchers were interested in the questions policymakers were thinking about for future research. It was also a way to bring policy and research directly to corporations who provide funding for the workshop.

What has been the biggest success to date?

We have had outstanding scholars (including Nobel Prize winners) and the highest level of policymakers from the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia involved. Each year we have invited Senior Australian Treasury Officials to the workshop in Washington, D.C., including the Executive Director for Australia at the IMF. As a result of the outstanding success of the strategy of bringing the three groups together, The Australian Treasury decided to fund and co-host the same format conference jointly with CAMA in Australia regularly six months after the Washington, D.C. workshop. The joint conference with the Australian Treasury commenced in 2016 but was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. We intend to recommence in the near future.

What are the major issues at this year’s workshop?

The focus of the 2023 workshop is Commodity Prices and Inflation. There are sessions on An Overview of Commodity Price Trends and Fluctuations; A Longer Term Perspective on Commodity Prices; Understanding the Recent Surge of Inflation and The Role of Commodity Prices; and Dutch Disease, Resource Curse and Commodity Endowments.

Where do you see the future of this workshop?

We intend to continue this workshop in collaboration with other funders interested in financing open debate and research-setting agendas to enable academic researchers, policymakers and corporations to better deal with uncertainties in the global economy.

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