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All You Need for Productive Research: Three Weeks at BOFIT

From October 12 to 30, 2015, Maria Semenova worked at Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT) in Helsinki.

During this period, Maria took part in the BOFIT Visiting Researchers Programme. This programme attracts researchers from universities all over the world, and the research visits can last from two weeks to several months. The competition for participation is announced twice a year, in spring and in autumn. The application should include a description of the research project that the visiting researcher intends to work on. The range of possible themes is very wide, but preference is given to projects involving Russia, China and other developing markets. The visit also usually includes a presentation by the researcher’s at one of the Institute’s seminars, and preparation of a working paper for the BOFIT Discussion Papers series. Researchers coming to BOFIT get access to various databases and can use the extensive library of the Bank of Finland. A special bonus is the opportunity to discuss their research with Institute staff including renowned experts in Russian economics, such as Laura Solanko, Iikka Korhonen, and Zuzana Fungáčová.

CINST has had a long and fruitful cooperation with the BOFIT, and this visit was not the first one. In 2010, Maria was a visiting researcher at BOFIT. This year she worked on the project ‘What undermines market discipline in Russian regions: regionalism or trust in local authorities?. This is a joint project with Koen Schoors (Ghent University) and Andrey Zubanov (University of Wisconsin–Madison). It analyzes the behavior of depositors in regional banks and, particularly, detects the factors that decrease their sensitivity to bank risks during times of crisis. The co-authors made full advantage of their overlapping schedules (Koen Schoors also spend several days at BOFIT during this period) and made significant advances in their work. They even changed the title of the project. BOFIT guests also included Laurent Weill (University of Strasbourg), who added some valuable comments. The results were presented at an Institute seminar on October 27. Maria took part in many other academic events during her visit. They included research seminars of BOFIT and the Bank of Finland’s research department, as well as the Bank of Finland and CEPR joint conference on Housing Markets, Monetary Policy and Macroprudential Policy.

A research visit to BOFIT is a unique opportunity to focus on your research and make big steps forward in a short period of time, to get a lot of valuable feedback and use the unique benefits of the research atmosphere at the Bank of Finland. To be part of this programme is a great opportunity, and one that CINST scholars plan to take full advantage of in the future.