FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Economia e Gestão

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos Macroeconómicos e Previsão - CEMPRE [ECO-Norte-Porto-277] visitada em 19/11/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This is a relatively large unit, with a good, but not excellent, publication record. Publications are fairly well distributed across researchers, with 14 of the 21 researchers having a publication in an international journal since 2003. The strengths of this unit are its publication record, its competent leadership, and its sound working rules. The panel judged this unit to be VERY GOOD.

Some heterogeneity appears however among the different groups, and quite strikingly, it seems that the largest ones are also the least successful in publishing, comparing e.g. macroeconomics or growth groups, which are quite large, with the performance of the small group of econometricians.

One useful service performed by this unit, jointly with NIPE (unit 3182) at the Universidade do Minho, is that it has set up and maintains a data set and associated web site on publications by Portuguese economists and foreign economists at Portuguese institutions. The site computes rankings by authors and by institutions.

The CEMPRE contributes to the PhD in Economics program which is managed by the Department of Economics. On average, 4 - 5 students enter the program per year, most of them funded by FCT grants. They come from e.g. Italy, Russia but mostly Portugal. Some become assistant professors here or in other Portuguese universities, or work in national regulatory agencies, private institutes or consultancy activity in regional economics.

The panel faced a significant problem in evaluating the potential of this unit for future research, however, in that we learned during the presentation by the unit coordinator that the unit is scheduled to be merged with CETE (unit 459) on January 1st, 2009. We were told that honesty dictated presentations by two different units. The problem that we encountered was that, in spite of the late date of the visit, in November 2008, the members of CEMPRE and CETE had not yet agreed on the working rules of the new research center.

Most of the questions to which the panel was not able to obtain satisfactory answers related to the uncertainty about how the new CEMPRE-CETE unit would function:

• We were told that the rule for adding members to CEMPRE had been that a member would propose a candidate and then full researchers would vote on the basis of the C.V. of the candidate. Unit members expressed uncertainty about whether this sort of rule would persist or even where there would be a strict rule for adding new members.

• One of the concerns of the panel related to the heterogeneity of publication records across research groups. According to the panel estimation, one third of the PhD researchers were not publishing. We were unable to learn whether the CEMPRE-CETE would still increase this heterogeneity.

• The full members of the unit are also teaching faculty at the Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto (FEP), as are the full members of CETE. The members of the unit were unable to guess how many members of FEP will not be in the merged CEMPRE-CETE.

• This last question was important in assessing the role of the PhD program in the unit. The PhD program is an activity of FEP.

The panel has received in January 2009 the statutes and internal regulations of the new unit (Centre for Economics and Finance at the University of Porto: CEFUP) created by the merger CEMPRE-CETE. The new thematic structure after the merger has 7 research groups: “Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics”, “Financial Economics, Business and Accounting”, “International and Region Economics”, “Growth and Technological Change”, “Microeconomics and Industrial Organization”, “Labour, Health and Education Economics”, and “Schools of Economic Thought, Methodology and Economic History”. This structure makes sense, but it will be the task of the next evaluation panel to assess if it fits the objective of eliminating outdated research programs. As to working rules, the new internal regulations of the unit establish the principles that “only members actively involved in research and publication are considered Research associates,” and that the funding of members through FCT funds is divided into two equal shares: one corresponding to the minimum amount for individual funding and another distributed according to individual researchers’ points, based on their respective publications over the past three years. Apparently, the merger is being used – as announced – as an opportunity to fix clearer functioning rules and to implement publishing incentive mechanisms.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Economic Growth [RG-ECO-Norte-Porto-277-1622]
Financial Markets and Computational Economics and Finance [RG-ECO-Norte-Porto-277-1624]
Location, Determinants and Impact of Investment and Trade [RG-ECO-Norte-Porto-277-1623]
Macroeconomic Business Cycles, Money and Finance [RG-ECO-Norte-Porto-277-1286]
Methodology and History of Economic Thought [RG-ECO-Norte-Porto-277-1620]
Theoretical and Applied Econometrics [RG-ECO-Norte-Porto-277-1621]