Alan W. Heston (left) and Robert Summers (right), Professors Emeritus in Economics at Penn, will present the topic "Who are in the 'Top 5' of world economies today? The Penn World Table perspective".
The path-breaking work for which Alan Heston and Robert Summers are known internationally has been a collaborative effort, initially with the late Irving B. Kravis. Their work produced a series of books and articles on the measurement of consistent economic aggregates and prices across nations and over time. The team's major contribution has been in developing real product comparisons and estimating purchasing-power parities for an expanding number of countries. Such comparisons indicate that exchange-rate-based comparisons may be quite misleading. They tend to overstate differences across countries in total product per capita and they tend to misrepresent the composition of output, with over estimates of investment and producer goods and underestimates for non-tradeables for countries with lower per capita incomes relative to those with higher per capita incomes.
The techniques and data developed by Heston and Summers are widely used today and the procedures have been adapted by a number of international organizations.
The luncheon is at 11:45 A.M. on Monday, December 6, 2010, in the Lenape Room of the University Club.