What is your main research topic?
I am interested in macro and finance and, more precisely, I am working on a topical subject: sovereign debt. A recent argument for explaining why countries honor their debt is the presence of internal costs of default: debt is usually in the form of bonds partially held by domestic residents. Thus, when defaulting, a sovereign inflicts damage to its own country. My research tends to explain why the government cannot perfectly make up for such internal costs, using, for example, bailouts or any other forms of compensation. This has some implications for domestic financial development and its degree of complexity or opacity, through, for example, credit derivatives or interbank markets. Because of these markets, governments have difficulties to assess precisely domestic exposures, and so they are unable to make up for internal cost of default. It is not ex post desirable, but ex ante, this allows the government to credibly commit. Now, I am considering other forms of bailouts: why does a country want to bail out another country? In concrete terms, why do European countries want to (at least partially) save Greece or Portugal?
Did this visit help you to advance your research project(s)?
Yes! It did help me a lot and it is still helping me for my research. First of all, visiting another department, wherever it may be, forces to present to other faculties or students ideas or projects that have had already been presented. That helped me to ask once again some questions and to reformulate some results in a new and, sometimes, more interesting way. It was also useful because after one year of full-time research, I had the feeling that I had accumulated a lot of questions or ideas without having sufficiently ordered them.
For sure, no need to say that I have also received a lot of new advices and comments on my research, and, on top of that, I had the opportunity to work on new topics leading to new research projects.
Did you like the academic environment there? Is it very different from that of TSE? What are the main differences?
The academic environment is exceptional at MIT, even though, in general it might seem not fundamentally different compared with TSE. There are a lot of high-quality seminars and workshops. Possibilities of interactions with faculties or other students are numerous. However, at MIT as in Toulouse, these interactions arise only because I created them.
In overall, did you enjoy this experience? Do you recommend to other TSE students to visit another university for some months during their PhD studies? Do you want to add anything else about your experience?
I really enjoy my visit at MIT and I do recommend to TSE students to make visits during their PhD. I really think that this is a necessary experience for doing research, especially in economic sciences where it is usually about presenting and sharing ideas.