“These projects have provided Carolin with opportunities for early participation in research, which I believe is important in a doctoral program.”
— Luis M. Viceira
Luis and Carolin are working on a study of inflation indexed bonds (bonds issued by governments around the world that protect against the risk of rising inflation), and in the process are also trying to make sense of the financial crisis.
Luis: Carolin and I are working to understand the market for government inflation-indexed bonds. These are high quality, fully government guaranteed products that protect investors from inflation risk and also from reinvestment risk. We ask to what extent short-term real interest rates, bond risks, and liquidity explain their history before 2008, and their highly unusual behavior in the fall of 2008. We’re now looking at the financial crisis through the lens of these bonds.
Carolin and I began working together early in her program on this project and others. These projects have provided Carolin with opportunities for early participation in research, which I believe is important in a doctoral program. She has truly excelled at that, playing a relevant role in the success of all these projects.
Carolin: During this process we’ve made a number of very surprising discoveries. I found it particularly fascinating to research how, in the recent financial crisis, the markets for inflation indexed bonds started to diverge from other government bond markets because of liquidity reasons.
The Collaborative Process
Luis: It’s been my pleasure and privilege to work closely with students like Carolin. They are amazing intellectuals and people. At HBS, there’s flexibility built into the Doctoral Programs. Students have the chance to see whether the field they’ve chosen and think they want to study is indeed right for them. If not, there’s some flexibility to change and go in a different direction.
There’s also the important element of learning by doing. Students are able to co-write with faculty early in their research projects. It’s truly research in action. Then they take off on their own, toward the ultimate goal of establishing themselves as independent researchers.
Carolin: It has been a fun and very instructive experience to work with Luis. I have learned a lot about the particular subject at hand, as well as how to approach research questions more generally. I know these skills will prove invaluable in my future research.