Empírica - Centro de Aplicaciones Económicas (Centre of Applied Economic Research) has been appointed by the Goverment of the Dominican Republic as the second think tank to represent the country in the Vi's network. The addition of Empírica brings the number of Vi think tanks to 15.
Contact with Empírica began when UNCTAD colleague, Amelia Santos-Paulino, of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, met with the think tank's director of inter-institutional relations in May 2014. Membership formalities were then completed speedily after the first direct contact with the Vi in June.
Empírica is a non-profit foundation established in 2007 to undertake training and research in the fields of economics, finance and international trade. The focus is on the analysis of the Dominican economy and, in this context, the debate about public policies that would contribute to its development. The Centre analyses these issues from a heterodox perspective.
Among the salient topics featured on Empírica's research agenda are economic growth and convergence among provinces in the Dominican Republic; economic growth and external restrictions; trade in agriculture between the Dominican Republic and the countries of the DR-CAFTA; remittances to the Dominican Republic and their macroeconomic determinants; and the gravity model applied to the country's trade. The staff participates in numerous research projects and publishes their research through the Centre's dissemination channels and through blogs or articles for the general public.
In partnership with Universidad Iberoamericana, Empírica runs a Master's programme in economics. It is also very active in professional education, offering a number of diploma programmes and short courses on a variety of topics related to economics, finance and quantitative analysis. Additionally, it organizes conferences, workshops and seminars to foster academic discussion about economic topics.
The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Empirica's executive director, Julio Andújar Scheker
. Holder of a PhD in economics, he specializes in economic development, macroeconomic policies and models, monetary theory, public finance and political economy of reforms. He will be supported by Frank Fuentes Brito
, whose research areas include international economics and trade, monetary policy, labour economics and applied econometrics.
Empírica is ready to share its expertise with regard to the Dominican economy, as well as the contacts with national and international universities and Dominican research centres. They would also be happy to exchange teaching, research and project management experiences, and are interested in internships and exchange programmes for researchers with other members of the network.