About me

My Research, Transfer and Valorisation Projects

Table of Contents


Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Network Faculty Affiliate (ISC, Harvard Business School, 2016-), Thierry Warin is Professor of Data Science for International Business at HEC Montreal and Principal Investigator of the Open Data Lab at CIRANO (Canada). Thierry is the current president of the International Trade and Finance Association and also Researcher at CERIUM-CEUE (University of Montreal). Former Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (Harvard University, 2015-2017), Thierry was Associate Professor at Polytechnique Montreal (Director of the International Projects Program, 2010-2013), Associate Professor at Middlebury College (Director of the International Studies and IPE program) and Academic Director at SIE-Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou (China). His current research interests are about using Data Science approaches to better inform decision making.

An alumnus of the Salzburg Global Seminar, Thierry held positions in several academic institutions (Middlebury College USA, Polytechnique Montreal, Sun Yat Sen University Guangzhou, Essec Business School Paris, HEC Paris, La Sorbonne, UIBE Beijing). His research is mainly on international economics and finance topics, with a particular focus on the European economic integration. His methodology of choice is Data Science, with a particular focus on high-power computing-based Econometrics and Ensemble methods.

An alumnus of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University, Thierry completed my PhD in Monetary Economics and Finance at Essec Business School in Paris.

Academic Position

Research Description

My research is primarily about global transformations, seen through two main dimensions: (1) the geographic changes, and (2) the technological changes. Both dimensions are strongly related. I use Data Science (R, GIS, Econometrics) to study innovation, institutions, regulations and economic dynamics. More specifically, my region of interest is Europe. In fact, I study the European Union from an economic, political and financial integration perspective since its inception in 1993. Mainly, this means I study the internal integration process and challenges of Europe (ECB, SGP, European Banking Union, etc.) as well as the external challenges affecting Europe (2008 financial crisis, emerging countries, refugee crisis, etc.).

“It’s better to build our scholarship around pressing real-world problems than simply to fill little gaps in the literature.” - James Tobin, Nobel Economist

Research History

From a methodology perspective, I LOVE the kind-of new field of Data Science. I love it because it is multidisciplinary in nature, leveraging statistics with algorithms (computer science) and data (structured and unstructured). And to be in line with James Tobin’s quote above, we need at least two features to address the rising challenges of our time: open science and multidisciplinarity. The level of complexity in the world is rising as is our toolbox to answer these challenges. As scholars, we just need to step back sometimes and re-caliber our research to what is truly of essence. It can be fundamental or applied research, but it has to be of essence.

From a disciplinary perspective, I started my research in open macroeconomics studying the link between Macroeconomics and Game Theory (credibility models). I extended canonical credibility models to open economy. The use of Game Theory allowed me to introduce a political economy perspective. The goal was to have a framework to study the credibility of the new European Central Bank in the late 1990s.

This framework lead me to study the optimum currency area theory as well as the endogenous optimal currency area (e-OCA) literature. One of my papers is one of the first attempts to validate the e-OCA in the context of the European economic integration. The e-OCA literature is particularly interesting when it comes to studying the dynamics of regionalization. Then, I studied some other elements of this framework: the fiscal and structural policies as key elements of a regional integration, and in particular the question of policy coordination (i.e. the Stability and Growth Pact in Europe). In terms of methodology, I have used Game Theory, Econometrics, DSGE models, and high-frequency and unstructured data (social media). I am an avid user of R. Another key element for a regional integration is financial integration. It is also related to the e-OCA theory as an important tool for integration. FDI from multinational enterprises and financial regulations for the banking sector are then very relevant.

From studying international and European financial regulations, I got interested obviously in the 2008 financial crisis. At the crossroad of Finance and financial regulations lays the concept of systemic risk. Interestingly enough, traditional modern portfolio theory defines systematic and specific risks out of CAPM. In one of my papers, I augment the MPT theoretical framework by introducing asset price inflation (assumed to be one of the key elements in the 2008 financial crisis) and as a result I can add a third definition of risk: systemic risk. As a consequence, the new model justifies and calls for better financial regulations.

I am also interested in Industrial Organization, mostly thanks to my teaching in a Business School and from my interest in Game Theory and Technology. I like studying case studies of firms that I have visited in several countries across the world. It helps me understand the dynamics of globalization and regionalization.

Other Biographical Elements

I am also interested in economic development and I have done research on this topic in the Balkans for the World Bank and Haiti for the Inter-American development Bank. I have also created a small NGO in Haïti called Ed’Haïti aiming at helping young children to get access to primary education. I crated a couple of initiatives such as the Ambassadors’ Alliance, the CIRANO-Harvard Club of Quebec Seminar, the Avant-Garde @ CIRANO, and high-tech platforms about Data Science for International Business called Mondo International and BlackFin.

With my family, we have spent some significant time working and traveling in China (Beijing, Guanzhou), Europe, the U.S. and now Canada. I have also done and organized field studies of companies and local institutions throughout Europe, China, South Africa, Australia, USA, North Africa and some countries in Latin America, totalling more than 100 companies, central banks, international organisations and ministries studying the engines of globalization and the industrial policies of countries.

While being the academic coordinator of PolyMonde at Polytechnique Montreal, I have also created PolyFinances, an academic program to bridge engineering and international finance and I have organized three campuses for PolyFinances (two in New York City and one in Washington D.C.). After having joined HEC Montreal, I remain on the board of PolyFinances.

Honors and Awards

My first business was a landscape and construction company, but since I was not an adult (and also I don’t think everything I did was totally legal) it is better to forget it. But it was so much fun. I understood then that customer’ satisfaction was essential. My second business was during my senior year in Paris. I coded a financial software called Anafin (standing for “Analyse financière”). I don’t think the programming language still exists ;-). This software proposed to download stock prices and did some time series analyzes as well as provided some CAPM-based results. It was before JP Morgan sold the VaR model to Wall Street. The only issue was that it was before the wide spread of the Internet in France, and no one wanted to buy the software from this young guy. A couple of years later, after I learned how to shoot planes with missiles and some other “think outside of the box” skills during my military service, I joined a small team of incredible and famous people in the European media world in order to create an economic magazine, then another one, and then I was one of main architects (and owner, yesssss!) of a media convergence firm (Radio, TV, Internet) also with an economic and finance focus. Guess what? Anafin came alive since Internet users could manage their portfolio online with topnotch and user-friendly tools. “Never let a good (product) go to waste” to rearrange Winston Churchill’s famous quote. I also learned some new skills (on top of the ones from my military service) about the media industry. It is definitely a world I love. It was also one of the biggest round A funding in Paris at that time. While in Paris, I also designed an online magazine (TaGénération) for the 18-30 year old generation. It did not really work. Now Melty.fr is apparently a big success. Lesson 1: do not be too early!

Then life brought me to the other side of the Atlantic. I then participated to a MOOC (at that time, it was called “online courses” for business people, and it was about the introduction of the euro). Not a big success as well. Lesson 2: do not be too early! I also tried to sell an app called Joeletaxi with the idea of sharing trips and also creating a taxi platform in cities where there are none across the developping world. Not a big success, though Uber now is worth $17bn. Lesson 3: do not be too early! I am passing on some other failures (too embarrassing) and now I work on a couple of projects all related to Data Science for International Business ([www.nuance-r.com], [www.mondo.international], Open Science @ HEC Montreal, [www.blackfin.international], [www.drhector.org], Economic Observatory of la Francophonie [www.ofé.org], [Social Data Science Lab] @ CIRANO , Social Data Science International Network, and more).

I want to reward you for having read this far… You want some great “too early” business ideas? You don’t mind the risks? Well, it is up to you. Business idea #1: start anything that could be bought by Apple or Google in the health insurance industry. Apple and Google are going to the health insurance industry? Really? Well, the truth is they may not know it yet. However, with the iWatch, the new iOS, and the biometrics all the new gizmos will collect and aggregate, Apple and Google (and others) will realize soon that they can predict your health issues with a high probability just using big data analysis. The next move is obvious: they will be able to offer you, through iTunes, your health insurance as they offer you a membership to iTunes Match for your music. Crazy? Again, it is up to you. Think also about the health ministries across the world and the challenges this shift will pose to them. Business idea #2: Ease my life and the one of millions of customers in terms of transportation (apps, hardware, etc.). Business idea #3: no sorry, I keep it, I think this one is not too early 😉