A collection of news items related to the Department of Economics
First Look at the Future: New Home for the Economics Department and the Becker Friedman Institute
The University of Chicago Economics Department and the Becker Friedman Institute will soon call a new campus location home: 5757 S. University Avenue, the former home of the Chicago Theological Seminary and the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, will re-open in 2014 with many new features and upgrades, including a cloister café, LEED certification, high-tech classrooms in old library and chapel areas, and more. (Image courtesy Ann Beha Architects)
Gary Becker to give Keynote Speech at 3rd Annual CME Group Lecture on Global Financial Markets
Professor Gary Becker will present "Will America Retain Its Economics Leadership?" the Keynote Speech at the Third Annual CME Group Lecture on Global Financial Markets, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Thursday April 18th at 6 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. For more information, please visit The Chicago Council.org.
Economics Department Welcomes New Faculty Member
We are pleased to announce that Felix Tintelnot (Pennsylvania State University) will be joining us on July 1, 2014 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and the College, after a one-year International Economics Section Fellowship at Princeton University. His research focuses on international trade and industrial organization.
James Heckman Discusses the Value of High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs
In the wake of President Obama's State of the Union address, Nobel laureate James Heckman had the opportunity to speak with Robert Siegel on NPR's "All Things Considered" and with the Secretary of Education on "The Diane Rehm Show" about the value of high-quality early childhood education programs.
Professor Heckman spoke about the policy on "The Rachel Maddow Show" explaining that, "This is one of the rare public policies that has two features: it's economically productive—it survives very stringent analyses; and, at the same time, it reduces inequality and promotes social mobility."
John List Talks with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Region Focus
Department of Economics Chair John List shares his views on empirical research in a detailed new interview with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Excerpt: On the importance of conducting "real world" field experiments, List explains, "I think that economists' reasoning on field experiments has been flawed for decades, and I believe it is an important reason why people have not used field experiments until the last 10 or 15 years. They have believed that because the world is really messy, you can't have control in the same way that a chemist has control or a biologist might have control ... I think people have generalized incorrectly, and here’s why: When I look at the real world, I want it to be messy. I want there to be many, many variables that we don't observe and I want those variables to frustrate inference. The reason why the field experiments are so valuable is because you randomize people into treatment and control, and those unobservable variables are then balanced..."
You can read the full text of Aaron Steelman's interview with John List in the latest (Q2/3) issue of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Region Focus.
Glen Weyl on the Future of Economics
The online knowledge forum Big Think recently spoke with assistant professor E. Glen Weyl and seven more of the world's top young economists, asking about the future of their field - and its biggest unanswered questions. "Information technology...fundamentally challenges the standard foundations of the market economy," Weyl states. "For many years to come, economists will increasingly have to struggle with this challenge..." Read more in "Empirics and Psychology: Eight of the World's Top Young Economists Discuss Where Their Field is Going."
Phillip David Cagan (1927-2012)
Author and scholar Phillip David Cagan (BA 1948, UCLA; MA 1951 PhD 1954, University of Chicago, Economics) passed away on Friday, June 15, 2012. Cagan served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics from 1955-58 and then taught at Brown University for seven years. In 1966, he was hired by Columbia University, where he taught for nearly 30 years and held the Chair of the Department of Economics for three years. He made significant contributions to the field of economic science, most notably to monetary policy and the study of inflation. He published over 100 books, journals, reviews, reports and pamphlets on macroeconomics. His Ph.D. dissertation, "The Monetary Dynamics of Hyperinflation," published as the leading chapter in the volume "Studies in the Quality Theory of Money" (1956) became an "instant classic" in the field. In addition to documenting the role of growth in the supply of money in seven hyperinflations from the first half of the twentieth century, his work was important for demonstrating the importance of variations in inflationary expectations as a determinant of the demand for money and hence the inflation that would result from a given increase in the money supply. The model of money demand proposed and fit to historical data in this study, known as the "Cagan model," continues to be widely used. In 1975 Prof. Cagan was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society.
Stokey Receives Honorary Doctorate from University of Western Ontario
Nancy L. Stokey, the Frederick Henry Prince Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the University of Western Ontario on June 13 in recognition for her work on economic dynamics and the mathematical basis for much of modern macroeconomics.
Stokey told the Faculty of Social Science's 470 graduates that despite uncertainty, they would be catalysts for positive change: "Be aware that the next 40 years will surely bring great changes which you have no inkling of now...as you finish this phase of your life and begin the next, just keep in mind that the world continues to change, and often very quickly...You're the ones that can, and will, and should change (the world) further, but you may not realize how big these changes are until 40 years from now, when you're looking back."
UWO Economics professor Audra J. Bowlus, in honoring Stokey, said it is rare to find an academic whose influence extends from graduate students to researchers to world policy-makers. She adds her most lasting impression comes from Stokey's book, Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics, co-authored with husband, Robert E. Lucas, Jr. "As a student I remember when Stokey and Lucas visited to give talks. I was in awe to meet the authors of the book we had pored through as students," Bowlus said. "And as a female economist, I was doubly in awe to meet Nancy, a woman who had [excelled] in the same profession I was desperately trying to get into. So for many of us, her accomplishments as a mentor and role model far outweigh the others."
John List: New Chair of the Department of Economics
John List (PhD 1996, University of Wyoming), Homer J. Livingston Professor in Economics and the College, has been named Chair of the Department of Economics for a three-year term, effective July 1, 2012. John joined the department in 2005 in the rank of Professor. He has served as the Director of Graduate Studies and Co-Director of Graduate Admissions for the past two years. John’s work in experimental economics is featured on the University’s webpage at http://www.uchicago.edu/features/20120507_list/.
Top 100 Economics Schools Research Rankings for 2012
The University of Chicago Department of Economics was ranked second world-wide among economics programs in a survey by Tilburg University. The Top 100 Economics Schools Research Rankings for 2011 was made based on publications for the period of 2006-2010 in 36 of the top 68 leading journals in Economics, Finance and Econometrics. More information on the Top 100 listing and the ranking methodology used is available on the Tilburg University website.
Goldin to Head American Economic Association
University of Chicago alumna Claudia D. Goldin (Ph.D. '72) has been chosen as president-elect of the American Economic Association, one of the world's leading organizations of economics professors, practitioners, and experts. Once elected in 2013, she will become the third female president in the AEA's history. In a recent interview, Goldin told the Harvard Crimson, "I'm deeply honored to have been chosen by this very large organization as president… [It] is a position with a lot of work and a lot of responsibility."
Goldin, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and director of the NBER's Development of the American Economy program, is best known for her historical work on women in the U.S. economy. Her most recent papers in that area have examined the trajectory of women's quest for career and family, coeducation in higher education, the impact of the contraceptive "pill" on women's career and marriage decisions, women's surnames after marriage as a social indicator, and the reasons why women are now the majority of undergraduates. Recently, she launched a major project on family and career transitions of male and female graduates at selected universities from the late 1960s to the present.
In 2007, Goldin was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was the Gilman Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE), the Econometric Society, and the Cliometric Society. In 2009, SOLE awarded Goldin the Jacob Mincer Prize for her life-time contributions to the field of labor economics.
Professor Emeritus Larry Sjaastad (1934-2012)
Professor Emeritus Larry Sjaastad (AB 1957, AM 1958, PhD 1961, University of Chicago, Economics) died on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Sjaastad served as Professor in the Department of Economics for the period of 1962-2004. He made lasting research contributions in public finance and international economics, and had strong ties with Latin America in the form of research, teaching and students from the region at Chicago. He organized a highly productive Latin American Workshop, at which students and visitors presented research on Latin American topics. In addition, he supervised 139 PhD dissertations during his 42 years at Chicago. Prof. Sjaastad was awarded a Norman Maclean Award by the Alumni Association in 2008. A memorial service is being planned.
Glen Weyl Receives Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship
E. Glen Weyl, Assistant Professor, has been chosen to receive a Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research. This prestigious and competitive award from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is awarded to junior faculty members who are actively pursuing research in the field of entrepreneurship.
New Book on China's Economy from Nobel Laureate Ronald H. Coase
Over half a century ago, Ronald H. Coase persuaded a room full of skeptical Chicago economists, including future Nobel laureates Milton Friedman and George Stigler, to take his point of view on an important question of law and economics. In the process, Coase refined an economic theory that would later win him the Nobel Prize in 1991. Since the publication of “The Problem of Social Cost,” the article that resulted from that discussion, its underlying idea - often called the Coase Theorem - has been applied to virtually every area of human activity. Recent applications include such issues as the sale of electromagnetic spectrum broadcast rights, and the problem of pollution.
Coase, the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics, has written a new book on China's changing policy climate, How China Became Capitalist. "Anyone would be hard-pressed to find another economist that has shaped the direction of the field of law and economics as much as Prof. Coase," says co-author Ning Wang, PhD’02, an assistant professor at Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies. "In China, Coase has profoundly influenced the way its market economy has evolved...[H]e is probably the most well-known Western economist there."
At age 101, Coase already has set his sights on his next project: he plans to launch a journal entitled Man and the Economy, for which he will serve as founding editor. "We are going to do again for economics what I did with law and economics: We are going to establish a subject,” [he] says. "Economics has become a theory and math-driven subject, and I believe the approach should be empirical. You study the system as it is, understand why it works the way it does, and consider what changes could be made in order to improve the system." Read full article, with video.
2nd Year Economics Ph.D. Student Wins Yahoo! Scientific Prize
Hanzhe Zhang has been selected as a winner in the 2012 Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges Program in the Microeconomics and Market Design category. The award provides $5000 in unrestricted research funding, access to select Yahoo! datasets, as well as an opportunity to collaborate directly with Yahoo! scientists. Since 2009, Yahoo! has presented the award to about 35 graduate students each year in several categories, including computer science-related fields as well as economic and social systems. Previous winners in the Microeconomics and Market Design area include Visiting Research Scholar Scott D. Kominers ('10). Read full story at Yahoo! Labs News.
E. Glen Weyl in the New York Times
From "How To Prevent a Financial Overdose," by Gretchen Morgenson (New York Times, March 31, 2012):
"Two professors at the University of Chicago have raised an intriguing idea. In a paper published in February, Eric A. Posner, a law professor, and E. Glen Weyl, an assistant professor in economics, argue that regulators should approach financial products the way the F.D.A. approaches new drugs. The potential dangers of financial instruments, [they] argue, seem at least as extreme as the dangers of medicines.'" Read full article (registration may be required).
Further details are available in Posner and Weyl's paper, "An FDA for Financial Innovation: Applying the Insurable Interest Doctrine to 21st Century Financial Markets."
Nobel Laureate Roger Myerson Member of Governor Quinn's Illinois Budgeting for Results Commission
Roger B. Myerson, the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor and 2007 Nobel Laureate, has been appointed by Governor Patrick Quinn for a one year term on the newly instituted Illinois Budgeting for Results Commission. The commission has been charged with providing recommendations on how to improve Illinois' budget process and how to ensure that State resources are spent on those programs that are most effective at delivering results. After a series of community hearings, the Commission submitted its first report to the Governor and the General Assembly on November 1st, 2011. The commission made recommendations regarding current spending mandates, proposed outcomes regarding the Governor's priority areas, and overall percentages to be assigned to specific results areas. Myerson commented that "The Governor's budget speech this year was truly historic in its clarity of focus on the difficult decisions that must be made this year for the State of Illinois to have a sound and sustainable fiscal plan." In his State Budget Address, Governor Quinn stated "The Budgeting for Results process focused on our core priorities, and increased openness in the budget process...Sen. Dan Kotowski is chairman of the commission and worked closely with Sen. Pam Althoff, Rep. Will Davis, Rep. Ken Ganney, former budget director Steve Schorf, and many more including Roger Myerson, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. Like these commission members, I believe in a timeless American truth, there is no problem we cannot solve if we put our hearts and minds to it. Since I've been Governor, we have already defied the doubters, by working together to enact landmark reforms."
Influential economic forecaster, Michael Mussa, dies at 67
In a career spanning four decades, Michael Mussa published widely on international economics as a leading figure in the analysis of balance of payments and exchange rate determination. An active contributor to research and public policy communities, Mussa held prominent roles in academia, financial advisory panels and nongovernmental organizations. Michael Mussa earned a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1970, and his economics doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1974. Mussa served as faculty at the Booth School of Business, from 1976-1991, teaching courses on international business and finance. He will be greatly missed. View full story »
James Heckman Remarks at the White House Early Learning Challenge Announcement
James Heckman was invited to speak at the White House on December 19th, 2011, following the announcement that nine states-- California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington-- would receive grants to invest in high-quality early learning and development programs through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant competition. Watch Video.
Sam Kortum elected Fellow of the Econometric Society
Samuel Kortum, Professor in Economics and the College, Frisch Prize Medal Co-winner (2004), and Editor of the Journal of Political Economy, has been elected Fellow of the Econometric Society. The Econometric Society, founded in 1930, is the most prestigious learned society in the field of economics, with a world wide membership-- Fellows represent the highest authority of the Society, electing its Officers, Council and new Fellows in annual elections. The honor acknowledges Kortum for his significant contribution to economics. His research focuses on quantitative models of international trade, technology diffusion, and firm dynamics.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed Robert Lucas
Read "Chicago Economics on Trial"
Derek Neal selected as the next Grossman Prize Lecturer
Derek has developed a new undergraduate course entitled, "The Economics of Education" which is being offered for the first time in Spring 2011. The new course teaches students how to analyze the markets for educational services that build the skills that translate into wealth in modem economics. The course begins by exploring the sources of parental and student demand for education. Early lectures explore economic models of human capital, signaling, and spillovers that provide different ways to understand the value of education. These lectures also explore existing empirical evidence on the value of education.
John List nominated to the Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its 2011 class of fellows on Tuesday, April 19. John List was among the 212 new fellows. View full story »
We are pleased to announce that E. Glen Weyl (Princeton University) will be joining us at the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and in the College on July 1, 2011. His research focuses on pure and applied price theory, focusing on industrial organization. Alessandra Voena (Stanford University) will be joining us on July 1, 2012, at the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and in the College, after a one-year postdoc at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research focuses on applied microeconomics, applied econometrics and labor economics. In addition, Richard van Weelden (Yale University) will be joining us on July 1, 2012, at the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and in the College, after a one-year postdoc at the European University Institute in Florence. His research focuses on microeconomic theory, applied game theory and political economy.
Lars Peter Hansen awarded BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowlege Award in the Economics, Finance and Management category goes to Professor Lars Peter Hansen of the University of Chicago “for making fundamental contributions to our understanding of how economic actors cope with risky and changing environments”. View details »
Roger Myerson elected to membership in the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
Azeem Shaikh receives Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship for 2011. View details »
February 23 – March 16, 2011
The MFI will sponsor a workshop series on the use of text as data, organized by Matthew Gentzkow at Booth. This special four week workshop series will bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines, with speakers from the fields of political science, law, computer science, applied mathematics, and more. View details
James J. Heckman offers a provocative idea for reducing spiraling budget deficits and strengthening the economy: investing in early childhood development. View full story »
John List has been named the Homer J. Livingston Professor.
James J. Heckman elected to the presidency of the Econometric Society
Heckman has been elected Second Vice-President, will become First Vice-President in 2012, and President in 2013. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His research integrates econometrics, economic theory and policy analysis.
The Econometric Society is an international society for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics. The Society aims to promote studies that attempt to unify the theoretical-quantitative and empirical-quantitative approach to economic problems by employing constructive and rigorous thinking characteristic of the natural sciences. The Econometric Society was founded in 1930, by Yale economist Irving Fisher and the Norwegian economist Ragnar Frisch, who later was the first economist to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Henry Schultz of the University of Chicago was a founder of the Society, and it is fitting that Heckman holds the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Chair in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
John List named by Forbes as one of seven powerful new economists View full story »
Roger Myerson honored at economics conference in Marseille, France
Roger Myerson, the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, received the Medaille de Citoyen d'honneur de la ville de Marseille, making him an honorary citizen of Marseille, France. View full story »
John List awarded the Kenneth Galbraith prize by the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA)
The award was given for recognition of List’s “breakthrough discoveries in economics and outstanding contributions to humanity through leadership, research, and service.” In presenting the award the committee cited List’s pathbreaking work using field experiments in economics.
James Heckman elected into the Academia Sinica on July 8, 2010
Academia Sinica is an international research institution aimed at improving academic research conditions and standards through placing great emphasis on opening up new areas of intellectual endeavor. View details »
Gary Becker receives the 2010 Alumni Medal
Professor Gary Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, will receive the 2010 Alumni Medal at the Alumni Convocation at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 5 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel for his work as a Nobel Prize-winning economist. View full story »
Hansen Details 2011 Nobel Laureates' Impact on Econometrics
In a Bloomberg News article, Lars Peter Hansen highlighted the many valuable contributions of Chris Sims and Tom Sargent. View full story »
James Heckman elected into the National Academy of Education (NAEd)
The National Academy of Education is dedicated to the advancement of the highest quality education research and its use in policy formation and practice.
Robert Shimer elected as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
View a complete list of the 2010 class of new members »
Hugo Sonnenschein awarded BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award In Economics
Hugo Sonnenschein (New York, 1940) and Andreu Mas-Colell (Barcelona, 1944) share the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Economics, Finance and Managemnt for extending the reach and applicability of general equilibrium analysis and for establishing the modern theory of aggregate demand. According to the jury’s citation, their work has helped achieve better models for the overall behavior of the economy, and particularly to interpret and empirically measure consumer behavior. View full story »
Top 100 Economics Schools Research Rankings for 2011
The University of Chicago, Department of Economics was ranked second among economics programs in a world-wide survey by Tilburg University. The Top 100 Economics Schools Research Rankings for 2011 was made based on publications, for the period of 2006-2010, in 36 of the top 68 leading journals in Economics, Finance and Econometrics. View full story »
US News and World Report Ranking
The University of Chicago is ranked as the top graduate school for Economics in the nation by US News and World Report. We are proud to share this ranking with MIT, Harvard and Princeton. View the 2009 rankings »