A collection of news items related to the Department of Economics
Economics Department Welcomes New Faculty Members
We are pleased to announce that Greg Kaplan (Princeton) joined our faculty this May as Professor in Economics and the College, with Pietro Tebaldi (Stanford) and Leo Bursztyn (UCLA Anderson) joining the department this July as Assistant Professors in Economics and the College. Kaplan is a macroeconomist whose research focuses on inequality, consumption, risk sharing, life-cycle behavior, and aggregate fluctuations. Tebaldi's fields of interest include industrial organization, applied microeconomic theory, health economics, and insurance markets. Bursztyn's work centers on political economy and development economics, with recent research into educational preferences and decision-making, consumer behavior in developing nations, and the effect of media on behavior. We also welcome Elliot Lipnowski (NYU Stern), joining the Becker Friedman Institute this July as a Research Fellow, and who will join the Economics Department in July 2017 as an Assistant Professor in Economics and the College. Lipnowski studies microeconomic theory, specializing in dynamic games of incomplete information.
Hortaçsu Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Professor Ali Hortaçsu, the Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor of Economics and in the College, is one of this year's newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies. His research focuses largely on industrial organization, multi-unit auctions, production and financial networks, and the empirical assessment of market efficiency. Read full story.
Magne Mogstad will receive one of this year's Fridtjof Nansen Awards for Young Scientists "for his outstanding research in the field of economics." This honor is given to Norwegian researchers under age 40 who have "shown scientific contributions of international significance on a very high level," according to Line Therese Naevestad, Senior Adviser at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The awards will be presented at the Academy's May 3rd annual meeting in Oslo.
"What once divided, now connects," says Ann Beha Architects' Philip Chen in Contract Design Magazine, a statement that describes both Saieh Hall's spacious, cathedral-like entrance and a key architectural concept behind its re-invention as new home base for the Department of Economics and the Becker Friedman Institute. The recent article surveys the building's transformation from contemplative Gothic seminary into an array of unique collaborative spaces that include specialized features such as whiteboards and chalkboards in public areas, because "economics dialogue ... requires problems to be worked out in writing." "Our old quarters [in Rosenwald Hall] did not promote collaboration," said Department of Economics Chair John List, "The new building maximizes cohesiveness through its common areas." Read full story.
Heckman Named Dan David Prize Laureate
Prof. James J. Heckman is one of this year’s recipients of the international Dan David Prize, among one of three economists recognized for their efforts in fighting poverty. According to the Dan David Foundation, Heckman’s research underscores "the importance of early childhood education, nurture and well-being," while "[h]is findings fundamentally refocus policy attention…and influence the discussion of global poverty worldwide." Social Sciences Division dean David Nirenberg praised Heckman’s work, saying, "It is impossible to overstate the significance of Prof. Heckman’s achievements and his enormous contribution in the fight to eradicate poverty." This year’s laureates will be honored at a May 22 ceremony at Tel Aviv University. Read full story.
Lucas Receives Phoenix Prize
The Division of Social Sciences has announced that Prof. Robert E. Lucas, Jr. will receive the Phoenix Prize in recognition of his outstanding and loyal service to the University of Chicago, and the enormous influence of his work on the field of economics. The Phoenix Prize is the highest honor the Division of Social Sciences bestows upon a colleague, awarded periodically "to those who…have changed the trajectory of research in the social sciences and have contributed to the cycle of intellectual renewal across the disciplines." Social Sciences Division Dean David Nirenberg stated Lucas' research and teaching "have refocused the way we think about the world and [have] enlightened generations of economists." Lucas received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1964 and has been a faculty member since 1973. The prize was previously awarded to James Coleman, Professor in Sociology, in 1994; to Marshall Sahlins, Professor in Anthropology and Sociology, in 1998, and most recently in 2001 to Prof. Gary Becker.
Heckman Receives Madison Medal
Prof. James J. Heckman has been named this year's recipient of the James Madison Medal, Princeton University's highest alumni honor, in recognition of his distinguished scholarship and public service. "[Heckman's] work provides a valuable foundation for policymakers," according to Sanjeev Kulkarni, dean of Princeton's Graduate School; "[his] recent work shows the enormous benefits of investing in early childhood education." Justin Mikolay, president of the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni, emphasized that Prof. Heckman "has related his specialized knowledge to more and more general problems, and as a result many others are applying his scholarship for the common good." Read full story.
List and Greenstone Elected Econometric Society Fellows
The Econometric Society welcomes Department of Economics faculty Chair Prof. John List and Prof. Michael Greenstone as newly elected Fellows. Society Executive Vice-President Bernard Salanié calls their election a "fitting recognition of [their] highly regarded contributions to Economics." The Econometric Society is an international organization for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics.
Moll Wins EIB Young Economist Award
Our congratulations to Benjamin Moll (Econ, PhD'10), this year's recipient of the European Investment Bank's Young Economist Award. Moll, currently Assistant Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton, will present a keynote lecture and receive the prize this November at the EIB Economics of Inequality and Economic Growth Awards Ceremony in Luxembourg.
List Named 2015 Thomson Reuters Nobel "Pick"
We are proud to announce that Department Chair John List has been named a 2015 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate for his contributions to the field of economics. The international news and information organization grants the honor to highlight the significance of the scholar's work in the scientific community, based upon the number of times fellow researchers have chosen to cite their published papers. Importantly, Citation Laureates are commonly known as Thomson Reuters "Picks" for the Nobel Prize, in recognition of the frequency with which honorees become future Nobel recipients. Read full story.
Greenstone: Cleaner Air Leads to Longer Lives
In a New York Times editorial, Michael Greenstone argues that reductions in smog and air pollution over the past 45 years in the wake of the Clean Air Act have been a primary cause of increased life expectancies in the United States - a 2 year average increase for residents of New York and Chicago, and in the case of one metropolitan area in Ohio/West Virginia, as much as 5 years. Greenstone's research team recently compared pollution and mortality rates between the North and South of China, obtaining US results by applying the formula to E.P.A. airborne particulate matter data from 1970 to 2012. Read full story.
Deshpande to Receive APPAM PhD Award
The Economics Department congratulates Manasi Deshpande, who will join our department as an Assistant Professor on July 1, 2016, on being named this year's recipient of the APPAM PhD Dissertation Award, which honors emergent scholars in the field of public policy and management. Dr. Deshpande will receive the award at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)’s 2015 Fall Research Conference in Miami, FL. Read full story.
Hortaçsu and Syverson: Warehouse Clubs Outpacing E-Commerce
In a new NBER working paper, Ali Hortaçsu and Chad Syverson find that warehouse clubs experienced a greater growth rate over the past two decades than did online shopping. Using Census Bureau data to compare relative size and growth trajectories in the sector, they found that while e-commerce grew tenfold - from $35 billion in sales in 1992 to $348 billion in 2013 - during that same period, the warehouse club industry grew from $40 billion to $420 billion, an even greater 10.5-fold increase. Read full story.
List Named NPT 'Power & Influence Top 50' Innovator
The Economics Department is proud to announce Chairman Prof. John List has been named one of the NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50 Innovators, "exemplify[ing] what happens when people stand firmly for inclusion and equal rights, whether it is in healthcare, public policy, education or opportunity for all," according to NPT Vice President and Editorial Director Paul Clolery.
List was cited for his work as Principal Investigator for the Science of Philanthropy Initiative, which NPT describes as "a donor Manhattan Project...[with] the potential to be some of the sector's most important academic work." This year's honorees were selected from a group of roughly 300 top executives, who "made decisions every day that changed lives for the better." Prof. List will be among those commended in Washington, D.C., in September during the annual NPT Power & Influence Top 50 Gala at The National Press Club.
Mas-Colell to Receive Honorary UChicago Degree
One of the scholars to be honored at the University of Chicago's 523rd Convocation is Andreu Mas-Colell, professor of economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and current Minister of Economy and Knowledge for Catalonia, Spain. Mas-Colell is one of the world's leading economic theorists, known for developing the theory of adaptive learning in games, and for his significant contributions to general equilibrium theory by extending the Arrow-Debreu model to a range of problems in finance, public economics, and industrial organization. He is also the lead author of Microeconomic Theory, one of the field's essential texts. Professor Hugo Sonnenschein, President Emeritus, Honorary Trustee, and the Adam Smith Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, will present the degree to Mas-Colell on June 13. Read full story.
Economics Department Welcomes New Faculty Members
We are pleased to announce that we have attracted our largest cohort of new Assistant Professors. Ufuk Akcigit (MIT), Manasi Deshpande (MIT), Michael Dinerstein (Stanford), Thibaut Lamadon (UCL), Doron Ravid (Princeton), Lawrence Schmidt (UCSD) will be joining us as Assistant Professors in the Department of Economics and the College.
Ufuk Akcigit's research interests include macroeconomics, economic growth and firm dynamics, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation. Manasi Deshpande, whose research focuses on public finance and applied microeconomics, will be a Becker Friedman Research Scholar for one year and will join the department in July 2016. Michael Dinerstein’s research focuses primarily in applied microeconomics, with a focus on industrial organization, the economics of education and public economics. Thibaut Lamadon (UCL) will be joining us as Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and the College after spending one year as a Research Scholar in the Becker Friedman Institute. Thibaut’s research focuses on macro-labor, dynamic contracting, equilibrium search and applied econometrics. Doron Ravid is an economic theorist focusing on game theory, behavioral economics and microeconomic theory. Larry Schmidt’s research is at the intersection of finance and macroeconomics, with a particular emphasis on asset pricing. Benjamin Brooks, who was hired last year and has been a Becker Friedman Research Scholar this year and next, will begin as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and the College in July 2016.
Reny Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Professor Philip J. Reny, the William C. Norby Professor in Economics and in the College, is one of this year's newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies. Among his most important contributions are his results on the existence of Nash equilibrium in discontinuous games and his work on information aggregation in double auctions. Read full story.
Sanderson to Receive Paul Sally Award
The Department of Economics is pleased to announce that Allen Sanderson will receive this year’s Paul Sally Distinguished Faculty Leadership Award on May 12, an honor granted by the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program to a faculty member for their service and commitment to students and staff, and for contributions to advancing and shaping the program’s mission. The UCCSP is a three-year program that helps prepare talented Chicago Public Schools students in grades 10-12 for admission and success at the nation’s top colleges and universities.
D. Gale Johnson Lecture 2015: World Bank's Kaushik Basu
This year's D. Gale Johnson Lecture will be presented by Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the World Bank. Dr. Basu's talk, "Why Are Laws So Poorly Implemented? From Policymaking in India to Models of Law and Economics," will take place on Monday, April 13 from 3:30-5:00pm in Saieh Hall for Economics Room 146, with a reception to follow. The annual lecture series honors the late Prof. Johnson (1916-2003), one of the University’s longest serving and most distinguished faculty members.
Magne Mogstad Receives 2015 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
Levy Named New Brazil Finance Minister
Joaquim Levy (Ph.D. '93, Economics) has been named Brazil's new finance minister by President Dilma Rousseff. Levy began his career upon graduation as Professor of Economics at Fundação Getúlio Vargas. He later held multiple positions at the International Monetary Fund in its Western Hemisphere, European I, and Research Departments, from 1992 to 1998. In 2000, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of Economic Policy at Brazil’s Ministry of Finance, and in 2001 became Chief Economist at Brazil's Ministry of Planning, Budget, and Management. He also served as vice-president at the Inter-American Development Bank, as a Visiting Economist at the European Central Bank, and as Finance Secretary of Rio De Janeiro state. Levy begins his term as Finance Minister in January 2015.
Department of Economics chair Professor John List has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Tilburg University. In his Nov. 20th keynote lecture at the university's Dies Natalis anniversary celebration, List described how his research helps explain why people do what they do in everyday situations - and how incentives can change their behavior. Tilburg University calls him "a true pioneer in experimental field research," whose innovative work has "finally made it possible to test behavioral economic theory in everyday practice...He has raised this research area to a higher level with his originality, expertise, and impact, and he is an inspiration to many." Watch: Tilburg University video interview with John List.
UChicago Fed Challenge Team Advances to National Championship
Our congratulations to UChicago's Fed Challenge team, winner of this year's district competition held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on November 10. This year the University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Michigan and 13 other Midwest schools sent undergraduate teams to present and defend monetary proposal policies before a panel of Fed economists. UChicago's team - Economics majors Basil Halperin, Joe Mihm, Kayla Reinherz, and Allan Zhang, with faculty adviser and coach Kotaro Yoshida - will travel to Washington, DC to compete in the National Fed Challenge at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on December 2.
Hugo Sonnenschein, Adam Smith Distinguished Service Professor and President Emeritus, gave the Aims of Education address on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 to the incoming Class of 2018. As stated on the University's website at http://aims.uchicago.edu/, "The address encourages students to reflect on the purpose and definition of education as they embark upon their collegiate years.” After the address, the students go back to their residence halls and discuss the talk in small groups with a faculty member.
Department Chair John List praised Sonnenschein's address as "inspiring and broad reaching ... cement[ing] our place within the University. Hugo, I am proud to call you my colleague. I want to thank [you] for this tremendous service to not only the department but the broader community."
Myerson on Prosperity Through Networks and Trust
Speaking at the Old Mutual meetings in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nobel Laureate Roger Myerson challenged that nation's government and business leaders to form deeper networks and build trust as a means to economic prosperity. Myerson explained how the perspectives of game theory, which help social scientists see connections between competitive incentives, can deepen understanding of development by providing a general framework for analyzing the variations in political, economic, and social institutions in different countries. Myerson also said the key to successful democratic development is increasing a nation's supply of local government leaders with good reputations for exercising power and spending public funds responsibly. Read the full article, and the text of Myerson's talk, "Democratic Decentralization and Development," [PDF] here.
In recognition of University Trustee Alvaro Saieh's (AM’76, PhD’80) generous contribution to the renovation and adaptive reuse of 5757 South University Ave., the iconic structure has been named the Saieh Hall for Economics. At the June 4th Board of Trustees meeting, President Robert J. Zimmer stated, "We are deeply grateful for Alvaro’s generosity, which provides support for our faculty, students, visitors and initiatives that will fuel collaboration and discoveries with global impact." The Saieh Hall for Economics will contain 150,000 square feet of classrooms, seminar and conference rooms, and collaborative workspaces, accommodating the Department of Economics and the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics. Read full story here.
Doti: Remembering Gary Becker's Contributions
Chapman University president Prof. James L. Doti shares his memories and offers a tribute to his former professor in this recent Orange County Register news article.
Economics Welcomes New Faculty: Brooks, Lamadon
We are pleased to announce that Benjamin Brooks (Princeton) and Thibaut Lamadon (UCL) will be joining us as Assistant Professors in the Department of Economics and the College. Brooks, whose research focuses on microeconomic theory, will be a Becker Friedman Research Scholar for two years and joins the department in July 2016. Lamadon will be a BFI Research Scholar for one year, and will join our faculty in July 2015. His research focuses on macro-labor, dynamic contracting, equilibrium search and applied econometrics.
Gary Becker (1930-2014)
Professor Gary Becker (University of Chicago, 1955) passed away on Saturday, May 3, 2014. He started his career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago from 1954-1957. He joined Columbia University in 1957 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to Associate Professor and then full Professor in 1960, becoming the Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics in 1968. In 1970, he returned to University of Chicago as University Professor. He served as Department of Economics Chairman in 1984-85. He held a joint appointment in Sociology and the Booth School. He was also the Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 1990.
Gary received many awards for his work. He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1967. He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972. He served as President of the American Economic Association in 1987. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 for "having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including nonmarket behavior." He received the National Medal of Science in 2000 for his work in social policy and received the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2007.
He was a pioneer in the fields of human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, addiction, and population. He was a featured columnist for Business Week and coauthor of the Becker-Posner Blog with Richard Posner, senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. A memorial service is being planned.
Read full article here.
Werning, Colleagues Remember Becker
Heckman Awarded Frisch Medal
Professor James Heckman will receive this year's Frisch Medal for his paper, "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation." The Econometric Society cites the work as "a comprehensive framework for analyzing the evolution of cognitive skills and personality traits across the different stages of childhood...a powerful demonstration of the value of formal methods in elucidating policy questions of the highest importance."
Greenstone Elected to AAAS
Professor Michael Greenstone is one of this year's newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies. His research focuses largely on the economics of environmental quality and energy policy, including a large-scale project seeking to estimate the costs of climate change around the world. Read full story.
Myerson: What is Putin's Secret Weapon?
Russia's President Vladimir Putin can seemingly muster crowds of secessionist supporters in Ukraine with a "wave of his hand in the Kremlin;" Nobel Laureate Roger Myerson analyzes the forces in play, and how Putin cultivated his powerful web of influence in this Huffington Post essay.
30 Top Thinkers Under 30: Glen Weyl
Spotlighted in Pacific Standard's 30 Top Thinkers Under 30, E. Glen Weyl talks candidly about his academically and politically active youth, his mentors and future plans, and how quadratic voting could "refit the social machine."
Myerson: A Way Forward for Ukraine
In The New York Times, Nobel Laureate Roger Myerson, with co-authors Tymofiy Mylovanov and Scott Gehlbach, addresses Ukraine's turbulent transition to independent democracy. Myerson proposes that changing Ukraine's constitution to allow local selection of governors - rather than its current regime of centralized appointments - would create a pool of national politicians with reputations for governing responsibly, allaying Eastern Ukraine's fear of Western domination and reducing instability that invites Russian intervention. Learn more about the "Myerson and Mylovanov Initiative" at the Kyiv Post, and the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Glen Weyl on the ACA's Future
Glen Weyl receives 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship
Economics Department Welcomes New Faculty Member
We are pleased to announce that Michael Greenstone (Princeton) will be joining us on July 1, 2014 in the rank of Professor in the Department of Economics and the College. Michael will also serve as Director of the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at Chicago. He began his career in 2000 as an Assistant Professor in our department. He left in 2003 to accept an Associate Professor position at MIT. In 2009-10, he served as the chief economist at the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. Full story here.
Ronald Coase Institute Receives 2013 Fisher Award
The Atlas Network announced its 2013 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award winner, the Ronald Coase Institute, for the book "How China Became Capitalist," written by late Professor Ronald Coase and co-author Ning Wang. Dr. Wang accepted the prize on behalf of the Institute at the Nov. 13th ceremony in New York City. More details here.HANSEN RECEIVES NOBEL PRIZE
The Department of Economics proudly announces that Professor Lars Peter Hansen, David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor, has received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Hansen pioneered the development of econometric methods to tackle the world's most difficult questions. He has applied these methods to study the determinants of consumption, savings and security market prices, lending powerful insights into how various policy proposals affect the economy. His seminal paper, "Large Sample Properties of Generalized-Methods of Moments Estimators," importantly altered the landscape for how empirical research is done in finance and macroeconomics. Hansen shares this year's prize with fellow University of Chicago Professor Eugene F. Fama. Video, slideshow and full story here.
Myerson Receives Oskar Morgenstern Award
Professor Roger Myerson has been named recipient of the Oskar Morgenstern Award from the Society for the Advancement of Economic Sciences at the University of Vienna. The prize was established to honor an outstanding economist whose work is closely connected to the writings of Oskar Morgenstern, one of the co-founders of game theory.
Economics Department Welcomes New Faculty Member
We are pleased to announce that Stephane Bonhomme (University of Paris I) will be joining us on November 1, 2013 in the rank of Professor in the Department of Economics and the College. Stephane is currently a Professor at the Center for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) in Madrid. His research focuses on labor economics, microeconometrics and econometric theory.
Ronald H. Coase, Nobel Laureate and the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics, died on Monday, September 2, at the age of 102. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1991 for his work on two articles: "The Nature of the Firm," and "The Problem of Social Cost." He was the oldest living Nobel laureate, according to the Nobel Foundation. A public event honoring his life and work is planned for Spring 2014. The University of Chicago Law School devoted one of its Chicago's Best Ideas talks to Professor Coase, "Coase's Legacy," presented by Saul Levmore. Read full story.
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)
Beijing Conference Launches Collaborative Global Study of Inequality
James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Director of the Economics Research Center and the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, convened the 6/17 Conference on the Study of Inequality in Beijing, China, co-sponsored by the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group, the University of Chicago Center in Beijing and the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University. The conference opened a week of events designed to provide economists robust new tools for measuring and assessing inequality, and an intensive summer training session for graduate students. Read full story.
Weyl and Posner's Antidote for 'Poison Pills'
E. Glen Weyl and Eric Posner propose a QVB (quadratic vote buying) solution to the potential pitfalls of shareholder-rights plans, in the New York Times Dealbook's "How to Make 'Poison Pills' Palatable."
Gary Becker Gives Keynote Speech at 3rd Annual CME Group Lecture on Global Financial Markets
Professor Gary Becker presented "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 Members
We are pleased to announce that Felix Tintelnot (Pennsylvania State University) and Magne Mogstad (University of Oslo) will be joining us in 2014 as Assistant Professors in the Department of Economics and the College. Magne, who will be joining us January 1st, 2014, is currently an Assistant Professor at University College of London. His research focuses on applied microeconomic theory and empirical microeconomics, specifically in the area of labor economics, household economics and testing general consumer theory. Felix will be joining us on July 1, 2014, 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.
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 »
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 »
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 »