• JPE Awards 2019 Lucas Prize


    The Journal of Political Economy has announced the winners of this year's Robert E. Lucas Jr. Prize: Klaus Desmet, Dávid Krisztián Nagy, and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, for their paper "The Geography of Development" (Journal of Political Economy 126 [3]: 903‒83). Most economic geography models (including classic urban models) treat dynamics by comparing steady states of the model. Yet, transition dynamics are important to analyze the regional consequences of the decline in the rust belt in the United States, the rise of China as a global power, or the impact of climate change. If mobility is costly, the spatial adjustment in response to a given shock may occur slowly and amenities need to be built over time, with important ramifications for welfare calculations.

    The paper provides some of the first applied theory research to make progress on modeling transition dynamics in spatial sorting models, and incorporates two components to spatial sorting dynamics: endogenous local productivity growth and sluggish mobility. It also makes a methodological contribution by finding a tractable way to incorporate mobility frictions into spatial sorting models.

    The Lucas Prize is awarded biannually for the most interesting paper in the area of Dynamic Economics published in the Journal of Political Economy in the preceding two years. The prize was established in 2016 on the occasion of the celebration of Lucas’s seminal contributions to economics and his Phoenix Prize award.

  • Heckman Study: Education, Nutrition Improve Language Skills for Children in Rural China

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    We found a very substantive impact on their language development, even among fairly young children...These are aspects that we know are important to a child’s long-term trajectory. Early spoken language is a precursor and predictor of later life development.

    A groundbreaking study by University of Chicago scholars could have a profound impact on the lives and futures of children in poverty-stricken communities of rural China. Prof. James Heckman, a pioneering economist and Nobel laureate, led an innovative early childhood trial that evaluated the long-term impact of providing nutritional support and psychosocial stimulation to at-risk children in China—tens of millions of whom are left alone in their rural communities when their parents travel to urban areas for work.

    As part of the Rural Education and Child Health project (ChinaREACH), Heckman and fellow UChicago scholars worked with the China Development Research Foundation to collect data on child health, development and home environment. They found children who received both nutritional and educational interventions showed significant advances in language skills, as well as social and emotional development. “We found a very substantive impact on their language development, even among fairly young children,” said Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, whose groundbreaking work on the benefits of early childhood education has helped shaped the field.

    Learn more about the ChinaREACH Project and Prof. James Heckman's research work at cehd.uchicago.edu.

  • Torgovitsky Awarded NSF CAREER Grant

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    The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics is pleased to announce that Alexander Torgovitsky has been awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER grant, the organization's most prestigious junior faculty award. The CAREER grant supports early-career faculty who "exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through [their] outstanding research, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations." Torgovitsky, whose recent work has focused on developing new methodologies for estimating demand and identification of causal effects, will be Principal Investigator on the grant entitled, “CAREER – Identification as Optimization.” The goal of the proposed research is to widen the choice of available methodology in a way that gives researchers more flexibility in exploring the assumptions-conclusions frontier. Torgovitsky joined the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics faculty in 2017. (Photo courtesy Alex Torgovitsky)

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