• Alex Torgovitsky Appointed as Grossman Prize Lecturer

    Man in suit smiling in black and whiteThe Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics is pleased to announce Alex Torgovitsky as the next Grossman Prize Lecturer. To be eligible for this honor, applicants must hold the rank of Full Professor and must have an exemplary record of scholarship and classroom teaching.

    As the Grossman Prize Lecturer, Torgovitsky will be appointed for five years, during which time he will develop a new set of lectures and teach the undergraduate course he has selected. The new lectures he develops will also be prepared and published in textbook form. Specifically, Torgovitsky plans to develop a pair of companion courses, Econ 21040 and 21050, Econometrics II and Econometrics II - Honors, which will emphasize empirics, coding, and hands-on work, without sacrificing any theoretical rigor.

    The Grossman Prize Lectureship is funded by the Sanford J. Grossman Fund in Economics. The primary purpose of the endowment is to extend the influence of the Chicago faculty in undergraduate education in Economics by enhancing and extending the involvement of the senior faculty in the undergraduate program and encouraging them to disseminate their lectures in book form.

    Torgovitsky’s personal research focuses on microeconometrics, applied econometrics, and causal inference. His most recently published papers include “Nonparametric Inference on State Dependence in Unemployment” in Econometrica, and “Partial Identification by Extending Subdistributions” in Quantitative Economics.

    He has been a Professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics since 2020, an Assistant Professor in the department 2017-2020, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor 2015-2016. He was also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Northwestern University 2011-2017.

    Alex Torgovitsky’s appointment as Grossman Prize Lecturer will begin on July 1, 2021.

  • Assistant Professor Hiring Update

    We are pleased to announce that Anne Karing and Christina Brown will be joining the junior faculty at the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.

    Woman in building hallway smilingKaring completed her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley (2019) and is currently an Assistant Professor at Princeton University. Her research focuses on the intersection of development and behavioral economics, reflected in her dissertation, “Social Signaling and Health Behavior in Low-Income Countries.” Her job market paper “Social Signaling and Childhood Immunization: A Field Experiment in Sierra Leone” examines social signaling in the context of child immunization in Sierra Leone wherein she implemented a 22-month-long experiment in 120 public clinics.

    She will join the faculty as the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Economics and the College on July 1, 2021.

    Her personal website can be viewed here: https://sites.google.com/view/annekaring.

    Woman outside, smilingBrown is a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on topics related to labor and behavioral economics and examines labor market imperfections in low-income settings. In Brown’s dissertation, “Essays on Personnel Economics in Low-Income Countries,” she addresses the sorting and incentive effects of performance pay for teachers in Pakistan by running a field experiment in Pakistan where schools are randomized into performance pay or fixed pay contracts.

    She will join the faculty on July 1, 2023 following a 2-year postdoctoral research position at the Becker Friedman Institute of Economics at the University of Chicago.

    Her personal website can be viewed here: https://sites.google.com/site/christinabrownecon/


  • JPE Awards 2021 Lucas Prize

    The Journal of Political Economy has announced the winners of this year's Robert E. Lucas Jr. Prize: Charles I. Jones and Jihee Kim for their paper, "A Schumpeterian Model of Top Income Inequality" (Journal of Political Economy 126 [5]: 1785-1826). 

    The following description of the winning paper was originally published on the Journal of Political Economy website. 

    "This paper pertains to a topic that has received much attention as of late: why is income inequality at the top so high, and why has it risen sharply in the United States, though less so in other countries?  The authors provide an empirical analysis and complement it with a model to understand the facts.

    The authors observe that top income inequality was relatively low and stable between 1960 and 1980 but then rose sharply in the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom. They argue that rising top income inequality to a great extent reflects rising labor income inequality, where labor income is broadly conceived and includes entrepreneurial income such as "business income." The authors confirm that labor income is well described by a Pareto distribution, that is, that the expected income above some level is in a constant proportion relative to that level (see their fig. 4). The rising income inequality manifests itself in that this proportion has risen between 1980 and 2005.

    For their model, they focus on entrepreneurial activity and the resulting income as the driving force.  They assume that a small share of entrepreneurs can turn their efforts into fast income growth, until they are replaced by competitors via creative destruction. This interplay produces the Pareto distribution and income inequality. They calculate the resulting efforts provided by entrepreneurs. Higher growth prospects and a lower creative destruction rate imply higher efforts as well as higher inequality. In their measurement, they calculate the contribution of each. A numerical approximation shows that the model can well account for the observed changes in income inequality. Ultimately, then, economic forces due to information technology, taxes, and policies related to innovation blocking may explain the varied patterns.

    This important paper is part of a growing literature that helps us more deeply understand the engines of growth, the sources of inequality, and their rich interplay. Policy choices seeking adjustments to one are likely to affect the other. Future research can build on the work by Jones and Kim to provide more detailed guidance."

    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.

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