• Economist Esteban Rossi-Hansberg to join UChicago faculty as the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor

    Man in suit smilingEconomist Esteban Rossi-Hansberg to join UChicago faculty

    Economist Esteban Rossi-Hansberg has been appointed the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago where he will join the faculty of the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.

    Rossi-Hansberg’s research focuses include international trade, urban and regional economics, and macroeconomics. He was most recently at Princeton as the Theodore A. Wells '29 Professor of Economics and International Affairs and is a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), as well as a Research Fellow with the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

    Rossi-Hansberg returns to the University of Chicago after receiving his Ph.D. from the University in 2002 and teaching as a Visiting Professor of Economics in the Booth School of Business during 2018-2019. He was a recipient of the 2019 Robert E. Lucas Jr. Prize for his paper, “The Geography of Development" (Journal of Political Economy 126 [3]: 903‒83).

    Rossi-Hansberg’s appointment at UChicago will be effective on July 1.

  • Study suggests the U.S. may undervalue timesaving transportation infrastructure

    For Lyft users, time is money—now, we know how much

    Study suggests the U.S. may undervalue timesaving transportation infrastructure

    How much money is time worth? University of Chicago economists and their collaborators think they have found the answer—$19.38 per hour. It’s a finding with policy implications, according to the economists, because it suggests the U.S. government may currently be underestimating the value of travel time.

    To quantify the value of time, the economists created a field experiment involving 3.7 million users of the Lyft app in 13 cities. By manipulating the price quotes and wait times displayed on the app, the researchers were able to study how much customers were willing to pay for a faster rideshare pickup.

    Released by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, the new working paper calculated the $19 figure by modeling the relationship between wait times and prices and extrapolating to find the value of an hour. The average wait time for a ride in the study was 3.08 minutes and the average price was $13.83.

    The broad nature of the experiment, said Prof. John List, allowed the economists to estimate the value of time across different people, choice circumstances and market conditions.

    A pioneer in the use of field experiments in economics, List co-authored the paper with UChicago alumni Ariel Goldschmidt, Ian Muir and Jenny Wang—who now work as data scientists at Lyft—and former UChicago postdoctoral researcher Robert Metcalfe, now at Boston University. V. Kerry Smith, an emeritus professor of economics at Arizona State University, also collaborated on the paper.

    “Our value of time estimate is larger than that which is currently used by the U.S. government, suggesting that society is undervaluing time improvements and subsequently underinvesting public resources in timesaving infrastructure projects and technologies,” said List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics.

    On the basis of these findings, the study’s authors recommend that policymakers account for differences in the value of time based on location and time of day when estimating the costs and benefits of new public projects, and increase their rule-of-thumb value of time estimate to 75% of the mean wage rate.

    “Time is the ultimate scarce resource, and its value has deep implications for a range of economic phenomena and investment decisions,” the authors wrote. Among these, commute time is especially important because it impacts how people decide where to live.

    Read the full story at news.uchicago.edu


  • Remembering Yiran Fan

    The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and our campus community is deeply mourning the loss of Yiran Fan, who was an alumnus of the University’s Financial Math program and was enrolled in a joint program of the Booth School of Business and the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. He will be remembered as a generous classmate, a superb research and teaching assistant, a promising scholar, and a kind friend. 

    Many far-and-wide have expressed wishes and shared their plans to honor Yiran. Messages have been pouring into the department from Yiran’s friends, both within the University community and outside of it, as well as from faculty, students, and alumni. One such message is Lars Hansen’s testimony from his webpage

    Candlelight Vigil

    On Thursday, January 14, The University will hold a candlelight vigil for Yiran. The vigil will begin promptly at 4:00 p.m. in the center circle of the Main Quadrangle, and may be attended in person or remotely through a live broadcast. Those attending the vigil are expected to maintain COVID-19 safety requirements, including social distancing and masks. For additional details, including live-streaming information, please visit news.uchicago.edu

    Send a Note of Condolence

    Those who wish to may also offer a note of condolence for Yiran's family here. Notes will be translated, printed, and given to Yiran’s family.

    Memorial Fund

    In partnership with the Fan family, The University of Chicago is establishing a fund in memory of Yiran Fan to support students in the joint program of The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and Chicago Booth. To contribute, please visit give.uchicago.edu/ssdmemorial. The University will send a letter to the family to acknowledge your gift. 

    Make a Monetary Gift

    While the University is committed to assisting the family of Yiran Fan at this difficult time, we understand the desire of the community to support the bereaved family directly by gifts. Here are the community giving links:

    China residents (RMB donation)

    US residents (USD donation)

    Posthumous Proposal/Defense

    A posthumous proposal/defense will be held on March 2, 2021 in support of a PhD degree for Yiran Fan. Yiran's committee includes Lars Peter Hansen and Zhiguo He as co-chairs, along with professors Veronica Guerrieri at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Doron Ravid from The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. 

    Yiran's dissertation will consist of two essays, "Screening Competition under Flexible Information Acquisition" and "The Interaction of Bankers' Asset and Liability Management with Liquidity Concerns." Co-chairs will speak for approximately 25 minutes on each. 

    More details and plans to honor Yiran's memory will be shared as they are made available. 


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