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Economics Forum Includes Nobel Laureate McFadden

12/12/13

By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff

Published: Dec. 12, 2013

Nobel laureate Daniel McFadden, the E. Morris Cox Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California Berkeley, will be a featured speaker today at an international conference on consumer demand hosted by the Economics Department.

McFadden, who won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economics for his research into behavioral patterns in individual decision-making, will discuss the costs associated with poor choices made in high-risk areas.

The three-day conference, which will take place in the Murray Room of the Yawkey Center, focuses on traditional and new models economists use to explore and understand consumer demand, according to Associate Professor of Economics Stefan Hoderlein, a lead organizer of the conference along with colleagues from University College London.

“There will be a lot of different perspectives at this conference,” Hoderlein said. “We’ve focused on bringing together experts in the areas of applied economics, economic theory and econometric data analysis. The idea is to get a conversation going.”

In addition to McFadden, the conference lineup of more than 20 economists includes Harvard University’s Ariel Pakes, Northwestern University’s Charles Manski and

MIT’s Jerry Hausman.

Hoderlein said the area of consumer demand is a dynamic topic in the field of economics. Not only are scholars viewing demand through the lenses of other disciplines, but they now have access to massive and highly detailed data sets generated by the companies that operate e-commerce and search engine sites on the Internet.

“This has always been a dynamic area, but the situation we have now is data gathered by companies like Amazon.com or Google,” said Hoderlein. “We have large consumer data sets that span hundreds of thousands of individuals and one of the things we’ll be looking at is how that will affect this field.”

Hoderlein will speak as part of a panel tomorrow, joined by BC’s Barbara A. and Patrick E. Roche Professor of Economics Arthur Lewbel. Associate Professor of Economics Julie Holland Mortimer is also participating in the conference.

Co-sponsors of the event include the Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, both affiliated with Britain’s Economic & Social Research Council.