Guido Imbens

Last updated

Guido Imbens
Born
Guido Wilhelmus Imbens

(1963-09-03) 3 September 1963 (age 58)
Geldrop, Netherlands
Nationality
  • Dutch
  • American
Spouse(s) Susan Athey
Institution Stanford University
Field Econometrics
Alma mater Erasmus University (BA)
University of Hull (MSc)
Brown University (MA, PhD)
Doctoral
advisor
Anthony Lancaster
Doctoral
students
Rajeev Dehejia
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2021)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Guido Wilhelmus Imbens (born 3 September 1963) is a Dutch American economist. In 2021 Imbens was awarded half of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Joshua Angrist "for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships", with David Card awarded the other half. [1] [2] He has been Professor of Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business at Stanford University since 2012. [3]

Contents

Early life and education

Guido Wilhelmus Imbens was born on 3 September 1963 in Geldrop, Netherlands. [4] In 1975 his family moved to Deurne, where he attended Peellandcollege  [ nl ]. As a child, Imbens was an avid chess player. [5] In a 2021 interview, Imbens connected his passion for econometrics to his childhood interest in the game. [6]

Imbens graduated with a Candidate's degree (equivalent to a Bachelor's degree) in Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1983. He subsequently obtained an MSc degree with distinction in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Hull in Kingston upon Hull, UK in 1986.

In 1986, one of Imbens' mentors at the University of Hull, Anthony Lancaster, moved to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Imbens followed Lancaster to Brown to pursue further graduate and doctoral studies. [7] Imbens received an AM and a PhD degree, both in Economics, from Brown in 1989 and 1991, respectively. [8] [9] [3]

The Department of Economics at Brown University Brown university robinson hall 2009a crop and straighten.jpg
The Department of Economics at Brown University

Career

Imbens has taught at Harvard University (1990–97, 2006–12), Tilburg University (1989-1990), the University of California, Los Angeles (1997–2001), and the University of California, Berkeley (2002–06). He specializes in econometrics, which are particular methods for drawing causal inference. [3] He became the editor of Econometrica in 2019 and will serve in that capacity until 2023. [10] As of 2021, he is a professor of applied econometrics and economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and a professor of economics at the institute's School of Humanities and Sciences. [11]

The Stanford Graduate School of Business, where Imbens has taught since 2012 Stanford University from Hoover Tower January 2013 002.jpg
The Stanford Graduate School of Business, where Imbens has taught since 2012

Imbens is a fellow of the Econometric Society (2001) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009). [3] [12] [13] Imbens was elected a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. [14] [15] He was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2020. [16]

Econometrics and work on causal relationships

Working with fellow economists including Joshua Angrist and Alan Krueger, Imbens focused on developing methodologies and frameworks that help economists use real-life situations, known as natural experiments, to test real life theories. Specifically, through his study he helped analyze causal relationships. Some of the problem statements analyzed through his study included the impact of college education or additional years of education on earnings. [17] His frameworks for causal relationships study found use in multiple other fields including social and biomedical sciences. [18] His work has provided researchers across disciplines with tools to understand the limitation of real-world experiments improving their ability to better understand the effects of field and experimental data based interventions. The methodologies have been useful for researchers to analyze research problems as diverse as studying the impact of new regulations on economic activity and on new drug effectiveness on patients. [11]

In one of his earliest collaborations with Angrist, Imbens introduced a model called Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) that helped researches to draw causal inference from observational data. Elaborating on the model in a Econometrica paper in 1994 titled "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects", the pair employed the idea of natural experiment s, which were real world events and situations as against controlled conditions to study the effects of key changes. In doing so, the pair took advantage of the role chance and randomization that naturally occurred in the real world rather than controlled simulations, which could be expensive, time-consuming, or even unethical. [19] [20] The paper and the model had significant impact on other research efforts across econometrics, statistics and other fields. [20]

In one of the real-world applications of the model that would have implications for policymakers, Imben partnered with statistician Donald Rubin and economist Bruce Sacerdote to study the impact of unearned earnings on labor supply. The group studied the implications of policy interventions such as Universal Basic Income or other federal and state wage assistance programs on citizens' willingness to participate in the labor force and the eventual impact on labor supply. To devise a natural experiment, the group studied the winners of the Massachusetts state lottery where the winners were paid incrementally over many years as opposed to a lump-sum payment. In doing so, the group was able to study the causal effects of guaranteed income. The group found that while there was some impact on labor supply, it did not change how much people worked by much. [20] [21]

Some of his work was summarized in a book co-written with American statistician Donald B. Rubin, Causal Inference for Statistics, Social, and Biomedical Sciences. [18]

More recently, he (along with Prof. Susan Athey) has been working on using machine learning methods, particularly modifications to random forests called causal forests [22] [23] to estimate heterogeneous treatment effects in causal inference models.

Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

Imbens received the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences along with fellow economists David Card and Joshua Angrist for their contributions toward methodologies for the analysis of causal relationships. [24] In its press release announcing the winners, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences stated "[t]his year’s Laureates – David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens have provided us with new insights about the labour market and shown what conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments. Their approach has spread to other fields and revolutionised empirical research." [25]

Personal life

Imbens is married to fellow economist and Stanford GSB professor Susan Athey Susan Athey 15 (cropped).jpg
Imbens is married to fellow economist and Stanford GSB professor Susan Athey

Imbens has been married to economist Susan Athey since 2002. [26] The best man at his wedding was Joshua Angrist, with whom he would share the Nobel prize 19 years later. [27]

He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Netherlands. [3]

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Econometrics is the application of statistical methods to economic data in order to give empirical content to economic relationships. More precisely, it is "the quantitative analysis of actual economic phenomena based on the concurrent development of theory and observation, related by appropriate methods of inference". An introductory economics textbook describes econometrics as allowing economists "to sift through mountains of data to extract simple relationships". Jan Tinbergen is one of the two founding fathers of econometrics. The other, Ragnar Frisch, also coined the term in the sense in which it is used today.

James Heckman American economist (born 1944)

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David Card Canadian economist (b. 1956)

David Edward Card is a Canadian American labour economist and professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded half of the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for his empirical contributions to labour economics", with Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens jointly awarded the other half.

The MIT Department of Economics is a department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Rubin causal model (RCM), also known as the Neyman–Rubin causal model, is an approach to the statistical analysis of cause and effect based on the framework of potential outcomes, named after Donald Rubin. The name "Rubin causal model" was first coined by Paul W. Holland. The potential outcomes framework was first proposed by Jerzy Neyman in his 1923 Master's thesis, though he discussed it only in the context of completely randomized experiments. Rubin extended it into a general framework for thinking about causation in both observational and experimental studies.

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Susan Athey American economist

Susan Carleton Athey is an American microeconomist. She is the Economics of Technology Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining Stanford, she has been a professor at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the first female winner of the John Bates Clark Medal. She served as the consulting chief economist for Microsoft for six years and was a consulting researcher to Microsoft Research. She is currently on the boards of Expedia, Lending Club, Rover, Turo, Ripple, and non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action. She also serves as the senior fellow at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. She is an associate director for the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and the director of Golub Capital Social Impact Lab.

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Joshua Angrist Israeli American economist

Joshua David Angrist is an Israeli American economist and Ford Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2021 Angrist was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, together with David Card and Guido Imbens. Angrist and Imbens shared one half of the prize "for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships."

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  18. 1 2 Imbens, Guido W.; Rubin, Donald B. (2015). Causal Inference for Statistics, Social, and Biomedical Sciences: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-88588-1. Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  19. D., Angrist, Joshua. Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects. OCLC   1144555780.
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