Guido Imbens

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.[2][3] He has been Professor of Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business at Stanford University since 2012.[1]

Guido Imbens
Born
Guido Wilhelmus Imbens

(1963-09-03) 3 September 1963 (age 58)
Geldrop, Netherlands
Nationality
  • Dutch
  • American
[1]
Spouse(s)Susan Athey
InstitutionStanford University
FieldEconometrics
Alma materErasmus University (BA)
University of Hull (MSc)
Brown University (MA, PhD)
Doctoral
advisor
Anthony Lancaster
Doctoral
students
Rajeev Dehejia
AwardsNobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2021)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Early life and educationEdit

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.[1][8]

 
The Department of Economics at Brown University

CareerEdit

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.[1] He became the editor of Econometrica in 2019 and will serve in that capacity until 2023.[9] 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.[10]

 
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).[1][11][12] Imbens was elected a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.[13][14] He was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2020.[15]

Econometrics and work on causal relationshipsEdit

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.[16] His frameworks for causal relationships study found use in multiple other fields including social and biomedical sciences.[17] 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.[10]

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 experiments, 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.[18][19] The paper and the model had significant impact on other research efforts across econometrics, statistics and other fields.[19]

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.[19][20]

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.[17]

More recently, he (along with Prof. Susan Athey) has been working on using machine learning methods, particularly modifications to random forests called causal forests[21][22] to estimate heterogeneous treatment effects in causal inference models.

Nobel Memorial Prize in EconomicsEdit

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.[23] 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."[24]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Imbens is married to fellow economist and Stanford GSB professor Susan Athey

Imbens has been married to economist Susan Athey since 2002.[25] The best man at his wedding was Joshua Angrist, with whom he would share the Nobel prize 19 years later.[26]

He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Netherlands.[1]

BibliographyEdit

  • (with Lisa M. Lynch) Re-employment probabilities over the business cycle. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1993.
  • (with Richard H. Spady and Philip Johnson) Information Theoretic Approaches to Inference in Moment Condition Models. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1995.
  • (with Gary Chamberlain) Nonparametric applications of Bayesian inference. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1996.
  • (with Donald B. Rubin and Bruce Sacerdote) Estimating the effect of unearned income on labor supply, earnings, savings, and consumption : evidence from a survey of lottery players. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1999.
  • (with V. Joseph Hotz and Jacob Alex Klerman) The long-term gains from GAIN : a re-analysis of the impacts of the California GAIN Program. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2000.
  • (with Thomas Lemieux) Regression discontinuity designs: a guide to practice. Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007.
  • (with Jeffrey M. Wooldridge) Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation. Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008.
  • (with Karthik Kalyanaraman) Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009.
  • (with Alberto Abadie) A martingale representation for matching estimators. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009.
  • Imbens, Guido W.; Rubin, Donald B. (6 April 2015). Causal Inference for Statistics, Social, and Biomedical Sciences: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521885881.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Vita of Guido Wilhelmus Imbens" (PDF). Stanford Graduate School of Business website. September 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  2. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2021". nobelprize.org. 11 October 2021.
  3. ^ Smialek, Jeanna (11 October 2021). "The Nobel in economics goes to three who find experiments in real life". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  4. ^ Haegens, Koen (11 October 2021). "Nobelprijs voor 'stille en bescheiden man achterin de zaal' die de slimste vragen stelt". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  5. ^ Linders, Twan; Broers, Daphne (11 October 2020). "'Bedachtzame slimmerik' zat in Deurne op school en is nu winnaar van de Nobelprijs". Eindhovens Dagblad. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  6. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2021". NobelPrize.org. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  7. ^ Irel, Corydon; Office, Harvard News (15 March 2007). "Bringing hard science to economics". Harvard Gazette. Archived from the original on 14 August 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Guido Imbens, 1991 Brown Ph.D. recipient, is 2016 – 17 Horace Mann Medal winner". Brown University Department of Economics website. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  9. ^ "Editorial Board | The Econometric Society". www.econometricsociety.org. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b University, Stanford (11 October 2021). "Guido Imbens wins Nobel in economic sciences". Stanford News. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Econometric Society Fellows, October 2016". Econometric Society. Archived from the original on 7 July 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  12. ^ "List of active members by class" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 27 October 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  13. ^ "KNAW kiest 26 nieuwe leden" (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. 10 May 2017. Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Guido Imbens". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 14 May 2017.
  15. ^ "ASA Fellows list". American Statistical Association. Archived from the original on 21 May 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  16. ^ Smialek, Jeanna (11 October 2021). "The Nobel in economics goes to three who find experiments in real life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b 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.
  18. ^ D., Angrist, Joshua. Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects. OCLC 1144555780.
  19. ^ a b c University, Stanford (11 October 2021). "Guido Imbens wins Nobel in economic sciences". Stanford News. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  20. ^ Imbens, Guido W.; Rubin, Donald B.; Sacerdote, Bruce I. (1 September 2001). "Estimating the Effect of Unearned Income on Labor Earnings, Savings, and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Lottery Players". American Economic Review. 91 (4): 778–794. doi:10.1257/aer.91.4.778. ISSN 0002-8282. Archived from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Causal Tree R package; Authors -- Susan Athey, Guido Imbens, Yangyang Kong & Vikas Ramachandra" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Recursive partitioning for heterogeneous causal effects; Authors -- Susan Athey and Guido Imbens". Archived from the original on 29 July 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.}
  23. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2021". NobelPrize.org. Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  24. ^ "The Prize in Economic Sciences 2021" (PDF) (Press release). Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 11 October 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  25. ^ Simison, Bob (June 2019). "Economist as Engineer". Finance & Development. International Monetary Fund. 56 (2). Archived from the original on 30 July 2020. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  26. ^ De Witte, Melissa; Than, Ker (11 October 2021). "Guido Imbens wins Nobel in economic sciences". Stanford University. Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021. Angrist served as the best man at Imbens’ wedding to Susan Athey, who is also an economist at Stanford.

External linksEdit