New fellows of the Econometric Society
Three members of the Department, Jessica Pan, John Quah, and Satoru Takahashi, were recently elected to the highly selective fellowship of the Econometric Society. They join Chew Soo Hong, who was elected a fellow of the society in 2011
Jessica Pan is an applied microeconomist. Her recent work focuses on gender differences in labor market and educational outcomes; international migration and its labor market effects on source and host countries; and topics in labor economics such as discrimination, marriage markets, and the returns to education.
The central "puzzle" that motivates much of her gender-related work is: why is it that despite the remarkable convergence in the economic roles of men and women and the reversal of the gender education gap in favor of women, gender gaps in labor supply, earnings, and representation in top jobs remain large and persistent? She examines various constraints that women might face in attaining their full earnings potential -- these include persistent gender identity norms (e.g. "men should earn more than their wives"), increasing returns to working long hours coupled with the lack of affordable and flexible childcare, and prejudice-based discrimination.
John Quah works on different areas of economic theory, including general equilibrium, monotone comparative statics, and revealed preference. General equilibrium models describe precisely what it means to have total demand equal total supply in an economy with many markets; monotone comparative statics is a mathematical technique that allows economists to study how a choice variable (such as a firm’s decision on its output) will change as relevant parameters in the choice environment changes; revealed preference investigates the empirical content of different economic models.
Many important economic decisions, such as insurance or investment decisions, require economic agents to decide on their exposure to risk. In recently published work in the area of revealed preference, Professor Quah and his co-authors analyze data collected in an experiment that re-creates an environment similar to one faced by a financial investor. They develop new techniques that allow them to check if the experimental subjects behave in a way consistent with various economic models of choice and, if they do, to recover the utility functions satisfying various criteria that could be consistent with a particular subject’s investment decisions.
Satoru Takahashi’s research work focuses on game theory, a technique of formal modeling that helps economists understand how firms, consumers, regulators, and other economic agents interact in a strategic way, advancing their interests as they respond to what the other players are doing. In particular, Satoru focuses on repeated games (where players interact repeatedly over time) and games with incomplete information (where players have only limited information on what they or their opponents gain or lose under different strategies).
In recent published work, Satoru and his co-author develop new techniques that facilitate the study of the structure of players’ beliefs in games: not just players’ beliefs on the fundamentals of the game environment, but also what they believe about what other players believe, and so on. It is known that games of strategic complements could have more than one equilibrium; a by-product of their analysis is that some of these equilibria could be identified as being robust (in a specific sense). Satoru and his co-authors are now exploring further applications of their new technique.
JQ September 30th, 2020