Skip to main content



How We Got into This Mess, from Economic Principals

August 6, 2019
A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy (Princeton, 2016), by Joel Mokyr, of Northwestern University, is one of those obviously important books that nevertheless hasn’t received the reception it deserves, owing, perhaps, to its daunting erudition; more likely, to readers who thought they already knew the story of how the West grew rich.


Read the Summer 2019 Newsletter!

July 24, 2019
We hope you enjoy reading our Summer 2019 edition of our Newsletter. This edition includes an update from the Chair, spring event highlights, faculty updates, Ph.D. placements and more!

Review of "A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy", by Joel Mokyr

July 19, 2019 – from Enrico Spolaore, the National Bureau of Economic Research
The book is a significant contribution to the growing literature that links culture and economics. This review discusses Mokyr’s historical analysis in relation to the following questions: What is culture and how should we use it in economics? How can culture explain modern economic growth? Will the culture of growth that caused modern prosperity persist in the future?


Charles Manski’s new book, "Patient Care under Uncertainty", forthcoming September 2019

June 18, 2019
Although uncertainty is a common element of patient care, it has largely been overlooked in research on evidence-based medicine. Patient Care under Uncertainty strives to correct this glaring omission. Applying the tools of economics to medical decision making, Charles Manski shows how uncertainty influences every stage, from risk analysis to treatment, and how this can be reasonably confronted.

Jeff Ely's video presentation on current paper: Moving the Goalposts

June 4, 2019 – from UCI
We study information as an incentive device in a dynamic moral hazard frame- work. An agent works on a task of uncertain difficulty, modeled as the duration of required effort. The principal knows the task difficulty and can provide information over time with the goal of inducing maximal effort. The optimal mechanism features moving goalposts: an initial disclosure makes the agent sufficiently optimistic that the task is easy in order to induce him to start working. If the task is indeed difficult the agent is told this only after working long enough to put the difficult task within reach. Then the agent completes the difficult task even though he never would have chosen to at the outset. The value of dynamic disclosure implies that principal prefers a random threshold over any deterministic scheme. We con- sider extensions to two-player pre-emption games and bandits.


Economics senior, Ali Qureshi, primed to change the world!

May 31, 2019 – from Northwestern Magazine
“To be a leader, you’ve always got to be the best team player first,” he says. “And you get to be that best team player when you have the empathy and the drive to understand other people’s perspectives.”

Martí Mestieri article: The new globalisation and income inequality

May 21, 2019 – from VOX, with Sergi Basco, Universitat Autònoma Barcelona
Trade in intermediates (or ‘unbundling of production') and trade in capital have become increasingly important in last 25 years. This column shows that trade in intermediates generates a reallocation of capital across countries that exacerbates world inequality in both income and welfare. Unbundling of production hurts middle-income countries but helps those with high productivity. Trade in intermediates also increases within-country inequality, and this increase is U-shaped in the aggregate productivity level of the country.

Gaston Illanes appointed as a Faculty Research Fellow for the NBER

May 3, 2019
Faculty research fellows (FRFs), who are appointed by the NBER president, also must hold primary academic appointments in North America. They also are recommended by program directors and their steering committees in the culmination of a highly competitive process. Candidates are evaluated based on their research records and their capacity to contribute to the NBER's activities.


Alumnae Panel a success!

April 22, 2019
Undergraduate students were treated to an insightful dialogue focused on career advice relating to risk taking, resilience, and perseverance.

Morton Schapiro's Opinion Piece: American democracy is ailing. Thinking like an economist can help.

April 18, 2019 – from The Washington Post
The great challenge for economists today is to find new and better ways to make their cases, with the goal of kindling a general appreciation of essential economic ideas such as incentives, trade-offs, marginal utility and revealed preferences. Learning to practice the dispassionate analysis of data would be helpful, too. Citizens making informed choices are good for the health of democracy, and lately American democracy has been ailing.

Northwestern Economics Tournament (NET) Hosts Third Annual Event

April 11, 2019
The Northwestern Economics Tournament (NET) hosted its third annual tournament on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Kellogg Global Hub. The event, sponsored by the Department of Economics, hosted 16 high school teams from the Chicagoland area, Minnesota, and Ohio to participate in a day filled with quiz bowls and lectures from our distinguished faculty and PhD students.


Economics of Running a Restaurant with Professor Hornsten

March 10, 2019


Professor Hornsten took Economics students to Farmhouse restaurant in Evanston to speak with Chef Garrett and learn about the economics of running a restaurant. 


Matthias Doepke's Op-ed: The Parent Trap

February 22, 2019 – from Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti for The Washington Post
The greater a country's income inequality, the likelier parents are to push their kids to work hard.

Dale Mortensen Nobel Prize medal donated to Northwestern

February 12, 2019 – from Hilary Hurd Anyaso for Northwestern Now
The family, friends, colleagues and former students of the late Dale T. Mortensen, the Ida C. Cook Professor of Economics at Northwestern University and Nobel Laureate, gathered Feb. 1 at the Kellogg Global Hub for the dedication of Mortensen’s Nobel Prize medal, which was donated to the University by the Mortensen family.

Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti’s new book: Love, Money, and Parenting: How Economics Explains the Way We Raise Our Kids

February 7, 2019

Parents everywhere want their children to be happy and do well. Yet how parents seek to achieve this ambition varies enormously. For instance, American and Chinese parents are increasingly authoritative and authoritarian, whereas Scandinavian parents tend to be more permissive. Why? Love, Money, and Parenting investigates how economic forces and growing inequality shape how parents raise their children. From medieval times to the present, and from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden to China and Japan, Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti look at how economic incentives and constraints such as money, knowledge, and time influence parenting practices and what is considered good parenting in different countries.

Recent Press: 

The Parent Trap
The greater a country's income inequality, the likelier parents are to push their kids to work hard

February 22, 2019 | By Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti | The Washington Post

The Bad News About Helicopter Parenting: It Works
New research shows that hyper-involved parenting is the route to kids’ success in today’s unequal world
February 07, 2019 | By Pamela Druckerman | The New York Times

Northwestern author examines how economics influences parenting styles
February 05, 2019 | By Hilary Hurd Anyaso | Northwestern Now



An Interview with Matthew Notowidigdo on How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Tax Plan Would Change the NBA

January 22, 2019 – from Nick Greene for Slate
To predict what might happen to Stephen Curry’s salary in an America with a much different approach to taxation, I spoke with Matthew Notowidigdo, an associate professor of economics at Northwestern University. Notowidigdo teaches labor economics and has worked with professional sports teams on issues like ticket pricing, revenue sharing, and media rights.

Read the Winter 2019 Newsletter!

January 17, 2019
We hope you enjoy reading our Winter 2019 edition of our Newsletter. This edition includes Q&A's with a current student and alumnus, thank you to our wonderful donors, faculty updates and more!

Joel Mokyr Elected Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association

January 17, 2019
Joel Mokyr receives The Award of Distinguished Fellow from the American Economic Association. The Award of Distinguished Fellow was instituted in 1965. Past Presidents of the Association and Walker Medalists shall be Distinguished Fellows. Additional Distinguished Fellows may be elected, but not more than four in any one calendar year from economists of high distinction in the United States and Canada.

Seema Jayachandran's video summary: One problem with giving aid to small villages

January 3, 2019 – from VoxDev
In combating poverty, government’s often have to choose between cash transfers and in-kind transfers constituting of goods and services (e.g. food, public housing etc.). Seema Jayachandran looks at how these two types of transfers affect prices in the context of small, rural villages in Mexico. She finds that in richer villages, there was a negligible effect of cash transfers on prices, but in the poorer ones there was sizeable inflation.

Dean Karlan's new book: Failing in the Field

January 3, 2019
In Failing in the Field, Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel delve into the common causes of failure in field research, so that researchers might avoid similar pitfalls in future work.


Northwestern Economics Students Attend Clinton Global Initiative University

December 6, 2018 – from December 03, 2018 | By Monika Wnuk
When Evan Taylor returned from a family trip over winter break as a sophomore in 2016, he wanted to exchange all the foreign coins he’d collected abroad. He quickly realized that currency exchanges won’t exchange foreign coins, leaving travelers with pockets of coins that become nothing more than souvenirs. Taylor researched alternatives and found UNICEF’s Change for Good program, which accepts foreign coins as donations. Back at Northwestern, he started to wonder what a similar program could look like in Chicago.

Martin Eichenbaum's column: State-dependent effects of monetary policy: The refinancing channel

December 6, 2018 – from Martin Eichenbaum, Sérgio Rebelo, Arlene Wong 02 December 2018
Mortgage rate systems vary in practice across countries, and understanding the impact of these differences is critical to the design of optimal monetary policy. This column focuses on the US, where most mortgages have a fixed interest rate and no prepayment penalties, and demonstrates that the efficacy of monetary policy is state dependent, varying in a systematic way with the pool of potential savings from refinancing. As refinancing costs decline, the effects of monetary policy become less state dependent.


Joel Mokyr receives Allan Sharlin Memorial Book Award for A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy

November 19, 2018
A $1,000 prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book in social science history to honor the memory of Allan Sharlin. Allen exemplified the finest traditions of social science history. His training and scholarship were broadly interdisciplinary and he used both quantitative and more traditional methodologies. Books published in the previous year are eligible for consideration.

Video Recording: A Conversation with Dr. Charles Evans, President of the Chicago Federal Reserve

November 7, 2018
Political Union and the Department of Economics welcomed Dr. Charles Evans, President of the Chicago Federal Reserve, to Northwestern University on October 23, 2018. Dr. Evans spoke in dialogue with Professor Eichenbaum about his experience serving as the President of the Chicago Federal Reserve and the crucial monetary policy issues surrounding the current economy. To view the recording of the event, please click the title.

Faculty hailed for prestigious awards

November 7, 2018
This fall, Northwestern honors members of the faculty who have brought distinction to the University by earning important external recognition in the past year. Recipients include Seema Jayachandran, Charles Manski, Joel Mokyr, Robert Porter, and Morton Schapiro.


Joel Mokyr Given Honorary Doctorate by the Uruguay University, Universidad de la República

October 26, 2018

Joel Mokyr has been given an honorary doctorate by the Uruguay University, Universidad de la República, in economic history. This is one more of many examples of his outstanding world-wide reputation. 


Joel Horowitz elected as a Fellow of the International Association for Applied Econometrics

September 27, 2018

Joel Horowitz was elected a Fellow of the IAAE in September. The IAAE fellows include a select leading group of researchers in the areas of theoretical and applied econometrics. The Fellowship position is reserved for economists who have made significant contributions in Econometrics, broadly defined. 

To read more about IAAE and the founding members, please visit their website.

Joel Mokyr receives the 2018 Elinor Ostrom Prize

September 18, 2018
The annual Elinor Ostrom Prize competition of £1000 is awarded to the best paper published in the Journal of Institutional Economics in the preceding year. The winner of the 2018 Elinor Ostrom Prize is Avner Greif and Joel Mokyr (2017) “Cognitive rules, institutions and economic growth: Douglass North and beyond” JOIE 13(1): 25-52.