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Northwestern Team Wins First Place in UChicago Econometrics Game

Northwestern's winning team members stand holding the certificate they received for winning the competition.

Northwestern's winning team. From left to right: Naoki Ito, Natan Tesfahun, Aren Soner Yalcin, Erica Ewing Zhou.

April 2, 2023

The Econometrics Game, held annually by the University of Chicago, is a fast-paced competition where teams of one to four undergraduate students from universities across the US and internationally are given 13 hours with a dataset to devise and answer a question of economic importance. This year's prompt challenged teams to identify and estimate a causal effect relating to education at any stage of the life-cycle. 

This year, the competition received an unprecedented number of registrants from over 40 schools across the globe. 17 teams were selected to participate in the first round on April 1, where teams wrote a paper defending a causal claim and the assumptions behind their identification strategy. On April 2, six finalists were selected to present to a judging panel of University of Chicago Economics faculty, including 2000 Nobel Laureate James Joseph Heckman. After this second round, the final placement of top three best teams was determined and prizes were distributed.

From team member Erica Ewing Zhou: "Our team had a great time presenting findings and answering questions raised by the judges. It was also exciting for us to meet other students across the globe who share the same passion for econometrics. At the end of the competition, we were awarded first place, a tie with Harvard University."

Northwestern's team members included Erica Ewing Zhou, Naoki Ito, Aren Soner Yalcin, and Natan Tesfahun. The title of the team's winning paper was, "Impacts of Pandemic Instruction Mode on High School Education Outcome: Evidence from Illinois."