Skip to main content

Letter from the Chair


I hope you are all having a productive and enjoyable summer. I’m looking forward to the new academic year and to welcoming our new faculty member, Molly Schnell, as well as our new class of graduate students.

The past year has been a good one for the department. Some of our best faculty have received outside offers and have decided to stay with us. The Bies lecture was given by Thomas Piketty. The way he brought economic concepts and data to bear on an important economic issue (in his case, rising inequality) illustrates how economics is evolving as a field generally, as well as at Northwestern. The Nemmers Prize in Economics was awarded to David Kreps, a famed economic theorist. Kreps showed us how one economic theorist struggles to understand the world we live in. Our commitment to data as well as to the conceptual foundations to understand them remains strong and is manifested in various hiring and other initiatives that are currently underway.

We had a chance to get together and celebrate our commitment to excellence this year when the department and top university officers gathered in the department to unveil Dale Mortensen’s Nobel Prize medal. We are grateful to Bev Mortensen and the rest of the Mortensen family for donating the medal to the university. The medal and related materials are displayed in a prominent place in the entrance to the department.

I am sad to report the departure of two people from our community. David Berger is leaving for Duke University. He inspired our students, both graduate and undergraduate, and he forged strong friendships and research alliances here that will last. We hope that he will visit us often. Mercedes Thomas has also left. She was a staff member in our department for many decades and she will be missed.

Finally, it has been my privilege to serve as department chair these last three years. My term is up at the end of August, when Joe Ferrie will take over. I’m sure that he will do a terrific job.

Lawrence Christiano
Alfred W. Chase Professor; Department Chair

Read the full newsletter