Economics professors discuss changes donation will bring to department – Harvard Gazette
“It’s going to allow all of us to sit in the same space,” Pallais said. “This will allow for more impromptu conversations. It’ll be easier to drop by someone’s desk with a question or talk about what we’re working on.
This kind of collaboration will be essential for econometrician Isaiah Andrews, who is developing statistical tools that help other economists overcome obstacles in their research.
“A big part of my job is to determine whether many of the methods we are currently using in the field are reliable, what are the shortcomings of those methods and how we can improve them,” said Andrews, recent recipient of the prestigious medal. Clark, awarded annually to an American economist under the age of 40. on and what challenges they face – this is a very important contribution. “
Andrews pointed out that with the move from the domain to big data, there was a need for larger teams and, therefore, spaces designed for this new era of research.
One researcher who came to Andrews’ mind was frequent collaborator Raj Chetty, Professor William A. Ackman of public economics and the director of Opportunity Insights, an institute of social science and economic policy analysts based at Harvard which harnesses big data for political solutions.
2013 Clark Medal winner Chetty examines massive economic, geographic and demographic data sets to try to understand how variables such as race, education, and income affect the lives and futures of individuals in neighborhoods Across the country. In the new building, Chetty’s team will for the first time be gathered in one place with collaborators from their department and with other large laboratories such as the Social Economics Lab, which conducts large-scale online surveys to understand how opinions on economic and social policies emerge.
Along with the enthusiasm for how the donation will help them continue their innovative work, professors like Chetty, Pallais and Andrews expect it to foster a more inclusive and diverse community of economists.
“Often the best solutions come from places we’ve never looked at before,” said Chetty. “I think that naturally leads to diversity. It gets us all to do a really better job because you’re exposed to ideas that are going to be really helpful in solving these various social issues. I think this building can really be where it happens.
Chetty says Harvard has often been at the forefront of leadership changes in the field. The pursuit of greater inclusion should be no different, especially as the field continues to diversify to tackle increasingly serious and complex societal issues such as persistent income inequalities and public health emergencies like COVID-19.