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Department of Economics

Nobel Prize Winner Guido Imbens delivers EUI Economics Lecture

On 28 March 2023, Professor at Stanford University, Guido W. Imbens gave the EUI Lecture co-organised by the EUI Department of Economics, the University of Florence's DiSIA (Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni 'Giuseppe Parenti'), and the Florence Center for Data Science.

30 March 2023 | Event

ECO Lecture_Guido Imbens_news

The EUI Department of Economics hosted Stanford Professor Guido W. Imbens for an informal session with PhD researchers, which took place at Villa la Fonte on 27 March. The following day, Imbens delivered a lecture at the University of Florence.

In the lecture, Professor Imbens presented the paper Combining experimental and observational data, which focuses on the statistical methods he developed with co-authors, Susan Athey (Stanford University) and Raj Chetty (Harvard University), to improve the credibility of estimates of the causal effects.

In the social sciences, there has been an increased interest in randomised experiments for their high internal validity; however, these are often small in size and contain information only on a few variables. They also typically focus on short-term outcomes. At the same time, large administrative data sets have become widely available and contain information on long-term outcomes, but their use to estimate causal effects is subject to assumptions that are more debatable. The lecture by Imbens has shown how to integrate the two sources of data, exploiting their respective strengths and neutralising their weaknesses.

Professor Imbens was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2021 along with fellow economists, David Card and Joshua Angrist, for their contributions to the development of empirical methods in economics.

He is known for his work on causal inference, which involves identifying the causal effects of different variables in an economic system and has developed several statistical methods that are widely used in economics and other social sciences. Imbens' research has had a significant impact on the field of economics and has contributed to improving the accuracy and reliability of empirical studies.

Professor Fabrizia Mealli, who will join from next September the Faculty of the Economics Department at the EUI, introduced Professor Guido Imbens, reminding the audience of the fundamental contributions that he made to econometric and statistical methods. These contributions have changed and shaped the way empirical work is conducted in many disciplines even beyond economics and helped to answer complex questions, exploiting non-experimental data through the use of so-called natural experiments.

His generosity in mentoring students was evidenced during the many individual meetings and the informal session he had with PhD researchers and faculty members, concluded Mealli. 

Last update: 30 March 2023

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