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05.05.07, 22:52
Po zdobyciu tytulu przychodzi czas na ustalanie kolejnych celow w akedemickiej
karierze. Ponizej przedstawiam przykladowy benchmark, ktory zapewne pomoze
uzyskac wlasciwa perspektywe na prowadzone badania i zapobiegnie powstawaniu
zbyt czestych wybuchow nadmiernej euforii... ;-)



Economics prizes
Back to basics

Apr 26th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Harvard's Susan Athey wins the John Bates Clark Medal

AFTER the Nobel Prize, the John Bates Clark Medal is generally regarded as the
most prestigious award in economics. Arguably, it is harder to win: to qualify
you must be under 40 and work in America, and the Clark Medal is awarded only
every two years. Of the 30 winners (Paul Samuelson was the first in 1947;
there was no award in 1953), 11 have gone on to be feted in Stockholm.

This year's medallist is Susan Athey, of Harvard University. She is the first
woman to win (so far all the Nobels have gone to men). More important, though,
is the breadth of Ms Athey's work. At 36, she has already made a mark in
several fields: economic theory; applied economics, from auctions and
industrial organisation to macroeconomics; and econometrics. “Susan's work on
the foundations of economic theory is of fundamental importance,” says Paul
Klemperer, a professor at Oxford, “showing economists when they can have
confidence in their 'equilibrium' theories and when they can't.”

For example, economists frequently make simplifying assumptions about
mathematical form. Most commonly, they may suppose a linear relationship
between variables: when one thing goes up, another goes up or down by a fixed
amount. That makes results easier to get—but at a cost: often there is no good
reason to assume linearity. Ms Athey has shown that strong results can still
be obtained even if you assume much less.

Ms Athey's less abstract work includes an analysis of how firms in a cartel
can maximise joint profits when they do not know each other's costs. Should
they set “rigid” prices and split the market equally, or let the firm with the
lowest cost supply most? The latter would be more efficient; the snag is that
high-cost firms must have no incentive to pretend that their costs are lower
than they are in order to sneak an increase in market share. Often, but
depending on technical conditions, rigid pricing pays off. You may imagine,
correctly, that all this is mathematically daunting. (Mercifully, Ms Athey
provides a summary in plainish language on her homepage.)

Typical of modern economics? Not going by recent Clark awards, such as that to
Steven Levitt, of “Freakonomics” fame, in 2003. Ms Athey perhaps represents
orthodox theory better than any medallist has for some years. Back to basics,
then? Yes, and what basics.
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