Beijing News Shell Finance News (Reporter Hu Meng) On the afternoon of October 11, Beijing time, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics. Among them, Canadian economist David Card (David Card) won half of the award for his “empirical contribution to labor economics”, and American economists Joshua Angrist and Guido W. ·Guido Imbens won the other half of the award for his “methodological contribution to causality analysis”.
What is special about this year’s Nobel Prize winners? What problems did the contributions of the three scholars solve? What is the current level of research in this field in China? The Beijing News Shell Finance reporter interviewed Professor Zhang Jun, Dean of the School of Economics of Fudan University and Director of the China Center for Economic Research.
Beijing News Shell Finance: What do you think about this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics?Given to the three scholars of Card, Angrist and Impens?
Zhang Jun: Three scholars won the Nobel Prize in Economics this year, mainly to reward them for their contribution in evaluating the effects of policies using empirical methods. Among them, Professor Card is a long-term researcher of labor economics, and the last two are professors at MIT and Stanford. Mainly contributed to the development of methods to identify causality. However, it must be admitted that this result last night was surprising and surprised all previous predictions. We are accustomed to regard Nobel Prize economists as the big cow among the big cows, so we usually predict the results based on their academic influence and popularity, but this approach is not always reliable because of the mystery of the Nobel Prize Sex is that it cannot be completely predicted. Therefore, it is definitely unexpected that the three scholars won this year. Although they have achieved academic achievements, they are not the kind of economists that can be predicted. There are too many similar scholars in the fields of labor economics and applied econometrics.
It is understandable that the Swedish Nobel Prize Committee is doing this. Every year, the Nobel Prize is full of appeal, but it is difficult to guess it. In other words, the Nobel Prize has a certain degree of mystery, which is an artifact that it can succeed. . The Nobel Prize in Economics has been issued in 1969 to the present. Without randomness and mystery, it is really difficult to keep everyone interested in the Nobel Prize, because the probability of being guessed is too high. Therefore, in addition to maintaining the authority and credibility of the Nobel Prize itself, it is also very necessary for its selection results to have a certain degree of randomness and mystery. We have to understand that sometimes the Nobel Prize winner is not the result of the best selection.
Beijing News Shell Finance: How should we understand the contributions made by the Nobel Scholars this year?
Zhang Jun: Judging from the three Nobel Prize winners this year, Card was awarded for his empirical contribution to labor economics. The scope of labor economics is very broad, mainly studying “people” and the impact of policies on “people”. It is by observing people’s conditions, changes in people’s behavior, etc., to find out whether this situation or changes in behavior are related to a certain policy.
Yes, to find out whether the impact of the policy exists, what impact it has, and how big it is, it is necessary to develop a reliable method of identifying causality. In this regard, there are too many economists. Most of the empirical or empirical economics papers published today are about the problem of identifying causality. Angrist and Inbens received the award to recognize their “contribution to the methodology of causality analysis.” These jobs are of course very important, but I don’t know if they have to say whether their work is the most groundbreaking. Work in this area has attracted too many economists, and they can be regarded as representatives of this field.
Beijing News Shell Finance: In your opinion, what is the current level of development in the research field of this year’s Nobel Prize in China?
Zhang Jun: In the field of applied econometrics and labor economics, it can be said that there are hundreds of thousands or even millions of first-line economists in the world engaged in research, not to mention how many graduate students. In terms of the proportion of research papers made by domestic graduate students and doctoral students, it is estimated that 70% are moving in this direction. Because the topic selection is relatively broad, the method is relatively mature, and the research is full of fun. For example, after the “New Labor Law” was introduced, it attracted a lot of research, trying to figure out what kind of impact the introduction of the law has on enterprises, employees, employment and many other aspects.
Because of this, from a domestic perspective, more of our scholars, including students, mainly use Chinese data for applied empirical research, which can also be said to be imitating the practices of others. At present, whether teachers or students do research in the field of labor economics, most of them use existing methods of identifying causality, such as the famous DID, which is the double difference method. Including today’s Nobel laureate Professor Card’s contribution, it should be to promote the DID method. It is not easy to develop a new method. We have not made any major innovations in methodology yet, and the articles published are basically method-applied. For example, we usually use a policy shock several years ago as an identification strategy, and then observe whether there is any change in the treatment group affected by the policy shock compared with the control group without policy shock, and then use econometric methods to determine Accurately measure the impact of policy shocks. At least 70% of the dissertations of graduate students and doctoral students in our School of Economics are doing this kind of research. I think the situation across the country is basically the same. If you do too much, there will always be people who want to find new ways.
Beijing News Shell Finance reporter Hu Meng editor Xi Lili proofreading Wang XinReturn to Sohu to see more
Disclaimer: The opinions of this article only represent the author himself. Sohu is an information publishing platform. Sohu only provides information storage space services.