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The Beauty of Logic and Rigor in Data

By: Caitlin Hayes,  Cornell Research
Wed, 05/31/2017

The research of Francesca Molinari, professor of economics, is explored in this recent Cornell Research story.

The story says that Molinari’s work seeks to understand, “What is the mechanism that determines what people decide when there are uncertain outcomes? How can we model these choices and estimate the parameters behind these models?”

The story says Molinari and her colleague and husband Levon Barseghyan, professor of economics, became deeply interested in this empirical project when they needed to purchase a car upon moving to Ithaca. Both born and raised abroad- Armenia and Italy, respectively- it was their first time dealing with car insurance in the United States.

“The experience sparked a series of research questions for Barseghyan,” the story says, “about how people make decisions in the face of risk, and the two eventually started working together to find answers.”

The story says that Molinari has been analyzing data from a very common real-life event: choosing a car insurance deductible from a menu of options.

“We’re constantly making choices where the outcome is uncertain because life is uncertain,” Molinari says in the article. “This is why we care about risk preferences. They are also at the heart of economics.”

Read the entire Cornell Research story here.

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