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Two National Science Foundation Grants Awarded to Cornell Economists

By: Sarah Louise Schupp, 
Tue, 09/11/2018

Congratulations to Professors Levon Barseghyan, Francesca Molinari, and Jörg Stoye for their recent National Science Foundation grants! 

They have secured a total of $572,938 for the following two projects:

An Empirical Model of Limited Consideration: Robust Inference for Risk Preferences

Investigators: Levon Barseghyan and Francesca Molinari

"Much empirical work in the social sciences is devoted to learning individuals’ preferences from observing their choice of a product from a finite collection of alternatives (often referred to as “feasible set”). Yet, there is a large body of theoretical and applied literature spanning microeconomics, behavioral economics, marketing, and psychology, suggesting that often individuals do not actually consider each and every one of the alternatives in the feasible set before making their choice. There is also a wide literature documenting that individuals’ preferences – their tastes over different products – exhibit large heterogeneity even within a group of individuals with similar characteristics. This research project will put forward two broad classes of empirical models of discrete choice that allow both for unobserved heterogeneity in the collection of alternatives that the individual considers (her “consideration set”), and in the preferences that each individual holds. In one class of models, heterogeneity in preferences and heterogeneity in consideration sets are allowed to depend on each other. This research project will deliver a method to estimate the distribution of preferences and/or consideration sets, and conduct inference on the estimated distributions. It will also deliver a method to estimate (and conduct inference on) the welfare effect of policy interventions, e.g. ones that make consumers more aware of specific products or product attributes, or those that change the set of products in the market, etc. A primary output of the proposed research is a collection of portable computer programs implementing the methodology, that will be shared with the community openly and free of charges or restrictions."

View Barseghyan and Molinari's NSF award abstract here.

Collaborative Research: Robust Inference and Computational Methods for Optimal Values of Nonlinear Programs

Investigators: Francesca Molinari and Jörg Stoye (In collaboration with Hiroaki Kaido)

"Empirical research in the social sciences often entails estimating and drawing robust inference about optimal values of nonlinear programs. Examples include, but are not limited to, the analysis of causal effects of economic policies; features of the distribution of counterfactual outcomes (e.g. optimal reserve prices and optimal revenues) under weak assumptions; counterfactual vote shares and seats assignments; welfare effects of policy interventions; demand extrapolation and welfare analysis subject to rationality constraints; maximum and minimum responses to monetary policies. This research project will establish a general formal framework and provide a methodology for estimation and robust inference on optimal values of nonlinear programs under weak restrictions on the underlying process that has generated the observable data. Recognizing that the computational feasibility of the proposed method is crucial for its applicability and usefulness for empirical researchers and society more broadly, this research project will deliver algorithms for computation of the proposed estimators and robust confidence intervals. This research project will also deliver a collection of portable computer programs implementing the methodology, that will be shared with the community openly and free of charges or restrictions."

View Molinari and Stoye's NSF award abstract here.

Levon Barseghyan

Levon Barseghyan is a Professor of Economics in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University.  His primary research interests include decision making under uncertainty, with a focus on insurance markets, and the intersection of public finance and political economy.  Learn more about Prof. Barseghyan's research, background, and publications here

Francesca Molinari 

Francesca Molinari is the H.T. Warshow and Robert Irving Warshow Professor of Economics at Cornell University. Her research interests are in econometrics, both theoretical and applied. Most of her theoretical work is in partial identification, while her empirical work is concerned with estimation of risk preferences.  Read more about Prof. Molinari's background, research, and publications here. 

Jörg Stoye

Jörg Stoye is a Professor of Economics in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University.  His primary research interests include microeconometrics, especially partial Identification, revealed preference analysis, and decision theory.  Learn more about Prof. Stoye's background, research, and courses here.  

Hiroaki Kaido

Hiroaki Kaido is an Associate Professor of Economics at Boston University with research interests in econometric theory, microeconomics, and empirical finance. View Professor Kaido's faculty website here.   

The National Science Foundation

"The National Science Foundation funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research."  Learn more about the National Science Foundation and their funding process here


Portraits of Levon Barseghyan, Francesca Molinari, and Jörg Stoye with text "National Science Foundation Awardees"

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