The Frisch Medal Award

The Econometric Society is pleased to announce that the 2018 Frisch Medal selection committee of Torsten Persson, Dave Donaldson and Igal Hendel has awarded this year’s Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society to Gabriel Ahlfeldt, Stephen Redding, Daniel Sturm, and Nikolaus Wolf for their paper, "The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall”, (Econometrica, Vol. 83, No. 6, November 2015, 2127–2189).

First awarded in 1978, the Frisch Medal is presented biennially for the best applied (empirical or theoretical) paper published in Econometrica during the previous five years.The award will be presented by Econometric Society President, Tim Besley, on August 27, 2018 at the European Summer Econometric Society meeting in Cologne, Germany.

The committee wrote the following citation:

“The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall" by Gabriel Ahlfeldt, Stephen Redding, Daniel Sturm, and Nikolaus Wolf, breaks genuinely new ground in the modeling of cities and the spatial organization of economic activity. From the stepping stone of a long tradition in urban economics, the authors develop a theoretical model of an asymmetric city with a large number of “blocks” in which land developers offer floor space for production or residences, firms choose where to produce and whom to hire, and workers choose where to work and where to live. These city blocks differ, exogenously, in their innate productivity and residential amenities. But they can also, endogenously, become more attractive places to produce and reside through local-density externalities from other nearby firms and residents. Such agglomeration forces are the fundamental reasons for cities to exist, but measuring their strength has been a major stumbling block due to the very nature of endogenous agglomeration. To carry out their estimation, the authors compile unique block-level data from Berlin, going all the way back to the 1930s. They then estimate the strength of agglomeration externalities through a creative strategy, which relies on Berlin’s partition in 1961 and reunification in 1989 as sources of variation in the proximity of each West Berlin block to the local density of other blocks. The paper provides an outstanding example of how to credibly and transparently use a quasi-experimental approach to structurally estimate model parameters that can serve as critical inputs for counterfactual policy analyses."

Past winners of the Frisch Medal and their selection committees are as follows:

The 2016 Medal was awardeed to Benjamin Handel, Igal Hendel and Michael Whinston for their article, "Equilibria in Health Exchanges: Adverse Selection versus Reclassification Risk", Econometrica, 83(4), July 2015, 1261-1313.  (Selection Committee: Costas Meghir, chair; Elhanan Helpman, and Alessandro Lizzeri) 

The 2014 Medal was awarded to Flavio Cunha, James J. Heckman, and Susanne M. Schennach for their article, "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation", Econometrica, 78(3), May 2010, 883-931. (Selection Committee: John Rust, Chair; Steven Durlauf; Petra Todd)

The 2012 Medal was awarded to Joseph P. Kaboski and Robert M. Townsend for their article, “A Structural Evaluation of a Large-Scale Quasi-Experimental Microfinance Initiative”, Econometrica, 79(5), September 2011, 1357-1406. (Selection Committee: Steven Durlauf, Chair; Douglas Bernheim; Nicholas Bloom; Michael Keane)

The 2010 Medal was awarded to Nicholas Bloom for his article, "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks", Econometrica, 77(3), May 2009, 623-685. (Selection Committee: Richard Blundell, Chair; David Card; Lars Peter Hansen)

The 2008 Medal was awarded to David Card and Dean R. Hyslop for their article, "Estimating the Effects of a Time-Limited Earnings Subsidy for Welfare-Leavers," Econometrica, 73(6), November 2005, 1723-1770. (Selection Committee: Gary Chamberlain, Chair; John Cochrane; Jean-Marc Robin)

The 2006 Medal was awarded to Fabien Postel-Vinay and Jean-Marc Robin for their article, "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, 70(6), November 2002, 2295-2350. (Selection Committee: Stanley Zin, Chair; Jonathan Eaton; Michael Woodford.)  

The 2004 Medal was awarded to Jonathan Eaton and Samuel Kortum for their article, “Technology, Geography, and Trade,” Econometrica, 70(5), September 2002, 1741–1779. (Selection Committee: Orley Ashenfelter, Chair; Steven Berry; Richard Caballero.)  

The 2002 Medal was awarded to Ricardo J. Caballero and Eduardo M.R.A. Engel for their paper "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach", Econometrica, 67, July, 1999, pp. 783-826. (Selection Committee: Ariel Pakes, Chair; Douglas Bernheim; Richard Blundell.)

The 2000 Medal was awarded to Richard Blundell, Alan Duncan, and Costas Meghir for their paper "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms", Econometrica, 66, July, 1998, pp. 827-861. (Selection Committee: David Newbery, Chair; George Akerlof; Robert Townsend.)

The 1998 Medal was awarded to Robert Townsend for his paper "Risk and Insurance in Village India", Econometrica, 62, May, 1994, pp. 539-591. (Selection Committee: Kenneth D. West, Chair; Guillermo Calvo; Pierre-André Chiappori.)

The 1996 Medal was awarded to Steven T. Berry for his paper "Estimation of a Model of Entry in the Airline Industry", Econometrica, 60, July, 1992, pp. 889-917. (Selection Committee: Mark Rosensweig, Chair; Adrian Pagan; Stanley E. Zin.)

The 1994 Medal was awarded to Larry G. Epstein and Stanley E. Zin for their paper "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework", Econometrica, 57, July, 1989, pp. 937-969. (Selection Committee: Elhanan Helpman, Chair; Lars Hansen; John Rust.)

The 1992 Medal was awarded to John Rust for his paper "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher", Econometrica, 55, September, 1987, pp. 999-1033. (Selection Committee: Christian Gourieroux, Chair; Timothy F. Bresnahan; Robert J. Shiller.)

The 1990 Medal was awarded to David M. G. Newbery for his paper "Road Damage Externalities and Road User Charges," Econometrica, 56, March, 1988, pp. 295-316. (Selection Committee: Marc Nerlove, Chair; Anthony Atkinson; Ariel Pakes.)

The 1988 Medal was awarded to Ariel Pakes for his paper "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks", Econometrica, 54, July, 1986, pp. 755-784. (Selection Committee: Daniel McFadden, Chair; Agnar Sandmo; Kenneth J. Singleton.)

The 1986 Medal was awarded to Jeffrey A. Dubin and Daniel L. McFadden for their paper "An Econometric Analysis of Residential Electric Appliance Holdings and Consumption", Econometrica, 52, March, 1984, pp. 345-362. (Selection Committee: David Wise, Chair; Gary Chamberlain; Lars Hansen.)

The 1984 Medal was awarded to Lars Peter Hansen and Kenneth J. Singleton for their paper "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models", Econometrica, 50, September, 1982, pp. 1269-1286. (Selection Committee: Jerry Hausman, Chair; Anthony B.Atkinson; Christopher Sims.)

The 1982 Medal was awarded to Orley Ashenfelter for his paper "Unemployment as Disequilibrium in a Model of Aggregate Labor Supply", Econometrica, 48, April, 1980, pp. 547-564. (Selection Committee: Robert M. Solow, Chair; Michael Bruno; Angus Deaton.)

The 1980 Medal was awarded to Jerry A. Hausman and David A. Wise for their paper "Attrition Bias in Experimental and Panel Data: The Gary Income Maintenance Experiment", Econometrica, 47, March, 1979, pp. 455-473. (Selection Committee: Zvi Griliches, Chair; T.N. Srinivasan; Jean Waelbroeck.)

The 1978 Medal was awarded to Angus S. Deaton for his paper "The Analysis of Consumer Demand in the United Kingdom, 1900-1970", Econometrica, 42, March, 1974, pp. 341-367. (Selection Committee: Franklin Fisher, Chair; Leif Johansen; B.S. Minhas.)