The Frisch Medal Award

The Frisch Medal has been established by the Econometric Society to encourage the creation of good applied work and its submission to Econometrica. It is given every two years for an applied article (empirical or theoretical) published in Econometrica during the past five years.

The selection committee for 2016  (Costas Meghir, chair; Elhanan Helpman, and Alessandro Lizzeri) awarded the Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society 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.

"Equilibria in Health Exchanges: Adverse Selection versus Reclassification Risk" offers an excellent model for understanding the key issues and tradeoffs in health insurance. It combines first rate theory with outstanding empirical analysis to consider the tradeoffs between reducing adverse selection by pricing insurance contracts according to individual health characteristics, versus the welfare effects of health reclassification risk. By introducing an appropriate equilibrium concept in the presence of dynamics, it establishes existence of equilibria in the presence of adverse selection. The paper uses top-quality data combined with a change in policy of the employer to identify risk preferences separately from the tendency of individuals to remain with their existing contract (inertia). Using the estimates they then provide counterfactual simulations and they show that the welfare effects of reclassification risk far exceed any gains from reducing the costs due to adverse selection. At a time when issues of design of health insurance are at the top of the policy agenda this paper offers a framework that allows us to analyze the questions with the rigor of theory and empirical work with excellent data, fully reflecting the spirit of the Frisch prize.

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

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.)