The Annual Hicks Lecture 2024 - Prof. Isaiah Andrews

The Oxford Department of Economics is pleased to host the Annual Hicks Lecture 2024, delivered by Professor Isaiah Andrews (Professor of Economics at MIT. Recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, and MacArthur Fellow). The event will take place at 17:30 – 18:30 on 6th June 2024 and will be followed by a drinks reception for in-person attendees.

Lecture title: ‘True and Pseudo-True Parameter Values’

About the lecture: Parameter estimates in misspecified models often converge to pseudo-true parameter values, which minimize a population objective function. Pseudo-true values often differ from quantities of economic interest, raising questions of how, if at all, they are relevant for decision-making. To study this question we consider Bayesian decision-makers facing a population minimum distance problem. Within a class of priors motivated by the minimum distance objective, we characterize prior sequences under which posteriors concentrate on the pseudo-true value. This convergence is fragile to small changes in priors, implying that pseudo-true values are relevant for decision-making only in special cases. Constructive results are nevertheless possible in this setting, and we derive simple confidence intervals that guarantee correct average coverage for the true parameter under every prior in the class we study, with no bound on the magnitude of misspecification.

About the speaker: Isaiah Andrews is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. A research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Andrews is also a co-editor of the American Economic Review. In 2018, The Economist named him one of the 8 “best young economists of the decade.” He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2020 for his work on statistical inference. In 2021, the American Economic Association awarded him the John Bates Clark Medal – an award given annually to an American economist under age 40 “who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.”