Charles Manski, Distinguished Fellow 2017

Charles Manski.jpgCharles Manski receives the award of Distinguished Fellow on the basis of the far-reaching impact of his research, his exceptional service to the economics and statistics professions, and the exemplary role he has played in advising the nation on research and public policy. Manski’s research spans econometrics, judgment and decision, and analysis of public policy. He has played a leading role in research on the structure of random utility models, estimation using choice-based samples, non-parametric bounds of treatment effects, discrete choice problems, measuring expectations, and identification of social interactions.

The impact of his research is exemplified by “Identification of endogenous social effects: The reflection problem” (1993). This paper transformed research on social interactions, especially peer effects. Knowledge of the role of peer effects is exceedingly important in education at all levels. It is important to understand the effects of sorting or mixing students of different abilities, socio- economic backgrounds, race, ethnicity, and gender. Manski laid out the issues in identifying peer effects and demonstrated that very little previous work on peer effects was credible. He made a fundamental distinction between two different forms of social effects, contextual and endogenous, and he specified conditions that must be satisfied for identification of each.

Manski’s work on non-parametric estimates of treatment effects clarified the role of assumptions that enable what is now known as “partial identification.”  He showed that with no assumptions one can derive observable but wide upper and lower bounds for treatment effects. By adding more assumptions, it is possible to tighten these bounds. His books, Partial Identification of Probability Distributions (2003) and Social Choice with Partial Knowledge of Treatment Response (2005), summarized his early work in this area, and he has continued to develop this approach to econometric analysis.

In addition to his academic work, Manski has played a leading role in application of econometrics to policy analysis. His book, Public Policy in an Uncertain World (2013), emphasizes the critical role that uncertainly plays in evaluating effective government policies.

Charles Manski is the Board of Trustees Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. He served as Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty (1988-91) and as Chair of the Board of Overseers of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (1994-98). He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, and is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, the American Statistical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.