Rice Economics Spring 2017 Newsletter - Page 3

Spotlight on our faculty
Spotlight on our faculty
Robin Sickles , Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics and Statistics
Research Interests : Applied Econometrics
Robin Sickles is the Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics , and a Joint Professor at the Department of Statistics at Rice . Professor Sickles was the Editorin-Chief of the Journal of Productivity Analysis , and has served as Associate Editor of Journal of Applied Econometrics , Communications in Statistics , Theory and Methods , Southern Economic Journal , Journal of Econometrics , Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies , and Empirical Economics . His research interests center around applied economics with special focus on panel data econometrics and productivity and efficiency measurement .
How did you first get interested in economics ?
I began my undergraduate training in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech . I was a co-op student and worked at what was then Martin-Marietta ( now Martin- Lockheed ) in Orlando where I grew up . I took an economics course in the new School of Economics ( I ended up in their second graduating class ) whose Dean was Ferdinand Levy . Professor Levy had been the Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics at Rice . The course I took was the History of Economic Thought , taught by a former Jesuit priest , Professor Carl Bivens . I was hooked and changed majors . By the way , I am the Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics at Rice . What goes around comes around .
What drew you to applied econometrics as an area of research ?
With a strong quantitative preparation from my engineering courses , I found that using statistics and economic theory to better understand how to square the empirical record with what theory suggests was fascinating , intellectually challenging , and fulfilling . I had acquired substantial programming and analytical skills and these were much in demand in the 1970 ’ s as the field of econometrics was beginning its rapid integration into the economics profession .
Do you have any advice for undergraduate students ? Or anything you would like to highlight about the current program / classes in the Economics department ?
The reason I chose to be an academic was a decision I made early on that I wanted to live a life where I would always be challenged to learn . My parents stressed education and I understood that as a fairly competitive person I would do what it took to take myself out of my comfort zone to learn and to develop my academic capabilities . If you want to develop in whatever career you chose you must be willing to leave your comfort zone behind you .
As for the current classes I teach in the Economics Department , this would be a good time to highlight the Honors Program that I teach in which students write honors theses that I either oversee or help coordinate with other economics faculty . The Rice Honors Program in Economics , which began in 2014 , is a two-semester research program that selected students take in their senior year ; details on the program are available at on the undergraduate page on the departmental website . The 8 students who have completed or are enrolled in the Senior Honors Program have accepted or been offered graduate fellowships at the University of Chicago , Rochester , Columbia , Cornell , Virginia , and the University of Texas , among others . One student is currently working in the Center for Human Development at the University of Chicago , whose director is James J . Heckman , the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000 .
What do you enjoy the most about Rice ?
I have taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill , George Washington University , University Pennsylvania , and Rice University . The students at Rice are remarkable and by far the best students I have taught . They are of course quite talented in addition the legacy of the times when middle class families with children who were willing to work hard for the free tuition Rice once provided is still apparent in the work ethic and the absence of a sense of entitlement in the Rice students I have been lucky enough to teach .
Any ideas for possible research topics for undergrads , including those who might be interested in the Economics Department Honors Program ?
I think that anyone conducting research that adds to the empirical record addressing income inequality and its political ramifications in our and other societies would be doing fascinating work as well as research that would benefit those for whom reasoned and fact-based arguments are important . Thorough analyses costs and benefits of migration and the historical momentum that has characterized economic , social , and political integration and the push-back by many who fear it would add significantly to what is needed in our conversations – objective facts and reasoned disagreements we may have on priorities and the values we attach to them .
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Spotlight on our faculty Robin Sickles, Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics and Statistics Research Interests: Applied Econometrics Robin Sickles is the Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics, and a Joint Professor at the Department of Statistics at Rice. Professor Sickles was the Editor- in-Chief of the Journal of Productivity Analysis, and has served as Associate Editor of Journal of Applied Econometrics, Communications in Statistics, Theory and Methods, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, and Empirical Economics. His research interests center around applied economics with special focus on panel data econometrics and productivity and efficiency measurement. How did you first get interested in economics? I began my undergraduate training in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. I was a co-op student and worked at what was then Martin-Marietta (now Martin- Lockheed) in Orlando where I grew up. I took an economics course in the new School of Economics (I ended up in their second graduating class) whose Dean was Ferdinand Levy. Professor Levy had been the Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics at Rice. The course I took was the History of Economic Thought, taught by a former Jesuit priest, Professor Carl Bivens. I was hooked and changed majors. By the way, I am the Reginald Henry Hargrove Professor of Economics at Rice. What goes around comes around. What drew you to applied econometrics as an area of research? With a strong quantitative preparation from my engineering courses, I found that using statistics and economic theory to better understand how to square the empirical record with what theory suggests was fascinating, intellectually challenging, and fulfilling. I had acquired substantial programming and analytical skills and these were much in demand in the 1970’s as the field of econometrics was beginning its rapid integration into the economics profession. Do you have any advice for undergraduate students? Or anything you would like to highlight about the current program/classes in the Economics department? The reason I chose to be an academic was a decision I made early on that I wanted to live a life where I would always be challenged to learn. My parents stressed education and I understood that as a fairly competitive person I would do what it took to take myself out of my comfort zone to learn and to develop my academic capabilities. If you want to develop in whatever career you chose you must be willing to leave your comfort zone behind you. As for the current classes I teach in the Economics Department, this would be a good time to highlight the Honors Program that I teach in which students write honors theses that I either oversee or help coordinate with other economics faculty. The Rice Honors Program in Economics, which began in 2014, is a two-semester research program that selected students take in their senior year; details on the program are available at on the undergraduate page on the departmental website. The 8 students who have completed or are enrolled in the Senior Honors Program have accepted or been offered graduate fellowships at the University of Chicago, Rochester, Columbia, Cornell, Virginia, and the University of Texas, among others. One student is currently working in the Center for Human Development at the University of Chicago, whose director is James J. Heckman, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000. What do you enjoy the most about Rice? I have taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, George Washington University, University Pennsylvania, and Rice University. The students at Rice are remarkable and by far the best students I have taught. They are of course quite talented in addition the legacy of the times when middle class families with children who were willing to work hard for the free tuition Rice once provided is still apparent in the work ethic and the absence of a sense of entitlement in the Rice students I have been lucky enough to teach. Any ideas for possible research topics for undergrads, including those who might be interested in the Economics Department Honors Program? I think that anyone conducting resea ɍ )Ρ‘…Ё…‘‘́ѼΡ‘”•΅Α₯Ι₯…°Ι•½Ι…‘‘Ι•ΝΝ₯Ήœ)₯Ή½΅”₯Ή•ΕΥ…±₯Ρ䁅Ή₯Ρ́Α½±₯Ρ₯…°)Ι…΅₯™₯…Ρ₯½ΉΜ₯Έ½Υȁ…Ή½Ρ‘•ΘΝ½₯•Ρ₯•Μ)έ½Υ±‰”‘½₯Ήœ™…͍₯Ή…Ρ₯Ήœέ½Ι¬…́ݕ±°)…́ɕ͕…ɍ Ρ‘…Ёݽձ‰•Ή•™₯Ёё½Ν”™½Θ)έ‘½΄Ι•…Ν½Ή•…Ή™…Π΅‰…Ν•…ɝա•ΉΡΜ)…Ι”₯΅Α½ΙΡ…ΉΠΈQ‘½Ι½Υ …Ή…±έ͕½ΝΡΜ)…Ή‰•Ή•™₯Ρ́½˜΅₯Ι…Ρ₯½Έ…ΉΡ‘”‘₯ΝΡ½Ι₯…°)΅½΅•ΉΡΥ΄Ρ‘…Ё‘…́‘…Ι…Ρ•Ι₯镐)•½Ή½΅₯Œ°Ν½₯…°°…ΉΑ½±₯Ρ₯…°₯ΉΡ•Ι…Ρ₯½Έ)…ΉΡ‘”ΑΥΝ ΅‰…¬‰δ΅…Ήδέ‘Ό™•…ȁ₯Π)έ½Υ±…‘Ν₯Ή₯™₯…ΉΡ±δΡΌέ‘…Ё₯́Ή••‘•)₯Έ½Υȁ½ΉΩ•ΙΝ…Ρ₯½ΉΜƒŠL½‰©•Ρ₯Ω”™…Ρ́…Ή)Ι•…Ν½Ή•‘₯Ν…Ι••΅•ΉΡ́ݔ΅…䁑…Ω”½Έ)ΑΙ₯½Ι₯Ρ₯•Μ…ΉΡ‘”Ω…±Υ•Μέ”…ΡΡ… ΡΌΡ‘•΄Έ$(