Rice Economics Spring 2021 Newsletter | Page 2

Rice ECON Welcomes Two New Arrivals !
Robin Sickles to Retire After 35 Years of Service
Rice ECON Welcomes Two New Arrivals !
We are delighted to welcome two brand new members of the Rice ECON family . Alexis ( Lexi ) Bobkova was born on January 24 to Assistant Professor Nina Bobkova and her husband Georg , who is a cell biologist at the Baylor College of Medicine . Nina reports that Lexi ’ s favorite things so far are long walks across the Rice campus , staring at the family dog , and , like a true owl , helping her parents develop Lexi-cographic preferences for sleep .
And a little more than a month later on March 3 , Malav ( pronounced Maa-luv ) began his life of Pai as the second son of Associate Professor Mallesh Pai and his wife Akshta , who is a Transplant Nephrologist across the street in the medical center . After careful if limited observation , Mallesh notes that , “ Malav , based on current evidence , is very , very different from his older brother Abhav – so any hopes I had of leveraging economies of scale / learning-by-doing are moot .”
Robin Sickles to Retire After 35 Years of Service
It is with mixed emotions that we announce that our long-time colleague and friend , Robin Sickles , who has been a professor in the Rice Economics Department since 1985 and was appointed to the Reginald Henry Hargrove Chair in Economics in 2008 , is retiring this year and will become professor emeritus . Robin is one of our most productive scholars , specializing in econometrics , applied economics , and empirical measurement of productivity . He has published over a hundred and fifty articles , books and edited volumes , and most recently is the co-author of books on Measurement of Productivity and Efficiency : Theory and Practice ,
which was published by Cambridge Press last year , and Advances in Efficiency and Productivity Analysis , which is forthcoming from Springer Publishing later this year . A clear indication of the impact of his work and the esteem in which he is held in the profession is that Robin has given no fewer than 21 keynote or plenary conference speeches in his distinguished career . In addition , Robin was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Productivity Analysis from 2002-2012 and has also served on the editorial boards of seven other journals over the years .
Robin has taught with distinction in both our graduate and undergraduate programs . He has supervised an incredible number of Rice Ph . D . students , serving as committee chair for some 50 Rice dissertations and as a mentor to countless others . Indeed , he is widely known as an indefatigable champion of our graduate program and its many students over the years , and was the recipient of the Rice Graduate Student Association Mentoring Award in 1998 . More recently , Robin has been the only instructor of the “ crown jewel ” of our undergraduate program , the two-semester honors sequence that was introduced in 2015 when we revamped our undergraduate curriculum .
The honors sequence guides our best students through the research process in Economics , including forming a research idea and examining the literature in the area , formulating an economic model that provides insights into the issue ( s ) under consideration , specifying testable hypotheses , collecting data and performing econometric tests of the hypotheses , presenting preliminary and final results in a workshop setting , and ultimately preparing a clear , concise , and cogent research paper that presents those results . The students in our honors program have won all of our research paper prizes in recent years , and many are now graduate students at the most prestigious economics programs in the country .
In recognition of Robin ’ s wide-ranging contributions to the department , the university , and the profession , the department presented him with the 2019 Ralph O ’ Connor Award for Distinction in Teaching and Research in Economics .
We gratefully thank Robin Sickles for his 35 years of dedicated service to the department and the university and wish him nothing but the best on the many adventures to come .