DEFINITION of 'Daniel L. McFadden'

Daniel L. McFadden is an American econometrician and winner, along with James Heckman, of the 2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his microeconometric analysis of individual and household behavior. Daniel L. McFadden has also conducted research on deviations from the economic theory of choice and the economic status of elderly Americans.

BREAKING DOWN 'Daniel L. McFadden'

Born in 1937 in North Carolina, McFadden attended rural schools until age 16, when moved to Minnesota to live on his uncle's dairy farm and enrolled at the University of Minnesota. By age 19 he had earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in physics and had been introduced to behavioral science through a job with the psychology department. He continued his graduate studies at the school and entered their new behavioral science training program in 1958. As his interest in mathematics as a research tool increased, he found himself changing his PhD focus to economics.

Teaching Experience and Scholarly Works of Daniel L. McFadden

McFadden started his teaching career at the University of California Berkeley. In 1977 he joined the economics faculty of MIT, then returned to Berkeley in 1991 to found their econometrics lab. He also spent time as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, the California Institute of Technology and Yale. He has authored several books and won the John Bates Clark medal, among numerous other awards and recognitions.

According to the Library of Economics and Liberty, McFadden earned his half of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for "his development of theory and methods for analyzing discrete choice. The award was given for very technical work that would be hard to explain to the layman, but it has been important for economists who want to study many important issues when the choices involve discrete rather than continuous choices."

What Is an Econometrician?

An econometrician is a person who works in or studies econometrics. The term "econometrics" was coined by the Polish economist, Pawel Chiompa, in 1910. In econometrics relationships are created based on large amounts of data. These relationships are then used to develop, maintain and evaluate economic models used in forecasts and simulations. For example, the government may use econometricians to determine if the incentives they offer to encourage a healthier lifestyle or conserve energy are actually effective. To be a successful econometrician one must have math and programming skills, as well as economic intuition.

In addition to his interest in economics, McFadden is also an avid farmer, buying and selling grapes, olive oil and figs with his wife, Beverly in California.

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