One of the closest people on a day-to-day basis to the new Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Guido Imbens, is the Chilean Claudia Allende, a colleague of the winner at the Stanford University School of Business.
Allende (33) is today one of the most prominent national economists at the global level. In 2020 she was awarded the Restud Tour, for her thesis on “Competence in Social Interactions and the Design of Educational Policies”, one of the best in the world, according to the Review of Economic Studies.
The academic studied economics at the Catholic University and did her doctorate at Columbia University. According to Christopher Neilson, a Chilean professor at Princeton University and one of his thesis tutors, “Allende was easily one of the best three of all the graduates in the world in 2020. She is surely the most successful Chilean woman economist at this stage of life. his career, but it’s also basically the best thing any man has ever done. “
Allende, a regular Pulso columnist since this year, says that she always did well in school and was “multifaceted.” He liked writing, math, science, history, everything.
After graduating from undergraduate and, at the same time, from UC in economics, he went on to study for a doctorate at Columbia University, alternating that process with three years at Princeton.
Before beginning her work this year as an assistant professor at Stanford, the economist spent a year at the University of Chicago at the Becker Friedman Institute.
Allende says that his area of specialization is “industrial organization, the study of the strategic interaction of firms in a specific market. This area started with a more theoretical approach, but in recent decades it has seen a fascinating development of empirical tools. I am passionate about this combination of theory, data and the real world, especially when economics can help us understand how to improve people’s quality of life ”. It maintains that its “final objective is to try to contribute to the debate on how to improve the design of public policies, with a focus on reducing inequality and using State resources efficiently.”
One of the people who taught her in Chile, Francisco Gallego, professor at the UC Institute of Economics, recalls that “I met Claudia when I was a master’s student in Economics at UC, almost 10 years ago. Took two bouquets with me. One on advanced econometrics and one on development topics. I remember his good performance and especially how, in the second branch, he worked mixing issues of industrial organization with economic development, when it was very rare to mix the two issues. Then he delved into a very outstanding thesis mixing industrial organization with education issues ”.
Over the years, Gallego says that “it is incredible to note that already at that time – 10 years ago – he was already thinking about the topics in which he now works in research and where he has made important progress in information and education issues using frontier models of structural industrial organization. I think that reflects very well something that stands out in Claudia: not only her work and intellectual capacity, but her ability to mix literature and innovate ”.
At Stanford, Allende works with Imbens in the economics group within the Business School. “That group is diverse, there is the macro branch and also the theoreticians, which has always been one of the best departments in the world in theory, by far. In fact, Robert Wilson, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics last year, is part of the theoretical group ”, says the Chilean and adds that although they have different lines of research, in practice there is no separation.
This year’s Nobel winners were awarded for “their solution of using natural experiments: situations that arise in real life that resemble random experiments” to answer big questions, as highlighted on the day they were named.
Allende also comments that “with David Card (Berkeley) and Josh Angrist (MIT) – the other two winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics – I have had fascinating academic discussions. The passion with which both contribute to the profession is impressive, not only through their prolific research agendas, but also through a deep vocation and inexhaustible energy in training new generations of economists. They are two brilliant guys, who think three times faster than I am used to and ask precise and accurate questions. In a few minutes, they are able to detect the weak points of any data analysis, which more than once has made presenters nervous who cannot give an eloquent answer to their questions in the seminars. I am sure that my research, and that of many other economists, has benefited tremendously from these interactions. “
Returning to his closest relationship with Guido Imbens, he says that 10 years ago the now Nobel Prize winner came along with Susan Athey, another prominent economist and his wife (“who will surely also win the Nobel in a few more years,” says Allende), to Stanford and have dedicated themselves to transforming the area of economics. “Going from the theoretical to the empirical, with real world problems. They were the ones who hired me, they are my mentors, ”says Allende.
The style of Imbens and Athey is not that of traditional bosses, says the Chilean: “What they want is for you to open a new area of investigation. They want to help you, teach you, so that you find your own way ”.
On Wednesday of this week that ends, a cocktail was organized at the Business School with all the professors, to give a recognition to the new Nobel Prize, a recognition that for him “is super important”, this “because he is convinced that there is a lot of value in the data, therefore that this work is recognized is very important ”.
“He is a guy with a simplicity and a passion for what he makes incredible, in addition to being super humble, a luxury as a person. Besides being brilliant, he is a very special person. He loves to ride his bike and we have a group in which we go out every Friday, ”Allende says, adding that, in fact, it is Imbens himself who organizes the rides.
Imbens has already warned that the Swedish organizers of the Nobel Prize in Economics, the Bank of Sweden, are scheduled to go to California to record a video about his life. For that record, the academic already plans to record him riding a bicycle, including, of course, his colleague Claudia Allende. P
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Claudia Allende, the Chilean economist who rubs shoulders with the new Nobel Prize winners – La Tercera