Condliffe Memorial Lecture - Economics and Finance - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

2005 Condliffe Memorial Lecture: Jerry Hausman

Professor Jerry Hausman, the John and Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered the inaugural Condliffe Memorial Lecture. His curriculum vitae and list of publications are breathtaking. He has received many honours for his seminal contributions to the Economic Sciences. These include Fellowship of the Econometric Society in 1979, the Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society in 1980 for the best publication in Econometrica, the John Bates Clark Award of the American Economic Association (AEA) in 1985 for being the best academic economist under the age of forty as judged by the AEA, the inaugural Jacob Marschak Lecture of the Econometric Society in 1988, Fellowship of the National Academy of Social Insurance in 1990, Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, Fellowship of the Journal of Econometrics in 1998, and Fellowship of the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand in 2005.

Professor Hausman is internationally renowned for his contributions in specification testing, panel data models, missing data and unobservable effects, errors in variables models, qualitative choice models, duration and risk models, optimal taxation, labour supply decisions, labour force participation, pension plans, disability insurance and social security, contingent valuation of natural resources, telecommunications, railroads, regulation, energy, innovation, research and development, intellectual property, securities trading, and sports economics.

In his Condliffe Lecture, Professor Hausman highlighted the benefits that Wal-Mart brings to the American economy. While social activists have criticised Wal-Mart, Professor Hausman shows us rather that Wal-Mart has been responsible for massive decreases in prices that have greatly benefited the poor. Not only do the poor benefit by enjoying lower prices at Wal-Mart, prices at other shopping outlets drop considerably when a Wal-Mart opens. He calculates that when a Wal-Mart opens in a community, poor families are made better off by an amount equivalent to a quarter of their food expenditure: a substantial amount for those on low incomes.