C. de Chaisemartin awarded an ERC CoG grant
- 3D illustration of a labyrinth with the word "credibility" at the centre of it
Empirical economics sets out to fill the gap between economic theory and observed data. Relying on case studies and econometrics, it is useful to evaluate and improve public policies in areas such as labour, health, education, family and development economics. But in 1983, Edward Leamer took empirical economists to task: take the “con out of econometrics”! And pursued: “Hardly anyone takes data analysis seriously. Or perhaps more accurately, hardly anyone takes anyone else’s data analysis seriously.” Two decades later research design and the question of replicability in the field had so greatly improved that Joshua D. Angrist and Jörn-Steffen Pischke affirmed that empirical economics had experienced a “credibility revolution”.
Clément de CHAISEMARTIN, who joined the Department’s permanent faculty last year, is not as thoroughly convinced: is the credibility revolution “really credible”?
In July, the European Research Council (ERC) deemed that Clément de CHAISEMARTIN’s proposed research project Completing the revolution: Enhancing the reality, the principles, and the impact of economics' credibility revolution (REALLYCREDIBLE) warranted its full support and awarded it a prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant.
As a reminder, ERC Consolidator Grants are destined to help mi-career researchers consolidate their own teams and carry out innovative projects across all scientific disciplines.
It is the 5th ERC project that the Department has added to its “ongoing projects” in a little over a year! Jean-Marc ROBIN was awarded an “Advanced ERC” grant in December 2021, the arrival last year of Isabelle MEJEAN and Moritz SCHULARICK brought with them their ERC projects TRADENET and SAFEHOUSE, and Ghazala AZMAT was awarded an ERC CoG in March for her project UNEQUALED.
Specialized in economics of education and health economics, and more generally in the field of public policy evaluation, Clément de Chaisemartin is an internationally renowned econometrician. He was nominated in 2022 for the Cercle des économistes-Le Monde “Meilleur Jeune Économiste” Prize, for his work developing new, more robust and transparent public policy evaluation tools.
Before joining our permanent faculty, Clément de Chaisemartin was Associate Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. He is also a researcher affiliated with NBER, J-PAL and the Institute of Public Policy (PPI). He also contributed to the evaluation of boarding schools of excellence, and to the evaluation of the Parler Bambin Programme, two educational policies aimed at promoting the educational success of children from disadvantaged families. In addition to his numerous academic publications (Journal of Labor Economics; The American Economic Review; Econometrica; The Stata Journal; The Review of Economic Studies; American Economic Journal: Applied Economics; Health Economics), he contributes to the evaluation of IPP public policies.
Clément DE CHAISEMARTIN’s project REALLYCREDIBLE aims to “complete the revolution” in empirical economics using a three-stage logic:
- In the first part he will argue that the credibility revolution may not be quite complete yet, and proposes new statistical methods to enhance the credibility of a very substantial proportion of applied economics research.
- In a second part, he wonders whether credibility is even always desirable. The credibility revolution's focus on unbiased estimators is hard to defend, as variance also matters. As Clément de CHAISEMARTIN underscores, most natural experiments are more complex: multiple places set the policy in motion, at different times and with different intensities making it difficult, even impossible, to measure the effect of the policy. In his project REALLYCREDIBLE, he proposes to trade off bias and variance in a principled manner.
- In the third and final part of the project, he will investigate the impact the credibility revolution may have on policymakers and society at large. To do so, he will run a randomized controlled trial to measure the effect of following an online course presenting policy evaluations, on two very different populations: policy makers and members of the general public, focusing on individuals with a low trust in institutions in that second group.
Congratulations to Clément de Chaisemartin !
Read more about the REALLYCREDIBLE project (link to follow)