Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Angus Deaton on John DiNardo

From a recent "Letter from America" column:
Another friend who cared about the underdogs, and sometimes felt himself to be one, was the labor economist John DiNardo, who taught at Michigan and died this summer at the absurdly early age of 56. John had an (occasionally) overwhelming sense of humor, with a deep streak of irreverence that he loved to use to deflate the pomposity and pretensions of sophisticated econometrics. He wrote a memorable paper with Steve Pischke that poked fun at the interpretation of the wage premium for those who worked with computers; they showed that workers who carried pencils, or who worked sitting down, also received the premium. He was also famous for writing three (sometimes apoplectic) reviews of Freakonomics. He worked with Jack Johnston on late editions of the econometrics text that was standard for my generation of British students. When he finished his PhD at Princeton, he taught me that the class prejudice that I thought I had left behind in Britain, was as bad in the US. His affect as an Italian-American working-class guy, smoking when he could, not caring much about niceties of dress, and giving respect only when he thought it was due, told against him on the job market, though he quickly moved up as his work was appreciated.
Hat tip: Steve Hamilton

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