Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Member Profile: Marc Nerlove

Marc Nerlove
Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland

AAEA Activities:
  • AAEA Fellow, 1993
  • AAEA Centennial Address, 2010
  • Outstanding AJAE Article, 1957, 1962
  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation, 1957
Marc Nerlove, Distinguished University Professor in the department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland is a newly elected Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. Professor Nerlove’s career spans half a century and a “who’s who” list of prestigious universities: Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Yale, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania, before joining Maryland’s faculty in 1993.

His early work dealt primarily with the supply of, and demand for, agricultural commodities. He was able to show why, contrary to conventional wisdom, vast agricultural surpluses had accumulated as a result of the post-war U.S. agricultural price-support and subsidy programs. In subsequent years, his models and methods were extensively applied to farmers in developing countries, showing that (again contrary to conventional wisdom) farmers who participated in market economies in developing countries were indeed responsive to prices.

The next phase of Professor Nerlove's work concerned the estimation and identification of production functions. In the 1960s he laid out the econometric issues involved in the estimation and identification of production and cost functions from time-series or cross-section data. Exploring the application of time-series statistical methods to economic problems, he found that conventional methods of seasonal adjustment produced serious distortions in the adjusted series. He then began research on methods of analysis of what we now call panel data. In 1966 he introduced random-effects models into econometrics, which led to a vast literature on panel-data econometrics, one of the fastest growing and intensively studied fields in econometrics for the past 40 years.

Following his work on panel data, Professor Nerlove turned his attention to expectation formation and business decisions. Using German and French survey data, he was able to show that rational-expectations models did not characterize these data. In conducting this research, he developed the application of multivariate log-linear probability models in econometrics. More recently, his research has focused on agricultural development and on likelihood methods in econometrics.

Professor Nerlove’s many scholarly achievements have earned him numerous honors and awards, including, in 1969, the John Bates Clark Medal, given at that time biennially to the American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. In 2010 he was asked to give the Centennial Address at the 100th Annual Meetings of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, a recognition of his preeminent status in the profession. He has also been made a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow and a past President of the Econometric Society, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (now the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association). These are among the highest disciplinary recognitions possible.

This post is part of an ongoing series of profiles of AAEA members. Have a suggestion for a future profile? Send them to Info@aaea.org. or use the Submit a Member Profile form.

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