Friday, October 4, 2013

Member Profile: Jeffrey H. Dorfman

Jeffrey A. Dorfman
University of Georgia

AAEA Activities:
  • AAEA Fellow, 2013
  • AAEA Awards Committee, 2012-2014
  • Past Chair, Chair, and Chair-Elect, AAEA Econometrics Section, 2009-2012
  • AJAE Co-Editor, 2009-2012
  • AJAE Associate Editor, 2006-2008
  • Publication of Enduring Quality Award Committee, 2005-2006
  • Quality of Research Discovery Award Committee, 2003
  • Nominating Committee, 2002-2004
  • AAEA Selected Papers Committee, 1991
Jeffrey H. Dorfman has made substantial contributions to the profession through his research, teaching, outreach, leadership, and service activities. As an econometrician who prefers collaborating with colleagues, he has published articles across a wide range of fields including productivity and efficiency measurement, futures markets, forecasting, regional economics, technology adoption, trade policy, health economics, agricultural marketing, and environmental and resource economics. Journals he has published in include Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Econometrics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Econometric Reviews, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Journal of Regulatory Analysis, Journal of Regional Science, many agricultural economics journals, and journals in psychiatry, statistics, pharmaceutical and health economics, and poultry science. Dorfman has published papers with over seventy different co-authors to date. His contributions in econometrics include advances in time series modeling and forecasting, and, most strikingly, popularizing and advancing Bayesian econometrics within agricultural and applied economics. During his twenty-four years as a professor at The University of Georgia he has taught classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and agricultural marketing at all levels and has won many teaching awards.

Dorfman was blessed to enter graduate school at the advent of numerical Bayesian econometric methods. His major professor, Art Havenner, had just spent a sabbatic at the University of Chicago with Arnold Zellner, learning the latest in Bayesian methodology. This gave him an opportunity to join the numerical Bayesian revolution near its beginning and also to receive mentoring from many of the top Bayesians in the world during his early years, thanks to initial connections Havenner provided. Along with seminal contributions in numerical Bayesian methodology, particularly in the areas of unit root and cointegration testing and model specification uncertainty, he was a founding member of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis. Dorfman helped popularize Bayesian techniques with accessible presentations of the methodology, such as in his 1997 book, Bayesian Economics Through Numerical Methods: A Guide to Econometrics and Decision-Making with Prior Information.

His broader body of research can be characterized by his interest in real world problems, in his development of new econometric approaches when necessary to solve those problems, and his emphasis on clear communication of the methods and findings. He sees little value in providing answers to research questions if those who make policy do not understand the results. This motivation has led him increasingly into outreach activities over his career. Around the state of Georgia, Dorfman has built a high-profile reputation as an economist by providing frequent speeches, training workshops, and op-ed columns on local government finance, land use economics, and economic outlook. Over the past decade, he has trained over one thousand local government officials on topics relating to land use policy and is regularly invited to provide economic outlook speeches to conventions of local government officials. His advice is frequently sought by cities and counties around the state on a variety of fiscal and land use issues.

Dorfman has served the association as co-editor and associate editor of the AJAE, as chair of the Econometrics Section, and member and chair of numerous AAEA committees. He also edited the Journal of Agribusiness and served as guest co-editor for a special issue of the Journal of Econometrics. He has served The University of Georgia in a number of administrative roles such as center director, interim department head, acting assistant experiment station director, chair of the University Council Executive Committee, member of the UGA Foundation Board, and member of the UGA Athletic Association Board. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from U.C., Davis.

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

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