Erik Hurst, the V. Duane Rath Professor of Economics and the John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has been named deputy director of the Becker Friedman Institute for Research Economics (BFI) by Michael Greenstone, incoming director of BFI and the Milton Friedman Professor. Both appointments begin on July 1, 2017. As deputy director, Hurst’s responsibilities will center on allocating institute resources to further strengthen the University’s broad economics community.
Greenstone said, “Hurst is a leading economist whose work is greatly deepening our understanding of the determinants of economic growth by bringing detailed microdata to bear on urgent questions. It is a privilege to be able to work with him to honor Becker and Friedman by using economics to advance understanding about the world and clearly communicating those ideas outside academia, just as they did.”
BFI supports economic research and interdisciplinary scholarship, bringing together scholars from around the world and building programming and public outreach that draws upon the University’s strength in the field of economics.
“Erik has been a very active participant in institute leadership and activities,” said Lars Peter Hansen, the inaugural director of the BFI and one of its current co-chairs. Hansen continued, "Currently, he is a member of the Institute Research Council, composed of faculty who provide overall guidance for our research ambitions, and he has also been a featured speaker at prominent Institute events discussing his research.”
“Erik is strongly committed to the Chicago approach to economics exemplified by both Becker and Friedman. His work uses a combination of economic theory and empirical evidence to address critical issues in labor economics and macroeconomics. The policy relevance of his interests and work will make him an outstanding deputy director for the BFI,” said Kevin Murphy, the George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor and current co-chair with Hansen.
The Becker Friedman Institute was created in 2011 with the joining of the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics and the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory. The institute’s first chair was the late Gary S. Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, University Professor of Economics and Sociology.
Hurst is a macroeconomist whose work focuses on labor markets, housing markets, regional economics, and household financial behavior. One aspect of his research explores the importance of home production in determining time series, life cycle, and business cycle variation in measured consumption spending. Recently, Hurst has explored how changes in the U.S. labor market have influenced U.S. macroeconomic outcomes. In one of his more recent papers, Hurst has shown that structural forces have contributed to the low levels of employment in the wake of the 2009 recession. His work on these issues has been covered in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Economist.
“Building inclusiveness across the economic community at UChicago is a key role for the BFI. Our work inherits the accomplishments and direction set by Lars Peter Hansen and Kevin Murphy. They have strengthened the work of colleagues across Chicago Booth, the Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School, and I am excited to continue and expand these efforts,” said Hurst.
In 2012, Hurst was awarded the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship, a distinction awarded annually to a scholar under the age of 40 whose research has made a significant contribution to the literature in entrepreneurship. Hurst is a member of the Economic Fluctuations Group, Aging Group, and Public Economics Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is currently serving as the editor of the Journal of Political Economy. Additionally, he serves as a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Hurst earned a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from Clarkson University in 1993. He received a master's degree in economics in 1995 and a PhD in economics in 1999 from the University of Michigan. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1999.