• Lars Peter Hansen
    David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago; Program Director, MFR

    Lars Peter Hansen is a leading expert in economic dynamics who works at the forefront of economic thinking and modeling, drawing approaches from macroeconomics, finance, and statistics. He is a recipient of the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

    Professor Hansen has made fundamental advances in our understanding of how economic agents cope with changing and risky environments. He has contributed to the development of statistical methods designed to explore the interconnections between macroeconomic indicators and assets in financial markets. These methods are widely used in empirical research in financial economics today.

    The Nobel Prize recognizes this work, which has been used to test theories and models that have shaped our modern understanding of asset pricing.  His recent research explores how to quantify intertemporal risk-return tradeoffs and ways to model economic behavior when consumers and investors struggle with uncertainty about the future. Improving models that measure risk and uncertainty have important implications for financial markets, fiscal policy, and the macroeconomy.

    His early research in econometrics was aimed at developing time series statistical methods to investigate one part of an economic model without having to fully specify and estimate all of the model ingredients. The applications he explored with several coauthors, such as Kenneth J. Singleton, Scott F. Richard, Robert Hodrick, and Ravi Jagannathan, included systems that are rich enough to support models of asset valuation and to identify and clarify empirical puzzles, where real-world financial and economic data were at odds with prevailing academic models.

    Professor Hansen’s recent work focuses on uncertainty and its relationship to long run risks in the macroeconomy. He explores how models that incorporate ambiguities, beliefs, and skepticism of consumers and investors can explain economic and financial data and reveal the long-term consequences of policy options. Hansen, Thomas J. Sargent, and their coauthors have recently developed methods for modeling economic decision-making in environments in which uncertainty is hard to quantify.  They explore the consequences for models with financial markets and characterize environments in which the beliefs of economic actors are fragile.

    Professor Hansen joined the faculty of the University of Chicago’s Department of Economics in 1981 and has served as department chairman and director of graduate studies. He is now David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Statistics, Booth School of Business and the College. He was the inaugural director of the Becker Friedman Institute until July of 2017. He currently directs the Macro Finance Research Program housed under the Becker Friedman Institute.

    Hansen also serves as co-principal investigator, along with Andrew Lo of MIT, on the Macro Financial Modeling Project (MFM). This research group works to develop macroeconomic models with enhanced linkages to financial markets, with the aim of providing better policy tools for monitoring so-called systemic risks to the economy.

    In addition to the Nobel prize, Hansen has also received many other awards and honors. Hansen won the 2010 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Economics, Finance and Management “for making fundamental contributions to our understanding of how economic actors cope with risky and changing environments.” He also received the CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications in 2008 and the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics from Northwestern University in 2006. In 1984, he and Kenneth J. Singleton were awarded the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society for their paper, “Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models.”

    Professor Hansen is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Finance Association. He also is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and past president of the Econometric Society.

    Professor Hansen holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and political science from Utah State University and a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota.  Hansen has also received numerous honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate from Utah State University in 2012.

    Zhiguo He
    Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago; Director, BFI-China

    Zhiguo He is interested in the implications of agency frictions and debt maturities in financial markets and macroeconomics with a special focus on contract theory and banking. His recent research focuses on the role of financial institutions in the 2007/08 global financial crisis. He is also actively conducting academic research on Chinese financial markets that have been undergoing rapid development, including the stock market, local government debt, shadow banking, and interbank markets together with recent regulation changes; in relation to this research, he teaches a newly created elective MBA course, “Chinese Economy and Financial Markets.” Besides research in Chinese financial markets, he has also been writing academic articles on new progress in the area of cryptocurrency and blockchains. His research has been published in leading academic journals including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial Economics. He has been an associate editor for the Review of Financial Studies and Management Science and currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Finance.

    Professor He received his bachelor and master degrees from the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University before receiving his PhD from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2008. He has been named a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and has won numerous awards for his outstanding scholastic record, including the Lehman Brothers Fellowship for Research Excellence in Finance in 2007, the Swiss Finance Institute Outstanding Paper Award in 2012, the Smith-Breeden First Prize in 2012, and the Brattle Group First Prize in 2014. In autumn 2015 he was the dean’s distinguished visiting scholar at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business and in winter 2020 he will be a visiting professor of finance at Yale University, School of Management. Before joining the Chicago Booth faculty in 2008, he worked as a stock analyst at the China International Capital Corporation in Beijing in 2001 and visited the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University as a post-doctoral fellow.