Daniel McFadden Biography
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Daniel Little McFadden
Born in: Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Famous as: Economist
Spouse/Ex-: Beverlee Tito Simboli
father: Robert Sain McFadden
mother: Alice Little McFadden
children: Nina, Raymond, Robert
U.S. State: North Carolina
City: Raleigh, North Carolina
education: University of Minnesota
awards: John Bates Clark Medal (1975)
Frisch Medal (1986)
Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics (2000)
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2000)
Daniel Little McFadden is an American economist and the co-recipient of the 2000 ‘Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences’ along with American economist James Heckman. He received the award for developing the theory and methods applied for analyzing behaviour of individuals or household called ‘discrete choice’ in comprehending the way people make choices regarding where to work, where to live, or when to marry. The fields he concentrated for his research work included economic theory, environmental economics, mathematical economics, econometrics, and health economics. He introduced the method of Conditional logit analysis that analyse the way individuals make choices among finite options to get maximum utility. An early transistorized computer and an X-ray telescope were also designed and developed by him. He took the ‘James Killian Chair in Economics’ at ‘Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ (‘MIT’) and also served as director of its ‘Statistics Research Centre’. He founded the Econometrics Laboratory at ‘University of California’, Berkeley in the early 1990s and till date serves as its director. Presently he serves the ‘University of California’, Berkeley as Professor of the Graduate School. McFadden is also associated with the ‘University of Southern California’ as Presidential Professor of Health Economics. He provides his services at the Department of Economics of ‘USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ and also at ‘USC Price School of Public Policy’ to study basic problems of the health care sector, focussing particularly at the way consumers make choices regarding health insurance and medical services. He received ‘John Bates Clark Medal’ in 1975, ‘Frisch Medal’ from ‘Econometric Society’ in 1986 and ‘Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics’ from ‘Northwestern University’ in 2000.
- He was born on July 29, 1937, in Raleigh, North Carolina, US, to Robert Sain McFadden and Alice Little McFadden as their eldest son.
- He was raised in a family farm in rural North Carolina where the family grew most of their food and also sold hay, corn, peanuts, cottage cheese and butter. While his mother was a mathematics teacher in a high school, his father was an avid reader and collector of books with a library of his own.
- McFadden did his schooling from the public schools of North Carolina and with the aid of his mother he completed correspondence courses in geometry and algebra.
- In 1953 while in high school he led a petition drive urging judicial review against a policy of automatic suspension by the school of such students who were reported off-campus by police. However he faced suspension from school for such protest.
- He went to work in an uncle’s dairy farm in Minnesota for a season and after clearing an exam he enrolled at ‘University of Minnesota’ at the age of 16. He obtained BSc in Physics with highest honors.
- Meanwhile during his undergraduate days he worked in the Cosmic Ray Laboratory of Prof. John Winckler. It is there that he designed and developed an early transistorized computer for data processing and telemetry and also an X-ray telescope. The experience he gathered in this lab helped him greatly in shaping up his research career.
- In 1962 he earned a Ph.D. in Behavioural Science (Economics) from the ‘University of Minnesota’. While graduating he came under tutelage of Professors Leo Hurwicz and John Chipman in the Economics Department. He was highly influenced by the importance they attached to axiomatic development of economic theory and the potential of formal models.
- After his Ph.D. he joined the ‘University of Pittsburgh’ as a Mellon post-doctoral fellow.
- He was inducted in the faculty of the ‘University of California’, Berkeley in 1964 where he concentrated his studies on choice behaviour and issue of linking economic theory and measurement.
- During 1966-67 he visited ‘University of Chicago’ while serving his regular teaching responsibilities at Berkley.
- His studies towards resolving social issues included a combination of economic theory, statistical procedures and experimental applications. The method of Conditional logit analysis was introduced by him in 1974. The method analyse the way individuals make choices among finite options to get maximum utility. By making choices from a set of finite options, his work aided in predicting rate of usage of public transport systems. Applications of his statistical procedures were made to study health care, environment, labour force participation and housing especially for the aged ones.
- He remained the Irving Fisher Research Professor at the ‘University of Yale’ during 1976-77.
- He left Berkley to join the ‘Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ (MIT’) in 1977. That year he was elected to the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences. At ‘MIT’ he was given the ‘James Killian Chair in Economics’. In 1986 he became the Director of the ‘Statistics Research Center’ at ‘MIT’.
- In 1981 he was elected to the ‘National Academy of Sciences’.
- In 1990 he visited the ‘California Institute of Technology’ as a ‘Fairchild Fellow’.
- After spending over a decade at ‘MIT’ he opted to return to the ‘University of California’, Berkeley in 1991. There he set up the Econometrics Laboratory, a lab dedicated towards advancement of statistical computations for the purpose of economics applications and till present serves as its Director. He still holds the E. Morris Cox Chair there as the E. Morris Cox Professor of Economics and the endowment received from such position has aided him greatly in conducting research work.
- Over 100 scholarly articles of McFadden have been published in several journals like ‘Review of Economics and Statistics’, ’Journal of Mathematical Economics’ and ‘Journal of Economic Theory’.
- At present he serves the ‘University of California’, Berkeley as Professor of the Graduate School. He also serves ‘University of Southern California’ as Presidential Professor of Health Economics since January 2011. He is also a trustee of a ‘United Nations’ registered NGO based in New York called ‘Economists for Peace and Security’ (EPS) that brings together economists having interest in matters relating peace and security.
- McFadden provides his services in the Department of Economics at the ‘USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ and at the ‘USC Price School of Public Policy’ to investigate basic issues of the health care sector.
- For the last few years he has been focussing on the deviations from the economic theory of choice, seen especially in investigations in cognitive psychology made by Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman, as also implications of such deviations in economic analysis and determination of economic information.
- Backed by ‘National Institute on Aging’ of the ‘National Institute of Health’, McFadden has been working on the economic position of elderly Americans with regard to cost and delivery of health services, financial planning and housing.
- In 1962 he married photographer Beverlee Tito Simboli with whom he has three children, Nina, Raymond and Robert. Nina, a BA in child psychology works in a corporation in Tucson, Arizona as an executive chef. Raymond, an MBA from ‘University of California’, Berkeley oversees software development at the ‘Excite AtHome Company’ while Robert, a Ph.D in material science from ‘Carnegie-Mellon University’ leads a research team in Intel research labs.
- McFadden has three grandchildren - Daniel William, Anne and Emily.
- One of his prime interests lies in farming and he and his wife own a small farm/vineyard in the Napa Valley where they have livestock and grow and sell figs, olives, and grapes. They also produce and sell olive oil and wine.
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