Underappreciated economists: a continuing series

by on July 28, 2007 at 7:17 am in Economics | Permalink

Today I will pick E. Glen Weyl, a mere Youngling, who is studying at Princeton University.  Here is his paper on neural networks, and the abstract:

I consider a potential neural basis of overconfidence, the well-documented tendency of individuals to overestimate the precision of their predictions. I present a simple, classic connectionist model for predicting a binary variable. I show that while the network initially makes weak predictions (in the middle of the probability range) regardless of input, after observing randomly generated data it learns to be overconfident in the sense that when presented with other, unrelated random data it makes strong predictions. The model matches behavioral data in that it shows overconfidence growing with experience and then, eventually, declining. The model shows how overconfidence, far from being a surprising fallacy, can be seen as a natural outgrowth of statistical over-fitting in the brain.

Glen probably won’t be underappreciated for long.  Here is his seminal paper on two-sided markets (e.g., Match.com).  There is already talk he will be a leading economist of the next generation.

Here is Glen’s home page, and his other papers.

Here is Dave Warsh on Weyl.  Here is an article full of praise.  (He’s already looking non-underappreciated; note the CV, A.B. 2007, Ph.d. expected 2008.)  Here is Glen’s commencement address.  Here is Glen’s fight against protectionism.  Here are Glen’s film reviews.  Here is Glen’s dining guide for Princeton cuisine (hmm…).

I very much liked Glen’s paper on Simon Kuznets: Economist of the Russian Jewish Diaspora.

Here is Glen’s muse, Alisha Holland.  Here is Glen’s path to Unitarianism.

Let us all be grateful for people like Glen Weyl.

1 Ken Houghton July 28, 2007 at 9:45 am

How about turning Andrew into his peer?

2 JD July 28, 2007 at 10:11 am

When you list Tirole and Shleifer as references, you are not underappreciated.

3 Gabriel Rossman July 28, 2007 at 11:44 am

Anybody who can write a dining guide to Princeton must be a skilled data miner.

4 Samson July 28, 2007 at 1:52 pm

j, your comment is stupid. his story for the universe is a private sentiment that informs his life. you have one too, it’s just not the same as his. stop with the evangelicism.

5 Glen Weyl July 28, 2007 at 6:17 pm

First, thanks so much to Tyler Cowen for this very kind write up! Second, my statement on Unitarianism reflects some ideas of mine when I was 17 years old. I put it up on my website without much thought, but I have now taken it down. It does not represent a careful considered piece of philosophic or religious thought. It is really just the musings of a seventeen year old kid. I hope people will not judge them too harshly in that context, especially given that I have now taken them down.

Thanks again,

6 Ian Maitland July 28, 2007 at 8:55 pm

If you sup with Oxfam (Princeton Fair Trade), I hope you will take a long spoon.
BTW, I also hope you will put your statement on Unitarian-
ism back up even if I disagree with every word of it.

7 Tyler Cowen July 28, 2007 at 9:47 pm

Bravo to Glen…thanks for your response…

8 Tino July 29, 2007 at 11:07 am

What’s the matter with you people?!? Stop justifying your jealousy with intentional autism: “Underappreciated “ in this context means he is not known to the broad economic community in relation to his skills. I certainly had not heard about him, and I bet neither had most of the commentators above.

Cowen uses “underappreciated economist† as a broad heading, where he can both include known but underestimated guys, or new rising stars.

So what exactly is the problem with Cowen choosing this guy as his latest underappreciated economist? This one seems brilliant, and now more people will know about him. Exactly how the heading should be used, to inform readers about interesting people, research etc.

I am sure all of the resentful posters wrote much better philosophical/theological papers when they were 17†¦


Weyl should be very careful about using confidence intervals as an instrument for overconfidence. People tend to *know* to a large extent they are missing the intervals, only part of it is actual overconfidence. A more reasonable explanation is that we are just too used to point estimates.

“Confidence interval estimation tasks and the economics of overconfidence†

9 Kieran July 29, 2007 at 4:18 pm

Tino, I think in career terms “Rising star” is quite a different phenomenon from “Underappreciated.”

I liked your “PS” though: “You people are all just jealous cos he’s brilliant! PS Here is a mistake he might be making.” Very Bourdieuian.

10 Student July 30, 2007 at 9:18 pm

“Whose Rights? A Critique of Individualism in the Theory of Rights†

Uh oh…

11 varnson July 31, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Tino writes,

“This is how economics works, people write working papers, other’s give tips and suggestions. Nothing else would work in such an immensely wide field. It has nothing to do with the writers or input givers brilliance or lack thereof.

Your interpretation indicates either you are not an academic economist, or at least not a particularly good one.”

Yeah, you’re right, people write papers and others comment on them. But the fact that you felt the need to “give tips and suggestions” via the comments section on a blog belonging neither to yourself nor the recipient of your pearls of wisdom points to a need to appear smart in the eyes of others, rather than a genuine desire to improve the work you are criticizing. Not very impressive and certainly transparent.

12 alan August 3, 2007 at 12:02 pm
13 varnson August 3, 2007 at 8:27 pm

Does he? Really!?

14 Biometric August 15, 2007 at 5:04 am

Good article! Thanks for sharing!

15 powell loft bed February 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

The Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate, is awarded to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership.

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