USU alumnus is recipient of Nobel Prize in economics

Oct 14, 2013

A Cache Valley native and Utah State University alumnus learned Monday he is one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics for his work in financial market research.

Lars Peter Hansen and his colleague, Eugene Fama, are professors at the University of Chicago. The third recipient is Robert Shiller of Yale University. Hansen graduated from Utah State in 1974 with undergraduate degrees in math and political science. Here’s Hansen in an interview with University of Chicago press earlier today:

“I just feel very fortunate, very lucky," he said. "I’ve had wonderful family support over the years which has been critical to make all this happen. And (I’ve) had some great students and mentors and colleagues so I just feel very lucky.”

Hansen’s research focuses on the predictability of bond and stock prices over time.

“I do research that is designed to help understand better the connections between the macro economy and financial markets,” Hansen added. “To help us understand what models can do, what their limitations are, and to help us figure out how to make the models better.”

As an undergraduate, he worked in political science research with classmate Randy Simmons – now an economics professor at USU.

“Lars Hansen and I worked as research assistants in the political science department for Dan Jones, running his public opinion surveys in like ’73, ’75,” said Simmons. “Lars knew a lot more math than I did and was clearly a lot smarter and that’s why he won the Nobel Prize and why I’m just a professor of economics.”

USU awarded Hansen an Honorary Degree in 2012. In a press statement released Monday, the Nobel organization said the laureates laid the foundation for our current understanding of asset prices and even changed market behavior.

Credit Utah State Today

The official name of the award is the The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2013.