Prof. Erik Hurst has been appointed director of the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, effective immediately, Provost Katherine Baicker announced today.
Established in 2011, the institute brings together economists from across the University, including the Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School in an effort to advance research and impact.
The Frank P. and Marianne R. Diassi Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and the John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow at Chicago Booth, Hurst had served as deputy director of BFI since 2017. He succeeds Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College and director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, who was recently appointed the inaugural director of the University’s new Climate and Energy Institute.
Hurst’s work lies at the intersection of macroeconomics, labor economics and urban economics. His research has addressed topics such as declining male participation rates, the determinants of U.S. wage growth, the welfare losses to society stemming from gender and racial discrimination, and the causes and consequences of urban gentrification. Hurst also studies the economics of time use, small business dynamics, life-cycle consumption profiles, the role of housing and mortgage markets in driving macroeconomic conditions, and the choice to invest in human capital.
“Erik has played an integral role in making BFI a dynamic research hub for scholars who collaborate to tackle the most pressing economic issues of our time,” Baicker said. “I am thrilled that he will lead BFI into its next chapter.”
Hurst is a recipient of the TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship, among other awards. He is a member of the Economic Fluctuations Group, Aging Group, and Public Economics Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research and currently serves as the co-editor of the NBER Macro-Annual and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
A member of the UChicago faculty since 1999, Hurst holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Clarkson University.
“Michael and I have been running BFI for the last seven years, and while I will miss having him as a partner, I am excited for this new opportunity,” Hurst said. “Along with our first-rate BFI team, I plan to continue the momentum that we have created, both in respect to enhancing the University of Chicago’s position as the premiere destination for economic research in the world, and with respect to disseminating that research to the global community.”