The Financial Times carried a profile of Austan Goolsbee and a look back at his beginnings as one of the youngest economic professors at Chicago GSB. Goolsbee started teaching when he was only 25, after completing his PhD at MIT. According to the article, Goolsbee credits the Chicago culture of research and intellectual rigor as making it easy for a newly-minted professor to fit in.
In the early days of the Internet, Goolsbee became well-known for his work on the Internet and its impact on prices. He took the position that the Web would make people more price-sensitive. That research drew attention from the business community and Goolsbee, now the Robert P. Gwinn professor of economics, began to see practical applications for his work.
Other topics he has researched include cable and satellite television as well as computer sales—online and off. While not intending to focus on the business side of research, Goolsbee does feel that being associated with an MBA program rather than a university has made a difference.
As an economist and researcher with a strong command of the practical world, Goolsbee is much in demand by policy makers. He has served as an advisor to Senator Kerry’s presidential campaign and currently sits on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s steering committee.
Remembering those early days in the classroom, Goolsbee learned that what made him a successful teacher was making economic theory practical. He found students receptive to his approach that economics was a powerful decision-making tool. Goolsbee feels it’s stimulating to find such a fit between teaching and his research.
If his colleagues in the economics department at the GSB are any indication, Goolsbee can look forward to a long and fruitful career. As the article points out, several of his peers are producing new research at an age when their contemporaries have stopped.
A current youthful GSB hire who’s attracting attention is Andrea Frazzini. An assistant professor of finance, Frazzini, 28, has had his PhD thesis published in the prestigious Journal of Finance. The paper has also won the Crowell Award.
The profile of Austan Goolsbee appeared in the Financial Times on November 2, 2005.