During the Autumn Quarter, Booth announced its latest offering, the Virtual Faculty Speaker Series. With a goal of providing students additional opportunities to engage with Booth professors outside of the classroom setting, the series highlights Booth faculty’s latest research, passions, hobbies, industry trends, and current events. I recently had the opportunity to attend the first two events featuring Professor Amir Sufi and Professor Jean-Pierre Dubé. I was excited to find that both of the talks were about their latest research.
The Saving Glut of the Rich
I knew prior to the event that Professor Sufi teaches Debt, Distress and Restructuring, so I came in expecting to hear something related to this subject, but I was surprised to learn that his latest research actually focuses on the saving glut of the rich. In simple terms, there has been a large rise in savings by Americans in the top one-percent income bracket over the past 35 years. This saving glut, however, has not been associated with an increase in investments. Instead, this rise in savings has been associated with substantial dissaving by the non-rich and dissaving by the government. I have heard theories about income inequality and the problems it led to, yet the conclusion of Professor Sufi’s research is that the inequality is not the real problem, the lack of re-investment is.
Media Persuasion and Trust in Scientific Experts
Professor Dubé teaches Pricing Strategies at Booth – the course is incredibly popular and known for requiring a shockingly high number of points to bid. So, this opportunity to connect with him outside of the traditional classroom felt like a win. His recent research, similar to the case with Professor Sufi, is different from his traditional subject matter. During the lecture, Professor Dubé talked about a study done to test the persuasive effect of FOX News viewership on social distancing during the COVID pandemic. They find that higher levels of FOX News viewership cause a decline in social distancing, as measured by location data for over 30 million mobile phones. Having taken Data-Driven Marketing last quarter, I particularly appreciated the way they set up the experiment to eliminate confounding errors and proved causality between the two.
I have really enjoyed this new offering so far since one of the reasons I chose Booth was because of the strength of academics. This new speaker series provides more opportunities for me to hear from prestigious professors and their cutting edge research. I also got to broaden my horizon on topics that I am not familiar with or have never heard before. It definitely helps to enhance the virtual setting and enrich my Booth experience!