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Top ten in econometrics

This year, a group of four PhD students from the Department of Economics and Business Economics ranked among the ten best participants at Econometric Game, the world championship in econometrics.

Kristoffer Holst Ibsen
PhD student in Economics Kristoffer Holst Ibsen Photo: Private

Unlike previous years, Econometric Game was not held in Amsterdam, but took place online Thursday and Friday 8-9 April. Four PhD students in economics participated on behalf of Aarhus University. They had been granted special permission to attend campus at Fuglesangs Allé in order to partake in the competition. Here, they worked full throttle on their solution to the case: “What are the local effects of Airbnb on the housing market in Amsterdam?"

“It is both fun and exciting to apply your toolbox from classes in econometrics on a case, you do not quite understand - such as the effect of Airbnb on house prices in Amsterdam. That is two times eight hours at full speed, where you have to quickly gain insight into a new field and in fact write a scientific article,” says PhD student Kristoffer Holst Ibsen, who headed the group of four people from the Department of Economics and Business Economics. 

In addition to Kristoffer Holst Ibsen, the group consisted of PhD students Mathias Voldum Siggaard as well as Kenneth Kjær Jensen and Jonas Søndergaard Sørensen, who are both on part A of their 4+4 PhD degree programme. For this reason, the two latter of the four counted as ‘regular’ Master’s degree students in the competition, which only allows two PhD students per team.

“We come from different parts of the department and had not really worked together on anything beforehand. But with four different sets of backgrounds, competencies and skills, we were able to consider the problem from different perspectives and to create a nice result,” says Kristoffer Holst Ibsen.

Even though Airbnb bookings and house prices in Amsterdam have both increased over the years, it does not necessarily mean that there is a connection between the two. Therefore, the group ended up using a shift-share instrument in their solution, reaching the conclusion that Airbnb does in fact impact house prices in Amsterdam.

The solution carried the four economists through to the finale of Econometric Game, but unfortunately they did not rank among the three best participants.

Students from the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus University have previously ended up in second place or third place, but it is still considered very impressive to reach top ten. The competition is regarded as the unofficial world championship in the statistical discipline econometrics and the competition is huge. 30 teams from 30 different universities across the world participate in the competition. The winner of Econometric Game 2021 was the team from Lund University.