Koichiro Ito, who has been an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy since 2015, was awarded tenure at the school as of July 1.
“Koichiro’s research dives into the biggest energy and environmental questions — such as what determines electricity consumption, and how much are people willing to pay for clean air in China? — and consistently provides decisive answers. Beyond that, there is a precision to his studies that, as strange as it may sound about economics research, is beautiful and something I try to emulate in my own work,” says Michael Greenstone, the director of EPIC and the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School. “We are thrilled that he has decided to remain at the Harris School and are excited to have him as a colleague for the foreseeable future.”
Ito’s interests include environmental and energy economics, industrial organization, and public economics. His past research has studied how consumers respond to various pricing and incentive programs in electricity markets; how moral suasion tactics affect the public’s economic decisions; how firms strategically react to attribute-based regulation such as fuel economy standards; how firms respond to dynamic incentives in electricity markets; and how much people in China value air quality. These studies use a variety of methods, including randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental designs, and structural estimation to address policy relevant questions in energy and environmental economics.
“In the years to come, I hope to continue making meaningful contributions to the field of energy economics. I am looking forward to doing so in an environment where economics is such a stronghold and work to confront vital energy questions is nurtured and encouraged,” Ito says.
Ito received the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities and the Nikkei Prize for his book “The Power of Data Analysis: How to Approach Causality.” The book was published in Japanese in April 2017 and translated into Korean and Taiwanese. Along with his appointment at the University of Chicago, Ito is a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Graduate School of Economics at Kyoto University. He is also a fellow at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the International Growth Centre at the London School of Economics, both of which study economic and policy questions in developing countries.
Prior to his arrival at the University of Chicago, Ito was an assistant professor at Boston University and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Ito received his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in economics from the University of British Columbia, and a BA in economics from Kyoto University.