Early Childhood Interventions network member Ismael Mourifié recently met with HCEO to discuss his work quantifying uncertainty and recent changes happening in economic theory, due to the availability of better data.

"I am an econometrician, so my research is trying to develop cutting-edge methods or statistical tools in order to answer relevant policy questions," he says. "Usually econometrics has been used to quantify uncertainty, or try to discriminate between competing economic theory."

In the past, Mourifié explains, it was difficult to access data, so many simple economic theories were rejected by the data. In recent years, as more data has become available, "data tends to reject most of the simple economic models that we have," he says. "I think that was very good because it pushed economists to think about richer models. This is why actually I’m trying to play a role. My goal is to develop econometrics tools or statistical tools that fit exactly with the empirical research that the economist or the researcher has in mind."

To that end, one project that Mourifié has worked on recently involves improving the representation of women in STEM in Canada. Over the past two decades, policymakers there have tried many interventions with little success. "One of the reasons is because they have a hard time understanding the main causes," he says. "I am trying to see, based on the data, amongst all those competing theories, which is the most significant effect on the decision of the woman. And based on that, see what kind of optimal policy we may implement to improve this representation of women in STEM."

Mourifié is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto.