Charles F. Manski

Board of Trustees Professor in Economics | IPR Fellow


Charles F. Manski has been Board of Trustees Professor in Economics at Northwestern University since 1997. He was formerly a member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1983–98), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1979–83), and Carnegie Mellon University (1973–80).

Manski’s research spans econometrics, judgment and decision, and the analysis of public policy. He is the author of seven books, including Public Policy in an Uncertain World (Harvard University Press, 2013) and Identification for Prediction and Decision (Harvard University Press, 2007), co-author of College Choice in America (Harvard University Press, 1983), and co-editor of four others. Read the complete list here.

Manski has been editor of the Journal of Human Resources (1991–94), co-editor of the Econometric Society Monograph Series (1983–88), member of the editorial board of the Annual Review of Economics (2007-13), and associate editor of the Annals of Applied Statistics (2006-10), Journal of Economic Perspectives (1986–89), Econometrica (1980–88), the Journal of the American Statistical Association (1983–85, 2002–04), and Transportation Science (1978–84).

He has served as director of the Institute for Research on Poverty (1988–91) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as chair of the Board of Overseers of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (1994–98), and as chair of the Department of Economics at Northwestern University (2007-10). At the National Research Council, he has been chair of the Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs (1998-2001), a member of the Board on Mathematical Sciences and their Applications (2004–07), the Committee on Law and Justice (2009-15), the Committee on Deterrence and the Death Penalty (2010–12), the Committee on Proactive Policing (2015–17), the Report Review Committee (2010–18), the Committee on National Statistics (1996–2000), the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (1992–98), the Committee on the Federal Role in Education Research (1991–92), the Committee on Research on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice (1985–87), and the Panel on Research on Criminal Careers (1983–86). Manski is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and an elected fellow of the Econometric Society, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Statistical Association, and the British Academy. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.

Current Projects

Social Choice with Partial Knowledge of Treatment Response. Economists have long sought to learn the effect of a "treatment" on some outcome of interest, just as doctors do with their patients. A central practical objective of research on treatment response is to provide decision makers with information useful in choosing treatments. Often the decision maker is a social planner who must choose treatments for a heterogeneous population—for example, a physician choosing medical treatments for diverse patients or a judge choosing sentences for convicted offenders. But research on treatment response rarely provides all the information that planners would like to have. How then should planners use the available evidence to choose treatments? Manski’s research addresses key aspects of this broad question, exploring and partially resolving pervasive problems of identification and statistical inference that arise when studying treatment response and making treatment choices.

Selected Publications

Books and Edited Volumes

Manski, Charles F. Public Policy in an Uncertain World. Harvard University Press (2013).

Manski, Charles F. Identification for Prediction and Decision. Harvard University Press (2007).

Manski, Charles F. Social Choice with Partial Knowledge of Treatment Response. Princeton: Princeton University Press (2005).

Manski, Charles F. Partial Identification of Probability Distributions. New York: Springer-Verlag (2003).

Manski, Charles F., with J. Pepper and C. Petrie, eds. Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press (2001).

Manski, Charles F., with B. Fischhoff, eds. 2000. Elicitation of Preferences. Kluwer Academic Publishers (2000). Originally published in 1999 in the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 19(1/3).

Manski, Charles F. Identification Problems in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1995).

Manski, Charles F., with I. Garfinkel, eds. Evaluating Welfare and Training Programs. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (1992).

Manski, Charles F. Analog Estimation Methods in Econometrics. London: Chapman and Hall (1988).

Manski, Charles F., with D. Wise. College Choice in America. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (1983).

Manski, Charles F., with D. McFadden, eds. Structural Analysis of Discrete Data with Econometric Applications. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (1981).

Selected Articles

Manski, C. F. 2018. Credible ecological inference for medical decisions with personalized risk assessment. Quantitative Economics 9(2): 541–69.

Manski, C. F., and J. Pepper. 2018. How do right-to-carry laws affect crime rates? Coping with ambiguity using bounded-variation assumptions. Review of Economics and Statistics 100(2): 232–44. 

Manski, C. F. 2018. Survey measurement of probabilistic macroeconomic expectations: Progress and promise. NBER Macroeconomics Annual 32(1): 411–71.

Manski, C. F., with D. Nagin. 2017. Assessing benefits, costs, and disparate racial impacts of confrontational proactive policing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(35): 9308–13.

Manski, C. F. 2017. Mandating vaccination with unknown indirect effects. Journal of Public Economics Theory 19(3): 603–19. 

Dominitz, J., and C. F. Manski. 2017. More data or better data? A statistical decision problem. Review of Economic Studies 84(4): 1583–1605.

Manski, C. F., and A. Tetenov. 2017. Sufficient trial size to inform clinical practice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(38): 10518–23.

Manski, C. F. 2017. Optimize, satisfice, or choose without deliberation? A minimax-regret assessment. Theory and Decision 83(2): 155–73.

Manski, C. F. 2016. Credible interval estimates for official statistics with survey nonresponse. Journal of Econometrics 191: 293–301.

Manski, C. F. 2016. Interpreting point predictions: Some logical issues. Foundations and Trends in Accounting 10(2-4): 238–61.

Manski, C. F. 2015. Communicating uncertainty in official economic statistics: An appraisal fifty years after Morgenstern. Journal of Economic Literature 53(3): 631-653.

Manski, C. F., and A. Delavande. 2015. Using elicited choice probabilities in hypothetical elections to study decisions to vote. Electoral Studies 38: 28-37.

Manski, C. F. 2014. Identification of income-leisure preferences and evaluation of income tax policyQuantitative Economics 5(1): 145–74.

Manski, C. F. 2014. Choosing size of government under ambiguity: Infrastructure spending and income taxation. The Economic Journal 124(576): 359–76.

Manski, C. F. 2013. Diagnostic testing and treatment under ambiguity: Using decision analysis to inform clinical practiceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(6): 2064–69.

Manski, C. F., and J. Pepper. 2013. Deterrence and the death penalty: Partial identification analysis using repeated cross sectionsJournal of Quantitative Criminology (Feb.):1–19.

Delavande, A., and C. F. Manski. 2012. Candidate preferences and expectations of election outcomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(10): 3711–15.