A Look Back at the 2010s

From the repercussions of the recession and the housing crisis to innovations in data, faculty members share what has changed the most in their respective fields in the past decade.

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As the decade draws to a close, we thought it would be a good time to ask faculty members we interviewed in the past year how their respective fields have changed since 2010. Here’s what they had to say.

Michaela Pagel

Roderick H. Cushman Associate Professor of Business

In the field of household finance, researchers have gained access to transaction-level data on individual bank accounts. This allows us to observe all spending, income, balances, and credit limit with unprecedented accuracy and scope. We can also observe brokerage account activities and can also track attention via logins to bank accounts in ways that were previously impossible. The new data allowed researchers to better understand important questions. Among them: What drives expensive credit card borrowing? When do individuals pay attention to their bank accounts? When do individuals start to invest or disinvest into stocks and mutual funds?

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate

The Great Recession of 2007-09 has prompted a sea change in real estate finance research, which has moved from being in the background to being the star of the show. The study of the housing and mortgage crisis found its way into the top economics and finance journals, and has greatly raised the profession's awareness of the importance of real estate for the macro economy.

Jorge Guzman

Assistant Professor of Business

The field of entrepreneurship has really “come about” over the last decade driven by two research developments and a “market” one. The first research development is the emergence of large administrative datasets, such as the databases at the US Census, the detailed data tracked by Scandinavian countries, business registration data collected by states, or others.  These datasets have allowed researchers to develop systematic documentation of a phenomena that was once considered too hard to observe.

The second research development is a shift in research to truly consider the heterogeneity in startups. Whereas before, researchers might lump together all types of companies when understanding entrepreneurship, today they are very careful in knowing that self-employment, venture-backed entrepreneurship, and local businesses, among others, are related, but also need to be studied separately and have different roles for communities and the economy.

Besides these two research shifts, the other critical thing that has changed is a huge growth in the “market” for entrepreneurship research.  What used to be a fringe research enterprise by a few visionary and enterprising scholars, now has a robust set of conferences, and grant programs and agencies, and a very robust interest from practitioners at all levels—from policy makers in the U.S. government all the way to students in any business school.

About the researcher

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance at Columbia University’s...

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About the researcher

Jorge Guzman

Dr. Jorge Guzman is an assistant professor at the Management Division in Columbia Business School. Jorge received his PhD from the Sloan School of...

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About the researcher

Michaela Pagel

Michaela Pagel is the Roderick H. Cushman Associate Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. She received her Ph.D. from the Economics...

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