Author dedicates economics book to grandfather

Gwen Chamberlain The Chronicle-Express
Chris Parmeter (back) with his grandfather, Frank Berch. A recently published textbook, Applied Nonparametric Econometrics, written by Parmeter and Daniel Henderson of Alabama, was dedicated to Berch.

It’s not likely we’ll know when or how, but sometime in the future, economics research and economic policy will be influenced by a Penn Yan native, Christopher Parmeter, and his grandfather, Frank Berch.

Parmeter, a 1997 graduate of Penn Yan Academy who is now an associate professor at the University of Miami, is co-author of a textbook, Applied  Nonparametric Econometrics, published by Cambridge University Press (www.cambridge.org).

He has dedicated the book to his grandfather, with whom he spent a portion of his young childhood. “I think I learned how to think because of my Grandpa...He had this insatiable appetite for reading books, talking about philosophy, and just learning. It was great. I spent afternoons going through crossword puzzles with him and watching him play chess. It was a special time for me, and I believe it had a profound impact on who I am today as both a scholar and an individual.”

With broad smile last week, Berch, 83, said his reaction to a highly technical economic textbook being dedicated to him was, “What the hell?”

Parmeter explains the textbook, which he is using in his class of second-year doctoral students, is about statistical methods that can be used to analyze economic outcomes. “These methods are advanced, but the book really tries to simplify them for a non-advanced person. We focus on issues surrounding misspecification, whereby I posit a relationship between A and B, but I am wrong. These methods can assist in helping to avoid this issue, which has importance when considering economic policy,” he explains.

The book has been praised by experts at several universities:

“Taking theory to data is difficult for most students, but this book provides substantial help by providing cogent explanations of practical considerations, including how well methods that work “in theory” might be expected to work with real data in the quantities that researchers might have available.” wrote Paul W. Wilson of Clemson University.

“Daniel Henderson and Chris Parmeter have provided a modern survey of nonparametric econometrics. Newcomers will enjoy their applications-oriented introduction to this growing field. Theorists will find a compact survey of the most important foundations. Researchers of all sorts will want to add this valuable resource to their libraries.”

Parmeter and Henderson met at Binghamton and began working on research together there before Henderson moved on to the University of Alabama. They began work on the text more than five years ago, when Parmeter was still at Virginia Tech.

They proposed the book to seven publishing houses, and six expressed interest. In 2010, they chose Cambridge University for their publishing house for a number of reasons, including the proposed price of the book, and the personal relationships they felt with the representative at Cambridge. “We wanted the book to be affordable,” he said.

It is available in hardback at $125; paperback at $49.99 and ebook at $40.

Parmeter was formerly an assistant professor in the department of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a visiting scholar in Dipartimento di Studi su Politica, Diritto e Societa at the University of Palermo.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Nazareth College, he received his PhD in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton. His research focuses on applied econometrics across an array of fields, including economic growth, microfinance, international trade, environmental economics, and health economics. His work has been published in the Economic Journal, the European Economic Review, Health Economics, the Journal of Applied Econometrics, the Journal of Econometrics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and Statistica Sinica.