Roy Radner, professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting professor in the Economics Department this year helps fill the department's need for a prominent statistically-oriented professor, several sources in the Economics Department said yesterday.
Radner's work on theory, which deals, in part, with how organizations should channel and use data, stands at the fore of contemporary microeconomic theory, Elizabeth Allison, associate professor of Economics, said yesterday.
Radner accepted the department's offer last spring of the Taussig Professor of Economics chair, which funds one year of research with only limited teaching obligations.
His decision to come to Harvard was particularly welcome this year because he can help fill the gap left by Kenneth J. Arrow, professor of Economics, who is on leave this year, Dwight Perkins, chairman of the Economics Department, said yesterday.
Although several instructors in the Economics Department said Harvard would like to offer a position to Radner, both Perkins and Radner said there are currently no plans for Radner to remain here after his appointment expires.
Bent Hansen, chairman of the Economics Department at Berkeley, said yesterday that Radner has a one-year leave of absence, adding that Radners colleagues at Berkeley "certainly hope he will come back."
Radner plans to begin his research at Harvard with "a criticism of the textbook picture of economic man as a rational thinker," he said. Building on work of political scientist Herbert Sinon, Radner said he hopes to develop mathematical models of how people actually behave in complex economic situations.