Cornell economist Nicholas Kiefer dies aged 73

Cornell University professor Nicholas Kiefer, who made a significant contribution to the field of econometrics, has died at the age of 73.

He was the Tai-Ching Liu professor at the university, and his research spanned areas including labor economics, financial economics, and risk management. 

Among his achievements, Kiefer invented a statistic for measuring the information content of financial trades, and created new methods for examining small probabilities in banking applications.

He obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University, and worked at the University of Chicago following a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health. In 1980 he joined Cornell as an associate professor, and was awarded the Tai-Ching Liu professorship in 1996.

Kiefer co-wrote and edited a number of books, including Economic Modeling and Inference and Empirical Labor Economics: The Search Approach. In 1986, he was awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Cornell Associate Professor of Economics George Jakubson said: “[Kiefer] was a mentor, a friend and a big brother. And he was a fundamentally nice guy,”

Jakubson added: “He was interested in all kinds of different areas and his interests changed over time. He was serious about the work but not about himself. He was my oldest, closest friend here. And I will miss him desperately.”

He is survived by his wife Meral Varis Kiefer, and their son, Mark. He is also survived by his three sons, Patrick, Gregory and Joseph, from his marriage to his late first wife, Charlotte.