David Grether, Caltech Frank Gilloon Professor of Economics, Emeritus, passed away on September 12. He was 82.
Grether was trained in econometrics, a field that applies statistical methods to economic data in an effort to determine economic relationships. His research into individual decision-making helped develop what was then a new field, experimental economics, which examines economic questions through the use of experiments like simulated auctions, games, and markets.
Grether received a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Berkeley in 1960 and served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1961. He then went on to pursue a PhD at Stanford University, which he received in 1969.
After working at Yale University and its Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Grether joined Caltech as an associate professor in economics in 1970. He was promoted to professor of economics in 1975 and served as executive officer for social sciences from 1978 to 1982. He served as chair of the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences twice, from 1982 to 1992 and again from 2006 to 2007.
Grether's research was focused on the study of decision-making by individuals through the use of laboratory experiments. He used subjects from diverse backgrounds to test whether human decision-making processes are consistent or if they instead vary among individuals and over time. Some of his work was conducted with Charlie Plott, Caltech's William D. Hacker Professor of Economics and Political Science.
A full obituary will be posted at a later date.
Written by Emily Velasco