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LUSEM team wins World Championship in Econometrics

Students standing outside the LUSEM building. Photo.
The winning LUSEM team. Photo: David Dahlgren

The Econometric Game in Amsterdam is a competition known as the ”World Championship in Econometrics”. And now, after many years of Top 3 positions, the competing LUSEM student team has won the 2021 Game!

LUSEM was represented by master’s students Ester Trutwin and Natalie Irmert, and doctoral students Devon Spika and Matthew Collins. They all study Economics at Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM).

You are the first team ever from LUSEM to win the Econometric Game. How does this feel? What do you think made you a good team?

Devon: “We are all still a bit in disbelief. It feels really good, both for us, and for LUSEM and the Department of Economics. We maybe dreamed this was a possibility, but to actually have won feels really amazing!

Ester: “Teams don’t work well without good teamwork. In our practice sessions we all got to know each other better and practiced working together as a team. Besides the intensive exercise sessions, we did online activities, such as playing an escape room. It was a great experience for me to work along with Devon, Natalie and Matthew during the last months. Thanks a lot to all of you!”

Devon: “I think we did a good job of communicating on the days of the event, which is so important for good teamwork. We checked in with each other regularly and made sure to ask each other questions and talk through solutions if we were unsure about something. Being open and willing to ask for help enabled us to always be on the same page as a team.”

We were to identify the effect of Airbnb listings on housing prices in Amsterdam. We thought it was an interesting task and definitely a relevant topic.

What did you think of the case of this year’s game?

Matthew: “We were asked to identify the effect of the increasing number of Airbnb listings on housing prices in Amsterdam. As a task, we thought it was really interesting and definitely a relevant topic. As a group of mainly applied microeconomists, a question like this really suited our skills and as luck would have it, we had practiced some very similar tasks in our preparations. In many ways this was the perfect case for our team!”

Did you encounter any specific challenges due to the pandemic and the fact that this year’s Game was held online?

Natalie: “The online event was perfectly organized and everything went super smooth during the two days – a big Thank You to the organising committee for hosting such a great event! So, the biggest challenge the pandemic caused us was actually not during the game itself, but in the lead-up to the Game. We chose to hold the majority of our practice sessions online, and never met in person as a full team until the week before the Game. Meeting through a screen is completely different to working together in person. Luckily, we were able to work together, in person, during the actual Game!” 

It was a really great – and exhausting – experience. We worked together well as a team. It's cool to see what you can produce in such a short period of time with good teamwork!

Any further comments or thoughts from your experiences of the Econometric Game 2021?

Devon: “It was a really great – and exhausting – experience. We worked together well as a team, and it is just so cool to see what you can produce in such a short period of time with good teamwork! We all learned a great deal from each other and the experience as a whole.”