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Northwestern University

Leon Moses Lecture

2023 Leon N. Moses Distinguished Lecture in Transportation


Patrick T. Harker
President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia


"Fulfilling John Hayford’s Legacy: Moving Economics Toward a New Way to Value Infrastructure"

November 8, 2023



Patrick T. Harker took office on July 1, 2015, as the 11th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. He was reappointed for his second five-year term effective March 1, 2021. In this role, Harker participates on the Federal Open Market Committee, which formulates the nation’s monetary policy.

As an engineer by training, Harker has continued to apply his research and receive patents throughout his career. He considers the effect of automation on the labor force as “the perfect intersection” of engineering and economics. Other technological influences, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, are also playing a part in the Third District’s and the nation’s economy. By focusing on economic mobility, one of the Bank’s research priorities, the Bank’s researchers are looking for ways to create sustained, inclusive growth through practical applications. Targeting such research to the employment field can help workers, communities, and industries plan for inevitable disruptions by connecting workers to training programs while encouraging discussions on the skills that are vital to a constantly changing market.

Before taking office at the Philadelphia Fed, Harker was the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He was also a professor of business administration at the university’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the College of Engineering.

Before joining the University of Delaware in 2007, Harker was dean and Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to being appointed dean in 2000, Harker was the Wharton School’s interim dean and deputy dean as well as the chair of its Operations and Information Management Department. In 1991, he was the youngest faculty member in Wharton’s history to be awarded an endowed professorship as UPS Transportation Professor of the Private Sector. He has published/edited nine books and more than 100 professional articles. From 1996 to 1999, he served as editor-in-chief of the journal Operations Research.

In 2012, Harker was named a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and a charter fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He was also named a White House fellow by President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and was a special assistant to FBI Director William S. Sessions from 1991 to 1992.

Harker is a board member of both the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and its Select Greater Philadelphia Council. He is also a board member at the Science Center in Philadelphia. Previously, he was on the boards of Catholic Relief Services, Pepco Holdings, Inc., and Huntsman Corporation and was a founding member of the board of advisors for Decision Lens, Inc. He was also a nonbanking Class B director of the Philadelphia Fed from 2012 to 2015. Harker has a Ph.D. in civil and urban engineering, an M.A. in economics, and an M.S.E. and B.S.E. in civil engineering, all from the University of Pennsylvania.


The Leon N. Moses Distinguished Lecture in Transportation was named in honor of Professor Emeritus Leon N. Moses for his significant contributions to the field of transportation economics and regional science and for his long and dedicated service to the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC).

Lecture Archive

11/12/2019 - Daniel McFadden - What Planners and Machines Must Learn to Predict Travel Behavior

ATTEND! CONSIDER! DECIDE! What Planners and Machines Must Learn to Predict Travel Behavior


November 12, 2019  /  7:30pm  /  Lutkin Hall
Daniel L. McFadden

Presidential Professor of Health Economics, University of Southern California
Professor of the Graduate School, University of California, Berkeley
2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
2000 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics






For decades, transportation planners have lived in data deserts, vast expanses of information with few milestones or guides for the policy traveler. A half-century ago, this information came from O-D surveys and cordon counts, painstakingly corrected and simply distilled. Today, transportation information is vast and immediate, encompassing highway sensors, automated toll systems, and GPS tracking of individuals and vehicles, processed in the cloud by banks of machines with sophisticated capacity for recognizing patterns and analogies. This wealth of data resources and processing power offers tantalizing possibilities for transportation planning and management. However, to harness this wealth to predict behavioral response to interventions, human planners and their machine counterparts must be trained to dig below the ecological morphology of the transportation landscape and recognize the delicate trail of causal effects that determine travel behavior.

The first attempt to develop systematical causal models of individual travel behavior came almost exactly fifty years ago, in an FHA project that Charles River Associates did for the FHA. The guiding principle was that people make decisions to maximize self-interest, and the determinants of self-interest were stable enough so that experiments and observed choices allowed one to learn about and predict the choices they would make following policy interventions. These models remain in use today, enhanced by natural experiments and stated choice data, but major developments in behavioral economics and cognitive science give roadmaps for improvement, and innovations in machine learning are changing how they are formulated and used. This presentation will examine the role of attention, consideration, and the decision-making process in choice behavior, and how it can be quantified and embedded in the training of policy-analysis systems.


Speaker Bio

Daniel McFadden is the Presidential Professor of Health Economics at the University of Southern California. He has joint appointments at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics at USC Dornsife College. He is also the E. Morris Cox Professor of Economics and Director of the Econometrics Laboratory, emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. McFadden’s research focuses on the fields of econometrics, economic theory and mathematical economics, health economics, transportation economics, and environmental economics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000, along with James Heckman, for the development of theories and methods for analyzing discrete choice. He is also the recipient of the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society and the Nemmers Prize in Economics from Northwestern University.

His extraordinary body of work includes seven books and more than 100 scholarly articles published in numerous journals, including the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Econometrics, Econometrica, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Mathematical Economics, Advances in Applied Micro-Economics, and the Review of Economics and Statistics, among many others.

He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1977 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1981. He has served as president of the Econometric Society, the American Economics Association, and the Western Economics Association International.



10/18/2017 - Martin Eichenbaum - Outlook for the US Economy: Is this as good as it gets?

Outlook for the US Economy: Is this as good as it gets?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
7:30 PM
Jacob Allen Center, McCormick Auditorium

Martin Eichenbaum
Charles Moskos Professor of Economics, Northwestern
Co-Director, Center for International Macroeconomics

Speaker Bio

1981 Ph.D. (Economics), The University of Minnesota
1976 B. Comm (Economics), McGill University

Assistant Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1981-1985. Associate Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, September 1985 - August 1987 Visiting Associate Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, September 1987 - June 1988. Professor of Economics, Northwestern University, September 1988 - present. Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Economics, Northwestern University, September 2004 – 2012.
Charles Moskos Professor of Economics, Northwestern University, 2013-present. Visiting Professor of Economics, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, January 2005- May 2005. Visiting Professor, Chicago Booth School of Business, September 2009 – June 2010.

Professional Affiliations American Economics Association.
International Fellow C.D. Howe Institute.
Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Co-editor, NBER Macro Annual, 2015 -. Co-editor, American Economic
, 2011-2015. Associate Editor, Journal of Monetary Economics,
1999 – 2010. Associate Editor, American Economics Journal – Macro,
2008 – 2010. Associate Editor, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking,
1993 – 2008.

Honors Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Fellow of the Econometric Society Research Associate, National Bureau of
Economic Research, Economic Fluctuations, Monetary Economics and
International Finance and Macroeconomics. Member of the National Science
Foundation Panel on Economics (Spring 1988 --- Spring 1990) National
Science Foundation Grants: 1983 – 2004, 2007 - 2008. Searle Foundation
Grant, 2002 – 2004, 2005-2006.


10/27/2015 - Jan K. Brueckner - Convenient Flight Connections vs. Airport Congestion

Convenient Flight Connections vs. Airport Congestion: Modeling the "Rolling Hub"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
7:30 PM
Northwestern University, Evanston


Jan K. Brueckner
Professor of Economics, University of California, Irvine

Introduction Slides | Presentation Slides | Video



Introduction by Ian Savage, Professor of Instruction and Associate Chair, Department of Economics, Northwestern University

This talk addressed the trade-off between convenient flight connections and airport congestion, a fundamental but untreated element in the economics of hub-and-spoke networks. It was based on a continuous spatial model that illustrates this trade-off in a framework where a small gap between flight operating times raises congestion while also shortening a connecting passenger's layover time. When the passenger's cost per unit of layover time rises, the monopoly airline chooses to narrow the gap between its flights, yielding shorter layovers but more congestion. A discrete spatial model, where flights congest one another only if they operate in the same discrete period, makes this layover-cost effect discontinuous: the monopoly carrier concentrates (deconcentrates) its flights when this cost is high (low) relative to the costs of congestion. When fringe carriers are present, however, the hub carrier always concentrates its flights, either partially or fully. But the presence of a second hub carrier leads to an equilibrium mirroring the monopoly outcome: the carriers concentrate their flights in different periods when the layover cost is high and deconcentrate them otherwise. The paper also presents a welfare analysis, showing that movement from the equilibrium to the social optimum typically requires greater carrier separation.

Speaker Bio

Jan K. Brueckner is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Irvine, and formerly taught at the University of Illinois. He received an B.A. from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Stanford University and has published over 130 scholarly articles dealing with a variety of topics in applied microeconomics. His early work on the airline industry provided some of the first economic analysis of hub-and-spoke networks. He has written more recently on international airline alliances, and other recent work deals with airport congestion, airport noise, and aviation emissions, and airline bag fees.

Brueckner was an academic affiliate at LECG, LLC, working for a number of aviation clients, and is currently an academic affiliate at Compass Lexecon. He has also consulted independently for American Airlines, United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, the Star Alliance, and US Department of Transportation.

10/29/2013 - Ian P. Savage - The Economics of Transportation Safety

The Economics of Transportation Safety

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
7:30 PM
Jacob Allen Center, McCormick Auditorium

Ian P. Savage
Associate Chair, Department of Economics; Distinguished Senior Lecturer
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University

Presentation Slides | Video 


Transportation incidents account for approximately two in every five “unintentional injury” deaths in the United States. The average annual death toll in the first decade of this century exceeded 43,000. In this lecture, Ian Savage reflected on the role of economists in understanding the “transportation safety problem” and the ways in which economic insights can mitigate the risks.

While economists may have a rather subsidiary role compared with that of engineers, psychologists and physicians, the insights that economists bring help to productively frame the public debate on this controversial topic.

Questions addressed:

  • How much safety do transportation users want, given that the prevention of incidents is costly?
  • Do all users desire the same level of safety?
  • Why might the market fail to provide some or all users with the safety that they desire?
  • How are the interests of bystanders taken into account?
  • Is intervention in the safety market warranted?
  • Why are some types of interventions better than others?

The lecture highlighted the considerable limitations of our knowledge, and the extensive potential for further research.

Speaker Bio

Ian Savage has been a member of the faculty of both the Department of Economics and the Transportation Center at Northwestern University since 1986. His research has been concentrated in two areas: urban public transportation, and transportation safety. He has published widely on the economics of transit finances and operations. During the past twenty-five years, he has conducted research into the safety performance, and the effectiveness of safety regulations, in most modes of transportation with particular emphasis on the trucking and railroad industries.



10/25/2011 - Robert J. Gordon - Is U.S. Economic Growth Over? Lessons from the Long 20th Century

Is U.S. Economic Growth Over?
Lessons from the Long 20th Century

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
7:30 PM
James Allen Center, McCormick Auditorium

Robert J. Gordon
Stanley G. Harris Professor in the Social Sciences & Professor of Economics, Northwestern University

Presentation Slides

Speaker Bio

Robert Gordon is one of the world's leading experts on inflation, unemployment, and productivity growth. His lecture will be a highly original questioning of the usual assumption that economic growth is a steady process that will continue forever. He will argue instead that there was virtually no economic growth between the Greeks and Romans of antiquity and around 1700 in Britain. Then came the flowering of economic growth which he will trace over the first, second, and third industrial revolutions from which the benefits have lasted from 1750 to today and perhaps another 50 years beyond. By then the pace of innovation will be dying out to be replaced by “headwinds” including the reduction in the standard of living implied by globalization, inequality, education, environment, and deficits. The talk will be of interest to anyone who is concerned about the future of the United States and its traditional leadership in the international league tables of the standard of living.

Gordon did his undergraduate work at Harvard and then attended Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 at M.I.T. and taught at Harvard and the University of Chicago before coming to Northwestern in 1973. He is a Fellow of the Econometrics Society, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) and the Observatoire Français des Conjunctures Economiques (Paris), and an economic adviser to the Congressional Budget Office and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

His recent work on the rise and fall of the New Economy, the revival and “explosion” of U. S. productivity growth, the stalling of European productivity growth, and the widening of the U. S. income distribution, have been widely cited. Gordon is author of Macroeconomics, eleventh edition, which has been translated into eight languages, and of The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices, The American Business Cycle, and The Economics of New Goods.

Leon N. Moses

Learn More

Leon N. Moses, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Northwestern University and former Director of the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC), passed away on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at the age of 88.

Professor Moses came to Northwestern University in 1959 as an Associate Professor of Economics. He was appointed the Robert E. and Emily King Professor of Business Institutions in 1993, and has been Professor of Economics with a joint appointment to NUTC since 1963. He retired to become an Emeritus Professor in 2005. His work primarily focused on the economics of firm location and the critical role played by transport and transportation costs.

Moses held a number of positions at NUTC, including Director of Research Director of Education. From 1976 until 1980 he served as the director of NUTC. Under his leadership, NUTC gained national prominence for its several conferences exploring the prospect of transportation deregulation.

During his career at Northwestern, he also served as Chair of the Economics Department, and held a joint appointment at the J. L. Kellogg School of Management for several years. Professor Moses served on almost all major university committees while at Northwestern.

 He attended The Ohio State University where he began as a major in agriculture. He later changed to economics. Moses was discharged from the armed forces in 1945. He then returned to Ohio State in 1946 and graduated in 1947 with highest honors. Following that he enrolled in the graduate economics program at Harvard University and was awarded an MA in 1950 and a PhD in 1955. He became an Assistant Professor at Harvard after receiving his doctorate.

His colleague, Professor Ian Savage, who Leon mentored for many years, wrote a professional biography of his work for the Biographical Dictionary of American Economists, which described his substantial contributions to transportation and urban economics and to regional science.

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