US economist. McFadden developed theories and methods widely used in analysing work and living habits. He shared the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2000 with US economist James Heckman for creating statistical methods that transformed the analysis of discrete qualitative response models (surveys in which individuals are asked to respond, not whether they want more or less but whether they want better or worse of something).
Before McFadden's work, studies of these choices lacked a foundation in applied econometrics. The tools he developed are widely used in empirical microeconomics. Examples of how McFadden used his own methods include research into the design of the San Francisco BART transport system, investments in phone service, and housing for the elderly. He has also done extensive research in environmental economics, health economics, economic growth and development, energy demand, and production theory.
McFadden was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and received his PhD in economics at the University of Minnesota, where he began his teaching career (1957–62). He then taught at the University of Pittsburgh (1962–63), the University of California, Berkeley (1963–79), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978–91), before returning to Berkeley to become professor of economics (1990– ). McFadden was president of the Econometric Society (1985) and vice-president of the American Economics Association (1994). His awards include the Frisch Medal from the Econometrics Society in 1986.
His publications include Urban Travel Demand: A Behavioral Analysis (1975; with T Domencich), Microeconomic Modelling and Policy Analysis: Studies on Residential Energy Demand (1984; with T Cowing), and Handbook on Econometrics, Volume IV (1994; co-edited with R Engle).