Minnesota Economics Big Data Institute is a research institute at the University of Minnesota that promotes and produces applied economic research that harnesses the power of big data under the guidance provided by economic theory. The institute brings together economists from the University of Minnesota economics department and outside researchers from broad backgrounds to contribute to this mission.


MEBDI’s core mission is to promote and produce applied economic research that combines the power of big data with discipline imposed by economic theory. MEBDI engages in various activities toward fulfilling its mission. Among these, it organizes conferences that bring together economists, data scientists, and data producers (e.g., government statistical agencies) to help create new synergies. Another major activity is to produce and make publicly available a wide variety of rich micro-economic statistics relevant for researchers, policy makers, and the general public. These efforts are typically undertaken in collaboration with outside researchers and agencies. MEBDI also disseminates the findings by its affiliated economists to a broad audience. Over time, the institute intends to introduce new initiatives supporting its core mission. 

The institute’s mission—of empirical research guided by economic theory—continues the long tradition of research at the University of Minnesota’s economics department, exemplified by several of its faculty and graduates who went on to win the Nobel prize, such as Tom Sargent, Ed Prescott, Chris Sims, Dan McFadden, and Lars Hansen.