Alumni of the week

Desired competence

Øyvind Aas

Research postdoc in Economics

ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Bachelor in Business Administration 2008, MSc in Business and Economics 2010 and PhD in Economics 2016

“To avoid stagnation one must dare to fail. Failure means that I’m trying to accomplish something that’s difficult.”

Being a researcher is not for impatient souls. When your motivation is to understand the world better, the bar is set high and failing is an important part of the job. You really need the endurance and stoicism of a long-distance runner, and researcher Øyvind Aas has worn out many running shoes.

Post doc researcher Øyvind Aas has dedicated his entire student life to BI. He did his Bachelor's at campus Trondheim, before moving on to campus Oslo to do his Master's , and finally embarking the PhD programme in Economics. Taking a PhD is only for the most curious and ambitious of us, those who never give up and who always thirst for more knowledge. When Øyvind was 30 years old he graduated with the dissertation “Essay in Industrial Organization and Search Theory”.

Why are identical products sold at different prices?

Together with his colleagues Espen R. Moen (BI) and Fredrik Wulfsberg (HiOA), Øyvind developed a statistical model to understand why identical products so often are sold at different prices. They studied the prices of 766 different consumer goods from close to 4300 stores, over a period of five years. They also had to weigh in the different items’ price level, as two Norwegian Krones represent a greater difference for milk, than for a cell phone. They found that the price difference in 49 percent of the cases can be explained by which shop you choose. But Øyvind is not satisfied just understanding half of the equation.

– This means that we are left without explanations for about one half of the price differences, Øyvind said to BI Business Review back then.

As a researcher it is the eternal quest for more answers that pushes him forward. Now he is stationed in Brüssel, where he is part of a large international research community at The European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics. Here he works to understand how contracts, and the relationship between consumers and manufacturers, control markets and prices. As a researcher, stagnation is Øyvind’s greatest fear. And to avoid stagnation one must dare to fail.

– Failure means that I’m trying to accomplish something that’s difficult.

Why become a researcher?

A lot of companies crave Øyvind’s competence, and would benefit from having someone like him on the team. But for Øyvind it was not the business world that excited him the most. It was the eagerness for new knowledge, and a deeper insight into his field.

– I strive to learn something new every day.

Øyvind Aas - PhD

I strive to learn something new every day