Walmart hires 1st chief economist

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 3,609 views 

Bentonville-based Walmart Inc. has added to its economic team by hiring its first chief economist.

John List, a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago, fills that role for the retailer. Tom Ward, the chief e-commerce officer for Walmart U.S., shared the news in a LinkedIn post April 13.

“John is an expert in behavioral economics and will help us use data to create a clearer understanding of why customers make the choices they do — so we can make sure we’re giving customers and members more of what they want,” Ward wrote.

List joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2005, and served as chairman of the economics department from 2012 to 2018. Before that, he was a professor at the University of Central Florida, University of Arizona and University of Maryland.

“My passion is using field experiments to explore economic questions,” List writes in an online bio. “I view field experiments as representing a unique manner in which to obtain data because they force the researcher to understand everyday phenomena, many of which we stumble upon frequently.”

List previously worked as chief economist for both Uber and Lyft. He’s also a published author. He released his most recent book, “The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale,” earlier this year.