PhD Defence Nienke Dijkstra
Nienke's dissertation 'Statistical Modeling Approaches for Behavioral and Medical Data', employs modern statistical models in the field of fundamental economic behavior and medical sciences with the aim to generate more reliable inferences and more accurate predictions than would have been the case with established methods. Nienke has successfully defended her dissertation on Thursday, 20 October 2022 at 13.00. Her supervisors were Prof. Patrick Groenen, Prof. Henning Tiemeier, and Prof. Roy Thurik. Other members of the Doctoral Committee were Pauline Jansen (ESSB en EMC), Dennis Fok (ESE), and Mark de Rooij (Universiteit Leiden).
Nienke Dijkstra was born in 1993 in Capelle aan den IJssel, The Netherlands. After completing VWO at the Erasmus College (Zoetermeer), she started a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Econometrics and Operations Research at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2011. During the bachelor, Nienke studied at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand for five months. In 2017, Nienke obtained the degree of Master of Science (MSc) in Econometrics and Management Science at the Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Thereafter, Nienke started as a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Patrick Groenen, Professor Henning Tiemeier, and Professor Roy Thurik. She carried out her research within the Department of Applied Economics at the Erasmus School of Economics as a member of the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). In addition, Nienke was affiliated to the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology and the Generation R Study Group at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.
Nienke's research focuses on statistical modeling approaches applied to economic behavior and medical sciences. Her work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychometrika. In addition, she has presented her work, amongst others, at international conferences on Computational Statistics and on Data Science, Statistics, and Visualisation, and at international meetings of the Psychometric Society and the Society for Epidemiologic Research. Nienke will continue her work as researcher at SEO Economic Research in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Behavior and abilities are arguably the most fundamental concepts in life. Hence, these concepts and their causes and consequences, are studied in many disciplines, such as economics, psychology, sociology, and health sciences. The research of behaviors and abilities is quickly changing: data sets are rapidly growing in size, both in terms of observations and variables. The increase in the sample size of studies, repeated measurements and complex multi-level designs necessitates the use of modern - often more complex and flexible - statistical methods. This thesis employs modern statistical models in the field of fundamental economic behavior and medical sciences with the aim to generate more reliable inferences and more accurate predictions than would have been the case with established methods. In the present thesis I will give two examples. In the first part of the thesis, I develop the Censored Mixture Model (CMM) to analyze risk behavior and show two applications. In the second part, I compare two machine learning approaches with various simpler commonly used baseline approaches in their performance to predict cognitive ability using brain morphology.
Photos: Michelle Muus / Michelle Muus Fotografie