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Summer Economics Department Update

Ezranomics is a quarterly e-newsletter that our economics alumni will receive to stay connected to department news, current students, and each other.  Our alumni are a successful group of individuals working in various organizations throughout the world.  Help us share your successes and tell your story by submitting a class note for an upcoming newsletter issue.  

Over the summer there were a few new appointments within the department.  We are pleased to introduce our new Department Chair and Associate Chair! 

New Department Appointments:

This issue features a letter to alumni from our new Department Chair, Michael Lovenheim.  Read on to learn more about the department's future and commitment to investing in the next generation of Cornell economists below. 

Other highlights of this issue of Ezranomics include:

A Letter From The Department Chair

Dear Alumni,

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a new member of the Department of Economics at Cornell and as the new Department Chair. I received an undergraduate degree in Economics from Amherst College in 2000 and a PhD from the University of Michigan in 2007. After spending two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, I had the good fortune of accepting a faculty position at Cornell in Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) in 2009, where I have been ever since. 

While I am new to the Department, I am not new to the University or to Economics at Cornell. I have been an active member of the Field of Economics throughout my time at the University, teaching courses in the PhD program and supervising students. As well, one of my undergraduate courses is cross-listed with Economics: Economics of Education (some of you may have taken it!). 

Much of my research focuses on the economics of education, a topic on which I published a textbook in 2017. I am very interested in understanding how students make postsecondary investment decisions, how family and institutional resources affect these decisions as well as student educational success, and what factors drive the labor market returns to college. I also study teacher labor market policies, including the effect of teachers unions on student achievement and how teacher merit pay affects student learnings. My research further explores issues in local public finance and taxation, such as how cross-border purchasing opportunities undermine the goals of state and local cigarette taxes. 

The tools and insights of economics are critical to developing a better understanding of the world around us and to the productivity of a workforce that is increasingly skill-dependent. The value of strong economics training has never been higher for our students and for society. I am proud of the outstanding programs run by the Department that have produced highly-successful and impactful undergraduate and graduate students who will be the leaders of tomorrow. 

While the Economics Department has wonderful faculty, students and staff, this is a time of great change for us as many of our treasured faculty retire. It will be challenging to replace so many top-notch scholars, colleagues, and friends, but it also is an exciting opportunity to invest in the next generation of economists who will form the foundation of the Department’s future. Although there will be many new faces in the years to come, our commitment to being at the forefront of research and teaching will not change. 

Much of what we are able to do in the Department of Economics is due to the generous support of our alumni. Your contributions help us to continue to support our faculty, students and staff as well as to engage in new and exciting initiatives that will enhance the quality of the programs we offer. I thank you for your ongoing generosity and look forward to working with all of you in the years to come to help Cornell Economics be as successful as possible. 


Michael Lovenheim
Economics Department Chair

The Department of Economics Is Delighted To Welcome:

Assistant Professor, Giulia Brancaccio

Professor Giulia Brancaccio applies microeconomics and data analysis to the study of markets and firms. Her current project examines information acquisition as a motive for trade in bond markets. 

Graduate Work: Received a M.Sc. in Economics from Bocconi University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University
Over the summer Brancaccio was featured as one of the economists in the 30th annual Review of Economic Studies Tour (REStud Tour 18), sponsored by The Review of Economic Studies.  "Every year, in line with the Review’s tradition of encouraging the work of young economists, seven of the most promising graduating doctoral students in economics and finance in the world are selected to present their research to audiences in Europe. The meetings take place at the economics departments or institutes of three universities across Europe." This year, the tour visited Queen Mary University of London, CERGE-EI in Prague, and the University of Copenhagen.

View Prof. Brancaccio's College of Arts and Sciences Profile Here 

Faculty News

Two National Science Foundation Grants
Awarded to Cornell Economists


Congratulations to Professors Levon Barseghyan, Francesca Molinari, and Jörg Stoye for their recent NSF grants! They have secured a total of $572,938 for the following two projects:

An Empirical Model of Limited Consideration: Robust Inference for Risk Preferences
Investigators: Levon Barseghyan and Francesca Molinari

Collaborative Research: Robust Inference and Computational Methods for Optimal Values of Nonlinear Programs
Investigators: Francesca Molinari and Jörg Stoye (In collaboration with Hiroaki Kaido)

Learn more about the NSF projects and view the abstracts here.

Blau Named Distinguished Fellow By American Economic Association

Professor Francine D. Blau has been honored with the award of Distinguished Fellow from the American Economic Association for her seminal contributions to the study of labor market inequality.  The Distinguished Fellow awards recognize the lifetime research contributions of distinguished economists. Learn more about the Distinguished Fellow award and Blau's accomplishments here.

How Can Societies Become

It’s a question that Professor Kaushik Basu answers with a new theory called "the focal point approach" in his latest book, “The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics.” Basu offers a new methodology for studying law and economics, rooted in game theory, that he says will result in a deeper understanding of why the law works and thereby help us make more effective laws and a fairer society.

Battaglini Recognized as Economic Theory Fellow

Over the summer, Professor Marco Battaglini was elected as an Economic Theory Fellow by the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory.  Economic Theory Fellows are selected for their scientific excellence, originality, and leadership; high ethical standards; and scholarly and creative achievement. 

Cornell Economists Analyze Relationship between Air Pollution and Health-Care Spending in China

Cornell economists Professor Panle Jia Barwick, Professor Shanjun Li, Graduate Student Deyu Rao, and Graduate Student Nahim Bin Zahur examined the links between air pollution and health-care costs across 367 Chinese cities.

Their working paper, "The Morbidity Cost of Air Pollution: Evidence from Consumer Spending in China," was recently published by The National Bureau of Economic Research and data from the study was recently featured in The Economist’s Daily Chart (see chart below).

Chart of the Day
To their knowledge, the group of economists believe their work is “the first comprehensive analysis of how air pollution affects health expenditures from all medical conditions for the entire population of a developing country.”

Undergraduate News

Cornell Economics Community Celebrates Class of 2018

Immediately following the Schoellkopf Stadium Commencement, the Department of Economics held its annual ceremony under a tent on the Arts Quad. This year, the faculty presented certificates to 17 graduate students and 202 economics major graduates. Read more about the ceremony and view the commencement photo album here. Congratulations to our newest Cornell Economists and 2018 Undergraduate Prize Winners!

Eight Economics Seniors Featured In The College of Arts and Sciences Extraordinary Journeys Series

"Students in the College of Arts & Sciences are motivated, inspired and sincere. Always intellectually curious, their interests are often divergent. Explore the extraordinary journeys of our most recent graduates and see how their paths have prepared them not only for a successful and meaningful career, but also for a life well lived."  

Click the photos below to learn more about a few of our seniors.  To view the full series, click here.

Graduate Student News

2018 Placement Report

Learn where the Class of 2018 Ph.D students have started their careers.  Placements include higher education institutions, government entities, and private employers.

To read the full 2018 report, click here. View the past few years here.

Molly Ingram Named Co-Editor-and-Chief of "Econ That Matters" Blog

"Econ That Matters" is a development economics blog run by a rotating group of graduate students and early career researchers from several institutions. The publication encourages debate relevant to poverty reduction and agricultural development and exchange of research ideas. Ingram is a second-year graduate student.

Ernest Liu ’64 Ta-Chung and Ya-Chao Liu Memorial Fellowship Awardee

Lucy Xiaolu Wang has been awarded the Ernest Liu ’64 Ta-Chung and Ya-Chao Liu Memorial Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year.  

This fellowship covers tuition, health insurance, and stipend

Graduate Tapan Mitra Economics Prize

Abhishek Ananth has been awarded the Tapan Mitra Economics Prize.

This prize is awarded to economic graduate students who contribute outstanding papers to the 3rd year seminar or conference.  The prize comes with $1,000 in research support.

Labor Economics Small Grant Recipient - Katelyn Heath

The Department of Economics would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s labor economics small grants, Katelyn Heath and Caroline Walker

Labor Economics Small Grant Recipient - Caroline Walker

Through the generosity of an alumnus, the department is able to provide these grants to graduate students to defray research expenses on projects related to labor economics.

Alumni News

Boochever Steps Into New Role As Trustee

Congratulations to our newest Alumni Trustee, John Boochever ’81!  John is a graduate of College of Arts & Sciences with a double major in Economics and Government.  Boochever has been elected by Cornell alumni, to join the 64-member University board that oversees all properties and operations of the university’s campuses. 

Alumni Notes: Summer 2018

Graduates of its undergraduate and Ph.D. programs in the Department of Economics have had an impact not only on economics but also on a wide range of industries around the world.  Read the alumni notes provided by over 100 members of the Class of 2018 here and visit our Alumni page to submit a class note.

Econ Alumni at Ashecon18 Conference

A large group of our Ph.D. alumni, faculty, and current graduate students connected at the American Society of Health Economists Conference (ASHEcon) at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. ASHEcon provides a forum for emerging ideas and empirical results of health economics research. 

Thank you @HealthEcon_CU for sharing these photos.

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