Four alumni of Notre Dame’s international economics program returned to campus in March to speak to current students about their experience with the major, valuable classes they took, and the skills they developed that are now paying dividends in the real world
Six new faculty have joined the Department of Economics this year, bringing expertise in a wide variety of subfields and significant experience conducting research at the federal level. The new additions — professor of the practice Timothy Dunne; assistant professors Kirsten Cornelson, Illenin Kondo, Benjamin Pugsley, and Jasmine Xiao; and research assistant professor Sarah Kroeger — join a department undergoing remarkable growth. It has added 22 faculty members in the last five years, thanks in part to its selection as one of 10 essential research areas through the University’s Advancing Our Vision program.
When Francesco Tassi arrived at Notre Dame, he was sure he would major in finance. But a lecture on refugees set him on a different path — one that led him to travel through Italy for three months to study refugee integration firsthand. Tassi, who was born in Italy and moved to the United States in third grade, traveled widely in high school and spent time living with host families in several countries. Those experiences sparked a passion for learning about and understanding cultures.
The U.S. government has a good idea of where oil prices are headed and why, but the demand side is less clear. So the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a part of the Department of Energy that collects and distributes data on energy and the economy, recruited Notre Dame economist Christiane Baumeister to develop an indicator for future energy demand. With a two-year, $120,000 grant, she’ll collect data on possible determinants of oil demand and create models to figure out which of those factors actually determine future demand. Having that information, she said, tells us about more than just oil.
Why researching and understanding the economics of the family is essential for government and military policy.
The past year has been one of highs and lows for our department.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities received multiple funding awards totaling more than $1.2 million in 2017 to continue its work reducing poverty and improving lives through evidence-based programs and policies. A nearly $350,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health offers support for a major research initiative on the impact of emergency financial assistance on those at risk of homelessness, while nearly $1 million in grants will help LEO to continue its work reducing poverty and improving lives through evidence-based programs and policies.
Lakshmi Iyer is Associate Professor of Economics and Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. She is a development economist whose research examines many dimensions of the distribution of political power within emerging market countries, including the legacy of colonial rule, the division of authority between politicians and bureaucrats, and the determinants of conflict. She holds a joint appointment in the College of Arts and Letters Department of Economics and the Keough School of Global Affairs. Within the Keough School, Iyer is the director of the Sustainable Development concentration for the Master of Global Affairs.
The summer after his sophomore year, Notre Dame senior J.P. Bruno was packaging maple syrup, taking care of honeybees, and tending to an orchard on a biodynamic farm in Vermont. Three weeks later, he was sitting in the White House, interning for the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) as part of a semester in the Notre Dame Washington Program. These contrasting experiences provided Bruno, an economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) major, with an assortment of skills that eventually led him to developing his senior thesis and receiving a job offer in economic consulting at the beginning of his senior year.
Tom Gresik, Faculty Fellow at the Nanovic Institute and Professor in the Notre Dame Economics Department, recently published a paper on income shifting in the Journal of Public Economics and was appointed to the Academic Advisory Board at the Norwegian Center for Taxation.
In a recent interview, Dr. Gresik discusses these accomplishments, along with other European economic issues. For more on the interview, visit the Nanovic Website.
“We need to have much more proactive policies to include more women in the political process,” said Lakshmi Iyer, associate professor of economics and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Iyer’s research focuses on development economics and political economy. She is currently examining the consequences of electing women to political office in India as well as why certain minority groups there do not get into leadership positions.
Nanovic Hall, the state-of-the-art new home to the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology, their affiliated centers and programs, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, includes laboratory and research spaces, classrooms, and offices, all designed to encourage interaction between faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students. It features a soaring, three-story forum to be used for events, the latest video conferencing technology in each of the departmental suites, and a formal mediation room modeled after the United Nations that has translation capabilities for up to three languages.
A new Notre Dame student club focused on macro-scale economics and fiscal policy won the first national contest it entered, knocking off Harvard University, the defending champion. Notre Dame’s six-person Fiscal Challenge team — which features five Arts and Letters students — developed a plan to stabilize the United States’ debt-to-GDP ratio at current levels through 2046. Notre Dame’s team was chosen as one of three finalists, along with Harvard and Northeastern University, to present its plan live and take questions from a panel of judges.
The study found that voucher expansion caused significant declines in church donations and church spending on non-educational religious activities.
From tenure-track positions to top government appointments, Notre Dame's Department of Economics has established a strong track record of job placements for its Ph.D. students.
Recent graduate students have been added to the faculty at the U.S. Military Academy, Miami University of Ohio, University of Louisville, DePaul University, and others. The program has also helped students find success in the workforce, with jobs at the the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the U.S. Census Bureau, Freddie Mac, the Bank of Canada, and the Center for Naval Analysis. …
The power of economics, said Greg Duffy ’15, is that the intangible becomes tangible. Duffy, who majored in economics and sang in an a capella group at Notre Dame, now uses that power to help connect artists with new audiences as a research analyst at the music-streaming service Pandora.
Economics faculty members spend a considerable amount of their time engaged in research, so when we profile scholars such as Joe Kaboski or our new hires as we do in this newsletter, it is natural that we concentrate on their academic accomplishments. This newsletter also includes three stories about how our undergraduates are actively engaged in knowledge creation both while on campus and when they enter the workforce. Profiles of Claire O’Donnell ’16 and Danny Fitzgerald ’17 illustrate their research activities as undergraduates while another story introduces us to Greg Duffy ’15, now an employee at Pandora, who uses his economics training for research on a daily basis.
“The liberal education I received at Notre Dame really taught me how to learn, how to analyze, and, at the most fundamental level, how to problem-solve,” said Bill Dirksen ’82. “And that’s what most businesses are looking for—people who know how to solve problems.”
Notre Dame’s rapidly growing Department of Economics has added six new faculty members who bring diverse expertise in political economy, econometrics, labor mobility, market design, urban geography and poverty, and international finance. Lakshmi Iyer, Marinho Bertanha, Nilesh Fernando, Michèle Müller-Itten, David Phillips, and César Sosa-Padilla join the ranks of a vibrant department that has added more than a dozen faculty members in the last four years and offers one of the University’s largest undergraduate majors.