Notre Dame’s Department of Economics is at the forefront of several initiatives that exemplify the University’s commitment to innovative research that can make a difference in the developing world.
“Economics is more than just the study of money or numbers or things like that,” says Pablo Muldoon ’13, a Notre Dame economics and Program of Liberal Studies major from Doylestown, Penn. “It’s more a way of looking at how human beings interact with each other, whether that be in a market setting of a firm releasing its product or the economics of the family.”
Notre Dame economist Kirk Doran has been awarded the 2013 Albert Rees Prize for his dissertation, which focused on child labor in rural Mexico. The Rees prize is awarded every two years for a Princeton Ph.D. dissertation, completed within the past six years, judged to have made the greatest contribution to labor economics.
Notre Dame’s Department of Economics has bolstered its strengths in development economics and healthcare policy with two new hires, who bring with them the invaluable experience of being advised by major figures in the field. Assistant Professor Kevin Donovan comes to Notre Dame from Arizona State University where his faculty adviser was Nobel laureate Edward Prescott, while Assistant Professor Ethan Lieber’s adviser at the University of Chicago was Steven Levitt, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal and author of Freakonomics.
Robert S. and Elizabeth Nanovic of North Yarmouth, Maine, have made a leadership gift to the University of Notre Dame for the construction of a new social sciences building in the College of Arts and Letters. Nanovic Hall will be built on Notre Dame Avenue, south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies, and will house the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and be completed by August 2017, prior to the start of the academic year.
Beginning in fall 2013, Notre Dame undergraduate students interested in pursuing international economics as a major can choose from among five new language options: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, German, and Russian. These are in addition to the three Romance languages—French, Italian, and Spanish—already available.
Luke Pardue says he was looking for a “sense of family” when considering which college to attend. He found it at Notre Dame through the John and Barbara Glynn Family Honors program. “The opportunities that the honors program offers—from smaller seminar-style classes to summer research funding—made the opportunity to study at Notre Dame that much more attractive,” says the junior economics major.
When senior economics major and peace studies major Melissa Maggart began looking for a summer internship last year, she sought to combine her academic interests with her personal desire to help alleviate poverty. Her search brought her to a new program at the University of Notre Dame—the Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO).
Alex Coccia and Nancy Joyce, both juniors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, have been elected undergraduate student body president and vice president for the 2013-14 academic year. Coccia, an Africana studies and peace studies major, and Joyce, an Arabic and economics major earning a minor in peace studies, will take office on April 1.
An innovative partnership between the University of Notre Dame, the nation’s preeminent Catholic university, and Catholic Charities USA, one of this country’s most influential social service networks, was announced recently. The formation of the collaboration, called the Alliance, was driven by the two institutions’ common belief that helping those in need is a core element of the Catholic faith. A key component of the Alliance is Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO), the first domestic poverty lab in the United States.
University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded a $415,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health to lead a research project that will explore the poor’s motives and reasons for saving in developing countries. The study, now underway, is called “Unlocking the Black Box of Savings: Using Quantitative Theory and Microfinance” and will focus on the nation of Uganda, combining structural theory with experimental data.
Sylvester Schieber, who received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1974, was recently recognized by TIAA-CREF for his work on the history of the U.S. retirement system and the ways in which it could be improved. Schieber won the 17th annual TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security for his book The Predictable Surprise: The Unraveling of the U.S. Retirement System.
Beginning this fall, University of Notre Dame undergraduate students interested in pursuing international economics as a major can choose from among five new language options: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, German and Russian. These are in addition to the three Romance languages — French, Italian and Spanish — already available.
International economics, the newest major within the College of Arts and Letters, combines substantial coursework in the Department of Economics with advanced training in language and culture. It also provides students with the potential for overseas internships and specialized research projects.
“With the addition of these languages, the international economics major is an even more attractive option for undergraduates who want to prepare for international careers,” said Richard Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor and Chair of Economics.
Notre Dame economist Nelson Mark has been appointed acting director of the University’s Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. The appointment is effective immediately and runs through July 1, 2014. “As acting director, I am eager to help develop research and academic programming that drive collaborative scholarship on the many interdisciplinary issues that confront Asia,” says Mark, the Alfred C. DeCrane Jr. Professor of International Economics.
“If you only like philosophy, then be a philosopher. If you only like history, then be a historian. If you only like mathematics, then be a mathematician. But if you like all of those things, you should be an economist,” says Timothy S. Fuerst, the William and Dorothy O’Neill Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. One of the most-cited economists in the world, Fuerst also serves as senior economic advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His research interests include monetary theory and policy, with a special focus on business cycles.
As a history and economics major at Notre Dame, David Finocchio ’05 wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, but he felt certain it would not involve sitting at a desk and crunching numbers. Instead, he took a shot and created bleacherreport.com, now the third most-visited sports website in the country. Last summer, Finocchio and the site’s two other founders sold the company to Turner Sports for $200 million.
Watch The Economy Now: a fall 2012 roundtable discussion with expert economists from the Notre Dame faculty presented by the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Letters. An audience Q & A follows the discussion.
This past year was an exceptional one for the new era of economics at Notre Dame.
Kasey Buckles, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics, challenges undergraduates to take the theories, statistics, and modeling tools they learn in their core courses and apply them to universal life experiences like birth, marriage, divorce, and other family dynamics. In her research-focused seminar called Economics of the Family, Buckles and her students explore questions such as “What is the effect of birth order on prenatal investment in children?” and “How does a mother’s age at first birth affect the academic achievement of her children?”
As an undergraduate economics major in the College of Arts and Letters, Bill Kennedy ’90 took an Asian history class to fulfill one of his academic requirements. That class, he says, is part of the reason he is now a top portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in London. “I fell in love with international business because I’d taken government requirements and then a fascinating Asian history class,” he says. “My professor got me really excited about the opportunities in Asia. My career grew right out of my Arts and Letters degree; I became fascinated with things that are now relevant to my career and what I do every day.”