Department of Economics

In an Op Ed at the New York Times on Dec. 6, economics professor Jesse Shapiro, with co-authors Levi Boxell and Matthew Gentzkow, discuss the role of social media in the increasing polarization of American voters.

Glenn Loury, Merton P. Soltz Professor of Social Sciences, Professor of Economics and Public International Affairs, delivered the 10th Annual Arrow Lecture at Columbia University on December 4.

Professor Jesse Shapiro, George S. and Nancy B. Parker Professor of Economics, has been named a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a professional organization founded in 1930 to promote theoretical and quantitative approaches "penetrated by constructive and rigorous thinking similar to that which has come to dominate in natural sciences."

In awarding him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2014, the Nobel committee called economist Jean Tirole of Toulouse University “one of the most influential economists of our time” and cited especially his work on the regulation of industries dominated by one or a few large firms.

When the Nobel committee announced the awarding of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences earlier this week to the University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler, it was also recognizing the growing importance of behavioral economics, a field that’s gained considerable strength in Brown’s Economics Department during the past few years.

The Economics Department sponsors public lectures each year directed at the broad university community, especially undergraduates. 

Econ Focus, a quarterly publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, published an interview with Brown professor Jesse Shapiro in its latest issue. The interview covers a number of topics in Shapiro's research, including the political economy of mass media and the growth in political polarization.

More than 250 federal and state policy makers, community organizers and scholars from across the country attended the first annual Innovative Policy Conference co-organized by Justine Hastings of the Economics Department, Watson Institute and Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab and by the office of the Governor of Rhode Island.

Bobby Pakzad-Hurson has joined the economics faculty as an assistant professor. Pakzad-Hurson conducts research in market design, combining theoretical, experimental, and empirical analyses to study internet marketplaces.

Rafael La Porta, who taught at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University from 2003 to 2016 and in the Harvard Economics Department from 1994 to 2003, has joined Brown's Department of Economics.

Bryce Millett Steinberg, a development economist with a focus on health and education, is joining the faculty as the Stephen Robert Assistant Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs.

Brown University bestows the Horace Mann Medal each year to a Brown Graduate School alumnus or alumna who has made important contributions in his or her field.

Economics remains a popular area of study at the undergraduate level. About two hundred undergraduate degrees will be awarded this year in Economics, Applied Math - Economics, Computer Science - Economics, and Mathematics - Economics.

Professors Justine Hastings and Emily Oster, along with Professor Eric Patashnik of Brown's Political Science department, organized a conference on Women in Leadership which took place on May 4. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Watson Institute and the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL).

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, a member of the Brown class of 1967, returned to speak at the invitation only conference on 125 Years of Women at Brown on May 5.

Work by Professor Anna Aizer was cited in an article in the New York Times published on April 15, 2017.

An article by Professor Brian Knight, former Ph.D. student Ruben Durante (now at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona), and two co-authors was awarded the 2017 Best Paper prize by the American Economics Journal -- Applied Economics.

Kerwin Charles, interim Dean and Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy will present this year's Bernard I. Fain Lecture.

Martin J. Beckmann, who taught at Brown from 1959 until his retirement in 1989, passed away last weekend.

In an Op Ed in the New York Times on April 5, Ross Douthat cites the new working paper by Oded Galor and Marc Klemp, "Roots of Autocracy," when pointing out that more heterogenous populations have often been associated in history with more authoritarian rulers.

Lint Barrage has been awarded a Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Professor Justine Hastings was awarded $500,000 research grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation to support research at the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL).

A study by Professor Jesse Shapiro and co-authors finds that those less plugged into the internet and social media are at least as politically polarized as others, suggesting that deeper forces are driving America's political polarization.

Steven Raphael, Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, will deliver this year's Economics in the Real World lecture, an event that highlights the importance of economic analysis to real world problems.

A March 8 NYT article discusses Brown Economics Professor Matthew Turner's research with Gilles Duranton of Wharton. Duranton and Turner's paper, 'The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion' (AER 2011) and their recent working paper 'Urban Form and Driving' suggest that neither Elon Musk's recently proposed tunnels under Los Angeles nor increases in mixed-use development are likely to have as much effect on traffic congestion as a simple system of tolls that make it more expensive to use the roads at peak times.

In new rankings of graduate school programs by U.S. News & World Report, our Department was placed sixth, behind only Harvard, MIT, Yale, UC Berkeley, and Stanford, in the field of Development Economics.

Elderly woman in a porch rocking chairJustine Hastings' research on privatized social security in Mexico holds clues to possible solutions for retirement savings in the US.

New research by Brown economists Justine Hastings and Jesse Shapiro indicates that government benefits in the SNAP (formerly food stamps) program find their way into actual food purchases far more often than predicted by the rational fungibility of money.

A newly released study by Brown Associate Professor John Friedman and co-authors at the Equality of Opportunity Project provides the most detailed picture yet on the rates at which colleges and universities help turn students from low-income families into members of higher-earning quintiles and percentiles of the U.S. income distribution.

Brown’s Susanne Schennach has been invited to deliver the Weidenbaum plenary lecture at the 2017 North American Summer Meetings of the Econometric Society in St. Louis.