When Professor Anna Aizer became Chair of Brown’s Department of Economics this summer, she also became the first female to hold the position.
For decades, the department was without a single woman at professorial rank, and this only began to change in the 1990s. Aizer, an applied micro-economist whose research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of poverty via health, education, labor market and other channels, joined the department as an assistant professor in 2003, became associate professor in 2010, full professor in 2016, and Department Chair starting in July, 2018.
Professor Anna Aizer became the first woman chair of Brown’s Department of Economics in July 2018. She has held a joint appointment in Public Policy at Brown throughout her teaching career here, which began in 2003 when she was hired as an assistant professor following a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton University. She earned her Ph.D. from UCLA in 2002. She holds a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. Aizer was the first female assistant professor of economics at Brown to be granted tenure, in 2010. Brown’s Department of Economics has made other strides in increasing the representation of women at all levels of the study and teaching of the discipline. While female concentrators remain slightly less numerous than male ones, efforts by faculty members including Aizer and lecturers Rachel Friedberg and Sylvia Kuo have helped Brown achieve a notably high inclusion of female students within its undergraduate program, relative to many peer institutions. Female representation among Ph.D. candidates is also slightly below male but well above historical averages. At the faculty level, of thirty-six professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers, nine are women, including full professors Justine Hastings, Emily Oster, Susanne Schennach and University President Christina Paxson, associate professor Kareen Rozen, and assistant professors Lint Barrage and Bryce Steinberg. Rachel Friedberg, the longest serving female member of the economics faculty (who came to Brown in 1992), became one of Brown’s first Distinguished Senior Lecturers effective this July, and Sylvia Kuo is a Senior Lecturer who joined the department full time in 2012.