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Associate Professor of Economics Linda Kamas Head Shot

A Message from Linda Kamas, Economics Department Chair

We come to the end of another academic year and reluctantly say goodbye to the class of 2018 as our graduates are off to exciting lives beyond the university.  We send our best wishes that they will lead joyful and meaningful lives and urge them to remain connected to their SCU friends, the faculty, and staff at SCU.  We continue to be an outstanding department and student enrollments have soared.  This year we have 389 majors, 103 minors, and 130 graduating seniors.  Our faculty contribute so much to the academic environment of the department through their dedication to teaching, scholarship, and service to the university and profession.  Our new concentration in data analysis is progressing very well; we now have 42 students who are working on this concentration and students report the skills they are learning are helping them find jobs and to perform well in them.  Our thanks go out to our dedicated team who worked hard to develop this outstanding program, Professors Sundstrom, Kevane, and Popper.  This is my last year as department chair and therefore, my last newsletter.  It has been an exciting and challenging time to lead the department and I want to express my immense gratitude to the faculty for their work and support and to Marianne Farag, the department assistant, without whom I would have not been able to accomplish half of what we did.


Faculty Tenured: 

We are very happy to announce that Professors Christian Helmers and Serguei Maliar have been granted tenure.  They are superb additions to our faculty and we look forward to working with them for many years.  See the faculty section below for descriptions of their recent scholarship and other activities.

 


Academic Events: 

The department has hosted numerous events for students this year.  One of the most successful was a talk given by Dr. Carolyn Evans (former professor in our department now working at Intel) on “Careers in Tech."  Under the leadership of Professors Kevane and Mitchener, the Civil Society Institute invited several speakers to campus, including:  Professor Robin Einhorn (UC, Berkeley), “Progressivity, Sectionalism, and the Origin of the Federal Income Tax,” Professor Paola Giuliano (UCLA), “Gender Biases: Where Do They Come From?” and Professor Alan Barreca, (UCLA & SCU class of 2000), “From Conduction to Induction: How Temperature Affects Delivery Date and Gestational Lengths in the United State.”  Also under the auspices of the Civil Society Institute, Professor Michael Kevane met regularly with students for discussions about current economic topics.

Graduate Programs: 

The department continues to work closely with other Business School Departments to support our excellent graduate programs, the MBA, the MS in Business Analytics and the new online MBA.  For information on these programs, click for MBA, MSBA, online MBA.


Alumni Connections: 

In the fall, Professor Belotti and Professor Mitchener hosted a reception for alumni and faculty at Adobe Lodge giving us the opportunity to catch up with old friends.  One outcome was the formation of the SCU Economics Alumni Board, to improve alumni-student-faculty connections.  This group, led by several recent graduates, met for a social get together in San Francisco and participated in several events for current students earlier this year where alumni talked about their careers and companies.  We are really interested in getting as many alumni as we can in the Alumni Association, so if you are interested in being on the mailing list, please fill out your contact information here or contact Professor Helmers, who serves as faculty coordinator for this initiative (chelmers@scu.edu). 

We also are collecting alumni bios and have posted those we’ve received to date on the department website here. We would love to receive your bio if you haven’t sent it in yet (even if it’s just name, title, and employer!), so please submit your bio here.  Or you can send your bio (if possible with a photo) to Economics@scu.edu.

Another way of staying connected is to join the SCU Economics Network on LinkedIn here.


Alumni Award:

Carson Whisler ’17 was one of eight Santa Clara Alumni and Students to win the Fulbright and Udall Scholarships

Carson Whisler ’17, from Astoria, Oregon, was an economics major at SCU. Currently, he is serving as a Data for Impact Fellow at SocialCops in India, helping organizations from NGOs to the UN use data to drive development. He will be traveling on his Fulbright Scholarship to Indonesia, where he will conduct research on “pay as you go” solar technologies in the developing world.

At SCU, he participated in the Alpha Sigma Nu, Phi Beta Kappa, and Pi Alpha Theta honor societies as well as the University Honors Program. He was active in SCU’s Conscientious Capitalism course; the Global Social Benefit Fellowship; Global Fellows Program; Alpha Kappa Psi; Ruff Riders; and Civil Society Institute. He also worked as an orientation leader with New Student Programs and as an impact investing analyst at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.


Senior Graduation Party

We ended the year with a graduation party for seniors, held at the faculty club in Adobe Lodge.  It was really a lot of fun – see photos below.


The 2018 Hazel Award Recipients

The Charles and Barbara Hazel Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Economics

This award is given annually to the graduating senior Economics major or majors judged outstanding in scholarship, leadership, and service by the faculty of the department. The award is named for the late Charles (Chuck) Hazel and his wife Barbara. Chuck, who passed away a few years ago, was a great friend of the SCU Economics Department for many years.

This year, the award for students in the College of Arts and Sciences was granted to Kathryn Hanson-Dobbs and Xindi Sun and the award to a Business School student went to Kirsten Lynn Mead.  Congratulations to these outstanding students!  See below for their bios.

Kathryn Hanson-Dobbs

Kathryn Hanson-Dobbs is from Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated in March with a double major in Accounting and Economics and a minor in International Business. Kathryn has been a peer educator in the economics department and a tutor in the Drahmann center. She completed the Leavey Scholars program in the business school and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society. During her time at Santa Clara, she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark where she took a course on emerging markets.

Kathryn’s favorite economics course was Econ 190 with Professor Ifcher, where she was able to participate in economics research. She has found that having a background in economics has been hugely beneficial in her other business courses. Last summer, Kathryn interned in international tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she will work full time starting in July.  Her work at PwC involves a lot of data analysis and she is proud to showcase the skills she learned from studying economics.

Kirsten Mead

Kirsten Mead is an Economics major with a mathematical economics concentration and minors in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. A four-year starter on both the indoor and beach volleyball teams at Santa Clara, Kirsten has excelled athletically as well as academically, having been named to six consecutive West Coast Conference All-Academic teams and three All-WCC First teams. She has spent four quarters as a TA for Intermediate Microeconomics and three quarters as a tutor through the Drahmann Center. As a freshman, she was a peer educator for International Econ, Development and Growth. Kirsten is in the Leavey Scholars program and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma (business honor society). Throughout her time at Santa Clara, Kirsten has enjoyed being able to take a variety of economics courses and combine math with economics. Some of her favorite topics included game theory, behavioral economics, and econometrics. After graduating, Kirsten will be attending Duke University for an MS in Interdisciplinary Data Science, and she looks forward to being able to apply her passion for economics to her studies of data science.

Xindi Sun

Xindi Sun graduated with a double major in Mathematics and Economics with a concentration in mathematical and economics. She is an international student from China. She considers her experience at Santa Clara University as life changing. Before attending SCU, she was aware of the power of technology and innovation. However, the interdisciplinary curriculum at SCU has introduced her to econometrics, programming and data processing technologies. Thus, she decided to pursue a MS degree in Business Analytics at SCU. She believes that her studies in economics will serve as a great foundation to build on business-oriented data analytical skills.  She has worked as teaching assistant, grader and research assistant for the Economics Department. These experiences not only deepened her understandings of economic concepts and issues, but also helped her to build research and communication skills. She is particularly interested in international affairs and the economics of development and poverty. In the future, she would like to work with innovative businesses to promote social justice and equality both in the US and around the world.

Student Awards:  Several of our graduating seniors received university awards, including:

Leavey Scholar Program: Justin Alexander Azzarito, Anya Michelle Dennis, Kathryn Hanson-Dobbs, and Kirsten Lynn Mea   

Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society:  Justin Alexander Azzarito, Anya Michelle Dennis, Kathryn Hanson-Dobbs, Kirsten Lynn Mead.

2018 Pathway Essay Award Winners.  ​Winning essays were considered Exemplary by the Faculty Readers and Pathways Facilitators:  Tess Cartin (Public Policy), Mark Lex (Design Thinking).


A Message from the Economics Association President

The SCU Student Economics Association is a student organization dedicated to offering opportunities to Economics Majors and Minors in both the College of Arts and Sciences and The Leavey School of Business. The association organizes enjoyable and enriching events and activities that are designed to help students build relationships with professors, alumni, and each other.

This year, the association put on a series of events geared towards students. We held an internship panel, where current students discussed their experiences interning for different companies, some local and some overseas. We held a

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: econassociation@scu.edu


Faculty News

Shireen AlAzzawi, Lecturer

Adjunct Lecturer of Economics Shireen Al-Azzawi Head Shot

Over the last year, Professor AlAzzawi continued her research and teaching on topics of international trade and economic development. She has been using classroom debates on controversial topics related to course content in both her lower division and upper division classes. This has created a lot of enthusiasm during class time and much heated discussion about headline topics. In her research, she started working on a project to study youth vulnerability in Egypt and Jordan. She presented her paper at the Middle East Economic Associations’ annual meeting at the ASSA in Philadelphia last January.

Professor AlAzzawi has also completed her co-authored studies of “Return Migration and Socioeconomic Mobility in MENA: Evidence from Labor Market Panel Surveys” and “Firms’ Lifecycle under Conflict-Related Mobility Restrictions in Palestine: Evidence from Establishment Censuses”. The first study examines the impact of migration on the mobility of migrants from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia in terms of own earnings, inter-generational earnings and wealth, at several different time intervals after their return. The second study explores the economic implications of the mobility-restriction regime on firms’ life-cycles across occupied Palestinian territories during 1997–2012. She has three papers forthcoming; in the Review of Income and Wealth, the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance and Topics in Middle Eastern and African Economies. She is also scheduled to present two papers at the Economic Research Forum’s annual meeting in July.

 

Adina Ardelean, Lecturer

Lecturer in Economics Adina Ardelean Head Shot

Professor Adina Ardelean continues to teach undergraduate courses in International Economics with an emphasis on discussing current issues in international trade policy. She also continued her research on understanding and quantifying barriers to trade that firms face when they engage in international trade.  She presented her research at the Australian Trade Workshop in Auckland, New Zealand.

 

 

Alexander Field, Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics

Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics Alex Field Head Shot

Professor Field continues to teach and do research in macroeconomics and macroeconomic history.  His main project this past year was an examination of the impact of the Second World War on the growth of US potential output.  Contrary to the conventional wisdom, he argues that the learning by doing associated with the mass production of 276,000 aircraft in a four year period as well as other ordnance, was largely irrelevant after the war because these were unique, never to be repeated events.  Combined with the loss of manpower (407,000 mostly prime aged males never returned; almost a million total casualties), the immediate postwar decline in female labor force participation, and the disruptive effects of war mobilization and demobilization, he concludes that, on net, the economic effects of the conflict were almost certainly retardative.  He presented his work in a number of venues, including the New Economic School in Moscow, the ASSA meetings in Philadelphia, and the NYU campus in Abu Dhabi.  He also wrote an essay on historical measures of economic output for the Handbook of Cliometrics, and his chapter on “Manufacturing Productivity and U.S. Economic Growth” appeared in the Oxford Handbook of American Economic History.

 

Christian Helmers, Associate Professor of Economics

Over the last year, Professor Helmers continued his main line of research on intellectual property and innovation. He published several papers: a paper on so-called “trademark squatting” in the International Journal of Industrial Organization; another paper on shared ownership of patents in the Journal of Legal Studies, and a paper on innovative activities of firms in science parks in the Journal of Economic Geography. He presented his ongoing research at different conferences and seminars, including Berlin, Munich, and Oxford. Professor Helmers has also been helping with the department’s efforts to foster our relationships with our econ alumni.

 

John Ifcher, Associate Professor of Economics

Over the past year Professor Ifcher has been on sabbatical, planning new research projects and finishing a host of on-going research projects. Since his sabbatical started, three of his papers have been accepted for publication.  One examines the impact of neighbors’ income on subjective well-being; this paper was published in the Journal of Health Economics.  A second paper examines the impact of income inequality on subjective well-being; this paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Inequality.  A third paper examines the impact of economics instruction on student’s selfishness; this paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.  Professor Ifcher has also made substantial progress on two additional research projects.  One examines how individuals make decisions on behalf of others and the other examines the impact of others’ income on one’s mood. 

 

Linda Kamas, Associate Professor and Department Chair

Associate Professor of Economics Linda Kamas Head Shot

Professor Linda Kamas has just completed her final year (of four) as department chair.  It has been both exciting and challenging to provide leadership for the department as our number of students has soared.  She continues to teach macroeconomics, which is a real joy.  Both students and professor find the topic incredibly engaging given the painful events of the financial crisis of 2008 and the economic policy responses.  Professor Kamas continues to focus her scholarship on prosocial behavior, gender, and emotions.  Her recent stream of research addresses the issue of how empathy and compassion lead to prosocial economic decisions and explain some gender differences in economic behaviors.  One paper, forthcoming in Feminist Economics, finds that people who exhibit greater empathy are more supportive of government economic intervention and that empathy explains the gender gap in such support.  Another finds that empathy explains prosocial decisions so that empathic men are just as generous as women.  Her most recent paper (Does Empathy Pay?) examines how empathy affects earnings.  Recently, some authors have made the case that greater empathy has economic payoffs in terms of career outcomes because empathic people work better with others and make better managers.  However, those who are more empathic may choose majors and careers that are less well paid.  The empirical results for SCU graduates in the early years of their careers is that the latter effect dominates so greater empathy is associated with lower earnings.  This research was presented at the Bay Area Behavioral and Experimental Economics Workshop in May and will be presented at the Economic Science Association World Meetings in June.

 

Michael Kevane, Associate Professor of Economics

Associate Professor of Economics Michael Kevane Head Shot

Professor Michael Kevane has been working on several new projects. One is a collaboration with SCU psychology professor Birgit Koopman-Holm to explore the meaning of compassion for residents of Burkina Faso. Koopman-Holm is a specialist in the cross-cultural study of emotions. Economists are increasingly realizing that the useful model of human behavior as largely focused on "getting more for less" has its limits, and much important economic behavior can be more usefully understood as emerging out of the interaction of those goal-seeking intentional acts and the less deliberate emotion-driven responses to situations that are framed in different ways. Adam Smith of course knew all about this complication of homo economicus.  In March, Professor Kevane spent two weeks in Burkina Faso conducting an experiment involving discerning the facial characteristics that people in Burkina Faso associate with a compassionate stance. Results will be processed and a paper written in the summer.  In other research, Dr. Kevane is analyzing the electoral registry of Burkina Faso, with about 5 million names, and matching those names to ethnic groups, in order to measure the strength of ethnic partisanship in elections in Burkina Faso. Ethnic solidarity is important in elections in many places in the world, and it has important implications for the functioning of democratic systems and consequently for government policy. Professor Kevane continues to lead the Civil Society Institute on campus, which hosts several visiting speakers and a weekly student discussion group.  The non-profit that Professor Kevane founded in 2001, Friends of African Village Libraries, now supports 35 community libraries (in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda) and has published more than 140 photo books for readers in those libraries.

 

Serguei Maliar, Associate Professor of Economics

Associate Professor of Economics Serguei Maliar Head Shot

Professor Serguei Maliar continued to serve as economic advisor to the Canadian Central Bank on development of the model for the economic projections and optimal monetary policies for the Canadian economy. Also, Dr. Maliar served as an economic adviser to an online investment company "Income Club", based in Palo Alto, which provides professional advice to its members while building a diversified fixed-income portfolio with bonds from a variety of countries and sectors. Finally, Professor Maliar served as an associate editor of the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Professor Maliar worked on research projects on the new Keynesian models, life-cycle models and heterogeneous agents’ models as well as on applications of machine learning to economics. Over the 2017-2018 academic year, he published two research articles in such well-regarded economic journals as Econometrica and Quantitative Economics. He presented his work at various meetings and seminars including the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Chicago, Bank of Canada, Bank of England, American Economic Association, Society for Computational Economics, Society for Economic Dynamics. Professor Maliar was invited to teach a mini-course on computational methods at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington.   

 

Kris Mitchener, Professor of Economics

Professor of Economics Kris Mitchener Head Shot

This past summer Professor Mitchener traveled to Europe to present his research on hyperinflations at the Bank of England and at the World Cliometric Society meetings. In the fall, he organized a kickoff event to bring together SCU economics alumni and re-connect with the department faculty and current students. An SCU economics alumni group has subsequently been formed to foster these relationships. Please see the newsletter for details and contacts. Professor Mitchener has also been organizing the department’s yellow pad research seminar this year. In addition to showcasing the research of our very talented faculty, the department has hosted speakers from Stanford, UC Berkeley, Claremont McKenna College, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, HEC Montreal, University of North Carolina, and UC Davis. During the academic year, Professor Mitchener gave invited seminars at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, Stanford, UCLA Anderson School of Business, and the University of British Columbia. He was also an invited visiting Professor at the Paris School of Economics during spring recess and continues to edit the leading field journal in economic history, Explorations in Economic History, which has seen its submissions nearly double under his stewardship. He was appointed to serve on the university’s newly-created Library Advisory Council. His research on how banking panics spread contagion through their interbank connections and contributed to the decline in economic activity during the Great Depression was published in the top economics journal (Journal of Political Economy).

 

Lan Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Economics

Assistant Professor of Economics Lan Nguyen Head Shot

Professor Lan Nguyen has been working on understanding the effects of tax on the macroeconomy. The recent period when central banks around the world are stuck at the zero bound on the nominal interest rate renews the research interest on fiscal policy. In a paper in the American Economic Association P&P 2018, Professor Nguyen with her coauthors, Wataru Miyamoto at the Bank of Canada and Dmitriy Sergeyev at Bocconi University (Italy), investigate the importance of fiscal policy when the nominal interest rate is stuck at the zero lower bound using Japanese data between 1980 and 2014. They find that a tax cut of 1% of GDP leads to 1.6% increase in output at the zero lower bound while it is 0.6% in the period when monetary policy is active. Nevertheless, the difference is not statistically significant at conventional level. Professor Nguyen has also been working on examining the changes in real exchange rates and other open economy aspects of fiscal policy in advanced economies such as the United States and in developing economies such as Argentina. She has also been working on how international trade linkages across countries affect business cycle properties in 24 countries for the last 40 years. Her papers in the last year have been accepted and published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics and Journal of International Economics.

 

Damian Park, Lecturer

Adjunct Lecturer in the Economics Department Damian Park Head Shot

Professor Damian Park taught 172 students so far in 2018.  Econ 111 students applied what they learned (forgot?) in Econ 1 to environmental issues like food waste (not necessarily economically wasteful), the BART extension to the OAK airport (fairly wasteful, especially with the rise of Uber/Lyft) and the more recent residential Solar Mandate (all new homes in CA must have panels).  Professor Park also tried out new digital tools for his Econ 1 students.  Although students like the pre-class tutorial videos, videos seem to crowd out reading the text - only 2 students had actually read more than one page of the book by week 7.  This is actually great news - perhaps the most important Econ 1 lesson is to think about the opportunity cost of everything, especially your own time.

 

Goncalo Pina, Assistant Professor of Economics

Assistant Professor of Economcis Gonçalo Pina Head Shot

Professor Pina continued his work on International Economics and Economic Policy. In “Macro and Micro Financial Liberalizations, Savings and Growth”, forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Professor Pina investigates the optimal portfolio for financial liberalizations. Using a simple theoretical model with heterogeneous agents he shows that performing macro financial reforms (for example, opening up to capital flows) without micro financial reforms (for example, keeping constraints on domestic financial competition), is a better liberalization strategy for countries with low savings. A country with low savings that liberalizes both dimensions is more likely to face a financial crisis due to the interaction between government policy and over borrowing.  Looking at the data, he shows that savings mediate the relationship between different liberalizations and economic growth in a way that is consistent with the model.  Professor Pina was also awarded a grant to estimate the benefits from financial innovation that links bond repayments to GDP in European economies, and to investigate potential challenges associated with these debt instruments. Following the birth of his son, Jasper, last December, Professor Pina spent the Spring quarter on parental leave and will return next Fall.

 

Dongsoo Shin, Associate Professor of Economics

Associate Professor of Economics Dongsoo Shin Head Shot

Dr. Shin has been working on new research projects, "Organizational Structures and Manipulable Aggregate Information" and "Information Manipulation in Public Good Provision."  In October, he presented his paper, "Delegation and the Value of Shirking," at the Midwest Economic Theory Meeting in Dallas.  He also gave a seminar talk at the UC-Irvine's Economics Department in November.

 

 

William Sundstrom, Professor of Economics

Associate Professor of Economics Serguei Maliar Head Shot

During 2017-18, Professor Sundstrom served as President of the SCU Faculty Senate, which took up a number of important issues, including a campaign by lecturers to unionize, as well as ongoing faculty concerns about the University's STEM initiative. He visited northern Nicaragua in June 2017 as part of an NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project on food and water security among smallholder farmers. He developed and taught an extensively revised version of his course on Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. Economy, incorporating hands-on data analysis.

 


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Santa Clara University
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Santa Clara, CA 95053
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