Welcome to the Department of Economics at Tufts University!
Please explore our website and learn more about our department's
people, programs (undergraduate and graduate), and activities.
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We are delighted that two new faculty members are joining our
department in Fall 2013.
main fields of research are applied microeconomics and behavioral
and experimental economics. Most recently, she has investigated
the role of social networks in successful job searches, using proprietary
data from Facebook covering millions of individuals. In her experimental work,
Laura has studied how volunteers play a public goods game with real monetary
payoffs. This study provides evidence on which punishment mechanisms work best
to induce group-oriented or cooperative behavior. Laura will complete her Ph.D.
in June 2013 from the University of California at San Diego.
Ngatia's research interests are in development
economics and applied microeconomics. Her work includes the design and analysis
of a randomized field experiment in Malawi, showing that the stigma of being
identified with HIV matters for individuals' decision to get tested and that
such stigma has negative externalities in social networks. In other research,
Muthoni and co-authors have evaluated the impact of educational interventions
reducing out-of-pocket expenditures in poor communities in Kenya. Muthoni is
going to join Tufts as an Assistant Professor of Economics in September 2013,
after spending the academic year 2012-2013 as a post-doc researcher with MIT's
Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).
Congratulations to Tufts econ grad Eugene Fama on his Nobel Prize!
Tufts alum and econ major, Eugene Fama, was one of three economists to
share this year's Nobel Prize in Economics. Professor Fama was a pioneer
in empirical studies of finance and his work is fundamental to the efficient
markets hypothesis as well as to precise modern models of asset prices.
We are happy to say that it started all here at Tufts economics where Fama
was an undergraduate major and 1960 alumnus. His work and its origins
from his years at Tufts are described more fully on the
section of the main university web page. However, as Professor Fama's
intellectual home, the faculty, staff, and the students of the Tufts
Economics Department wish to offer our own warmest congratulations to
Professor and fellow Jumbo, Eugene Fama for this well-deserved award!
Professor Ken Rogoff Gives Wellington-Burnham Lecture
On 1 April, Harvard Professor and former IMF Economic Research Director Ken
Rogoff gave this year's Welllington-Burnham Lecture to a packed crowd of Tufts
faculty and students. The lecture
was based on research related to Professor Rogoff's best-selling book,
This Time It's Different
(coauthored with Carmen Rinehart) that documents and presents 800 years of data
covering 70 countries to identify debt and financial crises across time and
space. It is without question the
largest such data set ever compiled.
Among the many insights that Professor Rogoff argued follow from analysis of
that data are: 1) financial crises have historically been fairly common so that
the absence of a major global crisis from the 1930's up to 2007 is something of
an historical anomaly; 2) recessions associated with financial/banking crises
are more severe and last much longer than standard business cycle recessions,
hence the slow recovery from the 2007-08 crisis; and 3) financial/banking crises
are typically associated with large increases in public sector debt, which can
subsequently slow economic growth in and of itself if it rises to much relative
to gdp. Professor Rogoff concluded
that it will take some time for the US (and other countries) to unwind its large
government debt but argued that this should be an important long-run policy
Professor Lucas Papademos Gives Birger Lecture
Lucas Papademos, the former Prime
Minister of Greece, and a former Vice President of the European Central Bank who
is now a Visiting Professor at the Kennedy School of Government delivered this
year's Birger Lecture on 16 April.
Professor Papademos spoke about the ongoing Euro crisis and the survival of the
Euro. He viewed the loss of
competitiveness between Germany and other Eurozone countries; non-sustainable
fiscal excesses in some countries (Greece, Italy); and private banking systems
highly variable to a real estate collapse (Ireland, Spain) in other nations as
mutually reinforcing causes of the crisis.
Despite the very sharp drop in economic activity and rise in unemployment
that the crisis has produced, however, Professor Papademos nevertheless
expressed optimism that the Eurozone will remain intact and that the Euro will
survive. His optimism is based on recent policy changes to establish a true
banking union across the common currency area as well as a new fiscal compact to
limit sovereign debt issuance. While
acknowledging that challenges remain, Professor Papademos suggested that recent
evidence suggests that the corrections induced by the financial crisis and
recession have largely restored the necessary competitive balance and that
financial markets have greatly reduced the risk assessment of troubled Eurozone
debt suggesting that these markets share his cautious optimism.
Professor Hardman wins Economics Professor of the Year Award
On Thursday, 18 April, the Economics Society named
Professor Anna Hardman as the 2013 winner of it annual Professor of the Year
award. Professor Hardman has been
taught several classes in the department for many years and last year was
appointed as the department's only full time Senior Lecturer.
Students praised Professor Hardman for the enthusiasm and insight she
consistently brings to all her classes, her presentation of challenging
material, and the many long hours she has given to helping students writing
research papers. The faculty and
staff join with the students in congratulating Professor Hardman for her
outstanding teaching and thanking her for her very hard work.
Congratulations Professor Hardman!
At the request of the bill sponsors, Professor Gilbert Metcalf
testified before the Massachusetts Legislature Joint Committee on Revenue on H. 2352, a bill to enact a
carbon tax in Massachusetts. In his testimony Metcalf focused on the efficiency of using a pricing mechanism
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the importance of revenue recycling to avoid adversely affecting the state's
economy, and provided examples of the use of carbon taxes at the sub-national level. Metcalf recently returned
to Tufts from Washington, DC where he was serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at
the Department of the Treasury.
Jeff Zabel has just been awarded a David C. Lincoln Fellowship
to study the impact of Proposition 2½ Overrides on the efficiency
and level of local service provision. In Massachusetts, Proposition
2½ limits annual property taxes in Massachusetts to 2.5% of total
assessed value and restricts the current limit on property tax
revenue (the "levy limit") to an annual growth rate of 2.5%.
Proposition 2½ allows residents to vote to override the 2.5%
increase in the levy limit. The goal of this research is to evaluate
if over the long term, Proposition 2½ and the subsequent override
behavior has led to greater efficiency in the provision of local
wins The Association for Education
Finance and Policy (AEFP) 2012 Service Award. On March 16, 2012 received his AEFP
Service Award at the 37th annual AEFP Conference held this year in Boston. The
Service Award recognizes contributions made to public policy development, research,
public understanding, local school finance development and service to the AEFP.
In the Media:
Marcelo Bianconi's research
on the risk factors and value-at-risk of
nonrenewable energy sector companies has been
in the Chicago Policy Review.
Read Gilbert Metcalf's recent blog entry on the site
Resources, the Resources for the Future.
Spolaore's research on long-term barriers to economic
growth covered in
Forbes recently ran an article highlighting
social networks using millions of Facebook data points.
As Forbes' headline on the importance of friends in job finding
indicates, Laura's work offers compelling evidence that
connections and networks are the typical path to a job.
Gilbert Metcalf was recently interviewed
Farmer on the
tax credit for renewable energy.
He was also recently interviewed on
National Public Radio's Planet Money show, about a carbon tax.
Listen to the interview.
Ujjayant Chakravorty's recent article
"Hard Choices on Energy - Why There's No Such Thing as a Free
Lunch" is currently featured in Tufts Magazine.
Drusilla Brown was recently interviewed by
Tufts Now regarding poor
working conditions and call for new labor laws in the article
Dark Side of Cheap Clothing".
Enrico Spolaore recently
Now regarding the vast array of "elephants" residing in his
Read the article.
Ujjayant Chakravorty was recently interviewed by the
science, research and technology news website PhysOrg, on
the pursuit for zero carbon emissions.
Read the article.
Chakravorty and his co-authors have been noted for their
paper on the implications of expanded biofuel use in a
press release from the IFO Institute at the Center for
Economics Studies. The Institute notes that this workraises
important questions about the wisdom of policies to encourage
the use of biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol as the rise
in food prices this has generated pushed somewhere between 16
million and 42 million into poverty in India. Read "Food
for fuel gives plenty of food for thought."
Enrico Spolaore's research on the diffusion of innovations featured
in Economic Times, India's leading business newspaper.
the article, or
download a PDF-version.
Gilbert Metcalf was recently interviewed
NPR's Marketplace Report.
Gilbert Metcalf was recently
interviewed on carbon tax in the
Financial Times and
interviewed Enrico Spolaore
about his research on the diffusion of development.
presented a paper at the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, and a columnist for the Financial Times wrote about it in the following blog post:
Brazil-style capital controls have "zero" effect"
Enrico Spolaore's research on the roots of economic development was featured
co-authored the article "What's
at Stake in the Greek Vote", featured in the Wall Street Journal. He was
also interviewed by Bloomberg News on the
bank crises in Greece, and the recent
re-elections." Listen to audio of his
interview regarding the Greek political parties, and another audio
regarding Greece's current economic and political situation.