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Featured Alumni

Soren Anderson, PhD '08, Associate Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

"My economics training at UM taught me how to blend applied economic theory with careful empirical work to shedlight on important policy issues—and to publish my research results in top economics journals. I was attracted by UM’s stellar reputation for doing careful empirical work in the applied economics fields, and I was not disappointed—I received fantastic training in this area."

Wenjie Chen, PhD '09, Economist at the IMF, African Department

"Without my experience at UM, I wouldn't be here today! One of the profound things I have learned as an economist is how to be mindful of using, examining and interpreting data. As a practitioner, I do not have the luxury of a perfect dataset, but UM taught me how to apply not-so-ideal data to aid in providing crucial insights to a country's economic conditions. My PhD experience was shaped by the cohort of students that were studying with me, many of whom I have stayed close with. We learned from each other, challenged each other and commiserated with each other."

Olivier Coibion, PhD '07, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin

"The wonderful faculty at UM taught me to keep an open mind when doing macroeconomics, both in ideas and in methodologies. That has meant being willing to write papers ranging from the theoretical to the purely empirical depending on the question at hand. UM excels at making its students embrace the fact that there is no single tool that works for every question. A lasting contribution that UM made to me was the quality of my cohort. I've drawn some of my best friends and coauthors. The personal and professional benefits that I've received from this group is impossible to quantify."

Brahima Coulibaly, PhD '04, Chief Economist, Federal Reserve Board

"As Head of the emerging market economies’ group, I oversee the analytical and policy work on emerging market economies to inform the Board of Governors. The rigorous curriculum of the economics department as well as the high intellect and excellent mentorship of its faculty prepared me well for my current job. At the UM, you will find not only diverse and well-respected faculty in various fields of economics, but you will also find great mentors genuinely committed to your success in graduate school and beyond."

Taryn Dinkelman, PhD '08, Assistant Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College

"My UM training in empirical methods used in the fields of labor, public and development has been instrumental in shaping the why that I approach my research with. Taking all of those classes in econometric methods has made me a better teacher of methods, especially to the uninitiated. The department has tremendous breadth and depth across and within fields. In addition to getting excellent supervision for my research, the interactions I had with my faculty mentors at UM taught me how to be in the profession as an academic."

Maxwell Farrell, PhD '14, Assistant Professor of Econometrics and Statistics, University of Chicago

"More than anything else at UM, the training from my advisor, Matias Cattaneo, helped me get ready for being a "professional academic." I was attracted to UM mostly based on the faculty, they matched my interests. My interests at the time were not econometrics, I was lucky that Matias arrived just when I did. UM was attractive in that there is a diverse faculty with strong researchers. Ann Arbor is great for having or starting a family, and that if you plan to do that during school, it matters a lot where you are."

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, PhD '07, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

"UM's Ph.D. program in Econ was absolutely critical for my research career. It taught me theory and tools, trained me to ask good research questions, and connected me to UM alumni and a broader network of economists. It put me on fast track! I can't emphasize enough how high quality of advising is in Michigan. Faculty are extremely generous in devoting their time and effort to graduate students. As a result, UM has a very nurturing, intellectually stimulating environment. This was a key factor in my decision to choose UM over other options."

Erik Hurst, PhD '99, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

"I learned how to be an empiricist at UM. Being able to work as a graduate student processing data from the PSID and HRS as it was being collected taught me about the large amount of data that is available to us as researchers. Seeing my research portfolio now, you can clearly see the influence of my UM training. My early work relied on data from the PSID and HRS. My interest in understanding the nature of labor markets was instilled by the UM faculty. The use of household data to learn about household behavior is a hallmark of UM students."

Benjamin Keys, PhD '09, Assistant Professor, Co-Director of Kreisman Initiative, University of Chicago

"My experiences at UM shaped the researcher, teacher and faculty member I am today. The training I received from my advisors was invaluable in preparing me to conduct academic research and to provide guidance for our Ph.D. students. The preparation in applied microeconomics at UM is unparalleled. With so many new developments in the world of "big data", and unprecedented access to large data sets from governments and firms, these skills are essential in conducting cutting-edge research. You'll find an ever-growing network of alumni to help you with your start as a professional."

Patrick Kline, PhD '07, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

"UM provided me with excellent training in applied econometrics and labor economics. I was attracted to UM by the strong cadre of empirically oriented labor and public economists working in the economics department. I also benefited from the generosity of the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research which, in addition to subsidizing much of my graduate education, provided an exciting interdisciplinary venue for learning about developments in related social science."

Wojciech Kopczuk, PhD '01, Professor of Economics, International and Policy Affairs, Columbia University

"The department is one of the best places in the world to do public finance. Understanding the role of government in market economies got interested in economics in the first place and I was lucky to end up at UM. I pretty much lived in the department my first year and frequent conversations with students who were further along put me on the right track quickly; one learns at least as much from other students as from classes. UM provided me with tools, shaped my interests and gave me an understanding of the frontier of research in my field."

Brian Kovak, PhD '10, Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College

"The culture at UM emphasizes credible research designs, careful empirical work, and important research questions. While many programs teach the science of economics, Michigan teaches the art of crafting useful, compelling, and credible research papers. I regularly return to the notes from classes I took at Michigan and refer to wisdom gained in classes, seminars, and conversations in the hallways.

Barton Lipman, PhD '85, Department Chair and Professor of Economics, Boston University

"I remember the faculty at UM as interested in everything and excited to talk about everything. I think I learned from them to not insist on rigid classifications of research into this field or that field, but to be open to whatever was interesting. I was originally drawn to UM because of the outstanding reputation of the university and the long history of excellence in the economics department specifically.  But I think it’s the people in the department at the time that really made the difference. UM has a fascinating group of people I think any student would enjoy learning from."

Marc Melitz, PhD '00, David A. Wells Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University

"I study producer-level responses to globalization and their implications for aggregate trade and investment patterns. The economics department at Michigan offers a great PhD program. It is at the forefront of research in a wide range of fields. If you go there, you will be trained as a well-rounded economist — and you will be very well prepared for your future career, whether it be in academia, government and policy, or the private sector."

Peter Morrow, PhD '07, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Toronto

"The field of international trade has increasingly emphasized empirical work over the past 10 years. UM’s focus on careful and policy relevant empirical work gave me the tools I need to conduct such research. UM was very good at getting to the truth of what was going on in the world, rather than trying to shoehorn existing data into a trendy new hypothesis. Such a strong real-world foundation has been invaluable for my career. Looking back on that decision in 2001, there was no weak field and I knew that I could have great advising no matter what I ended up focusing on."

Rahul Mukherjee, PhD '10, Assistant Professor of Economics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

"My interaction with the bright and motivated undergrad students at UM as a teaching assistant and instructor prepared me for my future teaching. A vibrant research environment fostered by varied seminars and student research lunches with faculty greatly benefited me. The strength of the international economics group, with equal emphasis being placed on theory, numerical methods and empirics is a great reason to choose UM if one is interested in international macro. Also, Ann Arbor is a great place with plenty of things to do when not banging one's head over Matlab code."

Amil Petrin, PhD '88, Professor of Economics, University of Minnesota

"My research career is entirely based on applied microeconomics research. The training in applied work I received at UM - micro theory focussed on empirical work, econometrics, working with Levinsohn while BLP (1995, ecta) was in the process of forthcoming - all were essential for the future path of my research career, and you can see UM training in every aspect of my work. I have very fond memories of UM in terms of academic training. And I met my wonderful wife there!"

Lucie Schmidt, PhD '03, Professor of Economics, Williams College

"My time at UM taught me the tools I needed to critically evaluate research designs and to do convincing empirical work. I learned a great deal about collaboration by working with my professors and with other graduate students, and many of those collaborative relationships continue today. I also really benefited from interactions with professors and researchers outside of the Economics department, including those in the Pop Studies Center, the Ford School, and the School of Public Health."

Ajay Shenoy, PhD '14, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz

"There's a difference between how a department is ranked and how well it trains (and places) Ph.D. students. There are very highly ranked departments that do not give Ph.D. students the attention they need to succeed. These departments may produce good research, but they don't produce good economists. UM is not like this. Even the most prestigious faculty made time to meet with me and help me strategize about the job market. Everyone encouraged me and helped me to pursue my research."

Eric Sims, PhD '09, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

"UM is a fantastic department with a rich history. It is known for applying cutting edge economic theory to important real world, policy relevant problems, which is perhaps the best thing about UM. It is great training for an academic career or for work in government. UM continues to have an ecumenical department. It's not strictly structural or reduced form, but values bringing different approaches to bear on important questions. It has been instrumental in my success as an academic, for that I will always be grateful."

Robert W. Staiger, PhD '85, Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College

"While at UM, I was heavily influenced by the active seminar and conference schedules and the tremendous research opportunities in international trade, all orchestrated by Alan Deardorff and Bob Stern. UM was my best option and turned out to be a great place to be a graduate student, both in terms of peers and faculty guidance. The long and established UM tradition of strength in producing Trade students surely helped me find my way in the job market and beyond."


Previously Featured Alumni

Gardner Ackley
PhD ‘40

Gail Wilensky
AB ’65 econ, PhD ‘68

Chih-Chin Ho
PhD ‘87

Peter Hooper
AM ’71 econ, PhD ‘75

Marc Melitz
MA ‘97 econ, PhD ‘00

Charles L. Betsey
AB ’68 econ, PhD ‘76

Susanna Loeb
PhD ‘98

James Andreoni
AM ’84 econ, PhD ‘86

Robert V. Roosa
PhD ‘42