News and Events
department of economics
The Economist referenced Professor Susanto Basu's "seminal" 2006 paper published in the American Economic Review "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," in their piece on the Fed's pessimism about American productivity.
The Average Mid-Forties Male College Graduate Earns 55% More Than His Female Counterparts
The wage gap between college-educated men and women starts small, but it snowballs significantly over time, economists Erling Barth, Claudia Goldin, Sari Pekkala Kerr, and Claudia Olivetti write in an article in the Harvard Business Review. New York Times, Wall Street Journal
The Economics Department was well represented at BC's 141st Commencement held on Monday, May 22 with 10 Ph.D., 16 M.A., and 312 B.A. degrees awarded to our economics graduate and undergraduate students.
Our congratulations and best wishes to them and all the Class of 2017!
The 2010 Affordable Care Act may have helped more women in the U.S. breastfeed as a result of its coverage of breast pumps, suggests a new study led by BC School of Social Work Assistant Professor Summer Hawkins, conducted with BC colleagues Alice Noble of BC Law School and Professor of Economics and Social Work Christopher Baum. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is featured by Reuters.
Thesis Student Award Winners
At commencement, the Economics Department awarded prizes to three outstanding economics undergraduates. The Bourneuf Award for the top economics major went to Christopher Dalla Riva. Giffuni Prizes for outstanding thesis work in economics were awarded to James LeDoux and Carolyn Ruh.
Congratulations to all the award recipients!
Economics Professor Peter Ireland is quoted in Bloomberg about the Fed's monetary policy plans and protecting the poor.
Assistant Professor Anant Nyshadham has been appointed to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) as a Faculty Research Fellow of their Development Economics Program. The NBER is the nation's leading nonprofit economic research organization, and a Faculty Research Fellow is a junior member of the research groups. NBER researchers are regarded as the leading scholars in their field. Congratulations to Anant!
More than parental leave or flexible schedules, government spending on early childhood care and education had the single biggest effect on boosting women's employment and on decreasing gender pay gap, according to a study comparing various policies in 22 industrialized countries. The report, co-authored by Professor of Economics Claudia Olivetti, recently was highlighted by the New York Times.
Donald and Helene White Prize Announced
Sylvia Hristakeva (Ph.D'16) received the Donald and Helene White Prize for the Outstanding Dissertation in the Social Sciences for her dissertation "Essays in Applied Industrial Organization."
Sylvia is currently an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Anderson School of Management, UCLA.
Donald J. White Teaching Fellow Awards Announced
Zafer Kanik (right) is this year's recipient of the Donald J. White Teaching Fellow Award and John Lindner (left) is this year's recipient of the Donald J. White Teaching Assistant Award.
Zafer's award is based on the course in Market Design that he taught each semester last year. He put a prodigious amount of effort into developing an interesting and challenging course, one that his students loved. John's award reflects unwavering excellence as a teaching assistant for the Principles lectures over a three-year period. He makes every effort to find and develop materials to enliven and enrich his discussion sections and to work with students who are having difficulty with the course.
2017-18 Dissertation Fellowships Awarded
The prestigious semester Dissertation Fellowships sponsored by the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences have been awarded to Dominique Brabant and Pierre De Leo.
In addition Gian Caspari, Michael Connolly, Bogdan Genchev, Marco Ghiani, and Tina Letsou have been awarded Departmental dissertation fellowships for this summer.
Boston College Economics PhD Program Climbs to 25th Place in the U.S. News and World Report Ranking of Top Graduate Programs in Economics
According to the recently released U.S. News ranking of US Ph.D. programs in economics, the BC economics program is ranked 25th overall, with an improvement of seven positions relative to the last ranking. The U.S. News ranking is a reputational ranking based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. It is therefore sticky and tends to lag actual improvements, which are captured more quickly by rankings based on more objective criteria. For instance, according to the February 2017 IDEAS ranking of economics departments based on faculty publications, the BC economics department is ranked 18th in the US and 26th worldwide. The two rankings appear to be converging, as they both reflect the increasing excellence of the BC economics program's faculty and students.
For the 2017 US News ranking see:
For the latest IDEAS ranking see:
The resignation of one of the top officials at the Federal Reserve will have a "profound" impact in reshaping the board, said Professor Peter Ireland in the Boston Herald.
While the president may not trust the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment numbers, Economics Professor Bob Murphy says that the BLS is a world-class independent statistical agency that is inherently nonpartisan, and that mistrust of the BLS is "not justified."
Economists are concerned about the Trump administration's skepticism of the national unemployment rate. In CNN Money, Professor Bob Murphy said that the process and statistical analysis that go into producing the unemployment rate are "rock solid."
Three new faculty joined the department, the economics major continued it's record growth, and a professor's retirement after over a half-century of teaching were some of the department highlights in 2016. Read more about these and other faculty, alumni, graduate and undergraduate achievements in the 39th Boston College Economics Department Newsletter.
Research by Professor of Economics Joseph Quinn--conducted with alumni Kevin Cahill and Michael Giandrea, who received their master's and doctoral degrees in economics from BC--has shown that a majority of older Americans earn an income during "retirement" years. Their findings are highlighted in an article on phased retirement (also known as "unretirement") and other improvements made to Norway's retirement system.
Professor Robert Murphy told CNNMoney that the economy "continued to move forward" in 2016 as employment and wages rose.
Congratulations to Oriana Bandiera (2000 BC Ph. D.) for her Election to Fellow of the Econometric Society
From Hideo Konishi, Chair: I am writing to you to report great news. One of our former graduate students was elected Fellow of Econometric Society recently. Her name is Oriana Bandiera (PhD in Economics '00). Oriana is a full Professor at London School of Economics, and the Director of STICERD at LSE. LSE is one of the world top five schools, and STICERD is a top institution for research in development, growth, and income inequality among others. Being elected Fellow of Econometric Society is one of the most prestigious honors in Economics. Oriana was also elected Fellow of British Academy of Sciences last year, too.
Oriana has been conducting important research in the fields of development economics, labor economics, and contract theory. Her publications include the following ones in top economics journals: “Social Networks and the Adoption of New Technology in Northern Mozambique,” “Intentions to Participate in Adolescent Training Programs: Evidence from Uganda,” and most recently, “Labor Markets and Poverty in Village Economies.”
Oriana came to give an HED (Human and Economic Development) lecture, "Social Incentives in Organization," just this October, and we enjoyed her lecture and a reception afterwards as many of you must remember.
Many congratulations to Oriana!
The Economic Consequences of Mr. Trump
Boston College, November 17, 2016, a panel discussion with George Alogoskoufis (Tufts and Athens University), James Anderson (BC), Robert Murphy (BC), introduced and moderated by Fabio Schiantarelli (BC)
Economists dismissed Donald Trump's attempt to discredit the Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing solid job gains in October. Robert Murphy, a professor at Boston College and former economist on the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN that the BLS "has high integrity."
The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in two years in the third quarter. The GDP report was seen as bolstering Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has "tied itself closely to the Obama administration's record on the economy," according to Economics Professor Robert Murphy in Reuters.
The later a woman divorces, the more likely she is to be working full time late in life, according to a study co-authored by Professor of Economics Claudia Olivetti.
The New York Times quoted Economics Professor Peter Ireland on the Fed's timing and conditions for raising interest rates.
Professor Bob Murphy weighs in on the timing of the Fed's next move on Marketplace Radio.
Murray and Monti Professor of Economics Peter Ireland talks about the Chicago school of economics, Federal Reserve policy targets, and other topics in a Macro Musings podcast.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen believes the case for a rate hike this year has strengthend. Economics Professor Bob Murphy suggests that the presidential election may factor into the timing of an announcement as the Fed may hold off "to see how things play out.”
Associate Professor of the Practice Sam Richardson tells NBC News that blaming the escalating price for EpiPens on the Affordable Care Act may be "a stretch."
Professor Mehmet Ekmekci's paper Just Enough or All: Selling a Firm, coauthored with Nenad Kos and Rakesh Vohra is published in the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.
This paper examines the problem of selling a firm to a single buyer and provides an explanation based on asymmetric information to why we sometimes observe cash sales, sometimes equity and sometimes a mixture of equity and cash when selling corporate control.
Murray and Monti Professor of Economics Peter Ireland comments on what Verizon's $4.83 billion deal for Yahoo could mean for both companies and for shareholders.
Economics professor and NBER research associate Claudia Olivetti summarizes her findings on the causes, characteristics, and consequences of gender differences in pay and employment levels in the U.S. and other OECD economies.
Associate Professor of Economics Robert Murphy discussed the impact on the U.S. of Britain's vote to exit the European Union.
Economics Professor Robert Murphy claims the potential benefits of a rate cut would be smaller than the communication issues the move would cause.
Economics Professor Peter Ireland is quoted in Reuters saying that the Fed may have "second thoughts" about raising interest rates after employment report reveals weak job growth in May.
Retiring Professor Harold Petersen looks back on his distinguished career at Boston College and examines his role in enriching the economics department and the lives of the countless students he taught.
A working paper on copyright enforcement co-written by Associate Professor of Economics Julie Holland Mortimer, a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, is highlighted by Forbes.
Assistant professor of economics Jaromir Nosal co-authored a study for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York highlighting the effects of bankruptcy.
Congratulations to the Award Winners of the Economics Department!
Lifeng Chen will receive the Bourneuf Award, for the top economics major. Jeffrey Klofas and Maria Boria will each receive the Giffuni Award for their outstanding thesis work in economics. Congratulations to these students and all 2016 Boston College graduates.
Boston College Commencement--1986
This photo was taken 30 years ago. From L-R, Chris Maxwell, Bob Murphy, Harold Petersen, Frank McLaughlin, and Joe Quinn.
Graduate School Dissertation Fellowships
The prestigious semester Dissertation Fellowships sponsored by the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences have been awarded to Igor Karagodsky and Penglong Zhang.
In addition, Ana Lariau Bolentini, Ethan Struby, and Solvejg Wewel have been awarded Fellowships for the summer of 2016.
Graduate Students Awarded the Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award
The Economics Department is pleased to announce that Lauren Hoehn Velasco received the Donald J. White Teaching Fellow Award and Pierre De Leo the Donald J. White Teaching Assistant Award. The award, named after the former dean of the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, was established to recognize graduate teaching fellows and teaching assistants who distinguished themselves in classroom instruction.
Economists dispute Donald Trump's assertion that the U.S. is heading towards a "massive recession." Boston College economics professor Robert Murphy calls Trump’s comments "completely unfounded."
Measures of money growth, which reflect more accurately the stance of Federal Reserve policy than do other variables, have been trending downwards since 2013--warning that further interest rate increases could be excessive, writes Murray and Monti Professor of Economics Peter Ireland, co-author of a post for Economics 21.
The “customer is always right” era may be coming to an end as more companies start rating their customers and clients. Associate professor of economics, Can Erbil, sees this new dynamic as “empowering for both sides, and definitely a part of our new digitalized reality."
The transition from employment to retirement is no longer a one-time event, but rather a process. In this Associated Press piece, Professor of Economics Joseph Quinn examines the factors involved in seniors choosing to pursue "bridge jobs" after leaving full-time employment.
Chair Hideo Konishi highlights the accomplishments of the Economics Department while Dean Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., shares his vision for the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
Anatoly Arlashin awarded Fellowship
Ph.D. candidate Anatoly Arlashin, has been awarded the Dean of the Summer Session Fellowship conferred by the Woods College of Advancing Studies.
Overconfidence can lead people to misforecast their future use of a product, as well as overestimate their abilities to navigate contract terms. But policy may help to protect consumers from their own poor choices, writes Associate Professor of Economics Michael D. Grubb for the London School of Economics Business Review.
Associate Professor Mehmet Ekmekci's recently published article "Information in Tender Offers With a Large Shareholder" explores the effects of the interplay between the presence of a minority large shareholder and dispersed private information held by the shareholders in takeover contests where the raider is exposed to free-riding.
After facing several years of unprecedented demand for the undergraduate major and minor, the economics department was allowed to hire seven new faculty for the 2015–2016 academic year to strengthen its offerings. Learn more about them and the achievements of our exceptional faculty and students in the 38th Boston College Economics Department Newsletter.
Murray and Monti Professor Peter Ireland was quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding Narayana Kocherlakota's shift in policy views during his tenure as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
The current national comfort level with the economy could fuel a banner holiday spending period--but it may yet prove to be shaky in the new year, as consumers look out on an uncertain geopolitical situation. Associate Professor of Economics Robert Murphy was interviewed on the subject by the Boston Herald.
BC Murray and Monti Professor and Shadow Open Market committee member Peter Ireland told the Boston Herald that the first interest rate increase in seven years indicates "that the U.S. economy is returning to normal.”
Associate Professor of Economics Robert Murphy was featured in WalletHub's financial predictions for 2016.
Professor Sam Richardson comments regarding Obamacare and the potential changes ahead.
Boston College professor Sam Richardson weighs in on the slower increase in health care costs.
Boston College health care economist Sam Richardson comments on Jeb Bush's proposal for repealing Obamacare.
Arthur Lewbel, the inaugural holder of the Barbara A. and Patrick E. Roche chair in economics at Boston College, had three of his papers cited by the Nobel committee in explaining the influence and importance of this year's recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. One of Lewbel's cited publications is a survey article, while the other two are extensions of Angus Deaton's prize winning work.
Professor of economics Mathis Wagner's article on the lessons learned from Turkey's handling of the Syrian refugee crisis is featured in The Huffington Post's "What’s Working Honor Roll" series.
The Northeast, the region most reliant on home heating oil, will get a huge windfall this winter because of the big decline in oil prices as well as expected warmer weather. Professor Bob Murphy explains how this combination could affect consumer spending.
International trade expert and BC professor Jim Anderson told the Boston Herald that there are ways to ameliorate the potential "inequality consequences" of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
CNBC quotes Boston College economics professor Bob Murphy in their analysis of the Fed's bullish inflation expectations and the effect on interest rates.
Prof. Can Erbil was featured in WalletHub’s recent article about 2015’s most & least recession-recovered cities.
In the 9/14/2015 issue of e21, the economics portal of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Murray and Monti Professor of Economics Peter Ireland makes the case for raising interest rates now.
In this article, Boston College economics professor Peter Ireland writes about the Fed's often confusing and contradictory statements.
Boston College economics professor Claudia Olivetti talks to the Huffington Post about her research study examining gender-based pay disparity between women in professional positions and those in working-class jobs.
Ph.D. Math Camp
First-year Economics Ph.D. students are in their second week of math camp. The incoming class of doctoral candidates comprises 18 students from 8 different countries.
Boston College gaming expert Prof. Richard McGowan tells the Boston Herald that the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MA will need to "build up some kind of loyalty" to retain customers after the states other casinos open.
As stock prices continued to decline sharply, economics professor Bob Murphy weighed in on the market pullback for ABC News.
American Economic Review has published a new paper by Professor Claudia Olivetti, "In the Name of the Son (and the Daughter): Intergenerational Mobility in the United States, 1850–1940."
"There are now some real glimmers of hope," Boston College economics professor Peter Ireland told ABC News in regard to the 85 billion euro bailout deal. Professor Bob Murphy weighed in on how the Greek prime minister will need to argue the case for the deal to his party in Parliament and to the Greek people.
Among the proposals submitted, Greece would "implement in full the 2010 pension reform law" when austerity measures were put in place during their last bailout in 2010. Economics Professor Bob Murphy explains the major points of the proposal.
The market for fantasy sports "keeps on going up and up and up" says BC's Fr. Richard McGowan.
U.S. stocks fell yesterday as Chinese equities plummeted, raising fears about the implications for the global economy. Boston College economics professor Peter Ireland commented on the impact of events in China and Greece on the U.S. economy.
As Greece and its creditors struggled to find a way forward following rejection on Sunday by Greek citizens of the latest austerity plan, economics professor Bob Murphy was interviewed by WGBH Radio’s Morning Edition about the rapidly evolving situation.
Father Richard McGowan explains that in the Catholic church, gambling is not a sin, but he explains the pitfalls that need to be considered as Massachusetts opens its first casino.
Scott Fulford, assistant professor of economics and international studies, comments on the economic crisis in Greece.
This year, the Economics Department Honors Program had 20 students complete senior theses, the most in recent memory. At graduation, Sean Dvorak received the Bourneuf Award for top economics major, and Collin Anderson and Lea Oriol each received the Giffuni Prize for outstanding thesis work in economics.
As Sunday's vote on the bailout package for Greece neared, economics professor Bob Murphy commented on the deepening political and economic crisis in Europe for CBS MarketWatch.
Boston College Professor Can Erbil remarks about the changing economy resulting from the growing freelance workers.
As the banking crisis in Greece worsened, Murray and Monti Professor of Economics Peter Ireland commented earlier this week on the impact of the situation on world markets and the U.S. economy.
There are genuine risks to policies that place too much emphasis on every piece of incoming data, risks that Federal Reserve policymakers should recognize, according to Murray and Monti Professor of Economics Peter Ireland.
Boston College has continued with its success in placing Ph.D. students in excellent academic institutions, central banks, and other government departments, international organizations, research organizations, and the private sector.
Stephen Dubner, co-author of The New York Times best-seller, Freakonomics, speaks at BC.
According to the Office of Student Services, this past fall 1,086 undergraduates were enrolled as economics majors (the figure represents students in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Carroll School of Management), marking its third consecutive year at the top. The number – the largest ever for a major in University history – is more than double that of the 2004-05 academic year (539), when economics was the seventh-most enrolled major.
The department filled two positions during the spring hiring season, both of which increase our strength in important fields.
The 138th commencement exercises of Boston College were held on 19 May 2014. Twelve economics students received the Ph.D. since the last commencement.
The October, 2014 issue of one the profession's most prestigious journals, American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, contains three articles highlighting the work of alumnae/i of the department's Ph.D. program.
We sadly note the passing of our esteemed colleague Rev. William B. Neenan, SJ, on 25 June at the age of 85. Bill Neenan was a Professor of Economics and the inaugural holder of the first endowed chair at Boston College, the Gasson Professorship, in 1979.