Rice Economics Fall 2016 Newsletter

RICE ECON Fall 2016 News and Views from the Economics Department at Rice Meet Our New Assistant Professors! This semester we welcome four new assistant professors to the Economics Department, hired as part of the ongoing RISE (Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics) program to enhance teaching and research in Economics at Rice. All four will be teaching in the undergraduate program this academic year. Rossella Calvi received her PhD from Boston College in 2016. Her areas of expertise are development economics, applied microeconomics, and labor. Her research focuses on issues related to gender inequality, poverty, health and education in developing countries. She is also interested in economic history and studies the role that historical institutions play in determining contemporary outcomes. She is teaching our course in Economic Development (ECON 450) this semester and again in the spring. Yunmi Kong received her Ph.D. from New York University in 2016, and worked previously as an analyst with J. P. Morgan Treasury and Securities Services. Her research interests include empirical industrial organization and applied microeconometrics and microeconomics. Her latest work focuses on the empirical analysis of auctions, including a recent analysis of the leasing of oil and gas tracts. This semester she is teaching both sections of Applied Econometrics (ECON 209). Yinghua He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2011 and before coming to Rice was an assistant professor at the Toulouse School of Economics. His research focuses on issues in applied microeconomics, labor, and education. Some of his recent work looks at theoretical and empirical issues in market design, including analyses of school choice programs in Beijing and Paris. He will teach both sections of Applied Econometrics (ECON 209) in the spring. Mallesh Pai received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2010 and previously was an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania; he has also worked at Google and Microsoft. His research focuses on issues in mechanism design and auction theory, the economics of privacy, social networks/ social learning (he has a paper on whether online social networks increase economic welfare) and statistical decision theory. This semester he is “importing” from Penn his highly successful course in Market Design (ECON 470). Economics Department Chair Named New Dean of Social Sciences We are delighted to report that over the summer, former Economics Department Chair Antonio Merlo was named the new Dean of the School of Social Sciences, becoming the first member of the department to serve in this capacity. Professor Merlo, who previously held positions at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Minnesota, and New York University, came to Rice two years ago. During his short but extremely productive tenure as department chair, the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics (RISE) was created, the department hired five additional internationally renowned senior faculty and four highly regarded new assistant professors (check out their short bios on the left), designed and implemented a comprehensive restructuring of both the undergraduate and graduate economics programs, and created a new Masters in Energy Economics program.  Dean Merlo will continue serving as Director of RISE and teaching his popular course in political economy (ECON 432).  In his stead, Professor Hülya Eraslan was appointed interim Economics Department Chair for the 2016-2017 academic year; for more on Professor Eraslan, see page 3. Advising Corner Fall 2016 Advising Office Hours Monday 3:30–5:00pm — James Brown, BKH 250 Tuesday 12:30–2:00pm — George Zodrow, BKH 260 Friday 1:00–2:30pm — Peter Hartley, BKH 262 1