Department Highlights: 2019-2020

Congratulations to the Class of 2020:
While we were not able to be together during the wonderful and very special Commencement weekend, the faculty and staff of the Department of Economics are all very happy for our graduates, and wish them the best of luck for the years ahead. In lieu of celebrating together, we have prepared a video with appearances by the faculty and each graduate.

Yuxian Chen receives 2020 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Academic Scholarship Award:
Congratulations to Yuxian Chen, a research track MS student in the Economics Department graduating in May 2020, on her 2020 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Academic Scholarship Award. Yuxian is one of two graduate students honored with this award, each in recognition of their distinguished academic achievement as evidenced by course grades, quality of papers, theses, and projects. Yuxian's thesis, "Does Tourism Expansion Discourage Skill Acquisition in the Developing Countries?" explores how the expansion of the tourism industry worldwide, typically a low-skilled service industry, could discourage skill acquisition in the developing countries. Using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys and from other sources, including the World Development Indicators, Yuxian Chen finds a negative impact of tourism exports expansion on the probability that individuals complete secondary education, or acquiring more than secondary education. Yuxian's research was notable for relating the impact of tourism export expansion to an individual's age and gender. She finds that a 1% increase in tourism exports when an individual is 9 years old decreases the probability that she completes secondary education by around 0.09%, and decreases the probability that she has higher than secondary education by 0.16%. Any positive effects are limited to the young and to males. Yuxian's findings have important implications for the impact of the expansion of low-skill service exports on human capital accumulation in developing countries. On September 15, 2020, Yuxian and Prof. Yannis M. Ioannides, her MS thesis adviser, published the column 'International tourism and short-run growth: Reviewing the trade-off in the age of COVID-19'.

Nationals assistant GM Mike DeBartolo '06 got his dream job:
Mike DeBartolo '06 became an assistant GM for the Washington Nationals in March 2019. Read about his journey in the October 26, 2019 edition of The Boston Globe.

Congratulations to Laura K. Gee on her tenure and promotion as Associate Professor without limit of time in the Department of Economics, School of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1, 2019. Laura has been at Tufts since 2013. Congratulations to Laura on this well-deserved milestone.

Message of Thanks:
In a video that was produced by Tufts Communications and Marketing on May 19, 2019 featuring members of the Class of 2019 who had messages of thanks, Professor Ujjayant Chakraorty was acknowledged in a fun remembrance from one of his students.

Faculty Highlights

  • In January 2020, The Berkeley Energy Institute posted a blog entry about a paper on the macroeconomic impact of carbon taxes that Jim Stock (Harvard) and Gilbert Metcalf recently wrote. They presented the paper at the American Economic Association annual meeting in San Diego in January 2020, and it will be published in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings in May 2020.

  • Professor Gilbert Metcalf, the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts-Economics, was featured in Vox's "The Weeds" podcast on December 24, 2019, titled "No Room at the Inn." Prof. Metcalf's National Bureau of Economic Research paper with Qitong Wang, "Abandoned by Coal, Swallowed by Opioids?" is discussed, starting at 43.5 minutes in the podcast.

  • Professor Gilbert Metcalf, the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts-Economics, will co-lead one of three American Economic Association Continuing Education Workshops at the annual meetings in San Diego, in January 2020. According to the AEA, these workshops are "tailored primarily to faculty at liberal arts colleges and teaching-oriented state universities that may have fewer research opportunities than colleagues at universities with PhD programs. The lecturers are leading scholars who also are excellent expositors." The workshop topic is "Climate Change Economics", and will be co-led by two economists from the University of Chicago and California.

  • Professor Enrico Spolaore, the Seth Merrin Chair at Tufts-Economics, was featured in the July 25, 2019 issue of The Economist: "A Society's Values and Beliefs Matter for its Economy."