2018-2019 Newsletter

Fall 2018. Volume 3.


Welcome from the Department Chair


Welcome to the third issue of our annual newsletter Inside Economics. This has been a truly exciting year for Economics at SMU. 

This summer, we launched a major joint initiative with the President George W. Bush Institute. The Initiative on Economic Growth will combine the nationally acclaimed research expertise of SMU’s economics faculty with the Bush Institute's outreach and strength in the world of economic policy makers. Our objective is to provide a consequential and credible non-partisan voice on policy issues such as globalization, international trade, competitiveness of the US economy, immigration and domestic economic policies that promote economic growth. The Initiative will support research on these topics at SMU through fellowships for doctoral students and national publicity of our academic research output. A visiting fellows program will bring nationally prominent experts in the domain of economic policy to SMU.

Two new Assistant Professors joined us this fall. Dr. Michael Sposi received his doctorate from the University of Iowa and was a Senior Research Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas before coming to SMU; he specializes in International Macroeconomics and Trade. Dr. Hao Dong recently received his doctorate from the London School of Economics (UK); he is a highly skilled econometrician. 

Three faculty members earned tenure and were promoted to the rank of Associate Professor this year. They are Dr. James Lake, Dr. Omer Ozak and Dr. Danila Serra.

Economics continues to be the most popular major within Dedman College (and the second most popular major in the entire university).  In 2017-18, 221 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. We are working hard to prepare our students for the competitive marketplace. Last year, two-thirds of graduating economics students had completed at least one internship.  An increasing proportion of our students receive support throughout their career search, from building a resume to negotiating employment offers. Our graduates continue to demonstrate impressive performance in initial job placements, including positions at Oracle, American Airlines, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan Chase, Ernst and Young, Goldman Sachs and many more globally prominent employers. Exit surveys of economics graduates indicate a high degree of satisfaction with our undergraduate program and almost two-thirds of students mention the high quality of the economics faculty as the best part of their experience. 

Our M.A and M.S. programs continue to attract students from across the globe and enrollment has been increasing over the last few years. 28 students joined the programs in 2017-18. The MS program in Applied Economics and Predictive Analytics is a major attractor as it combines skills in data analytics with rigorous economic modeling and econometric tools to discover economic causality. Graduates work as professionals in financial, economics consultancy and other corporate organizations across the globe.

Our doctoral program continues to be one of the most highly ranked on campus and graduates of the program are playing a very important role in improving the visibility and academic reputation of SMU around the world. Six new economics doctorates graduated in 2017-18; five of them currently hold Assistant Professor positions in colleges and universities in the US, Colombia, China and India. Over the last 2 years, we graduated and placed 20 new doctorates in faculty positions or as advanced researchers in major corporate organizations.    

Economic Department faculty continue to be engaged in cutting-edge research raising the global reputation of SMU. Prof. Klaus Desmet, a globally renowned researcher in the areas of international, urban and regional economics, was appointed a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the most important think tank on economic policy in the country. Prof. Desmet also received the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship at SMU this year. Prof. Danila Serra received national recognition in the field of experimental economics by being awarded the $50,000 inaugural Ascending Scholar Award named after Nobel laureate Vernon Smith. 

We organized several important economics conferences that attract prominent economists to SMU. In October 2017, we hosted the Midwest International Trade and Economic Theory Conference, a major national conference; it brought 120 leading scholars from across the world to our campus. Also last October, the SMU Economics Center organized a symposium on “Cities, Suburbs, and the New America” at the Collins Center that hosted prominent speakers from the urban policy world (including a former U.S. Cabinet Secretary and the Mayor of Dallas).

I invite you to browse through this newsletter to learn more. Thank you for staying connected to us.


Santanu Roy