SMU Economics Faculty Directory

Portrait of Ömer Özak


Ömer Özak

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Brown University
Umphrey Lee 301R

Ömer Özak is an assistant professor at the Economics Department at Southern Methodist University. He holds a B.S. in economics (Summa Cum Laude) and an M.S. in mathematics (Summa Cum Laude) from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Brown University. His research explores the deep historical origins and long-run consequences of some of the most fundamental cultural, human and economic characteristics that are at the roots of contemporary comparative economic development across countries, regions and ethnic groups. In particular, he studies how the interaction of bio-geographical, cultural, institutional, and technological factors have determined the evolution of societies in the course of human history. This interdisciplinary research agenda lies at the intersection of comparative development, economic growth, political economy, cultural economics, and evolutionary economics, and it further contributes to the fields of cultural and human evolution, and cultural anthropology. His research has been published in top general interest and field journals in economics including The American Economic Review, The Journal of the European Economic Association, and the Journal of Economic Growth.

Research Interests

Comparative Development, Long-Run Growth, Evolutionary Economics, Technological Change and Innovation, Economic Growth and Development, Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

Courses Taught

Intermediate Macroeconomics, Economic Growth, Macroeconomic Theory II, Mathematical Economics, Computational Economics

Selected Publications

  • The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference, joint with Oded Galor. American Economic Review, October 2016, Vol. 106(10):3064–3103,
  • Optimal Consumption under Liquidity Constraints and Bounded Rationality. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, February 2014, Vol. 39: 237–254,
  • Adaptive Consumption Behavior, joint with Peter Howitt, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, February 2014, Vol. 39: 37-61,
  • Isolation and Development, joint with Oded Galor and Quamrul Ashraf, Journal of the European Economic Association, April/May 2010, Vol. 8, No. 2-3: 401-412.
  • Optimization and Dynamics, (in Spanish) with S. Monsalve, vol. III in S. Monsalve (ed.) Elementary Mathematics for Economists, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2010.
  • Two-sided Matching Models, with M. Sotomayor, in R.A. Meyers (ed.) Encyclopedia of Complexity and System Science, 2009. Reprinted in Computational Complexity: Theory, Techniques, and Applications, 2012, pp. 3234-3257.
  • Asymptotic Behavior and Equilibrium Selection in Evolutionary Games, (in Spanish) Universidad Externado de Colombia Press, 2006.
  • Multiple Equilibria and the Natural Rate of Interest, (in Spanish) Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Económicas, 2006.


  • 2016 Sam Taylor Fellowship (United Methodist Church)
  • 2015-2016 Top 5% authors on Ideas/Repec according to number of abstract views and downloads (simple and weighted)
  • 2014 Nominated by Resident Life and Student Housing as a “Honoring Our Professors Of Excellence” (HOPE) professor of the year, Southern Methodist University 
  • 2010 Graduate Dissertation Fellowship, Brown University
  • 2008 Umezawa-Stolz Prize for third-year research paper, Brown University.
  • 2005-2010 Graduate School Fellowship, Brown University.
  • 2005 Summa Cum Laude in Mathematics, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
  • 2005 Prize for Best Undergraduate Thesis 2001-2003, Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Económicas.
  • 2002-2005 Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
  • 2003 Honorary Member, Grupo de Estudios en Macroeconomía y Política Económica, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
  • 2002 Summa Cum Laude and Honors Degree in Economics, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
  • 2001 Fellowship for Summer School on “Globalization and the New Economy” of the Association for Evolutionary Economics-University of Missouri, Kansas City, USA

Personal Website