Halis Murat Yildiz

Murat completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Kamal Saggi in 2003 and joined the Department of Economics at Ryerson University located in Toronto, Canada. He received tenure in 2006, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007, and was promoted to full Professor in 2017. Since 2015, he has been the Graduate Program Director. Prior to starting at SMU, he received his BA degree in economics from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.  

Murat's primary research field is international trade. He specializes in using methods from game theory and industrial organization to analyze the reasons why countries form bilateral trade agreements. This allows him to investigate, whether continued formation of bilateral trade agreements will lead to global free trade, and how the formation of bilateral trade agreements affects ongoing global trade negotiations through the World Trade Organization. His research has regularly appeared in leading journals including American Economic Journal: Microeconomics American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Journal of International Economics, Canadian Journal of Economics, European Economic Review and Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

In 1998, while having other options (some better ranked departments), I decided to join the PhD program in Economics at SMU because of its compact size, strong research group and generous financial support. During the application process, Professor Shlomo Weber, the chair of the department at the time, personally called my home number in Turkey and our talk helped me tremendously make my decision.

I remember my very first day like yesterday, the department administrative assistant Melody Rice sitting in the front desk with a huge smile and welcoming the new PhD students almost like a Mother. It was such a kind and welcoming start for a foreign student. Indeed, in my very first year, the welcoming environment and the strong communication between faculty members and graduate students confirmed that it was a great decision to choose SMU over other my options. When I joined the PhD program, Professor Nathan Balke was the graduate program director who had very close and friendly relationships with the graduate students.

In my second year, I started my dissertation on international trade under the supervision of Professor Kamal Saggi who was amazingly active in research and provided me with invaluable guidance. Thanks to Professor Saggi and many other faculty members, I was able to finish my PhD in less than five years and received my job offer before my defense.

I still think that I would not have received a better PhD experience anywhere else. I had many long lasting great memories at SMU and feel blessed being part of the SMU alumni.
— Halis Murat Yildiz, Ryerson University

Murat's Website