Category: Departmental News

BU Professor Margo to give public lecture in November: “Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality”

August 13th, 2014 in Departmental News

Professor Robert Margo will give a public lecture November 13 entitled “Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality” as part of a series sponsored by the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University.  The series, entitled “Economic Racism in Perspective: Past and Present in the US and Germany,” includes three public lectures and a conference bringing together 25 scholars from around the world.

Margo’s lecture is at 7 pm, November 13, at the Florence and Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University, 213 Bay State Road.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

See the full lecture series schedule here.

BU Economics PhD Student Elisabeth Perlman awarded Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation

August 5th, 2014 in Departmental News, Graduate Programs News, PhD Student Achievements

BU Economics PhD Student Elisabeth Perlman was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. The grant was awarded to support her work on the paper “Dense Enough To Be Brilliant: Patents, Urbanization, and Transportation in Nineteenth Century America”, part of her dissertation titled “Three Papers on the Expansion of Information and Transportation Networks in Nineteenth Century America”.

Additional information about the National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship Program is available at

BU Economics PhD student William Johnson appointed 2014-15 Growth Lab Fellow

July 21st, 2014 in Departmental News, Graduate Programs News, PhD Student Achievements

PhD student William Johnson has been invited to join Harvard University’s Center for International Development as a Growth Lab Fellow for the 2014-15 academic year. This appointment is intended to encourage collaboration between Johnson, other Growth Lab Fellows, and the staff of the Center for International Development.

BU Economics PhD student Matthew Johnson awarded Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy grant

July 21st, 2014 in Departmental News, Graduate Programs News, PhD Student Achievements

PhD student Matthew Johnson received a grant from the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a Washington, DC, based think tank. The grant is together with Michael Toffel at the Harvard Business School and David Levine at the University of California, Berkeley. Their project is to develop a low cost randomized control trial to provide a clearer understanding of the impact of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and inspections. As a by-product, they will identify the types of workplaces where OSHA inspections are more or less effective and generate other insights to improve the targeting of OSHA efforts in the future.

The grant was awarded as part of a nation-wide competition for research on randomized control trials. Johnson’s proposal was one of three funded by the Coalition. The competition and Johnson’s project were discussed in an article in the New York Times July 15, 2014, and on the White House Office of Science and Technology blog July 9, 2014.

BU Economics’ Jianjun Miao promoted to Full Professor

March 25th, 2014 in Departmental News

President Bob Brown and Provost Jean Morrison announced this week the promotion of 13 members of our Charles River Campus faculty to Full Professor at Boston University, including Jianjun Miao of the Department of Economics.

Quoting from Provost Morrison’s statement,

Through seminal scholarship, eye-opening exploration, and a passion for the transmission of knowledge, these exceptional faculty members have emerged as leaders, both in their respective fields of research and in their classrooms. They are merging disciplines to discover solutions to some of our most pressing challenges, producing foundational writings that help to evolve our understanding of the world, and working to inspire a new generation of young scholars and professionals. In doing so, they help to demonstrate each day the true depth of Boston University’s talented academic community. We are proud to count them as members of our faculty and pleased that their careers will be spent here at BU.

Professor Miao specializes in theoretical macroeconomics and finance, devoting his research to multiple areas, including asset pricing, dynamic corporate finance, financial crises and tax policy. The author of a forthcoming textbook, he has published extensively in top economics and finance journals, and is a regularly invited speaker at international finance conferences and seminars in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

BU Economics honors Santiago Levy with inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award

February 26th, 2014 in Alumni, Departmental News

The Department of Economics is pleased to announce that Santiago Levy has been selected as the recipient of the Department’s first Distinguished Alumni Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in any area by graduates of one of the Department’s degree programs.

Santiago Levy makes a natural choice for our first award both because of his accomplishments and his extensive and long-standing ties to the Department.

As one of the fathers of Conditional Cash Transfers or CCT, Santiago played a crucially important role in the development of one of the leading antipoverty programs in the world. He first introduced and oversaw the implementation of PROGRESA (later renamed Oportunidades) when he was Deputy Finance Minister of Mexico. Since then, CCT programs have spread to dozens of countries around the world, including Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Jamaica, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, Morocco, Peru, and Cambodia.

Santiago is also a multiple graduate of our Department, having received a BA (1976), MA (1978), and Ph.D (1980) from us. He was a faculty member in the Department from 1983 to 1993, serving as the first Director of our Institute for Economic Development (1989-1990).

He is currently a Vice President at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC., and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The Department and the Institute for Economic Development are hosting an alumni reception in his honor April 24.

BU Economics Professor Pierre Perron honored by Pontificia Universidad Catolica of Peru

February 25th, 2014 in Departmental News

BU Economics Professor Pierre Perron has been appointed as Doctor Honoris Causa of Pontificia Universidad Católica of Perú. A translation of the university’s resolution reads, in part,

Pierre Perron, Doctor (Ph.D) in Economics from Yale University and Professor of the Department of Economics at Boston University, is a prominent Canadian economist, considered one of the world’s leading economists specializing in the field of Econometrics, in particularly in the theoretical and empirical analysis of time series, structural change, nonstationarity and financial econometrics;

Dr. (Ph.D) Perron is conducting a  brilliant academic career, during which he has formed many generations of students of economics to transmit the valuable legacy of his extensive knowledge and his relevant professional experience;

Dr. (Ph.D) Perron has an outstanding reputation in the international academic community, thanks to the impact of his writings and approaches have had on contemporary academic and intellectual production, which is testimony to the huge number of quotations from his works and used in studies around the world economy;

That knowledge and experience of Doctor (Ph.D) Perron in the field of econometrics is widely required to exercise arbitration in prestigious publications specializing in economic studies in which is clear the influence that the figure of Dr. (Ph.D) Perron has achieved in the media pf current international research on economic matters;

The ideas and writings of Dr. (Ph.D) Perron has had a significant stimulus for research and discussion of teachers and students of economics within our university…

BU Economics ranked #12 by RePEc, December 2013

January 15th, 2014 in Departmental News

RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) releases a monthly report listing the Top 25% US Economics Departments. The rankings are are based on data about authors who have registered with the RePEc Author Service, institutions listed on EDIRC, bibliographic data collected by RePEc, citation analysis performed by CitEc and popularity data compiled by LogEc.

BU Economics was ranked number 12 in the recent December 2013 listing.


BU Economics Professor Pierre Perron and global warming

November 10th, 2013 in Departmental News, Faculty Press Interviews

In the last couple of hours, BU Economics Professor Pierre Perron has generated a few more cites, this time in different outlets than usual — National Geographic, Mother Jones, Climate News Network, and the BBC to name a few. His paper, Statistically derived contributions of diverse human influences to twentieth-century temperature changes, coauthored with Francisco Estrada and Benjamin Martinez-Lopez was published earlier today in Nature Geoscience. The abstract of the paper will give you some idea why it has attracted so much attention so quickly:

The warming of the climate system is unequivocal as evidenced by an increase in global temperatures by 0.8 °C over the past century. However, the attribution of the observed warming to human activities remains less clear, particularly because of the apparent slow-down in warming since the late 1990s. Here we analyse radiative forcing and temperature time series with state-of-the-art statistical methods to address this question without climate model simulations. We show that long-term trends in total radiative forcing and temperatures have largely been determined by atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and modulated by other radiative factors. We identify a pronounced increase in the growth rates of both temperatures and radiative forcing around 1960, which marks the onset of sustained global warming. Our analyses also reveal a contribution of human interventions to two periods when global warming slowed down. Our statistical analysis suggests that the reduction in the emissions of ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol, as well as a reduction in methane emissions, contributed to the lower rate of warming since the 1990s. Furthermore, we identify a contribution from the two world wars and the Great Depression to the documented cooling in the mid-twentieth century, through lower carbon dioxide emissions. We conclude that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are effective in slowing the rate of warming in the short term.

In short, time series econometrics shows that human activity in the form of reducing greenhouse gas emissions affects global temperatures. You can find the full article at