Category: Graduate Programs News

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.

IED’s Rosenstein-Rodan Prize awarded to Mirko Fillbrunn, Anusha Nath, and Nate Young

July 10th, 2014 in Graduate Programs News, Institute for Economic Development, PhD Student Achievements

The Institute for Economic Development awards the Rosenstein-Rodan Prize for the best original research on development economics or a related discipline among PhD students. This year there was an extraordinarily large number of high quality submissions, making the problem of selection particularly difficult. The papers were read and evaluated by a committee of six IED faculty affiliates comprising Kenny Ajayi, Sam Bazzi, John Harris, Bob Lucas, Dilip Mookherjee, and Andy Newman.

The 2014 Rosenstein-Rodan prize will be shared by three students:

Mirko Fillbrunn: “Strategic Voting and Ballot-Order Effects”

Anusha Nath: “Political Competition and Elite Capture of Local Public Goods”

Nate Young: “The Effect of Formal Banking on Real Economic Outcomes: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Analysis in India”

Mirko’s paper studies the phenomenon of ballot-order effects where the order in which candidates appear on the ballot matters for election outcomes. He develops a number of alternative theories for explaining this, and uses data from local California elections to discriminate between them empirically.

Anusha’s paper studies the allocation of spending across different local public goods by Members of Parliament in India out of a discretionary fund they control. She provides evidence that local elites exert disproportionate influence on these allocations, which is moderated by political competition.

Nate’s paper studies the effect of a banking regulatory reform in India implemented in 2006-7. He uses evidence to show that the reform had a significant impact on spatial allocation of branches by commercial banks, on deposits and loans, with consequent impacts on agricultural productivity and industrial investment.

MA Students Admitted to Top PhD Programs

May 16th, 2014 in Graduate Programs News, MA Student Achievements

Boston University MA graduates often go on to top PhD programs, but this year’s PhD placements are particularly remarkable.  Numerous students had difficult but enviable choices to make from multiple admission offers before settling on their final destinations.  Among the PhD programs our students will be joining next year are University of Chicago, New York University, University of Wisconsin, University of California at Los Angeles, Georgetown University, McGill University, the University of California at Davis, Purdue University, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, the School of Public Health at Harvard, and, of course, Boston University.

Prizes for Academic Excellence in the Economics Master’s Program awarded to Xiao Yang and Beixi Zhou

May 16th, 2014 in Alumni, Graduate Programs News, MA Student Achievements

The first Prizes for Academic Excellence in the Economics Master’s Program were awarded this year to Xiao Yang and Beixi Zhou.  Xiao, a graduate of the MA program, was an outstanding student in courses both in the Economics Department and in Mathematics.  During his time in the program, he worked as a research assistant for Professor Jianjun Miao and carried out an outstanding math project entitled “Fractals and the Evolution of Political Beliefs.”  Next year, he will begin work on his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago.  Beixi is receiving her BA in Economics and Mathematics along with an MA in Economics.  She also took numerous PhD courses in Economics while in the program, including the first year Microeconomics as well as Health Economics.  Next year, she will begin work on her PhD in Economics at New York University.  Funding for this award was provided by alumni Randy Cohen, Brian Herr, Michael Kheyfets, and Michelle Meyer.

Special PhD Stipend for MA Graduates awarded to Youming Liu

May 16th, 2014 in Graduate Programs News, MA Student Achievements

Starting this year, the Economics Department awards a summer stipend to a graduate of our MA program who enters our PhD program.  The first recipient of this award is Youming Liu.  Youming joined the MA program after receiving an undergraduate degree in finance in China.  He earned a stellar academic record, including numerous courses in Mathematics as well as the Economics PhD program.  He was admitted to several highly ranked PhD programs, but described himself as “saturated with happiness” when he was admitted to BU.  Funding for this award was provided by a generous donation by the family of an MA alumnus.

BU Economics PhD students’ recent scholarships & awards

January 24th, 2014 in Graduate Programs News, PhD Student Achievements

Alessandro Casini received one of three “B. Stringher” Scholarship from the Bank of Italy. In addition, his undergraduate thesis has been awarded the “Angelo Costa” prize and will be published in the journal Rivista di Politica Economica. This is the main Italian economic journal, which each year publishes the five best undergraduate theses in Economics. The prize is prestigious in Italy and members of the evaluation committee include  Richard Blundell, Charles Manski, and Jean Tirole.

Andres Sagner received a scholarship from the Central Bank of Chile in 2012.

BU Economics PhD students’ fellowship activity

January 24th, 2014 in Graduate Programs News, PhD Student Achievements

The Department of Economics is proud to report on fellowships recently awarded to our PhD students.

Richard Baker received a Dissertation Fellowship from the Economic History Association for the 2013-14 academic year. See for details on the program.

Jasmina Hasanhodzic received an NBER Pre-Doctoral Fellowship on the Economics of an Aging Workforce for the 2014 – 2015 academic year. More information about the program is available at

Matt Johnson received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship – Honorable Mention.

BU Economics PhD student selected to attend WEAI’s 2014 Graduate Student Dissertation Workshop

January 23rd, 2014 in Graduate Programs News, PhD Student Achievements

Michael Gechter was one of 16 Ph.D. students selected to participate in WEAI’s 2014 Graduate Student Dissertation Workshop. This hands-on experience in job-market paper presentation and interviewing skills will be held in conjunction with WEAI’s 89th Annual Conference, June 27 to July 1, 2014, at the Grand Hyatt Denver. The selection committee chose from among 80 outstanding applications.

Fellow BU Economics PhD students Richard Baker and Debbie Goldschmidt were among the ten selected students for the 2013 event.

Please see for more information.