Category: PhD Student Achievements

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.

Alumna Julie Shi coauthor on finalist paper in NIHCM Foundation’s Annual Health Care Research Award

April 14th, 2014 in Alumni, PhD Student Achievements

Recent graduate Julie Shi (PhD ’13) coauthored a paper that was selected as a finalist for NIHCM Foundation’s 20th Annual Health Care Research Award competition. The competition evaluated over 110 high-quality submissions for the awards, representing the best health care research published in 2013. The paper was written while Julie was still working on her BU Ph.D. dissertation.

Five finalists were selected, and links to the full papers or abstracts are available at

 Thomas G. McGuire, Jacob Glazer, Joseph P. Newhouse, Sharon-Lise Normand, Julie Shi, Anna D. Sinaiko, Samuel Zuvekas. “Integrating Risk Adjustment and Enrollee Premiums in Health Plan Payment.” Journal of Health Economics, December 2013.

The winning article will be selected by a panel of health care experts: Laurence C. Baker, Stanford University; William Custer, Georgia State University; Vicky Gregg, Consultant;
Jonathan Gruber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (recused); Marion Ein Lewin, Consultant; Joseph P. Newhouse, Harvard University (recused); Mark Pauly, University of Pennsylvania; and Gail R. Wilensky, Project HOPE.

BU Economics PhD student Elisabeth Perlman awarded Sokoloff dissertation fellowship

February 25th, 2014 in PhD Student Achievements

Elisabeth Perlman has won a Sokoloff dissertation fellowship from the Economic History Association. The Sokoloff fellowships are funded by an endowment from the estate of the late Ken Sokoloff, and are the highest awards that the EHA gives to graduate students. For more information regarding the Sokoloff fellowships, please see

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.

BU Economics PhD students’ recent grant awards

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

Michael Gechter and Amrit Amirapu received a joint grant from the Weiss Family Program Fund for Research in Development Economics. Anusha Nath also received a grant from the organization.

Nathaniel Young received a grant from BU’s Institute for Economic Development funded by the Bank of Credit and Common School to travel and conduct research in India last summer.  He spent 5 weeks there, visiting India’s central bank (the Reserve Bank of India) and five other institutes.