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BU Economics PhD student Elisabeth Perlman awarded Sokoloff dissertation fellowship

By Courtney Sullivan
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 Professor Claudia Olivetti on how mothers affect their daughters’ work choices

By Courtney Sullivan
February 25th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews.

BU Economics Professor Claudia Olivetti was recently interviewed by BU Today about her work “exploring how the work practices of a teenager’s mother and that of her friends’ mothers affects her work decisions in adulthood”.

What could companies and the government do to further support working mothers?

There are two things that are really important. One is the way jobs are organized. Company policies that are aimed at allowing more flexibility would help tremendously. We see in some occupations, like medicine, these policies are working. You have more women staying in the workforce when they have children.

More public policy could help in the provision of programs for early child care. It’s very expensive to find good quality child care when your kid is two to five years old.

If you think about our school system and the way it’s structured, it’s designed for one of the two parents being home.

See for the complete article.

Like Mother, Like Daughter; CAS prof: daughters often mirror their mother’s work practices, by Leslie Friday

Published by BU Today, 2/24/14.

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

By Courtney Sullivan
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 Professor Simon Gilchrist’s research on Fed policy

By Courtney Sullivan
February 11th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews.

BU Economics Professor Simon Gilchrist’s research was recently featured in the WSJ.

In a new working paper… from the Fed, three economists examined two-year Treasury yields on days the central bank announced policy changes and related effects on 10-year Treasury yields, a benchmark for mortgage rates and other loans, as well as corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

Their conclusion: “unconventional policy — through a combination of forward guidance and asset purchases — is very effective in influencing longer-term interest rates,” and “the effects of both types of monetary policy actions are transmitted fully to real business borrowing costs.”

The two types of policy work in different ways, they wrote, but “we find no meaningful difference in the efficacy of conventional and unconventional policy measures, as measured by the impact of monetary policy on real borrowing costs.”

The abstract of the paper, Monetary Policy and Real Borrowing Costs at the Zero Lower Bound (joint with David López-Salido and Egon Zakrajšek), is below

This paper compares the effects of conventional monetary policy on real borrowing costs with those of the unconventional measures employed after the target federal funds rate hit the zero lower bound (ZLB). For the ZLB period, we identify two policy surprises: changes in the 2-year Treasury yield around policy announcements and changes in the 10-year Treasury yield that are orthogonal to those in the 2-year yield. The efficacy of unconventional policy in lowering real borrowing costs is comparable to that of conventional policy, in that it implies a complete pass-through of policy-induced movements in Treasury yields to comparable-maturity private yields.

See the complete article at

Fed’s New Tools Also Work by Adjusting Rates, by Ben Leubsdorf

Published by The Wall Street Journal, 01/16/14.

BU Economics Professor Kevin Lang on the minimum wage debate

By Courtney Sullivan
February 11th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews.

BU Economics Professor Kevin Lang recently weighed in on the minimum wage debate on New England Cable News.

During his State of the Union speech, President Obama called on Congress to give America a raise. Dozens of states across the nation are already considering doing just that.

To talk about the economics of a minimum wage hike, we were joined by Kevin Lang, economics professor at Boston University.

He said that the Conservative argument for a minimum wage increase is that it decreases employment. Lang said the Liberal argument is that the jobs tend to go to people who are below the median income and that it weighs in favor of reducing income inequality. He also said there is an argument that people who work full-time should make a wage that can support a family.

See the complete interview at

The minimum wage debate: Should it be raised?

Published by New England Cable News, 01/29/14

BU Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff on the corporate income tax

By Courtney Sullivan
February 6th, 2014 in Faculty Press Interviews.

BU Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff recently published an op-ed piece in The New York Times titled “Abolish the Corporate Income Tax”.

Jobs don’t grow out of thin air, especially well-paying ones. They require, among other things, companies that are willing to operate where you live. Just ask the Seattle-based District 751 of the machinists’ union, which was worried that Boeing will build its new 777X airliner someplace far away where it is cheaper to produce. Last month the union offered contract concessions, as its president explained, to ensure “the long-term success” of Boeing in Washington State. And on Friday, Boeing machinists approved a contract with concessions to keep assembly of the plane in the area.

See for the complete article.

Abolish the Corporate Income Tax, Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Published by The New York Times, 1/5/14

BU Economics PhD students’ recent scholarships & awards

By Courtney Sullivan
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

By Courtney Sullivan
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

By Courtney Sullivan
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

By Courtney Sullivan
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.