Letter from the Chair

Petra Todd

Philadelphia, July 2024


As the newly appointed Chair of the Economics Department at the University of Pennsylvania, I wish to thank you for visiting our website.  We are consistently ranked as one of the top ten U.S. economics departments, with faculty and students dedicated to developing and applying innovative theoretical, computational, and empirical methods to answer questions of general economic research and policy interest. You can access this research through the personal pages of our faculty and the PIER working paper series and the faculty publications page featuring recent work from the American Economic ReviewJournal of Political EconomyEconometricaReview of Economic Studies, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Our diverse and distinguished faculty represents more than a dozen countries from five continents.  Fifteen standing faculty members are Fellows of the Econometric Society. Three faculty are members of the American Academy of Sciences.  Our faculty commonly serve on the editorial boards at major economic journals.  Our faculty are affiliated with high profile economic think tanks such as the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Centre for Economic and Policy Research.   Lastly, faculty members have been awarded grants to fund their research projects from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health or other research sponsors.  In the past year, two faculty received Kravis Awards for undergraduate teaching, which honor standing faculty who embody the Department’s firm belief that scholarship and teaching are inseparable. The award for tenured faculty was received by Andrew Shephard, and the award for untenured faculty was received by Francesco Agostinelli.

We are also excited to announce that Lukas Nord and Shresth Garg will join the Department as Assistant Professors in July 2024. Lukas received his PhD in economics from the European University Institute (Florence) and spent AY 2023-24 as a Junior Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Lukas’s primary research is in quantitative macroeconomics. In his job market paper, Shopping, Demand Composition, and Equilibrium Prices, Lukas develops an equilibrium theory of expenditure inequality and price dispersion with a key insight that consumers with different income levels consume different baskets of goods and they have differential incentives to search for cheaper prices.  Shresth Garg is a recent graduate from Harvard whose research lies at the intersection of industrial economics and development. His job market paper ”Dynamic Effects of Price Controls and Deregulation Policies: Evidence from the Indian Cement Industry” examines the impact of price controls on long-run industrial development and the impact of different deregulation policies on industry and consumer outcomes.. He will join the Department in the fall of 2024. Last year, we also successfully recruited Jin Liu, a recent graduate from New York University specializing in international trade.  Her job market paper “Multinational Production and Innovation in Tandem” considered firms’ spatial decisions about where to locate their R&D and production activities.  Jin will visit Princeton University as an IES Fellow in 2024 and join the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor of Economics in 2025.  

Our vibrant Ph.D. program houses about 100 students from across the globe, conducting research in four major areas of inquiry: econometrics, economic theory, empirical microeconomics, and macroeconomics. We are proud to report that we had a year of strong placements for our Ph.D. students.  I would like to congratulate our graduating PhD students and their advisors for jobs well done and wish our newly minted PhDs the best as they embark on their new careers!  This year three PhD students shared the William Polk Carey prize for outstanding dissertations, awarded at the Economics Day luncheon. We thank the Carey foundation for their support of this annual event and continued support of our department.  

In fall of 2024, we will also welcome a new cohort of 17 newly admitted PhD students who come from ten different countries. These students were selected from more than 650 applicants.  We would like to thank the Dean’s office for continued support for our PhD program, recognized as one of the top ten PhD programs in the US. 

At the undergraduate level, we offer two majors: an economics major as well as a mathematical economics major. The latter is designed for students with a strong interest in both economics and mathematics who will potentially consider pursuing a graduate degree. Combined, our two majors have consistently been the largest undergraduate major in the School of Arts and Sciences, and as a Department, we are committed to impart the insights we have gathered from our own research to our undergraduate students in a scientifically rigorous yet accessible and interesting way.  Last year, many of our undergraduate students were recognized by external honors. For example, eleven of our majors were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. 

This year, we welcomed numerous seminar speakers, visiting professors, and visiting PhD students from around the world; the vibrant intellectual energy once again filled our offices, classrooms, lounges, hallways, seminars, and conferences.  This spring, Orazio Attanasio delivered the PIER Cohen Distinguished lecture. 

I cordially invite you to come visit us in Philadelphia and join in our exciting quest to better understand the complex international economic world and to analyze the efficacy of a wide range of economic policies, one research project at a time. I also wish everyone another productive academic year.  Please stay in touch.


Very truly yours,

Petra E. Todd

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Economics

Department of Economics