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Law school graduates often leave their programs burdened with debt that can top six figures. Research from the University of Pennsylvania and Ryerson University shows that this debt, coupled with recently stagnant median first-year salaries, can negatively influence the career choices and partner prospects for new female lawyers.  

“Women with more student debt stay longer in private-sector jobs, postpone marriage, marry men with lower earnings and delay childbearing,” economists Holger Sieg of Penn and Yu Wang of Ryerson wrote in a National Bureau of Economic Research white paper. In contrast, males with similar student debt don’t tend to change either factor.   

In economics terms, that’s called an asymmetric effect, explained Sieg, the J.M. Cohen Term Professor of Economics. In other words, the same influencers led to different outcome choices for different groups.

“Most male graduates from law school are fairly career-oriented, and whether they have debt to pay back is not going to change whether they will pursue a career in the private sector,” he said. “For women we found it’s a lot more problematic.”

Sieg and Wang used information provided by more than 1,300 female lawyers in two datasets. The first, from the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement, called After the JD, follows 12 years of employment history for a nationally representative sample of lawyers admitted to the bar in 2000. The second, from the U.S. Department of Education, focuses on financial aid.

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A new center at Penn aims to give researchers a place to access and overlay rich sets of federal confidential data concerning everything from healthcare and labor to housing and urban demographics. The center, which will open in September 2017, is called the Philadelphia Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC). It is the newest of about 30 such centers across the United States, and offers a valuable new resource for researchers across a variety of disciplines, including urban researchers.

The new Philadelphia FSRDC will provide Penn faculty and students with access to non-public, confidential, microdata collected by a growing list of federal statistical agencies, including the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In addition, researchers can link public or proprietary outside data to the data provided by federal statistical agencies, thus adding additional possibilities for data comparison and analysis.

The data available through the FSRDC are far more granular and specific than publicly available aggregated data or public-use microdata samples and, notably, are geolocated which will enable spatial and, specifically, urban research.  Importantly, this geolocated microdata enables research on spatial dimensions of inequality and poverty within urban areas and multiple related factors. The available data include administrative and survey records on specific businesses, households, and individuals that have persistent identifiers, so that researchers can link observations over time and across most datasets. The data contain precise geographic information for each observation, including addresses, which is far more specific than what might be available in public versions. Researchers get access to full datasets covering entire population or complete survey samples rather than subsets. Moreover, they can make use of unmodified original data and the full range of response items.


Read more from Iourii Manovskii’s article on the Penn Institute for Urban Research’s website.

Penn Arts and Sciences has appointed two new members to its standing Economics faculty for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Amit Gandhi, Professor of Economics (as of January 1, 2018): Demand and production functions; methodological model identification in industrial organization, including those in demand systems and production functions and in auction models. Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Comes to Penn from the University of Wisconsin.

Annie Liang, Assistant Professor of Economics: Microeconomic theory; behavioral economics; decision theory; game theory and its applications; machine learning algorithms in benchmarking predictability of theories when subjected to data testing. Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Jeremy Greenwood, Professor of Economics and José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, Lawrence R. Klein Professor of Economics were elected Economic Theory Fellows for the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory in June 2017. Economic Theory Fellows are selected for their scientific excellence, originality and leadership, high ethical standards, and scholarly and creative achievement. 

The purpose of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory is to advance knowledge in theoretical economics and to facilitate communication among researchers in economics, mathematics, game theory, or any other field which is potentially useful to economic theory.

George J. Mailath, Professor of Economics and Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences, Department Chair, Andrew Postlewaite, Harry P. Kamen Professor of Economics and Professor of Finance, and Rakesh Vohra, George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor were elected as fellows of the Game Theory Society. The Fellows of the Society are a group of people honored for their contributions to game theory and service to the Society, and are a source of advice for the Steering Committee.

Founded in 1999, the Game Theory Society aims to promote the investigation, teaching, and application of game theory. Game theory studies strategic interaction in competitive and cooperative environments. It is a central tool for economics and the social sciences, poses challenging research questions in mathematics, and is applied across a wide variety of fields, including computer science, neuroscience, philosophy, and biology.

We are pleased to announce the official launch of VoxChina is an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit platform we initiated with the support from a group of experienced and accomplished economists serving on the Advisory Board and the Editorial Board. In particular, Department of Economics is one of its founding institutional sponsors. The mission of VoxChina is to be the bridge on economic issues between China and the rest of the world by providing informed analysis on the state of the Chinese economy and insights for reform challenges facing China today, and by analyzing the impact of the development in the rest of the world economies on China.

VoxChina aims to fulfill its mission mainly by propagating and promoting research-based policy analysis on Chinese economic issues, including both impacts of the world economy on China and the Chinese economy in the world. 

More details of can be found at here.

Please visit to read the first batch of articles that cover diverse and important topics related to the Chinese economy.

In May 2017, the Economics Department hosted an international conference focusing on the econometric analysis of "big data"; "Big Data in Dynamic Econometric Modeling." The conference attracted leading scholars from around the world. The conference was generously supported by the Warren Center and PIER. Click for details: THEMESPROGRAM, and PHOTOS.

Group Photo of Speakers, Chairs, and Organizers

Jere R. Behrman, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and Sociology and Research Associate of the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania, received the biennial Irene B. Taeuber 2017 award at the Population Association of America Annual Meetings in Chicago on 28 April. The Irene B. Taeuber award is presented in recognition of an unusually original or important contribution to the scientific study of population, or for an accumulated record of exceptionally sound and innovative research. Behrman’s research is in empirical micro economics, economic development, early childhood development, labor economics, human resources (education, training, health, nutrition), economic demography, household behaviors, life-cycle and intergenerational relations and policy evaluation. His network of collaborators spans the globe, ranges across multiple disciplines, and includes scholars from all career stages. He has published 415 articles in leading demographic, economic, sociology, public health, nutritional and biomedical journals and 35 books, and served on 157 Ph.D dissertation committees.

José Víctor Ríos-RullDean Steven J. Fluharty is pleased to name José-Víctor Ríos-Rull the Lawrence R. Klein Professor of Economics in Penn Arts and Sciences.

Rios-Rull is an influential scholar whose work is shaping the fields of macroeconomics as it informs discourse on economic policy in the U.S. and other high-income economies. His research builds quantitative macroeconomic models with heterogeneous households and applies them to questions about international capital flows, bankruptcy, asset prices, and demand-driven business cycle fluctuations. He is also concerned about the interrelations between demographics and the macroeconomy.

This chair was created in 1991 in honor of Professor Lawrence R. Klein, a Benjamin Franklin Professor Emeritus of Economics and Nobel laureate in economic sciences. His work provided the foundation for econometric forecasting now used as a basic tool by government and industry. The chair is awarded to scholars who will continue the tradition of superlative teaching and research established by Lawrence Klein, who passed away in 2013.

Dean Steven J. Fluharty is pleased to name Hanming Fang the Class of 1965 Term Professor of Economics in Penn Arts and Sciences.

Fang is an expert in public economics, applied microeconomic theory, and empirical microeconomics. His research integrates rigorous modeling with careful data analysis and has focused on the economic analysis of discrimination; insurance markets, particularly life insurance and health insurance; and health care, including Medicare. In 2008, he was awarded the 17th Kenneth Arrow Prize by the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) for his research on the sources of advantageous selection in the Medigap insurance market.

Fang has served as co-editor for the Journal of Public Economics and International Economic Review, and associate editor in numerous journals, including the American Economic Review. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he served as the acting director of the Chinese economy working group from 2014 to 2016. He is also a research associate of the Population Studies Center and Population Aging Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Fang is the scientific director for the Australia–China population aging hub located at the Center of Excellence in Population Ageing Research at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

The Class of 1965 Term Chair is one of five created by the class in 1990. This unprecedented 25th Reunion class gift endowed a chair for each of the four undergraduate schools and one in honor of the College for Women.

Sarah Winton is a dual major in Economics and International Relations was awarded the Yardley Award from Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. The award was for her project under the direction of Professor Viden, “The Cost of Kindness: Assessing the Effects of Syrian Refugees on Jordanian Labor Markets.”

The Yardley Award is administered by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and awards are determined each April on a competitive basis. Seniors graduating in the Spring semester from any undergraduate school are eligible. Applicants must be in good standing in the University of Pennsylvania community. There will be one awardee annually.

Graduating Senior and Economics major Hong Ken Teoh was selected to receive a 2017 Rose Undergraduate Research Award. The award is in recognition of his project under the direction of Professor Jere Behrman, “Racial bias in standardized testing: Evidence from variation in test day temperature."

The Rose Foundation generously funds the Rose Undergraduate Research Award recognizing outstanding undergraduate research projects completed by graduating seniors under the supervision of a Penn faculty member. The Rose Fund is administered by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and awards are determined each April on a competitive basis. 

Professor Amit Gandhi of the University of Wisconsin, an applied economist specializing in industrial organization and econometrics, will be joining Penn Economics next year.

Aviv NevoProfessor Aviv Nevo (our most recent PIK appointment, joint with Marketing in Wharton) has just been appointed co-editor of Econometrica.  

Published by the Econometric Society, Econometrica is one of the top journals in Economics.


2016 First Year Prize WinnersFour second-year graduate students were honored for their first-year work during this year's New Student Reception on September 14, 2016.

Sherwin Lott was the winner of the Lawrence Robbins Prize, awarded to the student judged to be the best in the first year class.

Alejandro Sanchez Becerra received the Certificate of Distinctive Performance in the Preliminary Examination in Econometrics.

Seung-Ryong Shin received the Certificate of Distinctive Performance in the Preliminary Examination in Microeconomics. 

Ruizhi Ma received the Certificate of Distinctive Performance in the Preliminary Examination in Macroeconomics. 

Winners pictured from left to right: Sherwin Lott, Alejandro Sanchez Becerra, Seung-Ryong Shin, and Ruizhi Ma.

The reception was hosted by the Graduate Economics Society.

Rachel Philbin, a 2016 graduate who majored in economics and political science, has been named as a finalist in the International Atlantic Economic Society's 12th Annual Best Undergraduate Paper Competition. Her paper, People Following Goods: Are Refugee Flows Associated with International Trade?, is one of four finalists. She is invited to present her work at the 82nd International Atlantic Economic Conference in Washington, DC, 15 October 2016.

Rachel also won the Economics Department's Lawrence R. Klein Prize for Outstanding Research in Economics by an Undergraduate for the paper.

The International Atlantic Economic Society's mission is to facilitate communication among economists and financial specialists by promoting the field of economics globally; and to foster the intellectual development of professional economists and others interested in economics by sponsoring and publishing articles for international dissemination. 

Jere Behrman

Worldwide, 170 million children 5 or younger are not growing appropriately because they lack proper nutrition, according to the World Health Organization.

“Though undernutrition is not a big problem in the United States or Europe or Japan or Australia—the high-income countries—from a global perspective, it’s a huge problem,” says Jere Behrman, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics in the School of Arts & Sciences.

Previous research proved associations between undernourishment during early life, particularly a child’s first 24 months, and areas like cognitive skills, schooling levels, wage rates in adulthood, and next-generation birth weights.

Now, work from Behrman and colleagues from the Universidad de Chile, the University of Houston, and others, verified the importance of protein intake during this period. Analyzing data from more than 3,500 children from Guatemala and the Philippines, they found that upping protein by just one egg per week positively affected growth, which could lead to better outcomes later.

The scientists published their findings in the journal Economics and Human Biology.

For further details, see Penn Current.  

Neil Cholli, a double major in Mathematical Economics and Political Science has been named a Dean's Scholar.

Each year the School of Arts and Sciences hosts the Levin Family Dean's Forum to honor outstanding students for their academic performance and intellectual promise. This year's program, which took place on March 30th, featured a talk from Josh Singer and Neil Huff, producer and co-screenwriter of Spotlight, winner of this year's Academy Awards for best picture and best original screenplay.


Jere BehrmanProfessor Behrman, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and of Sociology at Penn, has been selected as one of nine new honorees by the Population Association of America.  He also received the “proverbial gold watch” from School of Arts and Science Dean Steven Fluharty for over half a century of service and contributions to the University of Pennsylvania and to the economic and demographic professions.  Behrman was cited for his service and leadership at Penn and nationally (including chairing Economics), for being an investigator on over 160 research projects including 40 NIH and 14 NSF grants, for his prolific publications with over 400 published articles and 35 monographs, for being a dedicated mentor as reflected in receiving the Irving B. Kravis Award for Distinction in Undergraduate Teaching and serving on over 150 Ph.D. dissertation committees, and for having played basketball “so far in eight decades starting in the 1940s.”

For further details, see PAA Honored Members.  

Aviv NevoPenn President Amy Guttmann and Provost Vincent Price announced the appointment of Aviv Nevo as the University of Pennsylvania's seventeenth Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, effective July 1, 2016.

A pioneer in the use of empirical data to analyze consumer behavior, Nevo will be the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor and his appointment will be shared between the Department of Economics and the Department of Marketing in the Wharton School.

“Aviv Nevo is one of the world’s leading scholars of industrial organization, whose innovative use of data in analyzing consumer behavior has helped revolutionize economics and marketing,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Aviv is a superb teacher and path-breaking econometrician whose work in the academy and in government truly exemplifies Penn’s commitment to harnessing the tools and perspectives of multiple disciplines to understand and address pressing real-world questions.”

For more information see Penn News.


Hal ColeProfessor Harold Cole is one of 13 new Fellows elected to the Econometric Society in recognition of his work.

The Econometric Society is an international society for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics. Among its activities, the Society is responsible for the publication of the journals EconometricaQuantitative Economics, and Theoretical Economics, the publication of a research Monograph series, and the organization of scientific meetings in seven regions of the world.

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Winners pictured from left to right: Carlos Segura-Rodriguez, Peng Shao, Youngsoo Heo, and Paolo MartinelliFour second-year graduate students were honored for their first-year work during this year's New Student Reception on September 23, 2015.

Carlos Segura-Rodriguez was the winner of the Lawrence Robbins Prize, awarded to the student judged to be the best in the first year class.

Peng Shao received the Certificate of Distinctive Performance in the Preliminary Examination in Econometrics.

Youngsoo Heo received the Certificate of Distinctive Performance in the Preliminary Examination in Microeconomics. 

Paolo Martellini received the Certificate of Distinctive Performance in the Preliminary Examination in Macroeconomics. 

Winners pictured from left to right: Carlos Segura-Rodriguez, Peng Shao, Youngsoo Heo, and Paolo Martellini.

The reception was hosted by the Graduate Economics Society.

For the academic year 2015/16 we welcome several new faculty members.

José-Víctor Ríos-Rull joins us from the University of Minnesota and will hold the Klein Chair in Economics.

From Princeton University we welcome Benjamin Connault as new Assistant Professor.

Sarah Moshary from MIT will join us in 2016 after a one-year post-doc at eBay.

Finally, Anne Duchene joins us from Drexel University as Lecturer.

For more than three decades, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has hosted the Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Removed from the day-to-day political and market pressures, it is a forum that brings together central bankers, academics, and policymakers from around the world to discuss topics relevant to monetary policy and central banking. The 2015 symposium focused on inflation dynamics and monetary policy.

This year Professor Frank Schorfheide delivered a presentation entitled "Inflation Dynamics During and After the Zero Lower Bound"

Guido MenzioProfessor Guido Menzio has won the Carlo Alberto Medal, a biennial award to one Italian economist under the age of 40 for his/her outstanding research contributions to the field of economics.

For further details see Collegio Carlo Alberto Medal 2015