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Letter from the Chair


Alumni and Friends of the Department of Economics,

The Department has weathered another quarter in the shadow of COVID-19, and looks forward to an exciting winter and spring. As many of you know, this is the time of year when we actively recruit both new faculty and the next cohort of Ph.D. students. 

On faculty recruitment, we are actively searching at the senior level in macroeconomics and applied microeconomics, while at the junior level we are conducting an open field search as we have in most years prior to 2019. By the start of spring quarter, we anticipate having made offers to two senior macro faculty and to two senior applied micro faculty. The latter search will be greatly helped by the generous gift of the Ryan family to support a new center in the department dedicated to applied work. The hires that result from these searches will help keep the department at the cutting edge of research in economics.

At the same time, we continue to train many of the leaders in the next generation of economists. With the tireless support of our director of graduate placement, Alessandro Pavan, we have more than 20 Ph.D. students who are actively engaged in the job market right now, participating in virtual and in person fly outs to some of the world's top universities, government agencies, and firms. But even as we prepare to say goodbye to these students, our directors of graduate admissions, Lori Beaman and Giorgio Primiceri, are sorting through hundreds of applications from prospective new Ph.D. students drawn from top universities around the world hoping to join the Northwestern economics community. By April 15th, all the decisions will have been made and we will prepare to welcome the class of 2022-23.

Several of our incumbent faculty members have received honors and recognition apart from the expected stream of research that they continue to publish in the most prominent journals in economics. In the fall quarter, the department voted tenure to associate professor Ben Golub and assistant professor Piotr Dworczak and also voted to promote both Lori Beaman and Mar Reguant to the rank of full professor. Piotr Dworczak and Mar Reguant both received substantial research grants from the European Council. Vivek Bhattacharya and Gaston Illanes were awarded a new 3-year grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Igal Hendel, Eddie Dekel, Jeff Ely, Harry Pei, Chris Udry, and Mar Reguant are recipients of continued support from the NSF.

With many campus activities resuming in-person during the fall quarter and winter quarter except for "Wildcat Wellness Week" at the start of each quarter, many of the daily rhythms of the department -- in person teaching, seminars, faculty visitors, and casual interactions -- have resumed, albeit still behind N-95 masks. We all look forward to the days to come in which the inconveniences occasioned by the pandemic will abate and life will return fully to something more like normal. When that happens, please feel free to drop by the Economics Department and see for yourself the vibrancy and excitement that our community continues to generate. Until then, stay safe and accept the best wishes of the Department of Economics.

  Joseph Ferrie

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