Two of the top economists finishing doctoral degrees—an expert in international economics and a microeconomist-game theorist—have been appointed research fellows at the Becker Friedman Institute.
Rodrigo Adão, who is finishing his PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, examines the intersection of labor markets and macroeconomic forces at an international scale, with current work looking at globalization's impact on labor trends in Brazil, China, and beyond. He will be a research fellow in 2017–18 before joining the Chicago Booth faculty.
Elliot Lipnowski is a microeconomist and game theorist with a particular focus on information economics, organizational economics, and public economics. In ongoing work, Lipnowski and coauthor Laurent Mathevet investigate the optimal information disclosure between medical professionals and their patients. In May 2016, Adão will be a featured speaker on the Review of Economic Studies Tour. He will join the institute in summer 2016 for a one-year fellowship after completing his PhD at New York University Stern School of Business; he will then join the UChicago Department of Economics faculty in 2017.
Given the balancing act of teaching and generating published research, early-career scholars often feel career pressure to pursue narrow topics closely tied to their dissertation research. The institute’s research fellow program allows fellows to broaden their research interests and launch an ambitious research program without teaching responsibilities. The program also immerses the world’s most promising economists in UChicago’s highly collaborative environment, which encourages highly original inquiry.
To support this ambition, research scholars have the opportunity to engage with elite academics at the University and distinguished visitors at the institute. Manasi Deshpande, one of last year's class of institute research fellows, said that spending a year pursuing and collaborating on her research has enriched her work to better understand the complete impact of social insurance and public assistance programs. "My research touches on a wide range of issues like poverty, welfare, and health, and I’ve benefited from insights and interactions with colleagues throughout the university," says Deshpande. "The interaction and collaboration across fields and departments are unique features of the University of Chicago that speak to a common quest for knowledge."
She joins the UChicago economics faculty this summer following a wide-ranging introduction to the possibilities of research at the university.
"It's an extremely intense environment, [but] it has been great for me," says Mohammad Akbarpour, another of last year's class of research fellows. "I haven't experienced anything like a Chicago seminar anywhere else." Akbarpour cited the freedom to ask anything, to criticize anything — whether you're a Nobel prize winner or an early-career faculty member — as intellectually invigorating. "I like the fact that there is no hierarchy of minds."
“This program offers a rare opportunity for our fellows to broaden their research perspectives to investigate some of the important economic problems at the outset of their research careers,” said Lars Peter Hansen, director of the Becker Friedman Institute and the David Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of Economics and Statistics. “We expect them to leverage the rich collaborative environment and unparalleled intellectual resources of the University of Chicago to pursue original work on significant questions in economics.”