BFI NewsJun 16, 2021

Becker Friedman Institute at UChicago Announces Inaugural Cohort for 2021 Expanding Diversity in Economics Summer Institute

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of the Expanding Diversity in Economics (EDE) Summer Institute, which will be held virtually July 18 – August 6, 2021.

The EDE Summer Institute was designed to identify and support talented undergraduate students from a broad range of backgrounds interested in the study of economics. BFI’s goal is to diversify the pool of students majoring in economics, who may go on to a graduate program of study or a career drawing on this important skill set.

From a pool of more than 200 applications, 45 participants were selected from 31 institutions for the inaugural cohort. The cohort GPA average is 3.78 on a 4.0 scale and includes 24 freshmen, 17 sophomores, and four juniors, all of whom have expressed interest in learning more about the study of economics.

“Talent is dispersed widely and this program will help to bring a wider set of people into economics,” said Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Director of BFI. “We expect that the result will be a deeper understanding of the world that ultimately allows economics to more effectively influence the world.”

The 2021 cohort includes 33 women and 12 men, with 53% of participants self-identifying as Black or African American, and 22% as Hispanic or Latinx. Seventeen participants are Pell Grant recipients and 17 are first generation college students. A snapshot of the inaugural cohort can be found here.

“Our sincere hope is that by exposing these promising students to some of the best and brightest scholars in our field, we can fan their interest and passion for economics,” said Erik Hurst, the Frank P. and Marianne R. Diassi Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at Chicago Booth and Deputy Director of BFI. “We know these students have countless professional and academic options in front of them and believe that each of them would make a superb and valuable addition to our field in both the near and long-term.”

The EDE Summer Institute was launched by BFI in 2021 with support from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and Northern Trust. It is a first-of-its-kind summer program targeting early undergraduate students for exposure to economics.

Participants will receive a stipend for satisfactory completion of the three-week session, with Pell Grant eligible students receiving additional funding. They will also receive certification of completion from the University of Chicago.

“We look forward to getting to know the extremely impressive class of participants in our 2021 EDE program,” said Quentin Johnson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for BFI, who is managing the Summer Institute. “We are equally excited about the UChicago faculty who will participate in the Summer Institute and the wealth of ideas they will share with these students.”

The 2021 program will run for three weeks, with daily course instruction focusing on microeconomic inquiry and analyzing and exploring data taught by UChicago economists Fiona Burlig, John List, Matt Notowidigdo, Azeem Shaikh, and Chad Syverson. In addition, students will hear from a range of faculty on economic research relevant to issues of the day and societal challenges. Speakers will include Nobel Laureates Richard Thaler and Lars Peter Hansen, Freakonomics author and economist Steven Levitt, Harris School of Public Policy Dean Katherine Baicker, distinguished economists Marianne Bertrand, Kerwin Charles, Austan Goolsbee, Michael Greenstone, Erik Hurst, Damon Jones, Kevin Murphy, and more. A full list of speakers can be found here. 

Following the 2021 summer program, participants will become part of an ongoing EDE mentoring network, and select participants will be eligible to participate in research projects and assistantships during the academic year. In future years, the EDE Summer Institute will be held on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park.