Press ReleaseMay 08, 2023

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago and Insper Announce New Research Collaboration

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Chicago and São Paulo – The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) at The University of Chicago and Insper in São Paulo today announced a comprehensive, multi-year research collaboration aimed at producing new insights on key economic policy issues facing Brazil and inspiring and training a new generation of early career researchers.

“The Brazilian economy is one of the largest in the world, and it is crucially important that we understand its strengths and challenges,” said Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at UChicago and Director of BFI. “Through this partnership, UChicago and Insper scholars will produce new insights on pressing economics and policy issues facing Brazil, Latin America, and the world–all while supporting the next generation of great scholars who will develop the expertise to move the field forward.”

Through the agreement, BFI and Insper will produce cutting-edge research involving scholars from both institutions, host a series of conferences and workshops on key topics to foster exchange, and develop a pipeline of early career researchers trained in frontier methods of economics research.

A new research professional exchange program for Insper students will feed into BFI’s renowned research professional program, which consists of nearly 80 early career researchers in residence supporting UChicago economics faculty. The program will give some of the best graduating students from Insper the opportunity to be matched with UChicago faculty for two-year research appointments.

“The collaboration with BFI is an essential part of Insper’s plan to strengthen its internationalization by teaming up with recognized study and research centers,” said Marcelo Knobel, the newly appointed President of Insper. “This achievement brings even more opportunities to our students and professors, paving the way for the development of solutions and ideas, always based on scientific research, that can improve our community and encourage transformation.”

Knobel, appointed as President of Insper in March 2023, is a physicist with a large experience in the higher education sector. He was the former President of the University of Campinas (Unicamp), one of the leading universities in Latin America. Throughout his career, he helped to create the Science Exploratory Museum at Unicamp and was the Executive Director of the Brazilian National Nanotechnology Laboratory.

Insper is globally ranked and one of the most prestigious schools of business, economics, engineering, computer science and law in Latin America. It was founded in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1999. The mission of Insper is to promote the transformation of Brazil through educating innovative leaders and applied research – acting with academic excellence and an integrated vision of knowledge that transcends traditional academic disciplines. Insper seeks to accelerate transformations of high economic and social value through applied research.

The academic partnership between BFI and Insper was made possible through the support of the Haddad Foundation. Claudio Haddad is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Insper, a member of the BFI Advisory Council and President of the Board of the Haddad Foundation. He received his PhD in Economics from The University of Chicago in 1974 and previously served as director responsible for public debt and open market operations for the Central Bank of Brazil. He later served as partner and then chief executive officer of Banco de Investimentos Garantia SA, a Brazilian investment bank.

“My goal is to bring the best research and thinking to Brazil and to set the foundation for the next generation of talented economists studying the Brazilian economy,” said Haddad. “This new research collaboration between Insper and UChicago’s Becker Friedman Institute will help us set novel research in motion and improve our knowledge of issues affecting Brazil.”

BFI is a renowned economic research center at The University of Chicago. It brings together approximately 200+ scholars from the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Booth School of Business, the Harris School of Public Policy and the Law School to foster novel insights on the world’s most important economic problems.

The BFI-Insper research collaboration will be part of the newly launched BFI-Latin America, led by its inaugural director, Fernando Alvarez, The Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College. The mission of BFI-Latin America is to produce frontier research on the most pressing issues facing Latin American economies and policymakers today and to share those findings with the world. The Insper-BFI collaboration is essential to BFI’s growing network of partnerships in Latin America and is an important part of BFI Latin America’s work to strengthen and expand relationships between the University of Chicago and key institutions within Latin America. BFI announced a research partnership with the Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB) in Chile in the spring of 2022.

“Brazil plays an incredibly important role in the global economy, with significant implications for world trade, forest conservation and climate action, to name only a few,” said Alvarez. “We have a tremendous amount to learn about the Brazilian economy and its role as a model for the rest of Latin America, and this new partnership with Insper will inspire and support relevant and important research that can be broadly shared.”