A generous new gift from Alvaro Saieh, a University of Chicago trustee and alumnus, will permanently endow a postdoctoral fellows program, which brings together leading, early-career economists to take part in the University’s field-defining approach to economic scholarship.

The program, which will be named the Saieh Family Fellows in Economics in recognition of the support of the Saieh family, offers early-career economists who have completed their doctorates an opportunity to explore research interests and to further develop their analytical skills in a highly collaborative, intellectual environment. Through the program at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, fellows are able to leverage UChicago’s intellectual resources, expertise and collaborative community to grow as scholars.

“The generous support of Alvaro Saieh helps advance the University of Chicago’s leadership in the field of economics, bringing a new generation of scholars to the University to experience the rigorous inquiry, determined questioning and intellectual debate that has come to define the Chicago approach to economics,” President Robert J. Zimmer said.

Thirty scholars associated with UChicago have been awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Eighteen scholars associated with UChicago have received the John Bates Clark Medal, which is awarded to the economist under 40 who has made the most important contributions to the field.

The program builds on the Chicago Research Fellows, which was established in 2017 with a gift from the Saieh Family Fund, and an earlier postdoctoral program. The new gift permanently endows the Saieh Family Fellows in Economics program.

“It is truly an honor for our family to support such a distinguished and important program. These young scholars represent the next generation of leaders in the field of economics, and we are thrilled to offer them the opportunity to work alongside the many brilliant economists at the University of Chicago, where they can hone their skills and sharpen their thinking. We wish them all the very best,” said Saieh, AM’76, PhD’80.

The program is part of the Becker Friedman Institute, which serves as a hub for cutting-edge analysis and research across the University’s economic community, uniting researchers from the Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy and the Law School in an unparalleled effort to uncover new ways of thinking about economics.

One of the great features of the Chicago Economics community is that it is the quality of the idea, not who said it, that matters. We are excited to complement Alvaro Saieh’s generous gift by building a unique program culture and community, and I am confident that this program will become a ‘must do’ for the best and brightest economists.”

Michael Greenstone, director of the Becker Friedman Institute and the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics

Saieh, who joined the University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees in 2012, is the founder of CorpGroup and vice chairman of SMU S.A. After earning his master’s and doctorate in economics at UChicago, Saieh held various public sector positions, including as adviser to Chile’s ministry of housing and public works and head of research for the Central Bank of Chile. In 2005, the University of Chile named Saieh a professor emeritus for his long academic career. He also serves as a member of the Becker Friedman Institute’s Advisory Council.

The program on which the Saieh Family Fellows in Economics is built has attracted leading early-career scholars. Approximately half of the fellows have been selected to present at the annual Review of Economic Studies tour, which brings a small number of the world’s most promising graduating doctoral students in economics and finance to present their research to audiences in Europe. Past fellowship recipients now hold faculty positions at Chicago Booth and the University’s Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, Stanford University, Harvard University, Princeton University and Northwestern University.

The four fellows for the 2019-2020 academic year are:

  • Daniel Haanwinckel completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and will join the Department of Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the fall of 2020.
  • Margaux Luflade completed her Ph.D. in the Duke University Department of Economics and joined the University of Pennsylvania Department of Economics faculty in the fall of 2019. She will return to the University of Pennsylvania following her fellowship.
  • Pooya Molavi completed his Ph.D. in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics and will join the faculty of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern in the fall of 2020.
  • Winnie van Dijk completed her Ph.D. in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics at UChicago and will join the faculty of the Harvard Department of Economics in the fall of 2020.