Department of Economics

The American University Department of Economics supports a pluralist approach to economics that embraces mainstream and heterodox perspectives and emphasizes policy applications. We believe that theoretical understanding, empirical investigation, and policy analysis are enriched by study of the evolution of economic ideas and economic institutions.

Our mission is to provide undergraduate and graduate education, and faculty research, that enrich economic analysis and policy by implementing pluralist analytical approaches grounded in historical and empirical context. Offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, minors, and certificates in a heterodox atmosphere in addition to the Program on Gender Analysis and Info-Metrics Institute

 

Recent Publications

Breitenlechner, Max, Gabriel P. Mathy, and Johann Scharler. "Decomposing the US Great Depression: How important were loan supply shocks?." Explorations in Economic History 79 (2021): 101379.

Gonzalez, Ignacio, et al. “Intergroup Contact and Nation Building: Evidence from Military Service in Spain.” Journal of Public Economics, North-Holland, 19 July 2021.

Meurs, Mieke and Lisa Giddings. "Elder care and paid work: gender differences in the relationship between unpaid elder care work and employment in Bulgaria." SAGE Journals, February 24, 2021. 

Breitenlechner, Max, Daniel Gründler, Gabriel P. Mathy, and Johann Scharler. "Credit supply shocks and the Great Depression in Germany.European Review of Economic History (2020).

Gunter, Bernhard and Britni Wilcher. “Three Decades of Globalisation: Which Countries Won, which Lost?” The World Economy, January 11, 2020. 

Gershman, Boris. "Witchcraft beliefs as a cultural legacy of the Atlantic slave trade: Evidence from two continents.European Economic Review, February 2020. 

Gershman, Boris, and Diego Rivera. "Measuring Regional Ethnolinguistic Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Surveys vs. GIS." World Bank Economic Review, February 2020.  

Kirwin, Daniel, and Gabriel Mathy. "How did forecasters respond to the American growth slowdown of the mid-2000s?." Applied Economics Letters 27, no. 8 (2020): 651-656.

See more Research & Publications and Working Papers.

Recent Award Winners

  • Anton Boltachka
    Professor Jose D. and Ursula Epstein Award
  • Hannah Randolph
    James H. Weaver Prize for Teaching Excellence 
  • Yan Wang
    Frank M. Tamagna Education Endowment Fund
  • Matthew Templeton
    Frank M. Tamagna Education Endowment Fund
  • Bongsun Seo
    Fred and Barbara Bergmann Fellowship Fund
  • Yves-Myriam
    Adams Award
  • Lucas Warner
    Ruth Dewey Meade Prize
  • Joan Koo
    Econometrics Paper Award
  • Gustavo Rojas-Matute
    Naidel Award
  • Russell Rollow
    Naidel Award

The DC metro area offers by far the highest concentration of economist jobs in the US, 19 times the national average, as well as median salary 15% above average: $133,000.

Graduates of the Economics Department make up an impressive contingency of Alumni, having gone on to work at places such as

  • Deloitte
  • IBM
  • International Monetary Fund
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • US Department of Commerce
  • The World Bank Group


For more information on where AU Economics graduates land visit the We Know Success page or visit the PhD Job Market Candidate page.

Bulletins

  • PGAE presents Decolonizing Economics? Opening Up Economics to New Voices and Perspectives November 5, 2021, 1:00–6:00.
  • PhD candidate Elissa Cohen received an NSF grant for her dissertation to test assumptions about risk preferences and promote a more complete theory of how perceptions of risk guide decision making. Findings may improve analyses of regulations, promoting the health of populations more susceptible to hazards.
  • PhD alum Laura Sherbin spoke to the Washington Post about challenges for working moms in the ongoing pandemic.
  • Mary Hansen received a grant for $29,876 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “Doctoral Dissertation Research in DRMS: A Comparison of Value of Statistical Life Estimates Derived from Revealed and Stated Preferences.”
  • Kelly Jones received a grant for $26,552 from the Manhattan Strategy Group and the Department of Labor for her project about improving FMLA coverage in underserved communities.
  • Jon Wisman and co-author Quentin Duroy won the 2020 Journal of Economic Issues Editor’s Prize for best article for 2020: “The Proletarianization of the Professoriate and the Threat to Free Expression, Creativity and Economic Dynamism.”
  • Gregory Lane received a $16,727 grant from London School of Economics for “The Potential for E-Commerce Platforms to unlock high growth for firms in Africa”
  • Professor Gabriel Mathy in Salon questions the legality of President Trump’s eviction memorandum, and proposed universal healthcare and UBI, among other measures to improve a failing United States.
  • Professor Maria Floro told Business Insider that without a bailout for the childcare industry women will take a step back in participation in the workforce.
  • Professor Gabriel Mathy spoke to The Wall Street Journal about how the pandemic-caused recession has impacted Latino workers.
  • Professor Amos Golan presented to the Santa Fe Institute on the effects of universal TB vaccination, air pollution, and health-related expenditure on COVID-19 recovery rates.
  • Professor Evan Kraft published an opinion piece in The Hill entitled "Shaky economic data portend a shaky recovery."
  • Professor Maria Floro spoke to Business Insider about the effects of COVID-19 on women's careers.
  • Professor Amos Golan presented to the Santa Fe Institute on the effects of universal TB vaccination, air pollution, and health-related expenditure on COVID-19 recovery rates.
  • Professor Evan Kraft published an opinion piece in The Hill entitled "Shaky economic data portend a shaky recovery."
  • Professor Maria Floro spoke to Business Insider about the effects of COVID-19 on women's careers.

Spotlight

VASUDEVA RAMASWAMY

PhD Candidate, EconomicsPicture of Vasudeva Ramaswamy

Economics PhD candidate Vasudeva Ramaswamy credits American University with helping him zero in on his area of research interest and for equipping him with the tools to explore and contribute to his field. 

During his time at AU, Vasu spent two summers working with the World Bank, studying the impact of agricultural aggregators in East Africa — specifically, how they provided income and security to farmer communities. 

Vasu’s dissertation considers the effects of the Federal Reserve Bank’s actions on household inequality. Who gains and who loses when the Fed increases (or decreases) interest rates? And how do these effects propagate through the economy? Because business income and profits play a key role in household inequality, Vasu looks at how businesses respond to the actions of the Fed. 

After he earns his PhD, Vasu says he would love to be able to continue researching the importance of economic heterogeneity in monetary policy transmission. “I am particularly grateful for AU’s faculty, who are leading experts in their field and approachable and encouraging as mentors,” he adds. “I am equally grateful for the rest of my PhD cohort, who are a brilliant and motivated group. I am learning from them continually.”

Glen Kwende

Achievements ·

PhD Candidate Glen Kwende Receives Grant for Economics Work

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Yami Payano

Alumni ·

Alumna’s Tech Startup Wins $100,000 in Google Funding

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A Career in Economics: It's Much More than You Think

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Much more than finance, banking, business and government, a degree in economics is useful to all individuals and can lead to many interesting career choices. These four diverse individuals offer their insights on how a background in economics can be a tool for solving very human problems.