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Letter from the Director

February 23, 2017

Dear Friends:

This past year was an exciting and productive one at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. We welcomed more faculty affiliates, increased our scholarly output, created new connections with policymakers and expanded our engagement with students. Your tremendous support for all our efforts continues to be very much appreciated, and ensured that we ended the year on solid financial ground — thank you!

In 2016 we added 11 Senior Fellows, and nine Assistant Professors joined us as Faculty Fellows. One of our new Senior Fellows — Gopi Shah Goda — also took on the role of Deputy Director in September. Gopi has risen through the SIEPR ranks since first coming to Stanford as a graduate student in 2002. She received her PhD in 2007 in our Economics Department and then completed a two-year fellowship at Harvard before returning to SIEPR in 2009. Since then, she’s built our Young Scholars Program into a competitive opportunity for Postdoctoral and Visiting Fellows looking to collaborate with our faculty.

Gopi takes over the job that Greg Rosston held for 17 years. I’m very grateful for all of Greg’s wonderful work as Deputy Director, and I’m happy to say he continues to be a big part of SIEPR as our Gordon Cain Senior Fellow.

At the core of SIEPR are our 100 affiliated faculty members. The research they’ve produced during the past year has addressed a wide range of issues that are as timely as ever. Economic mobility, tax and trade policy, health care, monetary policy, and education are just a few areas our scholars are addressing. Many have published their work in major economic journals and several have testified before Congress, advised candidates in the run-up to the presidential election and had their research cited by key policymakers and influential journalists.

We’ve also made a bigger push in engaging students, supporting a total of 105 graduate and undergraduate students at SIEPR and our Stanford Center for International Development (SCID) during the 2015–16 academic year.

SIEPR brought on 46 undergraduate research assistants this year who helped several of our faculty on various projects while getting a feel for dealing with complex data early in their academic careers. Ten of the RAs worked closely with me during the summer on a major project examining government spending and accountability. You can learn more about their experience and the important role that undergraduates play at SIEPR in a series of videos we are featuring on our website.

With approval from Stanford’s Dean of Research and Dean of Humanities and Sciences, we also established the SIEPR/Economics Predoctoral Research

Fellows Program. The new program bridges college and graduate school for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in economics, public policy or another related discipline. Our faculty will benefit from the fellows’ analysis of massive data sets, while predocs hone their research skills and learn what it’s like to be a research economist. The fellows will also have the opportunity to enroll in courses, a benefit that will improve their chances of success in applying to and completing graduate school.

The Predoctoral Research Fellows Program is one of our top fundraising priorities, and we look forward to sharing more about this new initiative with you.

The pages ahead will remind you of the events we hosted during the past year, and I’m glad so many of you were able to attend them. Our fall Policy Forum on gentrification and affordable housing was a huge success that brought together Stanford students and faculty with journalists, public and private housing officials, and members of the business community.

The academic conferences hosted by SIEPR and SCID focused on health care, retirement, technology, and economic development in India. The State of the West Symposium focused on immigration and health care — two issues sure to loom large in the year ahead. As always, we thank our good friends at the Bill Lane Center for the American West for co-hosting this event, which we will resume in 2018 and plan to hold every other year.

For the 29th year, we held our Summer Economic Institute for Teachers, giving high school teachers the chance to dig into timely topics and the latest economics research, get fresh material for the classes they teach and see different teaching approaches. Thanks to our expanded outreach efforts to schools beyond the Bay Area, we had our highest number of attendees this past July.

Other highlights included talks by Karen Dynan from the Treasury Department, historian Niall Ferguson, and Arthur Brooks from the American Enterprise Institute. We also hosted the deans from the schools of management at Peking and Tsinghua universities, as well as MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, Harvard’s David Yoffie, and Stanford’s own David Brady.

Our 2016 Economic Summit offered another packed day of speakers and presentations from notable scholars, business leaders and policymakers, including SIEPR’s Nick Bloom and Raj Chetty, Lyndon Rive from SolarCity, SIEPR advisory board member and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Ambassador Max Baucus and former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

This year is already off to a strong start, both in terms of our scholars’ research agendas and the events we’ve held. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen visited SIEPR in January, delivering a talk on monetary policy and meeting with 30 Stanford students majoring in economics or public policy. We also welcomed Sarah Bloom Raskin, the former deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury, at a recent SIEPR Associates Meeting.

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at our 2017 Economic Summit, where we’ll examine technology, global security and domestic political priorities through the lens of economic policy.

As the United States enters a new era of government and policy changes, SIEPR is positioned to give policymakers the rigorous and clear research needed to inform their debates and guide their decisions. With your continued participation and support, we will enhance our scholarship and continue convening the most influential names in government, business and academia to address the most significant economic challenges in front of us.

Best regards,

Mark Duggan
The Trione Director of SIEPR
The Wayne and Jodi Cooperman Professor of Economics