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Letter from the Director

September 5, 2017

Dear Friends:

We are looking forward to a busy and productive year on campus. With tax reform, health care, and economic disparity and recovery dominating much of the country’s discourse, the research SIEPR scholars produce can inform the debates and decisions around these — and many other — timely issues.

And as Stanford has begun its Long-Range Planning process under the leadership of President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell, we are working to ensure that SIEPR plays an important role in their goal of shaping Stanford into an even more “purposeful” university. We have contributed ideas and suggestions for how SIEPR can make an even greater mark in the realm of policy impact and in the use of big data in economic research.

Our newest faculty and research affiliates will help us do that.

Joining our ranks this year are Patrick Kehoe, Maya Rossin-Slater, Amy O’Hara, and Hongbin Li.

Patrick comes to Stanford as a Professor of Economics from the University of Minnesota. He will join us at SIEPR as a Senior Fellow and continue his very influential work on international macroeconomics and finance. Maya is SIEPR’s newest Faculty Fellow and also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Research and Policy at our School of Medicine. Her research on health, public finance and labor economics will fit perfectly with our policy-oriented research agenda.

Also new to Stanford and SIEPR is Amy O’Hara, a Senior Research Scholar focusing on big data. Amy will be a tremendous resource to Stanford scholars working with large administrative data sets and brings a wealth of knowledge from her previous role leading the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications.

Additionally, we are delighted to welcome as a SIEPR Senior Fellow Hongbin Li, whose China-focused research spans the fields of political economy, environmental economics, and the economics of education. Hongbin was previously a Professor of Economics at Tsinghua University and is now the James Liang Director of the China Program at the Stanford Center for International Development. I’m very much looking forward to Hongbin’s continued contributions to the China-related research we are doing at SIEPR and across the entire university.

We also have several visitors in our Young Scholars Program this year. Two of them are postdoctoral fellows who recently completed their PhDs and will join the faculties of Princeton and the University of Minnesota next year. The three others are assistant professors from the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, and the University of California at Berkeley.

We’ll also host nine faculty members from peer institutions such as Harvard, M.I.T., Princeton, and UC-Berkeley as Distinguished Visitors. All of these scholars contribute to our vibrant community of researchers exploring important topics relevant for economic policy.

The start of the academic year will bring a new group of predoctoral research fellows to SIEPR. The fellows are part of the new SIEPR/Economics Predoctoral Research Fellows Program designed to train and inspire those who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees in economics, public policy or related disciplines in the future. While they’re here, the fellows will work closely with SIEPR faculty while taking for-credit courses that will be helpful in the pursuit of a PhD.

After a successful pilot year of this program, we are very pleased that several of last year’s participants are now pursuing their PhDs at Stanford and other universities. And we continue supporting many of Stanford’s doctoral candidates with SIEPR’s graduate fellowship awards.

Stanford undergraduates continue to play a significant role at SIEPR, and are a key part of our commitment to teaching and training the next generation of economic policy experts. We had 51 students working with our faculty as Undergraduate Research Assistants this past year, and we look forward to working with a new group of undergrads in the year ahead.

I’m grateful to our supporters who make these programs possible, and for the faculty who take the time to mentor and teach these aspiring and early career economists. Involving more of these students and scholars in our work at SIEPR will help us expand the impact we can have on important policy debates and decisions now and in the future.

We also have a great lineup of events that we’re looking forward to in the months ahead. Enclosed is a Featured Speaker Card that lists some of our key events over the next several months. To call out just a few highlights: We’ll hear from Stacy Brown-Philpot, the CEO of TaskRabbit, on Sept. 28; Rob Kaplan, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, on Oct. 10; Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on Nov. 1; and Steve Ballmer, founder of USAFacts, co-founder of Ballmer Group, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and a member of SIEPR’s Advisory Board, on Nov. 29.

This Fall’s Policy Forum will focus on challenges and opportunities for the reform of K-12 education, and I’m of course looking forward to seeing many of you on Friday, March 9, 2018, at our annual SIEPR Economic Summit.

On Oct. 9 — the day the Nobel Prize in Economics is awarded — an Academic Tribute to Kenneth Arrow will be held on campus. It’s going to be a jam-packed day discussing the many contributions of Ken, who won the Nobel in 1972 and passed away this past February. We’re expecting a dozen Nobel winners to join us, and I want to give a gigantic thank you to John Shoven, Matthew Jackson and Alvin Roth (himself a Nobel winner!) for organizing the event for Stanford’s academic community.

We will continue sharing information about our scholarship, policy impact, student engagement and events with you as the year unfolds. Thanks so much to all of you for your continued support and engagement here at SIEPR. I am also very grateful to the staff at SIEPR for all of their outstanding work this past year.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on campus soon and continuing our work together.


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