Letter from the Chair
We have had some noteworthy accomplishments in the Economics Department over the past year, some of which you will read about in this newsletter. We were especially proud of our inaugural team of undergrad students who made it to the finals of the Bank of Canadas Governors Challenge in February.
We were also very proud of the excellent research projects conducted by some of our undergrad students for their senior honours essay (Econ 472). This year one of our students was invited to attend the Canadian Economics Association Conference in May and present her research at the Bank of Canada Undergraduate Research Poster session. Three of our PhD students graduated in 2017 and all have found good jobs. We welcomed five new PhD students this fall as well as 25 masters students.
Last year's newsletter mentioned our reformed undergraduate curriculum which we began implementing in 2016. We are confident that our focus on empirical skills will serve our students well in today's job market. We are carefully monitoring student success and are adjusting these new courses as needed to best meet the needs of our students. Some of our new elective courses are proving to be very popular, including second year courses "Money and Banking" and "Introduction to Game Theory". One of our most popular undergrad courses remains the Economics of Sport, which allows students to see real world applications of the fundamental economics principles learned in their first year courses.
As long time residents of Hagey Hall, the Economics department was delighted at the grand opening of the new Hagey Hub in February. This is a wonderful addition to Hagey Hall which provides much needed space for student interaction and study. If you haven't been to campus recently, you should drop by sometime and have a look. It is a gorgeous space made possible by donations from many individuals and groups, including our friends and alumni.
I look forward to another eventful and successful academic year in the Department of Economics. Please keep in touch with us and let us know how you are using your economics training in your careers.
Professor Margaret Insley
Chair, Economics Department
Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics - September 28, 4:30 p.m.
Economic growth can be extraordinarily rapid in developing countries. But it is often uneven, leaving whole segments of society behind. Such unevenness can serve to both inspire and frustrate, and so lead to social conflict even as overall economic conditions improve. These issues are crucially important in North America and Europe today.
Professor Debraj Ray, the 2017 Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecturer in Economics, will discuss what we can learn about the uneven-growth/conflict nexus from developing countries, where such issues have never been far from the surface.
About the distinguished lecturer
Professor Ray is one of the leading development economists in the world. He has made significant contributions to the economics of coalition formation, altruism, malnutrition, and the role of inequality, polarization and conflict in development. His books include Development Economics (1998) and A Game-Theoretic Perspective on Coalition Formation (2008).
Debraj Ray is Julius Silver Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and Professor of Economics at New York University. He is Co-editor of the American Economic Review and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society and a Guggenheim Fellow.
About the Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics
Each year the Department of Economics invites a distinguished scholar to present a lecture on the state of the art in a field of economic research, giving students from various disciplines a special opportunity to enhance their understanding of economics. The University community and members of the public are warmly invited to attend the lectures.
A reception will follow the lecture from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m., in Environment 1(EV1) Courtyard.
The Economics Societys mission is to provide students with infrastructure and tools for collaborative engagement, support, and learning. We aim to promote interest in Economics throughout the student body. Organizing several academic, social, and networking events (including speaker series, mentorship opportunities, professional development), we bring together academic and industry professionals to facilitate debate. The turbulent geopolitical and economic landscape currently facing Canada and the rest of the world should generate a lively discourse.
This year, the society is developing an alumni mentorship network where undergraduate students will be able to reach out and receive advice from professionals and graduate students. This initiative will build a stronger community for Economics students past, present, and future.
We are excited for the upcoming year, we welcome you to contact the Economics Society for feedback or potential involvement opportunities (email@example.com)
Sincerely, George Liu and Julie Nguyen , Co-Presidents
While heated debates continue over Ontario's proposed $15/hour minimum wage, a recent publication by UWaterloo Economics professors Kate Rybczynski and Anindya Sen suggests that rapid increases in the minimum wage could disproportionately affect vulnerable groups in the population.
While Rybczynski and Sen agree that minimum wage plays an important role in our economy, their research suggests that additional policies are important to counteract the potential negative employment effects of minimum wage and to
improve living standards for vulnerable groups.
In January, just ahead of co-op job interviews, we invited a panel of our Economics Alumni to talk about their career paths and offer job-market advice to our Undergraduate and Graduate students. The panel featured
Fiona Chan - Revenue Policy Advisor at York Region, Shan Chen - Manager Enterprise Model Risk Management at Royal Bank of Canada, Brent Mizzen - AVP, Underwriting and Policy at Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc., Carla Valerio Pena - Economist at the Bank of Canada, Pirapa Tharmalingam - Consultant at Enbridge and Sessional at UW-ECON, and Rosalie Wyonch - Policy Analyst at C.D. Howe Institute.
In a very lively discussion our panelists provided important advice for current students including: branding and making your own pathway, learning from and turning "mistakes" into opportunities, work-life balance, critical components for C.V.s and job interviews, and navigating the diverse challenges (and rewards) of policy work.
Distinguished Lecture in Economics, Fall 2016
Last year's distinguished lecture, given by David Autor (Ford Professor of Economics at MIT), was a highly successful and thought provoking event. Professor Autor's talk, Why are there still so many jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation, took us through three technological revolutions, contextualized automation anxiety, and explains why employment continued to rise despite all the technology designed to replace human work.
Missed the talk? Watch the video on YouTube:
Bank of Canada Governor's Challenge
Our team included Stephen Chen, Tiago Figueiredo, Saad Khan, Emily Li, George Liu, Matthew Robert, and Eric Tichbourn, and was coached by Professor Jean-Paul Lam.
Our team performed admirably, and we are very proud! We also offer many congratulations to McGill Economics, winners of this year's trophy!
For more information see the Bank of Canada's official release.
51st Annual Canadian Economics Association Conference
We are very proud and grateful to have Mary Ann in our faculty, supporting our students and our Warriors!
Department Award Recipient (top GPA):
2+2 Achievement Award Recipients * (top GPA):
Yalin Song, Siqi Sun
Senior Honours Essay Award Recipient * (best essay):
Catherine MacIsaac "Making Lemonade: Evaluating the Impact of Changing Legal Regimes on Violence in the Prostitution Market."
Economics Achievement Award Winners* (highest GPAs):
Matthew Keller, Connor Kendel, Yukiko Kitayama, Rebecca Wan-Ling Kong, Huy Gia Le, Catherine MacIsaac, Yalin Song, Siqi Sun, Christine Varga
MA Micro Award
MA Macro Award
MA Econometrics Award
Ken Stollery Memorial Graduate Award
* These awards include a financial prize which is supported by alumni contributions to the Department of Economics. Thank you for your contributions.
- Have exciting news to share? We'd love to hear what you are up to!
- Interested in giving a talk? Each year we invite a UW Economics alumnus to inspire and inform our students.
- Want to be involved in networking or economic events? Let us know.
- Want to donate? Your contributions help fund awards and lectures that benefit student