E-CONnect Fall 2018

University of Waterloo Economics Department Newsletter

Letter from the Chair

As I wandered about campus today, I come across the familiar scenes of first year students partaking in orientation activities for the 2018-2019 academic year. Its poignant seeing all these young faces, and I hope their dreams will be realized in their next few years at the University of Waterloo. In Economics, we look forward to another year of teaching and supporting our students, as well as all the research activities and guest lectures we have planned.

I warmly invite you to read the latest edition of our Economics Department newsletter to learn about all the exciting things that are happening in the Department. We are particularly proud of the awards won by our students, exhibiting the excellent quality of our students and our programs. I also want to express my gratitude to Sukesh and Nandita Ghosh who created the Mina and Nihar Bose scholarship to support a deserving PhD student in Economics.

We are always happy to hear from our alumni, and in particular about your career and what was useful about your degree at Waterloo. You can connect with me via email at margaret.insley@uwaterloo.ca.

Professor Margaret Insley
Chair, Economics Department

Margaret Insley and Nandita Gosh

Margaret Insley (left) and Nandita Ghosh (right)

You're Invited: Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics

September 26, 4 p.m. Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall
A reception will follow the lecture in the Environment 1 Courtyard from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Register here.

Young office workers gather around a meeting table

Good Jobs: The Growing Importance of Who You Work For

By David Card, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley

In the simple models that economists routinely use to think about the labour market there is no such thing as a “good job”: everyone is paid what they are worth, regardless of whom they work for. Common experience and a growing body of evidence from many different countries suggests that in fact different firms often pay higher or lower wages, and that the differentials between firms offering good and bad jobs are wider than ever. In this lecture, Professor Card will review this evidence and discuss the importance of firms’ pay and hiring policies for understanding wage inequality, the gender pay gap, the career profile of wages, and many other phenomena.

About the distinguished lecturer

David Card

Professor David Card

David Card is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Labor Economics at Berkeley. Professor Card is a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served as Director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has received multiple awards including the American Economic Associations John Bates Clark Prize, the IZA Labor Economics Award, the Frisch Medal, and the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

A preeminent labor economist, his research interests include wage-setting, education, inequality, and gender-related issues. He has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters, co-authored and co-edited several books, and has served as co-editor of two of the top Economics journals: Econometrica and the American Economic Review.

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.

The Faculty of Arts is grateful our Economics alumni (Brian Lipskie and Anonymous Donors) for their generous support of the Distinguished Lecture Series.

New Scholarships

Nihar and Mina Bose Graduate Scholarship

This scholarship was created in 2018 through the generosity of Professor Sukesh Ghosh and Mrs. Nandita Ghosh in honour of Professor Ghosh’s late uncle and aunt, Nihar and Mina Bose. The scholarship awards $1500 to a graduate student in the Department of Economics based on academic achievement and financial need.

Professor Sukesh Ghosh (left) and Mrs. Nandita Ghosh (right)

Nandita and Sukesh Ghosh

About our generous donors: Mrs. Ghosh and Professor Ghosh grew up in India. They moved to the United States in 1963 and Professor Ghosh received his PhD in Economics in 1966 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He joined the Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo in 1969 where he had a distinguished career, retiring in 1996.  He continued to teach in the Department until 2000.

Professor Ghosh received a good education with the support of his aunt and uncle, Mina and Nihar Bose, even though this caused them great financial hardship. In honour of this commitment and care, Professor and Mrs. Ghosh are proud and honoured to establish this award and recognize in perpetuity the determination shown by his aunt and uncle in helping him become a successful human being.

The Department of Economics is deeply grateful for this gift from Professor and Mrs. Ghosh, which will benefit our students for years to come.

Emanuel Carvalho Scholarship in Arts and Business

Cool, smart, funny, inspiring — and he genuinely cares. The Faculty of Arts is honouring a favourite professor by launching a new scholarship! Learn more about the outstanding contributions of Dr. Emanuel Carvalho and the impact he's had.

Emanuel Carvalho outside Arts Lecture Hall

Professor Emanuel Carvalho

We invite alumni, friends and colleagues to join us in honouring Professor Carvalho as we establish the Emanuel Carvalho Scholarship in Arts and Business.

The new award will support upper year students by providing funding at a critical point in their education, motivating them to succeed both academically and in service to their community.

Update from the UW Economics Society 

uw econ society

We would like to extend a warm welcome to those of you joining us this year. We hope you are as excited for this term as we are.

Our goal in the Economics Society is to provide opportunities and resources to those students wanting to enhance their learning and to give back to the community. Students can participate in our society through various academic, social and networking events throughout each term. These events are not only aimed to promote interest in economics, but are also intended to further students’ professional development.

This term, we are thrilled to host another of our fun professor-student mixers, to continue developing and supporting future leaders through our mentorship program, and to start a weekly economics podcast.

We are looking forward to the year to come and encourage those who are interested in learning more about us to check out our website, as well as our Facebook page. If you have any questions about the society, how to get involved, or have any feedback you would like to share, please reach out to us at: uw.economics.society@gmail.com.


Tyler Osborne and Akshita Verma, Co-Presidents

Research Highlight: Firms should go abroad to learn

A recent publication by UWaterloo economics professor Joel Blit suggests that firms can access remote knowledge by establishing subsidiaries in strategic locations.

One of the reasons why technology clusters like Silicon Valley and the KW region exist, is that by co-locating with other technology firms, firms benefit from knowledge spillovers (other benefits include labour market pooling and input-output relationships). Professor Blits research examines whether firms can also benefit from these spillovers from a distance, by establishing a satellite in the remote location. The satellite effectively acts as the eyes and ears of the firm, relaying back to the headquarters any useful knowledge that it comes across. For example, BMW established a satellite in Silicon Valley to alert the Munich headquarters of new technological developments that might be relevant to automobiles.

Professor Blit used U.S. patent data to show that the satellite effect on knowledge flow is significant. Specifically, the additional amount of knowledge the firm receives through the presence of the satellite is up to 60% of what they would receive if instead they moved their entire operations to the remote region. Moreover, these satellites are particularly instrumental for acquiring cutting-edge knowledge.

Joel Blit

Professor Joel Blit

Professor Blit’s findings have important implications for firm strategy, and in particular for how firms should deploy their R&D across geographic regions. Knowledge being an important input into the innovative process, firms that establish better mechanisms for accessing global knowledge pools are likely to be more successful innovators.

Read the full paper, Foreign R&D Satellites as a Medium for the International Diffusion of Knowledge.

Highlights of the past year:

Facilitating your transition to the workforce: What gave me a leg up, October, 2017

Martha Justus Chief Economist, Labour Market Intelligence,for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) & University of Waterloo Economics Alumnus gave an insightful webinar talk on her career, how her economics education influenced her successful path, and chatted with students and faculty about current research, important issues, and policy initiatives.

Missed the webinar? Watch it on YouTube.

Problem Lab Launched, February, 2018

Economics professor Larry Smith spearheads Canada's first problem lab designed to help students with the first steps of entrepreneurship. The program will include problem pitch competitions, organized with Velocity, and designed to help students better understand an important commercial challenge. The Problem Lab is made possible by funding from Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, principals of quantum_valley and founders of Blackberry.

2018 Waterloo Economics Workshop: Current Challenges in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, April, 2018

The Waterloo Economics Workshop is an annual event held in the spring. This year the theme was Current Challenges in Environmental & Resource Economics. Presentation topics covered several important environmental issues: from pipelines and railways to fossil fuels and climate change. Workshop funding provided by the Global Risk Institute and the Department of Economics, University of Waterloo. Read more about the research presented at this year’s workshop.

Waterloo Economics PhD Conference, May, 2018

Our second biennial PhD conference showcased an exciting selection of graduate research, with a breadth of topics including: Family Patrimony Rules and Women's Labor Supply in Quebec, Intra-China migration and structural transformation, and The Effectiveness of Tutorials in Large Classes.

This years keynote, Max Tabord-Meehan (PhD candidate at NorthWestern),presentedilluminating work on Stratification Trees for Adaptive Randomization in Randomized Controlled Trials.

If you are a UW alumni currently enrolled in a PhD program and would like to participate in our next PhD conference (Spring 2020), please contact us to join our mailing list.

Participants in a panel disccusion on Navigating the PhD

Left to right: Phil Curry, Bradley Minaker, Max Tabord-Meehan, Allison Devlin, Annie Pan, Matthew Carew

Distinguished Lecture in Economics, September, 2017

Last September, Professor Debraj Ray (Julius Silver Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and Professor of Economics at New York University) discussed uneven-growth/conflict nexus from developing countries, automation anxiety, and why employment continued to rise despite all the technology designed to replace human work.

Missed Dr. Ray’s thought provoking talk? Watch the lecture on YouTube.

Musical Profs, December, 2017

Professors playing performing at Christmas party

We have some talented musicians in Economics! At the 2017 winter department party, pictured left to right are: Jean Guillaume Forand, Pierre Chausse, and Tom Parker playing the banjo, accordion and fiddle. 

We're proud of UW Econ!

Prize for Best Presentation: Bank of Canada Undergraduate Poster session

Congratulations to undergraduate Math Econ student Galen Wray who won the prize for best presentation in the Bank of Canada Undergraduate Poster session. Galen was invited to present her research titled Short-Term Inflation Forecasting in Canada Using Machine Learning in the Bank of Canada Poster Session at the 2018 Canadian Economics Association Conference.

The conference ran from May 30 to June 4 in Montreal. Wray applied to the Bank of Canada Session and was one selected as one of twelve undergraduate students to present her work.

Galen Wray with her poster presentation

Galen Wray

Presenting Recommendations on Monetary Policy

Congratulations to our Economics team who participated in the Bank of Canadas Governors Challenge.

In November 2017, the team presented their recommendations for Canadian monetary policy to a panel of judges. Coached by Professor Jean Paul Lam, the team did a great job of summarizing current key issues in monetary policy.

We are proud of our team!

Group photo of the winning team

Team members from left to right are George Liu, Quinlan Lee, Galen Wray, Evan Sauve and Viktor Seregelyi.

More great news

  • Professor Barb Bloemhof re-joined the department this year, and we extend a warm welcome to our excellent colleague and innovative instructor.

  • Professor Emanuel Carvalho honoured for his service to the Faculty of Arts with a 2018 Arts Award for Excellence in Service.
  • Professor Roy Brower appointed University Research Chair in recognition of outstanding research accomplishments.
  • Professors Joel Blit and Mikal Skuterud win UW-Arts Outstanding Performance Awards.
  • Professor Chris Riddell wins a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant to study The effects of compulsory interest arbitration on disputes, wages and service quality.
  • Professors Lori Curtis and Kate Rybczynski, along with international co-authors, win an International Congress of Actuaries best paper award, and an International Centre for Pension Management Research Award for their research on Population Structure and Asset Values.
  • Professor Ana Ferrer named to a newly formed Canadian Labour Market Information Experts Panel
  • Professor Teferi Mergo appointed a Fellow of the Global Labor Organization (GLO).

Congratulations to our top students of 2017-2018!

Undergraduate Awards

  • Department Award Recipient (top GPA): Heather Bone
  • 2+2 Achievement Award Recipient * (top GPA): Tianze Yao
  • Senior Honours Essay Award Recipients * (best essay): Galen Wray, Evan Sauve
  • Economics Achievement Award Winners* (highest GPAs):  Heather Bone, Albi Bilali, Saba Jamil, Quinlan Lee, Ruogu Liu, Yilin Lou, Khusro Mir, Rolan Naiman, Viktor Seregelyi, Tianze Yao, Shan Yu, Xiaoyun Zou
  • A Top Co-op student: Matthew Condie won recognition as a top UW co-op student in 2017
  • Amit & Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student: Quinlan Lee

* These awards include a financial prize which is supported by alumni contributions to the Department of Economics. Thank you for your contributions. 

Graduate Awards

  • MA Micro Award: Andrew Kowalczyszyn
  • MA Macro Award: Maryam Khalil
  • MA Econometrics Award: Shiyang Wen
  • Ken Stollery Memorial Graduate Award: Iuliia Nesterova

Three Economics PhDs with their diplomas

PhD Econ graduates at Spring Convocation: (left to right) Hongxiu Li, Ghazal Memartoluie and Jue Zhang.

Have a look at Spring 2018 Convocation photos.

Want to Connect?

  • 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 students.

We'd love to hear from you. To connect, please email Margaret Insley. To donate, please contact Kim Bardwell or donate online.

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