2023 Economics Newsletter

Department of Economics with Columbian College seal. Professor Remi Jedwab teaches a class in front of a whiteboard

Message from the Chair
Department Spotlights
Department/Faculty Kudos
Alumni Class Notes

Message from the Chair

Stephen Smith, Department Chair

Dear GW Department of Economics Alumni,

Welcome to the 2023 GW Department of Economics newsletter!

These newsletters allow us to share developments at the department, feature milestones of our students and highlight special achievements of faculty and alumni alike. Everyone is happy to be back to for in-person classes and events!

The department continues to build on strengths in key areas and we are in a very good position to expand our current initiatives and launch new work with the pandemic now officially over.

Throughout the year, the department has maintained an active program of weekly research events, sponsored by our four major research workshop series: Microeconomics, Macro/International, Trade and Development and Forecasting. The seminars were a combination of online and in-person events, including hybrid formats so all would be able to attend. We also cosponsored several economics conferences and symposia. We welcome you to join us at our events in the coming year.

On behalf of the department, we are grateful for our alumni whose generous donations have contributed to the success of our students and our academic programs even in the difficult conditions of the pandemic. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the coming year, as we return more fully to on-campus events and exciting new initiatives!

Thank you so much for your support and involvement. Please stay in touch!


Stephen C. Smith
Chair, Department of Economics

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Department Spotlights 

Economics Alumna Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 List

Chinemelu Okafor





Three George Washington University alumnae were recently named by the business magazine Forbes to its annual 30 Under 30 lists, including economics alumna Chinemelu Okafor, MA ’18, founder of the Research In Color Foundation. Okafor was named on the education list. The nonprofit supports and propels aspiring economists of color and, therefore, more inclusive economic policy. Okafor was featured in GW Today.

Economics Department Seals Partnership with MIT MicroMasters Program

A group of Econ master's graduates in robes and regalia stand with Joann Weiner under a GW 2022 banner





The George Washington University Department of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MITx MicroMasters program are partnering on an initiative that offers MIT’s  Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) credential holders an accelerated pathway to a GW master’s degree in applied economics. The pathway program allows DEDP credential holders to obtain up to six graduate credits toward an MS in applied economics from GW.

“I’m excited GW has become a pathway for MIT’s DEDP credential holders,” said Joann Weiner, associate professor and director of the Applied Economics program. ”This initiative allows both MIT and GW to provide a top-notch education in development and applied economics to these talented students.”

GW is one of 19 institutions in 12 countries that offers MITx DEDP credential holders credit toward a graduate degree.

Some of the most recent applied MS placements are: Illiyuna Islam, Federal Reserve Board; Andrew Durrer, BLS; Rebecca Felix, CompassLexecon; and Toyosi Ojo, International Monetary Fund.

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Department Kudos

Barry R. Chiswick was ranked 36th among top scientists for 2022 by Research.com, a prominent academic platform for scientists.

Alessandra Fenizia published a single-author paper, “Managers and Productivity in the Public Sector,” in the May 2022 issue of Econometrica, one of the top four journals in economics.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth was quoted by CNBC in the articles “Here’s what the Federal Reserve’s 25 basis point interest rate hike means for your money” and “Will the banking crisis cause a recession? It may depend on the ‘wealth effect,’ economist says.’’

A study co-authored by Steven Hamilton was cited by Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald in the article “Australians drained $38 billion of their super in the pandemic. Here’s what they spent it on’’ and in the editorial “Dip into superannuation while COVID raged must remain one-time fix.’’

Remi Jedwab published two coauthored papers in the Journal of Urban Economics and the Journal of Economic Geography.

Annamaria Lusardi was quoted by Fox News in the article ”Americans with poor longevity literacy at greater risk of outliving retirement savings: Survey.’’ She spoke to KCBS-AM, San Francisco about financial literacy for students.

Roberto Samaniego published two co-authored papers in American Economic Journal-Macroeconomics and the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Jay Shambaugh is on leave, serving as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, having been appointed by President Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. This position is generally considered second-ranking at Treasury; it was previously held by such luminaries as Paul Volcker, John Taylor, Timothy F. Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers.

Tara Sinclair is currently serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Macroeconomics in the Office of Economic Policy at the Department of Treasury.

Stephen Smith published a coauthored paper, “Can Agricultural Extension and Input Support Be Discontinued? Evidence from a Randomized Phaseout in Uganda,” in the November 2022 Review of Economics and Statistics.

Pao-Lin Tien was quoted by The Washington Post in the article “Bank stocks rebound, but crisis makes the Fed’s next move harder’’ and by Sinclair Broadcast Group in the article “Biden says no bailouts for SVB, Signature Bank; critics argue customers will pay the price.”

Joann Weiner spoke to CNN Newsource about managing during a “rolling recession.’’

Tomas Williams authored two recent articles: “Large International Corporate Bonds: Investor Behavior and Firm Responses” (with Charles Calomiris, Mauricio Larrain and Sergio Schmukler), 2022, Journal of International Economics, vol. 137, and “How ETFs Amplify the Global Financial Cycle in Emerging Markets”, (with Nathan Converse and Eduardo Levy Yeyati), forthcoming at the Review of Financial Studies.

The International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) has given Junie Joseph an IIF Student Award this year for her excellent work in the fall 2022 Econ 8379 class. 

Our class of 2023 PhD students on the job market received placements as research economists at a wide range of tenure tracks, international organizations, U.S. government agencies, financial institutions and think tank positions. Thus far, these include: Jonah Coste, Federal Housing Finance Agency; Yunsheng Ma, Capital One; Rully Prassetya, World Bank; Nathaniel Harris, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Jeffrey Kuo, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research;  Zheyu Yang, Moody’s Analytics; Gonzalo Huertas, IMF; and Peter Devine, Council on Foreign Relations.


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Alumni Class Notes



  • Cigdem Akin, MPhil ’05, PhD ’09, is a principal public management economist at the Asian Development Bank based in Manila, Philippines.
  • Hannah Baer, BS ’17, is a senior commercial marketing role on the global microbiology team at Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. She previously held a strategic marketing role at Beckman Coulter.
  • Elisabeth Buchwald, BA ’20, is a CNN economics explainer reporter based in New York City.
  • Bryan Burcat, BA ’16, is a complex litigation and trials associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York, NY.
  • Alyson Chwatek, BA ’17, lives in New York City and continues to support private and public sector clients at Deloitte Consulting.
  • W. Tom Curtis, BA ’81, is semi-retired, enjoying the summers on the lake, and getting a lot of reading done.
  • Sadiq Elamin, BA ’17, is a fixed income trader for Vanguard's Index Funds, covering U.S. financials and Canadian credit and rates.
  • Tayfun Gurler, MPhil ’95, is launching a website, Economies in Numbers, for the Gulf countries in the Middle East.
  • Kyle Hanlon, BBA ’18, is a financial planning and analysis associate for the Corporate Finance team at Geller and Company in New York City.
  • Lev Klarnet, BA ’20,  joined Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Business Economics, a PhD program offered jointly by HBS and the Harvard Economics Department. He was also offered admission by Yale, Northwestern, UCLA, UCSD, UW Madison, UT Austin and Wharton Health Policy and Management. Lev said, "I am so grateful for my economics education at GW and all the professors that mentored me there. And thank you so much for your mentorship and letters of recommendation that helped me get to where I am now!"
  • Qianqi Ma, BA ’22, is pursuing a master’s degree at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
  • Diing Manyang, BS ’22, is a business and data analyst at Morgan Stanley.
  • Leslie Megyeri, BA ’63, retired from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee and now spends his winters ski patrolling in Pennsylvania, his summers boating in Delaware, and his spring and fall time sunning in Florida, all the while managing his investments and his gifts to GW.



  • Jean Montgomery, PhD ’75, retired after 27 years with the Montgomery County Government as a computer programmer and has been following various economics topics since then.
  • Jorge Ordenes, BA ’65, MA ’68, PhD ’80, recently spoke about his student and teaching assistant experiences at GW to a learned audience in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
  • Noah Ouellette, BA ’17, is an economic affairs attaché at the Quebec Government Office in Boston. Using his degree in economics and international affairs, he works with Quebec companies seeking to export in the United States.
  • Kesner Pharel, BA ’85, lives in Haiti and chairs a consulting firm, Group Croissance. He is also an investor and member of the board of the investment bank ProFIn.
  • Cameron Pippitt, BA ’62, MA ’72, is a retired Foreign Service Officer and a radio broadcaster of American classical music on WERA (97.6 FM) in Arlington. The program, titled All American Classics, broadcasts every Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • David Robinson, BA ’74, practices law in North Haven, Conn. In 2021, during the COVID pandemic, he earned a master's degree in psychology from Purdue University Global.
  • Constance Sorrentino, BA ’64, is on the board of directors of Arlington Neighborhood Village, which began a study in conjunction with GW Professor of Economics Anthony Yezer and his honor students concerning village membership dues.
  • Daniel Uslander, BA ’77, is a principal at LOC Partners LLC, a broker of voluntary carbon credits, instruments used by companies and individuals to offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Shuangyuan Wei, MA ’12, is a senior data scientist at Amazon and will attend Erasmus University Rotterdam in the fall as a PhD student in quantitative methods causal inference and ML.
  • Greg Zarelli, BA ’77, had a very successful career as an economist in the airline industry thanks to the excellent education he obtained at George Washington University. He then went on to medical school at 36 and is now a neurologist.

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