Department of Economics

The American University Department of Economics supports a pluralist approach to economics that embraces mainstream and heterodox perspectives and emphasizes policy applications. We believe that theoretical understanding, empirical investigation, and policy analysis are enriched by study of the evolution of economic ideas and economic institutions.

Our mission is to provide undergraduate and graduate education, and faculty research, that enrich economic analysis and policy by implementing pluralist analytical approaches grounded in historical and empirical context. Offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, minors, and certificates in a heterodox atmosphere in addition to the Program on Gender Analysis and Info-Metrics Institute


Recent Publications

Published 2021

Ambler, Kate, Kelly Jones, and Michael O’Sullivan. “Facilitating Women’s Access to an Economic Empowerment Initiative: Evidence from Uganda.World Development (2021): 138.

Blecker, Robert. “New Advances and Controversies in the Framework of Balance-of-Payments-Constrained Growth,Journal of Economic Surveys, September 4, 2021.

Blecker, Robert. “Thirwall’s Law is Not a Tautology, But Some Empirical Tests of It Nearly Are,Review of Keynesian Economics 9, no. 2 (Summer 2021): 175-203.

Breitenlechner, Max, Gabriel P. Mathy, and Johann Scharler. "Decomposing the US Great Depression: How important were loan supply shocks?." Explorations in Economic History 79 (2021): 101379.

Davis, Steven J., Dingqian, Liu, and Xuxang Simon Sheng. “Stock Prices and Economic Activity in the Time of Coronavirus.IMF Economic Review (2021).

Duroy, Quentin and Jon Wisman. “The Proletarianization of the Professoriate and the Threat to Free Expression, Creativity, and Economic Dynamism.Journal of Economic Issues 54, vol. 3 (Fall 2020): 854-872.

Feinberg, Robert. “Determinants of Self-employment by New PhDs.Applied Economics Letters (2021).

Feinberg, Robert. “Why Do Foreign PhD Students Return Home?Migration Letters 18, no. 5 (September 2021): 499-506.

Gong, Erick and Kelly Jones. “Precautionary Savings and Shock-Coping Behaviors: The Effects of Promoting Mobile Bank Savings on Transactional Sex in Kenya.Journal of Health Economics 78: 102460 (2021).

Gonzalez, Ignacio, et al. “Intergroup Contact and Nation Building: Evidence from Military Service in Spain.Journal of Public Economics, North-Holland, 19 July 2021.

Gunter, Bernhard, Bon Sun Seo, and Farah Tasneem. “How do Female Labor Force Participation Rates Change During Episodes of Globalization and Marginalization? Global Evidence from 1990 to 2019." The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies 17, no.1 (August 2021): 1-12.

Hoffman, Vivian and Kelly Jones. “Improving food safety on the farm: Experimental evidence from Kenya on agricultural incentives and subsidies as public health investments.World Development 143 (2021).

Kyui, Natalia and Natalia Radchenko. “The Changing of Composition of Academic Majors and Wage Dynamics: Beyond Mean Returns.Journal of Comparative Economics 49, vol. 2 (2021): 358-381.

Lifschutz, Michael and Ralph M. Sonenshine. “Tariff Rate Pass-Through: Buyer Power and Product Differentiation Effects.Journal of Economics and Trade 6, vol. 1 (2021): 13-23.

Meurs, Mieke and Lisa Giddings. "Elder care and paid work: gender differences in the relationship between unpaid elder care work and employment in Bulgaria." SAGE Journals, February 24, 2021. 

Meyer, Brent, Brian Prescott and Xuguang Simon Sheng. “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Business Expectations.” International Journal of Forecasting (2021).

Published 2020

Aftab, Zehra and John A. Willoughby. “The Fall of Urdu and the Rise of English in Pakistan: A Political Economic Analysis.Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, January 2020.

Blecker, Robert and Mark Setterfield. “On Multi-Sector and Multi-Technique Models, Production Functions and Goodwin Cycles: A Reply to Libman.European Journal of Economics and Economic Policy: Intervention 17, no. 3 (November 2020): 295-306.

Breitenlechner, Max, Daniel Gründler, Gabriel P. Mathy, and Johann Scharler. "Credit supply shocks and the Great Depression in Germany.European Review of Economic History (2020).

Feinberg, Robert, and Daniel Kuehn. “Does a Guaranteed Basic Income Encourage Entrepreneurship? Evidence from Alaska.Review of Industrial Organization 57, vol. 3 (November 2020): 607-626.

Gunter, Bernhard and Britni Wilcher. "Three Decades of Globalisation: Which Countries Won, Which Lost?The World Economy, January 11, 2020. 

Gershman, Boris. "Witchcraft beliefs as a cultural legacy of the Atlantic slave trade: Evidence from two continents.European Economic Review, February 2020. 

Gershman, Boris, and Diego Rivera. "Measuring Regional Ethnolinguistic Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Surveys vs. GIS." World Bank Economic Review, February 2020.  

Kirwin, Daniel, and Gabriel Mathy. "How did forecasters respond to the American growth slowdown of the mid-2000s?." Applied Economics Letters 27, no. 8 (2020): 651-656.

Radchenko, Natalia. “Student Evaluations of Teaching: Unidimensionality, Subjectivity, and Biases." Education Economics 28, vol. 6 (2020): 549-566.

Sonenshine, Ralph M. “Merger Waves: Are buyers following the herd or responding to structural queues?Eurasian Business Review 10 (2020): 287-308.

See more Research & Publications and Working Papers.

Recent Award Winners

  • Anton Boltachka
    Professor Jose D. and Ursula Epstein Award
  • Hannah Randolph
    James H. Weaver Prize for Teaching Excellence 
  • Yan Wang
    Frank M. Tamagna Education Endowment Fund
  • Matthew Templeton
    Frank M. Tamagna Education Endowment Fund
  • Bongsun Seo
    Fred and Barbara Bergmann Fellowship Fund
  • Yves-Myriam
    Adams Award
  • Lucas Warner
    Ruth Dewey Meade Prize
  • Joan Koo
    Econometrics Paper Award
  • Gustavo Rojas-Matute
    Naidel Award
  • Russell Rollow
    Naidel Award

The DC metro area offers by far the highest concentration of economist jobs in the US, 19 times the national average, as well as median salary 15% above average: $133,000.

Graduates of the Economics Department make up an impressive contingency of Alumni, having gone on to work at places such as

  • Deloitte
  • IBM
  • International Monetary Fund
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • US Department of Commerce
  • The World Bank Group

For more information on where AU Economics graduates land visit the We Know Success page or visit the PhD Job Market Candidate page.


  • PGAE presents Decolonizing Economics? Opening Up Economics to New Voices and Perspectives November 5, 2021, 1:00–6:00.
  • PhD candidate Elissa Cohen received an NSF grant for her dissertation to test assumptions about risk preferences and promote a more complete theory of how perceptions of risk guide decision making. Findings may improve analyses of regulations, promoting the health of populations more susceptible to hazards.
  • PhD alum Laura Sherbin spoke to the Washington Post about challenges for working moms in the ongoing pandemic.
  • Mary Hansen received a grant for $29,876 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “Doctoral Dissertation Research in DRMS: A Comparison of Value of Statistical Life Estimates Derived from Revealed and Stated Preferences.”
  • Kelly Jones received a grant for $26,552 from the Manhattan Strategy Group and the Department of Labor for her project about improving FMLA coverage in underserved communities.
  • Jon Wisman and co-author Quentin Duroy won the 2020 Journal of Economic Issues Editor’s Prize for best article for 2020: “The Proletarianization of the Professoriate and the Threat to Free Expression, Creativity and Economic Dynamism.”
  • Gregory Lane received a $16,727 grant from London School of Economics for “The Potential for E-Commerce Platforms to unlock high growth for firms in Africa”
  • Professor Gabriel Mathy in Salon questions the legality of President Trump’s eviction memorandum, and proposed universal healthcare and UBI, among other measures to improve a failing United States.
  • Professor Maria Floro told Business Insider that without a bailout for the childcare industry women will take a step back in participation in the workforce.
  • Professor Gabriel Mathy spoke to The Wall Street Journal about how the pandemic-caused recession has impacted Latino workers.
  • Professor Amos Golan presented to the Santa Fe Institute on the effects of universal TB vaccination, air pollution, and health-related expenditure on COVID-19 recovery rates.
  • Professor Evan Kraft published an opinion piece in The Hill entitled "Shaky economic data portend a shaky recovery."
  • Professor Maria Floro spoke to Business Insider about the effects of COVID-19 on women's careers.
  • Professor Amos Golan presented to the Santa Fe Institute on the effects of universal TB vaccination, air pollution, and health-related expenditure on COVID-19 recovery rates.
  • Professor Evan Kraft published an opinion piece in The Hill entitled "Shaky economic data portend a shaky recovery."
  • Professor Maria Floro spoke to Business Insider about the effects of COVID-19 on women's careers.



PhD Candidate, EconomicsPicture of Vasudeva Ramaswamy

Economics PhD candidate Vasudeva Ramaswamy credits American University with helping him zero in on his area of research interest and for equipping him with the tools to explore and contribute to his field. 

During his time at AU, Vasu spent two summers working with the World Bank, studying the impact of agricultural aggregators in East Africa — specifically, how they provided income and security to farmer communities. 

Vasu’s dissertation considers the effects of the Federal Reserve Bank’s actions on household inequality. Who gains and who loses when the Fed increases (or decreases) interest rates? And how do these effects propagate through the economy? Because business income and profits play a key role in household inequality, Vasu looks at how businesses respond to the actions of the Fed. 

After he earns his PhD, Vasu says he would love to be able to continue researching the importance of economic heterogeneity in monetary policy transmission. “I am particularly grateful for AU’s faculty, who are leading experts in their field and approachable and encouraging as mentors,” he adds. “I am equally grateful for the rest of my PhD cohort, who are a brilliant and motivated group. I am learning from them continually.”

Glen Kwende

Achievements ·

PhD Candidate Glen Kwende Receives Grant for Economics Work

Read More

Yami Payano

Alumni ·

Alumna’s Tech Startup Wins $100,000 in Google Funding

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A Career in Economics: It's Much More than You Think


Much more than finance, banking, business and government, a degree in economics is useful to all individuals and can lead to many interesting career choices. These four diverse individuals offer their insights on how a background in economics can be a tool for solving very human problems.