News & Faculty Happenings


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Thursday, Oct. 27 – Have a look at today’s VT News article recognizing one of our newest faculty members, Dr. Shaowen Luo.


Finally, we would like to congratulate Mohammad Hadi Mostafavi Dehzooei, who successfully defended his dissertation, “Essays on Labor and Development Economics,” on Friday, September 23rd. Best wishes to you, Mohammad, and to all of our graduates!


We would also like to congratulate Poulomi Dasgupta, who successfully defended her dissertation, “Essays on Intra-Household Bargaining Power of Women in India,” on Wednesday, September 21st. Good luck to her, and be sure to congratulate her if you see her!


The Economics Department wishes Alireza Oryoie a big congratulations for successfully defending his dissertation, “Essays on Child Labor and Inequality Analysis”! If you see him, be sure to congratulate our latest gradaute!


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The Center for Instructional Development and Education Research (CIDER) has recognized Dr. Sheryl Ball as a Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week! Read more here.



The Center for Instructional Development and Education Research (CIDER) has recognized Dr. Steve Trost as a Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week! Read more here.



Dr. Eric Bahel thumbnailDr. Sheryl Ball thumbnailDr. Sudipta Sarangi thumbnail

 Congratulations to Dr. Eric Bahel (PI), Dr. Sheryl Ball and Dr. Sudipta Sarangi, whose research project on strategic lying and cooperation has received a Summer Scholars Award from the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment. It is well established in economic theory that cooperation often leads to efficient outcomes. However, self-interested agents typically fail to cooperate, which generates inefficient outcomes. This lack of cooperation is illustrated by well-known economic terms such as ‘the tragedy of the commons’. Their project examines a way of increasing cooperation between self-interested agents by combining pre-play communication and the proven notion that some agents are averse to deception or inequality; and they show that the standard result predicating non-cooperation is reversed. The project also includes an experimental component allowing to test the theoretical results. Applications relate to trade negotiations, conflict resolution, resource (mis)use, waste recycling, etc.

Congratulations to Zhuncheng (Flora) Li, a Ph.D. student in our program. She has received research funding from the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention’s Graduate Research on Violence Program for her project “Lying Aversion and Anger: Power of Communication in Conflict Resolution and Violence Prevention.”

Congratulations to Dr. Xiaojin (Aaron) Sun, our former Ph.D. student and Dr. Kwok Ping Tsang. Their paper What Drives the Owner-Occupied and Rental Housing Markets?  Evidence from an Estimated DSGE Model now forthcoming at Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.




Congratulations to Xi Chen!
The Economics department would like to extend our congratulations to Dr. Xi Chen, our newest graduate and alumnus. She graduated on May 14th, having successfully defended her dissertation entitled, “Three Essays on Labor Supply in China”.
In her words, “Both male and female labor market attachement has dramatically declined in China during the last three decades as the country makes its transition from a centrally-planned to a market-oriendted economy. My research seeks to understand this mysterious declining labor force participation rate in China by studying its evolution and determination in three essays: the first essay decomposes the decline of femalte labor force participation into different sources; the second essay studies how the former employment statusof a woman’s mother-in-law affects her current labor market participation decision; and the third essay explores how the inflow of rural migrants affects the labor supply decisions of urban residents in China.”
She will be working for the forecasting team at FedEx in Memphis, TN.

Commencement 2016
Congratulations to all of our 2016 Graduates!

On Saturday, May 14, 2016, 60 Economics, College of Science and 19 Economics, College of Business Degrees were awarded along with 1 Ph.D. to Dr. Xi Chen, Tyler Flinchum and Scott Confer were named as Outstanding Seniors and Arianna Slate was named Outstanding Junior. Our honored keynote speaker was Kyle Pedrotty, Vice President of Product Management at J.P. Morgan in Boston and a 2003 graduate from our department as well! We wish all of our graduates the best of luck in their furture endeavours!


Congratulations to Dr. Gebremeskel Gebremariam!
He has been unanimously selected as the recipient of the College of Science Diversity Award for 2015-16 for his dedication to students from all backgrounds and using his own personal experience to inspire them to appreciate what diversity means in a global sense, helping them become 21st century citizens.

haller Congratulations to Dr. Hans Haller, who has been named Scholar of the Week by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation for the week of May 2, 2016. Read more here.
Economics Senior, Clair Kelling, will be honored as White House Champion of Change
Dr. Sheryl Ball thumbnail Congratulations to Dr. Sheryl Ball, who has been named Scholar of the Week by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Read more here.
salehi On February 2 Iran held its first big election since the signing of the nuclear deal, for the Majles (or the parliament) and the Assembly of Experts that elects and oversees the Supreme Leader. The nuclear deal, signed last October, obligated Iran to partially dismantle its nuclear enrichment program in return for the removal of western sanctions. The day before the election, Virginia Tech economics professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani was a guest on a one-hour the BBC World Service program, joined by three other experts, to discuss the significance of the elections. As it happened, Iranian voters reinforced President Rouhani’s mandate to push forward with his program of rapprochement with the West. Here are excerpts from that program.
salehi On January 19, 2016, Dr. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani was interviewed on NPR to discuss Iran’s reaction to economic sanctions being lifted. Click here to read the transcript or listen to the interview.
Economics Alumna 2nd Lt. Rebecca McAfee Named Independence Bowl Hokie Hero
ashley Dr. Richard Ashley and several other researchers with the Virginia Tech Center for Autisum Research were featured in an article in the Fralin Explorer (Fall 2015 issue) for their work studying autism and heart synchrony. Click here to read the article.
tideman Dr. Nicolaus Tideman was featured on a WDBJ7 news segment to address Social Security payment concerns. Click here to see the segment.

Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands visited the College of Science departments on September 22, 2015. As part of his visit to the Department of Economics, Dr. Sands participated in “The Ultimatum Game”. Visit our facebook page to learn more about the experiment and the results.

Dr. Ricahrd Ashley and Dr. Chris Parmeter (Univ. of Miami) have just had their paper,“When is it Justifiable to Ignore Explanatory Variable Endogeneity in a Regression Model?”accepted at Economic Letters.

Dr. Ashley is also a participant in a research group based in the Psychology Department, that was awarded a grant from the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment (ISCE) to support proposal development activities related to social reciprocity impairments in people with autism spectrum disorder through physiological linkage.

Dr. Sheryl Ball thumbnail Dr. Sheryl Ball is part of a multidisciplinary team of faculty at Virginia Tech that has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study smart city infrastructure. Click here to read more.
On September 15, 2015, Dr. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani participated in a panel discussion on the Iran Nuclear Deal along with faculty from Physics and Political Science. Click here to see video of Dr. Salehi’s talk. Also, visit our facbook page to read a student review of the panel.
facebook The Department of Economics has launced a new Facebook site! Please click here to “Like” and Follow our page for news, research reviews, fun events, and updates about faculty and students!
spanos Dr. Aris Spanos has been reappointed the Wilson E. Schmidt Professor of Economics by Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis. Click here for more information.
sarangi Sudipta Sarangi selected as Department Head
Dr. Sheryl Ball thumbnail Dr. Sheryl Ball and her colleagues at VTCRI have research published this week in Nature Neuroscience. The publication is also featured in a Virginia Tech News article.

Xiaojin (Aaron) Sun, a graduate student in Economics, has recently accepted a
tenure-track position at the Department of Economcs and Finance at the
University of Texas, El Paso. Congratulations!

Dr. Sheryl Ball was featured in the College of Science Annual in an issue dedicated to Women in Science. Click here to read the article


The Center for Instructional Development and Education Research (CIDER) has recognized Dr. Gebre Gebremariam as a Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week! Read more here.

li The Center for Instructional Development and Education Research (CIDER) has recognized Dr. Grace Li as a Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week! Read more here.

Professor Gebre Gebremariam has been recognized as a Favorite Faculty Member! This award is through Housing and Residence Life within the Division of Student Affairs, it allows students living on campus to acknowledge faculty members who have had a positive impact on them. See video here.

Dr. Sheryl Ball discussed the game theory behind Jeopardy villain’s winning strategy on WDBJ7. See the video here.
Professor Gebre Gebremariam won an Excellence in Access and Inclusion Award from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Virginia Tech.