Fall 2017 Newsletter

Real Banana Slug

Welcome to the Economics Department’s fall 2017 newsletter. We hope everyone had a wonderful fall quarter. This issue serves to inform everyone on what has been happening within the department and what events to look forward to in the upcoming quarter. We will highlight our new faculty members, our valuable student workers, and the various academic awards achieved by our economics students!

Do not forget that if you ever have any questions about our department, you can stop by our advising office on the fourth floor in Engineering 2, room 401. We are more than happy to assist you with any information regarding upcoming events or help creating a path towards graduation.

We wish you a great winter break!

Fall 2017 Peer Advisors

Announcement from the chair
New faculty and student workers
Faculty highlights
Did you know...?
Field study
Upcoming department events
Summer courses

An Announcement from Chair Kenneth Kletzer

Welcome to the Economics Department at UC Santa Cruz. Our department houses some of the most popular undergraduate majors on campus and several exciting programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Every year approximately 450 students graduate with a major in economics, business management economics, global economics, environmental studies and economics, or economics and mathematics. Our Ph.D. program has achieved a level of recognized excellence over the years and continues to grow and develop into new areas of frontier research in economics. Our M.S. program in applied economics and finance draws a large number of talented students from around the world and helps prepare them for professional careers in the private and public sectors. These programs are a tremendous success in attracting and graduating outstanding students from around the globe.

This is yet another eventful year for our department. We welcomed two new faculty members in September and are recruiting for four new professors this year. Jessie Li joined our department after completing her Ph.D. at Stanford University. Jessie’s research focuses on econometrics and its applications, and she is teaching Economics 113 and econometrics for the Ph.D. program. Alonso Villacorta also completed his Ph.D. at Stanford. Alonso is a macroeconomist researching the role of financial markets in macroeconomics. He will be teaching Economics 100B this winter and macroeconomics for the Ph.D. program in spring. We are excited to have Jessie and Alonso with us.

We are indeed busy recruiting faculty including a professor to lead the proposed M.A. program in public policy for the campus. The Economics Department is taking the lead in the proposal, which will result in the addition of an interdisciplinary program on the challenges, development, and analysis of public policies.

The Economics Department advising staff is amazing! Please take advantage of the outstanding resources in 401 Engineering 2. Our undergraduate advisors are Lisa Morgan and Inga Tromba, who simply know everything you need to know (and more!) to get through the major. We also have a fabulous group of enthusiastic peer advisors to help you out. Sandra Reebie always has an open door and is ready to answer questions for our M.S. and Ph.D. students.  Susan Leach, our department manager, and Leigh Faulk, our department assistant, keep the whole place running.

There are several student organizations associated with economics here at UCSC.  Delta Sigma Pi is a national professional fraternity for men and women that offers professional development opportunities and student networking. The Gesher Group is an undergraduate student business group that gives members hands-on experience in finance and consulting. The Slug Fund Investment Group brings together students interested in managing an investment portfolio, while. Students for Professional Development is a student group focused on building their professional skills and networking with professionals. The University Economics Association is our oldest organization and focuses on professional development and career opportunities. It promotes interactions among students and faculty to provide a richer educational experience in economics. Please check out these great opportunities to join a group of enthusiastic and supportive peers.

Our university, our campus, and our department will always be a welcoming and supportive home for all students of any background or experience. We are committed to supporting every member of our community, embracing diversity, and opposing intolerance in all its forms. We look forward to you joining our community.

New Faculty

Jessie Li
We are pleased to welcome Jessie Li, assistant professor, to the Economics Department here at UC Santa Cruz. Jessie Li, an econometrician with wide-ranging interests in applied econometrics problems, recently completed her Ph.D. at Stanford University. Before studying for her Ph.D., she double-majored in engineering and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Her passion for economics developed when she landed a role as a research assistant and began programming for econometricians.

Professor Li has enjoyed her time so far at UCSC.  She mentions the department’s great environment, ranging from its vast amount of exciting research projects to its tight-knit community where she can develop her own interests and help others do so as well.

For the fall quarter 2017, Professor Li taught both a graduate course, Econ 211A, Advanced Econometrics 1, and an undergraduate course, Econ 113, Introduction to Econometrics. In preparing for the undergraduate course, Professor Li wanted to make it more theoretical. Theoretical econometrics is concerned with methods, both their properties and development. She has enjoyed teaching and has learned a lot about her teaching methods.

Aside from academia, Professor Li enjoys taking walks around the campus, enjoys swimming and hopes to learn how to surf in the near future.

Alonso Villacorta
We are also pleased to welcome Alonso Villacorta, assistant professor, to the Economics Department here at UC Santa Cruz. Professor Villacorta, a macroeconomist with strong interests in the role of financial markets in macroeconomics, was born in Peru, majored in economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, received his master’s in Madrid, and then proceeded to complete his Ph.D. at Stanford University.

Professor Villacorta’s affinity for teaching comes from the joy of sharing his knowledge with other people. He has previously lectured econometrics for undergraduate students at the University of Peru and graduate students at Stanford.

For the winter quarter 2018, Professor Villacorta will be teaching Econ 100B, Intermediate Macroeconomics. For this course, he wants his students to focus more on theoretical concepts. He believes that this is a great method to internalize the material and apply it accordingly to real-life economic situations.

Aside from academia, Professor Villacorta enjoys playing sports, especially soccer. He’s an avid soccer player and in fact, he was part of a soccer team in Peru. Professor Villacorta enjoys the beauty of the UCSC campus and the city's beaches.

Student Workers

We are excited to introduce our student workers, Alison Li and Xochitl Lopez! These students help the Economics Department run efficiently and lend a helping hand wherever is needed. Alison has been working with the department for over a year now and Xochitl just joined us this fall quarter. The department appreciates all of their hard work. Thank you student workers!

Alison Ting Ting Li
“I have been with the Economics Department for about 1-½ years now and I definitely love working here! Everyone is super nice and I get to learn a lot of new skills! I am currently a third year pursuing a B.A. in business management economics. I'm interested in working in the hospitality industry, specifically hotels. A pathway from my high school called The National Academy Foundation: Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, is what got me interested in hospitality. I was given the opportunity to job shadow, visit hotels, and meet different CEOs every week. This inspired me to see myself in the future to be on a management team with a high-end globally known hotel. I also have a dream about opening my own cafe of some sort, so I'm planning to study abroad in Singapore to gain more knowledge of management and entrepreneurship.  I love traveling as well as exploring new places and learning new cultures. I find it amazing how different or similar other cultures can be compared to mine. Life is short, why not explore?”

Xochitl Lopez
 “I’m a junior transfer from Fresno City College and am affiliated with College Nine. I’m majoring in anthropology and my research interests include human skeletal biology, forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology, forensic archaeology, human decomposition rates, and disaster/mass fatality victim identification. When I’m not hiding in the depths of McHenry Library, I like to hike along the coast, read sci-fi books, play video games, figure draw, and play tennis with friends.”

Faculty Highlights

Economics professor Rob Fairlie was featured in an Inc. magazine story about the hiring practices of startups.  For complete story, please read here.

Distinguished Professor Dan Friedman named president-elect of Economic Science Association.  He will hold the position, which began July 1, for two years.  For complete story, please read here.

Economics lecturer Julie Gonzalez discusses with WalletHub about the most and least energy efficient states.  For complete story, read here.

Distinguished Professor Carl Walsh is this year's recipient of the Faculty Research Award for his highly reputed research on economics and influence on economic policy.  For complete story, read here.

Fall 2017 Student Awards

We are thrilled to announce that several hard-working and dedicated economics students at the graduate and undergraduate levels have received awards this quarter in recognition of their academic achievements.

Graduate Student Award

Eileen Brooks Memorial Award

Jiayi Xu
This year, the recipeint of the 2017-2018 Eileen Brooks Memorial Award is Jiayi Xu.  This award is for outstanding academic achievement for third-year Ph.D. students transitioning to research, based primarily on their second-year research papers.

Jiayi’s paper, "Local Government Response to Fiscal Squeeze: Evidence from China's Agricultural Tax Abolishment,” is a study of how the abolishment of an agriculture tax in China affected local government budgets. To credibly estimate effects, Jiayi (and her co-author Jijian Fan), exploit border discontinuities in the effect of the policy - the tax cut was fully offset by a subsidy in some areas, but not fully offset in other contiguous areas just across provincial boundaries. They find that the tax abolishment reduced local government budgets by 10%, and that local governments reduced expenditures by the same amount - governments were not able to raise other taxes in response, for example through more intense tax enforcement.

Congratulations Jiayi!

Undergraduate Student Awards

The Economics Department awarded five undergraduate awards this fall 2017 to juniors in the business management economics, economics, global economics, and economics/mathematics majors. The recipients are:

Aaron Justesen

Business management economics

Miles Mancinelli

Global economics

Louis Odiase

Business management economics

Jessica Xu


Wenjie Yu


All five students were selected on the basis of high academic merit and class standing. These award will help reimburse their tuition and fees for the school year.  Congratulations and great job to Aaron, Miles, Louis, Jessica and Wenjie!

Did You Know...?

The Economics Department is proud to announce the establishment of the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) student chapter here at UC Santa Cruz! Kevin Jones, accounting director, and Allison Go, second-year student as well as current president, were both pivotal in successfully setting up UCSC’s first professional accounting association. Kevin Jones joined UCSC’s wonderful economics faculty in 2016, and is currently teaching introductory, intermediate and accounting ethics courses here on campus.

The IMA is a worldwide organization of management and financial accounting professionals who are eager to step out of their comfort zone and accelerate their careers. It encourages students interested in the accounting sector to gain exposure to the profession through internationally held student conferences and networking events.  The beauty behind this association is that like-minded individuals, passionate for the accounting field, can convene together from all over the world to expand their network and improve their professional skills.

Finding a job is becoming more and more competitive as the number of highly intelligent and qualified applicants are increasing year after year. Joining a renowned international organization like the IMA provides an edge during the competitive interview process, and signifies to employers that the applicant is highly-motivated in expanding their profession.  Students interested in becoming a CMA (Certified Management Accountant) or even a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) are highly encouraged to join!

Students interested in joining may contact Kevin Jones for further questions or visit imanet.org.

Field Study Opportunity and Benefits

Field study is available every quarter for students to earn academic credit while working in the local community (Economics 193) or elsewhere (Economics 198) and earn credit for the practice:  service learning (PR-S) general education requirement.  Field study provides students with a practical context in which they can integrate course material.  Students work in a professional business environment where they are trained and supervised by a professional in their area of interest. An economics faculty member sponsors each student, providing guidance as well as instruction on how to blend the knowledge acquired in economics courses with the training they receive in the field placement.

Chris Connelly, past undergraduate participant, shares his experience at Education, Training and Research (ETR) here.

Upcoming Department Events

Please visit our events page for full details.

Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. in Engineering 2, Rm. 405A
Drop-in Resume Review with Career Coach

Friday, January 26, 2018 from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. in Engineering 2, Rm. 406
Career Opportunities in Wealth Management and Investments

Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. in Engineering 2, Rm. 405A
Drop-in Resume Review with Career Coach

Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the UCSC Music Recital Hall
Academic Senate 52nd Annual Faculty Research Lecture: Featuring Carl Walsh

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Winter Quarter Economics Faculty & Undergraduate Social

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Engineering 2, Rm. 499
Information Session for Prospective CPAs by Wiley CPAexcel

Friday, May 11, 2018 from 12-1 p.m.
Spring Quarter Economics Faculty & Undergraduate Social

Summer Economics Courses

Enrolling in summer courses gives you an opportunity to take much smaller classes than in normal quarters, it helps you get prerequisities and major requirements out of the way, and gives you a great excuse to spend the summer in the woods!  Enrollment begins May 1st at summer.ucsc.edu

Session 1 (June 25-July 27)
Econ 1 Introduction to Microeconomics {PE-H/IS}
Econ 10A Economics of Accounting I (online)
Econ 100A Intermediate Microeconomics
Econ 101 Managerial Economics
Econ 113 Introduction to Econometrics {SR/Q}
Econ 136 Business Strategy
Econ 197-01 Economic Rhetoric {DC}

Session 2 (July 30-Aug 31)
Econ 2 Introduction to Macroeconomics {PE-H,IS}
Econ 10B Economics of Accounting II (online)
Econ 100A Intermediate Microeconomics
Econ 100B Intermediate Macroeconomics
Econ 113 Introduction to Econometrics {SR/Q}
Econ 125 Economic History of the U.S.
Econ 133 Security Markets & Financial Institutions (online)
Econ 161A Marketing
Econ 197-02 Economic Rhetoric {DC}