A Letter from the Chair

Updates, introductions, and points of interest from Aric Shafran, Professor and Chair of Economics.

Welcome to the Winter 2020 edition of the Cal Poly Economics Newsletter. After several years on hiatus, I am pleased to reestablish our annual department bulletin.

The Economics Department here at the Orfalea College of Business continues to thrive. Our graduates have been finding jobs at top companies, including recent placements at Apple, Amazon, KPMG, Ernst & Young, and Disney, to name just a few. Our faculty continue to publish well, with recent publications in Journal of Public Economics, Ecological Economics, Journal of International Economics, and Journal of Development Studies. Faculty research has also recently been funded by the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

In this newsletter we put a spotlight on a few of the initiatives and people that we are especially excited about right now. Some highlights include:

  • A piece about how our master’s students continue to excel, where we also discuss a current initiative to refine our curriculum to better fit the needs of industry based on feedback from our alumni and other experts.


  • Assistant Professor Stephanie Fisher talks about her recently published work on peer effects.


  • We highlight the accomplishments of Jack Keefer, last year’s winner of the Excellence in Economics Award, which is presented to our top graduating senior.


  • And we feature how your support and the engagement of our alumni community remain crucial to everything we do.

For up-to-date information on the department, its staff, course offerings, and activities, check our website.

As excited as we are to share what’s been going on with the Economics Department here at Cal Poly, we are also excited to hear from you. With that in mind, please get in touch with me (ashafran@calpoly.edu) or our Administrative Coordinator Sheila Smith (smsmith@calpoly.edu) for updates on what you have been doing, or if you have any questions or comments related to the department. And, if you are ever passing through the San Luis Obispo area, please stop by and say hi.

We hope that you are doing well and wish you all the best for the new year!


Aric Shafran

Professor and Chair of Economics