By adding as many as seven new senior professors, the Yale economics department hopes to tap the supply of top economics scholars and fill a demand for more faculty.
With one professor already accepting Yale’s tenure offer and six more senior offers outstanding, Yale faculty said the economics department is making a concerted effort to attract top talent.
“There was a decision by the department that we need to be aggressive,” economics professor George Hall said. “There was a gap in there that they’d like to fill.”
Microeconomist Michael Keane of New York University has accepted Yale’s offer. Keane works with labor economics and econometrics, and will help fill a void left by the departure of professor Ariel Pakes, economics professor Steven Berry said.
“It’s very good news,” Berry said.
Yale also has made a senior offer to microeconomics specialist Pinelopi Goldberg of Columbia University.
But the department’s biggest need may be in macroeconomics, where five professors have received senior offers.
The five are Andrew Caplin of NYU, Eduardo Engel of the University of Chile, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki of the London School of Economics, Lars Svensson of Stockholm University in Sweden and Robert Townsend of the University of Chicago. Townsend works with both macroeconomics and microeconomics, and Caplin would have a joint appointment with the School of Management.
Engel and Townsend declined to comment, preferring to wait until they had made a decision about Yale’s offer.
Provost Alison Richard, Yale’s chief academic and financial officer, said that attracting faculty in economics is not a sure thing.
“It’s an incredibly competitive field to recruit in,” Richard said.
The reasons for the large number of openings include retirements, the loss of professors to other universities and some unsuccessful recruiting attempts in the past.
“A few of last year’s offers didn’t turn out,” Richard said.
The candidates have a wide variety of interests and expertise.
Svensson has served on the selection committee for the Nobel Prize in economics and works with the effect of monetary policy.
Engel and Caplin look at fixed cost and the relationship of macroeconomics to microeconomics, and Townsend studies how one would make loans to the poor of the world, Hall said.
Kiyotaki’s work explores the underlying question of why people place value in money.
“Nobody except for Scrooge McDuck holds money because they like it, they hold it to buy things,” Hall said.
Kiyotaki, then, explores the exact reasons that people would have confidence in money if it has little or no value of its own, Hall said.
Goldberg, a microeconomist, works on international economics, Berry said.
As the six scholars mull over their offers, the economics department has to wait and see how many of these searches ultimately are fruitful.
“It can often take people a long time to decide,” Hall said. “It’s often a challenge to get top people to pick up and move.”