Ling Gao

As Yale prepares to open the new Tobin Center for Economic Policy in 2022, faculty members in the Economics Department have begun to temporarily relocate in preparation for construction.

Offices located at 28 and 30 Hillhouse Ave. — home to the Economics Department and the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, respectively — will relocate to two separate locations by the beginning of the summer, according to Economics professor Larry Samuelson. Samuelson, who has an office in 30 Hillhouse, explained that most of the faculty currently in 28 and 30 Hillhouse will return to their offices after construction ends. Economics faculty in 27 and 37 Hillhouse will move into the Tobin Center once construction is completed. Still, some professors have expressed dismay about having to vacate their offices for two years.

“I have been in the same office for over 20 years,” said Economics professor Giuseppe Moscarini, who currently has an office at 28 Hillhouse Ave. “I have a nice westward view and natural light that will be blocked by the new building.”

Still, he said that the need for “more functional common areas and classrooms to accommodate the dozens of classes, workshops, meetings and conferences that fill the econ community’s life” outweighs the inconveniences of moving.

According to Chair of the Economics Department Tony Smith, the new Tobin Center will connect to the buildings on 28 and 30 Hillhouse. Because this necessitates construction in the currently standing edifices, faculty in 28 and 30 have to move, Smith said.

“It will make one big complex,” Smith said. “All the levels will connect.”

Many professors claimed that Yale’s Economics Department needs a new building that can accommodate the students and faculty in one of the University’s most popular majors. Economics professor Ray Fair said that he thinks it will be “good to finally have the Economics Department all in one place.” He said it should “benefit both the faculty and the students.”

When asked how renovations could potentially impact students — especially those studying economics — Samuelson said that “students will notice virtually no impact other [than] having to learn some new office locations.”

In order for each professor affected by the construction to have sufficient office space in the interim, Moscarini said that “part of the faculty and graduate students will stay in 37 Hillhouse, [while] the majority will move to College Street,” where the department shares some space with the School of Management.

“That sense of community and all those activities at such a physical distance will be challenging, [but] after renovations, we will all be in one building,” he said.

The aim of the new facility is to support a community that provides the necessary tools to assist scholars in conducting data-driven domestic policy analyses. Through its dedication to research, the center will allocate targeted funds to affiliated faculty to further their studies, and allow students, recent graduates and postdoctoral fellows to take part in the various projects. In conjunction with the rollout of the Tobin Center, the Economics Department is establishing a more formal predoctoral research assistant program.

Formation of the Tobin Center was announced in June 2018. It is named after the late James Tobin, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who worked at Yale for 38 years.

Simi Olurin | simi.olurin@yale.edu

 

SIMI OLURIN