Yale News

The Jackson School of Global Affairs, which first opened as a school this year, welcomed four new professors to its permanent faculty this fall.

The new faculty members include economics and global affairs professor Amit Khandelwal GRD ’07, political science and global affairs professor Jennifer Gandhi, economics professor Christopher Neilson and assistant professor of economics and global affairs Lauren Bergquist.

“I am thrilled with the new faculty we have recruited to Jackson,” inaugural Dean of the Jackson School Jim Levinsohn told the News. “They are among the best in the world at what they do and it’s really exciting to see them joining the growing Jackson faculty. Building the faculty of the new school is going to take time, but we’re off to a really promising start.” 

Each of the faculty members have joint appointments at other schools and departments at Yale.  

Bergquist said she was enthusiastic about the opportunity to work simultaneously in Yale’s economics department and at the Jackson School, where the perspectives brought by faculty from various disciplines create an intellectually “exciting” environment. 

Bergquist is a development economist with a focus on agricultural markets and firms in sub-Saharan Africa. Next spring, she will be teaching a development economics course at Jackson that looks at international development and poverty issues in low- and middle-income countries. In particular, the class will focus on how researchers can evaluate the impact of different policies and programs that are designed to promote development, ranging from educational and health outcomes to agricultural markets.

“My class is really about ‘how do you know and study the causal impact of those programs?’” Bergquist said. “I hope that folks get excited by development in particular — it’s the thing that I’m passionate about — but I think that general framework of how you identify the causal impact of certain policies is something that can be applied to a whole range of issues, not just development.”

Bergquist moved to Yale this summer after four years at the University of Michigan’s Economics Department.

Khandelwal studies the link between economic development and international trade and previously taught at Columbia University for 15 years. Neilson is an applied microeconomist whose research looks at education markets. Prior to joining Yale, Neilson founded ConsiliumBots in 2018, which is a nongovernmental organization that has developed tools to aid over two million families in seven countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. Gandhi, who was a professor at Emory University, is a political scientist with a special interest in authoritarian regimes and transitions to and from democracy.

In addition to the four new faculty, Jackson also recruited two existing faculty members at Yale to join the new school.

Lorenzo Caliendo, a professor of global affairs and management, will serve as the Jackson School’s deputy dean. Caliendo is also teaching a class this fall on economics for global affairs. Pinelope Goldberg, a professor of economics and global affairs, is also joining the Jackson faculty. Goldberg was the former chief economist of the World Bank Group.

Two new full-time lecturers have also joined Jackson, including David Morse, who worked at the writing center at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy for almost 20 years. Morse will serve as the director of Jackson’s writing program.

“I’m … impressed by the wide range of experiences and expertise found at Jackson among the faculty, staff, and students,” Morse wrote in an email to the News. “I’m especially eager to follow our students’ careers after Jackson and witness their global impact.”

Morse added that his wife used to live in Connecticut, so coming to New Haven has been “a sort of homecoming” for them.

This semester, Morse is teaching a graduate seminar on professional policy writing that focuses on analytical thinking and effective communication in policy-related careers.

“Writing is arguably our students’ primary means of influencing policy, so honing this skill is crucially important,” Morse told the News.

Morse will be teaching another graduate seminar in the spring, which looks at the problems posed by the spread of disinformation for persuasive policy writing. The class will study the difference between honest persuasion and coercive manipulation. Morse explained that many of the rhetorical strategies employed in disinformation campaigns — such as targeted emotional appeals — are the same techniques used in good faith to persuade readers, so determining that ethical line is vital.

Ardina Hasanbasri also joined Jackson as a full-time lecturer this fall, where she is teaching classes on the fundamentals of economics for global affairs. Before joining Yale, Hasanbasri taught economics at the University of Michigan.

The school has also announced that Mayara Felix will join the faculty at Jackson as an assistant professor of economics and global affairs in 2024.

Felix is currently working on her postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University’s International Economics Section, and will then complete a yearlong postdoctoral fellowship at Yale’s Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics. Her area of focus is in development, labor markets and trade.

Faculty will continue to be recruited over the next few years at Jackson, with a goal of around 30 ladder faculty members.

The Jackson School of Global Affairs is Yale’s first new professional school in over 40 years.

Miranda Jeyaretnam is the University desk editor. She previously covered the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and developments at the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS. Formerly the opinion editor under the YDN Board of 2022, she co-founded the News' Editorial Board and wrote for her opinion column 'Crossing the Aisle' in 2019-20. From Singapore, she is a junior in Pierson College, majoring in English.