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Research Affiliates and Fellows

Assistant Director

Yang Liang

Yang Liang | San Diego State University

Yang Liang is an Assistant Professor of Economics and the Assistant Director of CHEPS. He is an applied economist specializing in labor and international economics. Recent projects examine the spillover effects of recreational marijuana legalization and e-cigarette taxes, as well as how workers and firms respond to trade policy and technological upgrading. He received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 2018.

 

Postdoctoral Affiliate

Caterina Muratori

Caterina Muratori | San Diego State University

Caterina Muratori is a Postdoctoral Affiliate in Economics at the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies (CHEPS) at San Diego State University. She received her MS from the University of Bologna in 2018 and her Ph.D. from the University of Torino and the University of Reading in 2022. She is an applied microeconomist and her research interest includes women's health and abortion access, gender inequalities in the labor market, violence against women, substance use and regulation, and educational inequalities.

 

Faculty Research Fellows

Ryan AbmanRyan Abman | San Diego State University 

Ryan Abman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at San Diego State University. He joined the faculty at SDSU after completing his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research lies in the areas of environmental and natural resource economics as well as political economy. Recent work has aimed to improve our understanding of the relationship between agricultural productivity and deforestation, trade and deforestation, and governance and forest conservation.

 

Audrey N. Beck

Audrey Beck | San Diego State University

Audrey Beck is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in sociology with specializations in demography and stratification from Duke University. Following graduation, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Office of Population Research and Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University. While there, her primary focus was the impact of union formation and dissolution on child health, parenting, and child school readiness. She first came to San Diego State University as a postdoctoral research associate before joining the Sociology Department as an Assistant Professor in 2015. Her work uses a variety of demographic methods to understand race, ethnic, and nativity disparities in health. Recent work, with colleagues at USC, explores a) the impact of neighborhood economic conditions and crime on birth outcomes and b) the collection of police-involved death data and the contextual and policy correlates of such deaths. Dr. Beck has received a number of grants and fellowships and has published her research in Demography, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Gerontology, Social Science Quarterly, American Journal of Public Health, Sociology of Education, and the Journal of Marriage and Family, among others.

 

Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown | University of Colorado Denver

Ryan Brown is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado Denver. His research interests span multiple fields of applied microeconomics including development economics, labor economics, health economics, economic demography, and political economy. Dr. Borwn's work has primarily focused on applying econometric techniques to population representative data in both developed and developing country settings, to examine how changes in the social, physical, and/or economic environment can have a persistent impact on health, preferences, and human capital accumulation. Recently, he has also begun to explore the relationship between the success of women competing for positions in entry-level positions and its subsequent impact on the gender gap at the top of the career ladder.  

 

Hao Fe

Hao Fe | San Diego State University

Hao Fe is an Assistant Professor of Economics at San Diego State University. Her research combines econometric models with emerging big data sources to create novel causal inference approaches. My areas of interest include child development, education policy, the economics of crime, social networks, and health economics. My recent project implements a newly developed identification strategy to estimate the effect of children’s time allocation on their skill formation. I am currently investigating the causal impact of social networks on consumer behaviors, and the relationship between neighborhood change and crime. One of her working papers has been recently published at a high quality, peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Shoshana GrossbardShoshana Grossbard | San Diego State University 

Shoshana Grossbard is Professor Emerita of Economics at San Diego State University and Research Fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics.  She is also a member of the Family Inequality Network at the University of Chicago.  Shoshana is a leading scholar in the economics of marriage and the family.  Her work has been published in such journals as the Journal of Political Economy, the Economic Journal, and the Journal of Population Economics. She serves as president of the Society of Economics of the Household (SEHO) and is currently a CHEPS Scholar in Residence.

Brandy Lipton

Brandy Lipton | University of California, Irvine

Brandy Lipton is an applied microeconomist specializing in health economics and public policy. Her core interests lie in exploring the connections between health care policies and both health and economic outcomes. The majority of her work leverages state-level variation in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program policies. For example, recent research has explored the effects of optional benefits in Medicaid on adult health and labor market outcomes. Ongoing work is examining whether adult Medicaid benefits affect outcomes among children of adult enrollees.

After completing her graduate studies in economics at Northwestern University, Dr. Lipton spent several years working for health agencies within the federal government. Her work involved analysis of nationally representative household surveys fielded by these agencies to address a variety of health and public policy topics. This work was published in high quality peer-reviewed economics and policy journals including the Journal of Health Economics and Health Affairs.

Dr. Lipton is currently a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Society, and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at San Diego State University. She is an active participant in the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies (CHEPS) seminar series, and also sits on the advisory board for the Center.


Jacob PenglaseJacob Penglase | San Diego State University

Jacob Penglase is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College. Prior to joining SDSU, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bordeaux and an associate economist at Analysis Group. His research focuses on measuring poverty and individual well-being. His past work has examined consumption inequality among children in the context of child fostering in Malawi. More recent research studied the relationship between poverty and household size in Bangladesh. His work has appeared in Economic Development and Cultural Change.

 

Faculty Affiliates

Prashant BharadwajPrashant Bharadwaj | University of California, San Diego 

Prashant Bharadwaj is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University.  Prashant’s research interests are in development and labor economics, focusing on the interactions between early childhood health, gender, and education. He is also a Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and holds research affiliations at the Center for Effective Global Action, the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, and the Centre for Economic Policy Research.  Prashant is co-editor at the Journal of Human Resources and an associate editor at the Journal of Development Economics.

Jeffrey ClemensJeffrey Clemens | University of California, San Diego 

Jeffrey Clemens is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research and an affiliate of the Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine.  He is currently an associate editor at the Journal of Health Economics and American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.  He has previously held visiting positions at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin.   He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2011 and his B.A. from Harvard College in 2005.

Zach Fone

Zach Fone | United States Air Force Academy

Zach Fone is an Assistant Professor and Analyst for the Office of Labor and Economic Analysis (OLEA) at the United States Air Force Academy. He is an applied microeconomist with research interests in health, crime, labor, public, and sports economics. Zach received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of New Hampshire in 2020. 


Gokhan KumpasGokhan Kumpas | California State University Los Angeles

Gokhan Kumpas is an Assistant Professor of Economics at California State University Los Angeles.  He received his B.A. from Izmir University of Economics in Turkey and his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire in 2021 in Economics with specializations in health economics and policy analysis from the University of New Hampshire. His dissertation focused on The Spillover Effects of Anti-Discrimination and Anti Violence Policies. His research interests include applied microeconomics (specifically health, risky behaviors, crime, and education). Gokhan's recent research has been published in high-quality peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Human Resources and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He has been a CHEPS Research Affiliate since the Fall of 2017.

 

CHEPS Research Affiliates

Brittany Bass

Brittany E. Bass | Semel Institute, University of California, Los Angeles

Brittany Bass received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine in 2019. She is currently an Economist for the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs in the Semel Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining UCLA, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Sacramento State University. Brittany is a health economist, primarily researching the impact of policies related to substance use disorder treatment on youth and adult health and economic outcomes. Her past research has focused on examining the impact of sex education mandates, maternity leave laws, minimum wages, and technology funding. Brittany's research has appeared in peer-reviewed economics and policy journals including Economics of Education Review, Contemporary Economic Policy, IZA Journal of Labor Policy, and Journal of Population Economics.


Drew McNicholsDrew McNichols | Amazon

Drew McNichols received his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. He is an applied microeconomist specializing in labor economics and public economics. His most recent work studies the impact of policies related to gender pay inequality. In other work, he studies topics such as youth criminality and the impacts of marijuana legalization. Drew was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of California San Diego, and the Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies (CHEPS) at San Diego State University.

 

Student Affilates

M.A. Students

Alex Marvin

Alex Marvin | San Diego State University 

Alex Marvin is a first year master student at SDSU. He received his B.A. in economics from CSU Channel Islands in 2022. During his time in undergrad Alex developed an appreciation for statistics and quantitative analysis. After graduation, his interest in diversifying and expanding his breadth of knowledge motivated his decision to pursue graduate studies at SDSU. Upon completion of his master program Alex intends on being positioned to enter an industry aligned with his major. Subjects that are of particular interest to Alex include econometrics and statistical modeling. His research interests include health, international, and equity in shared resources.

Cooper SmileyCooper Smiley | San Diego State University 

Cooper Smiley graduated from San Diego State University in 2021 with a B.A. in Economics with an emphasis in International Economics. Prior to attending SDSU, he was a Civil Affairs Medic in the United States Army. Working in remote, third-world countries sparked his interest in economics. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Economics at SDSU. Upon competition of the M.A. program, he hopes to continue to a Ph.D. program in Economics or Public Policy. His interests include development economics, health economics, and labor economics. In his free time, Cooper likes to cook, workout, and play with his dog, Tess.

 

Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas | San Diego State University

Eric Thomas received his B.S. in economics and B.A. in political science from The University of the Pacific in 2017. During his undergrad, Eric developed an interest in both international economics and institutions. After graduation, he worked in banking as a credit analyst before deciding to pursue further graduate studies in Economics at SDSU. His tenure at the bank resulted in an interest in financing and the role it can play in encouraging community growth. His research interests include international trade, labor policy, migration, and financial economics. Specifically, he is interested in how these intersect and relate economic development. After completing the program, he is planning on attending a Ph.D. program in either economics or public policy.


Isaiah ValenciaIsaiah Valencia | San Diego State University 

Isaiah Valencia received his undergraduate in Statistics at the University of California, Davis. He is currently pursuing his M.S. in Statistics at San Diego State University, though he aims to continue onto a Ph.D. in Economics in 2023. His primary research interest is causal inference, particularly in the economics of risky health behaviors and poverty.

Briana Verdugo

Briana Verdugo | San Diego State University

Briana Verdugo is a recent graduate of the University of San Diego. She graduated with a B.A. in Economics with an emphasis on data analytics. Prior to her college career, she was an Aviation Electrician in the United States Navy. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Economics at San Diego State University. Upon completion of a master's degree, she is interested in continuing onto a Ph.D. program focusing on public policy or economics. Her research interests include labor, public and urban economics. Some of her hobbies include reading, rock climbing and biking around San Diego. 

Yiying Yang

Yiying Yang | San Diego State University 

Yiying Yang recently graduated from Nangyang Technological University with an M.A. in Managerial Economics. She graduated from Sichuan University with B.A. in Finance. She used to be an exchange student at San Diego State University and currently doing research in Economics at there. She is interested in applying a Ph.D. program focusing on Economics. Her research interests include labor, international and public economics. In her free time, she like reading, watching movies and traveling, and she has travelled to Italy, Greece, Spain and Switzerland this year.

Doctoral Students

Alona Bilokha

Alona Bilokha | Fordham University 

Alona Bilokha received her M.A. in Economics from San Diego State University in 2018. She earned Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and graduated with Honors in Advanced Business Analysis from Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College (CUNY). She has work experience in Strategy and Policy (NYC Department of Education), Financial Strategy (Kenneth Cole), Investment Banking (UB.S.), and Credit Risk (Société Générale). Her research interests include public economics in the areas of health, education, and labor, among others. Additional interests include data science, predictive modeling, and machine learning. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Business at Fordham University.

Matthew Braaksma

Matthew Braaksma | University of Minnesota

Matt Braaksma received his B.A. in Accounting with a minor in Economics from Eastern Washington University and an M.A. in Economics from San Diego State University. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota. His interests include environmental resource economics, natural resource economics, and developmental economics.

Cal Bryan

Cal Bryan | Colorado State University

Cal graduated in 2013 with a B.S. degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences at Texas A&M University, and minored in Economics. After graduation, he worked for a few years as a recreation technician and type 2 wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado. He recieved his M.A. in Economics from SDSU in 2020. His interests include environmental policy, welfare economics, and the economics of outdoor recreation. After he finishes his degree he would like to pursue a Ph.D. or work in a government agency. 

Andrew DickinsonAndrew Dickinson | Univeristy of Oregon

Andrew Dickinson received his M.A. in Economics at San Diego State University in 2019. He is currently a first year graduate student at the University of Oregon. He is interested in researching a wide range of applied microeconomics including health and public economics. Upon completion of his degree he plans to one day become a university professor. 

Toshio FerrazaresToshio Ferrazares | Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara

Toshio Ferrazares is currently in his third year of the Economics Ph.D. Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses largely on Public and Labor Economics. His current work focuses on the economics of policing and crime, where he has studied the effect of body-worn cameras on police and civilian safety. In 2021, he received an award for "Best Second Year Paper." Before attending UCSB, he obtained a M.A. degree in Economics from San Diego State University where he was a CHEPS MA affiliate.After obtaining his PHD, he hopes to pursue a career in teaching at the university level. 

Travis FreidmanTravis Freidman | University of New Hampshire

Travis Freidman is Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the Paul College of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire; specializing in applied macroeconomics.  His research focuses on the effects of trade policy both historical and current. He has written about Vilfredo Pareto’s sociology and war’s effects on religiosity. Travis has presented at INET’s YSI Plenary in 2016.

Russell Leonard 

Russell Leonard | University of California, Irvine

Russ Leonard is a Ph.D. student in economics at UC Irvine. He earned his M.A. in economics from San Diego State and his B.A. in philosophy and economics from CU Boulder. His interests include various topics in public and labor economics, such as media and transportation. Upon completing his Ph.D., Russ hopes to pursue a career in academia or industry. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and fishing.

Rebecca Margolit 

Rebecca Margolit 

Rebecca Margolit graduated with a B.S. in Economics from the University of California, Davis. Directly following, she worked for several years in the insurance industry as a claims adjudicator. However, as she had an opportunity to follow her passion for economics, she returned to graduate school to obtain her M.A. in Economics from San Diego State University where she began her career in research as a CHEPS affiliate. Rebecca’s interests include labor, health, and environmental economics.

Alicia MarquezAlicia Marquez | Cornell University

Alicia Marquez received her B.S. degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Economics and an M.A. degree in Economics from San Diego State University. In the fall, she will be attending the Policy Analysis and Management Ph.D. program at Cornell University. She chose this program because of its interdisciplinary nature, with strong faculty in fields ranging from health economics to demography to environmental economics. Her specific interests include natural resource economics, health economics, and public policy. 

Kyutaro MatsuzawaKyutaro Matsuzawa | University of Oregon

Kyutaro, also known as Kyu, received his B.A. and M.A. in economics and B.S. in statistics from SDSU.  He is currently a second-year Ph.D. student at University of Oregon and is working on several projects with CHEPS. The first set of projects include re-examining the effects of minimum wage on poverty and public benefit assistance. The second project examines the effect of California's indoor mask mandate on COVID-19 spread. Another project is examining the effect of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests that occurred in 2020 on human behavior. This paper recently received a revise & resubmit at the Journal of Human Resources, one of the top labor economics journals, and some of the referee comments involved working with more complicated data such as individual COVID-19 case data and hospitalization data.

Cameron MilaniCameron Milani | Claremont Graduate University

Cameron Milani received his B.A. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and his M.A. in economics at San Diego State University. In the fall he will attend Claremont Graduate University. His interests include labor economics, economic development and housing markets.

Tam Nguyen

Thanh Tam Nguyen | University of New Hampshire

Thanh Tam Nguyen is a Ph.D. student in Economics at the University of New Hampshire. She received her B.A. and M.A. in Economics at San Diego State University and is trained as an applied microeconomist. Her research examines the effects of public policies (including minimum wages, medical marijuana laws, and physical education laws), the effect of the business cycle on religiosity, and the relationship between sexual identity and labor market outcomes  among Australian sexual minorities. Tam has presented her work at the Western Economic Association, Eastern Economic Association, American Society of Heath Economics, and Population Association of America annual conferences. In May 2015, she won an award for "Best Poster" at the Population Association of America meetings. 

Niranjana Prasad | Université catholique de LouvainNiranjana Prasad

Niranjana Prasad is a Ph.D. student at the Université catholique de Louvain, where she is an affilate at their Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE Institute). She received her M.A. in Economics from SDSU in 2018. She has previously worked with the World Bank, Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRM.A.) and the Belgian diplomatic mission in India. During her stint with the World Bank she worked on the Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) and with IRM.A., on survey design and quantitative research for academic papers. She has also completed a Masters in Economics and International Financial Economics from the University of Warwick. Her areas of interest are Applied Econometrics, Health Economics, and Public Policy. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Université catholique de Louvain.

Samuel SaffordSamuel Safford | Michigan State University

Samuel Safford received his B.A. in Applied Economics from California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) and his Masters of Arts in Economics at SDSU. In the fall he will attend Michigan State University’s Ph.D. program in Sociology. His interests include political economy, housing markets, economics of education, and public policy. 

Usamah WasifUsamah Wasif | University of New Mexico 

Usamah Wasif is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of New Mexico. He received his B.A. in Economics and Accountancy at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and an M.A. in Economics from San Diego State University. During his time in SDSU, he carried out research on risky behaviors, Medical Marijuana Laws and labor force participation rates, research that influenced his Ph.D. research focus. He is in training to become an applied micro-economist with a primary interest is in Public/Labor and Health Economics.