Award-winning economists lined up for Sichel Series' 50th year

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO—Six award-winning economists will speak in the coming months at Western Michigan University as part of the Werner Sichel Lecture Series' 50th anniversary year.

This year's series carries the theme "Award-Winning Economists Speak on Contemporary Economic Issues" and features three recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, commonly referred to as the "genius grants." Two of the speakers won the prestigious John Bates Clark medal in economics, awarded by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under 40.

Photo of Dr. Erica .


The first speaker in the series will be Dr. Erica Field, associate professor of economics and Global health at Duke University and winner of the Elaine Bennett Research Prize, which is awarded by the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession to the best young female economist. Field will speak at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in 2028 Brown Hall on the topic "Making Microfinance Work."

Erica Field

Field is a development economist and uses the tools of microeconomic theory and health economics to analyze problems in the daily lives of individuals across the globe. Examples of her published research subjects include studies of microfinance, health insurance in Nicaragua, and schooling attainment in Tanzania.

She currently serves as a faculty research fellow in development at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a fellow at BREAD—Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis of Development—and a member of J-PAL—the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab—headquartered at MIT.

Upcoming Sichel presentations

All Sichel presentations begin at 3 p.m. in 2028 Brown Hall and are free and open to the public. Other dates, presenters and topics in this year's series are:

  • Dec. 4: Dr. Nancy Folbre, a professor emerita of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, "The Once (But No Longer) Golden Age of Human Capital."
  • Jan. 22: Dr. Avner Greif, professor of economics at Stanford University and winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, "Economic Development from a Historical Perspective: The Origin and Nature of Good Institutions."
  • Feb. 26: Dr. David Kreps, the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University School of Business and winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, "The Economics and Psychology of Worker Motivation."
  • March 26: Dr. Michael Piore, the David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy, emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, "Efficient and Effective Economic Regulation in a Confusing Technological Environment."
  • April 9: Dr. David Card, director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research and professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley and winner of the John Bates Medal, "Economics of Immigration Reform."

About the series

The Sichel Series is organized by the WMU Department of Economics and named in honor of Werner Sichel, a longtime WMU economics professor and former department chair, who retired in 2004. The series is annually cosponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. The lectures are open to the public and formatted with the general public in mind.

This year's series is being organized by Dr. Jean Kimmel, a WMU professor of economics.