This page describes some of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives that are being undertaken by the Economics department. These efforts fall within the broader DEI framework in operation at the university and school level.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact the diversity committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridge to PhD
The Department of Economics is pleased to announce that it will continue to be part of Columbia University’s Bridge to the Ph.D. program in 2023.
The Program is designed to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs in STEM fields, including Economics. It is an intensive research, academic, and mentoring experience for post-baccalaureates seeking to strengthen their graduate school applications and to prepare for the transition into Ph.D. programs. Recent bridge alumni have gone on to Ph.D. programs at institutions such as Columbia University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Cornell University, Northwestern University, the University of California-Davis, the University of Chicago, and Weill Cornell Medical College.
Bridge participants are hired as full-time Columbia University research assistants (RAs) for up to two years and conduct research under the mentorship of faculty members, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students. Potential research areas within the department include behavioral economics, development, education and health, and political economy. An overview of the department’s research can be found on the Program for Economic Research website. The faculty webpage is also searchable by research area.
The 2023-2024 salary for Bridge RAs is a minimum of $54,100 per year. Program participants are also provided with $2,000 per year to support professional and educational expenses (examples include travel to professional conferences and the purchase of books), and, as full-time employees, are eligible for University benefits.
Additionally, Bridge participants typically enroll in one to two courses per semester at Columbia that is related to their future field of study. For economics scholars this might include mathematics courses, undergraduate electives in economics, or Master’s or PhD level introductory courses. The Program also provides monthly one-on-one progress meetings with the Program’s Director (Dr. Coral Fernandez-Illescas), and organizes a number of professional development workshops, provides access to GRE test preparation, and partners with Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to ensure success while at Columbia and to facilitate application to Ph.D. programs.
The Bridge to the Ph.D. program is currently accepting applicants for the 2023-2025 program. The deadline is 17th February 2023. Please visit the Bridge to the Ph.D. program website for information about how to apply.
Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program
Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies aims to be a bridge between talented African-American students and the Fortune 500 companies looking to employ them. The program offers scholarships to the MA program in economics, as well as many other programs.
For more information, and to apply for the program please visit the HBCU Fellowship website.
Resources For Current Students
- The Program for Economic Research at Columbia University has available grants that can be used by undergraduate students to attend conferences such as those run by the Sadie Collective or the American Society for Hispanic Economists. To apply, please fill out this form. Related questions and inquiries should be submitted to email@example.com.
- The American Economic Association runs a summer and scholarship program that enables students to develop and solidify technical skills in preparation for the rigors of graduate studies. More details can be found here. If you are interested in the program, and would like help to apply, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The economics department maintains a page of career and research opportunities. If you would like to discuss any of these opportunities further, please contact email@example.com.
- For students interested in pre-doctoral research positions, Pathways to Research and Doctoral Careers lists current pre-doctoral and research assistant job openings. It also provides information on what pre-doctoral positions are, why you might want to apply, and how to prepare a successful application. The NBER research assistant repository also lists full-time job openings for projects led by NBER-affiliated researchers.
- The American Economics Association (AEA) has a helpful video that describes the perhaps surprising range of careers that the study of economics can open up.
- The American Economic Association runs a mentoring program, which matches African-American, Latino, and Native American economics Ph.D. students and new doctorates with mentors in the field, and also facilitates networking between more senior economists and students at all stages of the educational and early-career pipeline. More details of the program, including how to apply can be found on the AEA website.
- AGES has recently appointed two student liaisons to the diversity committee. If you would like more information about the work of committee, please contact Dafne Murillo and Gina Markov.
Interested in getting involved in initiatives to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the economics profession? Below are a list of programs that may interest you.
- The Bridge to the PhD is a post-baccalaureate program designed to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs. In order to function the program needs both faculty members and Ph.D students to act as mentors, peer advisors and PIs. Please contact Dan O’Flaherty for further information.
- GSAS partners with the Leadership Alliance to host an eight- to ten-week Summer Research Program for undergraduates with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion. Participants conduct graduate-level research under the supervises of Columbia faculty and a graduate student mentor, approximating the graduate experience through exposure to the mentor/advisee relationship, scholarly research opportunities, and independent living. They operate at Columbia, and need both faulty and Ph.D. students to act as mentors. Please contact Afiya Wilson for more information.
- The Double Discovery Center works with low-income, first-generation college-bound youth from Harlem and Washington Heights to help ensure their success to, through, and beyond college. Volunteer opportunities can be found on their website.
- The Adopt a Paper mentoring program aims to expand and diversify access to high quality feedback by matching recent economics PhD recipients to senior scholars. Mentors provide advice on one working paper.
- The American Economic Association runs a mentoring program, which matches African-American, Latino, and Native American economics Ph.D. students and new doctorates with mentors in the field, and also facilitates networking between more senior economists and students at all stages of the educational and early-career pipeline. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, visit the AEA website.
- Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute is looking for mentors to join the 2021 Brainyac High School summer program. Mentors can be graduate students, postdocs, research scientists or faculty from any lab working in neuroscience or a related field at Columbia University. This year’s program dates are from Thursday, July 1, 2021 to Friday August 20, 2021, with a mentor-mentee matching process happening toward the end of spring (dates tbd). Sign up by March 14th!
- The Research in Color Foundation (
RIC) is a 501c(3) non-profit that aims to increase the number of historically underrepresented scholars in economics and economics-adjacent fields (public policy, political economy, applied economics, finance, and quantitative methods in political science). We do this by matching scholars looking to pursue doctoral degrees in economics or economics-adjacent disciplines with seasoned economists and quantitative social scientists, as mentors, who guide them through the Ph.D. application process and work through a 8 month-long independent research project of their own choosing.
All mentees have the opportunity to present their research live at our annual conference in August. Over the years we’ve had conference keynote speakers and panelists including Prof. William Spriggs, Dr. Lisa D. Cook, Prof. Amy Finkelstein, Prof. Jesse Rothstein, Prof. Leonard Wantchekon, Prof, Nathan Nunn, and Economics Nobel Prize winner Prof. Esther Duflo, among others. Additionally, mentees have access to our quantitative skills building workshops in collaboration with J-PAL at MIT, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and the World Bank. We provide a 1000 USD scholarship to mentees that complete the program and a 2500 USD first year fellowship for mentees that go on to start a PhD, which is sponsored by the Jain Family Institute and Innovations for Poverty Action. We also provide internal fellowships with J-PAL at MIT and the Jain Family Institute for mentees that have successfully completed the program.
DEI Research and Activity at Columbia
Many faculty members in the Economics Department are currently involved in research and activity related to DEI efforts. Some examples are below.
- Douglas Almond is working with Shuang Zhang on a project entitled “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Anti-Chinese Sentiment on Social Media,” part of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy’s (ISERP) Center for Pandemic Research. This project seeks to analyze patterns of anti-Chinese sentiment on social media; shedding light on potential drivers of the anti-Chinese response to COVID-19 will inform public policies that might help reduce racial bias.
- Sandra Black was previously a member of the AEA Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) and of the AEA Committee on Equity, Diversity and Professional Conduct in the Economics Profession, and she organized the Mentoring Breakfast for Junior Economists at the 2020 and 2021 AEA annual meetings. She was also a panelist at the Women in Macroeconomics Conference, a Distinguished Visitor for the Women in Economics Group at Boston University, and a speaker for the Women in Economics Group at Arizona State University.
- Jennifer La’O is the CSWEP liaison to Columbia University and a recipient of the Provost’s Grant for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University. She was a Fall 2020 Faculty Mentor in the Women in Economics Mentoring Workshop, a research mentoring workshop organized by Boston University for third and fourth year female Ph.D. students in the greater New England area, and she has also presented at the Women in Macroeconomics Conference.
- José L. Montiel Olea, along with Rajiv Sethi and Dan O’Flaherty, is studying police homicides in the United States. They are looking at both the overall incidence of these events, and racial disparities among their victims.
- Dan O’Flaherty is a member of the Committee on Equity and Diversity in Arts and Sciences. Last year, he was a co-organizer of the conference “An American Dilemma for the 21st Century” at the Schomburg Center (digital exhibition), which brought together scholars across disciplines who study race in America. He also teaches an undergraduate course on the economics of race, and is the author of the textbook The Economics of Race in the United States.
- The Economics department participated in the 2021 Sadie Collective annual conference and the 2020 ASHE Pre-Doctoral Pipeline Conference, with faculty members representing the department at both events.
- Bentley MacLeod and Miguel Urquiola—in work with former Columbia Ph.D. student Evan Riehl, and Juan Savedra—have explored programs introduced by the Colombian Government to improve labor market outcomes for individuals who do not attend elite universities. Their current work explores how firm search strategies may lead to disparities in labor market outcomes by neighborhood that are unrelated to individual skill. Two NBER working papers address these studies: “Is Education Consumption or Investment? Implications for the Effect of School Competition” and “The Big Sort: College Reputation and Labor Market Outcomes.”
- Columbia University Commitment to Diversity (https://president.columbia.edu/educationaldiversity)
- Resources for racial justice at Columbia (https://www.universitylife.columbia.edu/resources-for-racial-justice)
- Diversity and Inclusion at GSAS (https://gsas.columbia.edu/our-intellectual-community/diversity)
- AEA best practices (https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/best-practices)
- The Sadie Collective (https://www.sadiecollective.org/)
- Office of University Life (https://www.universitylife.columbia.edu/)
- Center for Justice (https://centerforjustice.columbia.edu/)
- Racism and the Economy: Focus on the Economics Profession (https://www.minneapolisfed.org/events/2021/racism-and-the-economy-focus-on-the-economics-profession)