Welcome Back!

After over a year and a half of empty offices, silent classrooms, and the massive movement online, the Department of Economics is returning to campus as it builds back from the enormous human and economic devastation of the covid crisis. As we move forward, we are acutely aware that the pandemic is not yet over and significant challenges remain. Through these hard times, the department remains committed to excellence in teaching and education, continuing the UMass commitment to encouraging an unparalleled diversity of approaches to economic thought and problem-solving. The department’s faculty continues to provide innovative answers to today’s pressing issues, willing to dispute the conventional wisdom when needed. In short, the Department of Economics is continuing its proud tradition of changing the way we think about economics. This tradition is needed now more than ever. 

Isabella Weber's book "How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate" Named to Foreign Policy’s Summer Reading List

Recommended by Adam Tooze, FP columnist, professor of history, and director of the European Institute at Columbia University

This fascinating pairing can help readers understand how Russia’s and China’s paths have diverged. Isabella Weber explains how China’s communist regime escaped the 1980s trend toward economic shock therapy, while Chris Miller retraces how the Soviet experts around former President Mikhail Gorbachev studied China’s reforms—and tried and failed to emulate them.

Get more information about the book  and reviews on her website,  

Martin Wolf selects Isabella Weber's book "How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate" as one of his best mid-year reads

Martin Wolf associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times selects UMass Economics professor Isabella Weber's book "How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate" as one of his best mid-year reads. He wrote, China’s advance has been the transformative economic story of the past four decades. But why did China adopt its incremental strategy of “reform and opening up”? The German-born Weber, now at Amherst, provides a well-researched answer: the Chinese state “uses the market as a tool in the pursuit of its larger development goals”. Above all, by eschewing “shock therapy”, it sought to protect “the economy’s commanding heights” from destabilizing change.  Get more information about the book on her website,

Professor Jayati Ghosh Named Member of WHO Council on Economics of Health For All

UMass Economics Professor Jayati Ghosh was named as a member of the WHO Council on Economics of Health For All.  WHO is convening 11 leading figures in economics, health and development from around the world as the first members of the WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All. The Council’s role is to provide independent advice to the Director-General on addressing interrelated health and economic challenges and mapping out a way forward that supports communities and countries to build healthy societies.  To do so, it will provide recommendations for a new approach to shape the economy that supports health for all as an overall goal, including more equitable and effective health systems. 

Economics Professor Leonce Ndikumana Named Andrew Carnegie Fellow

Distinguished Professor of Economics Léonce Ndikumana, considered by many to be one of the best-known and most widely respected African macroeconomists of his generation, has been named a 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Ndikumana is the first University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty member to receive the honor.
Each year, the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program recognizes a select group of scholars and writers who receive philanthropic support for scholarship in the humanities and social sciences that addresses important and enduring issues confronting society. The fellows’ projects focus on a broad range of complex political, economic, technological, humanistic and sociological subjects. The recognition includes a $200,000 stipend, which Ndikumana will use to support his scholarship in macroeconomic and developmental impact of capital flight from African countries, an issue he has studied for most of his career.

What Drives Specialisation? A Century of Global Export Patterns

Economists frequently argue that, with regard to international trade, low-income countries will automatically specialize in producing basic commodities, while high-income countries export a mixture of technologically sophisticated and simpler products. These differences are typically explained by variations in skills, production technology, and other endowments, with little reference to historical processes. In contrast, complexity economics suggests that past productive capabilities can determine future capacities. In an innovative new study, Prof. Isabella Weber (UMass, Economics), Gregor Semieniuk (UMass Economics and PERI), Tom Westland (Cambridge University), and Junshang Liang (UMass Economics) analyze data over an entire century, across very different forms of globalization, and show that history matters: early patterns of specialization have a strong impact on what the world’s economies look like today.

Economics Major, Zac Steigmeyer '21 "From Equipment Manager to Goalie in the Frozen Four"

Class of 2021 Economics major Zac Steigmeyer made his NCAA hockey debut as the backup goalie in the Frozen Four when UMass defeated defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, April 8th.  Two of the Minutemen’s goalies entered the NCAA’s COVID-19 contact tracing protocols making them unavailable for the game, UMass was left with only one available goalie on the roster. Steigmeyer, who is the UMass equipment manager was cleared by the NCAA to play and has goalie experience. He played high school hockey in Springfield and reached Massachusetts’ elite Super 8 Tournament each year. Steigmeyer told Mass Live that seeing his locker at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, "It hit me a little bit like Wow, this is actually happening. That’ll be something I remember for the rest of my life.” He also told Mass Live “It’s very unfortunate what happened. Some of those guys are my best friends. They’ve gotten us to where we are. To see them not be on the ice for what could potentially be our last game is sad, but at the same time, we’re in this COVID world and its next man up mentality. I feel for those guys, but I feel like I have to step up into that role.” On April 10th UMass defeated St. Cloud State University to win the National Championship.

Stephen A. Resnick Graduate Student Essay Prize 2021

The Association for Economic and Social Analysis, in collaboration with Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture, and Society, is proud to announce that submissions are now being accepted for the 2021 Stephen A. Resnick Graduate Student Essay Prize. 

Stephen A. Resnick (1938-2013) earned his Ph.D. in economics from MIT, taught for eight years in the Economics Department at Yale University and two years at the City College of New York, before joining the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1973. Resnick was an award-winning undergraduate and graduate teacher. He also pioneered, in collaboration with Richard D. Wolff, an antiessentialist approach to Marxian economic and social analysis. Of their many jointly authored works, the best known are Knowledge and Class: A Marxian Critique of Political Economy (1987), New Departures in Marxian Theory (2006), and (with Yahya Madra) Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian (2012). Resnick was a founding member of the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and Rethinking Marxism.

The winner will receive a $2,000 award and publication of their essay in Rethinking Marxism.

To be considered for the 2021 Resnick Prize, please submit a current CV and a 4000-8000 word essay (consistent with Rethinking Marxism guidelines) to no later than June 1, 2021. The winner will announced by August 1, 2021

So You Want to Change the World? Study Economics

One of the best ways you can affect change for the better is to study economics. Panelists at the Women in Economics symposium, co-hosted by the Departments of Economics and Resource Economics, may have been only slightly biased in this opinion but their lived experience and research areas stand as testaments to their validity. 
“I care about the environment; I care about people, seeing poverty around and I don’t understand how this can be reality; and also about gender and how that plays such a huge role in the world around us,” said Onupurba Das, a PhD student in resource economics at UMass. “Imagining that I could have an impact through policy or the work that I do, I think that’s something important to me and something I want to see happen.”