Cheap, consistent, clean? Changing the models for sustainable electricity access

Sustainable Electricity Access for Africa Network – SEN-Africa, a multidisciplinary network of scholars from UMass Amherst (Economics, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering), Carnegie Mellon, University of Ghana, University of Cape Town, University of Nairobi and Argonne National Laboratory, is leading the debate on modeling approaches for achieving affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy (SDG Goal 7) in Africa, using innovative stakeholder consultation-based approaches.


M.V. Lee Badgett Makes “The Economic Case for LGBT Equality” in New Book

Book cover economic case for LGBT equalityFinding that homophobia and transphobia cost 1% or more of a country’s GDP, University of Massachusetts Amherst economist M.V. Lee Badgett argues in a new book that in addition to moral and human rights reasons, we can now also make a financial argument for LGBT equality.

“The economic case works,” Badgett says. “In the U.S. we’ve seen it help us move toward marriage equality. The ability to marry was good for the economic well-being of LGBT families, and also brought new opportunities to local businesses. That example can be applied in many other parts of the world.

Lynda Pickbourn Selected as 2020-21 Lilly Fellow for Teaching Excellence

Lynda Pickbourn, lecturer, economics

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has announced the selection of the 2020-21 Lilly Fellows for Teaching Excellence, including Lynda Pickbourn, lecturer, economics. 

Established in 1986, the Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence has fostered leadership in teaching by training over 240 faculty members, many of whom have gone on to win Distinguished Teaching Awards and College Outstanding Teaching Awards, chair departments, and serve in other leadership positions across campus. 

The coming battle for the COVID-19 narrative

Samuel Bowles is an American economist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he continues to teach courses on microeconomics and the theory of institutions.

Like the Great Depression and WWII, the COVID-19 pandemic (along with climate change) will alter how we think about the economy and public policy, not only in seminars and policy think tanks, but also in the everyday vernacular by which people talk about their livelihoods and futures.

Robert Pollin Publishes Two Op-Eds in 'The Nation' on the Government Deficit and Green New Deal

Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics.

Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics, published two op-eds in The Nation on April 9, 2020: "The Deficit Is Exploding! And That’s a Good Thing" and "Wanted: Shovel-Ready Projects for a Green New Deal."

The first piece explores the deficit spending that is necessary to fund the economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of political animus in expanding the deficit for this cause. The second piece looks at the first types of projects that should be approached under the Green New Deal. 

Ina Ganguli is Part Of Campus Team Awarded NSF Grant to Develop Tool to Aid Workers

Ina GanguliA campus team led by research professor Beverly Woolf of the College of Information and Computer Science (CICS) recently received a one-year, $838,722 grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Convergence Accelerator Program to support their project to create a tool for workers to analyze their profiles and skills and identify training and education to aid their career paths.

Faculty team members in addition to Woolf are Andrew Lan and Shlomo Zilberstein, CICS, Tom Juravich, sociology, Andrew Cohen, psychological and brain sciences, and Ina Ganguli, economics. For this project, they will develop algorithms and software to help companies and workers be successful in an evolving workplace. 

Read More


Léonce Ndikumana discusses his work shaping global policy with 'Times Higher Education'

Anti-corruption economist Léonce Ndikumana discusses his humble upbringing in Burundi, his five months in solitary confinement, and how his work is shaping global policy.

"In 1988, there was a protest where the local community demanded some changes, and the government sent in troops to quell the revolt, and they began killing people from my ethnic group, the Hutu," said Ndikumana. "At that time I was teaching at the University of Burundi as a junior lecturer, and we wrote open letters to the president to try to stop these indiscriminate killings. We were arrested and spent five months in solitary confinement."

Arindrajit Dube's report on the effects of minimum wages released by the UK Government

Arin DubeProfessor Arindrajit Dube’s report on the effects of minimum wages and the impact of the National Living Wage (NLW) in the UK has just been released by the UK Government. The report finds that “overall the most up to date body of research from US, UK and other developed countries points to a very muted effect of minimum wages on employment, while significantly increasing the earnings of low paid workers.” Read the full report here.