Shiferaw “Shif” Gurmu, the new chair of the Department of Economics, holds a passionate commitment for building strong collaborations within the Andrew Young School and with other departments across the campus.
An econometrics expert and former World Bank consultant, Gurmu has been on the Andrew Young School faculty since 1998. Prior to joining Georgia State University, Gurmu held faculty positions at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, his native home, and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He accepted the position after serving as interim department chair.
“It is great to have Professor Shif Gurmu take the reins in the Department of Economics,” says Dean Mary Beth Walker. “He is an excellent econometrician with a real interest in public policy. We all think he will do a wonderful job!”
Gurmu plans to expand the department’s collaborative efforts with other disciplines so they are in line with the missions of the university and the Andrew Young School, particularly in the areas of teaching, student recruitment, research, external funding and outreach programs.
“In the short term, I would like for us to continue to recruit high-quality faculty and excellent students, and to acquire more resources through research and grantsmanship,” says Gurmu. “I also want to increase student enrollment in both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”
Gurmu will continue collaborating with the J. Mack Robinson College of Business to enhance the university’s joint B.B.A. degree program, a business degree with an economics focus. He also wants to expand the B.A. in International Economics and Modern Languages (IEML).
A proposal to establish a Bachelor in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) is well underway, which Gurmu hopes will be implemented by fall 2017. An M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in PPE is also under consideration. Long-term, Gurmu would like to create a joint academic degree program that incorporates economics, mathematics and statistics in collaboration with the university’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
“We look at what’s going on in the world in terms of the economy,” he says. “I want to continue our excellence in policy-relevant research in major fields of economics, including public economics, labor economics, health economics, experimental economics, environmental economics, and urban and regional economics.”
The economics department has been very successful in recruiting 2CI (Second Century Initiative) faculty who are nationally and internationally known for the quality of their research, interdisciplinary productivity and competiveness.
“The Andrew Young School is an exciting place to work,” says Gurmu. “There are a lot of activities that allow you to work in collaboration with various high-quality faculty. It’s also a great place to do interdisciplinary research.”
Gurmu’s applied research focuses on welfare-to-work transition, health care utilization, fertility, human capital, and the economics of innovation and technology. He has served on editorial boards for the Atlantic Economic Journal since 2003 and The Open Economics Journal, and has refereed for over 40 academic journals. A Fulbright Scholar, he holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Indiana University-Bloomington, an M.A. in Econometrics from the University of Manchester and a B.Sc. in Statistics from Addis Ababa University.