Abdullah Shamim Inaugural Bush PhD Fellow

Abdullah Shamim is the 2019/2020 inaugural recipient of the George W. Bush Institute Doctoral Fellowship. This fellowship is a key part of the new Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative that combines the economic policy expertise of the Bush Institute and the academic research expertise of the SMU Economics Department. These five-year Fellowships are generously funded at $27,500/year in 2019-2020 and come with a full tuition waiver and health insurance. They are intended to attract outstanding and ambitious Ph.D. students to the SMU Economics Department.

Abdullah has spent much of his life both in the U.S. and in Bangladesh. After being born in Bangladesh, he moved to Boston when 18 months old and then back to Bangladesh at age 7. Abdullah then came back to the U.S. at age 13 and he acknowledges this was a big change because “I first formally went to regular school at the age of 13. Before that, I was in a religious school where I memorized the Quran.”

From age 13, he lived in Virginia until he graduated with his B.A. in Economics from Virginia Tech in 2019. Now at age 23, he’s here in Dallas at SMU!

Abdullah’s research interests focus around understanding how economic institutions, broadly speaking the “rules of the game” that govern economic interactions and exchanges, affect economic growth and development. This is motivated by growing up in Bangladesh where, like many developing countries, his experiences led him to think about how the poorly designed economic institutions can hold back economic progress.

He hopes his PhD training at SMU will allow him to learn the economic theory of “mechanism design”. This is a field of economics that focuses on designing incentives and economic mechanisms that induce people to make the choices that lead to socially and economically desirable outcomes. As such, it can help policymakers design well-functioning, productive and efficient economic institutions.

Abullah is very excited not only to be starting his Economics PhD but also to be the inaugural Bush PhD Fellow. Regarding this opportunity, he said “I am very excited to be a part of the Bush Institute and I look forward to getting to know the people and the various strands of research conducted here. Through my association with the Institute, I hope to get exposure to interesting research topics so that I can begin formulating my own research direction.”

And the feeling is mutual! Cullum Clark, Director of the Bush-Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, said “All of us engaged in the work of the George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative are delighted to welcome Abdullah Shamim as the inaugural Bush Institute-SMU-Economic Growth Initiative Doctoral Fellow! The goals of our new doctoral fellowship program are to attract outstanding students of great promise to SMU’s Ph.D. program in Economics and to cement the strong partnership between SMU’s Department of Economics and the Bush Institute. We know Abdullah will do world-changing work at SMU and with his SMU education, and we look forward to working with him.”


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