Human Trafficking Data Conference a huge success

The SMU Human Trafficking Data Research (HTDR) Project Team and volunteers hosted the first-of-its-kind SMU Human Trafficking Data Conference! It was an amazing 2-day event of human trafficking experts working together to learn, ask questions, and network. Researchers, practitioners, law enforcement and governmental officials, nonprofit organizations, data scientists, and other stakeholders met to discuss the quality, availability, and efficacy of human trafficking data.

2024 Caren Prothro Faculty Service Award given to Wheaton-Paramo


Beth Wheaton-Paramo was be honored with the 2024 Caren Prothro Faculty Service Award at the Dedman College Faculty Meeting on May 6, 2024 The award is given annually to a full-time faculty member in Dedman College for a record of exceptional service to SMU and the DFW community.  The 2024 Award is shared by Wheaton-Paramo and Professor Darryl Dickson-Carr, a faculty member in the English Department.

Nathan Balke, 2007 Dedman Family Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics, to serve as Dean ad interim of Dedman College

Nathan Balke, 2007 Dedman Family Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics, has agreed to serve as Dean ad interim of Dedman College effective June 1, 2024, until a permanent dean has been named.
Professor Balke has twice been department chair in Economics, from 2000 – 2006, and again from 2010 – 2013. He has also been a Research Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since 1994 and currently chairs the Faculty Senate’s All-University Finance Committee. His research areas are in macroeconomics and applied time series analysis, and he teaches courses in macroeconomics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Nathan brings a wealth of experience to this position, and we are so proud he will be serving as interim Dean!

Research Article by Professor Roy Forthcoming in Top Economics Journal

Professor Santanu Roy’s recent paper, co-authored with Ayca Kaya, is forthcoming in the American Economic Review. Their paper “Repeated Trading: Transparency and Market Structure” introduces a framework whereby market structure and rent play critical roles in determining whether reliable records of past trading volumes in markets improve efficiency.

The American Economic Review is the flagship journal of the American Economic Association and is one of the most prestigious in the discipline. Congratulations to Professor Roy!

Dr. Mea Ahlberg Nominated for Prestigious Award

Dr. Ahlberg has been nominated for the 2024 HOPE Award. HOPE stands for Honoring Our Professor’s Excellence and is the highest recognition a student can bestow on a faculty member.

Residence Life and Student Housing believes that it is important to highlight those professors who have gone above and beyond in their role. The HOPE Banquet is an opportunity each spring for students from all residential communities to celebrate faculty excellence and involvement in the student experience at SMU.

Beth Wheaton-Paramo and team publish in Empirical Economics!

Beth Wheaton-Paramo, team lead for the SMU Human Trafficking Data Research (HTDR) Program, and her colleagues have published a paper in Empirical Economics this month. 

Using data housed in the newly created SMU Human Trafficking Data Warehouse, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Southern Methodist University and University College Dublin used count time series regression modeling to explain the effects of economic factors on the counts on federal sex trafficking-related convictions in the U.S.  This adds to the growing body of research being done within the SMU Human Trafficking Data Research (HTDR) Project. 



2023–2024 Provost Research Fellowship recipients

The Economics Department wishes to congratulate Professor Klaus Desmet on being selected as a Provost Research Fellowship recipient!

In the fall 2023 semester, the Office of the Provost, in conjunction with the Vice Provost for Research and Chief
Innovation Officer and the University Research Council (URC), selected the recipients of this year’s Provost
Research Fellowship – a $15,000 cash prize designed to provide research support to SMU’s outstanding
scholars during the current academic year.
This fellowship was open to current SMU tenured faculty nominated by their dean or by the Faculty Senate.
Nominated faculty were invited to submit research proposals for review and evaluation by the URC, who then
recommended the most meritorious proposals for final selection by the Office of the Provost.
The following are the 2023-2024 Provost Research Fellows:

Alexandra Pavlakis – Professor, Department of Education Policy & Leadership, Simmons School of
Education & Human Development
Klaus Desmet – Ruth and Kenneth Altshuler Centennial Interdisciplinary Professor, Department of
Economics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
Jennifer Dworak – Associate Director of the SMU AT&T Center for Virtualization and Professor,
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering
David Taylor – Co-Director of the Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation and Professor, Dedman
School of Law
James Lee – Professor, Perkins School of Theology

2023 Adjunct Teaching Award – Carlos Zarazaga

Carlos Zarazaga was awarded the 2023 Economics Adjunct Teaching Award at the annual Economics Department awards dinner in December.  Carlos joined the SMU faculty 3 ½ years ago, teaching Intermediate Macroeconomics. His professional experience working for the Federal Reserve System for 27 years gives him a unique perspective that students value. Carlos also participates in workshops with graduate students, and engages in research with faculty in the department. About his experience at SMU, Carlos says “…I find it rewarding that in the last class of the semester a bunch of them (undergraduates) usually come to shake my hand and tell me how much they appreciate that my Intermediate Macroeconomic class, albeit challenging, has allowed them to gain some understanding of the economic intricacies behind the Fed monetary policy decisions, about which they had read before almost daily in the press without a clue of what all the fuss was about. But perhaps my best claim to fame is to have managed to get only one disparaging email about my teaching skills from the 250 undergraduate students or so I have had in my courses since I joined the department.” Carlos is a great asset to the department, and we are deeply grateful for his collegiality and professionalism.

Alipio Ferreira receives University Research Council award

Assistant Professor Alipio Ferreira received a 2023-2024 University Research Council award.  URC research grants fund faculty research across the disciplines. Awards are ranked based on the significance of the proposed research, its value to the University and the career development of the proposer. A brief description of Alipio’s research follows.

“Inadequate waste disposal generates significant environmental risks, such as air, soil, and water pollution, with consequences for climate change (through greenhouse gas emissions) and human health (through the spread of diseases). In Peru, as in many low and middle-income countries, numerous waste disposal sites fail to adhere to safety standards, causing soil degradation, pollution, and health hazards for local communities. At the same time, the Peruvian national government lacks the capacity to monitor and enforce regulations. A potential solution to alleviate capacity constraints is to leverage remote-sensed monitoring, using freely available images from Sentinel satellites to inspect waste dumps. This initiative aims to aid the Peruvian national enforcement agency in developing a monitoring tool, enabling remote inspections and assessing their impact on regulatory compliance and environmental quality. The project involves utilizing satellite data to identify non-compliant sites, allowing authorities to communicate with local counterparts and implement necessary sanctions.”