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Meet the Stone Centre Postdocs

Tatiana Mocanu

Tatiana received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, and joined the Stone Centre in August 2022.

What drew you to UCL and the Stone Centre
UCL has one of the top departments of economics in the world. Housing a Stone Centre – one of the leading hubs for economics research on inequality – creates a unique opportunity for scholarly contribution. Doing a postdoc in such environment while transitioning from being a PhD student to a faculty member is the perfect opportunity to meet amazing collaborators and advance my academic research.


What are your research interests?
My work focuses on topics in labor and public economics, with particular interest to gender and racial inequalities in the economy. Firms and organizations have increasingly devoted resources to grapple with a lack of women and minorities at various levels of the corporate ladder. But how to best design processes that are bias-free, improve employee diversity, and select the best candidates, are still open questions. On the recruitment side, certain hiring practices that are considered important predictors of future productivity may disadvantage a particular group, hiring managers may be biased in difficult ways to observe, or firms may simply fail to attract enough applicants from minority groups. Answering these questions through the design of organizational practices and policy solutions are some of my research focuses.


What do you hope to achieve during your post-doc year?
I am very excited to be part of the rich research and discussion environment of the Stone Centre which I know will generate many exciting ideas and start new projects.


What do you think are some of the pressing issues in economics right now?
A comprehensive understanding of the causes and consequences of socio-demographic inequities in the economy that result in disproportionate gaps in market access, employment opportunities, and wealth accumulation. This can inform on and help design policy responses that adequately balance equity and efficiency goals.


What do you plan to do after your post-doc year?
Following my post-doc at the Stone Centre, I will join the Department of Economics at Columbia University as an Assistant Professor.

Riccardo Cioffi

Riccardo received his PhD from Princeton University, and joined the Stone Centre at UCL in September 2022.

What drew you to UCL and the Stone Centre?
UCL obviously has one of the best economics departments in Europe. The possibility of working at the Stone Centre doing research on inequality while also being at the centre of such vibrant community of economists was a no-brainer. I don't think I would have been able to find a better place to do the type of research that I do.


What are your research interests?
I am mostly interested in Macroeconomics and Finance, with a special focus on the role of household heterogeneity. The so-called "heterogeneous-agent" macroeconomics is certainly one of the most active areas of research of the last 10-15 years but I believe there is still a lot of ground that needs to be covered. One example is represented by the connection between the determination of asset prices and the distribution of wealth, which is something that the literature has only just begun to uncover and that I am actively working on.


What do you hope to achieve during your post-doc year?
At a high level, I would like to use this year to get a head-start into my academic career: submit my job market paper to a top journal, establish a network of co-authors and colleagues here in Europe, and start working on some exciting new projects that can bear fruit in the coming years.


What do you think are some of the pressing issues in economics right now?
As I mentioned before the literature has made a lot of progress on heterogeneous-agent macroeconomics. However, policy institutions (such as, for example, central banks) are somewhat lagging behind and mostly ignore heterogeneity when making policy decisions. While policy institutions certainly understand that such framework is relevant, there are a variety of challenges that need to be solved before we can take this extra step. I believe this to be one of the most important challenges we need to tackle in the coming years.


What do you plan to do after your post-doc year?
Next year I will start working as an Assistant Professor at the Paris School of Economics.

Authors

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Stone Centre at UCL.

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