Tao Zha Appointed Fellow of Econometric Society

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Tao ZhaTao Zha, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics at Emory University, was recently elected a new Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2017.  The Econometric Society, established in December 1930, is an international organization with the world’s largest membership of economists. The Society is dedicated to advancing economic theory as it relates to statistics and mathematics. Tao Zha is the first faculty at Emory University to earn this prestigious distinction.

The Fellows of the Econometric Society are a small group of luminaries elected by their peers. Past Fellows include Nobel laureates, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Chairwoman Janet Yellen, and other prominent economists in top economics programs around the world. 

The election of Zha as a Fellow was based on his influential work in macroeconomics that extends to three distinctive areas: monetary policy, financial economics, and econometric methods. His papers, “Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?’’, with Christopher Sims (a Nobel Laureate), and “Shocks and Government Beliefs: The Rise and Fall of American Inflation,” with Thomas Sargent (another Nobel laureate) and Noah Williams, are among the most influential papers for understanding the dynamic effects of monetary policy on the economy. His paper, “Understanding Markov-switching Rational Expectations Models,” with Roger Farmer and Daniel Waggoner, opens a new field on ways to analyze how regime shifts in monetary policy or in the structure of the economy shape the business cycle. His paper, “Land-price Dynamics and Macroeconomics,” with Zheng Liu and Pengfei Wang, offers new insights into the nexus between the financial sector and the real economy — an important contribution to our understanding of the 2008 financial crisis that was triggered by the collapse of real estate market. The Fellows of the Econometric Society have recognized both the depth and breadth of Zha’s scholarly work. Such recognition reflects a milestone in the continuing efforts of the Emory Economics Department to strive for eminence in both research and teaching. 

Zha’s work has also been recognized by other prestigious organizations. The 2011 Nobel Economic Sciences Prize Committee cited three of his articles. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) named Zha Research Associate in two of its programs: the Monetary Economics Program (in 2011) and the Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program (in 2012).  Founded in 1920, the NBER is a leading organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals.

Being a dedicated educator, Zha’s scholarly achievements in research has never compromised his devotion to teaching at Emory. He offers his mentorship to students at Emory and recently spent three years as co-director of the graduate program. His teaching blends research-based pedagogy with applied materials — an innovative approach widely appreciated by undergraduate and graduate students alike. For his excellence in teaching, Zha was appointed an inaugural distinguished visiting professor at Schwarzman College in 2016–2017. 

In the past years, Tao Zha has embarked on new research related to China’s economy. As the data on China are fragmentary, this project is challenging — it involves collecting new data and constructing new models for understanding the Chinese economy. Zha is undaunted. “As China is the second largest economy in the world,” he says, “we as researchers must make efforts in educating people about the importance of understanding the dynamic interactions between the two largest economies: the U.S. and China.”

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