June 12, 2008
Vol. 27 No. 18

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    Erik Hurst, Professor of Economics and a Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow in the GSB

    By Allan Friedman
    Graduate School of Business

    Erik Hurst

    Erik Hurst, Professor of Economics and a Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow in the Graduate School of Business, has received the Emory Williams Award for Teaching Excellence. Hurst teaches macroeconomics to students in the full-time, evening and weekend M.B.A. programs.

    Presented annually, the Emory Williams award is given to a GSB faculty member in recognition of accessibility to students and enthusiasm and innovation in teaching. Students submit nominations for the award.

    “I like to teach students about the macro-economy because the economy closely effects how business decisions are made and how interest rates are set,” Hurst said. “When I explain current economic conditions in class, it also helps me internalize current economic concepts; that, in turn, shapes my research,” he said.

    Although the class covers the basic tools of macro-economy, the curriculum varies from year to year, based on changes in the national economy. “In 2000, we looked at how to deal with a budget surplus, and in 2001, we examined the impact of productivity gains,” Hurst said. “This year we looked at the housing market, the slowing economy and political fears of inflation.”

    Hurst describes his class as rigorous, but said his teaching style is conversational and folksy. Students are exposed to the latest research conducted by economists from the GSB and elsewhere, he said. “My class is at the frontier of macroeconomic research.” As evidence, the course Web site includes 140 pages of notes on 14 topics in economics.

    Hurst’s research covers such areas as personal consumption and household financial behavior. His recent papers include “Conspicuous Consumption and Race,” co-written with Kerwin Charles, the Steans Family Professor in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, and Nick Roussanov, (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper); “Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship,” with Anna Lusardi (Journal of Political Economy); and “Measuring Trends in Leisure” with Mark Aguiar (Quarterly Journal of Economics).

    Hurst won the 2006 TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security for his article about the transition to retirement, titled “Consumption Versus Expenditures” and published in the Journal of Political Economy.

    Hurst is a member of the Economic Fluctuations Group, the Aging Group and the Public Economics Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    He received a B.S. from Clarkson University in 1993, and earned both an M.A. in economics in 1995 and a Ph.D. in 1999, from the University of Michigan. He joined the GSB faculty in 1999, and in 2005, he was the inaugural recipient of the John Huizinga Faculty fellowship.

    Emory Williams, a former chairman and chief executive of Sears Bank & Trust Company and the Chicago Milwaukee Corp., established the teaching award in 1984.