Economics Department Hires New Junior Faculty

Simsek will be the sole addition to the economics department for next year

MIT Ph.D. student Alp Simsek, whom economics professor Jeremy C. Stein called “the most sought-after person on the economics job market this year,” will join the economics department as an assistant professor next fall.

Simsek, whose work focuses on macroeconmics and finance, is the only hire in the department for the 2010-2011 year.

According to Stein, not only is Simseck a “superstar,” but his area of expertise “fit with what we needed.”

“Both for teaching reasons and for the importance of [macroeconomics and finance] to research ... we have made these fields two of our top field priorities,” said John Y. Campbell, chair of the economics department. Acquiring Simsek was a “huge success,” he added.

Economic constraints have limited the department’s hiring ability, making Simsek’s joining even more significant.


The hire is “very encouraging and very important for our goal of maintaining our department at the peak of the economics profession,” Campbell said.

Simsek’s job market paper—the paper he presented to potential employers—was inspired by the financial crisis and “identifies the economic environments that are more conducive to asset price bubbles financed by credit,” Simsek wrote in an e-mail.

Simsek will design and teach a graduate course next fall that focuses on financial markets and macroeconomics. Additionally, he will teach Economics 1723: “Capital Markets” beginning in the fall of 2011.

Inspired by his relationships with professors at MIT, Simsek said he hopes to take on an advisory and collaborative role with his graduate students.

He also said he looks forward to working with undergraduates—many of whom will pursue finance-related careers—and helping them understand economics in a more “sophisticated” and “academic” way.

“[Simsek] is a brilliant young scholar ... and [he] will help a lot both with our finance teaching of undergraduates and with many interests of our graduate students in this area,” Economics Professor Andrei Shleifer wrote in an e-mail.

—Staff writer Julia L. Ryan can be reached at