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Dr. Mike Eriksen

Mike Eriksen is professor of Economics and the Director of the new Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management. He is anxious to share his passion with students. “One of my strengths is getting people excited about real estate,” he says. “I really enjoy working with students, introducing them to the field, and seeing their successes.”

Prior to joining Krannert, Eriksen served as the West Shell Associate Professor of Real Estate at the University of Cincinnati and academic director of the UC Real Estate Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and biology from Gonzaga University, and a PhD in economics from Syracuse University. He was previously on the faculty at the University of Georgia and Texas Tech University, and was a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 2019.

Eriksen’s interest in economics and real estate began during his undergraduate years while doing research on American Indian reservations. “I'm an urban economist, so I like to look at how tax policies and government effect how we live, where we live, and why we live the way that we do,” he says.

His research has appeared in top academic journals and has been cited in both national media and U.S. Congressional testimony about potential reforms to real estate markets. Eriksen has also received financial support for his research from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Research Institute for Housing America, Ohio Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Eriksen’s arrival at Krannert comes with high expectations. “All of the schools where I taught had existing real estate programs, so what attracted me to Krannert was the opportunity to start something from scratch,” he says. “My goal is to create something unique that benefits students, the profession, and the State of Indiana.”

His first priority will be to increase the number of students who are taking advantage of Krannert’s new minors in real estate and real estate finance. The minors  aim to attract both existing undergraduate Krannert students already majoring in business, and other students from different schools and colleges at Purdue.

“We’d like to have about 100 students from across campus in the next two years,” Eriksen says. “It is an exciting opportunity for both students and faculty to interact in ways that would otherwise not be possible without the program.”

The real estate finance minor allows students in business-related majors to develop in-depth knowledge of theory and practices in real estate and strengthen their leadership skills to pursue careers in real estate development, investment banking, real estate valuations, asset management, and related areas.

The real estate minor helps students in non-business majors acquire basic knowledge in business and economics, and develop in-depth knowledge in real estate issues and practices. It allows students to broaden or enhance their knowledge of their major field and create a unique skill set for successful future careers in engineering, hospitality, and technology.

A primary focus of the new program will be student success both inside and outside of the classroom.  This will be accomplished by providing students with industry mentors, internships, and job placements at some of the top real estate companies in the world. “The easiest way to build a successful real estate program is to invest in the students, as their own success is your best advertisement to future students and employers,” Eriksen says.

“I think students should study real estate because it's a great career path with real rewards,” Eriksen says. “Sometimes it’s hard to see the change that you make on a balance sheet, but real estate is a tangible way to make an impact on the world.”

Dr. Aaron Hedlund

Aaron Hedlund is an Associate Professor of Economics and a part of the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.  He comes to Purdue from the University of Missouri.  He earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.  

His research examines the interplay between household finance and the macroeconomy with a particular focus on how risk, heterogeneity, and market structure shape economic outcomes. Specifically, the macro dimensions of housing and higher education have emerged as focal points of my research by virtue of their unique market structures and because of their macroeconomic significance owing to the prominence of mortgage debt and
student loans as the two largest liabilities on household balance sheets.

At $1.5 trillion outstanding and with 300% growth over the past fifteen years, student loans are now the second largest household liability, in part driven by the nearly tripling of sticker price tuition that has occurred since the late 1980s. Motivated by these facts, Aaron and Grey Gordon, co-author, have embarked on a research agenda to identify the causes of rising college tuition and student debt along with its policy repercussions. Gordon and Hedlund (2019) (Accounting for the Rise in College Tuition) is the first paper to our knowledge that incorporates a rich model of the higher education market into a fully developed incomplete markets life cycle model with student debt and more recently as part of a larger project funded by the NSF, Gordon and Hedlund (2021)
(Accounting for Tuition Increases across U.S. Colleges) expand the previous analysis to examine the drivers of higher college tuition both over time and across types of institution.

Between his pre-PhD time as an undergraduate tutor, TA, and graduate instructor as well as post-PhD tenure as a faculty member, he has spent nearly two decades helping students to learn and achieve their goals. This teaching experience spans undergraduate and master’s degree classes across arts and sciences and business school environments to core and elective courses at the PhD level. "Each setting brings its own unique opportunities and challenges, compelling me to adapt and grow as a teacher and mentor so that I can engage students from a diverse set of backgrounds who have wide-ranging interests and aptitudes. For me
personally, this classroom experience also pays dividends in my research as it refines my ability to communicate clearly and examine intellectual questions from many different angles."

Dr. Lindsay Relihan

Lindsay Relihan joins Krannert as an Assistant Professor of Economics and a part of the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.  She comes to Purdue from the London School of Economics.  She earned her PhD at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  

Her research focuses on understanding how the spatial distribution of firms and consumers shape their interactions in local consumer and credit markets. "In my research, I explore spatial dynamics by developing economic models that illustrate the key mechanisms of interest and motivate empirical strategies that I take to data. I explore them by combining economic models with big data to provide new insights into the functioning of local markets. One major theme focuses on the implications of the rise of online retail for consumer and producer welfare and the future of cities. A second major theme deals with spatial effects in residential and commercial mortgage markets."

Her philosophy for teaching is: "I think the most valuable skill economics and finance professors can develop in their students, regardless of their future in a related field, is an ability to think critically about the incentives and systemic forces that lead to individual actions and outcomes. Understanding such dynamics can lead to better diagnosis and action to address important problems at every scale, from filling out a mortgage application to voting on a school redistricting plan to supporting changes in immigration policy. Thus, I hope my students will be better participants in civic society and not just subject to the forces around them." 

Dr. Ben Zou

Ben Zou comes to Purdue from Michigan State University as an Assistant Professor of Economics.  His PhD is from the University of Maryland, College Park.  

Ben is an empirical economist with research interests in Labor Economics, Urban Economics and Economic Development. 

Dr. Maria Jose Carreras - Valle

Maria Jose Carreras - Valle come to Purdue after completing her PhD at the University of Minnesota.  Her major fields of interest are International Trade, International Macroeconomics, Dynamic Trade Uncertainty. 

Maria Jose research studies the effect of uncertainty on trade. She explores how a firm’s trade decisions
are affected by uncertainty, and the mechanisms firms have to insure themselves against different
sources of trade risk. She focuses on the interaction between trade risks and global supply chains where
these risks can be amplified. My research agenda focuses on studying (i)
how does uncertainty shape trade and global supply chains, and (ii) how do firms insure against
these risks. I use theoretical and empirical tools to estimate dynamic trade models to provide
quantitative answers to these questions.

"Economics, as a broad subject, provides excellent tools to analyze and tackle all kinds of problems,
from everyday life choices to intricate public policy issues. It provides structure to the learning process and
fosters critical thinking. As a teacher, my main objective is for students to acquire these tools and use them
in the development of their own ideas."  Her teaching philosophy is guided by three main principles, which are creating a safe space in the classroom, equity in education, and a relatable use of narrative.

Dr. Bettina Klose 

Bettina Klose was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Krannert School of Management, Economics.  She received her PhD in Economics from Purdue University.  Before returning to Purdue as visiting faculty in 2018, she was a Chancellor's Fellow in Economics at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and prior to that a Post-Doc at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Bettina's research and teaching interests are in the areas of Game Theory, Industrial Organization, Market Design, and Political Economy. Her research has focused on models of conflict.

Dr. Andres Vargas 

Andres Vargas was promoted to Clinical Assistant Professor of Economics and the Director of Undergraduate Programs.  His PhD is from the University of Texas, Austin.  

Andres' main fields of expertise are macroeconomics and labor economics, with research interests in the areas of health, immigration, and time use. In these areas, he addresses two broad questions from a time use perspective: the economic impact of immigrants and the assimilation of immigrants to the US. His approach has been mainly micro-econometric, usually focusing on the identification and estimation of causal effects through the use of household survey data. 

His teaching philosophy: "I believe that is important that students actively participate in their learning by thinking, discussing, solving problems, struggling with complex questions, and explaining ideas in their own words. Therefore, I usually ask students to prepare before class, with the help of the textbook or lecture notes that I post beforehand, and encourage them to become actively involved in the learning process by exploring with me the ideas presented in class. I try to engage students in the classroom by placing abstract concepts and information into a more grounded and useful applications.

My goal is for students to realize that the economic tools and techniques that they are learning will allow them not only to analyze complex economic phenomena, but also make informed personal decisions and develop a better understanding of the world around them. In particular, I do five things to innovate and increase the quality of the students’ experience in my inperson and online courses. I use the latest available economic data on the topic being discussed both in the lectures and in the homework assignments; I relate the topics covered in class to current events in the news; I used short videos to motivate, summarize, or expand on the topic being discussed in the lectures; I use Hotseat and Dynamic Study Modules to keep the students engaged and increase their active learning experience, and I used digital interactive activities to help students explore in more detail the concepts covered in the lectures.

Dr. Melanie Fox

Melanie Fox jons Krannert from Virginia Tech.  She received her PhD from the University of Houston.  She believes engaging active learning is key. 

"I believe that the most important task for an educator is to convey meaning and relevance to students. The primary role of an educator is to guide students toward being self-educators and inspire in students a desire for lifelong learning. To do so, you must make a topic mean something to students in order to make them care deeply about it. That can be done in a variety of ways depending on the content involved, but narrative and active learning is the “secret sauce” for any subject."

Melanie strives to make students see themselves in the content and making economics relevant to them.  She is also likes to interact with her students.