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Achieving Success - The Ph.D Journey of an Economics Student

Daniel Kebede traces his passion for economics back to childhood, where his parents, both


teachers, instilled in him a love for the field. His father, in particular, played a significant role in directing him towards economics, introducing him to books by famous economists including John Maynard Keynes.

"Since I was in elementary school, he used to say that I have to study economics. So, I've been directed in that direction, starting from my undergrad. Once you started studying economics, you just love it because it's a behavioral science, and at the same time, what makes it very intriguing is that it has measurements as well," said Kebede.

After visiting Purdue and meeting with the professors, Kebede knew it was the perfect place for him to pursue his PhD. He was particularly impressed by the expertise of Professor Justin Tobias, a Bayesian econometrics expert and someone whom he admires. During his time at Purdue, Kebede has worked on various projects with faculty members, including a job market paper on estimating the fraction of income shocks that transfers to people’s consumption as a measurement of happiness and well-being.

Kebede collaborated with marketing professor James Reeder on a research project that explored the impact of promotions on the vaccine rollout. The project focused on understanding whether promotions can increase the uptake of public goods. Through this project, Kebede was able to apply complex theoretical concepts from Bayesian econometrics and macroeconomics to real-world issues such as COVID-19 stimulus checks and vaccination campaigns.

Kebede has also received several teaching awards, including the distinguished Krannert teaching award and distinguished instructor award and has mentored and guided students along their PhD journey.

Aside from his studies, Kebede is a well-rounded individual with a variety of interests. He is a member of the basketball and soccer teams and enjoys spending his free time playing with his peers. He describes himself as an extrovert and values the connections he made during his PhD journey.

“I really enjoy teaching and it's like I got enough opportunity to be able to teach and to hone my craft of teaching. Every time I thought I got the distinguished teacher's award it meant I'm doing something right. I really love interacting with the students,” said Kebede who graduated in May ‘23.