Interim Faculty Director
Dr. Smetters is the Boettner Professor in the Department of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is serving as the interim Faculty Director of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative for the 2014-15 academic year.
Professor Smetters brings a wealth of policy expertise to Penn Wharton PPI, with a strong record of research in public economics as well as work experience in the public sector. Starting in May 2001, he spent 17 months serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He subsequently became a member of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Dynamic Scoring, convened by the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress. His experience also includes a position as an economist in the Congressional Budget Office, and as a consultant for the World Bank and the Urban Institute.
Professor Smetters earned bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Computer Science from Ohio State University, and received his MA and PhD degrees in Economics from Harvard University. His research interests include financial regulation, government debt and Social Security policy, and retirement and financial planning. In addition to his faculty position at Wharton, Professor Smetters is a Faculty Research Fellow in the Aging Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), as well as a Research Associate in NBER’s Public Economics Program. He also is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and a Research Associate of the Michigan Retirement Research Center and the Pension Research Council.
Professor Smetters’ research has appeared in leading journals, includingAmerican Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and The Quarterly Journal of Economics. He often is cited in major news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Marketplace, and also hosts the program “Your Money” on Wharton Business Radio (Sirius XM Channel 111).
Andrew Coopersmith brings to Penn Wharton PPI his academic background in economics and history in addition to his extensive administrative experience at Wharton and Penn.
Dr. Coopersmith began his career at Penn as an Associate Director in Career Services. In 2005, he was selected as the Director of Administration and Advising for the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management (LSM), a dual degree program of the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences that integrates the study of bioscience and business. As the first director of that program, he worked with faculty and administration to establish it as a premier Penn program for undergraduate students. He launched a summer internship program for LSM sophomores and juniors that places students in life science companies as well as consulting and investment firms across the U.S. and overseas. For his work with LSM, Dr. Coopersmith was a recipient of one of Wharton’s 125th Employee Recognition Awards, for his demonstration of “extraordinary effort, leadership and innovation.”
Dr. Coopersmith earned a B.A. in Economics from Georgetown University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from Harvard University, where his area of specialization was the U.S. Civil War. He is the author of Fighting Words: An Illustrated History of Newspaper Accounts of the Civil War (The New Press, 2004), and his articles have appeared in North & South, a magazine for Civil War scholars.
Director of DC Operations
Caroline Chang joins Penn Wharton PPI with a depth of experience in the federal, nonprofit, and private sectors, to build out the Initiative’s Washington, D.C. activities and promote new opportunities for Penn students. Ms. Chang was a senior advisor and chief of staff to the Chief Human Capital Officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she was responsible for human capital strategic planning.
Prior to DHS, Ms. Chang was a senior manager for education and outreach at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, where she established a network of several hundred colleges, universities, and federal agencies to promote public service opportunities to students across the country. Previously, as a Presidential Management Fellow, Ms. Chang worked on education policy at the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Domestic Policy Council, and the U.S. Senate. She also worked in political polling and market research for corporate clients at Penn, Schoen and Berland.
Ms. Chang earned her masters in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and her undergraduate degree in public policy and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She also completed certificates in nonprofit management and leadership from Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University.
Director of Special Projects
Before joining Penn Wharton PPI, Jagadeesh held senior positions at the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Jagadeesh has (co)authored many studies on fiscal policy covering issues in health care, labor productivity, national saving, life‐insurance, financial planning, and the effect of government policies on intra‐ and inter‐generational resource distributions. His work has appeared in top‐tier academic journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics and in the U.S. Budget’s Analytical Perspectives. Jagadeesh has also testified on policy issues before committees in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, and has written many articles in popular print and online media such as the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, American Spectator, and Forbes.
Director of Web Communications
Lisa Marie Patzer is a digital media professional who has worked in web, video, and multimedia production since 2001. Prior to joining the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, Ms. Patzer managed the web communications, social media, and digital video marketing for Penn Alumni Relations.
Ms. Patzer earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Media Arts from Temple University. Her graduate research explored the influence new media technologies have on the individual and the public sphere. With the use of interactive sensors and physical computing devices, Ms. Patzer designed interactive video installations and online interactive narratives.
As Director of Web Communications for Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, Ms. Patzer develops, manages, and executes web and social media content. By fostering online access to economic research at the University, the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative strives to strengthen the connections between faculty, students, alumni, journalists, and policymakers.
Director, Penn Wharton PPI Data Warehouse
Andrew Sacher brings to PPI a background in public policy, financial markets, and technology. Prior to coming to Penn, he worked in global‐economic consulting at the Lindsay Group (TLG) and SGS, and developed the first Android e‐book app. He also worked at the White House’s National Economic Council and at Caxton Associates, a global‐macro hedge fund. Andrew graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in Economics, finishing in three years.
Assistant Director for Strategic Outreach
Tanoy Mandal came to Penn Wharton PPI with a background in government affairs and economic policy research. Prior to joining Penn, he worked in the Office of Federal Relations of Rutgers University where he largely handled the social media and digital presence of the office. Mr. Mandal also worked in the Office of Government Affairs of Princeton University, creating the office website and handling the science portfolio.
Mr. Mandal earned his B.A. in Economics from Princeton University, with certificates in finance and political economy. At Princeton, his research focused on the military, including papers on counterterrorism and defense contracts.
Alexander Arnon came to Penn Wharton PPI with a background in public policy and economic research. Prior to joining PPI, he worked as an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, where he focused on macroeconomic policy and labor markets. He has authored or coauthored papers on monetary policy,factor income shares, and self-employment. Alexander graduated from McGill University with an honors B.A. in economics.
Jorge Barro’s field of specialization is macroeconomics with applications in tax and health care policy. Before coming to Penn Wharton PPI, he was an assistant professor at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he taught PhD-level mathematics for economists, public finance, health care economics, and microeconomics. During his time at LSU, Jorge Barro was funded by a grant through the Louisiana state legislature that involved the development of a dynamic macroeconomic model for state tax policy evaluation. Jorge Barro also held a brief position as an economist at the Louisiana Department of Revenue, where he assisted state leadership in the development, coordination, and implementation of economic policy. He holds undergraduate degrees in economics and mathematics from LSU and masters and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Texas at Austin.
Senior Data Analyst
Efraim Berkovich comes to Wharton PPI after teaching as an assistant professor of economics and finance at a liberal arts college in New York. Before going into economics study, Efraim worked in information technology, having held the position of technical architect at AXA Financial and CTO at an internet start-up. Additionally, Efraim worked at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s global equities group and on projects for NASD (now FINRA) and the U.S. Treasury.
Efraim’s published work includes a study of index options in the Journal of Derivatives and an analysis of welfare implications of payment cards in the Review of Network Economics for which he was interviewed on NPR. He also has a number of publications and patents in computer engineering. Efraim earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, his M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his B.S. magna cum laude in Mathematics from Georgetown University.
John Galm comes to Penn Wharton PPI after spending nearly a decade traveling the country while playing music semi-professionally. Through various temporary and odd jobs between travels, as well as his experience managing live music events, John developed a facility for administrative work, which he hopes to further develop with Penn Wharton PPI. Originally from the Lehigh Valley, John earned a BA in English Literature from Kutztown University, and expects to pursue further education in the near future. He also still writes and records new music, and is probably working out a melody in his head right now.
Leah Hirsch came to Penn Wharton PPI after dancing professionally with the Pennsylvania Ballet for four years. She has performed at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, the Vail International Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center. Leah also performed in Manna’s annual benefit performance at the Forrest theatre and volunteered at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Leah is currently pursuing a Mathematical Economics degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sophie Shin holds PhD. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise are Empirical Microeconomics, Search and Matching Theory, Labor Economics, Family Economics, and Demography. Sophie’s scholarly research papers can be found on SSRN.
Matt Stengel came to Penn Wharton PPI with both a background in financial research and a history of service as a member of the Penn community. He was instrumental in growing Penn Wharton PPI’s presence on campus and coordinating those efforts with the Initiative’s operations in Washington, D.C., during his tenure as Assistant Director of Research and Coordination. Currently, he is responsible also for writing all Penn Wharton PPI Issue Briefs.
Mr. Stengel earned a B.S. in Economics from Wharton in 2010. At Penn, he was actively involved with the Newman Center and Fox Leadership through initiatives such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters financial literacy pilot program and FLINOLA (Fox Leadership in New Orleans). He also happens to be one of the few remaining 76ers fans on the planet.