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Our Team

  • Kent Smetters
    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 ReviewJournal of Political Economy, and The Quarterly Journal of Economics.  He often is cited in major news outlets such as the Wall Street JournalForbes, and Marketplace, and also hosts the program “Your Money” on Wharton Business Radio (Sirius XM Channel 111).

  • Andrew Coopersmith
    Managing Director

    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.

  • Caroline Chang
    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.

  • Jagadeesh Gokhale
    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.

     

  • Lisa Marie Patzer
    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.

  • Andrew Sacher
    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.

     

  • Tanoy Mandal
    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
    Research Associate

    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
    Economist

    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.

  • Efraim Berkovich
    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 NPRHe 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
    Administrative Coordinator

    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
    Administrative Assistant

    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.

     

  • Seul Ki (Sophie) Shin
    Economist

    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

  • Matthew Stengel
    Staff Writer

    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.

 

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>