By Susie Eaton Hopper
Ayse Erdogan looks at international trade and the environment
International trade enriches our pocketbooks and our lifestyle, but many warn that it can also endanger the environment.
It's a concern Ayse Erdogan is probing in her Ph.D. dissertation. Her findings are encouraging. She demonstrates that including the right incentives in trade agreements can lead to both reduced pollution and economic gains -- and that this is particularly true for poorer countries.
Her Ph.D. advisor, Tim Kehoe, notes that Erdogan's work follows in the tradition of renowned University of Minnesota alumnus Richard Sandor, who founded the Chicago Climate Exchange. The Exchange allows members to trade the rights to emit greenhouse gases among themselves while committing them to lower their overall levels of pollution. Erdogan, he says, extends Exchange principles to the global level.
Born and raised in Istanbul, Erdogan earned her B.A. in economics at Bogazici University. A post-graduation stint as a bank management trainee assured her that she did, indeed, want to pursue her life's work in academia, so she returned to Bogazici University where she completed her M.A. in 2004.
When she decided to pursue a doctoral degree, she chose the University of Minnesota based on its reputation in macroeconomics.
But a class she took from Tim Kehoe on international trade in her second year turned out to be a signal event in her career, convincing her to shift her interests from macroeconomics to international macroeconomics. A project she did in that class gave her the idea for her dissertation, and it also won her the department's Sandor Fellowship in environmental economics.
Erdogan won second place in the Hardy Third-Year Paper Competition for "Global
Pollution, Endogenous Pollution Emissions and International Trade," and a CLA 2008 Graduate Research Program Partnership Dissertation Fellowship.
Now in her fourth year, she praises the economics department's workshop system for honing her research, presentation skills, and communication abilities. "All of our professors emphasize rigor, clarity and consistency. It is important for your scientific studies, but you try and be like that in all that you do,'' she says.
She loves teaching. "The thing I like best about being an instructor is seeing the potential in students. You can inspire new ideas some day."
Says Kehoe, "I expect that she will be very successful when she looks for a position as a professor in a university. She is an imaginative and insightful researcher, as well as a dedicated and inspired teacher."