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The University of Michigan’s

68th Annual Economic Outlook Conference

was held virtually on November 19–20, 2020

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Please visit summer 2021 for information on the 69th Annual Conference.


Robert W. Arnold

Robert W. Arnold, Ph.D., is Chief of the Projections Unit in the Macroeconomic Analysis Division at the Congressional Budget Office.  In that capacity, he oversees and contributes to analyses of economic developments that influence the economic outlook, including the preparation of the semi-annual macroeconomic forecast.  Prior to becoming Unit Chief, Arnold was a Principal Analyst in the Projections Unit, where he specialized in medium-term projections, including potential output, productivity, and the natural rate of unemployment.  His research includes papers that analyze the relationship between inflation and unemployment, that examine how spending for research and development influences productivity growth and that assess the macro­economic effects of a possible avian flu pandemic.  In addition, he is a regular contributor to CBO's semi-annual report, The Economic and Budget Outlook.  Before joining CBO, Arnold worked in the Business Operations Analysis division at AT&T's corporate headquarters,
where he consulted with various internal clients and forecasted demand for new services.  Arnold received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in economics from Rutgers University.

David W. Berson

David W. Berson is Senior Vice President & Chief Economist at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio. He manages a team of economists and is in charge of providing forecasts and analyses of the economy as well as financial and insurance markets that are used by Nationwide's senior leadership team and business units for strategic and corporate planning purposes. He also acts as Nationwide's primary spokesperson on economic and financial market conditions, prospects, and policy. Berson was previously SVP & Chief Economist and Head of Risk Analytics at the PMI Group, where he headed modeling and forecasting for the company. Prior to that, he was VP & Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, where he advised the company on national and regional economic, housing, and mortgage market policy and conditions. He has also been Chief Financial Economist and Head of Regional Economic Analysis at Wharton Econometrics, Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of  Kansas City, and Assistant Professor of Economics at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School. His government experiences have included Staff Economist on the Council of Economic Advisers and Economic Analyst at the Treasury Department and the Office of the Special Trade Representative. Berson is a former President of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) and is a frequent speaker to media and industry groups on the economy, housing, and financial markets. He has a BA in History and Economics from Williams College, a Master of Public Policy and a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan,  and, has a Certified Business Economist (CBE) designation from NABE.

Kristin Dziczek

Kristin Dziczek is Vice President of Industry, Labor & Economics at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). Dziczek joined CAR in 2005, and has more than 25 years of experience as a researcher and policy analyst. She is globally recognized as an expert on automotive labor, employment, and talent issues, especially on the topic of labor union relations and contracts, and she regularly presents at conferences and industry events throughout North America.

Kristin leads the ILE team—a group whose expertise includes economic analysis, forecasting & modeling, policy, and economic development. The ILE team’s research portfolio is focused on developing a better understanding of the connections between the automotive industry, technology, the economy, society, and public policy, and is home to CAR’s Automotive Communities Partnership program. Kristin’s research includes analyzing the competitive cost position of the U.S. automotive industry, and evaluating how different tax, trade, or industrial policies and incentives could impact overall automotive sales, production, and employment.

Prior to joining CAR, Kristin served as the associate director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and has worked for the U.S. Congress, International Union UAW, and General Motors Corporation. She has published articles in the Monthly Labor Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the Journal of Technology Transfer, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, among others. She earned her B.A. in economics, M.P.P. in public policy, and M.S. in industrial and operations engineering, all from the University of Michigan.  

Brad J. Hershbein

Brad Hershbein is an economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a labor studies research organization in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a non-resident fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He also serves as the Institute's director of information and communications services.His fields of interest focus on labor economics, demography, and economics of education, and especially the intersection of the three. Hershbein has investigated how new high school graduates fare in the labor market during and after a recession, how the availability of birth control allowed young women in the 1960s and 1970s to invest in their careers, and how employers use the selectivity of school and GPA to infer the productivity of new college graduates. More recently, he has worked on issues of higher education access and completion, how employers may permanently change the skills they demand from workers following recessions, and measuring nontraditional work activities. His work has appeared in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and American Economic Review. He earned his BA in economics from Harvard College, and his PhD, also in economics, from the University of Michigan.

Matthew E. Kahn

Matthew E. Kahn is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University and the Director of JHU's 21st Century Cities Initiative . He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at IZA. He has taught at Columbia, the Fletcher School at Tufts University, UCLA and USC. He has served as a Visiting Professor at Harvard and Stanford and as the Low Tuck Kwong Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore. He is a graduate of Hamilton College and the London School of Economics. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. He is the author of Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press 2006) and the co-author (joint with Dora L. Costa) of Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War (Princeton University Press 2009). He is also the author of Climatopolis (Basic Books 2010) and Blue Skies over Beijing: Economic Growth and the Environment in China (joint with Siqi Zheng published by Princeton Press in 2016). He has also published three other Amazon Kindle books on urban economics and microeconomics. His research focuses on urban and environmental economics.

Louise Sheiner

Louise Sheiner is the Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow in Economic Studies and policy director for the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy. She had served as an economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System since 1993, most recently as the senior economist in the Fiscal Analysis Section for the Research and Statistics Division. In her time at the Fed, she was also appointed deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (1996), and served as senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers (1995-96). Before joining the Fed, Sheiner was an economist at the Joint Committee on Taxation. Sheiner pursues research on health spending and other fiscal issues. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, as well as an undergraduate degree in biology at Harvard.

Ahu Yildirmaz

Ahu Yildirmaz is the head of ADP Research Institute®, where she directs economic and labor market research. She oversees the Institute’s labor market reports, including the world-renowned ADP National Employment Report® and ADP Workforce Vitality Report.
Dr. Yildirmaz’s broad research interests include workforce trends and labor market conditions including job and wage dynamics. She frequently is cited by leading business publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Reuters, CNBC, CNN Money and Forbes. She appears regularly on national radio and television programs, including “Bloomberg TV and Radio,” “Fox Business,” “National Public Radio” and “Voice of America.”
Throughout her career, Ahu has approached her research with a global mindset, having lived and worked in Europe, United States and Central Asia. Prior to joining ADP® in 2011, Dr. Yildirmaz held several roles at Johnson & Johnson and AT&T in the areas of strategy, corporate finance and market research. She also lectured and taught several economics and finance classes within the Economics Department at New York University (NYU) and the City University of New York (CUNY).
Dr. Yildirmaz earned a doctorate degree in Economics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bosphorus
University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Mel Stephens

Professor Mel Stephens has been appointed Chair of the department after serving as the department’s Interim Chair in the 2019-2020 academic year.  He previously served as a leading expert in labor economics and a highly valued colleague in the department and college.  Stephens is Professor of Economics, with a courtesy appointment as Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School, as well as affiliations with the Population Studies Center (PSC) and the Survey Research Center (SRC) at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).  Stephens is also an alumnus of the department’s doctoral program. Stephens will serve as chair through the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Gabriel Ehrlich

Gabriel M. Ehrlich is an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan, where he is the director of the University’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE). He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. His work has been discussed in the Economist, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post, and he has published articles recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Urban Economics, and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Ehrlich oversees RSQE’s forecasts of the U.S. and Michigan economies, and he presents regularly to the Michigan Legislature and Governor on Michigan’s fiscal and economic prospects. He is a coauthor recently of The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2020–2021, The Michigan Economic Outlook for 2020–2021, and The Detroit Economic Outlook for 2019–2024.Prior to joining RSQE, Ehrlich worked in the Financial Analysis Division at the Congressional Budget Office, where he forecast interest rates and conducted analysis on monetary policy and the mortgage finance system.  

Daniil Manaenkov

Daniil Manaekov is an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan. He is a lead research area specialist at the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE). His main areas of expertise are macroeconomics, monetary economics, and applied
He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University
of Minnesota, and holds a master of science degree in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and
Manaenkov has been involved in forecasting the U.S. economy for more than 15 years. Prior to joining RSQE, Manaenkov worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, where he managed the bank's macroeconomic forecasting model. At RSQE, he leads national forecasting. He testifies regularly to the Michigan Legislature and briefs the Governor on the national economic outlook. He recently coauthored The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2020–2022, and The Detroit Economic Outlook
for 2019–2024.

Aditi Thapar

Aditi Thapar is an Assistant Research Scientist with the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE) at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D in economics from Boston University and her M.A. from the Delhi School of Economics. Her research interests include topics in macroeconomics and monetary economics. Previously, she was a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies at New York University, and was the Head of Global Economics at Iron Harbor Capital Management, LLC where she produced quarterly forecasts of the U.S. economy and co-authored their quarterly economic outlook reports based on the forecasts. Aditi is co-author of 'The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2016-2017," which will be presented by Daniil Manaenkov at this year's Outlook Conference.

Michael R. McWilliams

Michael McWilliams is the Michigan Forecasting Specialist at RSQE. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, and he has also received an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. At RSQE, Michael assists with forecasts of the Michigan economy and leads the development of state tax revenue projections. He also participates in RSQE's local economic forecasts for the City of Detroit, Oakland County, MI, and Washtenaw County, MI. In 2018, Michael coauthored an RSQE report on the economic impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). He also contributes to RSQE's ongoing partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to provide economic impact assessments for the state's Transformational Brownfield Plan program.

Michael’s personal research focuses on a range of topics in environmental and natural resource economics, including land use change, regulation of light-duty vehicles, and the impact of the ethanol mandates. His work has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Energy Policy. During his graduate study, Michael interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Transportation and Air Quality.