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Dean of the College

New Faculty Q & A with Brian Dombeck

August 18, 2017

J.R. Howard Hall


B.S. Economics - Louisiana State University (2012)

M.S. Economics - University of Oregon (2013)

Ph.D Economics - University of Oregon (2017)

Research and Teaching Interests:  

My research focuses on the effect of  alternate assumptions to expectations formations mechanisms used in dynamic macroeconomic modeling to determine when and if these assumptions can influence our estimation and forecasting results. This line of research exists at the confluence of traditional macroeconomic modeling, bounded rationality/learning, and information theory.

I bring this research into the classroom by exploring the role of sentiment, expectations, and beliefs in macroeconomic phenomena such as business cycles, asset bubbles, and money.

What most excites you about joining the L&C community?

Intimate classes with diverse and outstanding students, along with the opportunity to interact regularly with a variety of friendly and motivated faculty, staff, and administrators. I felt an energy on campus when I visited during the hiring process from everyone I met, and I am looking forward to being a part of that.

Describe the current trajectory of your scholarly research.

There are two related but separate major research projects that I am working on. The first is the implementation of news and bounded rationality into a workhorse dynamic macroeconomic model (of the sort used by the Federal Reserve, for example) to conduct an in-depth analysis of the importance of these informational assumptions in determining model outcomes. For example, macroeconomic models widely failed to predict the financial crisis of 2008 even while we were in it; could less stringent assumptions regarding expectation formation mechanisms have improved the model’s performance at that time?

The second strand is a longer term strategy of developing a more general approach to the modeling of expectations. A weakness of the current methods are that they are not unified, and hence rational expectations continues to be the dominant paradigm in macroeconomic modeling. Comparing the various alternatives to each other and rational expectations will produce a “field guide” of sorts for future researchers.

What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?

Portland seems uniquely suited to my extra curriculars: my wife and I love to hike and camp with our dogs during the Oregon summer, eat great food, and visit local wineries and breweries. We are serious college football fans and fortunately for our households, the LSU Tigers and the Oregon Ducks rarely face off on the gridiron.

What were your childhood goals/aspirations?

I was determined to be a paleontologist. The prehistoric Grand Canyon experience on the Disneyland railroad is still one of my favorite parts of the park!

What are you listening to in your car right now?

This seems like a trick to get me to admit to typing while driving…

… but it’s Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.

What was your favorite childhood story? 

I’m not sure if it counts, but as a young kid Peter Pan was my absolute favorite. Once I was able to read myself it was Greek mythology and Animorphs. And then came Harry Potter which I still read through every couple of years.


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