Professor Opinder Kaur is an applied microeconomist with research interests in labor economics, development economics, health economics, and the economics of education. She received her PhD from the University of California Riverside. You can find her teaching Introduction to Macroeconomics (ECO 181) and Introduction to Microeconomics (ECO 182)!
Why did you choose economics? Why did you choose your subfield?
OK: I chose economics as my field of study because it offers a profound lens through which to examine the intricate dynamics of individuals, society, and their resource allocation. My fascination lies in understanding how people, facing the constraints of limited resources, endeavor to enhance their well-being. Economics provides the tools to dissect these choices, be it at the individual or collective level, shedding light on decision-making processes that shape our world.
My selection of subfields, namely labor economics and development economics is driven by my interest to understand economic behavior and societal progress. The study of labor economics allows me to examine the complexities of labor markets, which play a pivotal role in shaping livelihoods. Simultaneously, development economics allows me to confront global challenges and augment social well-being.
What research are you working on right now?
OK: My recent research centers on analyzing the influence of diverse factors on human capital accumulation and their subsequent impact on economic outcomes, encompassing areas such as health, education, and labor markets, both in developed and developing nations.
What was your favorite paper to write, and why?
OK: The paper that I found most enjoyable to write was “Intergenerational Health Effects of Adult Learning Programs: Evidence from India.” It thoroughly examines the long-term benefits that adult learning programs can have in India and sheds light on how education can break the cycle of poor health across generations. The research design was meticulous, and the data analysis was comprehensive, making the experience intellectually stimulating. Additionally, the potential for education to positively impact vulnerable populations resonated deeply with my research interests.
What is your favorite class to teach, and why?
OK: My favorite class to teach is Labor Economics and Development Economics courses. Teaching these courses provides me with an opportunity to delve into the world of empirical methods, their implications, and the intricate economic policies applied in both developing and developed nations.
What was your favorite class as an undergrad?
OK: My favorite class as an undergrad was Microeconomics.
What is your top piece of advice for your students?
OK: My top piece of advice for my students is to embrace the journey of learning with an open mind and a curiosity to explore beyond the confines of the classroom. Approach learning with curiosity, adaptability, and a commitment to excellence, and you'll find that education becomes not just a path to knowledge but a journey of personal and intellectual growth!