Dr. Zhen Liu is a lecturer in the Department of Economics. He received his PhD from Stony Brook University and focuses on information economics, behavioral economics, and financial markets. You can find him teaching Microeconomic Theory (ECO 405 and ECO 505), Macroeconomic Theory (ECO 407), Economics and Game Theory (ECO 467 and ECO 567), and Computational Investment (ECO 531)!
Why did you choose economics? Why did you choose your subfield?
ZL: I cannot tolerate boredom. At the time of choosing, Economics seemed to be broad enough. Also, the competition for scholarship is less intense than other fields like business.
I chose my subfields in game theory and industrial organization. They offer many models that can begin as a simple toy and then become increasingly sophisticated. I like the challenges they present. As a practical matter, all professors who can advise students in other subfields had already too many students, so I chose my advisor who just joined my department, and he was a micro-theorist.
What research are you working on right now?
ZL: Nothing in my subfields right now. I changed my focus to computational finance. But all things I did served me well in terms of the mindset.
What is your favorite class to teach, and why?
ZL: Game theory, especially at introductory level. It covers a great amount of ideas about decision making that are missing in topics like competitive markets and representative agents. It offers a rich context for students to appreciate the complexity of daily and long-term social interaction. I think it should be a core course, so future Americans can use these thinking tools to make better decisions.
What was your favorite class as an undergrad?
ZL: Advanced algebra. My professor was over 70 years old then. He took time to deliver abstract subjects. When he was excited about the content he smiled like a kid. Amazing professor. I will never forget his smile.
What is your top piece of advice for your students?
ZL: Try to make learning a habit. If you can survive the coursework, don’t stop there. If you cannot, find something else that fits your way of learning. Everyone has the potential, and every way has its opportunity cost. Find your own way and be persistent.