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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Regional Economics Applications Laboratory


Graduate Student Research Assistants


REAL's Research Assistants come primarily from the Departments of Geography, Economics, Agricultural and Consumer Economics and Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Research Assistants / Ph.D. Students


 
Andre Fernandes Tomon Avelino

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Jan 2010 – Jun 2010 (Undergraduate), Aug 2011 – Present (PhD)
E-mail: fernan17@illinois.edu
Website: http://publish.illinois.edu/andreavelino/   

My main research area is Regional Economics with focus on Natural Disasters. My recent papers revolve around input-output analysis, spatial econometrics, integrated economic-environmental-health systems and impact evaluations. More Info


 
Andres Ham

Ph.D. Candidate - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Mar 2013 - Present
E-mail: hamgonz2@illinois.edu
Website: http://publish.illinois.edu/andresham/

My research interests include topics in Applied Microeconomics, mostly focused on Labor, Education, and Distributional issues. I am currently working on estimating causal effects under interference by applying spatial econometric tools, quantifying the effect of minimum wages on earnings and employment in dual labor markets, and analyzing the role of information on the educational and employment decisions of young adults.
  


 
Chang Cai

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Jan 2016 - Present
E-mail: ccai5@illinois.edu

Chang Cai is currently a first-year Ph.D student in Agricultural and Consumer Economics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds a M.S. degree in Economics from the same university. Her research interests are applied econometrics, International trade and regional economy development. She is now working on evaluating the socioeconomic impacts of climate uncertainty.


 
Daniel Halim

Ph.D. Student - Department of Economics
Period in REAL: Apr 2015 - Present
E-mail: dzhalim2@illinois.edu

Daniel Halim is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a BA in Economics (2013) from University of Toronto. Daniel joined REAL in Spring 2015. His research revolves around economics of education particularly in the context of rural development, with special interest focusing on Indonesia.


 
Esteban Lopez

Ph.D. Urban and Regional Planning (2016)
Period in REAL: Jan 2011 - Present
E-mail: lopezoch@illinois.edu
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/estebanlopezochoa/

Esteban Lopez earned his M.S. in Regional Science at the University Catholic of the North, Chile. His research interests are focused on housing markets, in particular estimation of the demand for housing attributes and how this can be used to improve housing policy design. He works at REAL developing the "REAL Housing Price Indices for Small MSAs". He is the Tresurer for Doctoral Students in Urban Planning (DSUP) at UIUC, and the "General" for REAL. He is advised by Prof. Geoffrey Hewings and Prof. Edward Feser.


 
Jiyoung Chae

Ph.D. Student - Department of Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2016 - Present
E-mail: jchae3@illinois.edu

N/A


 
Kaifu Zheng

Masters in Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2016 – present
E-mail: Keifer.zheng@gmail.com

Kaifu Zheng received his master degree in Economics in June 2016 in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests are Political Economics concerned with Democracy, corruption; Consumer and behavior concerned with satisfaction cycle; Regional Innovation threshold problem. Industrial organization, recursive dynamic and game theory’ methods have been applied in his researches.


 
Karelys Guzman

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2016 – present
E-mail: katinafinol4@illinois.edu

Karelys started the PhD program in ACE in fall 2016. She holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Antioquia (Medellín, Colombia) and a master's in Economics from the University of the Rosario (Bogotá, Colombia). Since 2012, she has worked in the Regional Economics Studies Center of the Colombian Central Bank. Her research interests are: regional economics, health economics, development, and poverty.


 
Kun Peng

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2016 – present
E-mail: kunpeng2@illinois.edu

I earned my B.A. in Statistics and Economics and M.S. in Economics in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My main research interests include applied econometrics and regional economics. Currently, I am working on interregional and inter-sectoral knowledge spillovers on knowledge creation over U.S. counties.


 
Luis Escobedo

Ph.D. Student in Geography and Geographic Information Science
Affiliation: (1) Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science. (2) Applied Technologies for Learning in the Arts & Sciences research consulting group. (3) Regional Economics Applications Laboratory. (4) Association of Peruvian Students at the University of Illinois.
Period in REAL: Fall 2010 – Spring 2016
E-mail: escobed2@illinois.edu
Website: www.geog.illinois.edu/people/escobed2

My research interests are regionally focused in Peru and Brazil, and are also in the line of the Urban Economic Geography. Specifically, I’m interested in (a) Urban labor markets in economic growth scenarios, (b) Violent and non-violent crime incidence and its effects on quality of life, (d) Spatial competition of business, and finally (e) Public services accessibility, with a special focus on health provision.


 
Natalie Prochaska

Ph.D. Student - Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Period in REAL: Jan 2017 - Present
E-mail: prochask@illinois.edu

I have a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a M.A. in Urban Planning from UIUC. My research focuses on real estate development finance. Specifically, mixed income affordable housing development and secondary capital markets' intersections with local housing markets. I am currently working on modeling the post-Kelo fiscal policy spaces of land use decision makers in Illinois.


 
Olesya Savchenko

Ph.D. Candidate - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Jan 2015 - Present
E-mail: savchen2@illinois.edu

Olesya Savchenko's research interests include environmental and resource economics, environmental issues in urban settings.


 
Renato Schwambach Vieira

Ph.D. Candidate - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2013 - Present
E-mail: schwmbc2@illinois.edu

My main fields of interest are Urban Economics and Spatial Analysis. My current works include: the economic analysis of urban transportation policies such as fare subsidies and BRTs; the relationship between land use and commuting patterns; racial segregation and gentrification. I am especially interested in studying the topics above in the context of Latin American cities.


 
Sergio Contreras

Ph.D. Student - Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Period in REAL: Aug 2014 - Present
E-mail: scontre2@illinois.edu

Sergio's research interests focus on Regional Economics, in particular, microenterprises performance evaluation and policy implementation. He also is interested in the role of e-business as a tool for regional growth and inequality reduction. Sergio Contreras holds an MBA from Loyola University Chicago and a B.S. in Management from the University Catholic of the North, Chile.


 
Sheena Yu-Hsien Kao

Ph.D. Candidate - Department of Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2014 - Present
E-mail: kao21@illinois.edu

Sheena Kao received her MS in Economics in National Taiwan University. Her research interests are Spatial Econometric methods, applied Econometrics and Urban Economics, in particular, the model specification tests in Spatial data analysis. She is also interested in Spatial models in Public Economics. Her doctoral thesis is mainly focused on misspecification tests and model specification issues in spatial autoregressive and moving average (ARMA) model and its empirical applications. Sheena works at REAL constructing the Chicago Region Econometric Input-output model using SAS software. Her dissertation adviser is Prof. Anil Bera.


 
Whayoung Jung

Ph.D. Student - Department of Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2016 - Present
E-mail: wjung16@illinois.edu

Whayoung is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at UIUC. His research interests are macroeconometrics, applied econometrics and econometric Input-Output models.


 
Xian Fang Bak

Ph.D. Candidate - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2011 - Present
E-mail: fang21@illinois.edu

She is interested in urban and environmental issues. Her previous work focused on foreclosures and the housing market. Particularly, she investigated how foreclosures are influencing neighborhood property values and evaluated a governmental program's (NSP) effects on fighting neighborhood stress brought by foreclosures.


 
Xinyue He

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Aug 2016 - Present
E-mail: xinyueh4@illinois.edu

Xinyue He is a PhD student in the Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics at UIUC. She holds a Master degree in Economics from Renmin University of China. Her research interests are regional economics, international trade and policy. Her master thesis is about the application of heterogeneous firm model with credit constraints in China. Her doctoral adviser is Prof. Sandy Dall'erba.


 
Yizhou Zhang

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Jan 2013 - Present
E-mail: yzhng114@illinois.edu

My major research field is using Computational General Equilibrium (CGE) models to simulate and evaluate changes in regional economies. In addition, I am interested in labor economics especially the topic of human capital, as well as the application of spatial analytical techniques such as GIS on different regional science research


 
Zhangliang Chen

Ph.D. Student - Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics
Period in REAL: Jun 2015 - Present
E-mail: zchen105@illinois.edu

My research interest include climate change economics and spatial econometrics. I am recently working on assessing the economic impacts of climate change on U.S. agriculture.