|New Hires Expand Economics' International
Husband-wife team bring complementary strengths to
Friday, Januray 23,
2004 | Since 1989, when Stephanie
Schmitt-Grohé and Martín Uribe met in a doctoral student study
group at the University of Chicago, they have hardly left each
At Chicago, they worked as research assistants for the same
economics professor. They then took jobs at the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System; she worked in the
monetary affairs office on the second floor, he in the
international finance division on the first.
And in summer 2003, the married economics professors landed
together at Duke -- in adjacent offices on the second floor of
the Social Sciences building.
"We are in the same field," Schmitt-Grohé said. "We write
many of our papers together. It's very unusual that an
economics department has two slots for people who have the
But this year, Duke did, and economics chairman Thomas
Nechyba is thrilled to have landed two "rising stars." Duke
had tried to lure Schmitt-Grohé and Uribe in 1998, but this
time Duke called at the right time.
Schmitt-Grohé had been working as an associate economics
professor at Rutgers and Uribe as an assistant professor at
the University of Pennsylvania. They lived within walking
distance of Penn because Uribe, who has degenerative myopia,
does not drive. Schmitt-Grohé had an office at Penn, but still
had to commute regularly to Rutgers -- almost 70 miles away --
After five years of this arrangement, they were ready to
work in the same place.
"Stephanie and Martín are rising stars in the fields of
macroeconomics and international finance," Nechyba said.
"Combined with existing strengths across the university, they
are helping in our efforts to lift Duke's international
profile in those areas to new levels.
"Much of their research overlaps in a collaboration that
appears to be as fruitful professionally as it is personally,"
he added. "However, each brings their unique perspectives --
Martín with a particular interest in issues arising in Latin
American and other developing contexts, and Stephanie with a
special interest in the profession's renewed direction of
bringing sound theoretical models to bear on real-world issues
Schmitt-Grohé's research is in monetary and fiscal policy
design, with a current project in inflation stabilization. She
began her formal economics education at a university in
Germany and then earned her master's degree in business
administration at Baruch College of The City University of New
Schmitt-Grohé is a research associate at the National
Bureau of Economic Research and a research affiliate at the
Centre for Economic Policy Research in London. She has held
visiting positions at the European Central Bank, Goethe
University in Frankfurt, and Princeton University. She is an
editorial board member of the Journal of Macroeconomics.
This semester, she is teaching an intermediate
Uribe is a specialist in international finance whose
research aims at understanding business cycles and financial
crises in emerging countries. Currently, he is studying the
effects of the U.S. interest rate on business conditions in
He earned his bachelor's degree from Universidad Nacional
de C´ordoba in Argentina, and his master's from Centro de
Estudios Macroecon´omicos de Argentina
in Buenos Aires. He has been a faculty research fellow at
the National Bureau of Economic Research since May 2002 and
has served as a visiting fellow at Princeton.
Uribe also serves as associate editor of the Journal of
International Economics and the Journal of Money, Credit, and
Banking. He teaches undergraduate and graduate students in
international monetary theory and international finance.
Both Schmitt-Grohé and Uribe have been fascinated with
economics since childhood. At home, they are teaching their
two sons a love of language.
Schmitt-Grohé was born and raised in Germany, and always
thought she would return there after studying in the United
States. Uribe is from Argentina, still visits home four or
fives times a year, and is fluent in Spanish.
Their native languages pose something of a challenge in
family conversations. Their kids are fluent in German, Spanish
and English. But Schmitt-Grohé only has limited Spanish skills
and Uribe has limited German skills, though Uribe admits that
his wife's language skills are far better than his own.
Sometimes Schmitt-Grohé doesn't understand Uribe when he is
talking to their children, and vice versa.
"We try to be very consistent in talking to our kids in our
languages," Uribe said. "They absorb it very well. The kids
are completely ahead of me."
What's more, their kids have been exposed to an
English-speaking nanny and a Portugese-speaking housekeeper.
Uribe said that his older son grew so accustomed to hearing
every person speak a different language, he once thought he
needed to invent one of his own. "He started learning that not
every person had a language," he said.
Even in their non-work moments, Schmitt-Grohé and Uribe
find themselves debating and thinking about economics. Such
impromptu discussions, inspired by stories on National Public
Radio or other media outlets, often lead to research
But such discussions don't happen quite as often
"Now that we have kids, it's not so much," Schmitt-Grohé
said. "I don't want to put my kids through that."
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