Melanie Morten

Motu Doctoral Study Award

Melanie Morten was a Motu Research Analyst from February 2006 to June 2007. Since 2014 she has been an Assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford. She graduated with a PhD in Economics from Yale University after completing undergraduate education in New Zealand. Her research focuses on migration and informal risk sharing in developing countries.

You can find out more about Melanie here.

What was your background before joining Motu?
BA (Econ) from Otago. PGDipArts in Development Studies/BCom (Hons) in Economics from Auckland. Spent a year traveling/working in between. Took a year of maths courses at Vic while working at Motu.

Why did you choose to come to Motu?
I was interested in learning more about research and found the work that Motu was doing very interesting.

What were the highlights of your time at Motu?
Being involved in the research process, collaborating closely with the senior fellows and other RAs; involved in the intellectual community at Motu.

How has your career progressed since you left Motu?
I went to Yale to do my PhD in 2007; have been working as an Assistant Professor at Stanford since 2013.

How has your Motu experience affected your subsequent path?
It was extremely helpful for introducing me to the realities of research as well as helping me learn specific research skills (e.g. Stata) so I could hit the ground running at grad school.

What advice do you have for early career economists? 
Read broadly/be curious about the world, good research ideas come from thinking about things that you find interesting/confusing/strange. It’s good to get as teched up as you can while you have the opportunity to take classes- so if you’re interested in grad school, make sure you plan to take enough maths classes so you’ll be competitive. Take time to think about what you’re really interested in – grad school is a slog sometimes, and its helpful to have a good sense of why you are doing what you’re doing to keep you motivated.