Liu Attends Berkeley/Sloan Summer School in Environmental and Energy Economics

Jancy Ling Liu

Posted December 10, 2021

Jancy Ling Liu, a third-year Ph.D. student in the School of Economics, attended the prestigious Berkeley/Sloan Summer School in Environmental and Energy Economics this summer.

Liu is a first-generation international student from China and arrived at the program on a somewhat untraditional path, she said. Her undergraduate degree was in behavioral finance, and she worked in a fin-tech startup in China and completed a dual master’s in statistics and economics at Georgia Tech before finding her calling to continue her Ph.D. in environmental economics.

So, what made her stand out in her application to the competitive Berkeley/Sloan Summer School? “I think they really saw my enthusiasm and potential,” said Liu, who wrote not only about her interest in the field but also her concerns about diversity in economics and her activism in the “Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate” movement. 

Liu was one of around 80 early-career Ph.D. students selected for the two-week online program. Throughout the course, she got the opportunity to learn from and connect with some of the best economists in the country, such as Maximilian Auffhammer, Cathy Kling, and John List, among others. Liu was also one of ten students awarded an extra diversity scholarship, which earned her a $500 award and a one-on-one meeting with List for feedback on her proposal “Social Norms on the Consumption of Eco-Labeled Products." 

“I want to understand how we can use non-monetary incentives to help people purchase green consumptions,” Liu said about her project. When her friends told her they were buying products with eco-labels on them (for example, "fair trade" labels on coffee), Liu realized that influenced her behavior to purchase them as well. She wondered if social norms (the perception of what is commonly done in a group) could influence purchases and competition among eco-labels on a larger scale. She got some preliminary data to test the assumption now, and she plans to continue the project with an online survey next year.  

In the future, Liu hopes to pursue a position in academia and continue doing research. The professors in the Berkeley/Sloan Summer School are role models, she said. “Their generosity to students, their encouragement, and their beliefs about the field made me feel like, ‘Okay, I want to become a researcher like them.'" The program also helped broaden her ideas about what she can do in her research and how she can do it. 

Vikrant Kamble, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the School of Economics, attended the Berkeley/Sloan Summer School in 2020 and told Liu about the program, and Assistant Professor Dylan Brewer and Professor Tibor Besedes, her advisors, helped her with her application materials and encouraged her to apply. As for those students who want to follow in her footsteps at the program next year? “Don’t be scared," Liu said. "If you don't try, then you definitely don't know what will happen."

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Contact For More Information

Di Minardi

di.minardi@gatech.edu