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Professor Leslie Papke to serve as new Department of Economics associate chair

By Katie Nicpon

Leslie PapkeProfessor Leslie Papke joined the Department of Economics' leadership team in August, 2022, as the new Associate Chair and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. As part of her role, she will be managing the undergraduate program.

"For example, in economics, our majors often go outside of the department to meet the experiential learning requirement. The student proposes a course to our advisors, and then I work to get the request approved by the college," she explained. "I also have the pleasure of being the faculty contact for the Economics Club. It's fun to interact with undergraduates that are not in my classes!"

She will continue to teach undergraduate level courses and a quantitative methods course in the Master of Public Policy Program that is a joint program with Political Science.

"I teach public finance courses at the undergraduate level – EC 436 Public Revenues (taxes) and EC 435 Public Expenditures. There are many common misunderstandings about the tax code – I love to show the students how to figure out who is really paying taxes!"

She enjoys her work with students and looks forward to shaking lots of hands at graduation and marching in her robes.

"I'm a big Harry Potter fan (and love marching about in academic robes). I have a certain witch's wand in my office! I haven't had to use it often."

Her current research interest is the degree of underfunding of public pension plans and how this underfunding affects the retirement choices of public sector employees. She joined MSU in 1991 and has been with the department for 31 years.

"I was teaching at Boston University but I grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, and love the Big 10, so when my husband and I got the chance to move back to the Midwest, I was thrilled! This department is congenial, and large enough that it can handle hiring spouses – we have had several married couples in the department."

Professor Papke is taking on the mantle of Associate Chair after Professor Jeff Biddle served in the role for almost two decades.  

"We're grateful to Jeff for the time and energy he's dedicated to our department, and we're appreciative of Leslie's willingness to take on this role," Professor Haider said.

To learn more about Professor Papke, visit http://econ.msu.edu/faculty/papke/index.php.


Michigan State University Department of Economics