Ever since she worked in West Africa before graduate school, Mieke Meurs has been interested in changing development outcomes in emerging countries. “You spend some time with people in Africa and former Soviet block countries and you see the dire issues facing these people every day,” she says. “They need solutions.”
Meurs’s research examines how globalization effects former Socialist countries. She looks at local factors such as whether municipal governments can make a difference in development outcomes and how the elimination of state-funded preschools affect a community’s economic indicators.
Directing the Economics Program
Along with her research, Meurs enjoys directing the economics PhD program. “It really is one my favorite things. I like watching students go out in the field, conduct research, and then see how their applied work leads them to develop a different analytical approach.”
Gaining Valuable Experience
PhD students in the program often work short term at the World Bank. “Our students gain valuable applied experience at the World Bank. They learn so much, and often land full-time jobs there,” says Meurs. “The experience they gain in applied research is key to answering the pressing questions and issues emerging countries face.”