Affiliated PhD Students

5th Year

Manuel Hoffmann is a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Economics. He is an economist engaged in large and interesting questions that can alter our understanding of individual health, firm and societal welfare to inform policies for the betterment of society using experiments, quasi-experiments and structural methods. Research providing an understanding of company health campaigns, social and health insurance systems, and the media are of particular interest, as are the impacts of social interactions, such as peer effects in decision-making processes, as well as in the context of health and labor economics in general. The field of health economics is particularly fascinating to him as behavioral biases, perceptions, and inexperience have significant impacts on decision making and require the adoption of non-standard economic models using behavioral economics.


Moffii Odunowo is a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Economics. Her research interests are in Applied Microeconomics and Behavioral economics. Broadly, she is interested in studying factors that affect the human capital development of children and their effects on future outcomes. Part of her research examines how exposure to the Boko Haram violence in Nigeria affects the physical and cognitive development of children. Moffii and her co-authors have also examined the impact of Facebook on well-being and daily activities. In another project, she is working on an experiment in Nigeria to understand how middle school students make career decisions.


Ryan Rholes is a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Economics. His research focuses on expectations, decision making, and policy in macroeconomic environments. His most recent work focuses on exploring monetary and fiscal policy solutions for economies mired in deflationary traps, on the relationship between expectations and the efficacy of policy, expectations formation, and the role that uncertainty plays in the process of expectations formation. Ryan’s current projects have received funding from the National Science Foundation and SSHRC Insight Development and Insight Grants. In addition to recently receiving a highly-competitive grant from the National Science Foundation, Ryan is the recipient of the Dr. John Van Huyck Fellowship, the Private Enterprise Research Center E. Ralph Daniel Fellowship, the Vision 2020 Fellowship, and the Merit Fellowship.

4th Year

Ben Priday is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Economics. Ben uses lab experiments, quasi-experimental methods, and literary analysis to answer questions in behavioral and public economics, especially regarding religion, altruism, inequality and more. Ben believes the world is full of interesting and important questions that can be answered to improve people’s lives, and is passionate about critically working through these problems with the lens that economics offers.


3rd Year

Hyundam Je is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Economics. He was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. He received his bachelor and masters degree in economics from SungKyunKwan University. He also served in the KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) before joining Texas A&M University. He is currently working on experiments related to preferences for uncertainty resolutions in ambiguous situations.

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Valon Vitaku is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Economics. His research interests are in Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Game Theory and Neuroeconomics. He researches human behavior in relation to economic-decision making in individual and collective action problems. Valon’s most recent work focuses on understanding commuters’ behavior in navigating congestion in traffic. He earned his Bachelor’s degree with Honors double-majoring in Economics and Finance at the University of Arizona with a minor in Mathematics. Valon was the Outstanding Senior in Economics in his graduating class.

1st Year

Daniel Camilo Gomez Vasquez is a first-year PhD in the Department of Economics. Before arriving at Texas A&M, Daniel was Research Assistant and Lab Manager at the Rosario Experimental and Behavioral Economics Laboratory – REBEL in Bogotá, Colombia for two years. He holds experience in designing and running both lab and lab-in-the-field experiments, programming skills in zTree and oTree, analyzing experimental data, and organizing conferences.His research interests include economic decision-making as it relates to beliefs, gender and anti-social behavior.

Zachary Pierce is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Economics.  His research interests include behavioral and experimental economics, public economics and agent based modeling.  He graduated from Saint Michael’s College in 2019 with a B.A. in economics.  He has experience programming in NetLogo and Python.  He is also a U.S. Army veteran, having served from 2010 to 2016.