New Perspectives

In Economics and Finance

Being a Female Editor-in-Chief: an Interview with Linda Tesar

Linda Tesar, Editor-in-Chief of IMF Economic Reviewtalks to us about her role and what it's like being a woman in the industry.

Describe your role; what do you do day-to-day?

One of the things I love about being an academic is that the job varies so much from semester to semester, and even day to day. At the present time, I am teaching a graduate class, advising a group of undergraduates on their honors theses, director of the doctoral program at Michigan as well as the head of admissions. This is in addition to taking on editorial work at the IMF Economic Review, giving seminars and conference presentations, and keeping an active research agenda. So I switch frequently between roles as a researcher, teacher, advisor, mentor, and administrator. I am very excited about my new role as editor at the IMF Economic Review. Already in the works are a number of interesting conferences and special issues that I believe will make significant contributions to our understanding of international economics.  

Can you give us an overview of your academic career and how you got to where you are today?

I graduated with a double major in economics and international relations from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a research assistant for one year at the Brookings Institution. I completed a PhD at the University of Rochester under the supervision of Alan Stockman. My first appointment was at the University of California at Santa Barbara and after seven years there accepted an appointment at the University of Michigan where I have been ever since. I have visited various places including a stint at the CEA, but my home for the last two decades has been Ann Arbor. If I had to point to what "got me here today" it would be a long list of people who supported and encouraged me, including my parents, Alan Stockman, Ralph Bryant, Enrique Mendoza, Maurice Obstfeld, and my many coauthors and friends in the profession. And last, but very definitely not least, my incredibly supportive and patient husband and children.

What are the opportunities like for women in your particular area of economics?

There are enormous opportunities for women in international economics. There are so many important problems to be solved, and plentiful resources for people who are creative and hardworking to go about solving them. I am concerned about the fact that more women do not specialize in economics as I have found it such a rewarding career.  I am part of a committee at Michigan working on improving our climate for women and underrepresented minorities in our department and indeed, in the discipline overall. Things have improved over time, but so much more needs to be done.

Do you have any advice for women who are aiming to become an Editor-in-Chief?

Believe in yourself and work on what you love. The rest will follow.

Who is your female inspiration and why?

I’d have to say Janet Yellin, arguably the most powerful female economist in history. Economics is a male-dominated profession, and macroeconomics remains one of the most male-dominated subfields of economics. To rise to the ultimate seat of power, and to do so with such grace and authority, is truly awe-inspiring.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I’d like to say it is a passion for doing economics, but it would have to be that plus a to-do list that is longer than my arm. A mix of inspiration plus a long list of pressing deadlines definitely pushes me out from under the covers.

Linda Tesar is currently a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan.

Linda Tesar