Alexander Arnon came to the Penn Wharton Budget Model with a background in public policy analysis and economic research. Prior to joining Penn, he worked as an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office.
Director of Computational Dynamics
Efraim Berkovich leads development of the PWBM OLG general equilibrium model and technical infrastructure. Prior to coming to PWBM, he was a college professor of economics and finance. Efraim has also worked in information technology, having held the position of technical architect at AXA Financial and CTO at an internet start-up. Additionally, Efraim worked at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s global equities group and on projects for NASD (now FINRA) and the U.S. Treasury.
Efraim’s published work includes a study of index options in the Journal of Derivatives and an analysis of welfare implications of payment cards in the Review of Network Economics for which he was interviewed on NPR. He also has a number of publications and patents in computer engineering. Efraim earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, his M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his B.S. magna cum laude in Mathematics from Georgetown University.
Managing Director of Legislation and Special Projects
Kimberly Burham manages the communications strategy of the Penn Wharton Budget Model, tracks legislation and helps write policy briefs, among other contributions. Her prior research includes work on pensions, retirement savings, retirement preparation, investor demographics and behavior, Social Security claiming behavior, and expenditures by the aged. Prior to coming to PWBM, Burham worked as an economist in the retirement and investor research division at the Investment Company Institute and as an economist in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at the Social Security Administration. Burham is a graduate of Hastings College and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Qi Cai came to Penn Wharton Budget Model upon earning her Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics with Management and Finance from King’s College London and has gained a good knowledge of the financial sector through her internship experiences. Her research interests include statistical modeling, data analysis, and quantitative finance.
Danni Chen comes to PWBM with a masters degree in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from Columbia University, where she engaged in research with Sociology Department and related to public policy.
Marcos received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota. He is interested in the impact of government policy on economic growth. His research focuses on the impact of regulation on the allocation of resources across firms and its consequences for aggregate productivity. His research papers can be found on his personal website.
Director of Data Software
Prior to joining Penn Wharton Budget Model Bill was running a large team of developers and testers building .net components for a portfolio analytics platform. Over a 20+ year career in the financial industry Bill has worked as a developer, architect and development team manager, not to mention as an evangelist for technology in general.
Director of Business Development
Before joining the Penn Wharton Budget Model, James worked as a senior consultant at Ernst & Young in New York and Sweden, managing bank regulatory transformation projects and qualifying as an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society. He has also worked in the Financial Policy and Analysis Division of Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, where he analyzed and presented cross-border impacts of the Dodd-Frank Act and related U.S. regulations.
James earned his B.S. in Economics from Wharton and his M.Sc. in Applied Economic Analysis from Stockholm School of Economics.
Director of Special Projects
Before joining the Penn Wharton Budget Model, Jagadeesh held senior positions at the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Jagadeesh has (co)authored many studies on fiscal policy covering issues in health care, labor productivity, national saving, life‐insurance, financial planning, and the effect of government policies on intra‐ and inter‐generational resource distributions. His work has appeared in top‐tier academic journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics and in the U.S. Budget’s Analytical Perspectives. Jagadeesh has also testified on policy issues before committees in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, and has written many articles in popular print and online media such as the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, American Spectator, and Forbes.
Yan He came to Penn Wharton Budget Model with a background in health economics research. Prior to joining PWBM she worked as an analyst working on HIV clinical trial studies at the Center for Health Economics & Behavior Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Yan received a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Virginia. She previously studied at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China.
Zheli He received her Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and her B.A. in economics and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. She specializes in international trade and development economics with a focus on the impact of globalization on welfare and inequality.
Austin Herrick comes to the Penn Wharton Budget Model as a recent graduate from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Economics and a background in economic research and data analysis. As a student, he researched environmental capital stability in general equilibrium models and developed models of energy efficiency improvements for the University.
Before joining the Penn Wharton Budget Model, Jon was part of the Fiscal Studies Unit at the Congressional Budget Office and specialized in building models to anayze the effects of changes in fiscal policy on the economy. Jon’s academic research focuses on household finance and how household savings and consumption decisions are affected by economic frictions. His research on how tax-deferred retirement savings accounts encourage households to spend out of anticipated changes to income such as tax rebates has been published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics. Jon received his Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University and his B.S. in mathematics and economics from Duke University.
Yunye Jiang Research Associate
Yunye Jiang is a research associate with a background in quantitative finance. Prior to joining Penn Wharton Budget Model, He worked as a quantitative analyst in private equity. His work there consisted of collecting data, establishing databases and building models to determine effective trading strategies, as well as conducting operable judgment. Yunye earned his M.A.in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science from the University of Pennsylvania. His academic research focuses on the predictability of futures prices and the cause-effect relationship between stock and forex markets.
Diane Lim joins Penn Wharton Budget Model as our Senior Advisor, to advise and guide PWBM on matters related to public outreach, communications, business development and strategic planning. She has spent her 30-plus year career in a variety of prominent roles in the federal government, nonprofit and academic sectors. She began her post-Ph.D. career as an assistant professor at Penn State University before coming to DC to work as a visiting scholar (and then principal analyst) at the Congressional Budget Office in the early 1990s, and she has worked in DC on federal- and state-level public policy issues ever since. She has served as chief economist for the House Ways and Means Committee, House Budget Committee, the Concord Coalition, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. She was a senior economist on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the final year of the Clinton Administration and first 100 days of the George W. Bush Administration. She has also worked for the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. Her immediate past positions were as Principal at District Economics Group (a small economic consulting shop), and Principal Economist at The Conference Board (a non-profit business membership and research organization).
In addition to her day job for PWBM, she teaches courses in behavioral economics and tax policy as an adjunct professor at George Washington University and Georgetown University, and she is a part-time yoga teacher. She is a founding advisory board member of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, and she is a past president of the National Tax Association.
Diane received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia, her master’s degree from Brown University, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She is the proud mom of four, now-adult children—which inspired the blog she first created in 2008 called EconomistMom, which she has recently resurrected after a 6+ year hiatus. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband Bill Gale and her two chihuahua-mix rescue dogs.
Victoria comes to the Penn Wharton Budget Model with a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University, where she specialized in public policy economics. Her primary research interests at PWBM include tax and immigration policy.
Chris Palenchar brings to the Penn Wharton Budget Model over 20 years of experience in software development. Prior to coming to Penn, he was the cofounder and CTO of Navtrak. Under his guidance, Navtrak grew from a small 2-man development team into one of the largest companies providing a Location Intelligence Platform. Chris earned a BS degree in Physics with a concentration in Micro-Electronics from Salisbury University.
Front End Developer
Mariko Paulson joins The Penn Wharton Budget Model with a background in economics. Prior to joining PWBM, she managed billing and payroll for a local home care provider whose primary focus was individuals on the Pennsylvania Waiver Program. Mari graduated cum laude from Smith College with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Mathematics. While in college, she was captain of the Smith College Rugby Football Club for two consecutive competitive seasons. Mariko was previously PWBM’s Program Coordinator before shifting focus to web development.
Richard Prisinzano came to the Penn Wharton Budget Model after 13 years in the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury. While at OTA, Richard worked on the taxation of pass-through entities and small businesses and coauthored Treasury Reports on the owners of pass-through businesses and helped develop Treasury’s methodology for identifying small businesses from tax return data. He has also published papers on gasoline taxes, tax migration of millionaires, and major league baseball managers and has also taught econometrics and sports economics at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University. He holds a B.S. in Economics and Political Science from James Madison University, an M.A. in Economics from Miami University, and a Ph.D. and M.S. in Economics from the University of Texas.
Minh Quach came to Penn Wharton Budget Model after earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Computer Science from Clark University. His experience before PWBM included a research assistantship with Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research, as well as heading a social enterprise named LOK Vietnam which specializes in economics-oriented media contents. His research focus has been on Foreign Direct Investment, International Trade, and Healthcare Economics.
Felix Reichling comes to the Penn Wharton Budget Model with a background in public policy analysis and macroeconomic research. Before joining Penn, Felix was Chief of the Fiscal Policy Analysis Unit in the Congressional Budget Office’s Macroeconomic Analysis Divisions, where he was responsible for leading a staff of about seven PhD economists in conducting research, model development, and producing CBO publications on how changes in fiscal policy affect the economy and how those changes feed back into the budget (dynamic scoring). Prior to coming to CBO, Felix worked as an economic consultant.
Felix’s academic research includes a study on optimal annuities purchasing decisions that was published in the American Economic Review (together with Kent Smetters) and received the 2016 TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award For Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security. More information and links to his other academic research and his CBO publications can be found at his personal webpage .
Felix earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University, where he also earned a M.A. in Economics, a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering, and a B.A. with Honors in Economics and a minor in Math.
John Ricco is an economic analyst specializing in tax policy and urban economics. He is responsible for developing and maintaining PWBM’s tax module used to project the budgetary and distributional impacts of tax reform proposals. In the past John has worked at the International Monetary Fund.
Director of Data Warehouse
Andrew Sacher brings to the Penn Wharton Budget Model a background in public policy, financial markets, and technology.
Prior to coming to Penn, he worked in global‐economic consulting at the Lindsay Group (TLG) and SGS, and developed the first Android e‐book app. He also worked at the White House’s National Economic Council and at Caxton Associates, a global‐macro hedge fund. Andrew graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in Economics, finishing in three years.
Sophia comes to PWBM as a recent graduate from Barnard College with a BA in Economics and French. Her previous research experience with the Barnard and Columbia economics departments and the Justice Tech Lab has mostly focused on racial discrimination and policing. Sophia was formerly the Outreach Coordinator for the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe and is a French/English translator of texts ranging from literature to the social sciences.
Seul Ki (Sophie) Shin
Sophie Shin holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise are Empirical Microeconomics, Search and Matching Theory, Labor Economics, Family Economics, and Demography. Sophie's scholarly research papers can be found on her
Quality Assurance Engineer
Paul Spescha joins the Penn Wharton Budget Model as Quality Assurance Lead. He has a BA in Economics from St Joseph's University and over a 25 year career has held software roles in Development, Quality Assurance and Project Management at financial and medical education software companies. Previously, Paul has worked at Baseline Financial and Thomson Reuters.
Xiaoyue Sun came to the Penn Wharton Budget Model with a master's degree in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University International Business School. Her study at Brandeis has been focused on economic research and computer science. Her research experience focuses on Chinese R&D expenditure and bilateral trade agreement. She also has a keen interested in marketing consulting and has undertaken two marketing consulting projects.
Daniela Viana Costa
Daniela Costa is an economist with broad research interests. The areas in which she has particular expertise are international trade, the macroeconomic impact of changes in health policy, and the theory of economic development. Daniela earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Minnesota. For more information and links to her research, visit her personal webpage.
Zhenfei Yue joins the Penn Wharton Budget Model as a recent graduate from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor with a B.S. in High honors in Economics and Mathematics in Finance & Risks Management. Zhenfei had intense exposure to training in economic research and quantitative analysis in college. His research interests include international and labor economics and financial mathematics. Zhenfei is working on PWBM’s microsimulation.