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Pierre Mouganie joins the Department of Economics as assistant professor

November 25, 2021

Simon Fraser University (SFU)'s Department of Economics extends a warm welcome to Pierre Mouganie as he joins the faculty this fall as an assistant professor. Together in a joint faculty appointment with his wife Serena Canaan, they made the move here from their home country of Lebanon. 

Prior to joining SFU, Mouganie obtained his doctoral degree in economics from Texas A&M University, and later on taught as assistant professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB). His research expertise lies in applied microeconomics, with an emphasis on issues in education, labour, and public economics.

"Coming from a country in which education is perceived as a way to access a better life, I have taken a particular interest in understanding how educational choices and social environment can mold one's future," says Mouganie. "This has shaped my research agenda and resulted in a focus in the field of economics of education."

The Department's vibrant research culture and reputation for high-quality research drew Mouganie to SFU Economics. "I think the work being done by the applied microeconomics group here is particularly fascinating and spans a lot of areas ranging from crime, labour, environmental to education," says Mouganie. "Everyone in the department is also super friendly and welcoming so it is a very collegial environment."

Mouganie is currently involved in a number of projects examining the impact on student outcomes in university. One focus that he has been exploring is the role of university advisors and role models—while there have been documented studies on the importance of teachers, less is known about the significance of advisors. His other projects are focused on the impact of intergroup contact on shaping future student outcomes. In particular, he is interested in understanding how exposure to peers from different religious backgrounds affect academic performance, behaviour, ideology, perceptions, and attitudes.

One of the highlights of his career so far has been the opportunity to conduct meaningful research on issues impacting his home country. Mouganie's recent paper looks at the effects of the 2015 national garbage crisis in Lebanon which he hopes will help stir a well-needed policy debate and lead to change, as the findings showed a causal link between open-air garbage burning and worsening birth outcomes for newborns whose mothers were exposed to the air-borne pollutants. In addition to pushing policy change, Mouganie hopes that this project can help bring more global awareness to the issues that developing countries face with respect to unsafe methods of waste collection and disposal. 

"Research using Lebanese data or using the Lebanese context is extremely underrepresented in good academic economics journals," says Mouganie. "Being able to contribute and give more representation to a country that is often overlooked in research is something I really enjoy." 

Starting in the Spring 2022 term, Mouganie will be teaching ECON 453: Seminar in the Economics of Education and will be one of the instructors leading the Social Data Analytics capstone project seminar, SDA 490