In Memoriam

In Memory of Jasmina Arifovic

February 01, 2022

It is with great sadness that the SFU Economics community announces the passing of professor Jasmina Arifovic on January 24, 2022. Her untimely death comes as a shock to her family, to the department and to her friends and colleagues around the world. She was a pillar of the department and at the peak of her career.

A distinctive approach to understanding markets and the macro economy characterize all of Jasmina's research. Peoples' economic behavior is driven by their expectations concerning the future evolution of the economy, and in consequence the evolution of the economy is driven by those expectations. That is, the economy and peoples' expectations about it coevolve. The dominant approach in modeling the macro economy has ignored coevolution by imposing the condition that expectations are fulfilled, the rational expectations approach. From the very beginning of her research career Jasmina's work was driven by the conviction that coevolution itself was potentially a source of important economic phenomena, and that to understand them we needed to incorporate realistic modeling of the process by which expectations are formed in our economic models. To study the coevolution of beliefs and market outcomes she has needed to resort to computer simulation. As a result she has come to be one of the most prominent practitioners of the field of computational economics. To validate her models of learning she conducted experiments in which learning dynamics can be observed under more tightly controlled conditions. Both computational and experimental economics are relatively new, but they have grown in influence over recent decades. Jasmina was a pioneer in opening these fruitful new approaches, and a major contributor to their development.

Jasmina’s journey from Sarajevo to Simon Fraser University reveals much about her character. She was a star student in her undergraduate days at the University of Sarajevo. In her final examination she was awarded a mark of 11, on a 1 to 10 scale! We know this not from Jasmina, but from her husband Momo Deretic. And he learned about it, not from Jasmina, but years after the fact from the head examiner.

This speaks to one of Jasmina's remarkable characteristics, modesty. Despite her many accomplishments and honours there is not a bit of arrogance in her character. Quiet, deep confidence in her judgements and abilities, definitely, but not a hint of arrogance.   

Despite her base in Sarajevo far from the center of power and influence in Yugoslavia, she won the Fulbright Fellowship to do graduate work in the United States. She was at the time quite interested in the rational expectations approach to macroeconomics. That naturally led her to the University of Chicago. There she first met Momo, an executive in a prominent Yugoslav corporation based in Chicago. Their romance was begun in the form an energetic argument over rational expectations -- ironically, given her subsequent path, Jasmina argued in favor of rational expectations, and Momo against. At some point in her time at Chicago, Jasmina decided that she wanted to follow a different path, to study the coevolution of expectations and markets.

This decision speaks to another of Jasmina's remarkable characteristics: independence, a determination to forge her own path.

Robert Lucas, one of her referees in the early 1990s writes that the University of Chicago was not at all a center of expertise on the learning processes and genetic algorithms that were essential to Jasmina's program, forcing Jasmina to do `her initial work almost without guidance'. Upon learning that other economists were working on similar issues, she arranged to write part of her dissertation as a fellow of the Santa Fe Institute and finished her work at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, `where a group headed by Tom Sargent was interested in the same class of problems'.

This speaks to another of her remarkable characteristics: resourcefulness, the willingness and indeed determination to seek out the people and ideas necessary to develop her approach.

When it came time to find a job, because she was a Fulbright Scholar the US market was not open to her. So she looked north to Canada. John McCallum was instrumental in attracting her to McGill. Subsequently, her work on modeling learning in the cobweb model to study coevolution in that framework came to the attention of people at SFU. They thought they saw a brilliant young economist pioneering a novel approach to the study of markets, and luckily for SFU they managed to hire her.

In the past two and half decades, Jasmina has published nearly 50 articles all of which contribute in some fashion to the research program she first developed in her graduate work. Some of the more prominent contributions are hers alone, others are joint work. She is perhaps best known for using the "genetic algorithm" (GA) as a model of learning in economic settings. Her 1996 JPE paper in which she uses GA learning in a model of exchange rate determination is particularly impressive. She shows how GA learning alters the predictions of an otherwise standard model. She discusses how the predictions of her model illuminate actual exchange rate behavior. She validates her model in laboratory experiments. In addition to her methodological/conceptual contributions to the understanding of markets, her work has contributed to a better understanding of macro and monetary policy. A good example is her 2013 EJ paper, coauthored with J. Bullard and O. Kostyshyna, on "Social Learning and Monetary Policy Rules".

In recent years her contributions have garnered a number of important honours. She was President of the Society for Computational Economics. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2021. She currently holds the distinguished Bank of Canada Fellowship. Despite this recognition, there is a feeling, well expressed in Arthur Robson's comment on this website, that "she was just beginning to find top gear in her research". In this and so many others ways, her death is a tragic loss.

Her dedication to her research program and determination to acquire the skills and make the contacts needed to advance it jumps from the pages of her CV. Over the years she held visiting positions in the US, France, China, Spain, Germany, Singapore, the Netherlands, the UK, and Italy. She has co-authored work with more than 30 economists from Canada and the countries listed above. She actively taught summer school programs throughout Europe and North America in experimental macroeconomics and computational economics. Her work was supported by numerous grants from SSHRC and the National Science Foundation. She was heavily engaged in graduate supervision. Those with neighboring offices will remember her endless stream of appointments with graduate students and research assistants, and her running back and forth to the lab for experiments. Jasmina supervised over a dozen PhD students at SFU and was an external member of dissertation committees of students around the world, many of whom went on to research careers at leading academic institutions and central banks.

Jasmina was an ardent advocate for women in economics and played an integral role in the Society for Computational Economics' initiatives to further the careers of academic women. She was an inspiration to many young academic women in the field, with her trailblazing early work in agent-based macroeconomics in the 1990s propelling the research agendas of later generations. Jasmina's research was a `brave departure from mainstream macroeconomics and had a lasting impact on people around her. Her determination in promoting more contrarian views resulted in numerous recognitions. Jasmina became the first woman to preside over the Society for Computational Economics.   

In preparation for writing this memorial piece, we talked to a number of former SFU graduate students. One impression stands out. Ken Carlaw conveys this well: "Everyone I have been in contact with is in shock and grief over the news. It would seem that most everyone was as fond of her as I was. I always found that she treated everyone, but, perhaps most particularly graduate students, with kindness, decency and respect that is not always found in those relationships. I am grateful to have known her. "

That can be said of the entire SFU community. We are grateful to have known Jasmina. Over the days we have been thinking about her and preparing to write this piece, a line from a Joni Mitchell song keeps running through our head. It is not perfectly apt, because she is singing about an environmental not a personal tragedy. "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone". Many of us are, right now, in the process of figuring out just how big our loss is.

To honour the memory of Jasmina, her family is encouraging donations to be made in her name to the BC Children's Hospital Foundation. 

Donate here 

Tribute messages

Jasmina will be fondly remembered by her colleagues, students, and friends. If you would like to add a message of condolence below, please email econcomm@sfu.ca

"Jasmina for me was much more than a dearest friend. She was a friend with whom I shared the toughest and most challenging periods of our Ph.D. program, the experience of living in a foreign country, the elation of learning at the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago in the second half of the 1980s. A place where the foundations of economics were being rewritten and where we had an invaluable chance to learn from giants.

That period was also marred by the civil war in Yugoslavia, which Jasmina had many times predicted, long before it erupted and swept her family in Sarajevo. I still remember the phone calls to her father trapped in the besieged city.

A friendship forged in testing times lasts forever and so did ours, which started during the best years of our youth and was cemented by the intellectual pursuit of unexplored and groundbreaking applications in economics. Jasmina dedicated her life to genetic algorithms, I explored the world of fractals.

Despite living far apart we remained always close and I had several chances to greatly appreciate her lifelong research program as it expanded the boundary of human knowledge. Jasmina’s sudden departure leaves a profound sense of emptiness in all those who knew her.

My most heartfelt condolences to Momo and Sarah."

Fabio Scacciavillani 

"I was shocked and dismayed to hear of Jasmina’s untimely passing. She made pioneering contributions to bounded rationality and learning in macroeconomics, computational methods, and experimental economics, always with ingenuity and creativity.  Professionally, the loss is borne by all those with whom she worked, by Simon Fraser University, and by the economics profession at large. Personally, I know her passing will be mourned by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. My sincerest condolences to her family, colleagues, and friends."

Robert J. Tetlow
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Washington, D.C.

"I am greatly shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Jasmina Arifovic who supervised my PhD thesis and instructed me in PhD macroeconomics. Jasmina was instrumental to my decision to apply to SFU's PhD programme as I was excited about applying ideas from evolution to the field of economics. 

I was not to be disappointed with this decision -- for example, Jasmina's PhD macroeconomics course was remarkable in its scope as we not only received tutelage in the mainstream Neoclassical economics (with flavours from the University of Chicago) but also in the evolutionary perspective (the Santa Fe Institute!). As a wonderful teacher, Jasmina gave students a lot of freedom to pursue ideas and I fondly remember office discussions, walks on Burnaby Mountain, and meeting up with Jasmina at CEA conferences on a few occasions. I am heartbroken that I have so many more conversations that I had planned to have with dear Jasmina and now never will. I will, however, continue to receive inspiration and guidance from Jasmina's kind, friendly, and humble personality, and pioneering work in evolutionary macroeconomics and strive to build upon and transmit this important knowledge to the next generation.  My greatest sympathies and condolences to Momo and Sarah and the rest of Jasmina's family."

Ruth Forsdyke, Dalhousie University

“More than a week after terrible news, and I am still shocked about Jasmina’s untimely death and can hardly believe it. She played a large role in my life and I will miss her greatly. Jasmina pioneered a computational approach for learning in macroeconomics and strongly advocated using experiments for model calibration. One of her papers on genetic algorithms was among the first few research papers that I read in my life when I did my Master’s in Russia. I remember my excitement when I met the author in person in Trento summer school in 2002, during my Ph.D. Since then we interacted on many occasions in Amsterdam, Vancouver, Sydney, other places. What first comes to my mind when I now remember Jasmina are many unforgettable dinners, always so warm and full of laughs! And of course, professionally, I learned so much from talking to Jasmina, reading her papers, working with her. I liked her recent paper on the coevolution of beliefs and networks, which is also quite different from her other work, and I hoped to talk to Jasmina about it this year in Vancouver. Her creativity, patience to research, positive energy, and support were always amazing.

My deepest condolences to Momo and Sarah, and to all Jasmina’s friends and family.”

Mikhail Anufriev, University of Technology Sydney

"I met Jasmina when she asked me to give a guest lecture in her class on neural networks. Over twenty years we shared many lunches and dinners talking about algorithms, machine learning, university politics, and family. I learned a lot from her and she always made me laugh. Her passing is a sad loss for me and all of us who knew her at SFU."

Oliver Schulte, professor

"With deep regret I learned about Jasmina’s untimely passing away. Jasmina supervised my PhD thesis. And just today, when I am starting a position for a bank in Australia, for which my PhD in behavioural economics is instrumental, I received the news that Jasmina passed away. What a sad coincidence!

My feelings are with Jasmina’s family and the team at SFU. During my time in Vancouver, interacting with Jasmina was extremely pleasant. I still remember our brainstorming meetings, many times during joint rides up the mountain to SFU. Jasmina always created an inclusive atmosphere for all her team members. I hope this spirit lives on at SFU and empowers generations of students to come. Jasmina’s heritage shall stay with us."

Andreas Ludwig, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sydney, NSW

“I met Jasmina as a first-year PhD student in Amsterdam, when she was visiting there. She always showed interest in how my research was going and helped me on my way in the field. Later we started to work together, a paper we will have to finish without her. It will not be the same. I will miss her kindness, generosity, and wisdom. My thoughts are with her family, my deepest condolences to them.”

Johan de Jong, Erasmus University Rotterdam

"I found Jasmina to be an inspiration even though the number of times we interacted in person was so few. I did get her to come to Exeter in 2016 though and that was wonderful. We had a great time!

In my first year of graduate school (1989-1990) at Minnesota, I got a hold of Jasmina's working paper on genetic algorithms in Economics published by the Sante Fe Institute. I read it over and over again. Making notes on almost every sentence.  Then, I think it was in my second year 1990-1991. I was not particularly thrilled with this econometrics course. In the exam, they wanted us to solve this one problem in the manner described in this obscure paper that was assigned (I didn't read it). Basically, on the exam,  I told them that I read a more interesting paper and described how one can use genetic algorithms to solve the problem. I think it would have worked better. I passed thanks to her!!!

Later in my career, we both did research on experimental bank runs.  Again, I learned from her and better understood my results!"

Todd Kaplan, University of Exeter and University of Haifa

"Before coming to the West Coast, Jasmina was for a short time my colleague at McGill. I recall her as a young brilliant and impassioned researcher vigorously expositing the then novel cutting edge genetic algorithms in a seminar. Her beautiful face, thoughtful and energetic presentation accompanied by a characteristic toss of her head are imprinted in my memory. The time that she was at McGill was difficult for Jasmina, as not only was she establishing her career but also was torn with anxiety about the war and her family’s plight in Sarajevo. After she left for SFU we met infrequently, but each time we connected instantaneously. The last time we met was in November 2021, shortly before she became aware of her dreadful illness. Jasmina was a highly accomplished scholar and received well deserved recognition being only the second woman to become a Fellow of the Bank of Canada, a rare economist to be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Yet even though she was happy to receive these honors, they did not occupy her thoughts. Her interests were in the substance of her research, in the problems of the world, the educational and emotional challenges faced by young people today. Jasmina cared deeply about people - colleagues, students,  her family and especially about Sarah. Jasmina will be remembered for her brilliance and goodness and will remain an inspiration to us."

Victoria Zinde-Walsh, McGill University 

"I have met with Jasmina Arifovic in her experimental economics class when I was a second-year PhD student, and I have been an admirer of her intelligence, unique sense of humor, and support for the students since then. She was an inspiring scholar. Through her pioneering research on learning and adaptation, she paved the way for many graduate students, including myself, to develop their research ideas. Thanks to her warm personality and dedication to her profession, she was also one of the best professors for grad students to work with, and I am glad that I had that privilege.

Jasmina Arifovic was my professor, thesis advisor, co-author, and mentor, and I will miss her dearly.

My sincerest condolences to her family."

Anil Donmez, PhD student

‘’Jasmina was a brilliant person who cared about her students beyond the normal supervisor and student relationship. She supported me in my academic life and in my career.

I am fortunate enough to know her amazing husband and lovely daughter. Two years ago, before the pandemic, I had my last ‘normal’ dinner at their place.  Jasmina and her family were so kind and warm that I felt to be part of their family. I am honored to teach her last class at SFU.

My sincere condolences to Momo and Sarah."

Fatemeh Mokhtarzadeh, University of Victoria, former PhD student

"Generous. Kind. Dedicated. Inspirational. Supportive. These are all words that have been frequently used to describe Jasmina. In our work with her, she was always quick to follow up with a note of thanks and jump at opportunities to give back in any way she could. She exhibited good academic citizenship. We will miss her and offer our deep condolences to her colleagues, students, family, and friends for this immeasurable professional and personal loss."

From all of us at Institutional Strategic Awards, SFU

"Professor Jasmina was a generous person, an outstanding researcher and a great professor. I am impressed by her contributions to the field of experimental macroeconomics. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to meet her in person, but only online at the ESA conference in 2020 and the Experimental Economics Summer School in Macroeconomics in 2021. After summer school, we had intense communication and a lot of plans for collaboration. Despite the 9-hour time difference, she always managed to find the time for meetings. These few months were brief, but my feeling is that we knew each other for a whole life: her openness, generosity and kindness made this feeling real! I am honoured and grateful that I have met her: she motivated and supported me and will remain an inspiration through her papers that remain. I especially love the fact that Jasmina and I are from the same country, ex Yougoslavia, and that she courageously decided to continue her education in the US as a Fulbright scholar in the 80s. I am missing her greatly. Also, I remember with how much love she was talking about her family, daughter, husband and sister. My deepest condolence to all of them."

Dragana Draganac, University of Belgrade

"Jasmina Arifovic was a pioneer in applying modern computational methods in economics. Early in her career her use of evolutionary computing proved a fruitful way to model adaptive agents in a variety of contexts. Later she was a leader in melding experimental and computational methods to yield empirically-grounded models of behavior. Her deep knowledge of these research areas, long experience working on such problems, and thorough understanding of the research challenges, made her an invaluable member of the computational and experimental economics communities. Her appetite for new methods and perspectives was great. Her enthusiasm for research and dependably good advice will be missed, but her outstanding scholarly contributions will endure."

Rob Axtell, George Mason University 

"Jasmina was my phd supervisor. It was in her class where I first learned about the evolutionary and machine-learning algorithms. The experimental approach adopted in the class sparked my research interest in behavioral economics. After 17 years in the research and teaching of economics, I feel more and more grateful for what Jasmina had enlightened me. The experience of doing research under her supervision is an invaluable asset for me. My sincere condolences to Jasmina’s family."

Yiping Xu, University of International Business and Economics

"I wish my sincere condolences to Momo, Sarah and Jasmina's other family members. I also offer my condolences to Jasmina's friends, coauthors and past and present students. Jasmina was a fantastic person, an excellent colleague and an essential part of our department. Jasmina was an innovator and broke many barriers. She was a respected researcher and worked hard to get to the place she was. She was a dedicated teacher and supervisor. Jasmina was also a great mentor for our junior hires. She contributed to the department in so many ways.

Jamina will be deeply missed by us all."

Steeve Mongrain, professor 

"Jasmina was one of the pioneers of the literature on agent-based models, and her work largely inspired my PhD thesis. I met her nine years ago in Vancouver and later she graciously agreed to participate in my PhD defense committee. I greatly enjoyed meeting and talking with her, and watching her presentations, from which I could always learn something new. She will be missed as an amazing scholar and person." 

Tomasz Makarewicz, Bielefeld University

"Jasmina was one of the first people I met when my partner and I came to Vancouver in 2002. She and her husband took us immediately under their wing, which was a blessing because I was pregnant with my first child and had no extended family support. Jasmina soon became an invaluable and close friend. I cherished our regular walks and have fond memories of many fabulous dinners along with stimulating conversations and plenty of laughs in their always welcoming home. She is leaving a gaping hole in my life.

As a member of the SFU Econ department, Jasmina was equally irreplaceable. Her groundbreaking research, academic achievements and international recognition elevated the department’s profile, and her mentorship of countless PhD students was instrumental to the success of our graduate program. I often found myself relied on her as a colleague and counsel - she gave excellent advice and always helped me put things in perspective.

Jasmina was a bighearted woman, with a larger-than-life presence in the department. She was greatly respected and loved by everyone whom she met and who got to know her for her intellect, her caring personality, and her quirky humour. She will be missed by all.

My deepest condolences to her family."

Anke Kessler, professor and department chair

"Few people have had the breadth of impact as Jasmina.  Her pioneering economics research spans many fields, including computational learning, experimental, macro, and public.  Her early work on genetic algorithm learning in multi-agent models was pathbreaking.  Also, her early insistence that these models can and should be validated through human subject experiments greatly influenced the direction of the entire field of agent-based economics.

Since graduate school you have been my friend and intellectual colleague.    I can’t say how much I will miss you.  I still have so many things to ask you.  Don’t we have a paper to write?  You are simply gone much too soon.

My thoughts are with Jasmina’s family on their great loss."

Blake LeBaron, Brandeis University

"I was one of professor Jasmina's students. She was a very generous and kind person. We will all miss her, but her legacy will live on through her work. My deepest condolences to her family."

Mohamed Abubraidaa

   

"Meeting Jasmina has been one of the most profound experiences I have had at SFU. Although, as hard as I tried, agent-based economics, the field she had breathed new life into, failed to win my heart, she was always supportive of my academic efforts and cheerful. Everyone who has met her will confirm that her smile was contagious. It contained all the joyful lightness of the Balkans, her native land. Jasmina, bićeš uvek u mom srcu, počivaj u miru."

Giuseppe Danese, University of Pennsylvania 

"I was shocked by the news about Jasmina. Right now all I can think of is her family, which must be going through a very difficult time. My thoughts go to them. I will miss Jasmina."

Gabriele Camera, Chapman University

"Jasmina was my office neighbour when I started as Assistant Professor in 2003. She always had a line-up of graduate students in front of her office as she was extremely generous with her time, guidance and research funds and employed and trained a huge number of PhDs. Her computational classes were always over-subscribed and she was adored by her students. Jasmina was a leader in her field of research and her long list of seminal publications speaks for itself. She and I shared a lot of common background as immigrants, Eastern Europeans and Chicago alumni and I consider myself very lucky to have been her colleague, co-author and friend. Jasmina Arifovic was and will always be one of the academic pillars of SFU Economics and her kindness and dedication will forever remain in our hearts and memories."

Alexander Karaivanov, professor

"Jasmina will be widely remembered for her research achievements, and those of us that had the privilege to be her colleagues will never forget her kindness and dedication to the department. She will be sorely missed. My heartfelt condolences to her family." 

Shih En Lu, associate professor

"Jasmina pioneered the use of evolutionary-based machine-learning algorithms to model the behavior of agents in macroeconomic, finance, and public economic environments. Importantly, she sought to validate and fine tune those evolutionary algorithms in complementary experiments involving human subjects.  I learned a lot from working with her and I will miss her greatly."

John Duffy, University of California, Irvine

"I have been close friends with Jasmina since I arrived at SFU in 1995.  We have worked together on many administrative projects within the department, especially when I was chair during 2001-2006.  At conferences of the American Economic Association we often interviewed thirty or more job candidates in two and half days.  Jasmina also frequently served on the tenure and promotion committee.  She has been a vital player in building our department and deserves much of the credit for the strong reputation it has achieved.

I could tell numerous personal stories about Jasmina and her family, and I have warm memories of shared social occasions.  But here I want to talk about Jasmina’s research contributions and what they say about the kind of person she was.  

In her assistant professor days, Jasmina pioneered the use of genetic algorithms to model economic behaviour.  This research was far from the mainstream and some people undoubtedly saw it as a high risk career strategy, but Jasmina pushed ahead and persuaded editors and referees at the top journals to publish her work.  Later she staked out new territory in computational and experimental economics, again without any apparent regard for the conventional wisdom of the profession.  Today her cumulative impact is immense.  I greatly admire the creativity and tenacity Jasmina has displayed throughout her career.  She should be an inspiration to young researchers everywhere who have unorthodox ideas and the passion to pursue them."    

Greg Dow, professor

"Jasmina introduced me to experimental economics as a masters student at SFU. Her passion for the subject was contagious – I have fond memories of programming evolutionary algorithms in her class. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I likely would not be working in experimental economics had I not taken her class, and I’ll be forever thankful to her for that. Although I did not see her often after graduating, she was always very warm and encouraging. I will sincerely miss seeing her. My sincerest condolences to Jasmina’s family."

Chad Kendall, USC Marshall

“Twenty years ago Jasmina taught us the second Phd macro course, ECON 809.  She impressed the students so much that three of us, Olena Kostyshyna, Yiping Xu, and myself, all wanted her to supervise our theses. I think Jasmina’s most special talent as a professor is she makes students feel confident without ever saying “you can do it.” She let us explore by ourselves, but we know she is always there to provide support or guidance. Her passion and dedication to research have certainly influenced my career choice as a researcher. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have Jasmina around often. We’ve spent great time together attending conferences, discussing research, collaborating papers, or chatting as friends. I saw her last on Nov 30, 2021, where my coauthor Daniela Puzzello presented one of our papers over Zoom. Jasmina complained about back pain, but she carefully followed the presentation and provided many useful comments. For many of us, Jasmina’s passing away is a big loss.”

Janet Hua Jiang, Bank of Canada

"Jasmina was a rock on which the department relied. Unfailingly polite to everyone and with a keen sense of responsibility. She was just beginning to find top gear in research and win commensurately high international recognition. My sincere condolences to her family."

Arthur Robson, professor

"As a young doctoral student I ran across Jasmina's early papers on Genetic Algorithm learning, later published in JPE, JME, JEDC, but then still working papers. These papers determined the direction of my thesis and inspired me to continue working in the area of computational economics also thereafter. I was lucky enough to then meet Jasmina a few years later and she became a close friend and co-author. In all the years since I profited tremendously from her ideas, our discussions, our cooperations and in particular also from her friendship. I will miss all of this enormously.

My deepest condolences to Jasmina's family."

Herbert Dawid, Bielefeld University

"Jasmina was my professor, senior PhD thesis supervisor, mentor, co-author and friend. I knew her for 20 years, ever since I took her graduate macro course in the Winter of 2002. That class was very influential to me because Jasmina inspired my interest in macroeconomics, modeling non-rational expectations and experimental economics. Following that macro class, I worked with Jasmina as her RA, she was my senior thesis supervisor, and we would later co-author papers together. She was very patient in teaching me how to do research and improve my writing (I read some of my early RA reports later, and I thought that Jasmina was very generous and patient with me). She also gave me opportunities to bring in my own ideas and develop them. I am very grateful for her interest in teaching me and her support during all these years. Jasmina was a very driven and energetic person, and she clearly enjoyed what she did. I also remember how much she loved and cared about her family and her daughter. My sincere condolences to the family for their loss."

Olena Kostyshyna, Bank of Canada

"It was exactly 20 years ago-in the spring of 2002-that I took Jasmina Arifovic’s graduate course in macroeconomics. Her experimental approach to macroeconomics truly enlightened me and got me excited about research in economics. Besides showing me the world of macroeconomic research, Jasmina also went out of her way to help me. She gave me very kind advice about PhD programs and offered to set up a reading course for me when I could not find enough suitable courses one summer. It is very saddening to hear that she left us all in a sudden. Like many others, I will miss her dearly. 

My deepest condolence to Jasmina’s family."

Yao Tang (MA, 2003), Peking University

"I have met Jasmina at the beginning of my Ph.D. She went from being a colleague to a mentor, and then a good friend. I will miss chatting with her at conferences across the world or through video calls when it was always early morning in BC and late evening for me. I am deeply saddened by the loss of a friend."

Alex Grimaud, TU Wien

"I was so sorry to hear about Jasmina Arifovic. Jasmina developed the application of genetic algorithm learning to macroeconomics and was one of the pioneers of experimental work in macroeconomics. She was also a great collaborator and co-author -- I will sorely miss not being able to work with Jasmina in the future."

George Evans, University of Oregon

"Professor Arifovic was not only a mentor but also a pivot to my early research journey. She had greatly inspired me to pursue research in computational and experimental economics. She took the time to carefully listen and understand the ideas of her students. Most importantly, her exceptional dedication and genuine affection for academia have had a tremendousimpact on me as a young economist.

I know that Professor Jasmina Arifovic's passing is a great loss to her family, her friends, and the economic community. I also know that her works and inspirations will be carried on and never be forgotten.

I am proud that I was her student. My deepest condolences to Professor Arifovic's family."

Hung Truong, PhD student

"As an American, the first I ever heard of Simon Fraser University was when I was a graduate student and read Jasmina’s then-new JPE paper.  Its combination of computational and experimental work, in a field that had to that point largely ignored experimental economics, was obviously ground-breaking and set the tone for an outstanding career of scholarly work.

Many years later, we worked closely together as department chair and associate chair. We had a lot of fun working together, and her gentle sense of humor made some of the more stressful days a little easier.  It’s fair to say that administration was never her favorite activity, but she did it anyway because she thought it was important.  She recoiled from paperwork and *always* turned it in late, but she successfully organized numerous conferences and navigated the bureaucracy to bring some outstanding young colleagues into the department.  She hated conflict, but was always willing to speak up for what was right.  Most of all, she loved being an academic, and was still at the top of her game.  Her loss comes far too soon, and I will miss her greatly. 

My deepest condolences to Jasmina’s family."

Brian Krauth, associate professor

"Jasmina was one of the first faculty members I worked with when I started at SFU. I am grateful to have met her during these few months, which were much too brief. She was a pleasure to work with—a gentle soul and always wearing a smile on her face. Condolences to her friends and family—I know she will be greatly missed by everyone." 

Carina Thanabadeepathara, SFU Economics staff

"We are sad and will miss your friendship, but we will also remember your inspiration to all of us in the profession and your many contributions to economic science."

Cars Hommes, Bank of Canada 

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