Pomona econ prof to co-chair CA Governor’s economic council

A man wearing glasses, a tie, and a sweater-vest smiles at the camera.
Fernando Lozano, an economics professor at Pomona, will serve as the co-chair for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new council of economic advisors. (Courtesy: Pomona College)

Pomona College economics professor Fernando Lozano will serve as co-chair of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new Council of Economic Advisors, Newsom announced Feb. 21.

The council will advise Newsom and California Department of Finance Director Keely Martin Bosler on economic issues and connect Newsom’s administration with academic research, according to a statement from Newsom’s office.

“We need to invest for the future, adapt to a changing climate and keep our budget balanced,” Newsom said in his announcement. “This council will keep its pulse on what’s happening in our economy while making policy recommendations to prepare us for what’s to come.”

Lozano has taught at Pomona since 2005. He is also a research fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, where his recent work has explored topics such as workers’ schedule flexibility and the effects of border control policies, according to his IZA webpage.

“California is my home, and has been home to my family for more than 30 years. I really feel invested in its success for the future,” Lozano told TSL via email. 

“But equally important, as an economist who has worked in academic institutions throughout my life, this opportunity gives me a chance to expand beyond my comfort zone and think of the ways that economics, evidence based knowledge, is applied in the real world,” Lozano added.

Lozano will continue to teach at Pomona while participating in the council. 

“I think it will give me a different perspective that I will be able to pass to my students,” he said. “A more applied one, one that has relevance to our lives outside of the classroom.”

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The Council of Economic Advisors is made up of 13 people, including professors, researchers and current advisors to Newsom. Laura Tyson, a professor from University of California, Berkeley, will be the other co-chair.

Lozano said the greatest value added from the council will be “an independent voice.” 

“The group is also diverse in terms of disciplinary background, in terms of geographic location, in terms of personal histories, in terms of research interests: We bring an intellectual diversity that will definitely inform our discussions,” Lozano said. 

As co-chairs, Lozano and Tyson will act as a link between other members of the council and Newsom’s office. The council is currently determining what economic issues they will be focusing on, according to Lozano. 

“We all agree that the strength of California is our human capital: a diverse workforce, people from all over the world that bring many assets to our economy, a truly entrepreneurial environment, the largest public higher education system in America, together with excellent private colleges and universities,” Lozano said. “I guess that has been most revealing to me since we started our conversations, is the emphasis on leveraging the assets in the state.”

Lozano was first contacted by Dr. Irena Asmundson, chief economist of the California Department of Finance, to be part of the council.

Lozano said he hopes the council will promote a more inclusive and progressive economy that emphasizes the well-being of less fortunate people. In addition, he hopes to create an infrastructure that allows for the council to contribute to California’s economic decision making, even after this first group of council members has left.

He is on leave this semester, but has previously taught the courses “Principles of Macroeconomics”, “Race in the US Economy” and “Urban & Regional Economics” at the college.

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