I am from Pittsburgh; my father came to this country from Greece in the 1950s and my mom is from New Jersey. My sister lives in the Pittsburgh area and my brother lives in Colorado. I went to a public high school, Hampton High School, and ran cross-country and track. (My high school was featured in the film “Abduction.” I haven’t seen the film but unfortunately I heard it wasn’t very good.)
My bachelor’s degree (in Economics) is from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. (It’s not a military school even though it sounds like one.) At first, I was a Chemical Engineering major, but I found the classes boring and I liked the economics classes I had taken, so I switched. My senior year, I had trouble deciding whether to apply to law schools or to apply to Ph.D. programs in Economics. I decided I would be better off in a Ph.D. program, because lawyers sometimes have to appear in court, and I was nervous about public speaking.
The University of Pennsylvania accepted me, so I moved to Philadelphia in the fall of 1985, and started the Ph.D. program there. I found the first year difficult, but I learned a lot, and during the second year it seemed to get easier. I paid for graduate school by working as a teaching assistant, and that experience got me interested in becoming a professor. I received both a M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from U. of Penn., and got a job offer from Cal. State Northridge. I hadn’t really planned on moving to California. I didn’t know anyone out here, but I thought I’d give it a try for a year or two and see what it was like. That was in 1991.
Originally, in graduate school, my areas of specialization were Econometrics, Finance, and Economic History. Now most of my research applies econometrics to a variety of topics. I am also interested in Public Choice, which deals with the interaction of economics and politics. While teaching econometrics at Northridge, I found that students had a hard time understanding the econometrics textbooks I ordered for them (I tried a couple of different ones.) They told me they understood my lectures but after a while, they gave up on trying to read the textbook. This gave me the idea of writing my own book. It took 2 years to write and was published by Thomson/Southwestern.
I have been married since 1997 (we don’t have any children.) We are Christian. My wife is in Information Systems, so I have free 24/7 technical support for life. I run and do a little weightlifting, and of course I’m a Steelers fan.