Meet the New Faculty: Cody Couture, Economics – News


Assistant Professor of Economics Cody Couture joined the faculty last August. Here, he talks about his research on the Federal Reserve and what it’s like to teach economics at a liberal arts college.

Why did you start teaching?
It’s often difficult to understand our own motivations, but I guess that’s largely a response to the wonderful teachers I had, especially as an undergrad. There’s also a unique rush that comes from seeing someone have an idea for the first time, which you can feel most often as a teacher.

Please talk about your research.
Broadly, my research examines the behavior and structure of central banks (i.e. the Federal Reserve) and the impact these characteristics have on financial markets and the macroeconomy. I have a paper that examines how the Federal Reserve’s projections have impacted the financial market’s view of future interest rates. I have another article that explores the differences between the expectations of central banks and financial markets and considers how these differences can reduce the impact of monetary policy.

I’m currently working on a paper that explores how the Federal Reserve’s leadership nomination process – in which the president nominates a candidate who must then be approved by the Senate – has become less efficient over the past few decades and what effect this increased efficiency has had on the economy.

Why did you choose Hamilton? Why does teaching at a liberal arts school appeal to you?
I received my undergraduate degree from Skidmore College, so liberal arts schools, especially those in upstate New York, have always held a special place for me. In fact, if it weren’t for the close relationships I established with my professors and the resulting research opportunities, I probably wouldn’t have gone on to graduate school. As such, I thought it would be good to pass on these experiences to future students.

I also really like the philosophy of liberal arts colleges, where professors are not locked into a narrow box but encouraged to explore interdisciplinary thinking. It is liberating, both as an educator and as a researcher, to have the freedom to explore your interests.

How has your stay been here so far?
I have really enjoyed my time in Hamilton so far. The institution is well managed; students are intelligent, engaged and curious; and almost everyone has been friendly and welcoming.

What classes did you teach last semester?
Last semester I taught Financial Economics, which provides a basic introduction to financial markets and theories of how financial agents should behave.

I also really like the philosophy of liberal arts colleges, where professors are not locked into a narrow box but encouraged to explore interdisciplinary thinking. It is liberating, both as an educator and as a researcher, to have the freedom to explore your interests.

Can you talk about your faculty colleagues?
I feel incredibly lucky to have the set of colleagues that I do. The senior faculty were all generous with their time and expertise, which was invaluable in making the fall semester a success. I’m also fortunate to have been hired alongside two other economics professors, so there’s a natural support network as we settle in. Going forward, several professors will be retiring over the next few years. While it will be sad to see them go, it is exciting to help shape the future of the department. In particular, I think it gives us the opportunity to address all the areas that are currently lacking in our curriculum and to bring new perspectives into research and teaching.

What are your hopes for this new semester?
I’m teaching two new courses this semester – Macroeconomic Theory and Senior Thesis – so my main hope is to do a great job teaching despite my lack of experience. I also hope to have more time to devote to research now that I am settled. Finally, I would really like to take the time to appreciate the surroundings, because there is still a lot to explore.

What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I like to play basketball and board games and watch classic movies.

How about Hamilton/your students surprised you?
Having attended a liberal arts school as an undergraduate, I mostly knew what to expect from Hamilton and its students. Even with this background, I was pleasantly surprised by the readiness of the students to engage with the material and the quality of that engagement.

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