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Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research

The Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research brings together researchers throughout Saint Louis University who share a common interest in applied economic research. 

It is part of the SLU Research Institute, and reports to an advisory board consisting of the Deans of the Chaifetz School of Business, the School of Education, and the College for Public Health and Social Justice.  The Center was established based on a generous gift from Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.


The mission of the Center is to advance rigorous research on economic growth and social welfare that can inform public policy. Our research interest is urban economic development, with St. Louis as our laboratory. Center staff and affiliated researchers work on a broad range of applied economic research topics including taxation, education, health, regulation, entrepreneurship, and technology policy.   We take the “applied” in our title seriously. To that end, we invest in developing large and rich databases on schools, neighborhoods, employment and workforce development for the state and the St. Louis metro area that form the foundation for our applied research. 

The work of the Center promotes Jesuit values. Our mission is to use the tools of modern applied microeconomics to help create economic opportunity for all residents of St. Louis by promoting excellence in applied economic and social policy research.


Michael Podgursky, Director

Complete CV

Michael Podgursky is Director of the Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research.  Prior to coming to SLU in 2019, he spent 23 years on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he served as Chair of the Economics Department from 1995-2005. 

His primary research focus is the economics of education, training, and labor markets, which he has published many scholarly, academic articles and policy reports on.  He serves on the board of editors of several academic journals including Education Finance and Policy and Education Next, advisory boards for various statistical agencies, research institutes, and education organizations, and he was a fellow of the George W. Bush Institute from 2010-2013.  He is a co-investigator at the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University and the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at AIR, two national research centers funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.  In addition to IES and other government agencies, his research has been funded by numerous private foundations.

Anwuli Okwuashi, Economic Data Analyst
Anwuli Okwuashi is an Economic Data Analyst at the Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research. She is focused on the analysis of economic and social trends using advanced econometric techniques to find useful inferences within large datasets. Prior to joining the Center, she worked as a Business and Financial Analyst serving the financial services industry in Nigeria. She holds a M.Sc. in Applied Financial Economics from SLU and is pursuing the CFA Charter. 
Antonia Franco, Research Assistant

Antonia Franco is a Research Assistant at the Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research.  Her work focuses on analyzing spatial relationships and trends concerning economic issues affecting the St. Louis region. She was born and raised in Omaha, NE, but has lived in St. Louis since starting her freshman year at SLU. 

Antonia graduated from SLU with her B.S. in economics in 2017.  Her love for economic research, especially urban issues, was inspired by an undergraduate independent study project on juvenile incarceration in St. Louis.  Antonia is currently working on her master's in Applied Financial Economics here at SLU.