Akila Weerapana
Associate Professor of Economics, Wellesley College

Akila Weerapana
Akila Weerapana is an associate professor of economics at Wellesley College.

He was born and raised in Sri Lanka and came to the United States to do his undergraduate work at Oberlin College, where he earned a B.A. with highest honors in economics and computer science in 1994. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford in 1999.

Professor Weerapana’s teaching interests span all levels of the department’s curriculum, including introductory and intermediate macroeconomics, international finance, monetary economics, and mathematical economics. He was awarded Wellesley's Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. He has advised many thesis students at Wellesley on projects ranging from a study of the economic benefits of eradication of river blindness in Ghana to the impact of joining the European Union on the Spanish economy to a project analyzing the determinants of enterprise performance in Russia.

His research interests are in macroeconomics, specifically in the areas of monetary economics, international finance and political economy. In the area of monetary economics, his work has focused on the international dimension of monetary policy, including the potential for gains from coordination and the importance of asymmetric relationships between countries. On the political economy side, his work examines the macroeconomic implications of political institutions and policy stances: examples include how the South African government’s attitude towards the AIDS pandemic may affect exchange rates, how domestic economic growth responds to political institutions such as redistricting mechanisms and voter initiatives, and how political and economic variables can increase or decrease violent conflict.