Akila Weerapana

Professor of Economics

Interested in the economics of higher education, international economics, the economics of conflict, and monetary economics.

My published work is in the areas of the economics of higher education, international economics, the economics of conflict, and the political economy. My dissertation research focused on monetary policy and my interest in the area remains inversely proportional to my publishing success. In the last few years, I have served as the Faculty Director of the Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center at Wellesley and as the faculty liaison to the Office of Institutional Research at Wellesley. Through my work there, I have pivoted my research towards the economics of higher education, particularly in furthering understanding of how college students make crucial academic decisions - such as what their major is - based on the incentives they face.

I have taught classes in macroeconomics and international economics at all levels of the curriculum. I am most fond of teaching introductory macroeconomics, and have spent a lot of time in the last few years working on a co-authored textbook on macroeconomic principles. During my time at Wellesley, I have also had the pleasure of working with many thesis students, always on a topic of their interest.I enjoy learning about many areas of economics but I am partial to macroeconomics. The breadth of my interests is both my best attribute and my worst attribute as an economist.

I have two kids. When they were younger I used to describe them as always letting me revise and resubmit my work no matter how unsatisfactory the initial efforts have been. But now that they are older they are more accurately compared to journal referees - they either desk reject my offerings or provide snide comments about how my explanations lack clarity, the work is trite (and has been put into evidence before) and that the methods have evolved since the days when I had something to contribute to the discourse.

Link to Personal Page


  • B.A., Oberlin College
  • A.M., Stanford University
  • Ph.D., Stanford University

Current and upcoming courses

  • This course is designed to deepen students' engagement with scholarship in Economics. Enrollment is by invitation only and will draw from students concurrently enrolled in the core required courses for the major or minor. The class will introduce students to current research in Economics, presented by different faculty members, and link that research to skills and concepts covered in core required courses. Students will gain a better understanding of the ways the tools they are learning in their courses can be applied to real world issues.