Ph.D. candidate Wisnu Setiadi Nugroho is one of many international scholars who choose CSU for graduate study. Originally from Indonesia, Wisnu previously worked for Universitas Gadjah Mada and as a quantitative researcher for the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) in the Vice President’s office for the Government of Indonesia. Given his experience in poverty reduction, Wisnu’s research interests focus primarily on impact evaluation, labor markets, public policy, public finance, gender, and education.

As a student at CSU, Wisnu has worked closely with a collaborative research team called the Poverty Action Center (PAC@REDI), housed within the Regional Economics Development Institute (REDI@CSU). He also has worked alongside Professors Harvey Cutler, Martin Shields, and Anita Pena on a project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to measure COVID-19 impacts through nightlights time satellite data.

When he finishes his degree this summer, Wisnu will return to both Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta as a University Professor and to TNP2K as a part-time Senior Economist.

Quick Facts


Ph.D. Economics, Colorado State University (ant. 2022)

M.A. Economics, Colorado State University (2019)

M.S. Public Policy and Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2013)

Bachelor in Economics, Universitas Gadjah Mada (2010)

DissertationThree Essays on Indonesia’s Economic Development

Advisor: Professor Anita Pena

Fields: Development economics

In His Own Words

What inspired you to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics? 

In Indonesia, most people think of economics as a condescending and “high-and-mighty” subject. It only discusses money, wealth, and complicated math that does not reflect the real world. Researchers in economics are considered to be living in an ivory tower far from reality. For example, while many economists debate the Fed rate, no regular people care about it when they do not know what to eat today or what would happen if the household’s primary breadwinner got sick or lost their job.

I studied economics with the hope to carry the theory, the thought, and the method that economics provides to the real-world application and directly affect people’s lives. Economics could — and should — be the basis of policy implementation that can affect and help people. Therefore, my main interest is in development economics, especially poverty and its comprehensive policy in health, education, etc. I hope my Ph.D. can contribute to the betterment of people and society through government policies.    

Why did you choose CSU for your Ph.D. in Economics?

There are three reasons why I chose the CSU Department of Economics. First, it offers a heterodox school of thought that is complimentary to the mainstream. Second, the “open door” policy culture makes all the professors very accessible to be reached outside the classroom, and creates a family-like atmosphere that is very supportive for international students far from home. Lastly, the City of Fort Collins (although getting expensive) is suitable for families. For me, that was a significant and important point because I have my family here.  

What has been the best part of your experience as a graduate student in ECON? 

Mainly the best part is meeting and working with bunch of very supportive Ph.D. students and professors and being involved in research, workshops, and projects. If you love your occupation, every single day is a vacation.  

Get In Touch

LinkedIn: Wisnu Setiadi Nugroho