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Meet the New Faculty: Cody Couture, Economics


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 teaching economics at a liberal arts college.

Why did you start teaching?

It’s often difficult to understand our own motivations, but I would guess that it is largely a response to the wonderful teachers that I had, particularly as an undergraduate. There is also a unique rush that comes from seeing someone get an idea for the first time, which you can experience most often as a teacher.

Please talk about your research.

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

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

Why did you choose Hamilton? Why is teaching at a liberal arts school appealing to you?

I completed my undergraduate degree at Skidmore College, so liberal arts schools, especially those in upstate New York, have always held a special place for me. In fact, if it were not for the close relationships I built with my professors and the research opportunities that those relationships led to, I would likely not have gone on to graduate school. As such, I thought it would be nice to pass those experiences on to future students.

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

How has your time here been so far?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Hamilton thus far. The institution is well-run; the students are smart, engaged, and inquisitive; and nearly 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 the theories about how financial agents should behave.

I really like the philosophy of liberal arts colleges, where faculty are not pinned into a narrow box but encouraged to explore cross-disciplinary 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 older faculty have all been generous with their time and expertise, which was invaluable in making the fall semester a success. I am also fortunate enough to have been hired alongside two other econ faculty, so there is a natural support network as we settle in. Looking forward, there will be several faculty who are 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 that this gives us the opportunity to address any 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 primary hope is to do a great job teaching despite my lack of experience. I’m also hoping to have more time to spend on research now that I have settled in. Lastly, I’d like to actually take the time to enjoy the surrounding area, as there is still a lot to explore.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy playing basketball and board games and watching classic movies.

What about Hamilton/your students has surprised you?

Having attended a liberal arts school as an undergrad, I mostly knew what to expect from Hamilton and its students. Even with that background, I have been pleasantly surprised by the eagerness of students to engage with the material and the quality of that engagement.

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