Spotlight on economist Dr Dora Fazekas

Hungarian Economist Dr Dora Fazekas

Dora has recently been appointed Managing Director, Hungary.

Here she tells us what it’s like opening a new office, what she loves about her particular field of economics and reveals that she’s something of an entrepreneur.

Tell us about your role at Cambridge Econometrics

I have worked in Cambridge Econometric’s climate, energy and circular economy team since early 2017, leading and managing applied energy-environment-economy modelling and consultancy research projects.

Although I’m not a modeller, I can now present our E3ME model in a non-technical way.

I was the first Cambridge Econometrics employee to work outside of our Cambridge office and have been working remotely from Budapest since I joined the company. Since our colleagues in Brussels joined us I’m no longer the odd one out!

You probably don’t have a typical day at the moment – how has it been setting up a new office?

It’s been an exciting challenge, identifying suitable premises and meeting with lawyers to register the new company – it’s really quite different from our daily research work.  Usually I would be liaising with clients and working together with our economists on all the day-to-day activities that are involved with economic analysis.

The Budapest office will provide a unique international talent pool and will contribute in a positive way to the Hungarian economy by keeping highly qualified and skilled workers in the country.

Selecting candidates for the new office has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to conducting the first interviews this week.

Opening into Central Eastern Europe is quite a brave move by Cambridge Econometrics, expanding our scope and activities this way shows Cambridge Econometric’s out-of-the-box thinking.

Budapest - Hősök tere (Heroes Square)
Budapest – Hősök tere (Heroes Square)

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Learning through our projects is what motivates me most. Having a job where I can make a meaningful contribution and stay up-to-date in my field is very important for me.

I enjoy working with smart people whom I can learn from – Cambridge Econometrics is definitely the right place for that!

You have a PhD, tell us what you studied

I have a PhD in Environmental Economics, and an MSc in Economics. My dissertation focused on the EU’s CO2 emissions trading scheme and I’ve been working in the climate/energy field since 2007. During my PhD I spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in New York City, at the Earth Institute, Columbia University and got involved in carbon footprinting analysis.

Tell us about the project you’re working on at the moment

We are working long-term with the Thai government advising them about what kind of carbon pricing instrument they could introduce to their economy.

We are comparing a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme (ETS) as it relates to the country’s specific characteristics.  We are also extending our macroeconomic model, E3ME, to Thailand so that local policy makers can use it to help them make informed choices in the long term.

Of which piece of work are you most proud?

Cambridge Econometrics is contributing to the New Climate Economy 2018 Report which will be published in the US in September by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.  This is a major international initiative to examine how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change.

The Cambridge Econometrics team is modelling the climate, economic and social impacts of scenarios with the aim of illustrating examples of policies that can simultaneously promote economic growth and reduce the risks of climate change. Policies are assessed using Cambridge Econometrics’ macroeconomic modelling approach (E3ME) that will identify both potential emission reductions and impacts on the wider economy.

What inspired you to to work in this particular field of economics?

When I started studying environmental economics I finally felt that I had found my field.

Making an impact has always been important to me – not as an environmental activist but as someone who can use quantitative knowledge to identify opportunities to allow decision makers to act on the best possible evidence.

What advice would you give to someone looking at economics as a career?

Economics is a vast field – take your time to get to know its details and carefully select which areas you want to focus on, and then specialise to become an expert.

Tell us something that even your colleagues don’t know about you…

In my last year at university I set up a translation agency with a friend using funding from a university grant.

The agency is still operational and employs about 50 people, although I sold my shares long ago.

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