Dr. Yao-Yu Chih: Brandon Dee Roberts Excellence Professor

The Brandon Dee Roberts Excellence Professor is awarded to a member of faculty in the early stage of their career. Dr. Yao-Yu Chih has been with Texas State since 2014 and is an assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Economics. Dr. Chih received his PhD in Economics from Indiana University.

Q: What are your goals and plans for the professorship? 
A: I recently published a paper (with Dr. Jim LeSage) on heterogeneous spatial autoregressive models. Based on this work, Dr. Le Sage and I will contribute a new chapter to the second edition of the Hand book of Regional Science, a prestigious encyclopedia in the field of regional science. Heterogeneous spatial autoregressive modeling is capable of producing estimates of spill-in and spill-out effects for each region in the sample. With the availability of large datasets and increased computing power, our new heterogeneous approach is poised to become the standard in regional science. I also intend to pursue a research grant for the heterogeneous spatial autoregressive modeling project. The project is suitable for an NSF social science grant. Crafting a grant proposal requires a tremendous amount of time, but if the proposal is funded, it will greatly benefit the college’s research output and reputation. The College is developing an MS program in Quantitative Finance and Economics, which we hope will start in Fall of 2020. I am excited to participate in the program’s development. I am preparing to teach a graduate microeconomics course, one of the program’s core courses, each fall semester. For new graduate programs, the challenges during the reputation-building period are enormous, especially regarding student recruitment. I intend to devote some of my professorship to helping recruit students and develop partnerships with higher education institutions in East Asia (where more than 50% of international students in the United States are from).  

Q: What do you think is most valuable about the professorship? 
A: From my point of view, receiving the Roberts Professorship represents a great opportunity to prepare for a higher level of responsibilities. In the past four years, I have greatly benefited from the collegial scholarly environment at McCoy College. It is a great honor to belong to this big family, and I am very enthusiastic about devoting myself to the college’s commitment to student success and to reaching new heights of excellence.  

Q: How did you get to Texas State? Can you talk a little about your journey to get here? 
A: After finishing my PhD program at Indiana University, I was hired as an assistant professor at a regional school in Pennsylvania. I had planned to make a career there, but my plan was interrupted due to financial issues in the Pennsylvania's state system of higher education. I went back on the job market, and I am at Texas State now. The campus and Texas Hill Country are just gorgeous. When I am stuck on a research project, I like to walk from McCoy Hall to Old Main and enjoy the view of San Marcos downtown from the hill. My colleagues are very supportive. Since joining Texas State, I have greatly benefited from the collegial work environment that I didn’t have elsewhere. What impresses me the most is that students are extremely nice and friendly. They are the reason that I love Texas State so much!!