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Roberto Lagos Mondragon is an international student in the Department of Economics motivated by his upbringing in Honduras to better understand the interplay of prosperity and inequality in society.


Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Roberto Lagos Mondragon
Roberto Lagos Mondragon

Area of Study:

Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics

What motivates you?

Growing up in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, I started questioning the social situation in my home country and the region: What explains the entrenched inequality in society? What is the role of public policy and institutions in creating prosperity for citizens? What prevents access to quality education, healthcare, and the social institutions necessary for escaping poverty? My curiosity with socioeconomic issues developed into a career in economic research and policy evaluation for the Honduran government. To better understand and address these issues in Honduras and other developing countries, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in economics, focusing on macroeconomics and labor economics. Finally, My goal is to become a leading researcher in development topics to inform policy in Honduras and other developing countries.

Why UNC-Chapel Hill?

There were several reasons:
  1. The Ph.D. program in economics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with its excellent faculty, is a great fit for my academic and research goals.
  2. I love the Triangle area and the opportunities that offers to take courses or assist to seminars in other schools such as NC State University and Duke University.
  3. North Carolina is a great place to live with many fresh-air activities that you can do such as camping and hiking Joining my Ph.D. program represents an important step in my aspiration to be an economic researcher. Graduating from the program, I would become the first Honduran citizen to receive this degree from your institution.

How have you built community at Carolina?

Going to different events that The Graduate School and the economics student association organizes has been the best way to built a community at UNC-Chapel Hill. This help me to fit right away. I am so happy to be here and excited to do this academic journey!

Describe DSS in five words!

Be curious not judgmental.

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