• Office Hours:

    by appointment
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Professor
  • Concentration:

    • Applied Microeconomics
    • Development Economics
    • Public Economics
    • Labor Economics
    • Applied Econometrics
  • Department:

    • Economics and Regional Economic Development Institute
  • Education:

    • PhD, Stanford University
  • Curriculum Vitae:


Dr. Anita Alves Pena is a Professor of Economics at Colorado State University.  She also holds a courtesy faculty appointment with the Colorado School of Public Health and affiliation as a research associate with the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI@CSU).  She currently serves as the DEIJ Coordinator for the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (HICAHS).  Dr. Pena received her Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University in 2007, M.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 2004, and B.A. in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University in 2001. Her research interests are in public sector economics, labor economics, and economic development and her current research relates to undocumented and documented immigration, public policy, poverty, education/skill, and agricultural labor markets including applications to public and occupational health.  She teaches Microeconomic Theory, Public Economics, and Microeconomics of Development at the graduate level, as well as undergraduate Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Introduction to Econometrics, Economics of Public Finance, Development Economics, and a Senior Seminar on Local Economic Policy/Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching philosophy has revolved around the idea that the art in teaching economics lies in the ability to relate the subject to the experiences of students. Teaching students why economics matters to their lives changes their understanding of the world around them. My view is that this not only ensures a next generation of economists to extend the field, but also can result in positive externalities such as changes in students' compassion for the poor, ethics in business, and personal responsibility for household finances. The best economics classes therefore in my opinion elucidate supply and demand relationships and engage students mathematically, analytically, intuitively, and verbally while encouraging informed citizenship and decision-making. This is relevant at the undergraduate and graduate (through Ph.D.) levels.


Journal Articles:


  • ECON 460: Development Economics


    Students will learn theories of development that are relevant to the poorest countries in the world. Learning outcomes include using economic principles and theory from many branches of economics to explain crucial real-world problems, understanding development problems and associated pros and cons of solutions, and illustrating important development problems and policy issues with recent events.

  • ECON 760: Microeconomics of Development


    Students will learn the microeconomic theory of development that is relevant to the poorest countries in the world. This will include the study of information based market failures, coordination failures, the role of institutions, and the role of the state, primarily in the context of predominantly rural agrarian based economies. Dualism, interlinked credit and labor markets, dependency, migration and population will be examined as specific concepts/issues in these countries. Students also will learn how empirical research is undertaken using data from household surveys. Students will read journal articles using household survey data that are representative of the current field and will complete a research study of their own (replicating a published study) using data from a household survey in a developing country. The importance of paying attention to gender in development will be emphasized throughout the course.