Most of the gift, some $15 million, will support the launch of the Orlando Bravo Center for Economic Research, enabling the university's economics department to expand the scope of its data-driven research and amplify its focus on training the next generation of economics researchers. The remaining $10 million will fund the recruitment and retention of world-class economics faculty.
Bravo, a private equity investor and 1992 graduate of the university, has a history of supporting initiatives that promote social mobility, both on the mainland and in his native Puerto Rico. His support for the department was inspired by the emphasis that many members of the Brown economics faculty have put on economic inequality and the role that research has played in inspiring conversations that lead to changes in public policy.
"I was excited to learn about Brown’s commitment to its economics department as one of the university's key centers of excellence," said Bravo. "The department is at the forefront of a number of areas of economic research, including an impressive amount of work that helps expose income inequality and promote social mobility, and I am delighted to support the development and growth of those research efforts."
According to Anna Aizer, chair of Brown's economics department, a massive increase in the availability of data has enabled economists at the university to develop innovative data-mining methods, many of which are shedding light on inequities in health care, education, and earning potential. With the establishment of the new center, Brown faculty will enjoy new opportunities to extend research on a range of crucial questions. "Some of the most important and impactful research is scholarship that requires significant resources to conduct," said Aizer. "This gift will enhance our ability to develop new data sets and develop new techniques to answer many of today's most important policy questions."