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Samantha Kappagoda is an investigator at the RiskEcon® Lab for Decision Metrics, established in 2011 in order to apply a range of computational methods to analyze commercial, consumer and population-related societal trends. She is leading research efforts in the domains of consumer behavior, socieconomic/demographic trends and income distribution. She is also a Visiting Scholar at Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences at New York University (NYU), and associated with the Social Media and Political Participation Lab (SMaPP) at NYU, an interdisciplinary collaboration that investigates the relationships between social media and political behavior.
Samantha is also Chief Economist and co-founder of Risk Economics, Inc., a New York City based advisory firm. She provides advisory services as well as research and development (R&D) of rigorous analytics with applications to large-scale, real-world modeling and surveillance of global macroeconomic trends, socioeconomics, demographics and geopolitics.
As lead for the RiskEcon® macroeconomic and portfolio strategy advisory practice, Samantha’s areas of expertise include currency, fixed income, commodity and capital markets activity, as well as business cycle dynamics, econometric time-series and longitudinal analyses of consumer behavior, labor markets, wealth and income distribution, housing, population and immigration, political risk and international trade, resource allocation, environment, health, aging and retirement.
Previously, she was Senior Economist at Caxton Associates, a hedge fund established in 1983, investing in global fixed income, currencies, commodities and equities. She was a key member of Caxton Global, the firm’s flagship global macro fund, which, at its peak, had approximately $12 billion of assets under management. Her macroeconomic and demographic analytics and development of proprietary econometric models of financial markets, the global economy, central bank and related policy actions guided the firm’s senior decision makers during her thirteen year tenure there.
Prior to working in the financial markets, Samantha was an Economist in the Operations Evaluation Department of The World Bank in Washington D.C., working on the evaluation of structural adjustment lending programs and dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) modeling, with a primary focus on the outcome, impact and sustainability of these programs in emerging market economies.
Samantha pursues her broader research interests by serving as a senior editorial advisory board member of The Journal of Risk Finance (JRF), an Emerald Publications journal which provides a rigorous forum for the publication, both by academics and practitioners, of theoretical and empirical research related to the financing of risk, with a long-standing focus on issues of market convergence. She was originally the founding Managing Editor of JRF in 1999, initially published by Institutional Investor Journals/Euromoney, before its successful sale to its current publisher. She has also served as Special Editor for Risk Management, for The Journal of Alternative Investments, another Institutional Investor journal.
Samantha currently serves as a member of the board of directors of three not-for-profit organizations: Council for Economic Education, an organization that delivers economic education and financial literacy to K-12 students by educating the educators; Glynwood, which focuses on sustainable agriculture and regional food systems; and subsequent to being honored by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York in 2013, she was elected to their board. Samantha is also a member of the leadership council of Black Rock Forest Consortium, a 4,000-acre natural living laboratory for field-based scientific research and education, operated by a consortium of twenty-three colleges and universities, public and independent schools, and scientific and cultural institutions.
Samantha received an M.B.A. in Analytic Finance and Statistics from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She also holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of Toronto, and graduated with a B.Sc. (Honors) in Mathematics from Imperial College, London.
Her biography has been published in the Marquis’ Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Business (formerly Finance and Industry), Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders, Who’s Who of American Women, and Canadian Who’s Who (University of Toronto Press). In 2013, she was honored by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York as a Woman of Distinction, for her activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
- The socioeconomic and socio-demographic determinants of communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and their impact on health capital in the labor market via the dependency ratio; structural changes in labor force growth relating to emerging health trends; time-series properties of socioeconomic and socio-demographic risk factors relating to obesity; the relationship of cross-country differentials in the dependency ratio and relative growth.
- Income elasticity of consumption spending on healthcare goods and service; co-evolution of healthcare spending and selected socioeconomic and socio-demographic indicators; regional and socio-demographic variation of income elasticity in healthcare spending.
- Effects of population aging on aggregate consumer demand; structural changes in the composition of consumption spending patterns across generations.
- Methodological interests and experience: time series and longitudinal applications to event history and duration analysis; surveillance and monitoring of NCDs; discrete choice, latent variable and social network analysis of behavioral (sociometric and psychometric) influences on discretionary consumption decisions related to health.