SPIA is excited to introduce Felipe Lozano-Rojas!

Felipe Lozano-Rojas received his PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2020. His main research areas are the intersection of public finance and social policy, including the impacts of taxation on behavior, and the revenue-generating social-policies that provide different levels of governments with fiscal independence to attain social goals. When he’s not working, he spends his time outdoors and cooking with his partner. 

Q: What attracted you to UGA? 

FLR: A lot of things. Starting with the scholarship, several of the faculty that I considered were doing awesome and interesting things in my field were UGA graduates, or are/were at UGA. The rankings corroborate this and in my field UGA is one of the top programs in the country. SPIA-PADP has an excellent level of scholarship and a set of colleagues I wanted to work with before I was even close to the school. 

Beyond professional matters, its mild climate is a blessing, the size of Athens is small enough not to be congested and crowded all around, and big enough as not to feel too much in isolation from the rest of the world. The surroundings, close to the mountains. The piedmont is gorgeous and entertaining, considering that I come from the Andes mountains. I climb, trek, camp… Beyond that Athens has a massive hub airport 1.5h away that makes me feel close to home and any other point on Earth.


Q: Where did you grow up? 

FLR: Bogota, Colombia


Q: What are you working on that you’re most excited about?

FLR: I am starting to work on the labor and public finance effects of opioids and marijuana policy. I am thrilled with that and I am looking forward to closing the projects that would allow me to focus on that.


Q: What was your favorite part of your college experience?

FLR: There were several dimensions equally important to me. The quality of people and the friends I made during my college time. Also the new experiences, getting to know people who ignited my curiosity in many respects.


Q: Please tell us about your research interests.

FLR: I am interested in the interaction between social policy and government finances. This is a relationship that goes in two ways. The intention to address individual social policies influences the way in which local and sovereign governments make financial decisions. On the other hand taxation and government fund raising also influences individuals’ behavior. I am looking at this two-way interaction in soda taxes and in substance policy.


Q: How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?

FLR: I like to be outdoors quite a bit. More now with the pandemics. My partner is very crafty and I have joined her re-discovering knitting… I have made a scarf and we just started a latch hook carpet together. We cook together and enjoy each other’s company.


Q: Please tell us one fun fact about you.

FLR: I used to be a serious reggaeton dancer… Not anymore!


Q: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

FLR: Publishing and Teaching. Getting more and more attached to UGA and Georgia, and making people here get more attached to me too 😊


Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

FLR: Finishing my PhD and coming to UGA felt to me as a very important step in my life. Prior to that, having had the opportunity to work and implement part of my masters dissertation felt I had influenced a little bit the world that surrounded me. I researched student loans and I worked for companies that during those years affected the life of more than half million people… 


Q: What advice do you have for SPIA students?

FLR: Dream as high, far, and unconventionally as you can.