Danilo da Silva, 2012-13 Fellow

The first time Danilo da Silva was a visiting fellow of the HOPE Center, in the fall of 2010, he was still writing his PhD dissertation—and still very much a scholar-in-training.

“Being just a PhD student, I took in all that my colleagues at the Center graciously and generously gave me—research advice, writing advice,” Danilo says. “I used it all in completing my thesis, and their guidance was invaluable to me.”

Two years later and with a doctorate from the University of São Paulo in hand, Danilo is a fellow of the Center again, here to continue work on Robert Lucas and the natural rate of unemployment, one of the subjects of his dissertation. He is focusing on Lucas’s early work, which culminated in Lucas’s model of the natural rate of unemployment fit into a general equilibrium framework with rational expectations.

The fact that Lucas’s papers are at Duke only makes it natural that Danilo has chosen to spend another fall on the Durham campus.

“When you get in touch with the correspondence, the drafts of papers, the discussions Lucas held with his colleagues behind the scenes, you start to better understand how he worked and what’s behind a beautiful paper.”

Today, it might be hard to imagine Lucas as anything other than a Nobel Prize winner. But as Danilo has found, Lucas’s early papers reveal a young man struggling to find a place for himself in the community of economists.

Among other things, Danilo hopes to further improve his research skills during his fellowship at the Center. His mindset has changed from that of being a student to that of being a full-fledged scholar, someone determined to do research on the same level as the best historians in the field.

In addition to his two tenures as a Center fellow, Danilo participated in the 2012 Summer Institute. When he was not in class, he helped organize and create finding aids for Douglass North’s and Martin Shubik’s papers, which are also at Duke.

“I feel very comfortable here, very much at home, which is especially important for someone coming from abroad. Being a fellow of the HOPE Center means being part of a community of like-minded scholars, and that’s a good feeling.”

Danilo will return to São Paulo in December.