Staff Economists

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

headshot of Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

I track current macroeconomic and regional economic trends and have written on a variety of topics, including regional housing markets, regional survey diffusion indices, and the economics of urban areas.

Professional Experience

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell joined the Richmond Fed's Research Department in January 2008. She currently directs the Regional Economics unit, which is tasked with providing qualitative and quantitative regional economic information to policymakers and the public. Her work involves analyzing economic trends, writing for a variety of publications, and presenting on regional and national economic conditions.

Prior to joining the Richmond Fed, Waddell worked as an economist in the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget and at ICF International in Washington, D.C.


M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
B.A., Williams College, 2001

Curriculum vitae

"The Economic Impact of Premature Adult Mortality: Panel Data Evidence from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa" (with Michael R. Carter, Julian May and Jorge Ag├╝ero). AIDS: Official Journal of the International AIDS Society 21, no. 7 (November 2007): S67-S73.

January 2009, No. 09-01

The Size and Structure of Exports in the Fifth District Economy

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  Fourth Quarter 2015
  Predicting Economic Activity through Richmond Fed Surveys
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  First Quarter 2015
  State Labor Markets: What Can the Data Tell (Or Not Tell) Us?
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  First Quarter 2014
  The Richmond Fed at 100 Years
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  First Quarter 2013
  Leverage and the Fifth District Economy
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell and R. Andrew Bauer

  Fourth Quarter 2012
  Shadow Inventory and Foreclosure Law in the Fifth District
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  Second Quarter 2011
  Changes in the Fifth District: What Can the 2010 Census Tell Us?
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  Second Quarter 2010
  Great Trade Collapse: Past, Present, and Future in Fifth District Export Activity
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  Summer 2009
  Living Standards in the Fifth District
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  Spring 2009
  Increased Productivity and Trade Have Reduced Manufacturing Employment
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

  Winter 2009
  Housing Markets, Financial Markets, and Recession: What About the 5th District?
  Sonya Ravindranath Waddell and Betty Joyce Nash

Aug. 3, 2017

National and Regional Economic Outlook

Sonya Waddell discussed the economic outlook in August 2017.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

Jan. 5, 2017

The Fed and the Economic Outlook for the Nation and Virginia

Sonya Waddell discussed the Fed and the economy in January 2017.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

Aug. 23, 2016

The Fed and the Piedmont Region

Sonya Waddell reviewed regional economic conditions in August 2016.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

May 11, 2016

The Fed and the Fifth District

Sonya Waddell reviewed regional economic conditions in May 2016.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

May 21, 2015

Regional Economic Update

Sonya Waddell provided an update on the Fifth District economy in May 2015.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

March 10, 2014

The Federal Reserve System and Central Banking in the US

Sonya Waddell discussed the Fed's structure and evolution in March 2014.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

June 26, 2013

The Virginia Economy and the Nonprofit Sector

Sonya Waddell reviewed economic conditions in Virginia in June 2013.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

October 18, 2017

A Tale of Three Cities: Richmond, Charlotte, and Baltimore

The Fifth District economy – like the U.S. economy – is increasingly driven by urban areas. How can we start to understand the existence, growth, and decline of cities in the context of Richmond, Va., Charlotte, N.C., and Baltimore, Md.?

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

August 24, 2017

The Opioid Epidemic

States in the Fifth Federal Reserve District struggle with the opioid epidemic that continues to plague the nation. In fact, one state in the Fifth District—West Virginia—has some of the highest rates of drug use and opioid overdose deaths in the country.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

November 18, 2016

Measuring Economic Activity: How the Richmond Fed Uses Diffusion Indices

The Richmond Fed publishes a series of diffusion indices based off of surveys of manufacturing and service sector firms across the Fifth District. These indices help us to understand business conditions in our region in a timely and more comprehensive way.

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

June 8, 2016

Why Richmond Got a Reserve Bank

There are 12 Federal Reserve Banks across the country: How did one land in Richmond, Virginia?

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell

"The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Educational Outcomes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa." University of Wisconsin-Madison, Masters Thesis, 2006.

"The Extent of Urban Bias in Belize." Williams College, Honors Thesis, 2001.

Contact Us

Sonya Ravindranath Waddell
Director of Regional Economics
(804) 697-2694