Econ Undergraduate Students Present at the NY and Boston Fed Challenges

Stamford Econ Undergraduates Present at NY Fed ChallengeCongratulations to the undergraduate students from the Stamford and Storrs campuses who took part in the College Fed Challenge this month!

Sponsored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the “College Fed Challenge is a team competition for undergraduate students. Teams analyze economic and financial conditions and formulate a monetary policy recommendation, modeling the Federal Open Market Committee.”

The Stamford team (above left) participated in the NY Fed Challenge, competing against forty-one other schools.

The Storrs team (below right) presented at the Boston Fed Challenge, competing against twenty-four other New England schools.

Storrs Econ Undergraduates Present at Boston Fed ChallengeCongratulations to both teams on all of their hard work in this competition!

Stamford Team:

Joanna Ksiazek
Chris McLaughlin
Amir Parikh
Shrey Patel
Alex Rojas
Ravinder Singh
Dr. Julia Coronado (Advisor)
Professor Oskar Harmon (Advisor)
Professor Steven Lanza (Advisor)
Professor Kanda Naknoi (Advisor)

Storrs Team:

Patrick Adams
Matt DeLeon
Erik Eason
Gabriel Hack
Ed Leardi
Stephen Mwangi
Matt Regan
Joe Roessler
Professor Owen Svalestad (Advisor)

Professor Prakash publishes in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

Professor Nishith Prakash’s paper “Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India“, with Karthik Muralidharan, has been accepted for publication in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

In this paper, the authors “study the impact of an innovative program in the Indian state of Bihar that aimed to reduce the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by providing girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school.

Using data from a large representative household survey, we employ a triple difference approach (using boys and the neighboring state of Jharkhand as comparison groups) and find that being in a cohort that was exposed to the Cycle program increased girls’ age-appropriate enrollment in secondary school by 32% and reduced the corresponding gender gap by 40%. We also find an 18% increase in the number of girls who appear for the high-stakes secondary school certificate exam, and a 12% increase in the number of girls who pass it. Parametric and non-parametric decompositions of the triple-difference estimate as a function of distance to the nearest secondary school show that the increases in enrollment mostly took place in villages that were further away from a secondary school, suggesting that the mechanism of impact was the reduction in the time and safety cost of school attendance made possible by the bicycle.

We also find that the Cycle program was much more cost effective at increasing girls’ secondary school enrollment than comparable conditional cash transfer programs in South Asia.”

Professor Prakash is following up on this work with his new project, ‘Wheels of Change: Impact of Cycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia’.  For more information, see Professor Prakash Studies the Impact of Bicycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia

Professor Zhao a Panelist on China’s Macroeconomy, Urban Growth and Policy Analysis

Kai ZhaoProfessor Zhao was a panelist at The 9th Annual Conference on China’s Economic Development and the U.S.-China Relationship, held at The George Washington University. The panel was on China’s Macroeconomy, Urban Growth and Policy Analysis.

In it, Professor Zhao discussed his recent research on the Chinese Saving Rate.

The full schedule of the conference can be found online at:

https://www2.gwu.edu/~iiep/signatureinitiatives/china/USChinaConference/2016/schedule.cfm

Professor Coşgel Publishes Book

Economics of Ottoman Justice Book CoverProfessor Metin Coşgel has published The Economics of Ottoman Justice (Cambridge University Press, November 2016) with coauthor Boğac Ergene.

“During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire endured long periods of warfare, facing intense financial pressures and new international mercantile and monetary trends. The Empire also experienced major political-administrative restructuring and socioeconomic transformations.

In the context of this tumultuous change, The Economics of Ottoman Justice examines Ottoman legal practices and the sharia court’s operations to reflect on the judicial system and provincial relationships. Metin Coşgel and Boğaç Ergene provide a systematic depiction of socio-legal interactions, identifying how different social, economic, gender and religious groups used the court, how they settled their disputes, and which factors contributed to their success at trial. Using an economic approach, Coşgel and Ergene offer rare insights into the role of power differences in judicial interactions, and into the reproduction of communal hierarchies in court, and demonstrate how court use patterns changed over time” – Cambridge University Press

Professors Alpert, Lanza, Furtado, and Shor Present to Early College Experience Instructors

In a recent workshop for nineteen University of Connecticut Early College Experience Instructors, Professors Mike Shor, Steve Lanza, Delia Furtado and Bill Alpert presented the principles instructors with current economic thinking concerning game theory, the law and economics, effects of immigration on the domestic labor market, and monetary/macroeconomics for principles level students.

The Early College Experience (ECE) program is a concurrent enrollment program that allows motivated high school students to take UConn courses at their high schools for both high school and college credit. Every course taken through UConn ECE is equivalent to the same course at the University of Connecticut. Students benefit by taking college courses in a setting that is both familiar and conducive to learning. High school instructors who have been certified through the University of Connecticut serve as adjunct faculty members and teach UConn ECE courses.

furtado-ece
Professor Furtado offers a well-received presentation concerning her own research on female immigrants and immigration issues generally in the United States today

Established in 1955, UConn Early College Experience is the nation’s longest running concurrent enrollment program and is accredited by The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. In the last decade, the Economics Program has grown from two instructors in two Connecticut high schools to almost 40 instructors in 30 Connecticut high schools offering the Principles of Economics classes and Economics 1000.

For more information see:  http://ece.uconn.edu/

The First Biannual Austin Seminar in Education Policy

Amy Ellen SchwartzProfessor Amy Ellen Schwartz, the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, will present The Impact of Universal Free Meals on Student Outcomes as the speaker at the first biannual Austin Seminar in Education Policy.

The lecture, co-sponsored by the Center for Education Policy Analysis, the Neag School of Education, and the Department of Economics, and presented jointly with the Health, Labor and Development seminar series of the Department of Economics, will be held:

Tuesday, October 25th
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Gentry 142, 144

A reception will follow the seminar.

The Abstract:  This paper investigates the academic effects of providing school meals free of charge to all students.  Using detailed data on NYC public school students, we estimate the impact of  “Universal Free Meals” (UFM) on standardized test scores,  participation in school meals, obesity and BMI.

Using a difference in difference design and novel student-level transaction data, we explore the heterogeneity of the impact by student race/ethnicity, poverty, and, critically, prior participation in school lunch.  Most important, we find that UFM significantly increases academic performance of middle school students by as much as 0.1 sd, large enough to pass a commonly used threshold for a successful academic intervention.

UFM increases lunch participation by roughly 5.2 percentage points for poor students and larger effects of 13.5 percentage points for non-poor students.  Similarly, the effect of UFM is larger for students with low baseline participation, than those with high baseline participation.   Finally, we find some evidence of reductions in weight and obesity for non-poor students driven, perhaps, by the better nutritional value of school lunch compared to  competitive alternatives.

 

Professor Simon publishes in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

Professor David Simon published his paper “Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Welfare?  Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes” in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Professor Simon used restricted use health survey data to link cigarette taxes to cohorts of children. This shows that in-utero exposure to a dollar increase in the state cigarette tax causes a 10% decrease in sick days from school and a 4.7% decrease in having two or more doctor visits.  Jointly these findings support the argument that exposure to cigarette smoke in utero carries significant medium-term costs, and that excise taxes can lead to lasting intergenerational improvements in wellbeing.

Professor Ken Couch Makes Presentation at U.S. Treasury

Professor Ken Couch and his collaborator, Barbara Smith, of the Social Security Administration (SSA) gave a presentation along with a select group of researchers invited to appear at a one-day symposium at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, DC on Financial Security Research.  The research Couch and Smith presented focused on the impact of informational outreach by the SSA on retirement behavior in contrast to changes in the SSA retirement system itself.

Other presenters included faculty from Ohio State University, Penn, UCLA, USC, the University of Michigan and researchers from the Brookings Institution, the Upjohn Institute and the Employment Benefit Research Institute.  The Acting Commissioner of SSA was in attendance along with many Assistant and Deputy Commissioners and Secretaries of SSA and Treasury.

New Faculty Join Economics Department

The Economics Department is happy to welcome four faculty who joined UConn at the beginning of the Fall Semester.  Chihwa (Duke) Kao, formerly at Syracuse University, joined the economics department as its new Department Head.  Kao is a renowned econometrician working on time series and panel data topics.

Jungbin Hwang also joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor this Fall after completing his Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego.  Hwang is also an econometrician working on panel data and time series topics.

Hyun Lee also joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.  Hyun is a macroeconomist who works on topics related to economic growth and policy analysis.

Patricia Ritter joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor following completion of her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Ritter works on topics at the intersection of development and health.

Welcome!

Professor Prakash Studies the Impact of Bicycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia

Professor Nishith Prakash’s project, ‘Wheels of Change: Impact of Cycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia’, has received generous funding from UBS-Optimus Foundation and World Bicycle Relief and will be in joint collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) at Yale University:

Many countries worldwide have made significant progress towards gender equality in education, labor force participation, and political representation in recent decades. However, in many developing and less developed countries, there also exist discriminatory social norms that favor early marriage and limit girl’s access to education and labor force participation. Therefore, it is not surprising that reducing gender disparity in primary, secondary and tertiary education has been one of the most important goals for international education policy over the past decade, and has been enshrined as one of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).

In this experimental study we aim to study the impact of providing cycles to girls in grade 7 and 8 on education and empowerment. The aim of this evaluation is to estimate the impact of World Bicycle Relief’s BEEP program in Zambia, which provides access to cycles to students who live far from schools in their communities. The study proposes to rigorously test the impact of cycle distribution on education outcomes as well as outcomes pertaining to girls’ empowerment and their bargaining position in the households.

This study will build on the previous study by Muralidharan and Prakash (2016) by testing if increased school access through cycles could create an enabling environment for girls to negotiate better health outcomes in addition to education outcomes. The study proposes to test the following hypotheses:

1)  What is the impact of providing cycles to adolescent girls on education outcomes such as attendance, drop outs and examination scores?

2)  What is the impact of providing cycles to adolescent girls on pregnancy, marriage, fertility, mobility, bargaining power, and empowerment?

This project has received generous funding from UBS-Optimus Foundation and World Bicycle Relief and will be in joint collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) at Yale University.