Professor Naknoi publishes in Canadian Journal of Economics

Canadian Journal of EconomicsProfessor Kanda Naknoi published a sole-authored article in the February 2017 issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics.

The title of her article is “Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations, Wage Stickiness and Tradability

Abstract: When we classify factors of production by their tradability, the relative wage of nontraded labour influences the real exchange rate through the relative cost of distribution services. We confirm this prediction using monthly data on the sector-level US–Canada real exchange rate and the relative wage of service-producing labour. The relative wage accounts for 40% of the variability of the real exchange rate at a one-month horizon. Furthermore, when we use the effective nontraded labour content to classify goods into nontraded and traded ones, the variability of the price of the nontraded-goods basket accounts for more than half of the variability of the real exchange rate.

Professor Steve Ross talks about School Quality and Housing Prices

ross[1]The National Real Estate Forum recently interviewed Professor Ross on his work on the relationship between housing prices and school quality.  This interview has been produced as a podcast at:


In this work, Professor Ross discusses the surprising findings that school quality has only a quite modest effect on property values, and that much of the early work on this question confounded the effects of neighborhood quality with the effects of school quality.  He also discusses the contradiction between these findings and evidence that school choice actually has substantial effects on school quality, suggesting that the reason for the large effects is because school choice affects where people live and so change neighborhood quality, which as noted has large effects on housing prices.

Professor Zhao publishes his research in JEDC and JEoA

Kai ZhaoProfessor Kai Zhao has had his paper titled “Social Insurance, Private Health Insurance and Individual Welfare” accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. In this paper, he develops a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model to evaluate social insurance policies. The main findings of the paper are that means tested social insurance does not only distort saving and labor supply decisions, but also has a large crowding out effect on the demand for private health insurance. However, despite the distorting effects, the net welfare consequence of eliminating social insurance is still negative. In addition, this paper finds that the existence of social insurance as a last resort is a quantitatively important reason why many Americans choose to be uninsured.

Professor Zhao and his coauthor Ayse Imrohoroglu (USC Marshall) have their paper titled “Intergenerational Transfers and China’s Social Security Reform” accepted for publication in the Journal of the Economics of Ageing. This paper grew out of their research agenda on the Chinese economy and its implications for the rest of the world. In it, they find that a model with two-sided altruism is preferred to a standard pure life-cycle model for studying social security reforms in China due to the prevalence of intergenerational links. They show that the implications of several reforms are quantitatively different from what have been found in existing studies using pure life-cycle models.

Professor Zhao’s research can be found at his personal webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/kaijackiezhao/research

Professors Minkler and Prakash publish in the Journal of Comparative Economics

Professor Minkler and Professor Prakash’s paper titled “The Role of Constitutions on Poverty: A Cross-National Investigation” has been accepted by the Journal of Comparative Economics. In this paper, they construct and use a new historical data set on economics and social rights from the constitutions of 195 countries and an instrument variable strategy to answer two important questions.

First, do economic and social rights provisions in constitutions reduce poverty, measured as headcount income and health outcomes? Second, does the strength of constitutional language of the economic and social rights matter? Constitutional provisions can be framed either more weakly as directive principles or more strongly as enforceable law.

The results suggest three findings. First, they do not find an association between constitutional rights generally framed and poverty. Second, they do not find an association between economic and social rights framed as directive principles and poverty. Third, they do find a strong negative association between economic and social rights framed as enforceable law and poverty when we use legal origins as our IV. These results persist for indices of constitutional rights and also when they restrict the sample to non-OECD countries. The policy implication is that constitutional provisions framed as enforceable law provide effective meta-rules with incentives for policymakers to initiate, fund, monitor and enforce poverty reduction policies.

Professor Shor publishes new explanation for the Allais paradox

jbdmThe Allais Paradox is one of the most enduring violations of expected utility theory, a hallmark theory of economics. Professor Mike Shor and coauthor Mark Schneider (a recent UConn PhD) have had their paper “The Common Ratio Effect in Choice, Pricing, and Happiness Tasks” accepted by the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

In the paper, Professor Shor elicits preferences for the Allais paradox choice alternatives using three different methods: traditional choice, monetary valuation, and subjective happiness ratings. He finds that both the consistency and distribution of responses differs systematically across different elicitation methods, with modal choices replicating the Allais preference pattern, modal happiness ratings exhibiting consistent risk aversion, and modal valuations maximizing expected value. The paper finds support for a dual process framework in which people use either a “logical” or an “intuitive” thinking process depending on the task.

Professor Harmon presents at Morgan Le Fay Center

harmonAt the symposium “Understanding Our Neurodiverse World: Teaching Business and Economics to Students Who Learn Differently,” on Saturday, October 1, 2016, Professor Oskar Harmon gave an invited presentation on Universal Design in Online Instruction.

The keynote speaker was Paul McCulley, former chief economist and managing director at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).  The other speakers at the day long symposium included Peter Fisher, J.D., senior lecturer at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, and Manju Banerjee, Ph.D., VP of Research and Innovation at Landmark College.

The symposium was sponsored by the Morgan Le Fay Center for Advances in Business, Economics, and Entrepreneurship, Landmark College, Putney, VT.

Two Economics Undergraduate Students Selected as 2017 University Scholars

Congratulations to Economics students Rebecca Hill and Lucas Silva Lopes, who are among the twenty-three University of Connecticut undergraduates who have been selected as the 2017 University Scholars:

Rebecca Hill
Major: English/Economics
Project Title: The Western Madwoman: A Feminist History and Economic Study in Novel Form
Committee: Ellen Litman, English (chair), Veronica Makowsky, English & Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Delia Furtado, Economics

Lucas Silva Lopes
Major: Political Science/Economics
Project Title: Presidential Interruptions and Interim Presidents: How Do Latin American Countries Re-Equilibrate Both Politically and Macroeconomically After a Presidential Interruption?
Committee: Matthew Singer, Political Science (chair), Veronica Herrera, Political Science, Derek Johnson, Economics

“The University Scholar Program is one of the most prestigious programs for undergraduates at the University of Connecticut. Available to students from all of the University’s schools and colleges, the University Scholar Program allows students to design and pursue an in-depth research or creative project and to craft an individualized plan of study that supports their intellectual interests during their final three semesters. Each student is mentored by an advisory committee of three faculty.

No more than 30 University Scholars are selected each year. Admission is based on an application submitted during the first semester of a student’s junior year. Applications are reviewed by an interdisciplinary faculty committee that looks for innovative projects and academically rigorous course selection. Graduation as a University Scholar recognizes a student’s exceptional engagement in research and/or creative endeavors.”



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