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.

UConn Ranks High for Economics Departments in CT

A recent report from Zippia featuring the best Economics departments in Connecticut ranks the University of Connecticut near the top of the list, just below Yale:

These Are The 10 Best Colleges For Economics Majors In Connecticut

The report reviewed a total of 103 institutions of higher learning in Connecticut, and considered Career Results (earnings for graduates), Economics Emphasis (majors as a percentage of a graduating class), and School Performance (admissions, graduation rates, and cost).

Professor Jorge Agüero and Juan Campanario Receive 2016 ERAP Award

Professor Jorge Agüero (faculty) and Juan Campanario (student) are the recipients of the 2016 Undergraduate Economics Research Award Program (ERAP).

Their work on their project “Can Growth and Redistribution Reduce the Influence of Colonial Institutions? The Case of Peru’s Mining Mita” will be supported through the ERAP program, which is designed to  assist research apprenticeships and research collaborations between undergraduate economics majors and economics faculty members.

The ERAP program enables the student to enhance research skills relevant to the field of economics, while the faculty member guides the project and provides mentorship. Only one award is given each academic year, with the student receiving a $1,500 fellowship and the faculty mentor receiving a $1,000 grant added to their departmental research accounts.

Congratulations to the award winning team!

Professor Naknoi Presents Paper at Vanderbilt

naknoiProfessor Naknoi presented her paper titled “Tariffs and the Expansion of the American Pig Iron Industry, 1870-1940” in the International Economics Seminar at Vanderbilt University on April 8, 2016.

Her study examines the benefit of the protection of the American pig iron industry. She illustrates that the protection was critical for the industry before 1890.

See the details of her study at:


Professor Naknoi Presents Paper at ASSA

naknoiProfessor Naknoi presented her paper titled “Exchange Rate Pass-Through and Market Structure in a Multi-Country World” in the ASSA Meeting/Econometric Society Meeting in San Francisco on January 4, 2016.

Her model proposes a theory that exporters take into account competing exporters’ currency appreciation in their price setting. In addition, her study provides evidence supporting her theory using data on prices of Canada’s exports to the U.S.

Information about her session is online at:


Professor Prakash Receives World Bank Grant

prakashProfessor Nishith Prakash has received a $200,000 Knowledge, Learning and Innovation grant through the World Bank in support of the research project Performance-Based Incentives for Students – Answering Design and Operational Questions in Zanzibar. This is a joint project with Dr. Shwetlena Sabarwal (World Bank) and Professor Asadul Islam (Monash University).

This project will provide clear guidance to the Government of Zanzibar on how best to design and operationalize a results-based financing (RBF) approach for improving student performance in early grades of the secondary cycle, thereby reducing the high levels of student drop-out before secondary completion.

To this end, the grant will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of performance-based incentives targeted directly at students. Within this broad question, the evaluation will also examine the relative effectiveness of (i) different RBF design choices; and (ii) different RBF operational choices for most effectively mainstreaming such incentives using country systems.

The interventions are a part of a Government-led pilot that is being intensively supported by World Bank and is expected to help define the design of a new education project for Zanzibar.

A High Ranking for the M.A. Program in Economics

econ50The M.A. program in Economics at the University of Connecticut has been ranked #38 of the 157 programs evaluated in the Financial Engineer’s 2015 Master of Economics Rankings.

A variety of factors are used to evaluate each program, including acceptance rates, the employment prospects for new graduates, and starting salaries and bonuses.  The results are considered “”the most comprehensive rankings for graduate financial economics programs in the United States.”


The Department mourns the loss of Prof. Kimenyi

Photo credit: BMI Murithi and Nation Media Group

kimenyi-picThe Department mourns the loss of one of its own. Prof. Kimenyi was a former member of the Department before leaving to join the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. According to BMI Muriithi of the Daily Nation, he passed away on Saturday, June 6, at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, after a long illness. BMI Muriithi’s article in Daily Nation is available here.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his wife, Irene, and his three sons. Condolences and sympathy can be sent to:  Irene Wangui Kimenyi , 2011 Wheaton Haven Court, Silver Springs, MD 20902.


The following is a note of memorium written by Prof. Richard Langlois:

A note in memorium of Mwangi S. (Samson) Kimenyi
from his friends and former colleagues at the University of Connecticut

We in the Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut were truly grieved to hear of Samson’s passing.

Samson came to us in 1991 and left to form KIPPRA in 1999, and was thereafter only sporadically in residence in Storrs. But he was with us for almost the entire decade of the nineties. We had hired him away from the University of Mississippi and awarded him the rank of Associate Professor less than five years after his Ph.D., which is an extraordinary rate of advancement. What attracted us to Samson was his astounding rate of publication, on a variety of topics. Among these publications was work on poverty in the United States, which focused on the importance of family structure – and which won the prize for best paper in the Southern Economic Journal. What we discovered after Samson had been with us a short while is that we had hired a wonderful man as well as a wonderful scholar. Those of us who came to know him well found that family was just not an intellectual interest for him but was part of his being, and we admired his devotion to his wife Irene and his three boys, who largely grew up here in Mansfield.

The problem with hiring a superstar, however, is that the world beckons. As Samson’s interests moved in the direction of African development, and as he became increasingly well known in that field, he was tapped to form KIPPRA and then called to the Brookings Institution. But we always considered Samson to have remained a member of our faculty in spirit. Many of us remember his visit part-way through the KIPPRA experience, which was memorable for a seminar in which he shared with us some of his accomplishments and challenges in Kenya.

In a way, we at UConn had already learned to miss Samson. Knowing that the parting is now final is a tragedy to us. But we will always remember his tenure here; and the spirit of his intellectual achievements and his warm personality will always remain part of our department legacy. We wish his family comfort in their time of grief.


Professor Shor publishes in Operations Research Letters

505567Professor Mikhael Shor has had his paper, “How collaborative forecasting can reduce forecast accuracy,” accepted by Operations Research Letters.

The brief article compares an independent supplier and retailer who each forecast consumer demand with a jointly-profit-maximizing supplier and retailer who share their forecasts of consumer demand. The move from non-collaborative to collaborative forecasting can have the unexpected impact of decreasing demand forecast accuracy while still increasing profit. Therefore, collaborating firms should maintain a focus on profits, not forecast accuracy, as the appropriate measure of success.

Profs. Harmon, Alpert, coauthors have paper accepted

Profs. Harmon, Alpert, coauthors Archita Banik (UConn, Ph.D., 2013), and James Lambrinos have an article “Class Absence, Instructor Lecture Notes, Intellectual Styles, and Learning Outcomes” recently accepted for publication in the Atlantic Economic Journal. An abstract is available here.11293