PhD Candidate Kevin Wood’s paper “Health Insurance and Retirement: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act” has recently been published in Health Economics.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided millions of Americans with medical insurance but may have led to an increase in retirement among older individuals who are utilizing the newly available coverage options as a substitute for employer‐provided insurance. Using data from the American Community Survey from 2009–2016, this hypothesis is tested by estimating the effect of the premium subsidies and Medicaid expansions of the ACA on retirement transitions for the non‐Medicare eligible cohort of older Americans aged 55–64. Research results indicate a 2% and 8% decrease in labor force participation resulting from the premium subsidies and Medicaid expansions, respectively. Slightly larger estimates are found among a subgroup of adult couples. The study also finds suggestive evidence of crowd‐out of employer‐sponsored insurance by subsidized marketplace plans but finds no such effects from the Medicaid expansions.
PhD student, Shiyi Chen, presented a poster of her paper, “Affirmative Action and Interracial Marriage,” at the 2020 ASSA Meetings in San Diego.
The paper looks at how state affirmative action policies, enacted mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, affected the likelihood of interracial marriage. Prior work has shown that that these policies, which apply only to public sector workers, led to increases in minority representation in the workplace. By comparing the likelihoods of black-white marriage, before vs. after a policy was enacted in a state and depending on whether a person works in the public sector, Shiyi explores whether the increased on-the-job contact between people of different races also resulted in more interracial marriage. The paper shows that indeed white males became more likely to marry black females after after being exposed to state affirmative policies, a result perhaps suggesting that interracial contact – even when induced by public policy – improves race relations more broadly.
The AEA interviewed select poster presenters at the conference, and Shiyi’s poster was chosen to be highlighted. You can watch her discuss her work below.
The Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group (HCEO) at the University of Chicago announced their top five downloaded working papers of 2019.
Steve Ross’s paper “The Consequences of Friendships: Evidence on the Effect of Social Relationships in School on Academic Achievement” with Jason Fletcher and Yuxiu Zhang was among that list.
In that paper, they show that female students experience substantial improvements in their academic performance when they have more friends from an advantaged economic background, i.e. friends whose mothers completed four years of college. These effects may arise in part because girls with such friendships are also better integrated into their school environment.
Matt Ross, one of our Ph.D. graduates, was interviewed by The Guardian about the new study of racial profiling in police stops in the State of California, as well as about his own research with UConn faculty member Steve Ross and another Ph.D. graduate Jesse Kalinowski:
Economics Department faculty Steve Ross was just appointed to the Board of Editors of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy:
The Early College Experience Economics program (https://ece.uconn.edu/) held its annual workshop this fall for 30 Connecticut high school economics teachers who are teaching UConn’s Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 1202) and/or Essentials of Economics (ECON 1000).
Leading off the workshop was Professor Mike Shor, presenting “Patent Holdup” in which he explained the limits monopoly power conveyed by patents. The complementary relationships among patents and the price determination of purchasing or licensing of patents. He went on to explain the idea of the patent hold up. He also provided the workshop participants with a classroom exercise in which students discover how patents are priced.
There followed a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova, “Using Data in the Classroom: FRED database.” Professor Smirnova demonstrated several empirical uses of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s FRED database including both Macro and Micro economic examples.
Professor William Alpert presented a lunch time talk about the “Perils and Pitfalls of Prediction” highlighting the famine predictions of Paul Ehrlich for the 1980 (100’s of millions die) and the failed predictions of The Club of Rome from 1973. Professor Alpert also “predicted” the rise to more than 600 million in the number of horses in the United States if 18th Century trends had continued, assuming no alternative means of transportation.
Professor Steven Lanza then followed up with a presentation entitled “Rediscovering Lost Arts: Economic Index Numbers” in which he stressed the importance of index numbers and the biases in those numbers. He also demonstrated how to calculate them using data that is easy to access and readily available.
Professor Nishith Prakash rendered the concluding presentation concerning a natural experiment concerning the harassment. In India 79% of women living in cities have experienced harassment in public spaces. Professor Prakash and his coauthors set out to determine the effect of street patrolling that targets harassment, on the type and frequency of incidents and women’s proactive responses. They also are trying to determine the impacts of targeting perpetrators of harassment and what drives these changes — visibility, and/or quantity of a focused taskforce?
All of the presentations were well received and the workshop was among the most successful offered by the ECE Economics program.
On October 30th, Economics undergraduate student Mary Vlamis presented her project ‘Can Inclusive Programs Reduce Racial and Gender Discriminations from the Labor Market?’ at the annual Fall Frontiers in Undergraduate Research poster exhibition.
She had the opportunity to present the project to students, faculty and others – including President Katsouleas (shown here).
Mary and Professor Jorge Agüero received a 2019 Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience (SHARE) award to work on this project, along with Research Scholar Francisco B. Galarza.
The project explores whether merit-based scholarships could reduce racial and gender discrimination in the Peruvian labor market, and how effective the national scholarship program is at narrowing the gap in hiring.
This Fall, Professor Smirnova’s Mathematical Economics class in Stamford engaged in collaboration with the local business community. A key element of the course was the empirical project, which gave students hands-on experience in working with data and proposing a solution to a real problem for Stamford-based businesses. Separated randomly into seven teams, students pondered the research question: How to attract and retain Millennial talent in Stamford, CT?
This question was posited by Kelly Pierre-Louis, UConn alumna, Founder & Executive Director of #IRLCONN – (In Real Life Conference: #IRLCONN: Edu). Kelly devoted a substantial amount of time observing teams’ presentations throughout the semester and giving constructive feedback. On the last day of classes, December 5th, teams presented their answer to the research question, their analysis of data, and their recommendations for the Millennial talent retention in Stamford. In attendance at the event were local business community leaders from Stamford Chamber of Commerce, Business Council of Fairfield County, Ferguson Library, Waddell and Reed, GAIA Real Estate, Congressman Jim Himes’s office, and Luigi and Associates.
Students had the opportunity not only to showcase their research but also network with business professionals, ask and answer questions, and connect. Our guests were very enthusiastic about student projects’ outcomes. They asked questions, provided their views on the subject, and were interested in implementing some of the students’ recommendations in their businesses or their line of work. Good dialogue and an exchange of ideas for future collaboration inside and outside of the classroom commenced.
Such real-world projects’ integration in the economics curriculum proves to be an exciting new way of connecting our students to the realm outside the academia. It also makes class projects more meaningful and develops skills that can be easily transferred to the workplace.
Jorge Agüero gave a keynote address at the 8th International Congress on Education at Ibagué, Colombia.
The congress took place between September 30 to October 2nd and centered on the issue of the length of the school day. Professor Agüero’s address focused on the successes and challenges of expanding the school day in secondary schools in developing countries based on his research in both Mexico and Peru.
Once again this fall the Economics Department sponsored a team of students to compete in the annual Fed challenge competition that was held at the Boston Federal Reserve. Again our students did very well, just barely missing the finals.
There were five groups with five universities competing in each group. The school with the highest score in each group moves on to the finals. Every year the competition level gets higher. In our group, the five scores ranged from 80 to a high of 91. We were close to making the finals, our team had a score of 88.5. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments.
The participating students were Sam Berkun, Tyler Dibrino, Michelle Grieco, Marisa Infante, Joe Mortimer, James Rice, Brianna Sullivan, Kyle Tesei and Ajshe Zulfi.
The faculty advisers were Derek Johnson and Owen Svalestad.