Alexander Vaninsky publishes in Energy

Professor Alexander Vaninsky, a long-time economics instructor at the Stamford Campus, recently published the article “Energy-environmental efficiency and optimal restructuring of the global economy” in the journal Energy (June 2018).

The paper discusses the opportunities for economic restructuring, including the redistribution of population, means of production, energy consumption and greenhouse emissions, resulting in optimal increase in the energy-environmental efficiency. The paper utilizes stochastic data envelopment analysis with perfect object that the author developed in his previous publications. A computer program supporting the computations is published in a separate related article in the Data in Brief journal (August 2018).


The primary objective of this study is to investigate the opportunities for economic restructuring, resulting in an optimal increase in the energy-environmental efficiency of the global economy. A novel stochastic data envelopment analysis with a perfect object method (SDEA PO) constitutes the methodology of the research. We equip SDEA PO with the projected gradient of the efficiency score. We employ the indicators of the gross domestic product (GDP) and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) as output and undesirable output, respectively, and population and clean energy consumption as input and undesirable input, respectively. By using the SDEA PO, we obtain a group efficiency score for the global economy; the projected gradient identifies the direction of optimal economic restructuring. The indicator-wise components of the projected gradient determine locally optimal changes in the shares of each economy, serving particular goals. We use a factor analysis technique to aggregate them into one factor vector that determines the multicriteria optimal structural change. The factor vector determines the redistribution of the GDP, clean energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and population, leading to the maximum possible increase in the energy-environmental efficiency. The suggested approach may be used as a tool for decision-making in a variety of two-tier economic systems.

David Simon and Mark McInerney Publish in Health Affairs

Professor David Simon and PhD student Mark McInerney have published “The Earned Income Tax Credit, Poverty, And Health” with co-author Sarah Goodell.

In the article, they “consider the small but growing body of studies showing that the Earned Income Tax Credit, the largest needs tested antipoverty cash assistance program in the US, improves health, particularly for single mothers and children.”

The article, in Health Affairs’ ongoing series of Health Policy Briefs, is online at:

David Simon, Mark McInerney and Sarah Goodell
“The Earned Income Tax Credit, Poverty, And Health, ” Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, October 4, 2018. DOI: 10.1377/hpb20180817.769687

Professor Naknoi presents at the 2018 Asian Historical Economics Conference

On September 21, Professor Naknoi presented her new work at the 2018 Asian Historical Economics Conference, hosted by the University of Hong Kong.

The title of her presentation was “The Thai Military As a Business Group, 1957-2016”.

The conference program can be found at:

MSQE Program Certified by NABE

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) recently announced that the Economics Department’s Master of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE) program has been accepted to offer its Certified Business Economist® (CBE) professional certification. Students may now elect to earn their MSQE degree and CBE certification simultaneously.

Launched in 2015, the CBE is a comprehensive professional certification program of study and examination covering core topics in applied economics and data analytics. Students who matriculate in NABE certified master’s degree programs are able to complete their CBE requirements while studying for their degrees and sit for the CBE Exam which will be offered on campus each year.  Other universities that offer similarly certified degrees include Boston College, Brandeis University, George Washington University and the University of Texas.

The Economics Department’s MSQE program providing emphasizes the development of skills in quantitative methods and data analysis, as well as the application of those skills to economic problems. It is a STEM program that combines training in economic principles/theory with strong training in quantitative and analytical methods.  “We are pleased to be designated by NABE as a program certified in training business economists.  We seek to provide graduates with the quantitative and communication skills needed by the market place,” said Chihwa Kao, Director of the UConn MSQE program.

UConn Economics Ranked Among Top 50 Programs

The Department of Economics at UConn was recently ranked among the top 50 economics programs in the United States based on total research productivity of its faculty.  The ranking, produced by Academic Analytics, considered a number of factors such as articles published by department members and their visibility as well as grants received.  Comparably ranked departments include Boston College, the University of Arizona, and the University of Colorado.

Professor Naknoi presents at the City University of Hong Kong

Professor Kanda Naknoi presented her work at the Department of Economics and Finance seminar at the City University of Hong Kong on September 20th. The title of her presentation was “Exchange Rate Pass-Through and Market Structure in Multi-Country World”.

The paper for her presentation can be found at:

Holster Scholar, Mateen Karimi, Presents Summer Research on MENA Immigrants

Sophomore, Mateen Karimi, presented his Holster Research Project, “A Comparative Study: The Socioeconomic Integration of Second Generation MENA Immigrants” to an interested group of students, family members, and UConn faculty and staff this past Friday at the Konover Auditorium.

Holster Scholars First Year Project supports a small number of students interested in conducting independent research during the summer after their freshman year at UConn. Students are first selected to take a one-credit course to develop their research proposals. Of those in the course, a select few students are awarded funding to complete their projects over the summer.


Mateen’s project, supervised by Professor Furtado, examines the socioeconomic status of second-generation Middle Eastern North African (MENA) immigrants in the United States. He found that while the native-born children of MENA immigrants have more years of schooling and higher incomes than white natives whose parents were both born in the U.S., MENA unemployment rates are substantially higher. Mateen’s results also suggest that despite the very high average education levels of first-generation MENA immigrants, second-generation MENA immigrants complete even more years of schooling than their foreign born parents.

Professor Harmon on Sports: Race & Politics Panel

At the annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors in Washington DC, June 14-15, 2018, Professor Harmon participated in the panel: Taking a Knee, Raising a Fist: Race, Sport, and Politics in Historical Perspective, with Professors Joseph Cooper, Sport Management, and Jeffrey Ogbar, History.

The panel discussed  free speech and social protest in sports from the historical, economic and cultural perspective. Professors Ogbar and Cooper looked at the intersection of Sports, Race and Politics traced from the advent of American organized sports in the 1880s to the social protest of Robeson and Ali.  Professor Harmon presented results of a study of the effect of anthem protests on NFL gate attendance.

Professor Jungbin Hwang to be Published in the Journal of Econometrics

Professor Jungbin Hwang’s paper “Should We Go One Step Further? An Accurate Comparison of One-step and Two-step Procedures in a Generalized Method of Moments Framework”, co-authored with Yixiao Sun, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Econometrics, one of the top scholarly journals in theoretical econometrics. The paper started as a third-year paper project when Professor Hwang was a graduate student in the University of California, San Diego.

Professor Hwang’s paper provides an assessment of the merits of the first step GMM estimator and test relative to the two-step GMM estimator and test. The article shows the two-step procedure outperforms the one-step method only when the benefit of using the optimal weighting matrix outweighs the cost of estimating it. The qualitative message applies to both the asymptotic variance comparison and power comparison of the associated tests.


According to the conventional asymptotic theory, the two-step Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimator and test perform as least as well as the one-step estimator and test in large samples. The conventional asymptotic theory, as elegant and convenient as it is, completely ignores the estimation uncertainty in the weighting matrix, and as a result it may not reflect finite sample situations well. In this paper, we employ the fixed-smoothing asymptotic theory that accounts for the estimation uncertainty, and compare the performance of the one-step and two-step procedures in this more accurate asymptotic framework. We show that the two-step procedure outperforms the one-step procedure only when the benefit of using the optimal weighting matrix outweighs the cost of estimating it. This qualitative message applies to both the asymptotic variance comparison and power comparison of the associated tests. A Monte Carlo study lends support to our asymptotic results.