Stamford Math Econ Students Working with the Business Community

IRL Case Study LogoThis 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.

Professor Agüero Gave Keynote Address

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.

Econ Undergraduate Students at the Boston Fed Challenge

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.

Professor Miceli Publishes The Paradox of Punishment

Book Cover: The Paradox of Punishment Reflections on the Economics of Criminal JusticeProfessor Thomas Miceli has published The Paradox of Punishment: Reflections on the Economics of Criminal Justice.

From the publisher:

This book explores the insights that can be gained by looking at the criminal justice system from an economic point of view. It provides an economic analysis of the institutional structure and function of the criminal justice system, how its policies are formulated, and how they affect behavior.

Yet it goes beyond an examination of specific policies to address the broad question of how law influences behavior. For example, it examines how concepts such as the possibility of redemption affect the decisions of repeat offenders, and whether individual responsibility is (or should be) a pre-requisite for punishment. Finally, the book argues that, in addition to the threat of criminal sanctions, law inculcates principles of acceptable behavior among citizens by asserting that certain acts are “against the law.” This “expressive function” of law can influence behavior to the extent that at least some people in society are receptive to such a message. For these people, the moral content of law has more than mere symbolic value, and consequently, it can expand the scope of traditional law enforcement while lowering its cost.

Another goal of the book is therefore to use economic theory to assess this dualistic function of law by specifically recognizing how its policies can both internalize an ethic of obedience to the law among some people irrespective of its consequences, while simultaneously threatening to punish those who only respond to external incentives.

https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030316945#aboutBook

 

UConn-Stamford Team Participates in College Fed Challenge 2019

This year, the UConn-Stamford team participated again in the College Fed Challenge competition of the second district of the Federal Reserve System. Thirty teams competed on October 23 at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This program is designed to bring real-world economics into the classroom. Teams play the role of monetary policymakers by analyzing economic conditions and recommending a course for monetary policy.

The UConn–Stamford team this year consisted of the following eight students.

Ignacio Gonzalez is a junior pursuing his Economics degree at UCONN-Stamford. This is his second year on the College Fed Challenge team. Through the program he has enhanced his understanding of economic indicators and how they interconnect in signaling the current state of the economy. This past summer he interned for the Treasury department at DZ Bank AG. He was able to use the experience gained in the Fed Challenge program as a base for assets and liabilities management as well as for bond pricing.

Viviana Castillo is currently a senior majoring in Economics. In addition to her studies, she works for People’s United Bank as a relationship administrator in their Commercial Real Estate department. Through her job, she has gained knowledge in the real estate lending market in the U.S. and how rates are affected by the current economic conditions. As part of the Women In Leadership program through her job she has been matched with a mentor who is the Chief Risk Officer of the company. With him, she has been able to gain knowledge of the different risk components of the bank. All of this being done while analyzing the risk appetite of the company regarding the current economic conditions and predictions for the future. After graduation, she is hoping to further her career by getting a master’s degree in the risk management field, preferably with a concentration in enterprise risk.

Alexander Giannico is a senior majoring in Economics. He is participating in the 2019 FED Challenge team in order to improve his understanding of macroeconomics, specifically labor economics and unemployment. He is helping run the Chess Club on campus as well as participating in the Debate Club.

George Angel Gonzalez is a senior majoring in Economics. As he will be graduating in the Spring of 2020, he is currently applying to graduate schools to further his education in Economics/Finance. He joined the team last spring after hearing a couple of his classmates discussing the competition in class; and, since, it has been one of the most academically enriching experiences of his undergraduate career. The Fed challenge has brought the lessons learned in class into the real-world application, as well as enhanced the understanding of the innerworkings of the American economy. Comprehending how the Federal Reserve operates and its hand in the economy are lessons that he will take beyond his undergraduate education- whether it be to graduate school or the work force.

Isaiah Montanez is a senior Economics student with a minor in Business Management. He is currently working as a business analyst for a small consulting firm. He chose economics because of the effect that the 2008 recession had on his family’s business. He wanted to better understand how the economy affects people. Now, he assists small businesses on recognizing economic trends to make good decisions and capitalize on them. The Fed Challenge has been the backbone of his studies allowing him to see real world applicability of his degree and has led him into the position he is in today.

You Kim is a junior majoring in Financial Management with a minor Economics. He is currently interning as a business development analyst at RIS Media, a real estate publishing company. Prior to this he interned at IBM as a financial analyst. He is passionate about learning and understanding what is going on with the world and the economy. This competition has taught him a tremendous amount about how to analyze different indicators to measure the overall health of the economy.

At UConn Stamford, students can participate in this program as early as their freshman year. The main criterion is one’s interest in economics, passion for research, and willingness to work in a team. This year, we had two first-year students supporting the team through research, collaboration, and constructive criticism.

Sisi Huang is a first-year student. She is studying within the School of Business and is currently a Digital Marketing and Analytics major and is an active member of the BCLC. Other clubs she is participating in are the Marketing Club and Huskies for Charity. Sisi enjoys the arts as well as sciences other than business. She participated in the FED Challenge team as a researcher this year with hopes to join the presenters’ ranks next year.

Francesca Merentie is another first-year student studying within the School of Business, majoring in Digital Marketing & Analytics. She shadowed the UConn–Stamford FED Challenge team and aided them in their research and presentation preparation. She plans on fully joining the team and compete in the Fall 2020 competition. She plans on using her degree in Digital Marketing & Analytics in being either a market research analyst, a marketing manager, or public relations specialist.

The whole team worked very hard preparing for the competition and developed and defended unconventional approaches to monetary policy implementation. The main learning outcome for students is the development of economic analysis, critical thinking and debate, and oral presentation skills. All of these are highly transferable to their future careers and academic endeavors.

This year, we did not advance to the semi-final round. However, the overall experience of visiting the New York Fed, listening to the presentation of John C. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and competing with 30 teams was an amazing experience for students. Good job, UConn–Stamford Team!

Membes of the 2019 NY Fed Challenge Team

Photo: from left to right: Isaiah Montanez, Viviana Castillo, Dr. Smirnova, Angel Gonzalez, Ignacio Gonzalez, Alexander Giannico, and You Kim.

Professor Prakash publishes in Feminist Economics

Nishith Prakash and co-author Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati are publishing their article “Girls for Sale? Child Sex Ratio and Girl Trafficking in India” in Feminist Economics, the journal of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)

From the abstract:

Illegal trafficking of girls results from their disadvantageous position in society, often reflected by preference for sons and neglect of daughters. India has both higher levels of illegal trafficking of girls and abnormal child sex ratios in favor of boys. This paper examines if the skewed sex ratio in India is associated with trafficking of girls. Using panel data from twenty-nine Indian states from 1980 to 2011, the study finds that a 100-unit increase in the child sex ratio is associated with a 0.635 percent increase in girl trafficking. Further, the association is heterogeneous by women’s empowerment, crime against women, and party rule in the state, and the association between the child sex ratio and trafficking of girls is stronger and larger in magnitude in states with greater women’s empowerment. Overall, it appears the results are driven both by greater reporting and a greater incidence of illegal girl trafficking.

https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2019.1666212

Deepak Saraswat presents at NEUDC

PhD student Deepak Saraswat presented his paper “Gender Composition of Children and Sanitation Behavior in India” at the North East Universities Development Consortium (NEUDC) Conference.

Hosted this year by the Global Poverty Research Lab at Northwestern University, the conference is considered one of the best in Development.

Information about the conference may be found online at: https://sites.northwestern.edu/neudc2019/

Former PhD student accepts Professorship

Anupam Nanda has accepted a Professorship at the University of Manchester, UK.  He will start in November this year.

Anupam completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Connecticut in 2006. Anupam has been at the University of Reading and has developed a significant scholarly reputation for his research in real estate markets. Professor Stephen Ross was his major advisor.

Stamford “Money and Banking” Class Visits the Gold Vault

On Thursday, October 3, 2019, a group of students from Dr. Smirnova’s “Money and Banking” class at Stamford visited the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The program included a visit to the Money Museum as well as to the Gold Vault.

In the Museum, students learned about the history of New York Fed, and saw old-time photographs and film footage of how the Fed looked and operated during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibit also includes the original trading board, the money cart that is used to transport currency, and the scale that is used to weigh the gold bars.

The highlight of the trip was the visit to the Gold Vault. Students learned that New York Fed holds many tons of gold bricks belonging to foreign countries. The vault is located on the bedrock of Manhattan, several hundred feet below subway level. The size of the vault is half of the American football field, and it goes on forever if you are standing at the entrance. We were able to see one compartment’s gold very close and almost touch it. The gold bricks are different shapes (trapezoid and rectangle) depending on where the brick was cast.

There was an opportunity to ask questions and discover more nuances about the Fed, about monetary policy implementation, and about the gold. Overall, a lot of learning and discovery occurred during the trip. We thank the Department of Economics for sponsoring it! The picture shows the group in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Taking pictures inside is prohibited, so we could not take a picture with the gold! 😊