European Economic Review Publishes Professor Furtado’s Paper on Work Norms and SSDI Take-Up

Professor Delia Furtado’s paper “Who Goes on Disability when Times are Tough? The Role of Work Norms among Immigrants” has been published in the European Economic Review.

The paper considers how people’s views about the importance of work affect decisions to go on disability in response to rising unemployment rates.

See Professor Furtado’s tweets about the paper here.

Professor Harmon Awarded AAUP Teaching Excellence Career Award

Professor Oskar Harmon has been awarded the 2022 Teaching Excellence: Career Award from the UConn-AAUP, one of only two recipients in the university. The recipients were chosen by the UConn-AAUP Excellence Awards Committee from a pool of excellent candidates.

The recognition of faculty teaching, research, and service excellence through UConn-AAUP awards began in 1997. The intention of the awards is to showcase academic excellence at UConn.

A virtual ZOOM ceremony to honor Professor Harmon, and other UConn-AAUP award recipients, will take place on Monday, April 25th at 12:00 noon.  Any and all who wish to attend are welcome, and are asked to email Barbara Kratochvil to receive the ZOOM link.

 

Writing-Intensive Class is Visited by a Writer

Professor Smirnova’s ECON 3431W – Public Finance Writing Intensive class was visited in March by a professional writer and entrepreneur, UConn Stamford Economics major alumna, Anne McAuley Lopez (CLAS ’96). Ms. Lopez, is a business owner of Agency Content Writer, LLC.

Company Logo for Agency Content Writer

Writing-intensive courses are always challenging for students. Professor Smirnova’s class focuses on writing a scientific research paper in economics, which is often the first time a student is exposed to a scientific writing approach. It is overwhelming for students to face a fast-paced environment of selecting a topic, formulating a research question or a hypothesis, conducting literature review, obtaining and analyzing data to find the answer to the research question or accept or reject the hypothesis. All of that with the emphasis on scientific writing with in-text citations and a proper bibliography.

Ms. Anne Lopez volunteered to help with the inspiration of students several years ago. She worked with Dr. Smirnova to prepare a series of videos that motivate students along their research journey. These videos are now on HuskyCT site for this course. This year, Anne came to the class itself, albeit virtually.

On that evening in March, Anne started by sharing her story about how she changed her career from financial analyst (she was an Economics major!) to a writer. On her company website, Anne writes: “Since my earliest years, I remember loving writing. Teachers would give us options of telling stories visually with poster boards and markers or with words. I always chose words.” She told students that she discovered that people value her writing and would ask her for help. Eventually, she decided to change her career and since September 2010, she has been a professional writer, helping businesses get found online.

Students were appreciative to hear Anne’s wisdom about being open to change and being flexible. Another advice: find what you are passionate about, and that passion complemented by hard work will lead you to success.

In the second part of the evening, Ms. Lopez talked with students about their selected topics and recommended several strategies of how to cope with writer’s block, find inspiration in reading, and how to “eat an elephant” (you have to be in class to know what that means!). Students responded well to her allegories and had fun discussing their challenges with writing in this class.

Such visits from UConn alumni are very valuable. They connect students to the real-world and to UConn graduates, especially if those graduates pursued the same major while in college. The stories of career trajectories, the stories of workplace dynamics are inspiring and insightful. For the alumni, such visits give the opportunity to connect with younger generation, to share successes and challenges, and to give back to the University.

Thank you, Ms. Lopez, for your work with us!

Catching up with UConn MSQE Alumnus Alex Gu and the NABE

Alex Gu picture

Launched in June 2020, the National Association of Business Economists (NABE) Scholars program expands on current NABE Foundation scholarship programs by providing scholarships to NABE conferences specifically to minority students and early-career economists to attend NABE conferences and events.

In its inaugural year, UConn’s Alex Gu was one of 20 selected scholars.

Alex recently graduated from UConn, earning his Master of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE) in December of 2021. We recently spoke with Alex to hear his reflections on the benefits of the program, his experience with the NABE conferences, and his advice for current (and potential) students.

We asked him: Why did you choose UConn?

“In high school, two of my most influential teachers were UConn Alumni. They encouraged me to check out UConn’s programs, and I knew I wanted to attend somewhere on the East Coast (having lived in Texas, California and China). I attended first as an undergrad, then decided to continue with MSQE program.”

Alex feels the MSQE program prepared him well, equipping him with tangible skills that he will be using regularly: Practice in coding with Python, R, and Stata; working with machine learning models; prediction models; and convex optimization. He credits Professor Oskar Harmon’s Writing and Communication for Economics and Business class, as well as UConn’s Career Center, for preparing him for the dozens of interviews he has been going on as he enters the job market. The MSQE program prepared me well for the technical questions, and the Career Center helped prepare me for the behavioral questions.”

Through the NABE Scholarship program, Alex was able to attend conferences in Washington D.C. that allowed him attend discussions with representatives from top companies on pressing current issues such as the supply chain, and the future of transportation. He enjoyed the opportunity to meet in-person, and make connections with leaders in the industry. “I realize how important networking is, as well as the importance of constant learning.”

Alex encourages current and potential students to use the resources UConn provides and to never stop practicing to keep your skills sharp. He intends to take the CBE exam in the coming months, and looks forward to taking the next steps in his career.

Check out these scholarship opportunities and more by visiting the NABE website here, and thank you Alex Gu for your enthusiasm and insight.

The 2022 NABE Scholar application process will open in late March/early April – stay tuned for details!

UConn students who are awarded a scholarship to attend a NABE event can apply to the MSQE Scholarship Program (contact Lisa Foss for details) to partially offset travel and lodging costs.

Professor Furtado on NPR’s All Things Considered

Nursing homes are really struggling. We all witnessed the devastating number of Covid deaths in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Now, nursing homes are toiling with labor shortages that make it very difficult to provide adequate care for residents. While the immediate impacts of the pandemic will eventually stabilize, in the coming decades, nursing homes will need to cope with increases in the demand for their services as baby boomers age. How will an industry that has struggled to hire and keep enough workers even before the pandemic be able to address the increasing care needs of an aging population?

One potential solution: A more open immigration policy. Professor Delia Furtado’s new research shows that nursing homes in areas receiving more immigrants are able to provide better quality care for residents. She talked about why this might be on The Indicator Podcast. Part of this interview aired on All Things Considered.

In related work, PhD student Treena Goswami finds that older college-educated native-born women remain in the labor force longer when they live in areas with more immigrants. Her analysis suggests that when immigrants are available to provide inexpensive care-giving or housekeeping services, older women (who can afford these services) do not have to prematurely leave the labor force in order to provide full time care for loved ones. Further evidence that policies allowing for more immigration might help the U.S. address the care-giving needs of an aging population.

Leshui He (our own 2013 PhD) receives Tenure at Bates College

Leshui He has received tenure at Bates College.

Leshui completed his thesis at UConn in 2013 under the supervision of Professors Richard Langlois, Robert Gibbons, Christian Zimmermann, and Vicki Knoblauch.

He started his position as an Assistant Professor at Bates College in 2015, and works primarily in the fields of organizational economics and industrial organization. He is also working on research projects on education with Professor Stephen L. Ross.

Professor Zhao’s research to be published in Journal of Monetary Economics

Professor Zhao’s paper “Rising Wealth Inequality: Intergenerational Links, Entrepreneurship, and the Decline in Interest Rate” has been accepted for publication in Journal of Monetary Economics. In this paper, Professor Zhao and his coauthor investigate the causes of rising wealth inequality in the United States.

The working paper version of this research can be found in UConn working paper series.

Professor Ray publishes in Journal of Productivity Analysis

Professor Ray has recently published a paper “Nonparametric measurement of potential gains from mergers: an additive decomposition and application to Indian bank mergers” coauthored with his recent PhD student Shilpa Sethia in Journal of Productivity Analysis. JPA is considered to be the top ranked journal in the field of Production Economics. As reported by William Greene, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, the 2020 impact factor of JPA (2.61) exceeded several highly respected field journals like Journal of Econometrics (2.388) or Journal of Applied Econometrics (2.424).

His coauthor, Shilpa Sethia, who is a 2019 Econ PhD from UCONN, is currently employed as a Senior Economic Analyst at National Grid in Waltham, MA.

The online version of the paper can be accessed at: https://rdcu.be/cEXL2

Research of Prof. Couch on COVID and Gender Inequality published in Economic Inquiry

Research of Professor Ken Couch and his co-authors, Robert Fairlie and Huanan Xu exploring women’s labor market experiences relative to men’s during the COVID-19 pandemic has been published in Economic Inquiry.

The paper, “The Evolving Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gender Inequality in the US Labor Market:  The COVID Motherhood Penalty” can be found on the journal web site and is available under open access at this link:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ecin.13054

Abstract

We explore whether COVID-19 disproportionately affected women in the labor market using Current Population Survey data through the end of 2020. We find that male–female gaps in the employment-to-population ratio and hours worked for women with school-age children have widened but not for those with younger children. Triple-difference estimates are consistent with most of the reductions observed for women with school-age children being attributable to additional childcare responsibilities (the “COVID motherhood penalty”). Conducting decompositions, we find women had a greater likelihood to telework, higher education levels and a less-impacted occupational distribution, which all contributed to lessening negative impacts relative to men.

UConn Faculty Member is AEA 5K Award Winner

Professor Delia Furtado participated in the AEA 5K for the first time this year and won the 75th percentile prize. She ran faster than 25 percent of the other runners! Yes, also slower than 75 percent but never mind that.

The AEA 5K started three years ago when a couple of economists organized a race at the ASSA meetings and made t-shirts commemorating the occasion. Since the meetings this year are again virtual, the race and awards ceremony were also virtual. The full awards ceremony is available online.

Professor Furtado says she is aiming for the Caplin and Nalebuff Award next year. This prestigious award, named for the 1988 Econometrica paper, “On 64%-Majority Rule,” is given to the runner at the 64th percentile. Guido Imbens won the prize in last year’s AEA 5K. A few months later, he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics.