Professor Lanza’s 2021 Forecast for the Connecticut Economy Featured in HBJ

Professor Lanza’s 2021 forecast for the Connecticut economy was featured in the December 28, 2020 issue of the Hartford Business Journal.

Lanza predicts a year of moderate recovery as vaccines roll out and the state gets back to work.

The complete forecast may be found online at:

https://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/hbjs-2021-economic-forecast

Econ PhD Alumnus is Chief Economist for Macro Policy at the CEA

Aaron Cooke, a 2018 PhD graduate of the UConn Department of Economics, recently became the Chief Economist for Macroeconomic Policy at the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

The CEA, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy.

Aaron earned his PhD degree from the Department of Economics in 2018, specializing in macroeconomics and public policy. His PhD dissertation, “Three Essays on Wealth and Income Inequality”, studied the causes of U.S. wealth and income inequality, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Kai Zhao.

Prior to joining the CEA, Aaron was an economist at the Office of Management and Budget.

Wei Zheng’s research on the Child Tax Credit featured by Niskanen Center

PhD candidate Wei Zheng’s job market paper “Child Tax Credit and Maternal Labor Supply” has been featured in a post by the Niskanen Center:

New research finds the Child Tax Credit promotes work

From the post:

“The work incentive created by the Earned Income Tax Credit has been the subject of extensive study for decades now, with generally positive results. The pro-work potential of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), in contrast, has been relatively ignored.

A new job market paper from Wei Zheng, a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut, attempts to fill this gap in the literature. Using event study and simulation techniques, Zheng provides new and detailed estimates of the effect of the Child Tax Credit on maternal labor supply. The headline finding: a $1000 increase in the average CTC is associated with a 1.1 percentage point increase in labor force participation for single mothers.”

More information about Wei Zheng and her research may be found online at https://weizhengecon.wixsite.com/website

Stamford Team Competes in the College Fed Challenge 2020

This year, the College Fed Challenge competition was virtual. It was a challenging transition to understand the intricacies of new rules and regulations and to pivot in September to be ready by October 9. But the UConn-Stamford team was well-organized, enthusiastic, and well-prepared to put forward the arguments that the current economic situation warrants keeping the target federal funds rate unchanged.

The 2020 team consisted of five Stamford students: Cullen Murphy (ACES, sophomore), You Kim (Financial Management and Economics, senior), Shayla Siljkovic (Linguistics and Philosophy, sophomore), Eileen Zhu (Economics, junior), and Rashana Weerasinghe (Business Data Analytics, sophomore). They worked virtually; very diligently, creatively, and collaboratively. They describe the challenges of this new environment as the loss of a camaraderie of in-person interactions, technical difficulties, and physical isolation. However, the presentation that they put forward combines the intellectual rigor of each member, deep research of economic indicators, and a collective vision of what the forecast of current economic conditions looks like.

You can watch their presentation here.

Our team did not make the next round of the competition this year, which is, of course, disappointing. However, the learning that has occurred was a worthwhile experience. First, each student has developed an expertise in a selected economic indicator or industry: each team member researched, constructed graphs, and made connections with overall economic development as well as with monetary policy implications. Furthermore, students gained highly valuable skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. These are the skills that are transferable to other professional environments such as a graduate school or a workplace.

You can read the students’ reflections here:

Cullen Murphy – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

You Kim – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Shayla Siljkovic – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Rashana Weerasinghe – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Eileen Zhu – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

The course that will be used to prepare a team for the next year’s competition is ECON 3492 – Practicum. It is offered every semester. Stamford students who are interested in joining the team should contact Dr. Smirnova. The student’s major does not matter – all majors are welcome! What matters is the desire to learn about the economy and monetary policy, and to be open-minded to work well in a team.

 

Stamford Campus Hosts Women Alumnae

Students at Stamford campus were treated to an amazing event on November 12, 2020. A virtual panel discussion featuring UConn Stamford alumnae who majored in social sciences (COMM, ECON, HDFS and POLS) called “Breaking the Mold: Women in Social Sciencesattracted almost 100 students.

A recording of the event may be found online at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQK8qMAPrXs&feature=youtu.be

The five UConn Stamford alumnae who were featured work in a variety of interesting and diverse careers. These women created their own paths, in unconventional ways, in areas where women are often underrepresented. During the event, they provided insights into how their educational experiences at UConn shaped their career journeys and put them on the path to success!

Panelists:

  • Harriet Munrett Wolfe (’76 CLAS) is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporate. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn and a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.
  • Maureen Hanley (’92 CLAS) is the Senior Vice President of The First Bank of Greenwich. Maureen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn.
  • Anne McAuley Lopez (’96 CLAS) is the lead writer and owner of McAuley Freelance Writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UConn.
  • Katherine Velez (’10 CLAS) is a Research Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center. She has a bachelor’s degree from UConn in Human Development and Family Studies and an MSW from Fordham University.
  • Brianna Walston (’17 CLAS) is the Founder of Brianna Regine Visionary Consulting, LLC. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from UConn.

Students learned how one’s career evolves post-graduation, how to find a mentor, and how to navigate the job search environment during the pandemic. During the Q&A, students asked questions about challenges that women face in the workplace and how to leverage one’s education and mentorship relationships for the successful steering of a career.

Overall, the panelists offered many positive and constructive suggestions, helping students keep faith in themselves even during the uncertain times of a pandemic.

This program was hosted by UConn Stamford: Political Science and Economics Departments, the Center for Career Development, and the Honors Program in partnership with the UConn Foundation.

By Natalia V. Smirnova

Professor Naknoi shares her Research in the NY Times

Professor Kanda Naknoi has been interviewed by the New York Times about her latest work on the Thai military as a business group, for the article, “Almost Like Clockwork, Talk of a Military Coup Follows Thai Protests”

The article may be found online at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/02/world/asia/thailand-protests-military.html

In Memory of Professor Imanuel Wexler (1931 – 2020)

The Department lost a long-time friend, former and emeritus professor Professor Imanuel Wexler, on October 10, 2020.

Steve Miller, former professor and Department Head, asked a number of Imanuel’s friends for their fondest memories of Imanuel, and I want to share them with you as a way to celebrate Imanuel’s life. Please enjoy!

– Francis Ahking

***

Imanuel Wexler Tribute [pdf]

Early College Experience Economics Workshop

Every year, the Economics Department hosts the professional development workshop for high school teachers of economics who are part of the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) Program. This program provides opportunities for high school students to take a UCONN course for credit at their high school. The teachers who offer such a course attend the annual workshop and are certified by the Department. Dr. Smirnova is a new coordinator for the ECE Economics program.

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 29 teachers from all over the State of Connecticut attended a virtual professional development workshop organized by Dr. Smirnova, the Department of Economics, and the Office of Early College Programs. The agenda was packed with useful and up-to-date information that could be used in the classroom right away.

Dr. Diego Mendez-Carbajo, Senior Economic Education Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented a talk “Remote Active Learning with FRED Interactives”, which demonstrated new approaches of using the FRED database for teaching various topics.

Dr. Scott A. Wolla, Economic Education Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis talked about “Teaching New Tools of Monetary Policy”, which presented the up-to-date information about monetary policy tools that have changed substantially in the past couple of years and especially since August 20202. Dr. Wolla showed various resources that could be used in teaching and studying Macroeconomics and Money and Banking.

Dr. Carlos J. Asarta, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware presented his new research “Teaching Digitally-Minded Students during the Pandemic and Beyond”. The data collected by Dr. Asarta indicates that the profession has not yet successfully pivoted to using engaging strategies in teaching and, therefore, there are challenges in recruiting and retaining economics majors. Dr. Asarta suggested several ways of making economics more interesting, more applied, and more fun for contemporary students.

The feedback from teachers was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone learned a lot and took away many resources to be used in the classroom.

By Natalia V. Smirnova

Professor Agüero Publishes in World Development

Professor Jorge Agüero has published his paper “COVID-19 and The Rise of Intimate Partner Violence” in World Development

The paper may be found online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105217

The abstract is below:

Title: COVID-19 and The Rise of Intimate Partner Violence

Abstract: Stay-at-home policies have been implemented worldwide to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, there is a growing concern that such policies could increase violence against women. We find evidence in support of this critical concern. We focus on Peru, a country that imposed a strict nationwide lockdown starting in mid-March and where nearly 60% of women already experienced violence before COVID-19. Using administrative data on phone calls to the helpline for domestic violence (Línea 100), we find that the incidence rate of the calls increased by 48 percent between April and July 2020, with effects increasing over time. The rise in calls is found across all states and it is not driven by baseline characteristics, including previous prevalence of violence against women. These findings create the need to identify policies to mitigate the negative impact of stay-at-home orders on women’s safety.

Professor Ross on Panel on the Economic Recovery of CT from the Pandemic

Professor Stephen Ross recently took part in a panel discussion about the economic recovery from the pandemic in Connecticut:

Bouncing Forward from the Pandemic: Economic Disparities, School, Childcare, and Residential Integration

Thursday, October 15, 2020, 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Moderator: Beth Bye, Commissioner, Office of Early Childhood

State of the State on Economic Disparities: Dr. Stephen Ross, UConn Departments of Economics and Public Policy

Residential Zoning Reform: Dr. Saud Anwar, State Senator

Addressing Challenges Faced by the Working Poor : Dr. Lauren Ruth, Research & Policy Director, ConnecticutVoices for Children

High Potential Programs to Boost High School Students to a Family Living Wage: Dr. Lyle Wray, ExecutiveDirector, CRCOG

The panel was recorded and is available to view online at:

https://kaltura.uconn.edu/media/October+15%2C2020+Bounce+ForwardA+Bouncing+Forward+from+the+PandemicA+Economic+Disparities%2C+School%2C+Childcare%2C+and+Residential+Integration/1_3tm63n59