Author: McConnel, Mark

NBER Releases Research on COVID-19 Impacts on Minority Unemployment Co-authored by UConn Economics Faculty

A working paper has been released by the National Bureau of Economic Research that examines the impact of COVID-19 on minority unemployment through the most recent release of Current Population Survey (CPS) data for April of 2020.

The research finds that unemployment of blacks (at 16.6 percent) has not been impacted as severely as during past downturns although their unemployment rate is above the national average of 14.7 percent.  In comparison, Latinx unemployment (at 18.2 percent) has been much more impacted than in recent months or the Great Recession.  Historically, unemployment of blacks would be greater than that of Latinx throughout the business cycle.  In the April CPS data, for the first time, unemployment of Latinx is higher.  The analysis reveals that the disproportionate impact among the Latinx is related to lower levels of education, less work experience, and a concentration of employment in industries and occupations that left them more vulnerable to job loss.

The research is co-authored by Robert Fairlie of the University of California Santa Cruz, UConn Faculty member Ken Couch, and Huanan Xu of Indiana University South Bend.  Xu is an alumni of the UConn Ph.D. program in economics.

The working paper can be found at this link:

https://www.nber.org/papers/w27246.pdf

Professor Agüero Published in AER Papers and Proceedings

Professor Jorge Agüero’s article “Is Community-Based Targeting Effective in Identifying Intimate Partner Violence?” has been published in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings:

Is Community-Based Targeting Effective in Identifying Intimate Partner Violence?
Jorge M. Agüero, Úrsula Aldana, Erica Field, Veronica Frisancho and Javier Romero

We measure the effectiveness of community-based targeting to identify victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) in rural Peru. In 254 villages, we collected self-reported data on IPV via a DHS-style questionnaire and compared it to a listing of women elicited from female community leaders. The results indicate that IPV is widely underreported by leaders: on average, leaders report an IPV rate of 17.9 percent, and when asked to name individuals, report only 7.7 percent of women. Both numbers are well below the 38.3 percent measured through self-reports. Overall, the evidence does not support community-based instruments for identifying IPV victims or rates.

https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/pandp.20201046

UConn Researchers Awarded Grant to Study Domestic Violence and COVID-19

UConn’s Nishith Prakash and Lindsey Buck, along with coauthors Maria Micaela Sviatschi and Sofia Amaral were awarded a $76,000 grant from Princeton in order to study COVID-19’s implications on domestic violence.

Project Title: Macroeconomic Shocks and Domestic Violence: Evidence from COVID-19

Abstract:

Domestic violence (DV), defined as stalking, rape, or physical violence, is a global problem with 35% of women worldwide reporting experiencing DV (WHO 2017). In this project, our goal is twofold. First, we aim to look at COVID-19 – a large macroeconomic and health shock — on an important outcome from a welfare perspective: domestic violence (DV). DV is an important outcome to study because it has large financial and health implications; DV survivors suffer reductions in earnings and poor health (Aizer, 2011) and the CDC spends $5.8bn annually on health costs related to DV (St. Jude House). Second, we also aim to test two interventions that are likely to determine pathways to aid victims of DV during a pandemic: one consists of providing labor market opportunities for women and a second one on providing information on how to identify and respond in DV cases. We will sample 4000 women in the U.S. on the M-Turk platform and collect information on their financial, emotional, and relationship stress levels. Then, we provide two interventions. The first treatment will provide information on the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), where trained advocates are available to talk confidentially and provide resources on DV. We will also provide the NDVH’s resources on healthy relationships, legal help, and conflict resolution. The second treatment will provide a cash transfer to women for completing tasks on M-Turk; in this way we will increase women’s labor market opportunities at home. Our results will shed light on two important questions: First, can information mitigate the effects of DV? Secondly, can labor market opportunities mitigate the effects on DV? Our goal is to look at the broad implications of COVID-19 on DV and illustrate policy opportunities to mitigate DV in the wake of an unprecedented macroeconomic shock.

More information on the project can be found here: https://www.eeassoc.org/index.php?site=JEEA&page=298&trsz=299 and in a recent article in UConn Today:

How will COVID-19 Affect Domestic Violence?

Associate Professor of Economics Nishith Prakash and graduate student Lindsey Buck are part of a research group that was awarded a $76,000 grant from Princeton University to study COVID-19’s implications on domestic violence. They will test two interventions that are likely to determine pathways to aid victims of domestic violence during a pandemic: One consists of providing labor market opportunities for women, and a second one that provides information on how to identify and respond in domestic violence cases.

 

CLAS Faculty and Students Shifting Work to COVID-19

Deadline to Apply to Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics extended until June 1st

We understand and sympathize with the difficulty that many of you have faced during the Covid-19 crisis, and imagine that many of your future plans have been upset.  Given that some of you may be looking for new options for the fall, we have decided to re-open admissions to the Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE) to start this fall (2020) until June 1.  

The MSQE program is a three semester, rigorous calculus based master’s program in Economics that is designed to provide students with advanced skills in econometrics, forecasting, machine learning, empirical finance and other quantitative techniques that are highly valued in the labor market.  Students will learn to program in both R and Python. Some of our recent graduates from the MSQE program have landed jobs at Cigna, The Hartford, Lockheed Martin, McLagan, Travelers and Pratt & Whitney. 

Economic majors and minors who have completed at least two semesters of calculus who are strong in mathematics, or math and statistics majors who have completed some economics coursework (or are willing to complete coursework over the summer), would be excellent candidates for this program.  If you would like more information about how to apply, please contact Ms. Rosanne Fitzgerald at rosanne.fitzgerald@uconn.edu.  If you have general questions about the program focus and content, please contact Professors Kim at min_seong.kim@uconn.edu or Ross at stephen.l.ross@uconn.edu. More information is also available at the following website https://msqe.econ.uconn.edu/.

We wish you well during the next very challenging year and hope that this expanded application period will provide some of you with a needed opportunity.

2020 Spring Awards

Uconn sealAlthough the department was not able to celebrate with an awards banquet this year, we still are able to recognize the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty! This year’s award recipients are:

Undergraduate Awards

Economics Department General Scholarship

Yulia Bragina
Tyler DiBrino
Kevin Fiddler
Melissa Mendez
Sueing Ngov
Shannon O’Connor
Gabriela Rodriguez

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Kelly-Anne Moffa
Katelyn Mooney

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Kevin Fiddler
Devin Pallanck
Gabriela Rodriguez
Yumeng Shao

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Marisa Infante
Spencer Kinyon
Linge Yang
Ajshe Zulfi

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Xiaofeng Gong

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

John Peterson

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Tyler DiBrino

Charles Triano Scholarship

Tiffany D’Andrea
James Rice

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Madeline Danziger
Zian Zhang

Robert J. Monte Scholarship

Luis Cruz

Ross Mayer Scholarship

Michelle Grieco
Mary Vlamis


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Lindsey Buck

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Yangkeun Yun

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Yijia Gao
Xuejian Gong
Ruohan Huang
Ha Kyeong Lee
Wensu Li
Miranda Mendiola Valdez
Ziyun Wu

Economics Department General Scholarship

Jingyun Chen
Chun Li
Jinning Wang
Heli Xu

Best Third Year Paper Award

Erdal Asker
Deepak Saraswat

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Treena Goswami
Huarui Jing
Anastassiya Karaban
Xizi Li
Shilpa Sethia
Rui Sun
Jiaqi Wang
Wei Zheng


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Jungbin Hwang

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Delia Furtado

 

Congratulations to everyone!

MSQE Student Tracking Pandemic featured in UConn Today

MSQE student Yuansun (Sonny) Jiang’s COVID-19 Connecticut Data Visualization website has been featured in UConn Today: 

UConn Student Tracks Pandemic With Data

Using the skills he was learning in Prof. Oskar Harmon’s Writing and Communication for Economics and Business graduate course, Jiang began assembling the COVID-19 Connecticut Data Visualization website, where he daily charts the pandemic’s course both here in Connecticut and across the country.”

 

Read the full article at https://today.uconn.edu/2020/04/uconn-student-tracks-pandemic-data

Information about the MSQE Program may be found online at https://msqe.econ.uconn.edu/

Professor Agüero’s Op-Eds on the Economics of Covid-19

Based on his research of the impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, Professor Jorge Agüero has published two op-eds for Peruvian outlets on the economics of the Covid-19, how it could affect the Peruvian economy and the role of public policies to reduce the impact of the pandemic.

His February column was published in the leading newspaper El Comercio and his most recent article was published this week focusing on the difficulty of adopting hand washing as a common practice.

Women in Economics Symposium

On February 27, 2020, two Economics students from the Storrs campus (Daija Brunson and Pershae Gilling) and one Economics student from the Stamford campus (Viviana Castillo) got the chance to travel to Cleveland, OH, for a Women in Economics Symposium. In the morning of the event the students got the chance to meet Research Assistants for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and ask them questions about their journey so far. A lot of insight was given by the Research Assistants and they were very helpful in providing guidance to the students about what they should do in the future.

The students also got the chance to tour the bank and they were even able to go down to the cash processing center where they could see how automation plays a big role in their daily processes.

The symposium was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and included keynote addresses from Dr. Lisa Cook, Director of the AEA Summer Program and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Founder of Economic Education Institute. In addition, during the symposium the students got the chance to sit through different discussion panels with topics about what to do with a degree in economics, how to get a PHD, and how to navigate the workforce as a female.

During the reception they got a chance to meet other students and employees from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including Dr. Loretta Mester, the President and CEO of the bank. Overall, the full day was filled with a lot of information and it provided the students with a lot of guidance as to what they should do in the future. The students came back feeling very energized and excited as to what the future holds for them.

 

Written by Viviana Castillo and Dr. Natalia Smirnova

Women and Girls’ Day at the Capitol 2020

On March 6, 2020, Dr. Natalia Smirnova and Dr. Tianxu Chen represented the Economics Department at the “Women and Girls’ Day at the Capitol 2020” cohosted by The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, The Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity & Opportunity; and The Women’s Suffrage Commission.

The theme for the event was CELEBRATE – CONNECT – INSPIRE:

To CELEBRATE the progress made by women in honor of Women’s History Month and the 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage.

To CONNECT the state community to resources and opportunities that are available to the public, such as:

  • Career information.
  • Health & safety services and information.
  • Women leaders in STEAM and underrepresented fields — hence Economics!
  • Resources for women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

To INSPIRE women and girls to design their own paths (providing a broad scope of role models for them to become inspired).

The intended audience for the day was female high school juniors and seniors, and women from across Connecticut. A total of 300 individuals attended, with half of them being high school aged girls. Both Dr. Smirnova and Dr. Chen were excited to share their love of economics with the attendees. The event was worthwhile for everyone!