Author: McConnel, Mark

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

Professor Prakash publishes in Journal of Economics Behavior & Organization

Professor Prakash publishes his paper on “Impact of Affirmative Action in Public Sector Employment on Lives of Disadvantaged Minorities in India” in Journal of Economics Behavior & Organization.

Title: The Impact of Employment Quotas on the Economic Lives of Disadvantaged Minorities in India

Abstract: India has the world’s biggest and arguably most aggressive employment-based affirmative action policy for minorities. This paper exploits the institutional features of a federally mandated employment quota policy to examine its causal impact on the economic lives of the two distinct minority groups (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes).

My main finding is that a 1-percentage point increase in the employment quota for Scheduled Castes increases the likelihood of obtaining a salaried job by 0.6-percentage points for male Scheduled Caste members residing in the rural sector. The employment quota policy has no impact for Scheduled Tribes. Contrary to popular notion, I do not find evidence of “elite-capture” among the Scheduled Castes — the impact is concentrated among members who have completed less than secondary education.

Consistent with the employment results, I find that the policy improved the well-being of Scheduled Castes members in rural areas who have completed less than secondary education. Finally, the impact of the employment quota policy varies by state characteristics.

Professor Ross Chairs UEA Student Prize Committee

Professor Ross chaired the Student Prize Committee for the 2020 Virtual Urban Economics Association Meetings.  To see the prize winners and the full prize committee, go to:

http://www.urbaneconomics.org/meetings/awards.html

For the actual papers, see the conference program at:

http://www.urbaneconomics.org/meetings/virtual2020/program.html

Professor Hwang to publish “A Doubly Corrected Robust Variance Estimator for Linear GMM” in the Journal of Econometrics

Professor Jungbin Hwang has had his article A Doubly Corrected Robust Variance Estimator for Linear GMM accepted for publication in the Journal of Econometrics, one of the top scholarly journals in theoretical econometrics.

The paper proposes a new finite sample corrected variance estimator for the linear generalized method of moments (GMM) including the one-step, two-step, and iterated estimators. The formula additionally corrects for the over-identification bias in variance estimation on top of the commonly used finite sample correction of Windmeijer (2005) which corrects for the bias from estimating the efficient weight matrix, so is doubly corrected. An important feature of the proposed double correction is that it automatically provides robustness to misspecification of the moment condition. In contrast, the conventional variance estimator and the Windmeijer correction are inconsistent under misspecification. That is, the proposed double correction formula provides a convenient way to obtain improved inference under correct specification and robustness against misspecification at the same time.

This article, authored with with Seojeong Lee (UNSW) and Byunghoon Kang (Lancaster Univ), is one of two that Professor Hwang has recently had accepted for publication. Details of the other article may be found at:

Professor Jungbin Hwang publishes “Simple and Trustworthy Cluster-Robust GMM Inference” in the Journal of Econometrics

Professor Jungbin Hwang publishes “Simple and Trustworthy Cluster-Robust GMM Inference” in the Journal of Econometrics

Professor Jungbin Hwang has had his article Simple and Trustworthy Cluster-Robust GMM Inference accepted for publication in the Journal of Econometrics, a top field-journal in econometrics.

This paper develops a new asymptotic theory for GMM estimation and inference in the presence of clustered dependence. The key feature of the alternative asymptotic is that the number of clusters is regarded as “fixed” as the sample size increases. The paper shows that the Wald and t-tests in two-step GMM are asymptotically pivotal only if one recenters the estimated moment process in the clustered covariance estimator (CCE). Also, the J statistic, the trinity of two-step GMM statistics (QLR, LM, and Wald), and the t statistic can be modified to have an asymptotic standard F distribution or t distribution.

The paper also first suggests a finite-sample variance correction in the literature of cluster-robust methods and further improves the F and t approximations’ accuracy. The proposed tests in this paper are very appealing to practitioners because the test statistics are simple modifications of conventional GMM test statistics, and critical values are readily available from F and t tables without any extra simulations or resampling steps.

This sole authored article is one of two that Professor Hwang has recently had accepted for publication. Details of the other article may be found at:

Professor Hwang to publish “A Doubly Corrected Robust Variance Estimator for Linear GMM” in the Journal of Econometrics

Recent PhD Ria Bhattacharya publishes on COVID-19

Recent graduate Ria Bhattacharya (PhD 2019) has published an article “COVID-19: G-20’s Response to Education” in the August 2020 volume of G-20 Digest.

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on education. It discusses G20 current status in the education sector and its response to COVID-19 impact on education. The paper highlights the challenges thrust upon the G20 economies concerning education, a crucial sector in any economy. Currently, there are over 23 million confirmed cases globally, with the United States leading the death count at 176000 deaths and counting, due to COVID-19. As the entire world braces itself for a severe recession comparable to the Great Depression which will have long-lasting effects on every sector of the global economy, we examine how G20 nations can provide leadership in provision of education during the current crisis.

The article may be found at https://www.ris.org.in/journals-n-newsletters/G20-Digest, and is also linked online at https://mobile.twitter.com/RIS_NewDelhi/status/1303781794030862340

Professor Couch Publishes in Journal of Public Economics

Professor Kenneth Couch and his co-authors, Robert Fairlie (California Santa Cruz) and Huanan Xu (Indiana University South Bend) have published an article “Early Evidence of the Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Employment” In the Journal of Public Economics.

Article Abstract:

This paper provides early evidence of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on minority unemployment in the United States. In the first month following March adoptions of social distancing measures by states, unemployment rose to 14.5 percent but a much higher 24.4 percent when we correct for potential data misclassification noted by the BLS. Using the official definition, unemployment in April 2020 among African-Americans rose by less than what would have been anticipated (to 16.6 percent) based on previous recessions, and the long-term ordering of unemployment across racial/ethnic groups was altered with Latinx unemployment (18.2 percent) rising for the first time to the highest among major groups. Difference-in-difference estimates confirm that the initial gap in unemployment between whites and blacks in April was not different than in periods prior to the pandemic; however, the racial gap expanded as unemployment for whites declined in the next two months but was largely stagnant for blacks. The initially large gap in unemployment between whites and Latinx in April was sustained in May and June as unemployment declined similarly for both groups. Non-linear decompositions show a favorable industry distribution partly protected black employment during the early stages of the pandemic, but that an unfavorable occupational distribution and lower average skills levels placed them at higher risk of job losses. An unfavorable occupational distribution and lower skills contributed to a sharply widened Latinx-white unemployment gap that moderated over time as rehiring occurred. These findings of disproportionate impacts on minority unemployment raise important concerns regarding lost earnings and wealth, and longer-term consequences of the pandemic on racial inequality in the United States.

The early release version of this article can be found at this link:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272720301511

Professor Agüero publishes in Economic Development and Cultural Change

Professor Jorge Agüero’s paper “Measuring Violence Against Women with Experimental Methods” has been accepted for publication by Economic Development and Cultural Change

The working paper may be found online at: https://ideas.repec.org/p/uct/uconnp/2020-14.html

Title: Measuring Violence Against Women with Experimental Methods
Authors: Jorge Aguero and Veronica Frisancho

Abstract: The prevalence of intimate partner violence is a central indicator of the Sustainable Development Goals for women’s agency. However, measuring this indicator largely relies on self-reports that could suffer from severe misreporting if women face high costs of revealing their victim status. We study the degree of misreporting in surveys that have been identified as the best source of data, such as the widely used Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Focusing on a sample of women in impoverished urban areas of Lima, Peru, we conduct an experiment that replicates direct measures from these surveys and compares them against list experiments, a method that provides greater privacy to respondents. We find no significant differences across direct and indirect methods in any of the seven acts of physical and sexual violence considered. This result largely persists when testing across sixteen different subgroups and accounting for multiple hypothesis testing.