Author: McConnel, Mark

Patralekha Ukil, PhD 2020, on San Francisco CBS News

Patralekha Ukil, Assistant Professor at San Jose State University and 2020 UConn PhD in Economics, was interviewed by the nightly news for the San Francisco CBS Affiliate about the rising price of eggs.

Her interview starts at minute three of the recording:

https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/video/an-in-depth-look-at-the-rising-egg-prices-and-who-families-are-coping/#x

Professor Harmon publishes article on Schedule Inequity in the NBA in Journal of Sports Analytics

Professor Oskar Harmon with Alan Bowman (Clarkson University) and Thomas Ashman (Eckerd College) published the article “Schedule Inequity in the National Basketball Association” in the Journal of Sports Analytics.

Journal of Sports Analytics

Scheduling factors such as a visiting team playing a game back-to-back against a rested home team can affect the win probability of the teams for that game and potentially affect teams unevenly throughout the season. This study examines schedule inequity in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the seasons 2000–01 through 2018–19. By schedule inequity, we mean the effect of a comprehensive set of schedule factors, other than opponents, on team success and how much these effects differ across teams. We use a logistic regression model and Monte Carlo simulations to identify schedule factor variables that influence the probability of the home team winning in each game (the teams playing are control variables) and construct schedule inequity measures. We evaluate these measures for each NBA season, trends in the measures over time, and the potential effectiveness of broad prescriptive approaches to reduce schedule inequity. We find that, although schedule equity has improved over time, schedule differences disproportionately affect team success measures. Moreover, we find that balancing the frequency of schedule variables across teams is a more effective method of mitigating schedule inequity than reducing the total frequency, although combining both methods is the most effective strategy.

Link to article.

First Graduate Assistant Orientation in the Department of Economics

The Department of Economics successfully held its first Graduate Assistant (GA) Orientation on January 16, 2023. The GA Orientation was coordinated and led by Professor Tianxu Chen. The event has been designed to support our GAs/TAs and student Instructors by providing them with strategies and tools to successfully start and manage their teaching responsibilities. It also aims to help promote their professional development in teaching.

The orientation invited David Des Armier from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) to share information about how to design a HuskyCT course webpage, as well as to familiarize GAs with University policies and CETL resources. During the orientation, Professor Talia Bar, Professor Tianxu Chen, Professor Mike Shor and Professor David Simon also shared their teaching experience with the GAs, and provided advice on a wide range of topics including lecture preparation, academic integrity, class engagement, and ensuring an accessible environment for students with disabilities.

The GA orientation had a great turnout. Over a dozen of PhD students from different cohorts attended the event, and we expect it to be held regularly in the future.

GA OrientationGA Orientation

Paper on Racial Profiling in Police Stops published in the Journal of Human Resources

Professor Steve Ross and UConn Ph.D. Graduates Jesse Kalinowski (Quinnipiac) and Matt Ross (Northeastern) recently published a paper in the Journal of Human Resources examining tests for racial profiling in police stops, showing that minority responses to perceived discrimination in stops (driving more slowly and safely) can substantially bias these tests away from finding discrimination.

The paper may be found online at:

http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/early/2023/01/05/jhr.0822-12513R1.abstract

Professor Hallwood and the Scotland Act

Professor Paul Hallwood’s work has been seen to have influenced the Constitutional settlement for Scotland – i.e. the Scotland Act of 2016.

“Have the wheels come off the plan to make Scotland a global player?” The Herald, 7th April 2012

“One paper, an eighth lecture – the [Allender] series was extended after the first seven – was delivered by the Scottish economist Ronald MacDonald and the American Paul Hallwood, and became the subject of intensive political scrutiny. They argued that greater fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament might encourage better economic decision making”.

The Scotland Act of 2016 indeed incorporates many of their ideas for greater tax raising powers being devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament’ s new powers are being delivered by the Scotland Act 2016 [1] :

  • Scotland has new powers as part of a secure UK.
  • The Scotland Act 2016 delivers the UK Government’ s commitment to the people of Scotland.
  • It brings a better balance to Scotland’ s devolution settlement.
  • The new powers give the Scottish Parliament much greater tax raising powers.
  • In future, Holyrood will be responsible for raising more than 50% of what it spends – making it one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.
  • The Scottish Parliament will set the income tax rates and thresholds for earned income in Scotland.
  • This represents annual income tax revenues of around £11 billion.
  • The Scottish Parliament will retain around 95% of the income tax collected here.
  • The Scotland Act gives the Scottish Parliament the power to make decisions on important areas of daily life in Scotland

Posted by the Scottish Office: GetInOnTheAct

Hallwood, P and R MacDonald (2009) The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government, Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State-local Finance, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Hallwood P and R MacDonald (2006), “A Restatement of the Case for Scottish Fiscal Autonomy”, Quarterly Economic Commentary, Fraser of Allender Institute, 31, 49-53.

MacDonald R and P Hallwood (2006), “The Economic Case for Fiscal Autonomy with or without Independence”, The Policy Institute, Edinburgh.

 

[1] Scotland_Act_tax_factsheet.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Stamford Economics Alum Visits Economics Classes

Kyle Richter (CLAS’21) (left) and Dr. Smirnova in Financial Economics class on December 6, 2022

Kyle Richter graduated from UConn-Stamford in December 2021 and is currently an Investment Banking Associate at Capital Research Partners & Co., a boutique investment bank in Norwalk, CT that specializes in restructuring, capital raising, and mergers & acquisitions. The Center for Career Development at Stamford and Dr. Smirnova worked together to arrange Kyle’s visit to ECON 3413 — Financial Economics class on December 6, 2022.

The class started with students’ presentations of financial analysis reports that they completed during the semester. The assignment was to select a publicly traded company, obtain a series of financial reports, analyze financials statements and ratios, and apply one of the methods of stock valuation that were covered in the course. Students wrote a short report justifying their “buy/sell” recommendation and were defending their findings via oral presentation. Kyle was able to assess students’ work and ask clarifying questions.

Kyle took Financial Economics in the Spring of 2021 and was happy to share with students how he uses what he learned in this class every day at work. He talked about uses of financial statements, benchmarking, and trend analyses for valuation of companies and M&A deals. He explained the differences in structure and culture between small firms and large corporations.

Students engaged in a productive discussion with Kyle. They asked questions pertaining to job search after graduation and about careers in finance. Kyle shared his story of job search and his ambitions for the future. He suggested using this class’s report as a showcase of financial industry skills during the interview process at any financial firm. Understanding of nasic financial concepts, concise writing, and presentation skills are essential for getting a job in finance.

After the Financial Economics class, Kyle Richter met with students in ECON 3492 – Practicum class. This is a special course where Stamford team participates in national competitions. Here, the discussion with students focused on careers, career competencies, and networking. Kyle offered his help in giving feedback on students’ resumes and in mentoring students as they navigate job search and connections with professional networks.

Overall, the visit was very productive and interesting. We thank Kyle Richter for coming to our campus, mentoring our students, and engaging with the University.

Two Competitions for the Stamford Fed Challenge and FDIC Academic Challenge Team

UConn -Stamford Team 2022.
From left to right back row: Anthony Santiago, Neel Talati, Jonathan Portanova, Robert Martin, James McQuade. From left to right front row: Alyssa Pelletier, Briana Hardy

This Fall, Stamford students enrolled in ECON 3492 “Practicum” participated not in one, but in two national competitions: College Fed Challenge and FDIC Academic Challenge.

Dr. Natalia Smirnova, Stamford “Practicum” instructor, argues that each competition is unique and encourages students to develop different skills that are valuable to their future career. This year, she added FDIC Academic Challenge as a complementary activity to the existing “Practicum” structure. The timing works perfectly: Fed Challenge is heavy at the beginning of the semester (submission in October), FDIC Challenge starts in November. The skills that students learn are complementary: the Fed Challenge focuses on the oral presentation skills and macroeconomic knowledge; the FDIC Challenge focuses on the writing skills (students write an analytical report) and microeconomic analysis. Both competitions have learning goals of data literacy, analytical, research skills, teamwork, and economic analysis.

The Stamford 2022 team consisted of seven students.

Alyssa Pelletier (Team Leader) is a Junior majoring in Financial Management at UConn. This is her second semester on the College Fed Challenge team. Her interests include finance and data analytics, utilizing demonstrated collaboration, organization, and problem-solving skills. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and beach trips. Through this competition, Alyssa learned how to analyze economic / financial conditions, to formulate monetary policy recommendations. She developed a better understanding of how different sectors / industries contribute to the decisions of the Fed. Alyssa selected the Technology sector, as she was interested in researching how technology is reshaping productivity and employment opportunities. She focused on digital transformation, and how the nature of work is changing as a result of technological advances. In this course, Alyssa had the opportunity to gain insight into an industry of interest, while developing career-valued skills like leadership, critical thinking, and teamwork. Here is the link to Alyssa’s reflection at the end of the course.

Briana Hardy is a second semester Junior majoring in economics and minoring in psychology at UConn Stamford. Growing up in Stamford, she planned on transferring to Storrs for her junior year. However, as for many other people, the pandemic disrupted her plans and she decided to take a gap year. During that gap year she worked full time to help her family who were directly impacted by the recession of the pandemic. During that gap year she worked for a local community bank as a teller and then was given the opportunity to learn the beginning processes of credit risk management as a paid intern. This caused her to become more interested in economics and banking. During her gap year she also worked at a grocery store and was able to see firsthand how the pandemic disrupted many sectors of the local economy and supply chain as well. During her free time Briana is learning to speak Spanish, she enjoys investing in the stock market, and she loves to travel. After she completes her undergraduate degree, she plans on working in the banking industry. After obtaining some work experience, she wants to go back to school to obtain a graduate degree. For the College Fed Challenge, Briana decided to look further into the supply chain because of her firsthand experience in seeing how incidences outside of the financial world are, in fact, interconnected in our economy. Here is the link to Briana’s reflection at the end of the course.

Robert Martin is a current second semester Senior at UConn Stamford majoring in General Studies with a focus in Economics. He transferred to UConn his Junior year after attending Saint Joseph’s University where he majored in Business Intelligence and Analytics. He opted to switch to General studies at UConn to learn a wide variety of courses including economics, psychology, and communications to help him more in the wine industry. During his free time Robert enjoys golfing, going to the gym, and trying out new restaurants. After he completes his undergraduate in December 2022, he plans on working in the wine industry to continue to grow his wine knowledge. Throughout this challenge Robert selected the housing sector, to get a better understanding how the housing market affected the general economy and showed the growth and trends within the industry. Here is the link to Robert’s reflection at the end of the course.

James McQuade is a Senior at UConn, majoring in Economics. This is his first semester as a Practicum team member and his second semester taking coursework in monetary policy. James is interested in pursuing a career in analytics, most likely in financial services. However, he is open to opportunities in other fields conducting economic or financial analysis, i.e., credit analysis, insurance analysis, healthcare analysis, etc. He completed a summer internship in the Wealth Management department at Raymond James Financial Inc. under the Vice President of Investments in Westport, CT. He has utilized his aptitude for critical thinking as well as his knowledge of economic and financial markets to conduct research regarding the effects of commodity prices on macroeconomic forces including production costs and consumption. As the needs of team changed, he has also conducted research regarding consumer sentiment and its possible implications on the Fed’s policy to maintain price stability. He looks forward to getting more experience in analysis after graduation and hopes to find an opportunity to pursue a Master of Science in Finance or an MBA in the near future. He is also considering work on the Chartered Financial Analyst designation post-graduation. Outside of academics, James has a passion for singing, and spending time with family and friends. Here is the link to James’s reflection at the end of the course.

Jonathan Portanova is a Senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics. His interest is to go into public policy and research developments in the private and public sectors. Being on the Fed College Challenge Team gave Jonathan a great opportunity to do research on the economy and learn new sources of information. Jonathan is also a community leader and has volunteered in his time in the community as members of organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the Alzheimer Association, and on Campus. Being a part of two Honor Societies Delta Alpha Pi and Phi Theta Kappa, Jonathan enjoys spending time with family and friends, meeting new people, and going out. Here is the link to Jonathan’s reflection at the end of the course.

Anthony Santiago, “Santi” is a UConn Stamford Senior. Santi was originally a member of the class of 2020 but when the COVID-19 pandemic began, he took some time off from school to pursue a career as a plumber. After establishing himself locally in the trade industry, he decided that it was time to reenter the classroom and complete his degree. After leaving his company in January of 2022, he will graduate this December through UConn’s Continuing Studies program with a bachelor’s degree in General Studies, where most of his classes are of a business background. He is planning on trading his work boots for a suit and tie following the completion of his degree and hopes to find a finance opportunity in the NYC area early in 2023. Here is the link to Anthony’s reflection at the end of the course.

Neel Talati is a Senior majoring in Economics at UConn. This is his first semester participating in the College Fed Challenge team. Neel’s interests include stock trading, technical analysis, creating leadership opportunities and analytical thinking. In his free time, Neel likes to travel and go outdoors to play various sports like soccer and basketball. At the beginning of this competition, he has been able to demonstrate knowledge and skills to analyze economic climate forecasts and correlate them to monetary policy. He has been able to collaborate with his peers to help in all sectors of the Fed challenge. Throughout the course, he has been able to gain experience and insight to help prepare for the next semester fed challenge. Here is the link to Neel’s reflection at the end of the course.

Team’s video submission for the College Fed Challenge competition did not advance to the second round. But students kept pushing forward and worked hard on the next challenge. The written report analyzing profitability of banks in Fairfield County was submitted to the FDIC Challenge, and we are awaiting the results of the first round to be available in February.

Each student acknowledged that through the “Practicum” course they developed and refined a lot of career-transferrable skills such as critical thinking, analytical, and presentation skills in addition to teamwork and collaborative competitive spirit.

Dr. Smirnova adds that ECON 3492 “Practicum” supports Goal 3: Teaching, Learning, and Student Success of the CLAS Strategic Plan by enhancing, through experiential learning, opportunities for undergraduate education. It also helps students develop career readiness proficiencies stipulated by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and supported by UConn’s Center for Career Development.

Congratulations to all students on the UConn – Stamford Team 2022!

MSQE Opens at Stamford Campus Beginning Fall 2023

Beginning in Fall 2023 semester, the Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE) degree will be offered at the Stamford Campus.

The MSQE is a 30- credit (10 courses) program.  Average completion time for full-time students is three semesters.   We also offer an accelerated program for current UConn undergraduate students who wish to pursue a combined Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Master of Science (MS) in quantitative economics.  Students can simultaneously earn a Certified Business Economist® (CBE) professional certification.  MSQE teaches marketable skills in economic decision-making, statistics, data analysis, data visualization, and machine learning. Students learn relevant software and programming languages, like Python, R, and Stata. This program will help alumni pursue successful careers as financial and data analysts, ML engineers, data scientists, and programmer analysts with top employers in Connecticut and beyond.

To request more information about the MSQE Program click here.

Early College Experience – Economics: Workshop 2022

Kansas City Fed Picture
Two historical publications of the Kansas City Fed by Tim Todd. Snippets of cover pages are courtesy of Tim Todd.

Connecticut high school teachers who are certified instructors with the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) – Economics program gathered (virtually) on October 26, 2022, for an annual professional development workshop. The Economics Department sees these instructors as our colleagues and values their participation in the University mission. We see our relationship with the high school partners as important for the academic discipline and for developing Economics major and minor at UConn.

Professor Smirnova is faculty liaison for the ECE-Economics program. In this role, she oversees the course comparability, academic oversight, and professional development of the ECE instructors teaching ECON 1000, ECON 1201, ECON 1202 in their high schools.

The October workshop is an annual professional development opportunity. The goal is to share pedagogical innovations in the economics field in order to keep instructors informed and energized in delivering engaging classes to their pupils.

The workshop was opened with a dynamic presentation “5 Key Economic Concepts that Popular Media Can Teach” delivered by Dr. Kim Holder, Director, UWG Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy, Senior Lecturer of Economics, Richards College of Business, Director of Financial Literacy, University of West Georgia (UWG).

In the next presentation “Building Human Capital – College and Career Exploration”, Princeton Williams, Senior Outreach Advisor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, introduced teachers to Navigate, a portal that helps students navigate college application process and focus on selection of their future academic major and subsequent career. Instructors were excited to learn about several lesson plans and classroom-use-ready materials available for teachers through this site.

Intriguing presentation “4 Tools to Make Your Teaching Stick” was delivered by Matt Hill, Curriculum Designer at the Marginal Revolution University. ECE instructors were engaged in several exercises helping them experience the interactivity of the tools suggested by Matt.

The final presentation “The Vibrant History of Black-Owned Banks” was given by Tim Todd, Executive Writer and Historian of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. As the author of two books on bank ownership, which are written as a historical reference on Black community banks, Tim showed photographs related to his research and invited ECE instructors to download the books for classroom use. Instructors can also request hard copies of the books for their classroom use for free.

28 ECE Economics instructors attended the workshop.