Author: McConnel, Mark

Professor Harmon has 2nd Most Cited Article in the Journal of Economic Education

Professor Oskar Harmon’s paper “Are Online Exams an Invitation to Cheat?”, co-authored with Dr. Lambrinos, is the 2nd most cited article of all time in the Journal of Economic Education, considering all articles published in the journal.

The article may be found online here.

The abstract is below:

Title: Are Online Exams an Invitation to Cheat?

Abstract: In this study, the authors use data from two online courses in principles of economics to estimate a model that predicts exam scores from independent variables of student characteristics. In one course, the final exam was proctored, and in the other course, the final exam was not proctored. In both courses, the first three exams were unproctored. If no cheating took place, the authors expected the prediction model to have the same explanatory power for all exams, and, conversely, if cheating occurred in the unproctored exam, the explanatory power would be lower. Their findings are that both across and within class, variations in the R-squared statistic suggest that cheating was taking place when the exams were not proctored.

Stephen Acquah (MSQE 2023) awarded a National Association of Business Economists Scholarship

Stephen Acquah, a 1st year student in the Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE), was named a 2022-23 National Association of Business Economists (NABE) Scholar.

The NABE Scholars program provides scholarships to NABE conferences specifically to minority students and early-career economists to attend NABE conferences and events.  Alex Gu (UConn MSQE 2022) was a 2021 designee of this award.

Stephen is one of 20 selected scholars  and holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Verona, Italy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He aspires to become a future Tech-economics expert and a Certified Business Economist (CBE).

The UConn MSQE Program is a participating partner and students can earn the CBE certification by completing MSQE courses, completing the CBE certification exam, and two years of work experience in applied business economics or in a related field.

Professor Prakash named Associate Editor with Journal of Development Economics

Professor Nishith Prakash has been named an Associate Editor with the Journal of Development Economics, which publishes “original research papers relating to all aspects of economic development – from immediate policy concerns to structural problems of underdevelopment.”

Information about the Journal, and about the Editorial Board, may be found online at:

Anastassiya Karaban’s Research Funded by the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research on Women and Girls of Color

Third-year PhD student Anastassiya Karaban has received funding in support of her research. Her project, done in collaboration with Professor Jorge Agüero, is entitled “Female Education, Empowerment and Bargaining over Babies in Sub-Saharan Africa”.

The funding is through the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research on Women and Girls of Color through Africana Studies at UConn:

“In November 2015, the White House Council on Women and Girls announced a new initiative on women and girls of color – the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research on Women and Girls of Color—during a summit co-hosted by the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University. The Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research on Women and Girls of Color, which the University of Connecticut joined in 2015, consists of more than fifty colleges, universities and non-profit organizations committed to studying and addressing the educational, health and social services disparities faced by women and girls of color. Housed within the Africana Studies Institute, UConn’s Collaborative aligns with Africana’s goals to prioritize research and collaboration that target health disparities and injustice and the health and well-being of populations both racialized and gendered.”


Professor Zhao published in Review of Economic Dynamics

Professor Zhao’s paper “The Evolution of Health over the Life Cycle” has been published in the Review of Economic Dynamics.

In this paper, Professor Zhao and his coauthors construct a unified objective measure of health status: the frailty index. Using this index, they propose and estimate a stochastic process for health dynamics over the life cycle accounting for mortality bias. Their health measure and dynamic process can be used to study the evolution of health over the life cycle and its economic implications.

Building on this work, Professor Zhao and his coauthors are currently working on a project that explores the evolution of health inequality over the life cycle and its implication for lifetime earnings inequality.

Huanan Xu, Ph.D. ’16, Tenured at Indiana University South Bend

Huanan Xu, Ph.D. ’16, was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Economics at Indiana University South Bend’s Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics. Her main research interests are in the areas of labor and demographic economics, immigration, and the economics of education, but she has several recent papers examining the labor market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since defending her dissertation and leaving UConn, she has maintained close connections to our department, coauthoring with Professor Ken Couch (Journal of Public Economics 2020 and Economic Inquiry 2022), Professor Delia Furtado (Labour Economics 2019), and Tao Song, Ph.D. ‘17 (Southern Economic Journal 2020).

Congratulations, Huanan! 

Professor Agüero has a Top 10 Most Cited Paper in World Development

Professor Jorge Agüero’s paper “COVID-19 and The Rise of Intimate Partner Violence” is now a Top 10 most cited paper in World Development, considering all publications since 2018.

The paper may be found online at:

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 Smirnova receives CLAS Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award 2022

During the 2019-2021 academic year, the College undertook a collaborative strategic planning process. Among other things, the resulting plan articulated four overarching goals for the College to work toward in the coming years. The Strategic Goal Awards recognize recognize the efforts of faculty members in these areas:

  • Climate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award
  • Innovative Scholarship Award
  • Teaching, Learning, and Student Success Award
  • Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award

Dr. Smirnova has received the 2022 Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award.

This award is granted for “outstanding initiatives that visibly impact the welfare of Connecticut and beyond, including but not limited to facilitating community engagement, developing strong connections to government or nonprofit agencies, and/or leveraging alumni networks”.

As a faculty liaison of the Early College ExperienceEconomics program, Dr. Smirnova oversees course comparability, academic programming, and professional development and evaluation of the UConn ECE instructors teaching ECON 1000, ECON 1201, ECON 1202 in high schools. The ECE Economics program is an important component of department’s academic outreach to the community, a part of the department’s recruitment strategy, and an important way to connect our colleagues in high schools with the University. The ECE Economics program is the largest at UConn. It serves on average 55 instructors who offer 66 ECE economics courses annually.

The impact on students who take ECE Economics courses is many-fold. They get acquainted with the academic rigor of CLAS, gain familiarity with the University as a whole, and publicize the prominence of UConn across the nation and around the world when gaining acceptance to institutions of higher education.

The community impact of the ECE Economics program is immense. Our partner schools serve urban and rural communities, inner-city pupils, immigrant populations, and first generation students. As Dr. Smirnova helps the ECE instructors build their courses with rigor and innovation, all these groups have the opportunity to learn economics concepts, develop economics way of thinking, and get their first exposure to the college-level curriculum. This opportunity has a profound positive impact on learners and their communities.

Starting at the local community, the visibility of the University grows in the national and international arenas. After high school graduation, some students attend the University of Connecticut. They contribute to UConn’s diversity and bring knowledge gained in high school to UConn. Other students go to colleges and universities around the country and around the world. They contribute to the visibility of UConn by transferring UConn credits earned through the ECE program, by bringing the knowledge they gained, and by spreading the word about the ECE experience they have had. International students who attend ECE-partner private boarding schools bring the knowledge about the University of Connecticut to their home countries.

Congratulations, Dr. Smirnova!


Professor Segerson Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Congratulations to Professor Kathleen Segerson, who has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences!

“Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,400 members and 500 international members, of which approximately 190 have received Nobel prizes.”

“The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community. Approximately 500 current and deceased members of the NAS have won Nobel Prizes, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1914, is today one of the premier international journals publishing the results of original research.”

Information about the National Academy of Science and the newly elected 2022 members may be found online at: