PhD publication

Professor Ross in the AEA Papers and Proceedings

Professor Ross’s work with former students Jesse Kalinowski (Quinnipiac) and Matt Ross (NYU) was published in the 2019 American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings.

In this paper, they document that police change where they patrol and the types of infractions that they monitor when darkness falls.  This behavior has important implications for attempts to test for racial profiling in traffic stops where often stops at night when race cannot be observed are used as a benchmark to determining whether police disproportionately stop minority motorists during the day (non-gated link to working paper below).

David Simon and Mark McInerney Publish in Health Affairs

Professor David Simon and PhD student Mark McInerney have published “The Earned Income Tax Credit, Poverty, And Health” with co-author Sarah Goodell.

In the article, they “consider the small but growing body of studies showing that the Earned Income Tax Credit, the largest needs tested antipoverty cash assistance program in the US, improves health, particularly for single mothers and children.”

The article, in Health Affairs’ ongoing series of Health Policy Briefs, is online at:

David Simon, Mark McInerney and Sarah Goodell
“The Earned Income Tax Credit, Poverty, And Health, ” Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, October 4, 2018. DOI: 10.1377/hpb20180817.769687

Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (UConn PhD 2017) Co-Author Article

Professor Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (Visiting Assistant Professor, SUNY Oneonta) co-authored the article “Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises” that appears as the lead article in issue number 2 (2018) of the Journal of Economics Teaching.

The article shows how Google Drive’s Drawings tool can be used to create homework exercises suitable for both online and face-to-face classes. This approach allows students to create graphs actively “from scratch,” similar to the traditional pencil-and-paper approach, with a minimal investment of time and money. This could be a useful active-learning tool for online, blended, and traditional courses. The tools presented in the article have been adapted by the publisher TopHat in a recently published Principles of Micro/Macro online textbook.

Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises (Harmon & Szarka)


PhD Student Dominic Albino Published in Cognitive Science

Dominic Albino, a fourth-year graduate student in the department, and co-authors Seth Frey and Paul Williams have had their paper, “Synergistic Information Processing Encrypts Strategic Reasoning in Poker,” accepted for publication in the journal Cognitive Science.

To win at poker, players must exploit public signals from opponents, but using those signals usually makes the player’s own strategy vulnerable. The paper uses 1.75 million hands of online poker data to show that winning players successfully encrypt their strategy, using their own cards like the private key in public key cryptography. By doing so, they are able to solve the problem of exploiting others while remaining protected themselves and turn uncertainty, usually considered a liability, into an advantage.

A copy of the paper may be found on Dominic Albino’s ResearchGate page.

Profs Harmon, Alpert, and PhD Candidate Joseph Histen publish article

journalProfessors Oskar R. Harmon, William T. Alpert, and PhD Candidate Joseph Histen, have been published the article  “Online Discussion and Learning Outcomes” in the Journal International Advances in Economic Research, 2014.

This paper describes how the authors used Facebook as a discussion tool in the instruction of a principles level economics course and reports empirical estimates of the effect of that use on learning outcomes.  Social media as a tool for promoting classroom discussion has advantages and disadvantages.  For example, its omnipresence and flat learning curve can promote academic discourse.  However social media can promote non-academic “chatting”, and its omnipresence means the user needs more than a passing knowledge of the privacy settings to have control of their “digital identity.  For a Principles of Microeconomics taught in 2011 we collected data, with permission from our institution’s Institutional Review Board, on student use of Facebook, academic and demographic characteristics, learning style preferences and learning outcomes. Overall our empirical estimates provide cautious support for the hypothesis that active participation in the discussion board has a positive effect on exam score at a statistically significant level.  The estimates of the effect of posts related to question and answer dialogue show a positive impact on the cumulative final exam score at a 5% level of statistical significance.  This result is consistent with the view that using Facebook in academic instruction can be an effective tool for assisting the average student to resolve questions about the course material and for promoting peer-to-peer learning.

Recent PhD grad to publish in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

Recent graduate James Boudreau, advised by Vicki Knoblauch, will publish the paper “Stratification and Growth in Agent-Based Matching Markets” in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. The relationship between economic mobility and growth has long been a focus of economists’ attention, and James’ paper contributes to that literature by emphasizing the dynamic impacts of two-sided matching.

The model economy in the paper features heterogeneous agents that compete in an intergenerational match game for employment. Agents known as workers make productivity-enhancing investments, using their endowed wealth to add to pre-existing ability levels as they compete to match with other agents known as firms. A novel feature of the model is its use of the market’s matching process as an evolutionary fitness selection mechanism. Workers that are unable to find a match drop out of the population and thus do not contribute to current or future productive capacity. Those that do match are able to pass on their attributes, but in a manner that is not fully deterministic. Because of the stochastic element to inheritance, results are arrived at by way of agent-based simulations. Even with perfect information and substantial variety in both offspring and entrants, two-sided matching inevitably causes the population to evolve into stratified groups. Corrective measures are possible to improve mobility, but by altering the path of market evolution, a policy may have unintended impacts on growth and inequality.

Latest issue of Indian Economic Review features three articles with UConn connections

In a rare coincidence, all three lead articles on the Indian Economic Review, a top journal in India, have a UConn connection. The first is authored by Rangan Gupta (IDEAS) a 2005 PhD alumnus very recently promoted to full professor at the University of Pretoria: Financial Liberalization and a Possible Growth-Inflation Trade-Off. The second is authored by Basab Dasgupta, a 2005 PhD alumnus: Endogenous Growth in the Presence of Informal Credit Markets in India: A Comparative Analysis Between Credit Rationing and Self-Revelation Regimes. And the third is authored by Prof. Ray, currently faculty at UConn: Are Indian Firms too Small? A Nonparametric Analysis of Cost Efficiency and the Optimal Organization of the Indian Manufacturing Industry.

Both Gupta and Dasgupta were advised by Prof. Zimmermann (IDEAS). The first article is also available as a University of Pretoria working paper, and the latter two articles as UConn working papers: 1, 2, 3.

Two MA, PhD alumni publish new edition of popular textbook

A new edition of a popular health economics textbook, “Health Economics: Theory, Insights, and Industry Studies,” written by two of the Department’s former Ph.D. Students, Rexford Santerre (PhD, 1983) and Stephen Neun (PhD, 1988), will be published this June by South-Western/Cengage Learning.

Formerly a Professor of Economics at Bentley College, Rex Santerre (IDEAS) is now a Professor of Finance and Healthcare Management in the UConn School of Business. He has published extensively in the fields of health economics, local public finance, and industrial organization.

Steve Neun is currently the Academic Dean at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts. Prior to that he served as Professor Economics, Assistant VP for Academic Affairs, and Dean of the School of Graduate and Extended Studies at Utica College in upstate New York.