Announcements

Econ PhD Alumnus is Chief Economist for Macro Policy at the CEA

Aaron Cooke, a 2018 PhD graduate of the UConn Department of Economics, recently became the Chief Economist for Macroeconomic Policy at the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

The CEA, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy.

Aaron earned his PhD degree from the Department of Economics in 2018, specializing in macroeconomics and public policy. His PhD dissertation, “Three Essays on Wealth and Income Inequality”, studied the causes of U.S. wealth and income inequality, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Kai Zhao.

Prior to joining the CEA, Aaron was an economist at the Office of Management and Budget.

Stamford Campus Hosts Women Alumnae

Students at Stamford campus were treated to an amazing event on November 12, 2020. A virtual panel discussion featuring UConn Stamford alumnae who majored in social sciences (COMM, ECON, HDFS and POLS) called “Breaking the Mold: Women in Social Sciencesattracted almost 100 students.

A recording of the event may be found online at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQK8qMAPrXs&feature=youtu.be

The five UConn Stamford alumnae who were featured work in a variety of interesting and diverse careers. These women created their own paths, in unconventional ways, in areas where women are often underrepresented. During the event, they provided insights into how their educational experiences at UConn shaped their career journeys and put them on the path to success!

Panelists:

  • Harriet Munrett Wolfe (’76 CLAS) is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporate. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn and a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.
  • Maureen Hanley (’92 CLAS) is the Senior Vice President of The First Bank of Greenwich. Maureen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UConn.
  • Anne McAuley Lopez (’96 CLAS) is the lead writer and owner of McAuley Freelance Writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UConn.
  • Katherine Velez (’10 CLAS) is a Research Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center. She has a bachelor’s degree from UConn in Human Development and Family Studies and an MSW from Fordham University.
  • Brianna Walston (’17 CLAS) is the Founder of Brianna Regine Visionary Consulting, LLC. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from UConn.

Students learned how one’s career evolves post-graduation, how to find a mentor, and how to navigate the job search environment during the pandemic. During the Q&A, students asked questions about challenges that women face in the workplace and how to leverage one’s education and mentorship relationships for the successful steering of a career.

Overall, the panelists offered many positive and constructive suggestions, helping students keep faith in themselves even during the uncertain times of a pandemic.

This program was hosted by UConn Stamford: Political Science and Economics Departments, the Center for Career Development, and the Honors Program in partnership with the UConn Foundation.

By Natalia V. Smirnova

Pilot Project Approved for Professor Agüero and PhD Student Mendiola

Professor Jorge Agüero and third year PhD student Miranda Mendiola’s proposal “Role models: Information and Gender Stereotypes” for a pilot project, sponsored by the Innovation Laboratory for Cost-Effective Educational Policy – MineduLAB in the Peruvian Ministry of Education, has been approved.

Their project has the objective of reducing gender stereotypes and improving grades for high school students through the use of role models. Traditionally, efforts to reduce gender gaps have focused on empowering women. Professor Agüero and Miranda’s project focuses on changing the perception of both genders’ abilities by showing students movies that have young main characters being successful in careers that are nontraditional for their gender. They hope to improve women’s scores in STEM courses, where they traditionally perform worse, and also to improve men’s scores in courses they traditionally struggle with (Spanish and history). They will measure changes in gender bias through a questionnaire and a game, with the objective of measuring both explicit and implicit biases. 

This project will hopefully be a pilot for a larger project in Peru, aiding in the reduction of gender bias in Peruvian schools.

Professor Ray publishes in Empirical Economics

Professor Subhash Ray published his recent paper “Unrestricted geometric distance functions and the Geometric Young productivity index: an analysis of Indian manufacturing” coauthored with Arnab Deb (Associate Professor, International Management Institute New Delhi) and Kankana Mukherjee (Associate Professor, Babson College) in Empirical Economics.

At this point, the paper is available online at https://doi.org/10.1007/s00181-020-01925-0.

Both of his coauthors are his former PhD students: Arnab Deb (PhD UConn 2012) and Kankana Mukherjee (PhD UConn 1997).

Professors Harmon and Tomolonis Publish in Journal of Economic Education

JEE LogoOskar Harmon and Paul Tomolonis (UConn PhD 2017) have co-authored the article “Learning Tableau – A data visualization tool”, published in the Journal of Economic Education.

ABSTRACT: “Doing economics” is an important theme of undergraduate economics programs. Capstone courses increasingly include instruction in “data literacy” and the STEM-related skills of quantitative and empirical methods. Because the professional discipline has moved in this direction and because of greater employer demand for these skills, data visualization is a key component of data literacy. Tableau is a free data visualization software widely used in the data analytics industry. In this article, the authors introduce an exercise that teaches the fundamental Tableau concepts and commands needed to create charts, assemble them in a dashboard, and tell a story of patterns observed in the data. The exercise assumes no prior experience in Tableau and is appropriate for undergraduate upper-level economics courses or an empirical methods course.

The article is available at the JEE website

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.

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/