Announcements

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/

Women in Economics Symposium

On February 27, 2020, two Economics students from the Storrs campus (Daija Brunson and Pershae Gilling) and one Economics student from the Stamford campus (Viviana Castillo) got the chance to travel to Cleveland, OH, for a Women in Economics Symposium. In the morning of the event the students got the chance to meet Research Assistants for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and ask them questions about their journey so far. A lot of insight was given by the Research Assistants and they were very helpful in providing guidance to the students about what they should do in the future.

The students also got the chance to tour the bank and they were even able to go down to the cash processing center where they could see how automation plays a big role in their daily processes.

The symposium was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and included keynote addresses from Dr. Lisa Cook, Director of the AEA Summer Program and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Founder of Economic Education Institute. In addition, during the symposium the students got the chance to sit through different discussion panels with topics about what to do with a degree in economics, how to get a PHD, and how to navigate the workforce as a female.

During the reception they got a chance to meet other students and employees from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including Dr. Loretta Mester, the President and CEO of the bank. Overall, the full day was filled with a lot of information and it provided the students with a lot of guidance as to what they should do in the future. The students came back feeling very energized and excited as to what the future holds for them.

 

Written by Viviana Castillo and Dr. Natalia Smirnova

Women and Girls’ Day at the Capitol 2020

On March 6, 2020, Dr. Natalia Smirnova and Dr. Tianxu Chen represented the Economics Department at the “Women and Girls’ Day at the Capitol 2020” cohosted by The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, The Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity & Opportunity; and The Women’s Suffrage Commission.

The theme for the event was CELEBRATE – CONNECT – INSPIRE:

To CELEBRATE the progress made by women in honor of Women’s History Month and the 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage.

To CONNECT the state community to resources and opportunities that are available to the public, such as:

  • Career information.
  • Health & safety services and information.
  • Women leaders in STEAM and underrepresented fields — hence Economics!
  • Resources for women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

To INSPIRE women and girls to design their own paths (providing a broad scope of role models for them to become inspired).

The intended audience for the day was female high school juniors and seniors, and women from across Connecticut. A total of 300 individuals attended, with half of them being high school aged girls. Both Dr. Smirnova and Dr. Chen were excited to share their love of economics with the attendees. The event was worthwhile for everyone!

Professor Shor’s Article a Finalist for the 2019 Decision Analysis Special Recognition Award

Professor Shor’s article, Optimizing Choice Architectures, was one of three finalists for the 2019 Decision Analysis Special Recognition Award, awarded annually to the best paper published in the journal, Decision Analysis, in the previous year.

The paper (coauthored with Tibor Besedes, Sudipta Sarangi, Cary Deck, and former UConn PhD student Mark Schneider) examines numerous ways to improve decision making from a large set of options. Different methods work for different people, and the paper identifies the source of this heterogeneity.

Professor Harmon’s SSRN Working Paper on Data Visualization is Top 5 Downloaded Paper

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a platform for dissemination of early-stage research, recently announced their all-time top ten downloaded  papers in the topic Data Visualization.  Oskar Harmon’s paper “Learning Tableau: A Data Visualization Tool” with Steven Batt, and Paul Tomolonis was among that list.

“Doing economics” and “data literacy” are becoming important themes of undergraduate economics  programs.  This paper introduces 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 an undergraduate economics  capstone course or an empirical methods course.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/topten/topTenResults.cfm?groupingId=3506979&netorjrnl=jrnl

PhD Candidate Kevin Wood published in Health Economics

PhD Candidate Kevin Wood’s paper “Health Insurance and Retirement: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act” has recently been published in Health Economics.

Abstract:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided millions of Americans with medical insurance but may have led to an increase in retirement among older individuals who are utilizing the newly available coverage options as a substitute for employer‐provided insurance. Using data from the American Community Survey from 2009–2016, this hypothesis is tested by estimating the effect of the premium subsidies and Medicaid expansions of the ACA on retirement transitions for the non‐Medicare eligible cohort of older Americans aged 55–64. Research results indicate a 2% and 8% decrease in labor force participation resulting from the premium subsidies and Medicaid expansions, respectively. Slightly larger estimates are found among a subgroup of adult couples. The study also finds suggestive evidence of crowd‐out of employer‐sponsored insurance by subsidized marketplace plans but finds no such effects from the Medicaid expansions.

https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.3959