Current students

Spring 2021 Awards

Uconn sealWhile the department is not able to celebrate with an awards banquet this year, we still are able to recognize the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty! This year’s award recipients are:

Undergraduate Awards

Economics Department General Scholarship

Jasmine Kuyateh-Banks
Melissa Mendez
Kelly-Anne Moffa
Joslin Valiyaveettil
Clare Wieduwilt
Linge Yang
Michael Zhu

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Lauren Pawlowski

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Ryan Durrell
Cole Ensinger
Yue Sun

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Kader Akpinar
Susan Bailey
Prasad Gosavi
SeSe Nguyen

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

Brendan Adams

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Linge Yang

Charles Triano Scholarship

Matthew Petridis

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Kelly-Anne Moffa
Benjamin Scudder
Kira Smith
Alexander Taylor
Joslin Valiyaveettil
Clare Wieduwilt
Michael Zhu

Robert J. Monte Scholarship

Isadore Johnson

Ross Mayer Scholarship

John Peterson
Ajshe Zulfi


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Jinsoon Cho
Jingwei Huang

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Miranda Mendiola Valdez

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Yijia Gao
Anastassiya Karaban
Ha Kyeong Lee
Kunze Li
Ghania Shuaib
Jiaqi Wang
Yangkeun Yun

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Umesh Ghimire

Economics Department General Scholarship

Tiange Du
Xuejian Gong
Ruohan Huang
Benjamin Taraskevich
Ziyun Wu
Yizhi Zhu

Best Third Year Paper Award

Lindsey Buck, awarded for her paper “Head Start Improves Health and Welfare 25 Years After Participation”

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Faisal Algosair
Abdulmohsen Almuhaisen
Erdal Asker
Birenda Budha
Dingxian Cao
Jingyun Chen
Zhenhao Gong
Treena Goswami
Huarui Jing
Chuang Li
Chun Li
Xizi Li
Tongan Liu
Deepak Saraswat
Rui Sun
Victor Volkman
Jinning Wang
Haoxiang Xu
Heli Xu
Heshan Zhang
Wei Zheng


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Jorge Agüero

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Natalia Smirnova

 

Congratulations to everyone!

Stamford Team Competes in the College Fed Challenge 2020

This year, the College Fed Challenge competition was virtual. It was a challenging transition to understand the intricacies of new rules and regulations and to pivot in September to be ready by October 9. But the UConn-Stamford team was well-organized, enthusiastic, and well-prepared to put forward the arguments that the current economic situation warrants keeping the target federal funds rate unchanged.

The 2020 team consisted of five Stamford students: Cullen Murphy (ACES, sophomore), You Kim (Financial Management and Economics, senior), Shayla Siljkovic (Linguistics and Philosophy, sophomore), Eileen Zhu (Economics, junior), and Rashana Weerasinghe (Business Data Analytics, sophomore). They worked virtually; very diligently, creatively, and collaboratively. They describe the challenges of this new environment as the loss of a camaraderie of in-person interactions, technical difficulties, and physical isolation. However, the presentation that they put forward combines the intellectual rigor of each member, deep research of economic indicators, and a collective vision of what the forecast of current economic conditions looks like.

You can watch their presentation here.

Our team did not make the next round of the competition this year, which is, of course, disappointing. However, the learning that has occurred was a worthwhile experience. First, each student has developed an expertise in a selected economic indicator or industry: each team member researched, constructed graphs, and made connections with overall economic development as well as with monetary policy implications. Furthermore, students gained highly valuable skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. These are the skills that are transferable to other professional environments such as a graduate school or a workplace.

You can read the students’ reflections here:

Cullen Murphy – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

You Kim – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Shayla Siljkovic – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Rashana Weerasinghe – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

Eileen Zhu – Stamford Fed Challenge 2020

The course that will be used to prepare a team for the next year’s competition is ECON 3492 – Practicum. It is offered every semester. Stamford students who are interested in joining the team should contact Dr. Smirnova. The student’s major does not matter – all majors are welcome! What matters is the desire to learn about the economy and monetary policy, and to be open-minded to work well in a team.

 

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.

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

2020 Spring Awards

Uconn sealAlthough the department was not able to celebrate with an awards banquet this year, we still are able to recognize the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty! This year’s award recipients are:

Undergraduate Awards

Economics Department General Scholarship

Yulia Bragina
Tyler DiBrino
Kevin Fiddler
Melissa Mendez
Sueing Ngov
Shannon O’Connor
Gabriela Rodriguez

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Kelly-Anne Moffa
Katelyn Mooney

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Kevin Fiddler
Devin Pallanck
Gabriela Rodriguez
Yumeng Shao

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Marisa Infante
Spencer Kinyon
Linge Yang
Ajshe Zulfi

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Xiaofeng Gong

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

John Peterson

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Tyler DiBrino

Charles Triano Scholarship

Tiffany D’Andrea
James Rice

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Madeline Danziger
Zian Zhang

Robert J. Monte Scholarship

Luis Cruz

Ross Mayer Scholarship

Michelle Grieco
Mary Vlamis


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Lindsey Buck

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Yangkeun Yun

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Yijia Gao
Xuejian Gong
Ruohan Huang
Ha Kyeong Lee
Wensu Li
Miranda Mendiola Valdez
Ziyun Wu

Economics Department General Scholarship

Jingyun Chen
Chun Li
Jinning Wang
Heli Xu

Best Third Year Paper Award

Erdal Asker
Deepak Saraswat

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Treena Goswami
Huarui Jing
Anastassiya Karaban
Xizi Li
Shilpa Sethia
Rui Sun
Jiaqi Wang
Wei Zheng


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Jungbin Hwang

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Delia Furtado

 

Congratulations to everyone!

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

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

 

Graduate Student, Shiyi Chen, Interviewed by AEA about her Poster

PhD student, Shiyi Chen, presented a poster of her paper, “Affirmative Action and Interracial Marriage,” at the 2020 ASSA Meetings in San Diego.

The paper looks at how state affirmative action policies, enacted mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, affected the likelihood of interracial marriage. Prior work has shown that that these policies, which apply only to public sector workers, led to increases in minority representation in the workplace. By comparing the likelihoods of black-white marriage, before vs. after a policy was enacted in a state and depending on whether a person works in the public sector, Shiyi explores whether the increased on-the-job contact between people of different races also resulted in more interracial marriage. The paper shows that indeed white males became more likely to marry black females after after being exposed to state affirmative policies, a result perhaps suggesting that interracial contact – even when induced by public policy – improves race relations more broadly.

The AEA interviewed select poster presenters at the conference, and Shiyi’s poster was chosen to be highlighted. You can watch her discuss her work below.

https://www.aeaweb.org/conference/videos/2020/shiyi-chen

Mary Vlamis presents at ‘Fall Frontiers in Undergraduate Research’

Vlamis and KatsouleasOn October 30th, Economics undergraduate student Mary Vlamis presented her project ‘Can Inclusive Programs Reduce Racial and Gender Discriminations from the Labor Market?’ at the annual Fall Frontiers in Undergraduate Research poster exhibition.

She had the opportunity to present the project to students, faculty and others – including President Katsouleas (shown here).

Mary and Professor Jorge Agüero received a 2019 Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience (SHARE) award to work on this project, along with Research Scholar Francisco B. Galarza.

The project explores whether merit-based scholarships could reduce racial and gender discrimination in the Peruvian labor market, and how effective the national scholarship program is at narrowing the gap in hiring.