Current students

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.

Stamford Math Econ Students Working with the Business Community

IRL Case Study LogoThis Fall, Professor Smirnova’s Mathematical Economics class in Stamford engaged in  collaboration with the local business community. A key element of the course was the empirical project, which gave students hands-on experience in working with data and proposing a solution to a real problem for Stamford-based businesses. Separated randomly into seven teams, students pondered the research question: How to attract and retain Millennial talent in Stamford, CT?

This question was posited by Kelly Pierre-Louis, UConn alumna, Founder & Executive Director of #IRLCONN – (In Real Life Conference:  #IRLCONN: Edu). Kelly devoted a substantial amount of time observing teams’ presentations throughout the semester and giving constructive feedback. On the last day of classes, December 5th, teams presented their answer to the research question, their analysis of data, and their recommendations for the Millennial talent retention in Stamford. In attendance at the event were local business community leaders from Stamford Chamber of Commerce, Business Council of Fairfield County, Ferguson Library, Waddell and Reed, GAIA Real Estate, Congressman Jim Himes’s office, and Luigi and Associates.

Students had the opportunity not only to showcase their research but also network with business professionals, ask and answer questions, and connect. Our guests were very enthusiastic about student projects’ outcomes. They asked questions, provided their views on the subject, and were interested in implementing some of the students’ recommendations in their businesses or their line of work. Good dialogue and an exchange of ideas for future collaboration inside and outside of the classroom commenced.

Such real-world projects’ integration in the economics curriculum proves to be an exciting new way of connecting our students to the realm outside the academia. It also makes class projects more meaningful and develops skills that can be easily transferred to the workplace.

Econ Undergraduate Students at the Boston Fed Challenge

Once again this fall the Economics Department sponsored a team of students to compete in the annual Fed challenge competition that was held at the Boston Federal Reserve. Again our students did very well, just barely missing the finals.

There were five groups with five universities competing in each group. The school with the highest score in each group moves on to the finals. Every year the competition level gets higher. In our group, the five scores ranged from 80 to a high of 91. We were close to making the finals, our team had a score of 88.5. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments.

The participating students were Sam Berkun, Tyler Dibrino, Michelle Grieco, Marisa Infante, Joe Mortimer, James Rice, Brianna Sullivan, Kyle Tesei and Ajshe Zulfi.

The faculty advisers were Derek Johnson and Owen Svalestad.