The Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group (HCEO) at the University of Chicago announced their top five downloaded working papers of 2019.
Steve Ross’s paper “The Consequences of Friendships: Evidence on the Effect of Social Relationships in School on Academic Achievement” with Jason Fletcher and Yuxiu Zhang was among that list.
In that paper, they show that female students experience substantial improvements in their academic performance when they have more friends from an advantaged economic background, i.e. friends whose mothers completed four years of college. These effects may arise in part because girls with such friendships are also better integrated into their school environment.
Matt Ross, one of our Ph.D. graduates, was interviewed by The Guardian about the new study of racial profiling in police stops in the State of California, as well as about his own research with UConn faculty member Steve Ross and another Ph.D. graduate Jesse Kalinowski:
Economics Department faculty Steve Ross was just appointed to the Board of Editors of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy:
The Early College Experience Economics program (https://ece.uconn.edu/) held its annual workshop this fall for 30 Connecticut high school economics teachers who are teaching UConn’s Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 1201), Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 1202) and/or Essentials of Economics (ECON 1000).
Leading off the workshop was Professor Mike Shor, presenting “Patent Holdup” in which he explained the limits monopoly power conveyed by patents. The complementary relationships among patents and the price determination of purchasing or licensing of patents. He went on to explain the idea of the patent hold up. He also provided the workshop participants with a classroom exercise in which students discover how patents are priced.
There followed a presentation by Professor Natalia Smirnova, “Using Data in the Classroom: FRED database.” Professor Smirnova demonstrated several empirical uses of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s FRED database including both Macro and Micro economic examples.
Professor William Alpert presented a lunch time talk about the “Perils and Pitfalls of Prediction” highlighting the famine predictions of Paul Ehrlich for the 1980 (100’s of millions die) and the failed predictions of The Club of Rome from 1973. Professor Alpert also “predicted” the rise to more than 600 million in the number of horses in the United States if 18th Century trends had continued, assuming no alternative means of transportation.
Professor Steven Lanza then followed up with a presentation entitled “Rediscovering Lost Arts: Economic Index Numbers” in which he stressed the importance of index numbers and the biases in those numbers. He also demonstrated how to calculate them using data that is easy to access and readily available.
Professor Nishith Prakash rendered the concluding presentation concerning a natural experiment concerning the harassment. In India 79% of women living in cities have experienced harassment in public spaces. Professor Prakash and his coauthors set out to determine the effect of street patrolling that targets harassment, on the type and frequency of incidents and women’s proactive responses. They also are trying to determine the impacts of targeting perpetrators of harassment and what drives these changes — visibility, and/or quantity of a focused taskforce?
All of the presentations were well received and the workshop was among the most successful offered by the ECE Economics program.
On 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.
Jorge Agüero gave a keynote address at the 8th International Congress on Education at Ibagué, Colombia.
The congress took place between September 30 to October 2nd and centered on the issue of the length of the school day. Professor Agüero’s address focused on the successes and challenges of expanding the school day in secondary schools in developing countries based on his research in both Mexico and Peru.
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.
Professor Thomas Miceli has published The Paradox of Punishment: Reflections on the Economics of Criminal Justice.
From the publisher:
This book explores the insights that can be gained by looking at the criminal justice system from an economic point of view. It provides an economic analysis of the institutional structure and function of the criminal justice system, how its policies are formulated, and how they affect behavior.
Yet it goes beyond an examination of specific policies to address the broad question of how law influences behavior. For example, it examines how concepts such as the possibility of redemption affect the decisions of repeat offenders, and whether individual responsibility is (or should be) a pre-requisite for punishment. Finally, the book argues that, in addition to the threat of criminal sanctions, law inculcates principles of acceptable behavior among citizens by asserting that certain acts are “against the law.” This “expressive function” of law can influence behavior to the extent that at least some people in society are receptive to such a message. For these people, the moral content of law has more than mere symbolic value, and consequently, it can expand the scope of traditional law enforcement while lowering its cost.
Another goal of the book is therefore to use economic theory to assess this dualistic function of law by specifically recognizing how its policies can both internalize an ethic of obedience to the law among some people irrespective of its consequences, while simultaneously threatening to punish those who only respond to external incentives.
Nishith Prakash and co-author Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati are publishing their article “Girls for Sale? Child Sex Ratio and Girl Trafficking in India” in Feminist Economics, the journal of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)
From the abstract:
Illegal trafficking of girls results from their disadvantageous position in society, often reflected by preference for sons and neglect of daughters. India has both higher levels of illegal trafficking of girls and abnormal child sex ratios in favor of boys. This paper examines if the skewed sex ratio in India is associated with trafficking of girls. Using panel data from twenty-nine Indian states from 1980 to 2011, the study finds that a 100-unit increase in the child sex ratio is associated with a 0.635 percent increase in girl trafficking. Further, the association is heterogeneous by women’s empowerment, crime against women, and party rule in the state, and the association between the child sex ratio and trafficking of girls is stronger and larger in magnitude in states with greater women’s empowerment. Overall, it appears the results are driven both by greater reporting and a greater incidence of illegal girl trafficking.
Anupam Nanda has accepted a Professorship at the University of Manchester, UK. He will start in November this year.
Anupam completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Connecticut in 2006. Anupam has been at the University of Reading and has developed a significant scholarly reputation for his research in real estate markets. Professor Stephen Ross was his major advisor.