Medical Marijuana in the Washington Post and Mother Jones

A recent working paper by co-authors Michele Baggio (UConn faculty, Department of Economics), Alberto Chong (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Department of Economics), and Sungoh Kwon (UConn graduate student, Department of Economics), has been featured in the Washington Post:


Medical marijuana took a bite out of alcohol sales …

Alcoholic beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of medical marijuana laws in a number of states, according to a new working paper by …

And in Mother Jones magazine:

Back in 2009 I wrote a piece for the magazine about marijuana legalization. One of the things I learned is that a key question about the effect of legalization is whether marijuana and alcohol are substitutes or complements. If alcohol and marijuana are substitutes, it means that higher sales of marijuana will likely produce lower […]http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/12/new-study-says-marijuana-legalization-reduces-alcohol-use/


The working paper is online at: Helping Settle the Marijuana and Alcohol Debate: Evidence from Scanner Data


We use data on purchases of alcoholic beverages in grocery, convenience, drug, or mass distribution stores in US counties for 2006-2015 to study the link between medical marijuana laws and alcohol consumption and focus on settling the debate between the substitutability or complementarity between marijuana and alcohol. To do this we exploit the differences in the timing of the of marijuana laws among states and find that these two substances are substitutes. Counties located in MML states reduced monthly alcohol sales by 15 percent. Our findings are robust to border counties analysis, a placebo effective dates for MMLs in the treated states, and falsification tests using sales of pens and pencils.

Professor Vaninsky publishes in Economic Change and Restructuring

Professor Alexander Vaninsky, a long-time economics instructor at the Stamford Campus, recently published the article “Optimal environment-friendly economic restructuring: the United States–China cooperation case study” in the journal Economic Change and Restructuring (November 2017).

This paper discusses a model for the restructuring of national economies for the purpose of achieving optimal growth under conditions of decreased energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The discussion combines input–output and factorial-decomposition models, and applies projected gradient and factor analysis to find the optimal structural changes that serve all three goals. A comparative analysis of the economies of the United States and China, including opportunities for cooperative restructuring, serves as a case study.

Professor Lanza recently quoted in the Hartford Courant

Professor Steve Lanza, a long-time analyst of the Connecticut economy, is frequently called upon for comment on economic events in the state.

Professor Lanza was quoted in the October 2, 2017 edition of the Hartford Courant about a U.S. Census Bureau report of a troubling drop of 0.4% in the state’s population between 2015 and 2016.

In a separate article in the same edition, Professor Lanza was quoted regarding small businesses as engines of growth in the Stamford CT metropolitan area.

Early College Experience (ECE) Economics Program Workshop

The Early College Experience (ECE) Economics Program presented a workshop on October 31 for Connecticut high school teachers offering Principles of Micro and Macro Economics (Econ 1201 and 1202) and Essentials of Economics (Econ 1000) in their high schools.  The economics program now has certified 39 instructors as either Adjunct Professors of Economics or Preceptors in Economics. Twenty-nine of them choose to attend the workshop.

The teachers were instructed on the economics of climate change by Wensu Li, one of UCONN’s knowledgeable graduate students who discussed what one could teach in the principles classes about climate change.  Professor Paul Tomolonis, Assistant Professor of Economics, Western New England University and Adjunct Professor of Economics University of Connecticut, reflected on earnings management with the workshop participants.  He used earnings managment as an example of misallocation of resources. Professor Stephen L. Ross, Professor of Economics, University of Connecticut described the importance of distinguishing between permanent shocks and transitory shocks to the macro economy and the day was concluded with Professor Dennis Heffley, Professor of Economics, University of Connecticut, Emeritus who addressed the workshop on the teaching of health economics at the principles level.

Finally, three of the teachers (Ms. Vancil, Shelton, Ms. Pelling, West Hartford, and Mr. Staffaroni from New Canaan) spent a few minutes over lunch to shared one of their learning experiences with their colleagues gained while attending the Joint Council on Economic Education Conference in New York City in early October.

UCONN ECE is a concurrent enrollment program that allows motivated high school students to take UCONN courses at their high schools for both high school and college credit. Every course taken through UCONN ECE is equivalent to the same course at the University of Connecticut. Students benefit by taking college courses in a setting that is both familiar and conducive to learning. High school instructors who have been certified through the University of Connecticut serve as adjunct faculty members and teach UCONN ECE courses. Established in 1955, UCONN ECE is the nation’s longest running concurrent enrollment program and is accredited by The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.

Professor Harmon participates in Metanoia Panel

During the UConn Metanoia on Racism November 8. 2017, Professor Oskar Harmon participated in the panel: Taking a Knee, Raising a Fist: Race, Sport, and Politics in Historical Perspective, with Professors Joseph Cooper, Sport Management, and Jeffrey Ogbar, History.

The panel topic was the protest act of taking a knee during the pre-game ceremony of a football game was started in Sept 2016 by NFL player Colin Kaepernick.   President Trump’s Tweet: The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this! ignited a national referendum, and in the following weeks, taking a knee became a widespread event at professional football games.

At UConn, Metanoia has become tradition wherein the University community sponsors workshops and panels around an important issue confronting the university, the state, and the nation.  This semester the issue for Metanoia Day was racism.


Professor Ross in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Professor Ross was invited to write a commentary on measuring trends in discrimination.  Specifically, Professor Ross carefully lays out the potential, but also the challenges, of exploiting multiple field studies of discrimination combined with meta-analysis techniques in order to measure changes over time in the level of discrimination.  Professor Ross notes recent research in the same journal that shows very stable levels of employment discrimination against African-Americans over several decades in the U.S.  On the other hand, his own research has documented substantial declines in the level of housing discrimination, especially among real estate agents for owner-occupied housing. Below is a link to the commentary.


JPAM 2017 Impact Factor: 3.42

The most recently released (2017) Journal Citation Reports (JCR) 2-Year Impact Factor for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) is 3.42.

Based on the 2-Year Impact Factor, the journal has been ranked in the top 3 journals of Public Administration for 7 of the last 10 years including for the past 5 consecutive years.  In economics, the journal has been ranked in the top 40 journals for 5 of the last 10 years, including the last 3 consecutive years and in the top 50 journals in economics for 8 of the last 10 years.

JPAM is the journal of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM).  The University of Connecticut serves as the institutional host for the journal which is edited by Professor Ken Couch.

Professor Miceli’s The Economic Approach to Law, Third Edition

Stanford University Press has just published the third edition of Thomas J. Miceli’s Law and Economics textbook.

From the publisher:

“Master teacher Thomas J. Miceli provides an introduction to law and economics that reveals how economic principles can explain the structure of the law and make it more efficient.

The third edition of this seminal textbook is thoroughly updated to include recent cases and the latest scholarship, with particular attention paid to torts, contracts, property rights, and the economics of crime. A new chapter organization, ideal for quarter- or semester-long courses, strengthens the book’s focus on unifying themes in the field.

As Miceli tells a cohesive, analytical “story” about law from a distinctly economic perspective, exercises and problems encourage students to deepen their knowledge.”

The Economic Approach to Law, Third Edition

Professor Zhao’s Article in VoxChina

Kai ZhaoAn article by Professor Zhao and his coauthor Ayse Imrohoroglu (USC Marshall) has been posted on VoxChina.org, an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit platform recently initiated by Princeton together with a group of scholars from other institutions including UPenn and CUHK (Shenzhen).

In this article, they discuss their research on the determinants of the Chinese saving rates. They focus on the paper “The Chinese Saving Rate: Long-Term Care Risks, Family Insurance, and Demographics”, in which they find that the combination of the risks faced by the elderly and the deterioration of family insurance due to the one-child policy is an important cause of the increase in China’s saving rate since 1980. This paper is the first major paper growing out of their research agenda on the Chinese economy and its implications for the rest of the world.

Professor Zhao’s article can be found at: http://www.voxchina.org/show-3-43.html