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
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 Min Seong Kim presented his work in the econometrics seminar in the Department of Economics at Yale on March 4th. The title of his presentation was “Bootstrap Inference under Cross Sectional Dependence” (joint with Timothy Conley, Silvia Goncalves and Benoit Perron).
Professor Kim is visiting the Economics Department and the Cowles Foundation Econometrics Program at Yale as a visiting associate professor in Spring 2020.
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.
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.
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.