Faculty

Professor Harmon publishes article on Schedule Inequity in the NBA in Journal of Sports Analytics

Professor Oskar Harmon with Alan Bowman (Clarkson University) and Thomas Ashman (Eckerd College) published the article “Schedule Inequity in the National Basketball Association” in the Journal of Sports Analytics.

Journal of Sports Analytics

Scheduling factors such as a visiting team playing a game back-to-back against a rested home team can affect the win probability of the teams for that game and potentially affect teams unevenly throughout the season. This study examines schedule inequity in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the seasons 2000–01 through 2018–19. By schedule inequity, we mean the effect of a comprehensive set of schedule factors, other than opponents, on team success and how much these effects differ across teams. We use a logistic regression model and Monte Carlo simulations to identify schedule factor variables that influence the probability of the home team winning in each game (the teams playing are control variables) and construct schedule inequity measures. We evaluate these measures for each NBA season, trends in the measures over time, and the potential effectiveness of broad prescriptive approaches to reduce schedule inequity. We find that, although schedule equity has improved over time, schedule differences disproportionately affect team success measures. Moreover, we find that balancing the frequency of schedule variables across teams is a more effective method of mitigating schedule inequity than reducing the total frequency, although combining both methods is the most effective strategy.

Link to article.

First Graduate Assistant Orientation in the Department of Economics

The Department of Economics successfully held its first Graduate Assistant (GA) Orientation on January 16, 2023. The GA Orientation was coordinated and led by Professor Tianxu Chen. The event has been designed to support our GAs/TAs and student Instructors by providing them with strategies and tools to successfully start and manage their teaching responsibilities. It also aims to help promote their professional development in teaching.

The orientation invited David Des Armier from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) to share information about how to design a HuskyCT course webpage, as well as to familiarize GAs with University policies and CETL resources. During the orientation, Professor Talia Bar, Professor Tianxu Chen, Professor Mike Shor and Professor David Simon also shared their teaching experience with the GAs, and provided advice on a wide range of topics including lecture preparation, academic integrity, class engagement, and ensuring an accessible environment for students with disabilities.

The GA orientation had a great turnout. Over a dozen of PhD students from different cohorts attended the event, and we expect it to be held regularly in the future.

GA OrientationGA Orientation

Paper on Racial Profiling in Police Stops published in the Journal of Human Resources

Professor Steve Ross and UConn Ph.D. Graduates Jesse Kalinowski (Quinnipiac) and Matt Ross (Northeastern) recently published a paper in the Journal of Human Resources examining tests for racial profiling in police stops, showing that minority responses to perceived discrimination in stops (driving more slowly and safely) can substantially bias these tests away from finding discrimination.

The paper may be found online at:

http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/early/2023/01/05/jhr.0822-12513R1.abstract

Professor Hallwood and the Scotland Act

Professor Paul Hallwood’s work has been seen to have influenced the Constitutional settlement for Scotland – i.e. the Scotland Act of 2016.

“Have the wheels come off the plan to make Scotland a global player?” The Herald, 7th April 2012

“One paper, an eighth lecture – the [Allender] series was extended after the first seven – was delivered by the Scottish economist Ronald MacDonald and the American Paul Hallwood, and became the subject of intensive political scrutiny. They argued that greater fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament might encourage better economic decision making”.

The Scotland Act of 2016 indeed incorporates many of their ideas for greater tax raising powers being devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament’ s new powers are being delivered by the Scotland Act 2016 [1] :

  • Scotland has new powers as part of a secure UK.
  • The Scotland Act 2016 delivers the UK Government’ s commitment to the people of Scotland.
  • It brings a better balance to Scotland’ s devolution settlement.
  • The new powers give the Scottish Parliament much greater tax raising powers.
  • In future, Holyrood will be responsible for raising more than 50% of what it spends – making it one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.
  • The Scottish Parliament will set the income tax rates and thresholds for earned income in Scotland.
  • This represents annual income tax revenues of around £11 billion.
  • The Scottish Parliament will retain around 95% of the income tax collected here.
  • The Scotland Act gives the Scottish Parliament the power to make decisions on important areas of daily life in Scotland

Posted by the Scottish Office: GetInOnTheAct

Hallwood, P and R MacDonald (2009) The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government, Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State-local Finance, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Hallwood P and R MacDonald (2006), “A Restatement of the Case for Scottish Fiscal Autonomy”, Quarterly Economic Commentary, Fraser of Allender Institute, 31, 49-53.

MacDonald R and P Hallwood (2006), “The Economic Case for Fiscal Autonomy with or without Independence”, The Policy Institute, Edinburgh.

 

[1] Scotland_Act_tax_factsheet.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Stamford Economics Alum Visits Economics Classes

Kyle Richter (CLAS’21) (left) and Dr. Smirnova in Financial Economics class on December 6, 2022

Kyle Richter graduated from UConn-Stamford in December 2021 and is currently an Investment Banking Associate at Capital Research Partners & Co., a boutique investment bank in Norwalk, CT that specializes in restructuring, capital raising, and mergers & acquisitions. The Center for Career Development at Stamford and Dr. Smirnova worked together to arrange Kyle’s visit to ECON 3413 — Financial Economics class on December 6, 2022.

The class started with students’ presentations of financial analysis reports that they completed during the semester. The assignment was to select a publicly traded company, obtain a series of financial reports, analyze financials statements and ratios, and apply one of the methods of stock valuation that were covered in the course. Students wrote a short report justifying their “buy/sell” recommendation and were defending their findings via oral presentation. Kyle was able to assess students’ work and ask clarifying questions.

Kyle took Financial Economics in the Spring of 2021 and was happy to share with students how he uses what he learned in this class every day at work. He talked about uses of financial statements, benchmarking, and trend analyses for valuation of companies and M&A deals. He explained the differences in structure and culture between small firms and large corporations.

Students engaged in a productive discussion with Kyle. They asked questions pertaining to job search after graduation and about careers in finance. Kyle shared his story of job search and his ambitions for the future. He suggested using this class’s report as a showcase of financial industry skills during the interview process at any financial firm. Understanding of nasic financial concepts, concise writing, and presentation skills are essential for getting a job in finance.

After the Financial Economics class, Kyle Richter met with students in ECON 3492 – Practicum class. This is a special course where Stamford team participates in national competitions. Here, the discussion with students focused on careers, career competencies, and networking. Kyle offered his help in giving feedback on students’ resumes and in mentoring students as they navigate job search and connections with professional networks.

Overall, the visit was very productive and interesting. We thank Kyle Richter for coming to our campus, mentoring our students, and engaging with the University.

Early College Experience – Economics: Workshop 2022

Kansas City Fed Picture
Two historical publications of the Kansas City Fed by Tim Todd. Snippets of cover pages are courtesy of Tim Todd.

Connecticut high school teachers who are certified instructors with the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) – Economics program gathered (virtually) on October 26, 2022, for an annual professional development workshop. The Economics Department sees these instructors as our colleagues and values their participation in the University mission. We see our relationship with the high school partners as important for the academic discipline and for developing Economics major and minor at UConn.

Professor Smirnova is faculty liaison for the ECE-Economics program. In this role, she oversees the course comparability, academic oversight, and professional development of the ECE instructors teaching ECON 1000, ECON 1201, ECON 1202 in their high schools.

The October workshop is an annual professional development opportunity. The goal is to share pedagogical innovations in the economics field in order to keep instructors informed and energized in delivering engaging classes to their pupils.

The workshop was opened with a dynamic presentation “5 Key Economic Concepts that Popular Media Can Teach” delivered by Dr. Kim Holder, Director, UWG Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy, Senior Lecturer of Economics, Richards College of Business, Director of Financial Literacy, University of West Georgia (UWG).

In the next presentation “Building Human Capital – College and Career Exploration”, Princeton Williams, Senior Outreach Advisor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, introduced teachers to Navigate, a portal that helps students navigate college application process and focus on selection of their future academic major and subsequent career. Instructors were excited to learn about several lesson plans and classroom-use-ready materials available for teachers through this site.

Intriguing presentation “4 Tools to Make Your Teaching Stick” was delivered by Matt Hill, Curriculum Designer at the Marginal Revolution University. ECE instructors were engaged in several exercises helping them experience the interactivity of the tools suggested by Matt.

The final presentation “The Vibrant History of Black-Owned Banks” was given by Tim Todd, Executive Writer and Historian of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. As the author of two books on bank ownership, which are written as a historical reference on Black community banks, Tim showed photographs related to his research and invited ECE instructors to download the books for classroom use. Instructors can also request hard copies of the books for their classroom use for free.

28 ECE Economics instructors attended the workshop.

Stamford Students Learn about Financial Planning and Analysis from Charter Communications Director

Ashley Etheridge, Director of Business Planning at Charter Communications, talks to students in “ECON 3413 Financial Economics” class at Stamford on October 20, 2022.

ECON 3413 Financial Economics course at Stamford, taught by Dr. Smirnova, challenges students to apply financial concepts to business problems. In addition to following the textbook exposition of the material, students select a publicly traded company and analyze its financial performance. This semester-long project requires them to interact with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website to retrieve several years of company’s annual reports, use Excel to analyze financial statements, performing ratio analysis and modeling stock valuation, write a business report, and finally present their recommendation to the class whether or not to add that stock to a portfolio.

The students were very excited when Ashley Etheridge, Director of Business Planning at Charter Communications came to class on October 20, 2022. The goal of the visit was to shed the light on what the actual financial analyst at Charter does in Ashley’s line of business – Planning and Analysis. Ashley carefully described the set of skills that is necessary for success in a financials industry job: owning the task from start to finish; data analysis; accuracy; and polished presentations of results in written, analytical, and oral presentation forms.

Ashley also emphasized the use of Excel in business analytics. She suggested to create a story with data, think through model structure, and design validation checks and backup materials. She entertained the class with the discussion of the “Greatest Excel Spreadsheet Errors of All Time”.

Students were able to ask questions and learn about Ashley’s career trajectory and her personal accounts of mistakes she made and successes she experienced while her more than a decade at Charter. She concluded her visit showcasing internship and job opportunities that are currently available at Charter.

The benefits of inviting employers in the classroom could not be overstated. The employers bring a unique perspective that can complement any classroom content while providing industry and career insight. The effect on students is amplified when a presenter can relate their day-to-day activities on the job to the skills that students are acquiring in a course. The clarification of such connections voiced by an industry professional, helps students identify career readiness competencies that they are developing in a particular course and become ready for a successful interview for an internship or a job.

 

Stamford Student Wins Second Place at the New York State Economic Association Conference

Matthew Gilshteyn (left) and Dr. Smirnova receiving the NYSEA Award, October 8, 2022, SUNY Old Westbury, NY

Matthew Gilshteyn, a student at UConn Stamford, has won second place in the Undergraduate Paper Competition conducted by the New York State Economic Association (NYSEA).

The competition is open to undergraduate students from around the United States and involves two steps. First, the papers are submitted and evaluated by the panel of judges who select 5 best papers to be presented at the annual NYSEA conference. The presentation round constitutes the second step in the competition. The presentations are done in front of the new panel of judges and is open to all members of NYSEA. The papers are ranked based on the scores from both steps. So, the competition is quite rigorous and encompasses many skills: writing, economic analysis, oral presentation, and public defense of one’s research.

Matthew Gilshteyn submitted his paper “How will the Infrastructure Act Impact Nuclear Energy Production Costs?”, which he wrote in ECON 3431W – Public Economics class taught by Dr. Smirnova in the Spring 2022. In his paper he analyzed the cost dynamics of nuclear energy sector and forecasted the impact of expenditures proposed by the Infrastructure Act of 2021 on that industry.

During the summer, Matthew worked with Dr. Smirnova polishing the paper for submission. He was notified about “making the cut” for the second step in September, at which time he continued working diligently on the presentation. On October 8, 2022, Matthew presented his research at the conference, which was help at the campus of SUNY Old Westbury. The room was packed with the attendees, who were industry professionals, faculty of various universities, graduate and undergraduate students, and the panel of five judges. Dr. Smirnova was in attendance as an adviser, mentor, and moral supporter. Matthew was confident; his presentation was engaging, which generated several questions from the audience. He answered all the questions satisfactorily.

The competition results were announced later that day before the Keynote Address by Richard Best from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Matthew received the second place, for which we are very excited. This was the first time that Matthew submitted and presented his research to the outside organization; he was unfamiliar with the process and nervous about the large professional audience. He demonstrated, however, a mature attitude through the whole selection process and a genuine interest in economics which reflects Dr. Smirnova’s guidance and commitment as teacher and faculty adviser.

Congratulations to Matthew Gilshteyn!

Business Appraiser Shares Methodology in Financial Economics Class

Mr. Becket presents in the Financial Economics class at Stamford on September 15, 2022

Mr. Peter Becket, a proprietor of Becket Business Appraisals, LLC visited the ECON 3413 Financial Economics class at Stamford on September 15, 2022. In this course, students learn company valuation techniques and apply those to a selected publicly traded company.

Mr. Becket has been an appraiser of privately owned businesses for over 40 years. So, his presentation gave students a real-world view of how he goes about valuing businesses that are not publicly traded.

Peter’s very engaging and interactive presentation showed how financial statements analysis and discounted future cash flow methodology are used in evaluating financial prospects of a closely held companies. Students learnt many nuances of appraisal business, which are not covered in the textbook. Peter shared several publications that present data of financial ratios, for example, which could be consulted for a benchmark analysis. He also explained his proprietary methodology for company valuation. Students were able to ask questions about the business and seek Peter’s advice about their career aspirations.

Mr. Becket encouraged students to invest in their learning, join professional associations, and start their careers working for someone else before venturing on their own if they decide to start their own professional practice. His talk connected the textbook material to the real-world appraisal business.

Dr. Smirnova, who is the instructor in this class, and the students are grateful to Mr. Becket for his time and invaluable wisdom, suggestions, and encouragement. The talk was very fun, as well.