Professor Naknoi presents at the City University of Hong Kong

Professor Kanda Naknoi presented her work at the Department of Economics and Finance seminar at the City University of Hong Kong on September 20th. The title of her presentation was “Exchange Rate Pass-Through and Market Structure in Multi-Country World”.

The paper for her presentation can be found at: http://www.cb.cityu.edu.hk/ef/research/seminars/economics/past

Holster Scholar, Mateen Karimi, Presents Summer Research on MENA Immigrants

Sophomore, Mateen Karimi, presented his Holster Research Project, “A Comparative Study: The Socioeconomic Integration of Second Generation MENA Immigrants” to an interested group of students, family members, and UConn faculty and staff this past Friday at the Konover Auditorium.

Holster Scholars First Year Project supports a small number of students interested in conducting independent research during the summer after their freshman year at UConn. Students are first selected to take a one-credit course to develop their research proposals. Of those in the course, a select few students are awarded funding to complete their projects over the summer.


Mateen’s project, supervised by Professor Furtado, examines the socioeconomic status of second-generation Middle Eastern North African (MENA) immigrants in the United States. He found that while the native-born children of MENA immigrants have more years of schooling and higher incomes than white natives whose parents were both born in the U.S., MENA unemployment rates are substantially higher. Mateen’s results also suggest that despite the very high average education levels of first-generation MENA immigrants, second-generation MENA immigrants complete even more years of schooling than their foreign born parents.

Professor Harmon on Sports: Race & Politics Panel

At the annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors in Washington DC, June 14-15, 2018, Professor 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 discussed  free speech and social protest in sports from the historical, economic and cultural perspective. Professors Ogbar and Cooper looked at the intersection of Sports, Race and Politics traced from the advent of American organized sports in the 1880s to the social protest of Robeson and Ali.  Professor Harmon presented results of a study of the effect of anthem protests on NFL gate attendance.

Professor Jungbin Hwang to be Published in the Journal of Econometrics

Professor Jungbin Hwang’s paper “Should We Go One Step Further? An Accurate Comparison of One-step and Two-step Procedures in a Generalized Method of Moments Framework”, co-authored with Yixiao Sun, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Econometrics, one of the top scholarly journals in theoretical econometrics. The paper started as a third-year paper project when Professor Hwang was a graduate student in the University of California, San Diego.

Professor Hwang’s paper provides an assessment of the merits of the first step GMM estimator and test relative to the two-step GMM estimator and test. The article shows the two-step procedure outperforms the one-step method only when the benefit of using the optimal weighting matrix outweighs the cost of estimating it. The qualitative message applies to both the asymptotic variance comparison and power comparison of the associated tests.


According to the conventional asymptotic theory, the two-step Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimator and test perform as least as well as the one-step estimator and test in large samples. The conventional asymptotic theory, as elegant and convenient as it is, completely ignores the estimation uncertainty in the weighting matrix, and as a result it may not reflect finite sample situations well. In this paper, we employ the fixed-smoothing asymptotic theory that accounts for the estimation uncertainty, and compare the performance of the one-step and two-step procedures in this more accurate asymptotic framework. We show that the two-step procedure outperforms the one-step procedure only when the benefit of using the optimal weighting matrix outweighs the cost of estimating it. This qualitative message applies to both the asymptotic variance comparison and power comparison of the associated tests. A Monte Carlo study lends support to our asymptotic results.


Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (UConn PhD 2017) Co-Author Article

Professor Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (Visiting Assistant Professor, SUNY Oneonta) co-authored the article “Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises” that appears as the lead article in issue number 2 (2018) of the Journal of Economics Teaching.

The article shows how Google Drive’s Drawings tool can be used to create homework exercises suitable for both online and face-to-face classes. This approach allows students to create graphs actively “from scratch,” similar to the traditional pencil-and-paper approach, with a minimal investment of time and money. This could be a useful active-learning tool for online, blended, and traditional courses. The tools presented in the article have been adapted by the publisher TopHat in a recently published Principles of Micro/Macro online textbook.

Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises (Harmon & Szarka)


Professor Miceli Publishes Law and Economics: Private and Public

Law and Economics: Private and Public, a coursebook by Professor Thomas Miceli and co-authors, is now available. From the publisher:

This accessible volume integrates wide-ranging economic methodologies with a vast array of legal subjects. Coverage includes the first-year law school curriculum along with institutions and doctrines comprising the core foundation of upper level legal study. Dedicated chapters introduce neoclassical economics, interest group theory, social choice, and game theory, and the book intersperses alternative methodological insights.

The analysis synthesizes these methodologies with modern and classic case law, other legal materials, and policy discussions inspired by current events. Ideal for a law school seminar or capstone course, this unique volume is also perfectly suited for business school courses on legal methods and public policy. Professors will find a rich array of materials adaptable to varying pedagogical styles and substantive areas of emphasis. Students exploring these materials will emerge with a deeper understanding of law and economics and a greater appreciation of our lawmaking institutions.


Professor David Simon Receives AEJ Best Paper Award

The 2018 American Economic Journal Best Paper Award for AEJ: Economic Policy has been awarded to Professor David Simon and co-authors for their paper  “Income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Infant Health

AEJ: Economic Policy 

In “Income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Infant Health,” authors Hilary HoynesDoug Miller, and David Simon evaluate the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on infant health outcomes. The EITC provides a tax credit to lower income working families, and the authors demonstrate that it increases average birth weights and decreases the incidence of low birth weights — especially among the newborns of African American mothers. The authors argue that the health benefits of nonhealth programs, such as the EITC, should be taken into account when discussing the U.S. social safety net. (AEJ: Economic Policy Vol. 7, No. 1, February 2015)

Xiupeng Wang to MIT Post-Doc

Xiupeng Wang successfully defended his PhD dissertation “Three Essays:  Cross-National Comparisons of Labor Market Dynamics” in June and will take a position as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the Initiative on the Digital Economy in the Sloan School of Management headed by Professor Erik Brynjolfsson.  The Economics Department congratulates Xiupeng on his success!

In his dissertation, Wang examined patterns of employment and wage dynamics that occur in response to technological innovation across multiple countries.  A key finding of his work is that those in middle skill jobs with relatively stronger skills systematically move to more cognitively oriented jobs with better pay when technology is introduced.  In contrast those in middle skill jobs with relatively weaker skills among workers in that category move to worse jobs characterized by manual work and worse pay when technology is introduced.  His research also shows that countries with higher levels of unionization tend to have fewer workers who move into lower paid jobs as technology is introduced.   Wang’s thesis committee consisted of Professors Ken Couch and Delia Furtado of UConn and Professor Richard Freeman of Harvard University.


JPAM Impact Factor 3.44

The most recent Journal Citation Reports (JCR) 2-year impact factor for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management  (JPAM) that was released in late June is 3.44, a historical high for the journal.  The JCR ranking of economics journals based on the 2-year impact factor places JPAM 27th among economics journals.  In the 5 rankings released during UConn economics Professor Kenneth Couch’s term as Editor-in-Chief, JPAM has been successively ranked 42nd, 32nd, 25th, 21st, and 27th in economics.  The journal has also been ranked among the top 5 Public Administration journals for the past 5 years.

The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management is the flagship journal of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), an association of roughly 100 institutions focused on policy analysis and policy management.  Couch’s term as Editor-in-Chief ended on June 30th and the editorial home of the journal moved from UConn to American University where Erdal Tekin will serve as Editor-in-Chief.

Professor Agüero Published in Journal of Human Resources

Professor Jorge Agüero’s paper “The Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling among the Education-Rationed,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Human Resources.

Professor Agüero’s paper, coauthored with his former student Maithili Ramachandran, estimates the intergenerational transmission of schooling in a country where the majority of the population was rationed in its access to education. By eliminating apartheid-style policies against blacks, the 1980 education reform in Zimbabwe swiftly tripled the progression rate to secondary schools. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, the authors find a robust intergenerational transmission. Several smoothness and placebo tests further validate their design. The authors show that both marriage and labor markets are key pathways in the schooling transmissions.

This is the third paper from the Department of Economics to be accepted at the Journal of Human Resources this academic year, along with papers from Professor Simon and Professor Furtado in the fall semester: Two Faculty Members Receive Journal of Human Resources Acceptances in the Same Month