Professor Ken Couch and his collaborator, Barbara Smith, of the Social Security Administration (SSA) gave a presentation along with a select group of researchers invited to appear at a one-day symposium at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, DC on Financial Security Research. The research Couch and Smith presented focused on the impact of informational outreach by the SSA on retirement behavior in contrast to changes in the SSA retirement system itself.
Other presenters included faculty from Ohio State University, Penn, UCLA, USC, the University of Michigan and researchers from the Brookings Institution, the Upjohn Institute and the Employment Benefit Research Institute. The Acting Commissioner of SSA was in attendance along with many Assistant and Deputy Commissioners and Secretaries of SSA and Treasury.
The work of University of Connecticut Professors William Alpert, Kenneth Couch, and Oskar Harmon, entitled “A Randomized Assessment of Online Learning”, appears in the May issue of the American Economic Review. The paper was selected for inclusion in the Papers and Proceedings issue after being submitted in response to a national call for papers on economic education.
The study provides the fourth randomized examination of online versus face-to-face education ever conducted for a semester length college course. In this case, the course studied was microeconomic principles. The study shows that students in a face-to-face course did about half a letter grade better than students in a purely online course developed consistent with best practices for online education. The study finds that there are no meaningful differences in performance when comparing students in a course with a blended versus face-to-face format.
During the spring semester, Professor Kenneth Couch has made research presentations at the University of Michigan, Northeastern University, and SUNY-Albany.
Professor Couch has published a number of recent articles on the topic of Life Course Events and summarized that research in his presentations at Northeastern and SUNY-Albany. At Michigan, Professor Couch and his co-author presented their research regarding the impact of Social Security earnings statements on individual retirement timing as part of the Michigan Retirement Research Consortium (MRRC) annual meeting. The MRRC annual meeting is an invitation only conference for leading and emerging scholars working on issues related to the Social Security retirement benefit system.
Professor Kenneth Couch has received a research grant from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Couch will work with research staff at SSA to develop micro-simulation models that consider potential adjustments to the Social Security retirement benefit structure in response to increased longevity of Americans. A key concern is distributional equity of benefits for groups with shorter life expectancies and disproportionate rates of poverty.
The Provost’s office at the University of Connecticut regularly recognizes faculty members with excellent teaching evaluations commending them as achieving “excellence in teaching”.
A number of faculty members in the economics department have received this recognition in the past year: Professors Talia Bar, Ken Couch, Delia Furtado, Paul Hallwood, Olivier Morand, Susan Randolph, Kathy Segerson, Mikhael Shor, Owen Svalestad, and Jackie Zhao.
Congratulations to these economics faculty for their important contributions to the educational mission of UConn!
Huanan Xu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics, has accepted a tenure track faculty position in the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at Indiana University South Bend.
The Leighton School offers M.B.A. degrees as well as other Masters level programs. IU South Bend has an enrollment of roughly 7,000 undergraduate and 550 graduate students.
Huanan’s thesis committee consists of Ken Couch (Chair), Delia Furtado, and Rob Fairlie (Cal-Santa Cruz).
Matthew Ross, an Economics graduate student at UConn, has just accepted a three-year post-doctoral position at Ohio State University.
The position is part of a project jointly funded by the NSF and the NIH. Principal Investigators for the project include Joshua Hawley (John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State), Julia Lane (Wagner School of Public Affairs at NYU), Jason Owen-Smith (Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan) and Bruce Weinberg (Department of Economics, Ohio State University). Ross’s thesis committee consists of Ken Couch (Chair), Delia Furtado, and Subhash Ray.
Professors Harmon and Alpert presented two papers at the Southern Economic Association meetings in November.
Harmon presented their paper with Robert Szarka, “Using Google Apps in Economics Courses” and Alpert presented their paper “Who Takes Online Courses at Public Universities?”
Harmon and Alpert also organized two sessions and discussed papers at two sessions. As a capstone Harmon organized and Professor Harmon chaired a panel discussion entitled Labor Market Transitions in the Great Recession featuring Professor Kenneth Couch and including Dr. Robert K Triest, of the Federal Reserve of Boston.
The UConn Economics Department was well represented by faculty and graduate students attending the annual Conference of the Southern Economics Association held in New Orleans at the beginning of the Thanksgiving break. Those in attendance included Jorge Agüero, Ken Couch, David Simon, William Alpert, Matt Ross, Tao Song, Ling Huang, and Oskar Harmon.
Based on Journal Citation Report data released this week, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) is ranked 31st within economics based on the two-year impact factor (2.58) and 37th based on the five-year impact factor (3.03) among 333 listed journals.
JPAM is also ranked second among 46 listed journals in the field of Public Administration using either the two or five-year impact factor. University of Connecticut Professor, Ken Couch, serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal.