Lei Chen defends, takes positions at UConn

Lei Chen defended his dissertation in April 2010. His thesis focused on the productivity and efficiency of general dental practices in the U.S. His research lies at the intersection of applied microeconomics, health economics, and operations research. He is going to take a joint position of assistant professor in residence at UConn Health Center and UConn Avery Point. During his study at our department, Lei worked with his major advisor, Prof. Subhash Ray on a variety of projects and published a couple of papers in journals such as the International Journal of Production Economics and the Indian Economic Review.

At the UConn Health Center, Lei will continue doing empirical studies in dental care, especially the effectiveness and efficiency of dental services at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). He will also teach principles of macroeconomics and principles of microeconomics at the UConn Avery Point campus in the next academic year.

Latest issue of Indian Economic Review features three articles with UConn connections

In a rare coincidence, all three lead articles on the Indian Economic Review, a top journal in India, have a UConn connection. The first is authored by Rangan Gupta (IDEAS) a 2005 PhD alumnus very recently promoted to full professor at the University of Pretoria: Financial Liberalization and a Possible Growth-Inflation Trade-Off. The second is authored by Basab Dasgupta, a 2005 PhD alumnus: Endogenous Growth in the Presence of Informal Credit Markets in India: A Comparative Analysis Between Credit Rationing and Self-Revelation Regimes. And the third is authored by Prof. Ray, currently faculty at UConn: Are Indian Firms too Small? A Nonparametric Analysis of Cost Efficiency and the Optimal Organization of the Indian Manufacturing Industry.

Both Gupta and Dasgupta were advised by Prof. Zimmermann (IDEAS). The first article is also available as a University of Pretoria working paper, and the latter two articles as UConn working papers: 1, 2, 3.

Prof. Ray presents series of workshops in India

During the recent winter break, UConn Economics professor, Subhash Ray (IDEAS), conducted a series of workshops in different parts of India. Professor Ray’s special area of expertise is Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), a nonparametric mathematical technique designed to evaluate the productivity and efficiency of both private and public enterprises. DEA addresses fundamental questions about how well decision-making units transform scarce inputs into valuable outputs, and even provides useful guidance on how to improve performance.

Professor Ray is one of the world’s leading experts on DEA, and his book (Data Envelopment Analysis: Theory and Techniques for Economics and Operations Research), published in 2004 by Cambridge University Press, has been heralded by other researchers in the field.

His tour included a 3-day workshop on Performance Measurement held at Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The January 2-4 workshop included three extended lectures on DEA, supplemented by hands-on, computer-based tutorials. Professor Ray was joined by Professor Subal Kumbhakar of Binghamton University (SUNY), who lectured on an alternative method of efficiency measurement known as Stochastic Frontier Analysis. Workshop attendees included corporate users of DEA as well as academic researchers.

Immediately after the Mumbai workshop, Professor Ray delivered a keynote address and two lectures on DEA at an international conference on efficiency evaluation (January 5-7), hosted by the Delhi School of Economics. Professor Ray also was asked to serve as an international member of the conference organizing committee.

On January 11-13, Professor Ray again was joined by Professor Kumbhakar to conduct a teaching workshop on efficiency analysis at the Madras School of Economics in Chennai (formerly Madras).

Through these workshops, and similar events over the years, Professor Ray has trained a cadre of young scholars who have contributed to productivity research and the further development of DEA.

PhD student to publish paper in Journal of Sports Economics

Economics PhD student Brian Volz, advised by Thomas Miceli, has been a fan of baseball his entire life and spent much of his free time as an undergraduate playing baseball. As a graduate student at UConn he has been lucky enough to incorporate his favorite leisure activity into his study of labor economics.

His paper “Minority Status and Managerial Survival in Major League Baseball” was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Sports Economics. The paper began as a project for one of his PhD field courses and was expanded and revised over the past two years into an economics department working paper and eventually a journal submission. The paper was motivated by the relatively small number of minority managers in a league with a relatively large percentage of minority players. The paper examines the impact of minority status on the survival of Major League Baseball managers in order to determine if discrimination in managerial retention is to blame for the lack of minority managers. In order to answer this question data envelopment analysis, which he was introduced to in Professor Ray‘s (IDEAS) Productivity Analysis course, and survival time analysis are applied to performance and survival data from the 1985 to 2006 baseball seasons. It is shown that when controlling for performance and personal characteristics minorities are on average 9.6% points more likely to return the following season. Additionally, it is shown that winning percentage has no impact on managerial survival when the efficiency of the manager is controlled for.