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.
Professor Simon and Professor Furtado both had papers accepted at the Journal of Human Resources in the fall semester.
Professor Simon’s paper, “The Effects of Aggregate and Gender-Specific Labor Demand Shocks on Child Health,” coauthored with Marianne Page and Jessamyn Schaller, considers the relationship between local labor market conditions and child health. The paper shows that local (state level) labor market recessions that primarily affect women increase maternal time spent at home and improve child health, whereas recessions that affect men have the opposite effects. These patterns suggest that both maternal time and family income are important inputs to child health.
The Journal of Human Resources is a leading journal in applied microeconomics. According to the 2016 ISI Journal Citation Reports, the journal has an impact factor of 4.047. The journal’s website reports an acceptance rate of 4 percent.
The Program on Children “focuses on economic behavior related to children, child health, and child economic and social well being.” Professor Simon’s research interests include health inequality, policy and health capital accumulation, early life and childhood human capital accumulation, and public policy evaluation.
Professor Simon used restricted use health survey data to link cigarette taxes to cohorts of children. This shows that in-utero exposure to a dollar increase in the state cigarette tax causes a 10% decrease in sick days from school and a 4.7% decrease in having two or more doctor visits. Jointly these findings support the argument that exposure to cigarette smoke in utero carries significant medium-term costs, and that excise taxes can lead to lasting intergenerational improvements in wellbeing.
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.