Zimmermann

Matt Schurin Defends, Heads to PricewaterhouseCoopers

sealOn May 28th, Matt Schurin defended his dissertation entitled, “Three Essays on Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Fluctuations.”  His major advisor is Christian Zimmermann and his associate advisors are Dong Jin Lee and Richard Suen.

Matt’s dissertation analyzes the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy and examines what optimal policy should be in response to macroeconomic fluctuations.  The first dissertation chapter explores what the government’s fiscal policy should be when banks hold significant amounts of public debt and the government can default on its debt obligations.  The second dissertation chapter analyzes the effects of fiscal austerity using a two-sector small open economy model that is calibrated to the Canadian economy.  Results from this model coincide with key characteristics of the Canadian economy.  The third chapter examines the impact of government debt on macroeconomic volatility in an environment where, going forward, the government is required to balance its budget.  The model in this chapter can help explain why developing countries have more volatile output and more countercyclical net exports than developed countries.

Matt is heading to McLean, VA where he will work for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their transfer pricing group.

Congratulations, Matt, on all your hard work!

Congratulations to Alumnus Marius Jurgilas

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė recently signed a decree appointing Marius Jurgilas to the 5-member Board of the Lithuanian Central Bank. Marius was recommended for this appointment by the Advisory Council, a group of prominent economists in the field of finance.  He will assume his new responsibilities on May 15. 

Marius’ appointment to the Board reflects his extensive background, experience, and expertise in the banking sector.  He began developing this expertise during his time as a finance major in the Department of Economics at Vilnius University in Lithuania.  In 2001, he joined the Economics Department here at UConn, where he earned his PhD in 2007 with a field in monetary economics.  Christian Zimmermann, who is now at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, was his major advisor.  His dissertation was on “Interbank Markets under Currency Boards.” 

After finishing his PhD, Marius was an assistant professor at Elon University for a year but left Elon to take a position at the Bank of England, where he worked for three years.  Most recently, he has worked in the Financial Stability Research Department at the Norwegian Central Bank.  He has also spent time at the European Central Bank, SEB Vilniaus Bankas, and Lithuanian Savings Bank, and has been a visiting professor at ISM University of Management ant Economics in Vilnius. 

Marius’ research covers a wide range of topics relating to banking and housing.  Some of his recent publications include:

JURGILAS, M. & Lansing K. J., (2012 June 25 issue) “Housing bubbles and homeownership returns”, FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

GUPTA, R., JURGILAS, M., KABUNDI A. & MILLER M. S. (2012), “Monetary Policy and

Housing Sector Dynamics in a Large-Scale Bayesian Vector Autoregressive Model” International Journal of Strategic Property Management, Vol 16(1): 1-20

GUPTA, R., JURGILAS, M., MILLER, M.S., & WYK, V.D. (2012 January), “Financial Market Liberalization, Monetary Policy, and Housing Sector Dynamics”, International Business and Economics Research Journal, Vol. 11(1).

 For more information about Marius’ appointment, click here.

Econ Alumnus Named Among Top Young Economists

Rangan Gupta, an ’05 PhD graduate under the advisement of Christian Zimmermann, was named one of the top 20 Young Economists (10 years or less) by RePEc. Rangan defended his dissertation titled “Essays on Financial Repression,” in May 2005 and headed to the University of Pretoria, where he is now a full professor.

To view the full rankings, please click here.

Congratulations Rangan!

Sanglim Lee Update

On August 10, 2012, Sanglim Lee defended his dissertation entitled “Expected Currency Excess Returns and Debt in the Business Cycle,” under the supervision of Professor Christian Zimmermann.

In the first chapter of his dissertation, Sanglim shows that the risk premium is an important factor in explaining deviations from Uncovered Interest Parity (UIP) in 20 developed and 18 developing countries. In the second chapter, he further examines the UIP condition with a two-country International Real Business Cycle model and shows that the business cycle risk driven by total factor productivity can account for deviations from UIP. The third chapter examines the effects of fiscal austerity on the Canadian economy using a two-sector small open economy model. The model’s simulation results indicate that the effect of fiscal austerity on the economy depends crucially on the relationship between public-debt levels and country-risk premiums.

Starting on October 8th, Sanglim works as a research fellow at the Korea Energy Economics Institute in South Korea.

UConn faculty to address plagiarism in Economics

Plagiarism is to be taken seriously in all areas of scientific research. When an offense is detected, it is typically the duty of the institution where the accused offender is employed or, in the case of a thesis, where he/she studied. Not all institutions follow procedures with the same diligence, which often leads to frustration for those who were plagiarized.

A group of 21 Economics faculty from across the world, including from our department Prof. Cosgel and Prof. Zimmermann, have recently formed a plagiarism committee to deal with plagiarism in the profession. The goal is in particular to expose plagiarists who are too often repeat offenders that can get away with their deed because sanctions are local. By naming and shaming them, it is hoped that plagiarism will be perceived to be more costly. This should discourage potential offenders, and plagiarized authors should find a public advocate for their case even when local administrative channels are not willing to pursue the matter.

Workshop to address state of economic rights

The Economic & Social Rights Research Group (ESRG) of the UConn Human Rights Institute will be hosting its annual workshop this Saturday. This year’s theme is to investigate the status of each economic right. Lead by Prof. Minkler as well as Prof. Hertel from Political Sciences, the members of the group and its associates will meet in Room 304B of the Student Union all day with an agenda comprising 18 presentation. The department contributes three, with Prof. Randolph on the right to food, Adjunct Prof. Derek Johnson on the right to education and Prof. Zimmermann on the right to social security.

UConn hosted IDEAS website now features over one million works

IDEAS, a website using bibliographic data collected by the RePEc project and hosted at UConn by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, now features information about over one million articles, working papers, books, book chapters and software components in Economics. IDEAS is maintained by Prof. Zimmermann.

For more details, see the RePEc blog.

Graduate student publishes in International Economic Journal

Current PhD student Catalina Granda-Carvajal (advisor Prof. Zimmermann) has recently published an article in the International Economic Journal. The last issue of this journal features a selection of the papers presented at the conference ‘Shadow Economy, Tax Policy and the Labor Markets in an International Comparison: Options for Economic Policy.’ This conference was held in Germany at the University of Potsdam last April, where Granda-Carvajal participated with the paper entitled ‘The Unofficial Economy and the Business Cycle: A Test for Theories.’ In this paper, she attempts to establish how the features of the business cycle vary across countries with the size of the unofficial sector. Granda-Carvajal confirms that countries with a large shadow economy exhibit higher volatility in major macroeconomic variables such as output, consumption and investment. Also, she shows that unemployment tends to be more countercyclical, while employment and hours behave as more procyclical the smaller is the unofficial economy. She concludes that much more needs to be done in order to understand the implications of shadow activities on macroeconomic performance, as standard models of the shadow economy do not imply such behavior for aggregate variables.

Prof. Zimmermann elected senior fellow of RCEA

Prof. Zimmermann has recently been elected a senior fellow of the Rimini Center for Economic Analysis (RCEA), a private, non-profit international organization dedicated to independent research in Applied Economics, Theoretical Economics and related fields. It is located in Rimini (Italy) where some of the founding trustees and scholars have special ties. The RCEA is the outcome of collaboration between Canadian economists, Italian economists and a group of eminent trustees from academia, banking, government and industry. Research at the RCEA is conducted to enlighten scientific and public debate on economic issues, and not to advance any economic, political and social agenda. The RCEA scholars are drawn from Canada, Italy and other countries, have experience in academia and/or government and may hold different points of view on economic, political and social issues.

Prof. Zimmermann is already a research fellow at the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn (Germany) and a research network fellow at CESifo in Munich (Germany).

Prof. Zimmermann to speak in Colombia

Prof. Zimmermann has been invited to speak next month at the annual meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) in Medellín (Colombia). LACEA has about 1000 members and its annual meetings are a large gathering where several prominent economists are invited to present the state of the art in their field.

Prof. Zimmermann will have a full session to discuss RePEc, the large bibliographic initiative in Economics he is helping lead. This project is particularly popular in Latin America, as it allows to access without subscription a bibliographic database, which also carries a large proportion of research that is freely available. In particular, Colombia has its own portal that allows journals and working paper coordinators to index their works in RePEc: DotEc.