Professor Agüero to be Published in AEA Papers and Proceedings

Professor Jorge Agüero’s article “(Incorrect) Perceived Returns and Strategic Behavior among Talented Low-Income College Graduates” has been accepted for publication in the AEA Papers and Proceedings.

The paper was presented as part of the “Field and Lab Experiments on Discrimination” session at the 2023 ASSA Annual Meeting.

Details of the paper are online at:

(Incorrect) Perceived Returns and Strategic Behavior among Talented Low-Income College Graduates
Jorge M. Agüero, Francisco Galarza, and Gustavo Yamada


Job applicants use resumes to send signals to potential employers. Applicants are free to select the items that go in their resumes and are expected to include signals they perceive will help them achieve their goals and avoid those that they anticipate could hurt them. We show that 92% of beneficiaries of a highly selective scholarship for poor and talented students avoid listing this award when applying for jobs. This is consistent with beneficiaries perceiving a negative labor market return from sending that signal. A correspondence study shows instead that listing the scholarship increases call back rates by 20%.

The Economic Report of the President cites Professor Harmon’s Research

The latest annual edition of the “Economic Report of the President” (March 2023) cites the 2016 randomized control trial of online learning outcomes co-authored by Professors Oskar Harmon, Ken Couch, and William Alpert.

Their research is discussed in the context of the feasibility of scaling remote learning.  In Chapter 5: Building Stronger Postsecondary Institutions (p179), the report notes:

Online programs. Some have suggested expanding online options to reduce geographic barriers to access, but research findings suggest caution about this approach. In some settings, such as four-year colleges, there are examples of students doing equally well across both online and in-person formats (Figlio, Rush, and Yin 2013; Bowen et al. 2014), as well as in blended learning approaches combining online and in-person components (Bowen et al. 2014; Alpert, Couch, and Harmon 2016). Other research finds, however, that courses taught through online formats often lead to worse learning outcomes than their in-person counterparts (Joyce et al. 2015; Alpert, Couch, and Harmon 2016; Krieg and Henson 2016).”

The citation for the study is:

Alpert, W., K. Couch, and O. Harmon. 2016. “A Randomized Assessment of Online Learning.” American Economic Review 106: 378–82. aer.p20161057.

Professor Ross’s Research Discussed in the New York Times

Ezra Klein’s New York Times podcast discussed Steve Ross’s research with Eric Brunner and Shaun Dougherty:

In their research, they show that attending one of Connecticut’s stand alone career and technical high schools increases the academic success and the later labor market earnings on young men who as a group come primarily from a disadvantaged background within the state.

Professor Sung Hoon Choi to be published in Journal of Econometrics

Professor Sung Hoon Choi’s recent article titled “Large volatility matrix analysis using global and national factor models” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Econometrics, one of the leading scholarly journals in theoretical econometrics.


Several large volatility matrix inference procedures have been developed, based on the latent factor model. They often assumed that there are a few of common factors, which can account for volatility dynamics. However, several studies have demonstrated the presence of local factors. In particular, when analyzing the global stock market, we often observe that nation-specific factors explain their own country’s volatility dynamics. To account for this, we propose the Double Principal Orthogonal complEment Thresholding (Double-POET) method, based on multi-level factor models, and also establish its asymptotic properties. Furthermore, we demonstrate the drawback of using the regular principal orthogonal component thresholding (POET) when the local factor structure exists. We also describe the blessing of dimensionality using Double-POET for local covariance matrix estimation. Finally, we investigate the performance of the Double-POET estimator in an out-of-sample portfolio allocation study using international stocks from 20 financial markets.


Professor Ross has New Working Paper featured by NBER

Professor Steve Ross’s recent working paper with Steve Billings and Andrew Bibler was featured today on the NBER website:

In this paper, they examine the effect of losing school mates or peers due to school choice. Specifically, in Charlotte-Mecklenburg county, they find that 5th grade students who have a 5th grade neighbor who applies for and wins a school choice lottery are substantially more likely to be arrested and incarcerated as a young adult. These increases in young adult arrests substantially outweigh the reduction in arrests that occur among the lottery winners, suggesting that school choice in this environment leads to an increase in crime.

Economics Alumna Visits Money and Banking Class

Professor Smirnova and Viviana Castillo at Money and Banking Class
Viviana Castillo, CLAS ’20, (right) with Dr. Smirnova after the class visit in Stamford, 2/14/2023

Stamford students in ECON 2411 “Money and Banking” class taught by Dr. Smirnova were treated to a special guest visit on February 14, 2023. UConn Stamford Economics alumna, Viviana Castillo, CLAS ’20, who is Principal Finance Analyst at GlobalFoundries shared her wisdom about building knowledge base and career-relevant skills while in college, about finding a job upon graduation, about graduate school, and about current job market in the intersection of economics, finance, and tech.

While at UConn Stamford, Viviana worked in the banking industry, but she managed her time well, which allowed her to participate in the College Fed Challenge competition in 2019 as Stamford team member. She graduated in the midst of the pandemic in the Spring 2020, but did not slow down and entered graduate school at Columbia University. She continued working in the banking industry, gaining experience. After graduating with a Masters in Risk Management degree, she moved to a more interesting job in FinTech.

Viviana Castillo shared with students her approach to gaining new skills in order to prepare for demands of ever-evolving job market. She encouraged students to become career ready. In addition to content knowledge in their academic fields, students need to develop career competencies that are in high demand in the workplace, such as critical thinking, communication, and professionalism.

Students asked a lot of questions, shared their anxieties, and were grateful for Viviana’s effort to meet with them. Business leaders’ and young alumni’s visits to ongoing classes are an exciting way to connect our students to the world outside the academy and prepare them for careers upon graduation.

Women in Economics Symposium

Women in Economics Group Photo at Stamford
Stamford students with Dr. Ritter at the start of the Women in Economics Symposium on February 23, 2023

On February 23, 2023, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hosted the annual Women in Economics Symposium. This year the theme was “Role Models Matter”. The agenda included notable women-economists, who shared their love of economics, their research, and their wisdom about how to build and navigate a career path in economics.

The symposium was held in a hybrid format, in which the in-person conference in St. Louis was combined with Watch Parties across the country. Professor Natalia Smirnova arranged for the Economics Department to hold two Watch Parties, in Storrs and in Stamford.

In Stamford, the symposium was designated as the Honors Program event, and they provided pizza and other snacks. Honors Program Assistant Director, Ms. Heenehan, helped with all the logistics during the preparation stage. Economics Professor, Dr. Patricia Ritter hosted the event. Nearly 20 students from political science, economics, and business attended the symposium. We thank Political Science Professor, Dr. Ginsberg for promoting the conference in her classes.

In Storrs, the organization of the Watch Party was done by Women and Minorities in Economics Club. This Club’s activities include speaker series and various events focusing on promoting fruitful discussion about women and minorities’ issues among Economics majors.

At the 2023 Women in Economics Symposium, students heard from exciting role models with fascinating careers in economics while also learning some practical tips about job searching, finding a mentor, and more. As we aspire to develop in our students the career readiness competencies, an exposure to national leaders in economics profession allows students to navigate career opportunities, network to build relationships, and clearly and effectively exchange information and perspectives with persons inside and outside of their home campus. These skills are transferable to students’ post-graduation career and will help them showcase their professionalism during job search and interview processes.


Economic Inquiry Recognizes Research of Prof. Couch as Best Article Published in 2022

The article, “The Evolving Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market:  The COVID Motherhood Penalty” co-authored by UConn Economics Professor Kenneth Couch, Robert Fairlie (Cal-Santa Cruz) and Huanan Xu (Indiana University South Bend) was selected as the Best Article published in Economic Inquiry in 2022.

The announcement and a link to download the paper can be found here:

Professor Smirnova is the first Faculty Fellow at the Center for Career Development

Natalia SmirnovaThe Center for Career Development announced its first Faculty Fellow – Dr. Natalia Smirnova. As the Career Center continues to move toward its vision of ‘creating a university-wide career readiness culture that prepares all students for post-graduation success’, they have been extending their reach to partnering with faculty and staff more intentionally over the past several years.

Dr. Smirnova’s work on career readiness is closely aligned with the mission of the Center for Career Development and its Career Champions program. Professor Smirnova in her courses encourages students to build skills that are transferable to the workplace. With her co-authors, she developed an instructional module where students learn about their major and career path by using publicly available large data set. At the Stamford campus, she collaborates with various departments to arrange career panels, builds a network of business community leaders to mentor her students, and encourages students’ participation in various national economics competitions and conferences.

As the inaugural Career Faculty Fellow, Dr. Smirnova will be developing materials related to integration of career competencies into syllabi, serving as an ambassador to academic departments and faculty, and creating a sustainable program of faculty fellowship.

Patralekha Ukil, PhD 2020, on San Francisco CBS News

Patralekha Ukil, Assistant Professor at San Jose State University and 2020 UConn PhD in Economics, was interviewed by the nightly news for the San Francisco CBS Affiliate about the rising price of eggs.

Her interview starts at minute three of the recording: