Lauren Rubenstein

Associate Manager of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

Grossman Chairs Session at Banking Conference in Munich

On Sept. 14 and 15, Professor of Economics Richard Grossman attended a conference in Munich jointly sponsored by the Bundesbank (the German central bank) and a Munich-based research institute called CESifo. Grossman chaired a session and acted as a discussant at the conference, whose focus was, “The Banking Sector and the State.” According to the conference website: “The current financial and sovereign debt crisis has shown once again that the banking sector and the state are intertwined in many ways: On the one hand, the state lends support to distressed banks and accepts risks from the private sector; in this way banks quite often fall under public ownership. On the other hand, banks are important lenders and thus an indirect source of funding for the state in that they hold large amounts of government bonds. The conference will analyse the resulting interactions, the risks and the potential impact on the stability of the financial system.”

More information on the conference is available here.

In addition, on Aug. 29, The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed by Grossman on the Republican Party platform’s call for a commission to study restoring the link between the dollar and gold. Grossman writes that as an academic, he’s all for scientific study—but actually re-establishing the gold standard would be disastrous.

Grossman explains, “History provides ample evidence that the gold standard is a bad idea. After World War I, the major industrialized nations established the gold standard, which is widely seen as having contributed to the spread and intensification of the Great Depression. The gold standard tied the hands of monetary policymakers, forcing them to maintain high interest rates in order to maintain the price of gold, thereby making a bad economic situation even worse.

Had we been on the gold standard when the subprime crisis broke, the Federal Reserve would have had to raise interest rates instead of lowering them. Given that our economy was — and still is — struggling despite historically low interest rates, higher interest rates would have been devastating.”

Rosenthal, Tatge Speakers on WNPR’s “Where We Live”

On Aug. 31, “Where We Live,” a program on WNPR public radio, featured two segments about music at Wesleyan.

Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice-president of academic affairs and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, and his son Sam Rosenthal, a writer and musician in New York City, discussed a new collection of Pete Seeger’s personal writings that they co-edited. The book is Pete Seeger: In His Own Words (Paradigm Publishers).

They described the experience of combing through decades of Seeger’s writings in the folk singer’s Beacon, NY home while he hovered nearby. “He would drop in from time to time to see if we had dug up anything interesting, or to tell us a story,” Sam Rosenthal recalls.

“[Seeger] wanted a complete picture. We say in the book, he said to us at the beginning, ‘Don’t make me a saint, I’m not a saint,'” says Rob Rosenthal. He later adds that Seeger “had no problem with us using anything we wanted” to include in the book.

Later in the show, Pam Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, discussed MiddletownRemix, a project that’s part of the yearlong exploration of Music & Public Life at Wesleyan. The project invites all members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities to explore, share and remix the sounds of Middletown throughout the year. It uses location-based cell phone technology, a database, and a web application allowing individuals to record and store sounds and images of Middletown and position them in a digital map.

The result, Tatge says, will be “a tour of the acoustic identity of Middletown.”

“We want to break down the conventional barriers between audience and composer, and democratize what it means to make music… This way, we really try to elevate the artist and the composer in everyone,” she explains.

More information on MiddletownRemix is available here.

The interview with Rob and Sam Rosenthal can be heard here.
The interview with Pam Tatge is available here.

Rutland’s Op-Ed: Two Steps Backwards in the Caucasus

Peter Rutland, professor of government, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, writes in a Sept. 10 op-ed published in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune about two recent symbolic events in the Caucasus region that threaten to ignite hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Juhasz Published in Behavior Research Methods Journal

Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, is the author of an article titled, “Sensory experience ratings for over 5,000 mono- and disyllabic words.” The article was published online on Aug. 31 in the Behavior Research Methods journal, a publication of The Psychonomic Society. It was co-authored with Melvin Yap of the National University of Singapore.
The study provides sensory experience ratings (SERs)–which reflect the extent to which a word evokes a sensory and/or perceptual experience in the mind of the reader—for 2,857 monosyllabic words used in a 2011 study, as well as 3,000 new disyllabic words. New analyses with the combined set of words confirms that SERs reliably predict lexical decision response times, or the time it takes a reader to determine if a word is real or not.

Elvin Lim on the September Surprise

In a political analysis piece published on The Faster TimesAssociate Professor of Government Elvin Lim writes that Mitt Romney, “definitely did not count on foreign policy becoming a major issue two weeks after he chose budget hawk Paul Ryan to be his running mate, making his the weakest ticket on foreign policy for decades.”

A Convention Bounce, or an Ad Bounce?

USA Today, and numerous other news outlets, reported on a new study by the Wesleyan Media Project, which found that Barack Obama and groups supporting him aired 40,000 ads during the two-week period of political conventions, compared with only 18,000 ads aired on behalf of Republican Mitt Romney. This lopsided ad buy could be the reason behind the post-convention bounce in the polls enjoyed by Obama, rather than the president’s performance at the convention.

Stories about the latest Wesleyan Media Project study also appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, Adweek, PoliticoABC News, BloombergThe Daily Beast, News Daily, CT Mirror and on NPR’s All Things Considered and NPR’s Morning Edition.

Two Steps Backwards in the Caucasus

Peter Rutland, professor of government, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, writes in an op-ed published in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune about two recent symbolic events in the Caucasus region that threaten to ignite hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Rosenthal, Tatge on Where We Live

Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice president for academic affairs, and John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, appeared on the WNPR show “Where We Live” to discuss his new book, Pete Seeger: In His Own WordsHe was joined by his son, Sam Rosenthal, with whom he co-edited the book.

Pam Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, also appeared on “Where We Live” to introduce MiddletownRemix, a collaborative soundscape project with the Middletown community going on this entire year.

Sheehan-Connor on Medicare Sustainability

In an op-ed published in The Hartford Courant, Assistant Professor of Economics Damien Sheehan-Connor writes that the debate going on between the political right and left over how to best ensure the sustainability of Medicare misses “the basic driver of growth in health care costs–the development of new therapies.”