Tag Archive for economics

Naecker an Expert on Behavioral, Experimental Economics

Jeffrey Naecker, assistant professor of economics, joined the faculty this fall. He teaches a field course on behavioral and experimental economics, which are his primary areas of research.

Jeffrey Naecker, assistant professor of economics, joined the faculty this fall. He teaches a field course on behavioral and experimental economics. Part of Naecker’s research looks at organ donation registration behavior.

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Jeffrey Naecker, a new member of Wesleyan’s Economics Department.

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Professor Naecker! Where are you from?

A: I grew up in beautiful and sunny Pasadena, Calif. I was also educated in California, first doing my bachelor’s degree at Berkeley and then my Ph.D. at Stanford. Wesleyan is my first job after graduate school, and my first experience living on the East Coast. I’m excited to try out this “winter” thing I’ve been hearing about!

Q: And what drew you to Wesleyan’s Economics Department?

A: I knew throughout graduate school that I wanted to be able to do work on the topics of my own choosing, and also teach economics to bright students. The economics department here offered me the freedom and resources to work on my research agenda, as well as the chance to create courses that interest me and are useful and relevant for the students here.

Q: What has been your impression so far of the Wesleyan community?

A: The entire faculty at Wesleyan is incredibly impressive: producing well-published research while also teaching rigorous classes to extremely intellectual students. I’m honored to have a chance work with everyone here. My colleagues have also been very curious and supportive of my research,

Grossman, Imai Write About Boehner’s Next Move

Richard Grossman, professor of economics, and Masami Imai, professor and chair of economics, professor of East Asian studies, are the authors of an op-ed published in The Guardian about House Speaker John Boehner’s likely next move when he retires from Congress. The op-ed is titled “Whoever hires John Boehner post-Congress will make a terrible investment.”

They anticipate that, like most former members of Congress and high ranking members of the executive branch, Boehner is likely to have his pick of lucrative job offers—to become an investment banker, lobbyist or corporate adviser. “But for any of these companies, John Boehner would be a terrible investment,” they write.

They cite their own research looking at the hiring of politically connected directors from British government in the three decades before World War I, which found that these appointments tended to have a negative effect on bank equity returns.

Jacobsen Appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Joyce Jacobsen

Joyce Jacobsen

Joyce Jacobsen has accepted an appointment as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs through June of 2019.

Jacobsen joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1993 as an assistant professor of economics and in 2003 became the Andrews Professor of Economics. More recently, she served as Dean of Social Sciences and Director of Global Initiatives. A scholar of the economics of gender and employment, she is the author or co-editor of three books, including The Economics of Gender, Third Edition (2007), as well as numerous journal articles, book chapters, reviews and essays. Her outstanding contributions as an inspiring teacher-scholar were recognized with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.

She has served as chair of the faculty, chair of the Educational Policy Committee, chair of the Department of Economics, co-chair of the College of Social Studies, vice-chair of the Review and Appeals Board, and on the governing board of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard/Radcliffe College; a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics; and a PhD in economics from Stanford University.

“I have enjoyed working with Joyce in her capacity as interim Provost and VPAA, and I look forward to the many contributions she will make in years to come,” President Michael Roth wrote in an all-campus e-mail. “Please join me in congratulating Joyce and thanking her for serving Wesleyan so well.”

Hornstein Presents at American Financial Management Association Meeting

hornstein150Associate Professor of Economics Abigail Hornstein presented a paper at the 2015 American Financial Management Association Meeting, held in Orlando, Fla. Oct. 14–17.

Hornstein’s research paper, titled “Board Overlaps in Mutual Fund Families,” is co-authored with Elif Sisli Ciamarra of Brandeis University. Hornstein also was a discussant on a paper titled “Mutual fund home bias and market uncertainty” by Nicole Choi of the University of Wyoming and Hilla Skiba of Colorado State University.

Grossman Has Optimistic Outlook for “Abenomics”

Richard Grossman

Richard Grossman

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman provided an “expert view” on the question “Will Japan’s economy rebound under Abenomics and resume its growth?” in an issue of SAGE Business Researcher on “Doing Business With Japan.”

Japan’s economy has performed poorly during the past two decades, and many wonder if it will ever “recover its former glory.” Grossman took the affirmative view, arguing “there is good reason to believe that Japan will emerge from its funk and achieve growth rates similar to those of its counterparts in the developed world.” He writes that the prospects for success depend on the effectiveness of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “three arrows”: expansionary monetary policy, expansionary fiscal policy, and structural reforms. Grossman goes on to describes Abe’s strategy and progress in these three areas.

 

Bonin Keynote Speaker at Banking Workshop

John Bonin, the the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science.

John Bonin is the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science.

John Bonin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science, was the invited keynote speaker at the 5th annual CInSt Banking Workshop, hosted by the Center for International Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia on Oct. 2.

The theme of the conference was “Banking in Emerging Markets: Challenges and Opportunities.” Bonin’s talk was titled, “Did foreign banks ‘cut and run’ or stay committed to emerging Europe during the crises?” Bonin presented research he did together with Dana Louie ’15. They examined the lending behavior of foreign banks during the global financial crisis and at the onset of the Eurozone crisis in eight new EU countries, known as “emerging Europe.”

At the conference, Bonin also served as a discussant on a paper titled “Market Discipline in Russian Regions: In Local Authorities We Trust?”

Sheehan-Connor Advocates in Orlando Sentinel for Raising the Gas Tax

Damien Sheehan-Connor

Damien Sheehan-Connor

Assistant Professor of Economics Damien Sheehan-Connor is the author of an oped in the Orlando Sentinel (available to subscribers) arguing that raising the gas tax would not only help the environment, but would save lives on the road.

Sheehan-Connor considers the findings of a new study out by the National Safety Council, which suggested that automobile accidents are on the rise again after years of decline. While many factors could potentially contribute to this reversal, he writes that it’s likely that two seemingly positive developments–lower gas prices and stricter fuel economy standards imposed by the government–have played an important role. How? Lower gas prices have encouraged consumers to buy bigger, less fuel-efficient vehicles, while government regulations require automakers to produce lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The end result: greater divergence in the weights of vehicles on the road.

He writes: “Whether a given two-vehicle accident is fatal depends critically on how well matched are the weights of the vehicles involved. The results of a paper I authored in last month’s Economic Inquiry make the point starkly. It found that in severe accidents between two vehicles of average weight, 25 percent of vehicle drivers are expected to die. But in severe accidents between full-size pickup trucks and compact cars, the death rate is a whopping 40 percent—or 60 percent higher.”

To counter this, Sheehan-Connor suggests turning to higher gas taxes, rather than stricter fuel economy standards.

The politics of gasoline taxes are difficult, but the benefits are compelling. First, the environmental benefits from reduced carbon emissions would exceed the cost of foregone gasoline consumption. Second, the efficiency of the tax system could be improved by implementing the tax in a revenue-neutral fashion. Income tax rates, which do impose some efficiency costs to the economy, could be lowered and the revenue replaced by the gasoline tax, which has efficiency benefits. Third, gasoline taxes are far simpler, and thus less costly to implement, than the 577 pages of regulations that make up the most recent fuel economy standards. And finally, our roadways would be made safer. Other than the word “tax,” what’s not to like?

Keegan ’16 Studies Real Estate in the Quantitative Analysis Center

Phoebe Keegan ’16, an economics major from Palisades, N.Y., has been passionate about real estate since she was a young child. She passed the exam to get her real estate license in New York at age 18, the youngest age allowed. After coming to Wesleyan, she also became a licensed agent at William Raveis in Middletown.

This summer, Keegan worked at the Quantitative Analysis Center with Assistant Professor of Economics Karl Boulware to analyze data from the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, specifically looking at conditions before and after the rezoning of downtown Brooklyn. They are studying how rezoning affected occupancies in Brooklyn as well as gentrification issues.

“I am really thankful that I came here because I didn’t know how much of an incredible place it was,” said Keegan. “The community is truly special.”


Schwartz ’17 Founder of Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club

David Schwartz '17, founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club, flies a drone behind South College July 28. He's also on Wesleyan's ski team, rock climbing team and sailing team. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

David Schwartz ’17, founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club, flies a drone behind South College July 28. He’s also on Wesleyan’s ski team, rock climbing team and sailing team. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with David Schwartz from the Class of 2017.

Q: David, where are you from and what is your major?

A: I grew up in Amherst, Mass. When I first came to Wesleyan, I walked around wearing my Amherst sweatshirt for awhile before realizing there was a bit of a rivalry. I’m an Economics and Government double major, with a minor in data analysis. I’m particularly interested in applying “big data” techniques to government policymaking.

David Schwartz operates the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone "that was very user-friendly and intuitive to learn," he said.

David Schwartz operates the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone “that was very user-friendly and intuitive to learn,” he said.

Q: You are founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club. How did your interest in aerial photography begin?

A: I’ve always had a passion for flying, but unfortunately I get air-sick in small planes, so I’ve been able to apply my interest by being involved in the radio control community. Last summer, I spent my free time building an aerial photography quad copter and coding a basic auto-pilot system. For example, if the gyroscope was leaning left, the program would simply instruct the servos (motor) controlling the ailerons (parts on the wings that tilt the plane) to counter this movement until the plane was stable again. When I was able to stabilize the aircraft, I noticed that the camera on it was able to take some really clear photographs.

Q: Why did you decide to start the club? How many members do you have?

A: After telling my friends about my project building a drone last summer

Conference Focuses on Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges

Wesleyan’s Department of Economics hosted a conference titled "Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges" July 21-23 on campus. The Association to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) provided Wesleyan with a grant to support the event. Faculty from Wesleyan, Bowdoin, Carleton, Denison, Drew, Grinnell, Lafayette, Macalester, Pomona, Smith, Swarthmore, Trinity, Wellesley and Williams attended.

Wesleyan’s Department of Economics hosted a conference titled “Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges” July 21-23 on campus. The Association to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) provided Wesleyan with a grant to support the event. Pictured, front row, from left: John Caskey, Swarthmore; Tom Bernardin, St. Olaf College; Matt Botsch, Bowdoin; Ben Keefer, Carleton; Liang Ding, Macalaster; Abigail Hornstein, Wesleyan; Michelle Zemel, Pomona; and Caleb Stroup, Davidson. Back row, from left: David Chapman, University of Virginia; Chris Hoag, Trinity; Xiao Jiang, Denison; Ted Burczak, Denison; Karl Boulware, Wesleyan; GianDomenico Sarolli, Drew; Michael Kelly, Lafayette; Martin Gosman, Wesleyan; Bill Gentry, Williams; and Greg Phelan, Williams.

Sheehan-Connor Authors Paper on Effect of Gas Tax on Vehicle Safety

Damien Sheehan-Connor

Damien Sheehan-Connor

Assistant Professor of Economics Damien Sheehan-Connor is the author of “Environmental Policy and Vehicle Safety: The Impact of Gasoline Taxes,” published in the July 2015 issue of Economic Inquiry.

In the paper, Sheehan-Connor considers the impact that policies to reduce carbon emissions by vehicles, such as fuel economy standards and gasoline taxes, have on vehicle weight and, consequently, on safety. The paper develops a model that separately identifies the impact of vehicle weight on mortality and selection effects that impact accident propensity. He found that the safety externalities associated with heavy vehicles are greater than the environmental ones; that under fuel economy standards, vehicle weights have recently decreased with little likely effect on accident deaths; and that similar environmental benefits could be combined with substantial reductions in deaths by implementing higher gasoline taxes.

Read the paper online here.

Holmes ’17 Studies Congressional Tweets in QAC Summer Apprenticeship

Joli Holmes ’17, an economics major, is one of 24 students in the Quantitative Analysis Center's Summer Apprenticeship Program.

Joli Holmes ’17, an economics major, is one of 24 students in the Quantitative Analysis Center’s Summer Apprenticeship Program.

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Joli Holmes from the Class of 2017. She is one of 24 students in the Quantitative Analysis Center’s Summer Apprenticeship Program.

Q: Joli, what is your major and what’s your specific area of interest?

A: I’m an economics major. I’m particularly interested in studying investment-related practices from an environmental and social perspective.

Q: Have you worked in the Quantitative Analysis Center before this summer?

A: I’ve taken a lot of classes through the QAC, including “Working with R,” “Excel with Visual Basic for Applications,” and “Python.” These are all classes on how to use statistical software, which also cover some statistical analysis topics.

Q: What does an average day look like in the QAC Apprenticeship Program?

A: We start our days at 8:30, and have class for an hour and a half. The classes are taught by Emmanuel “Manolis” Kaparakis, [director of Centers for Advanced Computing], Pavel Oleinikov, [associate director of the Quantitative Analysis Center, visiting assistant professor of quantitative analysis], and Jen Rose, [research professor of psychology]. The topics of these classes really vary. We cover everything from basic statistics – like how to do a simple linear regression and looking at correlations – to different types of clustering and factor analysis. In the future we might do some latent variable analysis. They make sure all the students have a good foundation, and then cover advanced topics. In these lessons, we work with statistical software and example data sets. For the rest of the day, we work on our individual research projects.