Tag Archive for economics

Allbritton Center to Host Series of Panels on the Refugee Crisis



The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life will host a series of three panels in February and March on the refugee crisis. All events will take place in PAC 001.

The first panel, The Development of the Crisis and the Response in Europe, will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 3. Moderated by Professor of Economics Richard Grossman, the panel is comprised of Bruce Masters, the John E. Andrus Professor of History; Robert Ford, former U.S. ambassador to Syria; and Marcie Patton, professor of politics at Fairfield University.

The second panel, The Refugee Experience, will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 17. Moderated by Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, it will feature discussion between Steve Poellot, legal director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP); Mohammed Kadalah, of the University of Connecticut Department of Literature, Cultures and Languages, who was recently granted asylum after fleeing Syria in 2011; and Baselieus Zeno, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and a Syrian refugee.

The final panel, The U.S. Response, Locally and Nationally, will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 31. Moderated by Assistant Professor of Government Ioana Emy Matesan, the panel will include Christina Pope of Welcoming America; Chris George, director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services; and Jen Smyers, director of policy and advocacy at Church World Service. It will also feature a video message from U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

For more information, contact Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center, at rrosenthal@wesleyan.edu.

Grossman, Imai Study Effects of Prominent Directors on 19th Century British Banks

Richard Grossman, professor of economics, and Masami Imai, professor and chair of economics, professor of East Asian studies, are the authors of an article published January 2016 in Explorations in Economic History. 

The article is titled “Taking the lord’s name in vain: The impact of connected directors on 19th century British banks.” Grossman and Imai considered the appointment of prominent, well-connected individuals (former members of Parliament and lords) to the boards of directors of banks in pre-World War I Britain, and investigated whether their presence enhanced equity value for bank shareholders. Surprisingly, they found that these individuals actually had negative effects on bank equity returns.

The article is available online to read for free until February 2016.

Gary Yohe Discusses Impact of Climate Change on Economy

Gary-YoheGary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, appeared on the RT show “Boom Bust” to discuss the impact of climate change on business and the economy. (Yohe’s interview begins at 3:45). He was asked what sectors of the economy are being affected the most by the forces of climate change.

“Agriculture comes to mind. It’s not just hurricanes and extreme precipitation events—although that seems to be happening along the East Coast. Any [real estate or] infrastructure that’s located near the coast line or near a river, for that matter, is in increasing vulnerability. But it’s more than that. It’s […] agriculture, suffering huge losses from drought. Farmers and cattle ranchers in Texas trying to figure out what to do with cows during their drought… People in California who are trying to figure out where the water is going to come from for very water-intensive crops that have sustained that part of the economy for a very, very long period of time. Industries typically have located, historically at least, along waterways and near coastlines because it makes transportation easier and it’s easier to get their products out, but those companies are realizing that over the short term, they have to protect their plants and their businesses. Over the long term, they have to move away from the water. That will be costly, but given enough time, it won’t be as costly as you might think.”

Yohe was also asked which areas of the U.S. are most susceptible to the effects of climate change.

“The whole Southeast coast. Go along the Gulf of Mexico down to Houston, Tx. Those places are increasingly vulnerable. For sure, Florida: it’s very low lying and it’s right in the way of many hurricanes and many very severe storms.” But even in places like Boston, Yohe said, sea level rise has meant that storm surges in two- or three-year storms look more like those once seen in 25-year storms.



Yohe Writes: Climate Change Pact Good for Economy

Gary-YoheThe historic global deal on climate change reached by 190 countries in Paris will help the economy, not hurt it as critics argue, writes Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Gary Yohe in an op-ed in The Hartford Courant.

“The evidence in the peer-reviewed economic literature, as well as real experience around the world and in the United States, shows that climate action not only protects public health by reducing pollution, but also protects the economy from extreme weather shocks and other complications that have and will arise from a changing climate. The sooner we act, the more money we save,” he writes. Moreover, “Doing nothing, as those pushing inaction propose, means having to react more quickly at far greater cost in the future.”

So how to achieve the necessary reduction in carbon emissions? “Economists widely agree that reducing carbon emissions is most efficiently accomplished by placing a price on them. The price should start small, but rise over time to send a steady signal to businesses. It the price of carbon is clear, businesses can plan and make smart decisions to usher in the clean energy economy required to avoid climate calamity,” writes Yohe. “Economists know that exhaustible resources become more valuable over time. In this case, the resource is the atmosphere, and its ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The more we emit, the less the atmosphere can take before triggering changes that are devastating and irreversible.”

Yohe also spoke to WNPR about the climate deal.


Yohe Discusses Drought and Climate Change on WNPR

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, was a guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live” to discuss drought and climate change, particularly in light of the climate talks going on in Paris.

“Droughts have occurred on every continent. They have occurred certainly in North America—Texas has suffered a severe drought, California has suffered a severe drought,” said Yohe. “I’m not sure New England has suffered a severe drought but we are certainly below average in terms of rainfall. One of the things that people in Paris are worried about though, is that not only are drought conditions a source of concern, but the opposite of drought—extreme precipitation—especially when it follows a drought, when the ground is very, very hard and cannot absorb the water, and it creates enormous amounts of flooding.”

Yohe pointed to drought as among the most serious problems resulting from climate change, along with sea level rise and extreme precipitation. Drought can cause “really damaging secondary events” such as wildfires, and has significant economic ramifications for people who, for example, depend on agriculture and winemaking to earn a living.

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?