Three Department of Economics faculty members have published papers in the recently released Oxford Handbook of Land Economics, edited by Joshua Duke and Junjie Wu. The Oxford Handbook Series is a collection of specialized volumes, each containing papers from a particular area of economic research.

A chapter on “Regulatory Takings,” by Professors Thomas Miceli and Kathleen Segerson, offers a more general analysis of government actions that reduce private property values, pointing out that the difference between these partial “takings” and outright seizures of private property is largely a matter of degree.  Their model offers a unified approach to the wide variety of issues associated with zoning, environmental and safety regulations, historic landmark designation, requirements to provide access for the disabled, and many other public restrictions on private land use.  In addition to their economic analysis, they review key elements of the case law and legal literature on regulatory takings.

In another chapter, titled “Open Space Preservation: Direct Controls and Fiscal Incentives,” Professor Dennis Heffley and his co-author Ekaterina Gnedenko (Lecturer, Tufts University) review the economic literature on various types of land use controls, especially programs designed to protect and preserve open space.  They also develop and simulate a model showing that state grants to local governments, intended to reduce local fiscal pressure to permit more development, may actually result in more land being zoned for development and a reduction in open space.  An econometric analysis of fiscal data and satellite-image land use data for Connecticut towns further attests to the policy problem illustrated by the simulations

t_naknoiProfessor Kanda Naknoi had a very busy month of May.

From May 19-23, Professor Naknoi visited the St. Louis Fed as a visiting scholar. During her visit she collaborated her research with YiLi Chien, who is a senior economist at the Fed. The research project is on the impact of household finance on exchange rate volatility. The project is also joint with Hanno Lustig at UCLA.

Then, on May 31st, Professor Naknoi was in Vancouver at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Economic Association, where she made a presentation. The title of her presentation is “Exchange Rate Disconnect and External Finance: Firm-Level Evidence.” The research paper is joint with Kwan Yong Lee at the University of North Dakota.

t_shorThe Board of Trustees has promoted Prof. Mike Shor to tenured Associated Professor of Economics.

Professor Shor’s research to date has focused on industrial organization and experimental investigations of decision-making. His work has been published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, Economic Theory, Health Economics, Games and Economic Behavior, as well as journals in marketing, accounting, and psychology.

In addition to research, Prof. Shor has been teaching game theory and behavioral economics at both the undergraduate and PhD levels at UConn.

mreProfessor Ling Huang‘s article with Lauren A. B. Nichols, J. Kevin Craig, and Martin D. Smith titled “Measuring Welfare Losses from Hypoxia: The Case of North Carolina Brown Shrimp,” has been selected as the winner for the eighth annual award for Outstanding Article in Marine Resource Economics.

Abstract: While environmental stressors such as hypoxia (low dissolved oxygen) are perceived as a threat to the productivity of coastal ecosystems, policy makers have little information about the economic consequences for fisheries. Recent work on hypoxia develops a bioeconomic model to harness microdata and quantify the effects of hypoxia on North Carolina’s brown shrimp fishery. This work finds that hypoxia is responsible for a 12.9% decrease in NC brown shrimp catches from 1999–2005 in the Neuse River Estuary and Pamlico Sound, assuming that vessels do not react to changes in abundance. The current article extends this work to explore the full economic con­sequences of hypoxia on the supply and demand for brown shrimp. Demand analysis reveals that the NC shrimp industry is too small to influence prices, which are driven entirely by imports and other domestic U.S. harvest. Thus, demand is flat and there are no measurable benefits to shrimp consumers from reduced hypoxia. On the supply side, we find that the shrimp fleet responds to variation in price, abundance, and weather. Hence, the supply curve has some elasticity. Producer benefits of reduced hypoxia are less than a quarter of the computed gains from assuming no behavioral adjustment.

 

On April 17, the department convened for an awards banquet that recognized the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty. This year’s award recipients are:

Omicron Delta Epsilon inductees:
Kaylyn Caliri
John Giannone
Sam Katz
Meiling Kry
Paul Morris
Freida Parsons
Pooja Patel
Muhammad Razzaq

Undergraduate Awards
Louis D. Traurig Scholarship
Xueqi Ban
Dillon Pierce Bushby
Xia Hua
Monica Mula
Kenneth Perez
Johnny Hua Pham
Shravan Rao
Emily Seyle

Ross Mayer Scholarship
Salman Sherwani
Farha Choudhury

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize
Kateri Ciccaglione

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship
Robert Roche

Economics Department General Scholarship
Robert Roche
Lilian Cheung

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship
Paul Morris

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship
Michael Cinque
Zachary Mitchell

Graduate Awards
W. Harrison Carter Award
Rebecca Germino

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship
Huanan Xu

Economics Department Graduate Fellowship
Jesse Kalinowski
Chao Zheng
Tao Song
Aaron Cooke

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship
Rong Zhou
Zheng Xu
Peijingran Yu
Bryce Casavant
Yishu Zhou
Chao Zheng
Tao Song

Farrell Oral History Project
Sadullah Yildirim

 

Faculty Awards
Grillo Family Research Award
Talia Bar

Grillo Family Teaching Award
Richard Suen

Congratulations to everyone!

sealPatrick Adams, a freshman enrolled in the UConn Honors Program, has been named a Holster Scholar after taking part in a highly competitive application process. The Holster Scholars First Year Program is an opportunity for talented first year students to jump-start their academic careers by proposing a research project in the spring of their freshman year and carrying out the project over the summer. Patrick Adams has chosen 2-sided matching as the topic for his summer project and will be working under the guidance of his faculty mentor, Professor Vicki Knoblauch.

segerson_smallProfessor Kathleen Segerson has been named a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor. This is the University’s highest honor for faculty excellence in research, teaching, and service. Professor Segerson was one of three faculty at the University bestowed with this distinction.

The full article, as seen on UConn Today, can be read here.

Another version of the article appeared on CLAS’s page, and can be read here.

Congratulations, Professor Segerson, on this exceptional honor.

 

 

aea2Professors William Alpert and Oskar Harmon, and PhD candidates Robert Szarka and Paul Tomolonis presented “An Interactive Graphing Activity” in the AEA Committee on Economic Education Poster Session at the annual ASSA 2014 Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Their presentation demonstrated several problem sets where students use the drawing tool within Google Drive to create economic diagrams. Relying on the concept of learning-by-doing, these online activities give students the opportunity to practice drawing economic diagrams representing the core principles in their microeconomics textbook. That is, the act of drawing the diagram will reinforce student understanding of the economic concept. Working with Adam Nemeroff (Instructional Designer in the Uconn Institute of Teaching and Learning), the authors anticipate that using Google drawings in principles of economics courses at Uconn will promote the use of other products in Goggle Apps @ Uconn, build skills for upper division course work, and encourage collaborations across disciplines.

For a preview of the presentation click here.

Professor Kai (Jackie) Zhao has had his paper “Social Security and the Rise in Health Spending” accepted for publication in the Journal of Monetary Economics.

Abstract:
In a quantitative model of Social Security with endogenous health, I argue that Social Security increases the aggregate health spending of the economy because it redistributes resources to the elderly whose marginal propensity to spend on health is high. I show by using computational experiments that the expansion of US Social Security can account for over a third of the dramatic rise in US health spending from 1950 to 2000. In addition, Social Security has a spill-over effect on Medicare. As Social Security increases health spending, it also increases the payments from Medicare, thus raising its financial burden.

Read the full text of his paper.

Congratulations, Professor Zhao!

journalProfessors Oskar R. Harmon, William T. Alpert, and PhD Candidate Joseph Histen, have been published the article  “Online Discussion and Learning Outcomes” in the Journal International Advances in Economic Research, 2014.

This paper describes how the authors used Facebook as a discussion tool in the instruction of a principles level economics course and reports empirical estimates of the effect of that use on learning outcomes.  Social media as a tool for promoting classroom discussion has advantages and disadvantages.  For example, its omnipresence and flat learning curve can promote academic discourse.  However social media can promote non-academic “chatting”, and its omnipresence means the user needs more than a passing knowledge of the privacy settings to have control of their “digital identity.  For a Principles of Microeconomics taught in 2011 we collected data, with permission from our institution’s Institutional Review Board, on student use of Facebook, academic and demographic characteristics, learning style preferences and learning outcomes. Overall our empirical estimates provide cautious support for the hypothesis that active participation in the discussion board has a positive effect on exam score at a statistically significant level.  The estimates of the effect of posts related to question and answer dialogue show a positive impact on the cumulative final exam score at a 5% level of statistical significance.  This result is consistent with the view that using Facebook in academic instruction can be an effective tool for assisting the average student to resolve questions about the course material and for promoting peer-to-peer learning.

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