You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2010.

Gulgun Bayaz-Ozturk defended her dissertation on July 20, 2010 under the supervision of Prof. Kenneth Couch. Her dissertation titled “Three Essays on Income Inequality” analyzes the contribution of labor market inequality to overall income inequality in the light of demographic changes in the United States from 1970s into the mid 2000s. In addition, she carries out a cross-national comparison and investigates the trends in intra-generational mobility and the underlying factors of educational earnings differentials in the United States and West Germany.

In September, Gulgun starts her new job as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Since graduating in May 2007, with a major in Economics and a minor in Business, Teju Owoye served as an Account Manager at Aetna’s corporate offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. Working in Aetna’s National Accounts division, she managed the company’s relationship with nine major employers that have health insurance contracts with Aetna. While at Aetna, Teju also directed activities related to the company’s $225,000 investment in the American Heart Association’s “Start Charlotte” program—an effort to promote better health habits within corporations and the community. Teju’s contributions to the program were highlighted in the September 2009 issue of Corporate Incentive Travel and the Spring 2010 issue of Ballantyne Magazine. In 2008, Aetna recognized Teju’s accomplishments by selecting her for the Aetna Way Excellence Award in Leadership.

During her tenure at Aetna, Teju developed a passion for helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through positive lifestyle changes. She is the founder of the Inspire Change Workshop, which is a seminar designed to teach corporate employees how make time for healthy eating and exercise during the day. Recently, Teju left Aetna to pursue her passion full time in San Diego, CA. She is currently working as a personal trainer in Solana Beach, CA. She also is piloting the Inspire Change Workshop in California, while starting a health and fitness consulting business.

Teju plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree in health policy, and she is currently co-authoring a paper (“The Impact of Current Global Economic and Financial Crisis on the Economies of Emerging and Developing Regions”) with her father, Dr. Oluwole Owoye, a Professor of Economics at Western Connecticut State University.

Professor Delia Furtado will be spending the 2010-2011 academic year visiting the Yale School of Public Health on a research fellowship. During her time at Yale, she plans to continue her research on ethnic networks, paying particular attention to their relationship with the take-up of health-related public services and health outcomes. She also hopes to initiate new studies in the fields of immigration and public health.

Professor Furtado is very much looking forward to having a year to concentrate on her research but will miss everyone at UConn. Luckily, New Haven isn’t so far away.

Every Summer, a select group of economists assembles over the span of four week for the NBER Summer Institute, presenting their latest research. The program is principally composed by affiliates of the NBER, but outsiders are also given the opportunity to attend, discuss and present. Two department faculty will be in attendance this year at the invitation-only event.

On July 23, Prof. Christian Zimmermann will be presenting “Unemployment Accounts versus Unemployment Insurance: A Quantitative Evaluation” (joint with Stéphane Pallage) in the Aggregate Implications of Microeconomic Consumption Behavior Workshop. On July 27, Prof. Stephen Ross will be presenting “Estimating the Effects of Friendship Networks on Health Behaviors of Adolescents” (joint with Jason Fletcher) in the Health Economics Workshop.

William S. Simon, a University of Connecticut Economics BA from 1981, has recently been named President and CEO of the US operations of Walmart. He was previously chief operating officer at Walmart, senior vice president of global business development at Brinker International, which operates Chili’s Grill & Bar and other restaurants, and before that Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services. He is a retired officer from the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves after 25 years of service.

Read more at UConn Today

On June 28, 2010, Michael Stone defended his dissertation entitled “Three Essays on the Economics of Tort Law.” Stone’s dissertation focused on three distinct areas relating to tort law: the enactment of caps on punitive damages, the impact of taxable costs statutes on settlement rates, and the optimal level of attorney advertising intensity. In the first of these papers, Stone utilized hazard analysis to uncover some support for an economic model justifying caps on punitive damages, though there was evidence that political pressure by the legal services and insurance industries played a role in cap enactment. In his second essay, Stone utilized an ordinary least squares regression with a wild bootstrap and HC3 correction to find some evidence that taxable costs statutes (laws which permit the victorious party at trial to recover authorized litigation-related expenses from the losing party) decreased the rate of settlement. And, in his final essay, Stone produced a theoretical model which weighed the benefits of deterrence against the costs of litigation and advertising to obtain an optimal level of attorney advertising intensity. Each of these works was prepared under the tutelage of his major advisor, Professor Thomas Miceli.

This fall, Stone will be heading to Quinnipiac University as a visiting assistant professor of economics.

“As land gets transferred from agriculture to industry, many people (like share croppers and landless workers) will lose their livelihood. It would be morally reprehensible to drive a Nano or a Cadillac on the dirt roads wet with the tears of the dispossessed. Economic rehabilitation of these displaced workers remains the first priority of any responsible government.”

An article by Professor Subhash Ray recently appeared in the November 17, 2009 issue of the highly esteemed biweekly literary magazine, Desh, published in Bengali from Calcutta. His paper draws upon the parallel between the experiences of General Motors in Poletown, MI in the 1980s and the recent events relating to Tata Motors and the agricultural land in Singur, West Bengal, to raise a number of questions about government taking of land for private development. A brief review of the history of land acquisition through eminent domain in the US serves as the background for a discussion of the different important questions like the problem of strategic holdouts and fair compensation. The essay ends with an emphasis on the moral obligation of the government, especially in India, for proper rehabilitation of the displaced when exercise of Eminent Domain powers becomes unavoidable.

His paper has attracted a lot of attention and has been highly acclaimed by scholars interested in the question of land acquisition for economic development. An English version of the paper is available as a University of Connecticut Economics working paper. The original article in Bengali is available on request from the author.

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