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Professor Kenneth Couchis a labor economist whose work focuses on disadvantaged groups in the labor market and public policies to assist them. Among other topics, his work has examined disparities in pay and employment for women and minorities, the extent of economic mobility among different groups in society and the influence of the business cycle on the lives of workers. Couch is also known for his research on differences in labor markets in Europe relative to the United States. His work has been published in leading economic journals including the American Economic Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of Labor Economics.

Reflecting his reputation as a leading researcher on issues of applied economic policy, Professor Couch is the Editor of the Methods for Policy Evaluation, Point/Counterpoint, and Professional Practice sections of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the journal of the national Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. He is also an Associate Editor of the Journal of Income Distribution. Couch currently holds a research contract with the Social Security Administration and is a Visiting Scholar at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. In the past he has worked as a visiting professor at Cornell and Yale universities and leading public policy institutes including the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Urban Institute.

Prof. Delia Furtado will start next academic year as a tenured Associated Professor of Economics.

Professor Furtado’s research to date has focused on immigration and ethnic assimilation. She has several well-cited papers on the economics of interethnic marriage, but has also worked on issues ranging from racial segregation to female labor force participation and fertility decisions. Her work has been published in Economic Inquiry, Journal of Population Economics, and the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings. Through her current fellowship at the Yale School of Public Health, she is moving into the area of immigrant health and specifically immigrant utilization of health-related public programs.

In addition to research, Prof. Furtado has been active in teaching labor economics at both the undergraduate and PhD levels at UConn. She is also a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany.

Professor Jonathan Gruber from MIT recently spoke to a standing-room only crowd in Konover Auditorium about health care reform in the U.S.  Speaking at the 2nd annual Philip E. Austin Forum on the Economics of Public Policy on “Health-Care Reform in the U.S.: What Happened and Where Do We Go Now?”, Gruber described his experience with health care reform in Massachusetts.  Gruber was a key architect of the Massachusetts program.  He described Massachusetts’ “three-legged stool” approach to ensuring adequate health care coverage, which includes (1) insurance market reforms (to prohibit exclusions or pricing based on health status), (2) a mandate that individuals buy insurance (or pay a penalty for not doing so), and (3) subsidies to help low-income individuals comply with the mandate.

Gruber then compared the Massachusetts experience to the experience of federal health care reform embodied in the Obama-led Affordable Care Act.  He noted that, while the federal reform is based on the same three-legged stool approach used in Massachusetts, it is more ambitious (and hence challenging).  Unlike the Massachusetts reform, the federal program had to find new sources of money to fund the subsidies required to ensure access to insurance for low income individuals.  In addition, the federal reform sought to bring down rising health care costs, which was not a primary goal of the reforms in Massachusetts.  Gruber went on to discuss the challenges currently facing the implementation of the federal reform.  

Professor Gruber is a leading expert on the economics of health care.  He has published extensively on this topic and has served as an advisor on health care reform at both the state and federal level.  The Austin Forum is designed to bring experts such as Professor Gruber to UConn to discuss important, contemporary public policy issues from an economic perspective, and to honor the legacy of President Phil Austin, who served as President of the University from 1996-2007 and is currently serving as Interim President.

Prof. Uluc Aysun will be leaving the department this Summer for the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. There, he will be joined by Melanie Guldi, currently Economics faculty at Mt. Holyoke College.

Prof. Aysun has been teaching macroeconomics, international economics and money and banking at the Stamford campus, as well as PhD international finance on the Storrs campus. His recent research has concentrated on financial frictions, emerging markets and the banking sector. We all wish Melanie, Uluc and the triplets a happy continuation in Florida.

On April 14, 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:
Samuel Arvidson
Geoffrey Battista
Gaetano D’Alessio
Daniel DiMauro
Asimina Diamandopoulos
Titus Ibrahim Kanu
Shawn James McDermott
Sean McManus
Brendan Molloy
Kyle Niejadlik
Dan Rabinove

Undergraduate Awards
Louis D. Traurig Scholarship
Jocelyn Abraham
Sandie Gong
Connor Grant
William Kimball
Sean McManus
Loi Nham
Gang Yin

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize
Kristina Sowin

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship
Brooke Smith

Abraham Ribicoff Scholarship
Geoffrey Battista
Mark Connolly
Nicholas Leonetti

Ross Mayer Scholarship
Kevin Landry

Audrey Beck Scholarship
Mark Connolly

Graduate Awards
Albert E. Waugh Scholarship
Weiran Huang
Ranjini Neogi
Paul Tomolonis

W. Harrison Carter Award
Archita Banik
Elizabeth Kaletski

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship
Arnab Deb
Weiran Huang
Shen Jin
Sanglim Lee

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship
Marcello Graziano
Elizabeth Kaletski
Michael Lorenzo
Zheng Xu
Xinyi Zheng
Rong Zhou

Ross D. MacKinnon Graduate Fellowship
Archita Banik

CLAS Dean’s Fund Graduate Fellowship
Matthiew Burnside
Leshui He
Stephen Kuchta
Matthew Schurin

Faculty Awards
Grillo Family Research Award
Olivier Morand

Grillo Family Teaching Award
Richard Langlois

Congratulations to everyone!

Plagiarism is to be taken seriously in all areas of scientific research. When an offense is detected, it is typically the duty of the institution where the accused offender is employed or, in the case of a thesis, where he/she studied. Not all institutions follow procedures with the same diligence, which often leads to frustration for those who were plagiarized.

A group of 21 Economics faculty from across the world, including from our department Prof. Cosgel and Prof. Zimmermann, have recently formed a plagiarism committee to deal with plagiarism in the profession. The goal is in particular to expose plagiarists who are too often repeat offenders that can get away with their deed because sanctions are local. By naming and shaming them, it is hoped that plagiarism will be perceived to be more costly. This should discourage potential offenders, and plagiarized authors should find a public advocate for their case even when local administrative channels are not willing to pursue the matter.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could unfortunately not make it to the “Life after UConn” event organized by the Association of Graduate Students in Economics last Friday. Instead, Yanna Wu spoke.

Dr. Wu graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from UConn in 2004, under the supervision of Prof. Ray. Right after that, she joined PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. in their New York office. She currently is a manager in the transfer-pricing group, which is a part of the tax practice, providing tax and economic consulting services for multinational enterprises on their inter-company pricing arrangements. Transfer pricing is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses accounting, tax, economics, finance, and law. Her main responsibilities include project solicitation and management.

Dr. Wu covered the following topics: (i) the current job market for new Ph.D. graduates in economics; (ii) potential job opportunities; (iii) differences between working in academia and in industry; (iv) how graduate students can prepare for the job market; and (v) her experience. After the lecture, Dr. Wu answered questions from graduate students.

The Economic & Social Rights Research Group (ESRG) of the UConn Human Rights Institute will be hosting its annual workshop this Saturday. This year’s theme is to investigate the status of each economic right. Lead by Prof. Minkler as well as Prof. Hertel from Political Sciences, the members of the group and its associates will meet in Room 304B of the Student Union all day with an agenda comprising 18 presentation. The department contributes three, with Prof. Randolph on the right to food, Adjunct Prof. Derek Johnson on the right to education and Prof. Zimmermann on the right to social security.

The current chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke will be on campus to speak about his career during the Association of Graduate Economics Students (AGES) “Life after UConn” event. This event invites graduates to speak about their experience after leaving the campus. While Bernanke is not a UConn graduate, he attended some Summer classes on the Stamford campus during his undergraduate studies.

“Life after UConn” will take place this Friday at noon, in room 339 of the Monteith Building.

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