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The panel discussion held on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 was featured in articles on UConn Today and in the Daily Campus.  Professors Carstensen, Lanza, Minkler, Ross, and Wright led a discussion (moderated by Department Head Metin Cosgel) about the state of the U.S. economy and possible improvements.

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.

Jeremy Teitelbaum, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), has announced that Prof. Metin Cosgel has been named head of the department of Economics, starting July 1, 2010. He says:

Professor Cosgel has been a member of the CLAS faculty since Fall of 1989. He has written extensively on the political economy of religion and has an ongoing project to study the economic history of the Ottoman Empire. In 2007, he received the Barkan Article Prize for the best article in the field of Ottoman and Turkish Studies awarded by the Turkish Studies Association. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journal “Economic History of Developing Regions” and is a CLAS representative to the Provost’s International Executive Council.

Professors Metin Coşgel and Thomas Miceli have recently published an article titled “State and Religion.” The paper develops a theoretical and empirical analysis of the historical relationship between government and religion. The authors argue that an important function of religion throughout history has been to help legitimize the state, thereby reducing both its cost of tax collection and its susceptibility to being overthrown by popular revolt. In this sense, the model is an effort to formalize Marx’s famous dictum that religion serves as “an opiate of the masses.” The model also tries to explain why some regimes, notably communist, have tried to suppress religion. If the actions of the state are contrary to religious doctrine, for example, the state may find it necessary to suppress practice of that religion in order to maintain power. The paper uses a rich set of cross-country data on the relationship between religion and state, as well as examples drawn from history, to evaluate the predictions of the model.

This article, which was published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Comparative Economics (UConn working paper version), is part of a larger research agenda that Professors Cosgel and Miceli have recently embarked upon that seeks to examine the interaction of religious, political, and legal institutions from an economic perspective.

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