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Bill Lott will become Interim Head of the Department of Economics as of July 1, 2009. Dennis Heffley (IDEAS), who has served as Department Head for the past four years, recently announced that he would be stepping down from the position on June 30th and returning to full-time teaching and research. Jeremy Teitelbaum, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, subsequently announced that he would be appointing an Interim Head until a full search could take place.

Professor Lott is the Department’s senior member, having just completed his 40th year of service at UConn. Bill completed his PhD at North Carolina State University under the tutelage of prominent econometrician T. Dudley
Wallace, who later joined the Economics faculty at Duke. Lott regularly teaches Econometrics at the graduate level, as well as undergraduate courses in Mathematical Economics, Information Technology for Economists, and
Money & Banking. He and his colleague, Susan Randolph, have recently teamed up to conduct an analysis of the dispersion and growth of income inequality in Connecticut (see pdf). A follow-up paper on this subject is scheduled to appear in the Summer 2009 issue of The Connecticut Economy.


James Boudreau (IDEAS) defended his dissertation on Friday, May 1st 2009, the title of which is “Essays on the Analysis and Implications of Two-Sided Matching Markets.” In his work, performed with adviser Vicki Knoblauch (IDEAS), he uses both theory and simulation techniques to investigate the functioning of matching markets. These are markets such as the marriage market or the labor market in which partnerships are typically intended as long-term, so participants are especially concerned with who they end up with. His contributions include results on how preference characteristics can help or hinder both centralized and decentralized matching mechanisms, and how individual incentives in matching markets can influence macroeconomic phenomena such as unemployment and growth.

James, a Connecticut native, has been a UConn student since the Fall of 1999, receiving his BA, MA, and now his PhD in economics. During his PhD studies he has also been an instructor, teaching classes in both microeconomics and macroeconomics at the introductory and intermediate levels.

Unfortunately for us, James’ time at UConn has finally ended, but fortunately for him his experience with the world of economics has only just begun. Next Fall James will begin a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Texas Pan American. We wish him all the best.

From PRNewswire:

3SBio Inc. (NASDAQ:SSRX), a leading biotechnology company focused on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing biopharmaceutical products primarily in China, today announced that it has appointed Mr. Bo Tan as Chief Financial Officer, effective February 1, 2009. Since joining 3SBio in October 2008, Mr. Tan has been acting as the financial advisor for the company, providing advice on the company’s capital market initiatives and overseeing the company’s treasury functions.

Dr. Jing Lou, Chief Executive Officer of 3SBio, commented, “I am delighted to name Bo as our CFO, given both his recent contributions to 3SBio as financial advisor and the broad wealth of experience he brings, as reflected by his previous roles in the financial services industry and pharmaceutical industry. I strongly believe that his skills and experience will further benefit our company during an important time of our development.”

Mr. Tan, 36, has extensive experience within the financial and pharmaceutical industries, having worked across private equity, equity research and commercial practice. Previously, he has served as the Executive Director and a member of Investment Committee for Bohai Industrial Fund Management Company, a private equity fund in China. Earlier in his career, he spent six years in the pharmaceutical industry with Eli Lilly & Company and EMD Pharmaceuticals, Inc in North America and went on to serve as a China healthcare and consumer analyst at Lehman Brothers Asia and Macquarie Securities in Hong Kong.

Mr. Tan received his MBA degree from Thunderbird School of International Management, an MA degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and a BA degree in economics from Renmin University of China. Mr. Tan is also a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst).

Working papers are, at least in Economics, the best way to let others know about your research. These pre-publications have been shown to be more read and to lead to more citations than works that only appear as articles, and this despite the lack of peer-review in most working paper series. The UConn Economics Department is now giving its alumni the opportunity to pre-publish their recent works in the “UConn Economics Alumni Working Paper” series. These working papers get a special cover and are indexed in RePEc and thus disseminated through the various RePEc services and then further picked up by other services like Google Scholar.

For interested alumni, the procedure is the following. Send to your adviser or to Christian Zimmermann a single PDF file of your paper. The message should contain title, abstract, JEL codes and keywords. The actual text (the introduction) should start on a fresh page. All tables, figures and appendices, if any, should be contained within the same PDF file. If approved, your adviser will then forward your message to the working paper coordinator who will post your paper.

Professor Kathleen Segerson (IDEAS) has been invited to serve a 3-year term on the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. The National Research Council is the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Its mission is to improve government decision making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in matters involving science, engineering, technology, and health. The NRC commissions and publishes major reports on topics of broad interest, which are written by panels of experts in related fields. The BANR is the major program unit of the NRC responsible for organizing and overseeing studies on issues of agricultural production and related matters of natural resource development, including forestry, fisheries, wildlife, and land and water use. The Board is responsible for planning new studies, conducting oversight on projects carried out by its subsidiary committees, and making an annual appraisal of accomplishment and potential new initiatives.

Prof. Segerson was also recently inducted as the Philip E. Austin Chair of Economics. For pictures of the ceremony, see here

The currently very high popularity of the Economics BA was at full display during the graduation ceremonies last weekend in Storrs. No less than 213 majors from our department obtained their sheepskin. In addition, 6 MA and 3 PhD students graduated. This class may be one of the largest ever. But even if this is a record, it will not last, as there will not be December commencements anymore. With currently about 800 declared majors in Economics, the program ranks third at UConn and is bound to produce even larger graduating classes.

Dhammika Dharmapala (IDEAS) recently published a chapter in a book on tax policy lessons from the 2000s, edited by Alan Viard at the American Enterprise Institute.

In his chapter, Dharmapala finds that the 2003 dividend tax cut triggered a large and immediate increase in dividend payments by firms. The biggest increases occurred in firms whose stockholders were most affected by the tax cut. Dharmapala documents an investment shift following the cut, in which Americans moved their investments out of foreign firms whose dividends did not qualify for the cut and into foreign firms whose dividends did qualify. He concludes that the shareholder-level approach taken by the reform “may be less effective in a financially integrated world economy than measures directed specifically at U.S. firms.”

Additional information about this book is available at the American Enterprise Institute.

The RePEc Author Service, managed by Prof. Christian Zimmermann (IDEAS) and, since 2005, hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn, has reached a major milestone with its 20,000th registered author. This service allows economists to create an online profile of their works to be used by other services such as IDEAS (also hosted by CLAS). It also allows authors to obtain monthly updates on the online popularity and newly discovered citations of their works.

To put things in perspective, the largest association in economics is the American Economic Association, which has 18,000 members, including many outside the United States. The RePEc Author Service has authors in all US states and 119 countries.