You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2010.

Tristan Couvares, a 2008 Economics B.A., was recently the main subject of a new reality show, ControlTV. He is followed all day, as usual for a reality show, but viewers can influence what he is to do during the day through online votes.

ControlTV is created by Seth Green and Matt Senreich, who are also involved in other ventures such as Robot Chicken.


Prof. Zimmermann has recently been elected a senior fellow of the Rimini Center for Economic Analysis (RCEA), a private, non-profit international organization dedicated to independent research in Applied Economics, Theoretical Economics and related fields. It is located in Rimini (Italy) where some of the founding trustees and scholars have special ties. The RCEA is the outcome of collaboration between Canadian economists, Italian economists and a group of eminent trustees from academia, banking, government and industry. Research at the RCEA is conducted to enlighten scientific and public debate on economic issues, and not to advance any economic, political and social agenda. The RCEA scholars are drawn from Canada, Italy and other countries, have experience in academia and/or government and may hold different points of view on economic, political and social issues.

Prof. Zimmermann is already a research fellow at the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn (Germany) and a research network fellow at CESifo in Munich (Germany).

Tao Chen: (Advisor: Tripathi)
My research on econometrics is both theoretical and applied. The theoretical part focuses mainly on microeconometrics and functional data analysis. The applied work is within the fields of labor and urban economics.

Paramita Dhar (Advisor: Ross)
My dissertation examines two different questions about housing and location choice. In the first essay, I apply a difference-in-difference model to capture the causal effect of school quality on house prices by looking at houses located on school district boundaries in Connecticut. The rest of the dissertation deals with detailed spatial analysis of the nature of housing discrimination in the context of multiple minority groups in Los-Angeles using Housing Discrimination Study (2000).

Leshui He (Advisor: Langlois)
My dissertation departs from the standard property rights theory of the firm of Grossman, Hart and Moore and develops the interaction between the ownership of the firm and the ownership of the alienable assets. By defining the ownership of the firm following Alchian and Demsetz (1972), I create a theoretical framework allowing for independent allocations of the two ownership rights. Then I move on and utilize the multi-tasking agent model under this framework to run a level horse race among four alternative organizational forms. The model sheds lights on conditions under which human-capital owned firms can be optimal, and offers tentative explanations to the fact that firms usually collectively own alienable assets.

Nicoleta Iliescu (Advisor: Matschke)
In my job market paper (“US Lobby Activity and Antidumping Outcomes”), I investigate the impact of lobbying on the antidumping practices in the US. Currently, antidumping is the most heavily used temporary tariff measure both worldwide and in the US. Thus, it becomes an appropriate avenue of studying how political pressure shapes the level of protection some domestic industries receive. The empirical results I derive in the paper reinforce the hypothesis that the political clout plays an important role in granting trade protection through antidumping duties.

Nick Jolly (Advisor: Couch)
My dissertation focuses on the consequences of job displacement.  The first paper from my dissertation, which was published in Research on Aging, shows that displaced workers experience larger earnings losses if they are older at the time of job loss.  The second paper examines how earnings losses vary over different phases of the business cycle; the final paper examines how this type of involuntary job loss influences the inter-temporal movement of workers throughout the earnings and income distributions.

Steve Kuchta (Advisor: Miceli)
My dissertation examines the role patent term restoration plays in incentivizing pharmaceutical development and clinical trials behavior. The unique position of pharmaceuticals, who must spend portions of their patent term achieving regulatory approval, forces the effective patent life to balance more interests relative to the standard patenting story. A law and economics approach is utilized to expose the competing dynamics and thereby to provide theoretical foundations for the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act. The modeling also informs current policy discussion regarding adding exclusivity protection to patent protection in the emergent biopharmaceutical industry.

Xiaoming Li (Advisor: Ross)
My dissertation examines the dynamics in the housing and mortgage markets. Specifically I attempt to identify the “true state dependence” from the “spurious state dependence”. In the first essay, I specify a linear probability model to test the neighborhood information externalities in mortgage underwriting. In the second essay, I propose an analytically bias-corrected fixed effects estimator that is robust to the incidental parameters bias for panel fractional response models. In the third essay, I apply the proposed bias-corrected estimator to empirically examine the impact of local housing markets on neighborhood mortgage underwriting.

Shalini Mitra (Advisor: Zimmermann)
My dissertation examines the channels through which volatility of key variables like output, employment, investment and consumption is affected – both at the firm and the aggregate level and their implications. I specifically consider degree of financial development of a nation, research and development expenditure of firms, and the presence of an informal sector.

Zinnia Mukherjee (Advisor: Segerson)
My research is in applied microeconomics. My dissertation essays deal with the design and evaluation of conservation policies, with a specific focus on protection of endangered species. In particular, the three essays analyze (i) the effectiveness of voluntary approaches and the role of background regulatory threat in mitigating stochastic bycatch, (ii) the welfare effects of unilateral bycatch policies in an open economy, and, (iii) the economic impact of the TED regulation (a major U.S. bycatch regulation) on the U.S. shrimp industry. Post dissertation, my research projects include (i) studying the spatial and temporal effects of marine hypoxia on Long Island Sound harvest and fishers’ behavioral responses to the phenomenon, (ii) analyzing the effect of political ideology on state level income inequality for U.S. states, and, (iii) examining the role of U.S. state laws on sexual crime and crime location choice of repeat offenders.

Michael Stone (Advisor: Miceli)
I present a theory which extends the traditional economic model of punitive damages by incorporating litigation costs. Incorporating litigation costs into the model provides a possible justification for punitive damage caps. At the optimum, caps balance deterrence against the cost of litigation. Empirical testing of the model is performed via Cox proportional and parametric hazard analyses, using a panel dataset from 1981 to 2007. The empirical results reveal a positive relationship between judicial and legal expenditures (a proxy for legal costs) and cap enactment, and a negative relationship between state GSP (a proxy for damages) and cap enactment. Cap enactment is also influenced by political ideology.

Parag Waknis (Advisor: Zimmermann)
In my dissertation, I explore the nature of optimal monetary policy under a Leviathan monetary authority. Such a monetary authority is a reality wherever governments rely heavily on seigniorage. In a model based on Lagos and Wright (2005), I characterize a Markov perfect equilibrium as well as equilibrium under reputational concerns for such monetary authority. While, there are multiple equilibriums in general, under certain conditions we can narrow down the set of equilibriums to one and show that it is characterized by higher inflation. I then add one more Leviathan central bank to the model to see if adding a competitive element implies a lower rate of inflation in equilibrium. I plan to use the insights from these models to analyze sub-national spending in developing countries like India. Understanding the policies of such central banks or governments is critical given today’s interdependent global policy environment.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco announces a call for papers for a conference that will explore how job loss, the onset of health limitations, and changes in household structure affect individual and household well-being over the life course. Proceedings of the conference, as well as discussions from invited discussants, will be published by Stanford University Press as a book edited by Kenneth Couch, University of Connecticut, Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Julie Zissimopoulos, RAND.

The goal of the conference and the subsequent book will be to provide a systematic empirical analysis of the incidence of these life course shocks and their impact on economic and non-economic welfare of individuals and households. To facilitate a cohesive discussion and book the Editors have agreed on four areas of analysis that will be commonly addressed for each of the three identified life events: job loss, disability, and changes in family structure.

For more details, see the call for papers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco