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Shalini Mitra recently defended her PhD dissertation titled, “Essays on the Volatility of Borrowing Constrained Economies” under the supervision of Professor Christian Zimmermann

Her dissertation tries to explain using different channels the increasing firm level volatility even in the presence of lower and decreasing aggregate volatility as seen during the period of the Great Moderation. She specifically looks at financial development and organization specific capital in explaining recent trends in aggregate and firm level volatilities. She also studies the role of an informal sector, which is relatively more borrowing constrained, on the macroeconomy. Her findings suggest that financial development as well as firm specific investments are associated with higher and increasing volatility at the firm level and non-increasing volatility at the aggregate with the divergence being more pronounced in the later case. She also finds that a more borrowing constrained informal sector has little effect on economic volatility.

Shalini starts her tenure-track position on February 1, 2012 and is relocating to Liverpool, England.


Economics undergraduate student Yuriy Loukachev has been selected to receive a 2012 SHARE (Social Science, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience) Award for undergraduate research. Yuriy will be studying the economic theory of auctions with Professor Mike Shor in the Spring of 2012. He will receive a stipend from the Office of Undergraduate Research, and will present the results of his research at a poster exhibition to be held in the Spring of 2012.

Congratulations Yuriy!

On Tuesday, December 7, Prof. Carstensen hosted more than a dozen foreign journalists at the request of the U.S. Department of State.  The journalists represented China, Bosnia, Germany, Switzerland, France, Sweden, and a slew of other countries.  Prof. Carstensen provided an overview of Connecticut’s economic performance and the new initiatives the Governor has implemented; he highlighted the importance of the Biosciences Connecticut development and the commitment of Jackson Labs to developing a major research facility in Farmington at UCHC.  Prof. Carstensen also discussed the current national economic situation and the complex situation with the euro narrowly and European economic health broadly.

Among those participating, was a film crew from Swedish television.  At the end of the lively discussion with the foreign journalists, the Swedish crew filmed a five minute interview with Prof. Carstensen, which was sent to Sweden for inclusion in a national news program.

 The Connecticut Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA, formerly CCEF) has asked CCEA to help developing a grant proposal for the Department of Energy (DoE) Sunshot Grant Program.  The objective of the grant is to provide tools and strategies to reduce the non-hardware costs of solar photovoltaic systems, and it is meant to be developed as a multi-phase multi-disciplinary program. The proposal involves a very broad cooperation with private entities and other institutions, among which CEFIA itself and Yale University.

CCEA with the support Prof. Willig (CESE) has recruited and will work along with the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) and the Dept. of Geography. UConn participants will be Prof. Fred Carstensen (CCEA, Director), Prof. Daniel Civco (CLEAR, Dirctor), Prof. Jeffrey Osleeb (Dept. Geography, Head) and Prof. Chuanrong Zhang (Geography). The proposal was one of the winners, and UConn has a proposed budget of about $149,000 for the first year, with additional $169,000 for Phase II, which will take place over two years.