You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.

Professor Prakash will spend two months this summer in England, working with the London School of Economics and Political Science and University College London.

From June 18 through July 30, Professor Prakash will be an Academic Visitor at the Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme at the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

During that time (June 25-29), Professor Prakash will be giving a seminar at the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London.


Professor Harmon was one of 16 invited participants to the Spring Workshop of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics, at Carleton College, MN (March 25-27, 2012).

Starting Point is an NSF funded project that seeks to introduce economists to pedagogical innovations developed witnin and beyond the discipline of economics. The project develops research based instructional strategies to promote student learning in economics. 

The Workshop participants spent an intensive 3 days planning, writing, reviewing, and editing instructional modules. The goal of the project is to create an online open source database of  classroom-tested examples for instructors of core undergraduate economics courses.  Harmon, a new convert of the project, believes it is visionary and in time will become an often consulted, and often used resource.  Both for graduate-student instructors looking for teaching ideas, and to experienced instructors looking for new ideas to try out in their classroom. To read more about the Starting Point Project, click here. To view the current inventory of examples click here.

Professor Mike Shor, PI on an NIH grant examining choice overload, has had the results of his research published by two economics journals. Along with his co-investigators (Tibor Besedes, Cary Deck, and Sudipta Sarangi), Professor Shor finds that people faced with too many choices often have difficulty discerning the right choice, contrary to classic economic theory. Seniors are especially vulnerable to poor decision-making when facing a multitude of options, such as critical decisions relating to health care. The main results are forthcoming in the Review of Economics and Statistics. An examination of why seniors, specifically, make poor decisions appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. The authors find that poor performance among seniors is not for lack of trying, but due to seniors’ use of sub-optimal decision rules to reduce the number of choices down to a manageable level.

The International Growth Center currently funds a project by Professor Nishith Prakash, called “Cycling to School: Increasing High School Girl’s Enrollment in Bihar.”  The aim of this project is to estimate the impact of “Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojna,” policy experiment by the government of Bihar on girls’ educational outcomes.  There are very few empirical studies in India on the impact of a conditional cash transfer on school participation.  This project will measure the impact of the program on enrollment, drop-out, attendance, and school progression of adolescent girls.  The project has been cited in the media, including Times of India, and the Hindustan Time. Below is a write-up from the IGC.

The “Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojna” (Chief Minister’s Bicycle Program for secondary school girls) has been one of the flagship programs of the Govt. of Bihar in the past 5 years to improve secondary school enrollment among girls. The objective of this research work is to estimate the impact of this policy experiment on girl’s educational outcomes.

Improving female education directly contributes to inclusive growth through both (a) the direct channel of improved human capital of female participants in the labour force, and (b) the indirect channel of improved human capital of the next generation (several studies have shown high-levels of inter-generational transmission of human capital from mothers to children). It would also contribute to “inclusive” growth by allowing traditionally disadvantaged groups (women) to participate more directly in the growth of the Indian economy through increased employment opportunities, by improving their intra-household bargaining position, and by providing them the ‘capabilities’ (in Amartya Sen’s terminology) to live more meaningful lives in an increasingly complex world where the returns to education appear to be increasing.

Hence, a fundamental policy question in most developing countries (including India) is to identify cost-effective and scalable policies that improve school attainment of girls (an objective that addresses multiple Millennium Development Goals). While hundreds of schemes are launched as pilots and then discarded when the concerned officer (or government) changes, the bicycle program is one that has caught the imagination of voters as well as political leaders and its high visibility has led to heightened interest in replicating the policy across India.

So far the Government of Bihar has already spent Rs. 174.36 crores on this program in the past 3 years, but there is no reliable estimate of the impact of the program on key outcome variables or any attempt to estimate a social rate of return on this investment. A careful impact evaluation of the bicycle program is therefore a piece of analytical work that can directly feed into the policy discussions in Bihar and across India on whether programs like the “bicycle program” should be scaled up. Specifically, in this project we will measure the impact of the program on enrollment, drop-out, attendance, and school progression of adolescent girls.

Watch the video IGC made on the project.

Read Greg Makiw’s blog about this project here. Greg is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Professor Francis Ahking was interviewed on March 16, 2012 by Harriet Jones, business reporter for WNPR.  Ms. Jones questioned Professor Ahking on his recent piece, “How Free is Connecticut,” published in The Connecticut Economy (Spring 2012).  The interview is scheduled to air on Monday March 19, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.  Stop into the Economics Main Office (345 Monteith) for a copy of the quarterly; Prof. Ahking’s article begins on page 3.

On Thursday, March 8, 2012, students and faculty from the Economics Department and the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department gathered at Willi Bowl for a bowling competition. While it appears no one kept score and there was no official winner, it was of little consequence considering how much fun was had by all.  Approximately 10 students and 1 faculty member represented the Ag Econ department, while 20 students, 5 faculty and 1 staff member represented the Econ department.  AGES, a big promoter of the bowl-off, hopes to organize more events like this in the future.

Professor Minkler working on a strike.

7 lanes!

Kanda Naknoi, currently Assistant Professor of Economics at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, will be joining the Department of Economics in Fall 2012.  As Valedictorian, Kanda received her undergraduate degree from Hitotsubashi University and her M.A. in Economics from University of Tokyo.  In 2004, she completed her Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University.  At Purdue, she has taught Intermediate Macroeconomics at the undergraduate level, undergraduate and graduate courses in International  Monetary Economics, and graduate workshops in Economic Theory and Macroeconomics.  A specialist in macroeconomic aspects of international trade and finance, monetary economics, and economic history, Kanda has published her research in the Journal of Monetary Economics (“Real exchange rate fluctuations, endogenous tradability and exchange rate regimes,” 2008), the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (“The marginal product of capital, capital flows and convergence,” 2010), and several edited volumes published by the European Central Bank (“Exchange rate regimes, international linkages, and the macroeconomic performance of the new member states,” 2005), Cambridge University Press (“Does the exchange rate belong in monetary policy rules: new answers from a DSGE model with endogenous tradability and trade frictions,” 2011), and the Asian Development Bank (“Competition, labor intensity and specialization: structural changes in post-crisis Asia,” forthcoming).  She also has served as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, and as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Asian Development Bank Institute, and the International Monetary Fund.  Kanda frequently serves as a referee for academic journals and on several occasions has reviewed grant proposals to the National Science Foundation.  

We are extremely pleased to welcome her to the Department of Economics and Connecticut.

On February 24, Prof. Richard Langlois delivered a breakfast keynote address, entitled “Design, Institutions, and the Evolution of Platforms,” at George Mason University Law school. The presentation was part of a conference called “The Digital Inventor: How Entrepreneurs Compete on Platforms,” sponsored by the Law School’s Information Economy Project. Other speakers included David Teece from the Haas School of Business at Berkeley and Donald Rosenberg, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Qualcomm. Papers from the conference will appear later this year in a special issue of the Journal of Law, Economics, & Policy.

Prof. Steve Ross is travelling to London for spring break.  He will present “Workplace Agglomeration and Social Network Segregation: Labor Market Returns by Race” at the London School of Economics and “Estimating the effects of friendship networks on health behaviors of adolescents” at the University College London.  He will also take a quick side trip to the Netherlands to present at the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economics Policy Analysis.