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Professor Paul Hallwood will have a paper published in Defence and Peace Economics entitled “Quantifying Greed and Grievance in Civil Wars: The American War of Independence”.  A strand in the political science literature asks ‘why do civil wars happen’? With blood diamonds in mind one possibility is greed; but in many other cases civil wars are provoked by grievances against the central power – Chechnya and Kosovo come to mind.  Hallwood collects data on the cost of British Empire membership and war costs to the American colonists and passes them through his economic model to find that the Americans were over-whelmingly motivated by grievance. In over 200-years of scholarship, while some historians argue as much, others emphasize the greed hypothesis, to be rid of the economic burdens of colonial status. As one historian observed a generation ago, the debate raged on because of a lack of a scientific model to settle the dispute.  Hallwood offers such a model.

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Professor Stephen Ross attended the advisory council meeting for the 2010 Housing Discrimination Study at the Urban Institute on Nov 16th.  The 2010 Housing Discrimination Study is a nationwide effort to measure the level of racial and ethnic discrimination in U.S. metropolitan areas using pairs of testers sent to the same real estate or rental agency.  Professor Ross was the research director for the 2000 Housing Discrimination Study and has been a key advisor on the new study since its inception.  For more details on the 2010 study, see http://www.huduser.org/portal/about/trans_init.html.

On Friday, November 16, the Economics Department welcomed back an illustrious alumnus as a speaker in the department’s weekly seminar series.  Jeffrey Milyo ’86, Middlebush Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Missouri, spoke on “Campaign Finance Reform and the ‘Actuality and Appearance’ of Corruption.”

Milyo graduated from UConn as an Honors and University Scholar, which allowed him to receive the B.A. and M.A. in Economics simultaneously.  He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford, and went on to positions at Tufts and the University of Chicago before coming to Missouri. 

Using differences in campaign-finance laws among U. S. states as a natural experiment, Milyo’s seminar paper tested empirically the effect of campaign-finance reform on corruption in government.  His conclusion is that campaign finance reform has no discernible effect on levels of corruption.

Professor Nishith Prakash was recently invited to join the Editorial Board of Economies. Economies is a newly formed international scientific open access journal of development economics. In addition to reviewing manuscripts, Professor Prakash will be given the opportunity to edit a special issue on a topic closely related to his research.

Prof. Oskar Harmon co-presented with Professor Steven Park at the Uconn Institute of Teaching and Learning’s lunchtime workshop “Mobile Learn for Students” on Nov. 6 2012.  The seminars provide an opportunity to gather with colleagues to listen, discuss, comment, interact, and reflect on a number of topics. Prof. Harmon is part of the Fall 2012 Mobile Learn pilot  project exploring the capabilities of the mobile App for BlackBoard Next Generation.  At the workshop Prof. Harmon discussed  his experience with creating tests, announcements, and multimedia course content for mobile devices.