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cover_Winter2013[1]From growing unemployment to a growing state budget shortfall, Connecticut’s economy remains tepid at best. In a hunt for possible sources of job growth in the Nutmeg State, the Winter 2013 issue of The Connecticut Economy: A University of Connecticut Quarterly Review, introduces a new report card on the state’s manufacturing sector and examines the sector’s potential to become a catalyst for future economic growth. The guest commentary from UConn alum Bob Luther, founder and CEO of Lex Products Corporation (a maker of electrical and distribution systems), offers suggestions for turning challenging economic times into opportunities for manufacturing success in Connecticut. Quarterly editors also assess the impact of both private and public employment on economic output and offer a short primer on the economics of seized property connected with illegal activity.

Editors of The Connecticut Economy presented their findings on Wednesday, December 12, 2013 at Lex Products Corporation. After the briefing, attendees toured Lex’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and discussed recent economic developments and ongoing challenges over lunch.  Lex is The Connecticut Economy’s newest sustaining partner

Though Connecticut slowed its rate of job loss in 2013-Q3, it may have to wait until the second half of 2013 to begin notching significant employment gains, according to the latest Quarterly forecast.  And this dour outlook assumes the state, along with the nation, avoids the dreaded fiscal cliff.  If not, Connecticut could lose another 20,000 jobs or more, erasing all the progress it’s made in the recovery to date, before growth resumes in 2014.

Although manufacturing in the Nutmeg state isn’t the jobs engine it once was, reports of its demise – like the premature obituaries of Mark Twain – are greatly exaggerated. Steven Lanza, the Quarterly’s executive editor, developed a new report card of manufacturing activity.  Ranking 6th out of 50 states, Connecticut manufacturers show that they remain a vital part of the state’s economic present and promise to play a key role in its future.

There’s still a wide divergence of opinion over the “right” level of public employment. It’s no coincidence that health care, education and prisons are among the most controversial topics in the ongoing debate about government’s appropriate role in the economy. Quarterly co-editor Dennis Heffley combs through years of cross-state data to weigh the relative contribution of public and private employment to economic output.

Under federal and state laws, property connected with illegal activity can be forfeited to the government.  Seized assets now provide a significant source of funding for local governments in Connecticut, says Derek M. Johnson, a lecturer in UConn’s Department of Economics. In 2003, for example, the state reported $2.6 million in receipts from drug asset forfeitures. Johnson’s article examines how forfeiture rules can distort police activities by encouraging officials to maximize forfeiture proceeds at the expense of other law enforcement objectives.

In other articles and features, the Quarterly reports the latest data and forecasts of jobs, unemployment, housing prices and permits for the four largest market areas in the state, provides tables, charts and commentary on labor market activity, and maps the concentration of manufacturing by town across the state in 2011.

The Connecticut Economy is published quarterly by UConn’s Department of Economics.  For free access to this and other issues of the publication, dating back to 1993, visit:


On Friday, December 14, the Economics Department held its annual Holiday Party for faculty, staff, students, and their families. Over 70 people joined us as we celebrated the end of the semester and the beginning of the holiday season.


Thanks to everyone who participated in this event. We want to wish everyone a fulfilling and restful holiday. 


The National Bureau of Economic Research has released a new working paper (18618), “Consolodating the Evidence on Income Mobility in the Western States of Germany and the U.S. from 1984-2006”, written by Gulgun Bayaz-Ozturk, Richard Burkhauser, and Kenneth Couch.  The paper examines long-term changes in economic mobility in the western states of Germany before and after reunification and finds that it has declined significantly.  The analysis also shows that economic mobility in terms of household-size adjusted income did not change over the same period in the United States.  The research provides the first evidence of a change in the rate of economic mobility within a society over time.   

Gulgun Bayaz-Ozturk received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Connecticut and is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the CUNY School of Public Health, Richard Burkhauser is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University, and Kenneth Couch is a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut.

glassAlumni, faculty, and job market candidates in San Diego for the ASSA meeting-

We will be hosting a UConn reception on Saturday, January 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Manchester Grand Hyatt-Randle D. This information on this reception will be published in the Daily Events calendar of the meeting, in case you forget the details.

See you there!

prak[1]Professor Nishith Prakash was recently awarded a Faculty Large Grant by the Office of the Vice President for Research for his proposal entitled Affirmative Action, Public Service Delivery and Well-Being in India. Below please find the abstract for this project.

The world’s biggest and arguably most aggressive form of affirmative action policy in employment exists in India, where government jobs are explicitly reserved for historically disadvantaged minority groups. In this research project, we aim to study the impact of employment quotas for “Other Backward Classes” (OBCs) mandated by the Mandal Commission on public service delivery and well-being. The Mandal Commission reserved approximately 27% of government jobs for OBCs. The specific outcomes we examine include implementation of government sponsored schemes, provision of public infrastructure, mobility, and education, health and employment outcomes. We are not aware of any existing study that rigorously quantifies the effects of any aspect of the Mandal Commission.

whuslogo[1]One of Connecticut’s National Public Radio stations, WSHU, launched a program Thursday November 28th called the “State of Disparity.” The program focuses on inequality in Connecticut.  The research of Professor Susan Randolph, Emeritus Professor William Lott, and Ph.D. candidate Patrick Flaherty provided background information for the program, some of which was published in The Connecticut EconomyBoth Professor Randolph and Patrick Flaherty and were interviewed by Craig LeMoult. 

The launch of the program along with some sound clips from the interview can be heard on Morning Edition (See November 28th entry) can be found at the website devoted to the program: .  

Click below to see the two articles from The Connecticut Economy that provided background to the program.

What Drives Income Inequality Among Connecticut’s Families?

Nutmeg Haves and Have Nots: How Wide the Divide?

The National Climate Assessment, which is conducted every four years and submitted to the President and Congress, provides an assessment of the state of knowledge about climate change and its impacts in the U.S.  The report was mandated by the 1990 Global Change Research Act.  The first assessment was produced in 2000, and the next one is due to be released in 2013.  By statute, before release, it must be reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences.  NAS has recently put together the panel that will review the report.  The 23-member panel is comprised of scholars from across the country in a wide range of fields.  Professor Kathleen Segerson has been appointed as a panel member.  As part of her appointment, she will be responsible for providing comments and feedback on the draft report to the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program, which is responsible for preparing the report.  After the review process is completed, the final report will be available to the public at