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sealPatrick Adams, a freshman enrolled in the UConn Honors Program, has been named a Holster Scholar after taking part in a highly competitive application process. The Holster Scholars First Year Program is an opportunity for talented first year students to jump-start their academic careers by proposing a research project in the spring of their freshman year and carrying out the project over the summer. Patrick Adams has chosen 2-sided matching as the topic for his summer project and will be working under the guidance of his faculty mentor, Professor Vicki Knoblauch.

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Professor Vicki Knoblauch has been named an associate editor of the Economics Bulletin, an open access journal that provides extremely rapid scientific communication among research economists by publishing short, peer-reviewed papers using an accelerated review process. She has assumed responsibility for submissions in the area of collective decision making.

On April 1, the department convened for an awards banquet that recognized the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty. This year’s award recipients were:

Omicron Delta Epsilon inductees:
Christopher Barrows Wagner
Christopher Basil
Anthony DeMaio
Tyler Gold
Adam Heidbreder
Christopher Martin
Christopher Miller
Nicole Myers
Daniel Peacock
Lukas Sosnow
Stephen Stephanou
Spencer Swan
Ryan Zuskowski

Undergraduate awards
Louis D. Traurig Scholarship
Lucia Caldari
Mark Connolly
Yixian Lai
Alex Upton

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize
Alexander Bansak
Kevin Landry

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship
Connor Grant
Michael Gurdjian
Thomas Knecht
Daniel Peacock
Brooke Smith
Kristina Sowin
Christopher Waldo
Gang Yin

Abraham Ribicoff Scholarship
Joseph Antelmi
Michael Bokoff
Philip Gorecki
William Kimball

Economics Department Scholarship
Alex Upton

Graduate awards
W. Harrison Carter Award
Lei Chen

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship
Maroula Khraiche

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship
Michael Stone

Economics Department Graduate Fellowship
Elizabeth Kaletski
Lisi Shi
Robert Szarka
Wei Wang
Yuan Wang

Ross D. MacKinnon Graduate Fellowship
Leshui He

CLAS Dean’s Fund Graduate Fellowship
Matthiew Burnside
Maroula Khraiche
Xiaoming Li
Michael Stone

Faculty Awards
Grillo Family Research Award
Vicky Knoblauch

Grillo Family Teaching Award
Delia Furtado

Congratulations to all recipients!

Recent graduate James Boudreau, advised by Vicki Knoblauch, will publish the paper “Stratification and Growth in Agent-Based Matching Markets” in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. The relationship between economic mobility and growth has long been a focus of economists’ attention, and James’ paper contributes to that literature by emphasizing the dynamic impacts of two-sided matching.

The model economy in the paper features heterogeneous agents that compete in an intergenerational match game for employment. Agents known as workers make productivity-enhancing investments, using their endowed wealth to add to pre-existing ability levels as they compete to match with other agents known as firms. A novel feature of the model is its use of the market’s matching process as an evolutionary fitness selection mechanism. Workers that are unable to find a match drop out of the population and thus do not contribute to current or future productive capacity. Those that do match are able to pass on their attributes, but in a manner that is not fully deterministic. Because of the stochastic element to inheritance, results are arrived at by way of agent-based simulations. Even with perfect information and substantial variety in both offspring and entrants, two-sided matching inevitably causes the population to evolve into stratified groups. Corrective measures are possible to improve mobility, but by altering the path of market evolution, a policy may have unintended impacts on growth and inequality.

Prof. Knoblauch (IDEAS) has had a lot of success recently in publishing articles in economic theory. She has been working in two main areas. One is concerned with increasing our understanding of consumer and voter preferences. “Recognizing One-Dimensional Euclidean Preferences,” forthcoming in the Journal of Mathematical Economics, shows how to determine whether voters’ preferences over candidates were formed on the basis of a single issue when the preferences themselves are the only information available. “Binary Relations: Finite Characterizations and Computational Complexity,” published in Theory and Decision, defines a category of easy-to-implement techniques for studying consumer preferences.

Her other area of study concerns the design of mechanisms that combine individual preferences into a collective choice. “Three-Agent Peer Evaluations,” forthcoming in Economics Letters, is an investigation into the recent surprising discovery that no rule that divides a profit fairly among three partners based on reports they submit can respect those reports when they agree. “Marriage Matching and Gender Satisfaction,” published in Social Choice and Welfare, is, among a vast literature on the subject of marriage matching, one of only a handful that has made progress in determining men’s and women’s satisfaction with the outcome of the best-known matching algorithm.

Recent graduate Rimvydas Baltaduonis (IDEAS), advised by Vicki Knoblauch (IDEAS), is finishing up his post-doc fellowship at the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University where he worked with a world renowned team of experimental economists including a 2002 Nobel laureate in economics Vernon L. Smith (IDEAS). In August, Rim will begin a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. During last two years as a post-doc fellow at George Mason University and then at Chapman University, Rim continued his research of electric power markets and helped organizing numerous workshops in experimental economics for graduate, undergraduate and high school students, public utility regulators, businessmen, faculty and high school teachers. He conducted workshops in Virginia, California, Colorado, Guatemala and recently in Lithuania. These workshops in experimental economics are designed to promote research, teaching and learning of economics through laboratory experiments. Before Rim assumes his position at Gettysburg this fall, he will spend summer (actually winter!) months as a Visiting Fellow in Experimental Economics at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Recent graduate Nicholas Shunda (IDEAS), advised by Vicki Knoblauch (IDEAS), will publish the paper “Auctions with a Buy Price: The Case of Reference-Dependent Preferences” in the journal Games and Economic Behavior. The paper contributes to a theoretical literature on rationales for the hybrid selling mechanism known as an auction with a buy price. In an auction with a buy price, a seller provides bidders with an option to forgo the auction and transact at a fixed price. The most well-known example of an auction with a buy price is eBay’s “Buy-It-Now” feature. The paper demonstrates that sellers can enhance revenues by adding a buy price to their auctions if bidders evaluate auction and purchase outcomes on the bases of surplus and comparison to a reference point depending upon the auction’s reserve and buy price. In contrast to alternative explanations for auctions with buy prices, such as risk aversion and impatience, which predict bidding behavior that is independent of the auction’s parameters, bidders with reference-dependent preferences submit bids that vary directly with the existence and size of the auction’s reserve and buy prices, behavior extensively documented in laboratory and field experimental auctions.

James Boudreau (IDEAS) defended his dissertation on Friday, May 1st 2009, the title of which is “Essays on the Analysis and Implications of Two-Sided Matching Markets.” In his work, performed with adviser Vicki Knoblauch (IDEAS), he uses both theory and simulation techniques to investigate the functioning of matching markets. These are markets such as the marriage market or the labor market in which partnerships are typically intended as long-term, so participants are especially concerned with who they end up with. His contributions include results on how preference characteristics can help or hinder both centralized and decentralized matching mechanisms, and how individual incentives in matching markets can influence macroeconomic phenomena such as unemployment and growth.

James, a Connecticut native, has been a UConn student since the Fall of 1999, receiving his BA, MA, and now his PhD in economics. During his PhD studies he has also been an instructor, teaching classes in both microeconomics and macroeconomics at the introductory and intermediate levels.

Unfortunately for us, James’ time at UConn has finally ended, but fortunately for him his experience with the world of economics has only just begun. Next Fall James will begin a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Texas Pan American. We wish him all the best.