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On April 19, the department convened for an awards banquet to recognize the best among undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. This year’s award recipients are:

Omicron Delta Epsilon inductees:
Andrew Feisher
Allyson Rose
David Greenberg
Nicholas Hynd
Matthew LeBel
Kellyn Maher
Emily Seyle
Alison Zielinski

Undergraduate Awards
Louis D. Traurig Scholarship
Diana Cooke
Natalie Cooke
Michael DiMaio
Sritheja Gulukota
Stephen Jablonowski
Lydia Kowinko
Yuriy Loukachev
Benjamin Simmons-Telep

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize
Stephen Jablonowski

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship
Joel Sinofsky
Yuqi Xing

Ross Mayer Scholarship
Michele Carroll
Yuriy Loukachev

Economics Department General Scholarship
Antonio Russo

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship
Diana Cooke

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship
Benjamin Simmons-Telep

Graduate Awards
W. Harrison Carter Award
Jesse Kalinowski

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship
Paul Tomolonis

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Bryce Casavant

Economics Department General Scholarship (for 2013: Recognition for Excellence as a Teaching Assistant)

Rebecca Germino
Eric Gibbons
Matthew Joseph Histen
Tao Song

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship
Bryce Casavant
Elizabeth Kaletski
Zheng Xu
Peijingran Yu
Rong Zhou
Yishu Zhou

Faculty Awards
Grillo Family Research Award
Kenneth Couch

Grillo Family Teaching Award
Susan Randolph

Congratulations to everyone!

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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:   http://www.stateofdisparity.org/ .  

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?

Professor Randolph is featured in an article on the homepage of UConn Today.  You can read more about her work evaluating economic and human rights here.

Professor Susan Randolph and a small group of scholars worked together to create a new SERF index to measure human rights, which has recently generated media coverage. For more information, please see: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2011/0606/A-new-way-to-measure-human-rights-may-revolutionize-global-advocacy . The new index is expected to be used internationally as a barometer for measuring social and economic rights within a country.

The Economic & Social Rights Research Group (ESRG) of the UConn Human Rights Institute will be hosting its annual workshop this Saturday. This year’s theme is to investigate the status of each economic right. Lead by Prof. Minkler as well as Prof. Hertel from Political Sciences, the members of the group and its associates will meet in Room 304B of the Student Union all day with an agenda comprising 18 presentation. The department contributes three, with Prof. Randolph on the right to food, Adjunct Prof. Derek Johnson on the right to education and Prof. Zimmermann on the right to social security.

Today the challenge of economic and social rights fulfillment has never been more pressing. Despite global growth and rising per capita GDP, malnutrition, deaths from preventable disease and other forms of socioeconomic exclusion remain endemic: in 2010, the worst performing countries met less than 40% of their economic and social rights obligations.

Countries are bound under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill economic and social rights—but there are few viable tools to hold States accountable for meeting these human rights obligations. We are therefore pleased to announce the launch of a new website and online database for the Economic & Social Rights Empowerment Initiative.

At the core of the Initiative is the Index of Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment (SERF Index), which allows rigorous analysis regarding economic and social rights guaranteed under international law: the right to adequate food, right to education, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to adequate housing, the right to decent work, and the right to social security. SERF Index innovations permit cross-country comparisons in rights fulfillment, and objective assessment of whether the situation in a country is improving or deteriorating; consider countries’ available resources in determining rights obligations, as required by the legal principle of progressive realization; and provide a methodology to examine disparities in rights fulfillment between population sub-groups. These innovations create a powerful tool for civil society to hold governments accountable for fulfilling rights guaranteed under international law.

Please visit www.serfindex.org to learn more about the Initiative, access SERF Index cross-country data, and read associated research papers. The Economic & Social Rights Empowerment Initiative is a project initiated jointly by Prof. Susan Randolph at the University of Connecticut and her collaborators at the New School, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer, and is undertaken collaboratively with the Social Science Research Council.

Prof. Susan Randolph has been informed that her NSF Grant Proposal, “Economic and Social Rights: Obstacle to Growth or Handmaiden of Growth?” has been rated “highest priority” and will be funded pending final approvals. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer both at New School are co-PIs on the grant. The grant request is for $233,000 and will be implemented over three years. The abstract of the grant appears below.

Countries are bound under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the economic and social rights of their citizens. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) legally obligates countries to fulfill the rights enumerated therein to the maximum of available resources. This translates to an obligation of progressive realization—under which the level of obligation on each country differs according to its resource capacity, but all must move as expeditiously and effectively as possible towards rights fulfillment.
In the face of the progressive realization standard, measuring the extent to which countries meet their economic and human rights obligations has posed a challenge to scholars, human rights advocates, and the treaty monitoring body of the ICESCR. A central component of this project is the refinement and consolidation of an annual and longitudinal international social and economics rights fulfillment index (SERF Index) that for the first time makes the standard of progressive realization operational.
The second component of this project utilizes the SERF Index to address three empirical questions. First, is there a trade-off between meeting economic and social rights obligations and economic growth? Second, do some policies simultaneously foster the fulfillment of economic and social rights obligations and economic growth? Third, to what extent does a government’s success (or failure) to meet obligations under the ICESCR depend on direct ESR expenditures, the ability to raise revenues, and the interplay between the two? Cross-sectional and time-series econometric techniques are used to address the first two questions, while case studies are used to address the third.
As a whole, the project will promote greater understanding of the policies that promote economic and social rights, conflicts and synergies between those policies and other goals, and the political economy dynamics inducing countries to meet or shirk their obligations under the ICESCR. The project also develops and makes publicly accessible a rigorous assessment tool—the SERF Index—for use by scholars, human rights advocates, and UN Treaty bodies alike.

So what does one do when on sabbatical? I can’t speak for others, but can tell you a bit about mine. My husband (who is a professor of Sociology at the University of Hartford) and I were fortunate enough to succeed in arranging sabbaticals for the same semester and so decided to spend our sabbatical in Costa Rica. My primary objective for the semester was to complete the draft chapters of a book I am working on with my co-authors Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer (both at the New School University in New York) on a methodology to monitor countries’ compliance with their obligations of result under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR. My husband is involved in creating a minor in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hartford, and his objective was to enrich his background in these areas. We affiliated with the University of Peace, UPEACE. UPEACE is a United Nations University dedicated to providing education, training and research related to the United Nations’ goal of promoting worldwide peace and security. It offers eight interdisciplinary MA programs in areas related to peace and security, including one on international law and human rights, my interest.

UPEACE is situated just outside of Ciudad Colón about 15 miles southwest of San José, so we rented an efficiency apartment in Ciudad Colón. Our affiliation with UPEACE enabled us to interact with faculty (and students) from all over the world with interests similar to ours through seminars, brown bags, and informal meals and gatherings. It also gave us access to their library. Both factors facilitated our work. TheInter-American Institute for Human Rights, IIHR, (the research and education body charged with promoting and strengthening respect for human rights as set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights) is also located in San José and provided me with additional networking opportunities. Beyond the enrichment gained through our affiliation with UPEACE and interactions with the IIHR, I succeeded in drafting four chapters of my book. And yes, work time was punctuated by several rainforest hikes, white water rafting trips, and beach trips. As the saying goes, “All work and no play…,” and how could one possibly resist Costa Rica’s natural riches?

Juan-Pedro Garces defended on 4 August 2010 his dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Susan Randolph. The main topic of his dissertation is how education contributes to economic development. In one of the chapters, he pays special attention to the quality of education, trying to determine whether private schools deliver more educational quality than public ones, with special reference to the case of Chile, his native country. The dissertation also tackles the issue of the influence of population density on productivity, and how is affected by the level of education of the population. For this purpose, the study uses panel data on a sample of more than 100 countries, mostly developing ones. The third chapter of the dissertation focuses on institutions, testing the mainstream literature on the effects of institutional governance on economic growth and development. His work tries to determine the way in which the level of education affects institutional governance, finding a new channel through which education can enhance economic growth.

Juan-Pedro will be a visiting instructor at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

The Economic Rights Group (ERG), consisting of about 16 UConn faculty from six different departments including economics, and 10 Affiliated faculty from around the US, holds its 4th annual day long workshop on Saturday April 17. The topic of this workshop is the measurement of government effort towards economic rights fulfillment. It will investigate three measurement approaches: regression residuals, the production possibilities frontier, and the budgetary approach. Economics faculty member Susan Randolph developed the production possibilities approach along with ERG affiliate Sakiko Fukuda-Parr from the New School, while another ERG affiliate, Dave Richards of the University of Memphis, was central in developing the residual approach. Economics faculty member Lanse Minkler has done budget work on the right to employment in the US, following in the footsteps of pioneer and ERG affiliate Phil Harvey of Rutgers University. The group will explore the extent to which ERG should focus on its activities on economic rights measurement, and also an emerging relationship with a prominent Non-Government Organization working on economic rights, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, directed by ERG affiliate Cathy Albisa. The afternoon sessions will feature new research presentations by ERG affiliates.

People interested in attending the meeting should contact Prof. Minkler.

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