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In what may be described as an academic marathon, Professor Subhash Ray offered back-to-back workshops on the nonparametric method of performance evaluation known as Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) in three different institutions in India during January 2-9, 2012.

He started off at Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi (the youngest member of the prestigious IIM family) where he taught the basics of DEA for the MBA students.

From there he moved on to the Institute of Rural Management, Anand, and held a workshop there for two days.

The final leg of his tour took him to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank of the country, in Mumbai (known previously as Bombay). There he delivered an invited lecture at the Head Office of RBI on the measurement of productivity in banks, and offered an assessment of the impact of liberalization in the Indian banking industry comparing the performance of public sector, private, and foreign commercial banks. Apart from the lecture, he offered two days of hands-on instruction on how to measure efficiency to a group of young officers at the Economics and Statistics Division of RBI.

Professor Ray started teaching DEA in India in 2001 when he visited the Indian Institutes of Management in Calcutta and Ahmadabadas a Fulbright lecturer. Over the subsequent years he has held workshops all over the country at many leading universities and research institutions. Right before his latest visit to India, he was invited by two different academic institutions in India in November 2011 to deliver a keynote address at an international conference on economic and business analysis at Dayalbagh Educational Institute in Agra, and to present a paper on the impact of liberalization on Indian banking at a conference held by the department of WTO studies at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in Delhi.

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Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could unfortunately not make it to the “Life after UConn” event organized by the Association of Graduate Students in Economics last Friday. Instead, Yanna Wu spoke.

Dr. Wu graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from UConn in 2004, under the supervision of Prof. Ray. Right after that, she joined PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. in their New York office. She currently is a manager in the transfer-pricing group, which is a part of the tax practice, providing tax and economic consulting services for multinational enterprises on their inter-company pricing arrangements. Transfer pricing is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses accounting, tax, economics, finance, and law. Her main responsibilities include project solicitation and management.

Dr. Wu covered the following topics: (i) the current job market for new Ph.D. graduates in economics; (ii) potential job opportunities; (iii) differences between working in academia and in industry; (iv) how graduate students can prepare for the job market; and (v) her experience. After the lecture, Dr. Wu answered questions from graduate students.

Dr. Sangmok Kang of Pusan National University in South Korea is currently visiting the Department for collaborative research with Professor Subhash Ray in the area of productivity and efficiency analysis. Dr. Kang is a a Professor of Economics back in his university in Korea and served as the Director of the Institute of Management and Economics there. In the past he has been a visiting scholar at Oregon State University, Purdue University, and University of Chicago. His principal areas of research are energy, the environment, and international trade policies. His applied research is focused on Korea and China. He has published a number of papers in well known journals including Journal of Productivity Analysis, Energy Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics, and Environment and Development Economics.

Flagging economic growth and concerns about high unemployment have created a sense of urgency for mid-term election candidates as well as voters. The Fall 2010 issue of The Connecticut Economy: A University of Connecticut Quarterly Review analyzes several topics high on voters’ to-do lists, including job growth, tackling the state’s budget problems, reducing transportation bottlenecks, and increasing the competitiveness of Connecticut manufacturers.

The two major-party gubernatorial candidates, businessman Tom Foley (R) and Stamford mayor Dan Malloy (D), outline their goals for the economy in the issue’s “Forward Look” feature. Both candidates also addressed attendees at the September 8th press release event at the UConn Stamford campus, as part of the morning-long Fairfield County Economic Summit & Outlook symposium co-sponsored by CBIA, the Stamford Chamber of Commerce and the University of Connecticut.

Connecticut lawmakers managed to meet the constitutionally required “balanced budgets” for the current biennium (FY 2009/10 and FY 2010/11), yet the state still faces persistent structural deficits of about $3 billion per year, plus a roughly equal amount of unfunded liabilities for pension and retiree health insurance benefits promised to state employees. Noting, “This is not a problem we can simply wish away,” co-editor Arthur Wright sees this challenge as “Job One” for all state candidates.

With more than half of the state’s 1.6 million jobs concentrated in the Hartford and Bridgeport-Stamford market areas, commutes to work in these regions are often difficult and costly. Exploring how to make the journey to work more cost efficient – essential to stronger job growth in the state – Edward Deak, a professor of economics at Fairfield University, suggests several innovative traffic management solutions.

In election season, claims resurface that Connecticut is unfriendly to business. But co-editor Dennis Heffley and two colleagues, Professor Subhash Ray and Assistant Professor in Residence Lei Chen, challenge the state’s high-cost reputation in a study of manufacturing competitiveness that measures “overall unit costs” (labor, materials and energy, capital, and other costs such as temporary staff, data processing, advertising, and taxes and license fees). Using data from the 2007 Economic Census, the authors show that “high average wages do not necessarily imply high production costs.” Despite having the 4th highest wages for manufacturing production workers, Connecticut’s cost of producing a dollar’s worth of manufacturing output is 43rd highest among the 50 states. Only Oregon, North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, New York, Wyoming, and New Mexico have a lower overall unit cost.

Analyzing voter turnout in 2006 – the last time Connecticut elected both a governor and a U.S. senator – Scott Condren, an economics major and Quarterly summer intern, examines the determinants of the earlier voter turnout (educational attainment, party affiliation, socioeconomic conditions, income, marital status, population density, and age) and discusses why the relative importance of some factors might change this year. He concludes that “…lessons from 2006 may not apply for 2010.” The centerfold of the current issue also maps the voter turnout percentage from the 2006 election and gives each town’s party registration breakdown.

Connecticut has not posted any significant nonfarm job gains in two decades. But when the self-employed are included in the count, the state’s job growth story changes. Steven Lanza, the Quarterly’s executive editor, finds that since the mid-1990s the ranks of the state’s self-employed have grown by 27,000 jobs annually. That’s a job growth rate of 1.3% per year, only slightly below the comparable U.S. average of 1.7%. Lanza also examines regional differences and public policy implications that result from “Connecticut’s recent growth in jobs due almost entirely to a swelling in the ranks of the self-employed.”

Other features of the fall issue include tables, charts, and commentary on regional labor market activity within the state and a forecast that stubborn unemployment rates will keep the state’s economy weak for some time, although the impact on Connecticut’s real gross domestic product may be less severe – 4.3 % by the current forecast compared with 5.5% previously predicted.

For free access to this and other issues of The Connecticut, dating back to 1993, visit: http://cteconomy.uconn.edu/.

“As land gets transferred from agriculture to industry, many people (like share croppers and landless workers) will lose their livelihood. It would be morally reprehensible to drive a Nano or a Cadillac on the dirt roads wet with the tears of the dispossessed. Economic rehabilitation of these displaced workers remains the first priority of any responsible government.”

An article by Professor Subhash Ray recently appeared in the November 17, 2009 issue of the highly esteemed biweekly literary magazine, Desh, published in Bengali from Calcutta. His paper draws upon the parallel between the experiences of General Motors in Poletown, MI in the 1980s and the recent events relating to Tata Motors and the agricultural land in Singur, West Bengal, to raise a number of questions about government taking of land for private development. A brief review of the history of land acquisition through eminent domain in the US serves as the background for a discussion of the different important questions like the problem of strategic holdouts and fair compensation. The essay ends with an emphasis on the moral obligation of the government, especially in India, for proper rehabilitation of the displaced when exercise of Eminent Domain powers becomes unavoidable.

His paper has attracted a lot of attention and has been highly acclaimed by scholars interested in the question of land acquisition for economic development. An English version of the paper is available as a University of Connecticut Economics working paper. The original article in Bengali is available on request from the author.

Lei Chen defended his dissertation in April 2010. His thesis focused on the productivity and efficiency of general dental practices in the U.S. His research lies at the intersection of applied microeconomics, health economics, and operations research. He is going to take a joint position of assistant professor in residence at UConn Health Center and UConn Avery Point. During his study at our department, Lei worked with his major advisor, Prof. Subhash Ray on a variety of projects and published a couple of papers in journals such as the International Journal of Production Economics and the Indian Economic Review.

At the UConn Health Center, Lei will continue doing empirical studies in dental care, especially the effectiveness and efficiency of dental services at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). He will also teach principles of macroeconomics and principles of microeconomics at the UConn Avery Point campus in the next academic year.

In a rare coincidence, all three lead articles on the Indian Economic Review, a top journal in India, have a UConn connection. The first is authored by Rangan Gupta (IDEAS) a 2005 PhD alumnus very recently promoted to full professor at the University of Pretoria: Financial Liberalization and a Possible Growth-Inflation Trade-Off. The second is authored by Basab Dasgupta, a 2005 PhD alumnus: Endogenous Growth in the Presence of Informal Credit Markets in India: A Comparative Analysis Between Credit Rationing and Self-Revelation Regimes. And the third is authored by Prof. Ray, currently faculty at UConn: Are Indian Firms too Small? A Nonparametric Analysis of Cost Efficiency and the Optimal Organization of the Indian Manufacturing Industry.

Both Gupta and Dasgupta were advised by Prof. Zimmermann (IDEAS). The first article is also available as a University of Pretoria working paper, and the latter two articles as UConn working papers: 1, 2, 3.

During the recent winter break, UConn Economics professor, Subhash Ray (IDEAS), conducted a series of workshops in different parts of India. Professor Ray’s special area of expertise is Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), a nonparametric mathematical technique designed to evaluate the productivity and efficiency of both private and public enterprises. DEA addresses fundamental questions about how well decision-making units transform scarce inputs into valuable outputs, and even provides useful guidance on how to improve performance.

Professor Ray is one of the world’s leading experts on DEA, and his book (Data Envelopment Analysis: Theory and Techniques for Economics and Operations Research), published in 2004 by Cambridge University Press, has been heralded by other researchers in the field.

His tour included a 3-day workshop on Performance Measurement held at Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). The January 2-4 workshop included three extended lectures on DEA, supplemented by hands-on, computer-based tutorials. Professor Ray was joined by Professor Subal Kumbhakar of Binghamton University (SUNY), who lectured on an alternative method of efficiency measurement known as Stochastic Frontier Analysis. Workshop attendees included corporate users of DEA as well as academic researchers.

Immediately after the Mumbai workshop, Professor Ray delivered a keynote address and two lectures on DEA at an international conference on efficiency evaluation (January 5-7), hosted by the Delhi School of Economics. Professor Ray also was asked to serve as an international member of the conference organizing committee.

On January 11-13, Professor Ray again was joined by Professor Kumbhakar to conduct a teaching workshop on efficiency analysis at the Madras School of Economics in Chennai (formerly Madras).

Through these workshops, and similar events over the years, Professor Ray has trained a cadre of young scholars who have contributed to productivity research and the further development of DEA.

Economics PhD student Brian Volz, advised by Thomas Miceli, has been a fan of baseball his entire life and spent much of his free time as an undergraduate playing baseball. As a graduate student at UConn he has been lucky enough to incorporate his favorite leisure activity into his study of labor economics.

His paper “Minority Status and Managerial Survival in Major League Baseball” was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Sports Economics. The paper began as a project for one of his PhD field courses and was expanded and revised over the past two years into an economics department working paper and eventually a journal submission. The paper was motivated by the relatively small number of minority managers in a league with a relatively large percentage of minority players. The paper examines the impact of minority status on the survival of Major League Baseball managers in order to determine if discrimination in managerial retention is to blame for the lack of minority managers. In order to answer this question data envelopment analysis, which he was introduced to in Professor Ray‘s (IDEAS) Productivity Analysis course, and survival time analysis are applied to performance and survival data from the 1985 to 2006 baseball seasons. It is shown that when controlling for performance and personal characteristics minorities are on average 9.6% points more likely to return the following season. Additionally, it is shown that winning percentage has no impact on managerial survival when the efficiency of the manager is controlled for.

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