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couch (1)Ken Couch will lead a team of UConn researchers in evaluating pilot educational programs for welfare recipients in Connecticut.  The two-year evaluation grant, totaling more than $300,000, includes funding for two graduate students to participate in assessing the programs as a randomized study.  The educational programs follow the well-known Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-Best) format developed in Washington state.  Professor Couch has conducted other research for the state regarding the functioning of the TANF program and participated in a working group that recommended piloting of the I-Best programs.

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.

Cover of The Connecticut Economy, Fall EditionThe Fall 2012 issue of The Connecticut Economy offers a variety of perspectives on industries and forces that make Connecticut unique. It looks at Connecticut as a home to corporate headquarters and identifies sectors giving Fairfield County a competitive edge in the current recovery. Plus it examines health care trends in Connecticut and beyond. On the back page, Christopher Bruhl of the Business Council of Fairfield County examines the role innovation plays in stimulating the economies of that region and of the state.  The issue also forecasts a long road ahead to recover the jobs Connecticut lost in the last recession.

To read the full text of this edition as well as past issues, please visit the Connecticut Economy’s Webpage.

The volume entitled, The State of Economic and Social Human Rights: A Global Overview, edited by Lanse Minkler, has been accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press and will be available in December 2012.  It offers original scholarship on economic and social human rights from leading and new cutting-edge scholars in the fields of economics (including Susan Randolph from our department), law, political science, sociology and anthropology. It analyzes the core economic and social rights, the crucial topic of non-discrimination, and includes an innovative section on “meta” rights. The main chapters answer important questions about economic and social rights performance around the world by emphasizing the obstacles that prevent governments from fulfilling their obligations.  Novel topics include: discrimination of the stateless, Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and new data on the widespread legalization of social security and environmental rights. The book¹s introductory and concluding chapters address conceptual issues, and correct mistakes often made by critics of economic and social rights.

Professor Prakash will spend two months this summer in England, working with the London School of Economics and Political Science and University College London.

From June 18 through July 30, Professor Prakash will be an Academic Visitor at the Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme at the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

During that time (June 25-29), Professor Prakash will be giving a seminar at the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London.

Shalini Mitra recently defended her PhD dissertation titled, “Essays on the Volatility of Borrowing Constrained Economies” under the supervision of Professor Christian Zimmermann

Her dissertation tries to explain using different channels the increasing firm level volatility even in the presence of lower and decreasing aggregate volatility as seen during the period of the Great Moderation. She specifically looks at financial development and organization specific capital in explaining recent trends in aggregate and firm level volatilities. She also studies the role of an informal sector, which is relatively more borrowing constrained, on the macroeconomy. Her findings suggest that financial development as well as firm specific investments are associated with higher and increasing volatility at the firm level and non-increasing volatility at the aggregate with the divergence being more pronounced in the later case. She also finds that a more borrowing constrained informal sector has little effect on economic volatility.

Shalini starts her tenure-track position on February 1, 2012 and is relocating to Liverpool, England.

The panel discussion held on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 was featured in articles on UConn Today and in the Daily Campus.  Professors Carstensen, Lanza, Minkler, Ross, and Wright led a discussion (moderated by Department Head Metin Cosgel) about the state of the U.S. economy and possible improvements.

Today (Friday, May 20) the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis released its quarterly OUTLOOK, a forecast of Connecticut’s output and employment for the next ten quarters.  “Bucking Stiff Headwinds” is modestly more optimistic, but notes the array of downside risks for the state’s economy, everything from the ending of $6.3 billion in stimulus over the last two years to the anemic national recovery, European sovereign debt turmoil, and the difficulty of capturing jobs in the face of a globalized economy.

The CCEA Outllook: Bucking Stiff Headwinds, is available at

CCEA is directed by Prof. Fred Carstensen, and currently engages five graduate students in its studies.