Elias Peissner Prize Winners
The Elias Peissner Prize is awarded to an economics major who has done work of outstanding merit, generally on their senior thesis.
- 2020: Ngoc Minh Le, "ASEAN in Global Value Chains:The Effects of Deep Trade Agreements on Value-Added Trade." Advised by Mehmet Fuat Sener.
- 2019: Marc Perlman, "Investigating How the Type and Intensity of Chronic Pain Affect an Individual’s Risk Preferences." Advised by Kaywana Raeburn.
- 2018: Aaron Gordon, "Do Religious People’s Marriage Decisions Reflect Their Preferences?" Advised by Jia Gao.
- 2017: Emily Su, "Hospital Merger and Acquisition Effects on Healthcare Quality and Cost." Advised by Doug Klein.
- 2016: Pierre Castro, "Innovation, Informal Competition and Knowledge Transfers: A Cross Country Study of Firms in Eastern Europe, North Africa and Middle East." Advised by Mehmet Fuat Sener.
- 2015: Yaqi Gao, "Impact of Exchange Rate Fluctuations on Labor Migration: Evidence from U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa Statistics." Advised by Younghwan Song.
- 2014: Cate Gegen, "Does Public School Administrative Spending Affect District House Prices?" Advised by Stephen Schmidt.
- 2013: Faraz Khan, "Moving Forward from the Arab Spring: Predicting the Level of Democracy in a Nation Post-Revolution." Advised by Lewis Davis.
- 2012: Mark Chaskes, "Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier than Nonsmokers?" Advised by Younghwan Song.
- 2011: Emily Lacroix, "Applying Fair Division to Global Carbon Emission Permit Markets." Advised by Stephen Schmidt.
- 2010: John Mahlstedt, "A Closer Look at the Generic Competition Paradox." Advised by Stephen Schmidt.
- 2009: Matthew Cook, "Another Brick in the Wall: Analysis of the 'Illinois Wall' Model and the Implications of the Illinois Brick Decision." Advised by Stephen Schmidt.
- 2008: Courtney Chais, “Tourism Trends and Patterns: What Are the Determining Factors?” Advised by Eshragh Motahar.
- 2007: Jonathan Young, "Vaccinating the Next Generation: Are Children with Foreign-Born Mothers Less Likely to Receive Recommended Immunizations?" Advised by Younghwan Song.
Honors Thesis Poster Sessions
2021 Honors Thesis Posters
- Emersyn Alberici, "Does Female Leadership Impact Firm Financial Performance?" Advised by Dong Cheng
- Drew Blackmun, "Medicare Advantage: Impact of Oscar Entry."
- Leo Cavedagne, "Early 20th Century Industrialization: Equitable Income Growth Through Manufacturing Productivity Improvement." Advised by Carl Cheng
- Kevin Chaimowitz, "Synergies & Stocks." Advised by Carl Cheng
- Lily Dong, "How Does Trade Policy Uncertainty (TPU) Affect Sentiment?"
- Justin Esposito, "How Does Social Capital Impact the COVID-19 Response in the US on a County-Level?" Advised by Lewis Davis and Arsalan Khan
- Lindsay Gerrato, "The Resilience of Entertainment Over Business Cycles."
- Alexander Glehan, "Assessing a Potential Correlation Between Housing Prices and School Quality, as Measured by Academic Performance Metrics."
- Ryan Helmig, "The Effect of ESG Rating on Financial Performance and Green Bond Issuance within the United States." Advised by Alicia Dang
- George Herold, "Examining the Impact of the US Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing on Bank Lending 2009-2012."
- Jack Koch, "Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Consumer Behavior in Retail Stores During April-June 2020." Advised by Dolores Garrido
- Benita Lopez, "Trends in the Adoption of Digital Health Technology." Advised by Tomas Dvorak and Nick Webb
- Thomas Mello, "The Effect of the CARES Act on GDP Growth Rates at the State Level."
- An Nyguyen, "COVID-19 Dilemma: Signaling Effect on Cooperative Behavior."
- Nathan Olsen, "Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in Continental Africa and Beyond, a Comparative Analysis."
- Jack Pierre, "Power of the Policy Burden: Effects of State Ownership on Employment in Vietnamese Firms." Advised by Alicia Dang
- Aarya Rijal, "Evaluating the Impact of One Belt One Road Initiative on the Gravity Estimates of Partner Countries."
- Kyle Riley, "Using Difference-in-Differences Analysis and the Kocyk Geometric Lag Model to Estimate Aspects of Carbon Tax Effectiveness in Nordic Countries."
- Corey Rutkin, "Analyzing the Relationship Between SNAP Participation and Private Establishments in America's Largest Cities During and After Recessions." Advised by Funda Dogruer
- Julianna Sweet, "The Effect of Item Presentation (Pictorial, Verbal, and Combination) on Choice Overload and Tendency to Opt-Out of Choice." Advised by Kaywana Raeburn
- Matthew Toy, "The Effect of AI Implementation on Total Factor Productivity." Advised by Stephen Schmidt
- Mark Williamson, "Spillover Effects of Amazon's 2018 Minimum Wage Increase."
2020 Honors Thesis Posters
- Aaron Wu, "How did Medicaid Expansion Affect the Provider Labor Market?" Advised by Younghwan Song.
- Alyssa Trebino, "Income Inequality and Automobile Adoption: How does the Introduction of the Automobile Affect Income Inequality?" Advised by Carl Cheng.
- Drew Johnson, "Implications for Change in Adaptation to the Modern Sustainable Apparel Industry."
- Ethan Craig, "Price Predictability for Collectible Sneakers." Advised by Tomas Dvorak.
- Griffin Morgan, "The Effect of Time on ESG Scores in the S&P 500." Advised by Ercan Karadas.
- Jonathan Ellis, "The Effect of The U.S. Fed Funds Rate On The Yuan/Dollar Exchange Rate, Post 2005." Advised by Funda Dogruer.
- Kylie Stevens, "The Salary Cap's Economic & Societal Role in the National Hockey League." Advised by Lewis Davis & Robert Samet.
- Martynas Simanavicius, "Does the Implementation of Renewable Energy Incentives Improve the State's Energy Efficiency in the United States?" Advised by Stephen Schmidt.
- Ngoc Minh Le, "ASEAN in Clobal Value Chains: The Effects of Deep Trade Agreements on Value-Added Trade." Advised by Mehmet Fuat Sener.
- Robert C. Harrington III, "Does Recruitment Mail Increase Applications to Union?" Advised by Tomas Dvorak.
- Spencer Napolitano, "Colonial Mining & Contemporary Trust in Latin American." Advised by Lewis Davis.
2019 Honors Thesis Posters
- Andrew Kielar, "How Scandals Impact Stock Prices." Advised by Dong Cheng.
- Caleb Yoken, "Cartel Practices and Policies in the World War II Era." Advised by Doug Klein & Mark Walker.
- Colin Murphy, "The Nature of Asset Bubbles and the Timing of Their Burst."
- Derek Khnaizir, "Global Impact of the U.S. Economy: An Analysis of the Channels of Interconnection and their Transmission Effects."
- Jonathan Fields, "The Generic Paradox: Insight to the Process of Drug Pricing."
- Justin Nguyen, "Data Center REITs as a Portfolio Component." Advised by Tomas Dvorak.
- Kevin McNoble, "Oil Price Changes Affecting the Russian Macroeconomy." Advised by Dong Cheng.
- Maha Mian, "The Economics of Fashion: Do Newcomers to the Industry Have a Chance?" Advised by Eshragh Motahar.
- Marc Perlman, "How Does the Type and Intensity of Chronic Pain Affect an Individual's Willingness to Take Risks?" Advised by Kaywana Raeburn.
- Matt Egglin, "Analysis for Phishing Prevention." Advised by Tomas Dvorak & John Rieffel.
- Pedram Malakian, "Impact of Generational Experiences on Anti-Immigration Sentiments."
- Phil Panici, "Is the Use of Fossil Fuels for Electricity Generation Declining with Renewable Popularity?"
- Aidan Loh, "Examining the Effectiveness of Chinese Monetary Policy." Advised by Funda Dogruer.
- Sarah Kaplan, "A Cross County Examination of Fiscal Federalism in the 2016 Election." Advised by Eshragh Motahar.
- Talitha Kumaresan, "The Business Cycle and U.S. Health Outcomes." Advised by Jeeten Giri.
- Dhruv Patel, "Radiographic and Health Economic Analysis of Acetabular Retractors Placement Relative to Neurovascular Structure in Various Total Hip Arthroplasty Surgical Approaches." Advised by Stephen Schmidt.
ARTICLE: Carolina Missura, Class of 2022, "Patience as a Predictor for Environmental Attitudes." Undergraduate Economic Review - 2021
- Author: Carolina Missura, Class of 2022
- Abstract: This paper aims to show the relationship between an individual’s value of patience and the degree to which they exhibit pro-environmental attitudes. My hypothesis is that country-wide patience has a strong impact on an individual’s attitudes towards protecting the environment. I present two methods to address this relationship, each method employs a different variable used to measure environmental attitudes. Given some discrepancies in the results from the first method, the second was the one utilized to reach the conclusion. The paper concludes that there is a positive and significant correlation between patience and environmental attitudes.
- Article: "Patience as a Predictor for Environmental Attitudes"
ARTICLE: Leonardo Cavedagne, Class of 2021, "How Does Industrialization Affect (Equitable) Income Growth? Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing During the Early 20th Century." Undergraduate Economic Review - 2021
- Author: Leonardo Cavedagne, Class of 2021
- Abstract: This paper assesses how changes in labor productivity from the rise of industrialization impacted total, personal, and corporate income per capita at the state level from 1899-1940. Using hand-collected data from the Statistics of Income Report and the Statistical Abstract of the United States, we conduct OLS regressions and find a significant and positive relationship between labor productivity and our dependent variables. Personal income recorded the highest coefficient, demonstrating workers benefiting the most from increasing labor productivity. This finding allows for exploration into equitable income growth, as the growth in income benefits the workers more than large capital owners.
- Article: "How Does Industrialization Affect (Equitable) Income Growth? Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing During the Early 20th Century"
ARTICLE: Dong Cheng & Alyssa Trebino, Class of 2020, "Early 20th Century American Exceptionalism on Wheels: The Role of Rapid Automobile Adoption in Economic Development." Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences - August 2021
- Authors: Dong Cheng & Alyssa Trebino, Class of 2020
- Abstract: We investigate the contribution of automobile adoption to state-level real income in the United States using hand-collected historical data of the early twentieth century when the adoption was remarkably rapid. To achieve identification, we construct a Bartik-type instrumental variable for automobile adoption. We find an elasticity of income with respect to automobile adoption between 0.5 and 1. Furthermore, we reveal that the elasticity is significantly larger in high-income and automobile producing states.
- Article: "Early twentieth century American exceptionalism on wheels: the role of rapid automobile adoption in economic development"
ARTICLE: Robert Righi, Class of 2019, "The Shifting Dynamics of International Reserve Currencies." Undergraduate Economic Review - 2019
- Author: Robert Righi, Class of 2019
- Abstract: With the recognition by the IMF of the Chinese renminbi as an international reserve currency in 2015, it is important to understand the modern influence of reserve currencies. We use currency exchange rate data and apply modified workhorse regression models to assign each country’s gross domestic product at purchasing power parity to a reserve currency bloc in order to obtain a global sphere of influence for each reserve currency. We find that the United States retains its dominance but faces challenges from the renminbi and the euro in recent years as the international monetary system becomes tri-polar.
- Article: "The Shifting Dynamics of International Reserve Currencies"
ARTICLE: Lewis Davis & K.R. White, Class of 2018, "Is Justice Blind? Evidence from Federal Corruption Convictions." Public Choice - November 2019
- Authors: Lewis Davis, K.R. White, Class of 2018
- Abstract: Are federal prosecutors influenced by partisan political concerns? We examine that question by analyzing 40 years of federal corruption convictions at the state and federal district levels. Our key finding is that state-level federal corruption convictions fall by roughly 9% in years when a state’s governor belongs to the same party as the president who appointed local US Attorneys, a measure of state-federal political alignment. The result is robust to controls for the state political environment, election cycles, party tenure in the executive branch, public sector employment, federal aid to states, a state’s electoral importance, and the changes in Honest Services law, the statutory basis for many federal corruption cases. Our results are consistent with a significant level of partisan prosecutorial bias on the part of US Attorneys. In a placebo test, we find no evidence that state-federal political alignment affects the total number of federal criminal convictions. That finding provides support for the mechanism that we propose, namely the partisan exercise of prosecutorial discretion, rather than the partisan allocation of prosecutorial resources across federal districts.
- Article: "Is Justice Blind? Evidence from Federal Corruption Convictions"
ARTICLE: Lewis Davis & Megan Reynolds, Class of 2016, "Gendered Language and the Educational Gender Gap." Economics Letters - July 2018
- Authors: Lewis Davis, Megan Reynolds, Class of 2016
- Abstract: Languages differ in the degree to which they employ gender distinctions for nouns and pronouns. Speaking a gendered language may highlight gender roles. We find that speaking a gendered language is associated with a greater gender gap in educational attainment.
- Article: "Gendered Language and the Educational Gender Gap"
ARTICLE: Jack Mara, Class of 2010, Lewis Davis & Stephen Schmidt, "Social Animal House: The Economic and Academic Consequences of Fraternity Membership." Contemporary Economic Policy - April 2018
- Authors: Jack Mara, Class of 2010, Lewis Davis, Stephen Schmidt
- Abstract: We exploit changes in the residential and social environment on campus to identify the economic and academic consequences of fraternity membership at a small North-eastern college. Our estimates suggest that these consequences are large, with fraternity membership lowering student grade point average by approximately 0.25 points on the traditional 4-point scale, but raising future income by approximately 36%, for those students whose decision about membership is affected by changes in the environment. These results suggest that fraternity membership causally produces large gains in social capital, which more than outweigh its negative effects on human capital for potential members. Alcohol-related behavior does not explain much of the effects of fraternity membership on either the human capital or social capital effects. These findings suggest that college administrators face significant trade-offs when crafting policies related to Greek life on campus.
- Article: "Social Animal House: The Economic and Academic Consequences of Fraternity Membership"
ARTICLE: Stephen Schmidt & Manuel Pardo, Class of 2012, "The Contribution of Study Abroad to Human Capital Formation." The Journal of Higher Education - December 2016
- Authors: Stephen Schmidt, Manuel Pardo, Class of 2012
- Abstract: Studying abroad may allow students to form human capital in ways not possible at home and may enable them to earn higher incomes. On the other hand, study abroad has been criticized as insufficiently rigorous. Little is known about how study abroad affects skills and earnings in the long term. Using a data set of 3,155 students over a range of 43 years from a single college, we investigated the effects of study abroad and found it has no net effect on earnings compared with study at home. The advantages and disadvantages of study abroad are approximately balanced; human capital formed by study abroad is not more or less than that formed in residence. Colleges need not emphasize study abroad more than study on campus, but they also need not worry that study abroad is unproductive. Study abroad and study at home appear equally effective at forming human capital.
- Article: "The Contribution of Study Abroad to Human Capital Formation"
ARTICLE: Lewis Davis & Farangis Abdurazokzoda, Class of 2015, "Language, Culture and Institutions: Evidence From a New Linguistic Dataset." Journal of Comparative Economics - August 2016
- Authors: Lewis Davis, Farangis Abdurazokzoda, Class of 2015
- Abstract: Kashima and Kashima's (1998) linguistic dataset has played a prominent role in the economics of culture, providing the instrumental variables used in two seminal works to identify the causal effect of culture on institutional quality. However, for economists, this dataset has a number of weaknesses, including poor overlap with a key cultural dataset and reliance on sources of linguistic information of uneven quality. We address these issues by constructing a new linguistic dataset based on an authoritative source of linguistic information, the World Atlas of Language Structures. The resulting dataset has greater overlap with key sources of cultural information, is arguably less subject to selection bias, and provides more refined information regarding key dimensions of linguistic variation. We show that the variables in this dataset are significantly correlated with commonly used measures of individualism and egalitarianism. In addition, we reexamine the key results from the literature on culture and institutions, showing the causal relationship between culture and institutions is robust to the use of the new linguistic instruments.
- Article: "Language, Culture and Institutions: Evidence From a New Linguistic Dataset"
ARTICLE: Tomas Dvorak & Miaoquin Jia, Class of 2016, “Do the Timeliness, Regularity and Intensity of Online Work Habits Predict Academic Performance?” Journal of Learning Analytics - 2016
- Authors: Tomas Dvorak, Miaoquin Jia, Class of 2016
- Abstract: This study analyzes the relationship between students’ online work habits and academic performance. We utilize data from logs recorded by a course management system (CMS) in two courses at a small liberal arts college in the U.S. Both courses required the completion of a large number of online assignments. We measure three aspects of students’ online work habits: timeliness, regularity, and intensity. We find that students with high prior GPAs and high grades in the course work on assignments early and more regularly. We also find that the regularity of work habits during the first half of the term predicts grade in the course, even while controlling for the prior GPA. Overall, however, the marginal predictive power of CMS data is rather limited. Still, the fact that high achieving students show vastly different work habits from low achieving students supports interventions aimed at improving time-management skills.
- Article: “Do the Timeliness, Regularity and Intensity of Online Work Habits Predict Academic Performance?”
ARTICLE: Tomas Dvorak & Jigme Norbu, Class of 2014, “Do Mutual Fund Companies Eat Their Own Cooking?” Journal of Retirement - Fall 2013
- Authors: Tomas Dvorak, Jigme Norbu, Class of 2014
- Abstract: The authors find that mutual fund companies offer mostly their own mutual funds in the 401(k) plans for their own employees. However, there are systematic differences between companies that rely on their own funds and companies that include outside funds. The companies that include outside funds tend to operate funds with high expense ratios. Outside funds in the 401(k) plans of mutual fund companies have significantly lower expense ratios and better governance scores than company’s own funds. This evidence supports the claim that the interests of mutual fund companies are not perfectly aligned with the interests of their funds’ shareholders. The authors also find that among the company’s own funds, the funds selected for the company’s 401(k) plan are almost indistinguishable from the rest of the funds offered by the mutual fund companies. Thus, it is not the case that, within their own funds, mutual fund companies favor their inexpensive funds. In fact, within the companies’ own funds, participants (mutual fund company employees) gravitate towards higher-cost and more actively managed funds. Thus, in one context (choosing to use outside funds) mutual fund companies favor cheap and better governed funds, in another context (choosing among its own funds) mutual fund companies favor actively managed, expensive funds.
- Article: “Do Mutual Fund Companies Eat Their Own Cooking?”
ARTICLE: Lewis Davis & Matthew Knauss, Class of 2011, "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation." The Journal of Socio-Economics - February 2013
- Authors: Lewis Davis, Matthew Knauss, Class of 2011
- Abstract: In The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Benjamin Friedman argues that growth reduces the strength of interpersonal income comparisons, and thereby tends to increases the desire for pro-social legislation, a position he supports by drawing on the historical records of the US and several Western European countries. We test this hypothesis using a variable from the World Values Survey that measures an individual's taste for government responsibility, which we interpret as a measure of the demand for egalitarian social policy. Our results provide support for a modified version of Friedman's hypothesis. In particular, we find that the taste for government responsibility is positively related to the recent change in the growth rate and negatively related to the change in income inequality. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for attempts to further the egalitarian social goals.
- Article: "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation"
ARTICLE: Allison Frederick, Class of 2010, Stephen Schmidt & Lewis Davis, “National Policies, State Response and Community College Outcomes: Testing an Augmented Bennett Hypothesis.” Economics of Education Review - December 2012
- Authors: Allison Frederick, Class of 2010, Stephen Schmidt, Lewis Davis
- Abstract: We estimate the impact of increases in Federal student aid and higher education funding, such as the recently proposed American Graduation Initiative (AGI), on the outcomes of community colleges, including enrollments, list and average tuitions, and educational quality. We develop a reduced form model of state-level education policy in which state policy makers, who have objectives that differ from those of Federal policy makers, respond to changes in Federal policies. Our empirical specification treats state and institutional variables as endogenous; we interpret the coefficients as measuring the responses of state and institution officials to changes in Federal policies. We simulate the effects of AGI and find little evidence that states recapture Federal education resources. AGI would have a significant effect on educational quality but a limited effect on enrollments. An equivalent increase in Federal student aid would have greater impact on access and enrollments, but decrease educational quality.
- Article: “National Policies, State Response and Community College Outcomes: Testing an Augmented Bennett Hypothesis”
ARTICLE: Tomas Dvorak & Shayna Toubman, Class of 2009, “Are Women More Generous Than Men: Evidence from Alumni Donations.” Eastern Economic Journal - October 2012
- Authors: Tomas Dvorak, Shayna Toubman, Class of 2009
- Abstract: The explicit hierarchy of recognition in alumni giving offers a useful context in which to examine the nature of gender differences regarding charitable giving. Using 31 years of alumni-giving records at a small liberal arts college, we find that women are more likely to be donors. Among donors, women tend to give more frequently but generally make smaller donations than men. These results hold even after controlling for age, income, and participation in Greek organizations. The results are consistent with the hypotheses that the drive for recognition of charitable giving is stronger in men than women, and that women are more reciprocal than men.
- Article: “Are Women More Generous Than Men: Evidence from Alumni Donations”
ARTICLE: Scott Morlando, Class of 2010, Stephen Schmidt & Kathleen LoGuidice, "Reduction in Lyme Disease Risk as an Economic Benefit of Habitat Restoration." Restoration Ecology - July 2012
- Authors: Scott Morlando, Class of 2010, Stephen Schmidt, Kathleen LoGuidice
- Abstract: Habitat restoration is costly and it is often necessary to justify the costs with evidence of benefits to society. These benefits are difficult to quantify because they are measured in terms of ecosystem services rather than currency. This paper introduces a somewhat novel restoration‐related ecosystem service, a reduction in the risk of tick‐borne disease, and incorporates it into a cost/benefit analysis of the restoration of a rare habitat. We use a cost‐of‐illness study to calculate the costs averted by preventing Lyme disease (LD), and a contingent‐valuation survey to estimate the benefit of biodiversity protection. The restoration, removal of an invasive tree, reduced the risk of LD by approximately 98%. Cost‐of‐illness studies show that the restoration would be financially justifiable if it averted 75 cases of LD per year. Given the local LD rate and the visitation rate to the preserve, the habitat restoration can plausibly be justified solely on the benefit of LD cases averted. However, as we do not know how many cases of LD are contracted in the preserve, we also establish the perceived value of protecting biodiversity in a contingent‐valuation survey. Results show that residents were willing to pay a significant fraction of the net cost of restoration to protect biodiversity. When these benefits are taken into account, the number of cases of disease that must be averted to justify remediation is reduced. This exercise spotlights an underappreciated ecosystem service that, when appropriate, can help establish the cost effectiveness of restoration.
- Article: "Reduction in Lyme Disease Risk as an Economic Benefit of Habitat Restoration"
ARTICLE: Lewis Davis & Emily LaCroix, Class of 2011, "Legal Origin and the Evolution of Environmental Quality." Economics Bulletin - October 2011
- Authors: Lewis Davis, Emily LaCroix, Class of 2011
- Abstract: We extend the empirical literature on the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) by showing the legal origin matters for the evolution of environmental quality. Using observations of ambient sulfur dioxide levels, we find that the EKC for French and British legal origin countries diverge as incomes rise, with the EKC for French legal origin countries lying significantly below that for countries of British legal origin. This finding is robust to the inclusion of proxies for democracy and corruption, the institutional variables emphasized in the current EKC literature. Our results are consistent with the idea that the British common law tradition places a greater emphasis on private relative to collective property rights.
- Article: "Legal Origin and the Evolution of Environmental Quality"
ARTICLE: Tomas Dvorak & Henry Hanley, Class of 2009, "Financial Literacy and the Design of Retirement Plans." Journal of Socio-Economics - December 2010
- Authors: Tomas Dvorak, Henry Hanley, Class of 2009
- Abstract: We design and administer a financial literacy test tailored to a specific defined contribution plan. We find that participants show fairly good knowledge of the basic mechanics of the plan, but are unable to differentiate among various investment options. Knowledge is particularly low among women, low income and low education employees. We also find some evidence that personal contributions lead to more knowledge. These results support plan designs that have few investment options and encourage personal contributions.
- Article: "Financial Literacy and the Design of Retirement Plans"
ARTICLE: Stephen Schmidt & Karen Scott, Class of 2006, "Reforming Reforms: Changing Incentives in Education Finance in Vermont." Education Finance and Policy - Fall 2006
- Authors: Stephen Schmidt, Karen Scott, Class of 2006
- Abstract: In 1997, Vermont passed Act 60, which reformed its education finance system to achieve greater equality of spending. The reform encouraged wealthy towns to reduce spending; it was politically unpopular and was replaced, in 2004, by Act 68. We analyze the spending incentives created by the two acts and estimate the effects the change will have on spending inequality. Act 68 reduces tax prices for education spending in all towns, but reduces them disproportionately for wealthy towns. It increases education spending in Vermont but also increases inequality of spending. Because spending is inelastic with respect to tax prices, the increase in inequality is small relative to existing inequality. Our findings demonstrate that understanding the way towns respond to financial incentives, economically and politically, is critical in designing successful reforms. They suggest that it is difficult to maintain finance systems that give wealthy towns strong incentives to spend less or subsidize poorer towns. Using state revenues to subsidize schools achieves nearly as much equality as more explicit attempts to force wealthy districts to share resources.
- Article: "Reforming Reforms: Changing Incentives in Education Finance in Vermont"
ARTICLE: Alison Chapin, Class of 1996 & Stephen Schmidt, “Do Mergers Improve Efficiency? Evidence from Deregulated Rail Freight.” Journal of Transport Economics and Policy - May 1999
- Authors: Alison Chapin, Class of 1996, Stephen Schmidt
- Abstract: The authors use data envelopment analysis to measure efficiency for US rail firms since deregulation, and assess whether mergers have improved efficiency. They model production in two stages. In the first, firms produce a network of track as an output. In the second, firms use track to produce shipments of goods. Mergers increase technical efficiency in the first stage, but reduce scale efficiency; many merged firms are larger than efficient scale. Firms may merge to acquire market power from ownership of track. In the second stage, mergers have no effect on efficiency; efficiency has improved since deregulation, but not due to mergers.
- Article: “Do Mergers Improve Efficiency? Evidence from Deregulated Rail Freight”
Funding Your Research Project
Phaup Fund Student Research Grants
Students may apply for research support from the Phaup Fund, which was established to support doing research with, or under the guidance of, a member of the faculty of the department. Support may be for books, travel, research, research materials, and office services support.
Phaup Fund awards are made at the Chair’s discretion and are anticipated to be in the range of $250. The application doc can be found here. Students should apply by the end of the term, if possible. Applications will be evaluated as they come in.
Students applying for a grant from the Phaup Fund support are encouraged to apply for a Student Research Grant (SRG) as well. Support from the Phaup Fund may be used to supplement a Student Research Grant award, which tend to run $300-400 with maximum awards of $500. They may also be used to provide short term funding while an SRG award is pending.
Student Research Grants
The link to SRG is here. It accepts applications 2 times a term in Fall and once in other terms. Typical funding per project is $300-$400, with maximum of $500.