Presentation Abstracts, 17th Annual Economics Scholars Program Conference for Undergraduate Research
Papers (alphabetical by author):
“Labor Outcomes for International Students: Citizenship Wage Gap in US Higher Education Institutions”
University of Oklahoma
This paper investigates the labor outcomes for international students in U.S. higher education institutions, and compares them to U.S. citizens. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the paper finds a significant wage gap of about 34% between citizens and non-citizen students, after controlling for gender, race, education, and experience. The paper suggests that this wage gap is partly due to the limited job opportunities for international students, who are restricted to on-campus employment. Further research is needed on the possibility that international students face labor monopsony on campuses, and on the efficiency gains that could be unlocked with improving regulations.
“PCA Analysis: A Tool to Help Explain the “Inconvenience Yield” in the Context of the Negative Swap Spread?”
In the post-GFC regime, the swap spread is negative. This phenomenon is a puzzle because it contradicts the “convenience yield” of U.S. Treasury bonds. PCA analysis can help better understand the reasoning behind the bizarre nature. Specifically, PCA analysis can help explain the degree of the dynamics of the factors of the negative swap spread. Existing literature establishes the primary determinants, but few quantitatively assess the impact of these determinants in the context of the decomposition of the yield curve with the most recent available data. With a two-step model using PCA analysis, this project fills that gap in literature. As a result, the importance of maturity-level heterogeneity in explaining the current negative swap spread is established.
“Comparisons of WACC and Hurricane-Risk: A Comprehensive Study”
University of North Carolina Wilmington
This research paper examines the relationship between hurricane risk and a firm’s Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) for publicly traded companies located in hurricane-prone regions, as identified by FEMA’s National Risk Index. Using data from Bloomberg and Compustat covering the Russell 3000 Index from 2000 to 2023, we discover a surprising negative association between hurricane risk and WACC, contrasting with previous research. This study highlights the importance of considering diverse factors that influence a firm’s cost of capital in hurricane-prone regions.
“Examining The Effect of Education and Income as Socio-Economic Indictors of Life Expectancy”
University of North Carolina
Variations in socio-economic status have been proven to create a gap in the health and well-being of United States citizens. This paper seeks to determine the extent to which socio-economic indicators, specifically income and education, influence life expectancy. Income and education serve as the two of the most common proxies predictive of disparities in health between groups of high and low socio-economic status. Their impact translates to the social factors of an individual’s environment, such as access to housing, quality food, time to exercise and among additional factors relating to health. I analyzed averages from 1462 counties across the U.S. from 2001 to 2014. Aggregating data from U.S. tax records, Social Security records and the U.S. Census Bureau I estimate impacts on life expectancy, stemming income and education. Through six OLS regressions, I estimate and compare the marginal impact of a percentage point change in income and education on life expectancy. My research indicates that a percentage point increase in a county’s college graduation rate yields greater gains to life expectancy than a percentage point increase in a county’s median household income.
“Is the Environment Injust?: An Econometric Analysis of the Relationship Between Income and Air Quality”
University of Oklahoma
The concept of "environmental injustice", i.e. that worse environmental quality is correlated with worse life outcomes, is a hot topic in environmental economics and social justice conversations currently. This paper sets out to prove or disprove that notion by examining the relationship between air quality and income in the United States at the county level. I use data sets from the EPA and BEA and employ a fixed effects regression model. I find that worse environmental quality is correlated with higher income, refuting the notion of environmental injustice. However, I conclude with a discussion of why this model does not conclusively disprove it, and suggestions for future research.
“A Study of the Economic Viability and the Potential Macroeconomic Effects of a Domestic Biodiesel Industry in Dakar, Senegal”
Wake Forest University
The economic conditions of Senegal are such that the average salary is around 2100 USD a year and 38% of the population lives below the world poverty line of 1.90 USD(2011) a day. The introduction of successful domestic industries could be a means to develop the economy of Senegal. This two-part study first seeks to discover the potential for a biodiesel industry to be successful without subsidies in Dakar, Senegal. Applying a model that produces 8000 metric tonnes of biodiesel a year using waste cooking oil as the oil feedstock and using a heterogeneous acid catalyst for transesterification, biodiesel production is found to be profitable without subsidies. Furthermore, part two of this study aims to understand the economic impacts of this domestic biodiesel firm. Looking at the industry presence through its impacts on the cost of living, job creation, and industry linkages, an economic lens is created with which the Senegalese biodiesel industry is analyzed. With the chosen model of biodiesel production, it can be expected that the introduction of a biodiesel industry will bring with it economic impacts that stretch deep into the economy spurring economic growth that can be experienced by the people of Senegal.
“Relationship Between Public Debt and the Strength of the Dollar”
Henry, Marvin; Wong, Jacqueline
This paper uses data from the Federal Reserve of Economic Data (FRED), U.S. Treasury Open Data Source and the NASDAQ website to understand the effect of the national debt on the strength of the dollar by understanding the change in bond yields. Our results indicate that the relationship between the debt limit and yields for both short term and long term bonds are weak even as the U.S. approaches the debt ceiling date.
“How Has Income Impacted Opioid Overdoses?”
University of Mary Washington
The opioid crisis has been an ongoing and worsening issue in the United States. Previous literature on this subject was transparent that socioeconomic status and socioeconomic marginalization (SEM) play distinctive roles in determining opioid overdoses. This paper uses an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model to determine the relationship between the opioid overdose death rate per state and median income per state. This experimental study uses a sample of data from 2018-2020, looking at income per state per year and opioid overdoses per state per year. The findings from this study indicate that income levels alone do not directly influence opioid overdose rates. Variables such as high school graduation rates and annual average unemployment were more closely associated with high overdose rates, while crime did not have any significant correlation with opioid death rates.
“Women’s Employment on GDP”
University of Oklahoma
I look at 5 countries with high human development and look at how women's employment rate affects real GDP. The hypothesis for women’s employment is that it will always have a positive impart on GDP. I use a differenced time series model and an lm robust model to capture heteroskedasticity, and analyze them separately. The results of the differenced timeseries data all show a positive relationship between women's employment and GDP at a 5% level when stationary. The results point to what I hypothesized but I want to continue to iron out biases and the possibility of backward correlation.
“Maximizing NFL Rookie contracts following the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement’ Homelessness Rates?”
In 2011, the National Football League (NFL) implemented a new salary structure for new first-year contracts. The salary structure adjustment was a response to the 2011 NFL Lockout, driven by the need to renegotiate the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which was set to expire on March 3rd, 2011. The CBA outlined the player’s percentage of total team spending, the length of a player’s draft contract, as well as addressing safety concerns for the players. College Division 1A players who are entering the league for the first time are impacted most heavily by this new CBA structure, with the length of their contract having no limit before the negotiation being cut to having a limit of four-year contracts unless a player is a first-round draft pick. This paper analyzes the effect that the implementation of the new CBA has on a player’s total contract value when they are first drafted into the league, using player and team statistics from 2005 to 2017. The results show that during this 13-year period, the most statistically significant entities on Total Contract Value are the presence of the CBA (2011-2017) as well as the round that a player was drafted, with first-round candidates having the highest total salary cap on average.
“THE SIDEWALK EFFECT The Effect of Sidewalks on Home Prices in Fredericksburg, Va.”
University of Mary Washington
This study uses two Fredericksburg, Va., neighborhoods as a case study to explore the relationship between the presence of sidewalks and home sale prices. Using a dataset encompassing property information, including sidewalk availability and sales data, I employ statistical econometric methods to investigate whether sidewalks impact home sale prices. The analysis considers various control variables, spatial variations, and temporal trends to account for potential confounding factors. Preliminary findings suggest a positive association between sidewalks and higher home sale prices, indicating that sidewalks may contribute to property value. However, further research is needed to establish causality and assess the long-term effects. The implications of this study extend to urban planning, policy-making, and homeowners seeking to make informed property investments in the context of walkable infrastructure. Future research should delve deeper into the nuances of this relationship and consider socioeconomic and environmental dimensions to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the "Sidewalk Effect."
“The Influence of COVID-19 and Recession on Induced Seismicity in Texas”
Samiya, Nazmun; Skevofilax, Constantinos
University of Texas At Austin
The U.S is the largest exporter of oil. Texas houses the largest oil producing basins. Averaging about 2,500,000 barrels per day from highly diverse geology and geography. In development operations, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods are used to produce oil & gas from unconventional petroleum reservoirs. This in turn yields a large volume of wastewater flowback which is co-produced from the wells. When injecting large volumes of water into the ground, typically associated with activities like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or wastewater disposal, can lead to the development of surface deformation patterns and induce seismic activity, including earthquakes. This process occurs due to changes in subsurface pressure and stress, which can alter the state of stress along fault lines or fractures in the Earth's crust, potentially triggering seismic events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, oil & gas operations were reduced, as the pandemic caused the demand for fuel to dramatically decrease due to travel restriction policies and stay-at-home ordinances across the world. For the first time in history, oil prices reached a negative dollar amount. Additionally, the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted the global energy market and exacerbated the oil supply chain. These factors along with political instability, an inflation impaired economy, and staffing shortages, hindered oil & gas productivity. Nonetheless, in 2022, there were more earthquakes in Texas with presumed human cause than any prior year.
“An Automated Dual-Module Pipeline for Stock Prediction: Integrating N-Perception Period Power Strategy and NLP-Driven Sentiment Analysis for Enhanced Forecasting Accuracy and Investor Insight”
Thanikella, Archit; Singh, Siddhant
The financial sector has witnessed considerable interest in the fields of stock prediction and reliable stock information analysis. Traditional deterministic algorithms and AI models have been extensively explored, leveraging large historical datasets. Volatility and market sentiment play crucial roles in the development of accurate stock prediction models. We hypothesize that traditional approaches, such as n-moving averages, may not capture the dynamics of stock swings, while online information influences investor sentiment, making them essential factors for prediction. To address these challenges, we propose an automated pipeline consisting of two modules: an N- Perception period power strategy for identifying potential stocks and a sentiment analysis module using NLP techniques to capture market sentiment. By incorporating these methodologies, we aim to enhance stock prediction accuracy and provide valuable insights for investors.
“Impact of Student Financial Aid, Labor Costs, and Government Appropriations on College Tuition from 2018-19 to 2020-21”
Students demand higher education in the postsecondary education market, and colleges supply that. An increase in the demand for education, a decrease in the supply, or changes in both can lead to tuition inflation. Prior studies have investigated the impact of changes in one or two particular student aid, such as Pell Grant or state grants, changes in instructional staff salaries, or changes in state appropriations on tuition. By generating an institutional-level panel data set from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which is an institutional-level data set about postsecondary education, and controlling for the institution and year-fixed effects, this study will re-examine the impact of demand-side factors (various student aid programs) and supply-side factors (labor costs, state, and federal appropriations) on tuition. It will extend prior research using data from more recent years (2018-21), including more specific types of student financial aid, and accounting for non-instructional staff salaries. The results reveal that supply-side factors do not significantly affect in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees. For demand-side factors, the increase in the average Pell Grant will decrease the tuition, and the increase in the average institutional grant will increase the tuition. But these effects can sometimes be reversed for the public 4-year institutions. Other student financial aid variables have minor effects on tuition.
“The Phillips Curve in Japan: A Regional Perspective”
Texas Christian University
The Philips Curve describes the trade-off between inflation and unemployment (or output gap) and provides important guidance for monetary policy. In most cases, the Philips Curve is estimated using national-level data but in recent years scholars have increasingly applied regional level data, which has major benefits. This paper conducts an empirical investigation of the Phillips curve for Japan over various periods between 1955 and 2022 using regional data. In particular, the slope of the curve is estimated for each of 10 major regions of Japan separately as well as together in a panel setting, and then compared to the slope of the national Phillips curve. The results show that there is regional heterogeneity in the slope, creating challenges for the national monetary policy. Moreover, I show that the regional Phillips curve estimated in a regional panel is not as flat as the national-level data would suggest. This confirms the relevance of the Phillips curve in the context of Japan and highlights the importance of regional heterogeneity.
“The Phillips Curve in Japan: A Regional Perspective”
Vargas, Isabel; Krichmaryov, Kristina; Navadiya, Yash
This paper uses data from the Poverty Supplement of the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (CPS) to estimate the effect of political environment on economic outcomes and aid dependence for lower income households. Using a two-way fixed effect model, we show mixed results. There is no effect on WIC, school lunch vouchers, or on Medicaid enrollment, but there is some evidence for more use of other forms of aid like SNAP and housing vouchers.
“An Investigation into the Different Factors of Airline Ticket Pricing”
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
In a world of increasing reliance on air travel for both work and entertainment, determining what influences the prices of these tickets can be extremely important to both consumers and analysists alike. Using cross sectional data downloaded from the metasearch engine Kayak I was able to make interpretations about the prices of these plane tickets based on 2713 nonstop flight prices.
Victor Vasnetsov, Catherine Vasnetsov
TASIS Dorado High School
This paper investigates recent trends in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) over 2001-19 period in the US and European Union (EU). The study specifically examines several determinants of M&A activity, encompassing not only conventional macroeconomic and financial factors but also a novel "fourth dimension” of human sentiment. As M&A is a larger and riskier investment option compared to other organic growth strategies for firms, its volume is cyclical and highly sensitive to a select set of external drivers. Given the inherent risks and swift pace of M&A, coupled with the far-reaching and long-term implications for the M&A-involved entities, this study introduces and explores the novel concept of "human sentiment" as a determinant of M&A activity. Through empirical analysis, the study establishes that both US and EU M&A volume are positively correlated to regional investor and consumer confidence, as well as stock market performance, while displaying negative correlations with stock market valuations and the cost of debt capital. These correlations prove to be highly statistically significant for both regions, albeit with some noteworthy regional nuances.