Research

Current Publications: (Click titles for links to available papers)

“Austerity and Exports” with Rishav Bista, Josh Ederington, and Jenny Minier, forthcoming in Review of International Economics

Abstract: Recent papers such as Alesina and Ardagna (2010) have focused attention on the potential for expansionary austerity (i.e., that cutting budget deficits may increase growth in the short run). In this paper we investigate the impact of fiscal consolidation on trade using bilateral trade data. The use of bilateral trade data allows us to demonstrate three novel empirical results. First, while .fiscal consolidation is associated with an increase in own-country exports, it is also correlated to an equal extent with a decrease in foreign-country exports (i.e., imports); indeed, simultaneous austerity has no statistically signifi.cant impact on bilateral trade. Second, the positive e.ffect of austerity on exports disappears when trading partners share a common currency. Third, the increase in exports due to austerity is associated entirely with an increase in the range of goods exported (the extensive margin), at the expense of trade volume among existing trade relationships (the intensive margin).

    

“Engaging Students Using Social Media: The Students’ Perspective” with Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel, (May 2015 ) International Review of Economics Education , Vol. 19 : 36-50.

Abstract: Social media access and usage has grown rapidly in the past several years. In academia, social media is a new pedagogical tool that may be used to engage students both inside and outside the economics classroom, and impact their overall success. In this study we examine the students’ view of incorporating social media in the classroom. The survey was administered at three academic institutions. The results are based on a survey administered to students in Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses. Students have the strongest presence, in descending order, on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. However, based on their utilization preferences, these mediums are ranked as follows: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The results indicate that students are concerned with privacy but are more willing to connect with faculty if the connection is “one-way” and participate if social media is a voluntary part of class. Therefore Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, or Facebook “like” pages or groups are potentially better mediums for faculty to use in economic classrooms. The survey indicates that students use their social media accounts more frequently than email or Learning Management Systems and, therefore, social media may also be a more effective tool for spontaneous communication for many students.

Abstract: Why do many developing countries still rely on primary goods as their main source of export income when evidence suggests they could earn higher returns by exporting manufactured goods?  I use data for a wide cross-section of countries over the period 1970-2009 and find that although increasing manufacturing exports is important for sustained economic growth, this relationship only holds once a threshold level of development is reached.  Specifically, I use an endogenous sample-splitting technique, known as regression tree analysis, to identify possible economic development thresholds in the relationship between the level of manufacturing exports and GDP per capita growth.  I find that a country needs to achieve a minimum level of human capital before it is beneficial to transition from a reliance on primary exports to manufacturing exports.

Abstract: In many economics programs, both graduate students and new assistant professors are thrown into the classroom without guidance, with the potential for negative ramifications that can last throughout their careers as teaching economists. This paper is a primer in which we offer unique insights into useful methods and practices for new teachers in the economics profession. We discuss organizational and logistical issues that new teachers must consider, then offer our advice on specific pedagogical tools and techniques. Following the growing literature on the benefits of student-centered and interactive instruction, we focus on ways instructors can move away from the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ approach.  We organize and present these alternative pedagogies in terms of their level of complexity and time required. We tailor our discussion to the unique experience of the teaching economist. We conclude with suggestions and resources for the continued growth and development of new teachers in economics.

Abstract: In this paper, we use a panel of the 48 contiguous US states over the period 1970–2009 to examine the dynamics of electricity demand in addressing the four hypotheses set forth in the literature: growth, conservation, neutrality, and feedback. In doing so we provide both short-run and long-run elasticity estimates for electricity demand. Recent developments in nonstationary panel estimation techniques allow for heterogeneity in the coefficients while examining the direction of causality among electricity consumption, electricity prices, and income growth. In addition to the full sample, we also disaggregate the sample into three sectors: commercial, industrial, and residential. The short-run results provide evidence in favor of the growth hypothesis for the aggregate sample, as well as for the industrial sector. For the residential and commercial sectors, the conservation hypothesis is supported. Long-run results favor the conservation hypothesis. To ascertain differences in electricity demand relating to electricity intensity we also examine states based on their efficiency in electricity consumption. Overall, the results yield in favor of the growth hypothesis for low intensity states and conservation hypothesis for high intensity states.

Working Papers:
"Evaluating Social Media and its Impact on Engagement, Assessment, and Evaluation in Principles of Economics Courses" with Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel. (Under Review)
"Economic Growth Turning Points and the Intensive and Extensive Margins of Exports" with Rishav Bista.
"Faculty Perceptions of Social Media" with Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel.


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