Economic Growth and International Trade
“Austerity and Exports” with Rishav Bista, Josh Ederington, and Jenny Minier, (May 2016) Review of International Economics, 24: 203-225.
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).
“Manufacturing Exports and Economic Growth: When is a Developing Country Ready to Transition from Primary Exports to Manufacturing Exports?", Journal of Macroeconomics, Vol. 42 (December 2014): 1-13.
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.
“The Dynamics of Sectoral Electricity Demand for a Panel of US States: New Evidence on the Consumption-Growth Nexus” with James Saunoris, Energy Policy, 61, October 2013, 327-336.
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.
Pedagogy & Economics Education Papers
Abstract: Ever since Becker and Watts (1996) found that economic educators rely heavily on “chalk and talk” as a primary teaching method, economic educators have been seeking new ways to engage students and improve learning outcomes. Recently, the use of social media as a pedagogical tool in economics has received increasing interest. The authors assess students across three different institutions to see if the use of Twitter improves learning outcomes relative to a traditional Learning Management System. Using an experimental design, they find no evidence that the use of Twitter improves students' learning.
Abstract: University class structure is changing. To accommodate working students, programmes are increasing their offerings of long night classes – some lasting as long as six hours. While these long classes may be more convenient for students, they have unintended consequences as a result of cognitive load. Using a panel of 124 students (372 observations) and a differencing approach that controls for student characteristics, we show that student exam performance decreases by approximately one-half letter grade on content taught in the second half of a long class (significant at the 5% level).
Abstract: Economics instructors have increasingly embraced the use of popular culture as a teaching resource to enhance their lectures. The use of television shows, music and media clips presumably makes economic theories, concepts, and terms more relevant to today’s students. For example, shows like The Simpsons, The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld and many others have been suggested as great teaching tools for Economics due to students’ familiarity with the content. We evaluate this claim by surveying students at three institutions over two years to identify which television shows and musicians are most popular with students. Our results indicate that the popular media frequently used by instructors are not always correspondingly popular with current students.
“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.
“A Primer for New Teachers of Economics” with Gail Hoyt and Jennifer Imazeki, Southern Economic Journal, January 2014, Vol. 80 (3): 839-854.
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.