The U.S. Census Bureau’s method of calculating who is poor and who is not has been under fire by researchers for years because it doesn’t calculate the benefits of anti-poverty programs—such as food stamps and housing subsidies—into its formula. In response to the criticism, the Census Bureau released in the fall of 2011 the Supplemental Poverty Measure to more accurately assess poverty in America. Though the new supplemental measure uses a definition of income that is conceptually closer to resources available for consumption than pretax money income, a new study by University of Notre Dame economist James X. Sullivan finds that even the Supplementary Poverty Measure provides an inaccurate reflection of deprivation in this country.
Timothy Fuerst, one of the most-cited economists in the world, is joining the University of Notre Dame this fall as William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Economics. Fuerst’s appointment is the “crown jewel” in a series of recent hires that will bring even greater depth and diversity to the rapidly growing Department of Economics, says Chair Richard Jensen, the Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics.
University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded the 2012 Frisch Medal for a paper evaluating the impact of microfinance, widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries. First awarded in 1978, the Econometric Society presents the Frisch Medal biennially for the best empirical or theoretical applied paper published in Econometrica within the previous five years. The Frisch medal is not only one of the top three prizes in the field of economics but also the most prestigious “best article” award in the profession, says Rich Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics at Notre Dame and chair of the Department of Economics.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 brought an influx of Soviet mathematicians to U.S. institutions, and those scholars’ differing areas of specialization have changed the way math is studied and taught in this country, according to new research by University of Notre Dame Economist Kirk Doran and George Borjas from Harvard University.
The Fulbright Exchange Program, National Science Foundation, and other national and international organizations have awarded postgraduate scholarships and fellowships to 13 members of the University of Notre Dame’s Class of 2012, 10 of whom are students in the College of Arts and Letters. Two Arts and Letters graduates of earlier classes also received prestigious fellowships and scholarships this year.
Large-scale microfinance programs are widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries, but a recent study by University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski and MIT colleague Robert Townsend suggests that microfinancing can have varying results for participants and may not be the most cost-effective use of funds for many situations. The study was published in a recent issue of Econometrica. Kaboski and Townsend used the Thai Million Baht Village Fund, one of the largest government microfinance initiatives of its kind, to evaluate and understand the benefits and disadvantages of microfinance interventions.
Junior Ellen Carroll and senior Rian Dineen from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters were among a select group of students invited to the national Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Undergraduate Colloquium this spring. “This was a great opportunity for our students to broaden their intellectual networks through seminar work with their peers from other universities, including Duke, North Carolina, Penn, Tulane, Virginia, and Yale,” says John Roos, director of Notre Dame’s PPE minor.
Twelve College of Arts and Letters faculty members have received 2012 Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and one was honored with a Dockweiler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
ND Thinks Big, a student-organized event modeled after TED talks and Harvard Thinks Big, will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in the Jordan Auditorium of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Sponsored by student forum The Hub and the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, the event features 10 speakers from the Notre Dame faculty and administration, who will each deliver a 10-minute talk about their research and current work within their respective fields.
Notre Dame political scientist Rev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C., and economist Molly Lipscomb have teamed up to conduct a randomized controlled trial in 250 villages of rural Uganda, where contaminated water is a major cause of health problems and premature death. Funded by a $279,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the study will assess whether religious or political leaders are more effective at promoting health-enhancing behaviors.
In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame economist Abigail Wozniak and Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Murray—a former Notre Dame graduate student—found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group’s presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave.
Linguistic and cultural fluency is an increasingly important asset in business. And to address the growing demand for professionals who can both understand and help shape the world market, Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has created a new major in international economics. The major combines substantial coursework in the Department of Economics with advanced training in language and culture, starting with French, Italian, or Spanish. It will also provide students with the potential for overseas internships and specialized research projects. “This program will be an attractive option for ambitious, sophisticated, and savvy Notre Dame undergraduates seeking to prepare themselves for successful international careers,” says Richard Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics and chair of the Department of Economics.
When she first arrived at the University of Notre Dame, Karen Stockley ’08 had no plan to major in economics and says graduate school wasn’t on her radar either. Today, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University and already has three years of professional research experience, an award-winning paper to her credit, and a bright future in healthcare economics. It was a Principles of Economics class during her very first semester, Stockley says, that sparked her interest in the field.
Economics majors in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters develop the analytical skills and social perspective needed to better understand complex economic forces at work in the world. They also hone the ability to express their ideas and insights both clearly and concisely. That’s exactly what Class of 2011 students Elizabeth Koerbel and Matthew Conti demonstrated in their senior theses, which won first and second place, respectively, in the University’s annual Bernoulli Awards competition.
You can find economists working almost everywhere and in almost every field, from college sports to Internet auction sites, the music industry, and even NASA. And this mind-opening diversity of career paths is at the heart of a new speaker series sponsored by the undergraduate Economics Club of Notre Dame and the College of Arts and Letters Department of Economics.
When she first arrived at the University of Notre Dame, Karen Stockley ’08 had no plan to major in economics and says graduate school wasn’t on her radar either. Today, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University and already has three years of professional research experience, an award-winning paper to her credit, and a bright future in healthcare economics.
Several years ago, Notre Dame biologist David Lodge approached Department of Economics Chair Richard Jensen about the possibility of one day working together in an area of particular interest to Lodge: invasive species. The pair ultimately obtained a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and are now serving as co-principal investigators, along with Lindsay Chadderton of The Nature Conservancy, on a project titled “Forecasting Spread and Bioeconomic Impacts of Aquatic Invasive Species from Multiple Pathways to Improve Management and Policy in the Great Lakes.”
The past year was another eventful one, as the new era of economics at Notre Dame continues to unfold.
By many different measures, people who take religion seriously are different from the rest of society, says University of Notre Dame economist Daniel Hungerman. And different in a good way. “In fact, religiosity is the best predictor of any number of positive social outcomes,” he says. “Religious people are generally healthier, they give more to charities, they are much more likely to be involved in civic life, and they are much less likely to suffer from depression or mental illness.”
Molly Lipscomb, assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, and Laura Schechter and Jean-François Houde, economists at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, hope to increase the accessibility of sanitation technology in poor neighborhoods in Dakar, Senegal. Their two-year research project is supported by a more than $1 million grant to Innovations for Poverty Action from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.