Weekly Announcements for Faculty, Staff, and Students

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Announcements

  • Mark your calendar: retirement reception for Duffy and Kliebenstein

    Please join us in honoring Mike Duffy and Jim Kliebenstein, as the Department of Economics celebrates their upcoming retirements - Thursday, May 1, 3-4 PM, 368A Heady Hall. Faculty, staff, and students welcome!

  • Mark your calendar: farewell reception for Joe Herriges

    Faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Economics are invited to a special reception in honor of Joe Herriges to thank him for his years of service to the department. Tuesday, April 29, 2-3 PM, 368A Heady Hall.

  • EGSA picnic RSVP reminder

    Please remember to fill out the EGSA picnic RSVP by today to determine attendance for the ordering of food. The picnic, once again, is scheduled for next Friday (April 25th) at 5pm.

    https://docs.google.com/a/iastate.edu/forms/d/1wR9MxOEyB1Ga1Tr4yrVpyJ9Rf...

     

News

  • Luvaga and undergrad Premkumar honored with Cardinal Key Award

    Ebby Luvaga, senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, and undergraduate economics major Deepak Premkumar  were recently honored with Iowa State University’s Cardinal Key Award.

    The award was established in 1926, to honor outstanding leaders among students, faculty, and staff at the university. Awardees demonstrate exemplary leadership in university activities, a high level of scholarship, strength of character, and outstanding service to the university community. The Cardinal Key designation also serves to identify a unifying body of campus leaders who promote “cardinal virtues” within the university community.

    Previous nominees from the Department of Economics include Ron Deiter ( 2013), Dermot Hayes (2011), and Jim Kliebenstien (2000).

     

  • Thursday's William Murray Memorial Seminar: Christopher Timmons, Duke University

    "Estimating the Impacts of Brownfield Remediation on Housing Property Values," with Christopher Timmins, Duke University, Thursday, April 24, 3:40 PM-5 PM, 368A Heady Hall.

    Christopher Timmins is a professor in the Department of Economics at Duke University, with a secondary appointment in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He holds a BSFS degree from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. Professor Timmins specializes in natural resource and environmental economics, but also has interests in industrial organization, development, public and regional economics. His recent research has focused on measuring the costs associated with exposure to poor air quality, the benefits associated with remediating brownfields and toxic waste under the Superfund program, and the external costs and benefits from shale gas development. Professor Timmins is a research associate in the Environmental and Energy Economics group at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has served as a reviewer for numerous environmental, urban, and applied microeconomics journals. He currently serves on the editorial board of the American Economic Review and is a co-editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. His research has appeared in a wide variety of outlets, including Econometrica, the AER, IER, JEL, and the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

    Abstract: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program provides grants to assess and clean up brownfields - properties the ‘expansion, re-development, or re-use of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.’ The highly localized nature of brownfields lends itself well to measuring the value of site remediation with property value hedonics. The application of that technique is, however, complicated by the presence of correlated unobservable determinants of housing prices (both time-invariant and those that vary over time). This report uses a variety of quasi-experimental techniques to overcome this problem. The analysis finds evidence of large increases in property values accompanying cleanup, ranging from 4.9% to 24.8%; a double-difference matching estimator that does not rely on the intertemporal stability of the hedonic price function finds even larger effects, implying that evidence of property value increases is consistent with a willingness to pay interpretation.William G. Murray (1903-1991) was an agricultural economist, founder of Living History Farms, and an Iowa gubernatorial candidate. Murray received a BA from Coe College in 1924, and MA from Harvard University in 1925, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1932. He came to Iowa State University in 1927, with teaching and research interests in farm land valuation and finance. Murray served as head of the Department of Economics and Sociology at ISU from 1943 to 1955. In 1935-1936, he was chief economist with the Farm Credit Administration, and in 1948 he served as president of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association. He played a prominent role in the creation and early history of Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, and in 1967, he helped organize the LHF Foundation. He served as research director of LHF from 1967-1974, and as its president from 1974-1981. Murray was also involved in Iowa politics, and was Iowa's Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1958 and 1966.

    William G. Murray (1903-1991) was an agricultural economist, founder of Living History Farms, and an Iowa gubernatorial candidate. Murray received a BA from Coe College in 1924, and MA from Harvard University in 1925, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1932. He came to Iowa State University in 1927, with teaching and research interests in farm land valuation and finance. Murray served as head of the Department of Economics and Sociology at ISU from 1943 to 1955. In 1935-1936, he was chief economist with the Farm Credit Administration, and in 1948 he served as president of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association. He played a prominent role in the creation and early history of Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, and in 1967, he helped organize the LHF Foundation. He served as research director of LHF from 1967-1974, and as its president from 1974-1981. Murray was also involved in Iowa politics, and was Iowa's Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1958 and 1966.

  • Friday's Department Seminar: Skip Crooker, University of Central Missouri

    "Predicting freshmen credit hours earned with statistical learning methods," with Skip Crooker, University of Central Missouri, Friday, April 25, 12 PM-1:20 PM, 368A Heady Hall.

    Skip Crooker serves as professor of economics and director of institutional research at the University of Central Missouri. He became the director of institutional research in January, 2013, after serving as associate dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Study at the university. While in the Harmon College, Crooker has served as the director of the Master in Business Administration program and taught the quantitative and managerial economics course since arriving at UCM in 2002. He also previously chaired the Department of Economics and Finance.

    Crooker earned his PhD in economics with a minor in statistics from Iowa State University in 1998. His major fields were econometrics and environmental & natural resource economics. He received his BS in economics with a minor in finance from the University of Central Missouri in 1993. Today, his research includes applications of econometrics and statistical learning techniques to higher education.

    Abstract: Beginning in academic year 2012, the Missouri Department of Higher Education instituted a performance based funding mechanism for all public 4-year institutions in the State of Missouri. The stated goal of the model is to distribute 100% of all new money earmarked for higher education according to each institution's respective performance. With 5 performance metrics, 20% of an institution's new appropriations is conditional upon success on a particular metric. Among the 5 metrics identied as performance metrics is the proportion of the institutions first-time full-time (freshmen) cohort successively earning 24 credit hours in the academic year. To achieve success in this metric, the institution must not experience a decrease in the 3-year average proportion of students earning 24 credit hours. As this particular metric is not necessarily an attribute of the freshmen cohort that has been historically forecasted, we have a lack of understanding of important characteristics of the freshmen experience that influence success in this metric. Meanwhile, in academic year 2014, the value of achieving this single metric of success eclipsed $400,000 in annual funding. For these reasons, we are interested in quickly learning the signals that may explain success or failure in this metric. Our objective in this paper is to explore statistical learning approaches to explaining factors impacting an individual student's ability to earn 24 credit hours in his or her rst year of study. The predominant approaches considered are decision-tree, bagging, random forests and boosting methods. We compare the statistical learning algorithms against more conventional econometric estimators in a cross-validation study design.

  • Weekly media contacts for the Department of Economics

    Dave Swenson spoke with Anne Carothers-Kay, Kent Darr, and Joe Gardyaz, Des Moines Business Record, on current indicators of metropolitan economic health and the relative performance of the several cities that constitute the Des Moines-West Des Moines metropolitan urbanized area.

    Marcia Zarley Taylor, editor, DTN/Progressive Farmer, about gains in Iowa rural areas over the past decade due to value-added farming and manufacturing activities that boosted farmers' incomes.

  • Undergrad Horsager awarded for "entrepreneurial pitch"

    Undergraduate economics major Janet Horsager (front left) was the recent winner of the 3rd annual Innovation Pitch Competition, hosted by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Learning Community. Iowa State students pitched business ideas to a panel of judges, and were awarded cash prizes designed to support their concepts. Horsager was awarded $500 for her beekeeping rental concept, sponsored by the Renewable Energy Group of Ames.

  • Monday's Department Seminar: Ivo Welch, UCLA

    "Contracting Externalities and Unrepudiable Menus in the U.S. Corporate Bankruptcy Code," Ivo Welch, UCLA, Monday, April 28, 4:10 PM-5:30 PM, 368A Heady Hall.

    Ivo Welch is the J. Fred Weston Professor of Finance at UCLA Anderson. He was on the Anderson faculty from 1989 to 2000. After stints at Yale's School of Management and the Brown economics department, he rejoined Anderson in 2011. He has placed among the top-100 most influential economists in some academic rankings. A number of his academic papers have won awards and/or are highly cited. Known for his work on informational cascades, he has also published in a variety of other areas, such as initial public offerings, capital structure, dividends, market-timing, performance evaluation, earnings management, overconfidence, socially responsible investing, bankruptcy, etc. He has served as an associate editor at a number of the most prestigious academic finance journals, written an introductory corporate finance textbook (freely available at http://book.ivo-welch.info), and earned a number of teaching awards.

    Abstract: Our paper offers the first justification for the U.S. bankruptcy code, in which firms are not allowed to commit themselves ex-ante in their lending agreements either to (Chapter 7) liquidation or to (Chapter 11) reorganization in case of distress. If fire-sale liquidation imposes negative externalities on their peers, then firms are collectively better off if they are all forced into a no-opt-out choice (a mandatory “menu”), although they would individually want to commit themselves to liquidation. The ex-post menu choice is important: prohibiting liquidation outright would be worse. Our paper’s innovation is thus to show not when a later choice should be prohibited, but when a later choice should be mandatory. Equivalent analyses could justify when other ex-post choices should remain inalienable (not contractible).

  • Wednesday's Macroeconomic Workshop/Econ 693 Presentation: DongGyu Yi, Iowa State University

    "An Evidence of Updating Risk Perception: The Effect of 2008 Great Flood on Property Value in Des Moines," DongGyu Yi, Iowa State University, Wednesday, April 30, 4:10 PM-5:30 PM, 360 Heady Hall.

    Abstract: One of the severest flooding events in Iowa, sometimes referred to as “Iowa’s Katrina,” occurred in between June 8 and July 1, 2008. This paper examines how housing prices were impacted by this unexpected event, while controlling for pre-existing flood risk (as captured by 100- and 500-year floodplains). Transaction data from Des Moines housing market for the period from 2000 to 2012 are used to estimate a hedonic price function for the region. Housing units are geo-located to determine whether or not they are in the 100- and 500-year floodplains, as well as whether the 2008 flood inundated the property. A difference-in-difference-in-differences (DDD) approach is used to isolate the impact of the 2008 flood. The results show that the price for the houses in 100-year floodplains were already discounted before the flood and there was no significant change in the price after the flood if the area was inundated; i.e., if the ex ante expectation was fulfilled. However, we do find a significant rebounding in the post-flood price if the area was not actually inundated. On the other hand, the price of properties both in 500-year floodplains and outside of floodplains was not significantly discounted before the flood. However, there was a significant decrease in the price after the flood if the area was inundated. These findings imply that as new information on flooding comes out, the market updates the risk perception for properties, as indicated by a change in the housing price.

  • Weekly media contacts for the Department of Economics

    Mike Duffy spoke with David Kesmodel the Assistant News Editor for the Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires, regarding the aging farm population and farm transitions.

Funding Opportunities

Job Opportunities

Papers and Presentations

  • Recent presentation by Ron Deiter

    Ron Deiter gave a presentation to the National Alpha Zeta Leadership Conference entitled, “Welcome to the REAL World (i.e. Life After College),” Saturday, March 29, Ames, Iowa.