Weekly Announcements for Faculty, Staff, and Students
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
- 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.
- 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.
- NIH Agricultural, forestry and fishing safety and health research (U01)
More information available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-14-175.html
- Utilities economist position available
- Watershed economist position
- Social sciences job posting – March 2014
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.