Economics graduate students present research at annual conference

Spandan Roy presents his research at the Midwest Economics Association Conference in March.
Ph.D. economics grad student Spandan Roy presents his research at the Midwest Economics Association Conference in March.

Iowa State University was well represented at the 2024 Midwest Economics Association (MEA) Conference, held March 21-24 in Chicago, where 13 economics master’s and doctoral students presented a myriad of research topics.

The MEA, based at Grinnell College, is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advance economic knowledge and the economics profession. Each year, MEA holds a conference for scholars from different backgrounds, career stages, and institutions to share their research pursuits.

Spandan Roy, an economics Ph.D. student at Iowa State, presented research on his analysis of the distribution of skilled and low-skilled workers in the agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors in China and India. He found that China’s emphasis on improving its low-skilled labor has fueled its economic growth, a contrast to India’s approach.

Roy appreciated the opportunity to discuss his research among the wider economics community.

“Interacting with other presenters and attendees was fruitful and I also met old acquaintances,” he said. “I got great feedback on my research and presentation skills, too.”

Shinyoung Kim, also an economics Ph.D. student at Iowa State, discussed the effects of college-level grade inflation on the wages of students entering the labor market. In her study, she discovered diminishing marginal returns of a higher GPA (above 3.25) are mostly observed in the upper levels of wage distribution. Second, Kim found that changes in GPAs contribute little to overall wage changes over time.

Kim enjoyed getting to meet other economists with similar research interests.

“The conference provided valuable interactions with other education economists focused on higher education financial aid,” she said.

Following is list of all Iowa State master’s and Ph.D. students who spoke at the MEA conference.

  • Rwit Chakravorty, “Coordination and Efficiency of Drainage Investments in the U.S. Corn Belt”
  • Jian Chen, “Crowding-in or Crowding-out: Assessing the Role of Distributed Generation Solar Photovoltaic in Utility-scale Solar Development”
  • Zhushan Du, “Risk and Ambiguity Aversion in Conservation Practice Adoption”
  • Hul Hwang, “Examining the Ethanol Industry Shakeout”
  • Hongseok Kim, “Endogenous Fertility Decision under Ambiguity”
  • Seongyeob Kim, “Product Purchasing Contest: A Strategy to Leverage Competition Among Consumers”
  • Shinyoung Kim, “The Effects of College-level Grade Inflation on the Wages of Students Entering the Labor Market”
  • Angelos Lagoudakis, “The Role of Dollar Stores and Food-Away-From-Home Establishments on Food Systems in America”
  • Spandan Roy, “Structural Change and Human Capital Heterogeneity”
  • Luiz Filippe Santana Adão, “Gender and Risk Aversion: The Tale of a Banking Crisis Affecting Finance Professionals’ Behavior”
  • Meenakshi Shekhar, “Unveiling the Manufacturing Disparity: A Comparative
  • Levi Soborowicz, “Occupational Switching for Truck Drivers and Related Professions”
  • Kyubin Yim, “Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma on a Network”