Economics Senior Theses


These papers have been developed as part of the course ECON392W (Honors Seminar).

Some papers have clickable links. For the others, please contact the authors directly. If you are an author and want your paper updated, please write to Professor Ortega.


How Stable Are Stablecoins: Measuring Volatility of Stablecoin Pegs

by Faheem Hoosain

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: In this paper, we assess the average volatility of three main stablecoin designs (Tokenized Fund, Algorithmic, and Crypto-collateralized). The question we are asking is which stablecoin model best accomplishes the goal of maintaining its price closest to the value of its peg. Stablecoins, which aim to reduce volatility, peg their value to price of an asset such as fiat currency, digital assets, or rely on an algorithm to expand or constrict supply which stabilizes its price. Using a dataset of daily prices for the top 20 stablecoins, we analyze the volatility of the three stablecoin types. Our findings suggest that tokenized-fund stablecoins are much more effective at maintaining its peg than the other two models. These results do not differ much from similar studies except that we find less volatility in the algorithmic coins in our data relative to the crypto- collaterized stablecoins. 


Effects of Immigration on Productivity in the United States

by Francisco Gonzalez

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: This paper focuses on the effects of immigrants on productivity in the United States. I estimate panel data models on data gathered from the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis over the past twenty years. My estimates indicate that the percentage of foreign-born people does not affect real GDP per capita in the long run. However, immigrants have a positive and significant effect on total real GDP in the long run. These implications are consistent with the predictions of standard macroeconomic models with constant returns to scale, such as Solow (1956).


How do households in the US change their expenditure patterns during times of high gas prices?

by Nawrin Haris

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: This paper compares the expenditure patterns of people living in the United States during two periods where gas prices were low and high, respectively. From 2016 to 2021, there has been an increase in expenditure in terms of transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. In contrast, there has been a decrease in expenditure in terms of food. Thus, the composition of household spending is affected by gas prices.


Inflation and Construction Activity in the United States

by Salvatore G. Cicco

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: This paper asks how do inflationary episodes affect construction activity at the state level in the United States. The existing literature suggests that periods of high inflation will lead to a decrease in construction activity in the United States. Using panel data econometrics, I find that inflation either has no effect on the share of construction in GDP or has a small negative effect.


Indebtedness and Financial Crises: The Case of Europe*

by Stephanie Szpylka

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: In the 2010s, the European debt crisis devastated the economies of several countries, especially Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. My paper examines how certain economic factors from before the crisis affect each country’s GDP growth during it. Using level of indebtedness, employment-population ratio, and tax revenue, I find that each has a negative effect on growth. Indebtedness is consistently the most important factor. These results highlight the importance of avoiding high debt levels to avoid economic and financial crises.


The Effect of Tax Cuts on Household Income

by Yamina Attab

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of tax cuts on household income. I focus my research on the series of massive tax cuts enacted in Kansas in 2012 and their effect on household income. I analyze data for the periods before and after the tax cut in both Kansas and its four surrounding states: Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nebraska. My econometric estimates show that Kansas experienced a slower rate of growth in household income than the surrounding states around the period of the Kansas tax cuts. The results of my analysis suggest that tax cuts do not benefit the average household in Kansas.


Access to Public Transportation and Economic Opportunities in NYC

by Zachary Sayle

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: In New York City, millions of people utilize the MTA’s public transportation system to commute to work on a daily basis. My paper examines the relationship between various measures of subway access and economic outcomes at the neighborhood level. The analysis is based on merged geocoded subway station data with neighborhood-level characteristics compiled by the New York City Department of City Planning. My regression analysis shows that access to subway stations and subway lines has a significant and positive effect on neighborhood employment rates. Similar analysis on the effects of subway access on average household income points to similar findings, but is less conclusive. Additionally, I observe that the greatest positive effects of transit appear ssociated with the presence of a subway hub in the neighborhood. Overall, my findings suggest that increased access to public transportation improves neighborhood economic outcomes.


Life Insurance Expenditures and COVID-19 Mortality Variation

by Carmen Feng

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: This paper studies the influence of COVID-19 mortality rate of different ages on the life insurance market. Recent literature shows that the high infection rate and morbidity of COVID-19 may cause consumers to attempt to control losses according to their perception of risks, so people’s demand for life insurance will increase. In the long run, it might improve people’s insurance awareness and contribute to the long-term development of the life insurance industry. Using the statistics on COVID mortality in addition to the Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP), by comparing the data of 2018 and 2020, I find that for life insurance holdings, the general pandemic factor had limited effects. My results show that the correlation coefficient of the two age groups: 25-44 years old and 45-64 years old, who are the main breadwinners of the family have the biggest coefficient or the biggest growth on the life insurance expenditure.


Intermarket Analysis: Commodities and Their Safe Haven Capabilities

by Michael Grosz

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: With the COVID-19 pandemic causing volatility in the stock market, are commodities considered a safe haven? A security is considered a safe haven whenever it is uncorrelated with stocks or bonds at times of stress. This paper investigates the returns of gold, copper, crude oil, corn, and platinum across various time periods to determine if any of these five commodities are safe havens for stocks or bonds. The empirical analysis examines an econometric model for all commodities using quantile regression and a GARCH(1,1) model. Afterwards, cointegration is tested among the commodities to ascertain if they can be used in a pairs trading strategy. The results indicate that copper and platinum are quite robust safe havens for stocks during the recent pandemic while copper and oil are weak safe havens for bonds in the long term. Additionally, oil and platinum can be cointegrated for commodity diversification purposes.


Can movements of the top Altcoins predict Bitcoin’s percentage change?

by Lamae A. Maharaj

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: This paper explored the relationship between the price percentage movement of the altcoins (Ethereum, Solana, Ripple, Cardano, and Binance Coin) and its effect and its use in prediction Bitcoin’s percentage price movement. Recent literature suggests that Bitcoin’s performance can manipulate market movement in the investment world of crypto assets. This paper reverse engineers the idea of smaller assets manipulating the price of Bitcoin through algorithms and traditional statistical modeling techniques. The goal is to find a relationship between Bitcoin and altcoins to increase prediction power of the models discussed.


Men, Marriage, and Money

by Xena Fouladi

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: A question commonly investigated in labor economics is whether marriage affects a man’s wages. Although there have been many papers proving that there is a correlation between men getting married and wage increases, there is limited research showing that there is causation. Previous literature has established that married men earn higher wages than men who are not married. This paper, however, focuses on checking the hypothesis that productivity in men is caused by getting married, and if that results in a marriage premium. To do so, I use data from the International Labor Organization Statistic explorer and the Panel Income of Study Dynamics. After testing multiple regressions, the results show that productivity in men and marriage are not causal.


Role of Culture and Gender in Learning Math

by Farzana Monir

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: This paper replicates a paper by Natalia Nollenberger, Núria Rodríguez-Planas, and Almudena Sevilla. It demonstrates the role culture plays in gender inequality in learning mathematics around the globe. Recent literature and datasets from PISA show that culture plays a significant role in children’s mathematics learning based on their gender. Nollenberger, Rodrguez-Planas, and Sevilla (2015) find this not to be true based on the type of beliefs transmitted, reading scores, and self-reported beliefs about math. These findings suggest that stereotypes against women play a more important role.


The Effect of COVID-19 on Educational Attainment: The Disproportionate Effect on Immigrants

by Darley Verdesoto

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: This paper explores the role of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational attainment and its effect on immigrants using a statistical approach. To identify whether or not immigrant students were affected disproportionately, I analyze those in high school and undergraduate studies. I find that after the pandemic, the number of students who received a high school degree improved after the pandemic. The same was found for immigrants. When analyzing students ages 15 to 18 and whether or not they were at grade level, before the pandemic, 76.14% of the sample was a student that was an immigrant and at grade level. After the pandemic, 75.79% of the students were at grade level given that they were an immigrant. This indicates a decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Particular challenges due to the pandemic caused students that were immigrants to be disproportionately affected and created a gap between immigrants and non-immigrants regarding educational attainment.


Onward and upward: Effect of excelsior scholarship on enrollment and graduation rates in CUNY/SUNY

by David Zhai

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: The concept of free college has floated in academic and political discourse to assist middle to low-income families because of the rising cost of education. In the year 2017 New York State was one of the first states to pass a scholarship to allow students that met the requirement to go to college for free. Given that the student’s family had an annual income of less than $125,000, is a resident of New York, and takes 30 credits a year they are allowed to enroll in the scholarship. This paper was written to see the effect of the excelsior scholarship on student enrollment and graduation. In this paper, we find that the scholarship has had a positive effect on students enrolling in SUNY and CUNY schools, but had a negative effect on graduation.


The Linkage: Inflation, Unemployment, Poverty, Income Inequality and Property Crime

by Edison Zhao

Supervised by Professor Roff

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between property crime and macroeconomic and socioeconomic conditions. The property crime data is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and includes non-violent crimes such as burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. The explanatory data measuring macroeconomic and socioeconomic conditions are from various sources covering the period 2000 through 2018 for 50 states and the District of Columbia. This paper applies a state fixed effect model for regression analysis, and each category of property crime is being examined respectively. Based on the regression results, the paper suggests that increases in inflation, unemployment and poverty are associated with increased aggregate property crime. In opposition, income inequality is negatively related to property crime.


The Effect of Covid-19 Outbreaks on Stock Values in the Retail Industry 

by Anjali Dutt

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: I examine the effects of the Covid-19 outbreaks on the stock values in the retail industry. The pandemic was observed to have a heterogeneous impact on the stock values in the retail industry. Through this study I analyze if the online presence of retail companies was a factor influencing valuations. To answer this question, I compiled the daily stock values of the top fifty retail companies and information on their online presence. My regression analysis indicated: (1)The Covid-19 outbreaks had a negative impact on stock values of all companies in the retail industry, regardless of their online presence, (2)The first outbreak of Covid-19 had a higher negative than later outbreaks, and (3) Companies with more online presence experienced smaller losses.


Are Special Purpose Acquisition Companies a Worthy Alternative to the Initial Public Offerings? 

by Israel Lallouz

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: In this paper, we examine the rise in the use of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) in recent years. We use market data to compare the evolution of stocks that were either originally underwritten as Initial Public Offerings (IPO) or acquired as a reverse merger through a SPAC. My estimates suggest that, over both one month and six-month periods, returns to SPACs were negative by 21% and 41% relative to IPOs.


Did Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates increase unemployment? 

by Luciana Salas

Supervised by Professor Ortega

Abstract: I examine the effects of state-level vaccine mandates on employment during the Covid-19 pandemic. I collected data about the contents and date of introduction of vaccine mandates for the two main cities in each of the 50 states in the country. I merged the data with employment data obtained from the American Community Survey. My findings suggest that the implementation of Covid-19 vaccine mandates may have resulted in higher unemployment in the short run. 


Obesity in Youth: How Poverty and Unemployment Hurts American Health 

by Michael Cao

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The purpose of this research paper is to determine the causal effect of Poverty and Unemployment on Obesity. Our dominant dependent variable will be the BMI (Body Mass Index) Index Average, and the dominant independent variable will be the Poverty Rate and Unemployment Rate. We will also be using Diabetes Rate as a secondary dependent variable to see an alternate outcome. Other independent variables and controls in this research are Fast-Food Employment, Educational Attainment, Age, Lack of Physical Activity, Median Income, Unemployment Rate, and Sex. The paper will give a table of panel data in a range of eight years in all Fifty States including the DC Capital. Our results learn that Unemployment has a positive effect on Obesity, but the Poverty Rate is insignificant although in Diabetes the effects are vice versa.


Is There a Relationship Between Student Debt and State Assets? 

by Maria D’Angelo 

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Americans deal with debt as a financial option instead of a financial responsibility. As citizens take out more debt, their consumption tends to grows. This pattern in turn grows each of the fifty state’s assets. The debt variables talked about within this thesis deals with the most common kinds: student, auto, credit card and mortgage loans. Since all the variables were computed per capita, the most accurate results were given in the regression tables. Surprisingly, controls such as age, sex and bachelor’s degree, did not contribute as a high significance to the results. It was nominal income that played the largest factor in determining the positive relationship between debt and state assets.


Timeseries Analysis of Bitcoin: Can Bitcoin become a leading asset in the U.S. economy? 

by Edward Gabrielyan 

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Emerging Cryptocurrency markets allow for new ways of investing which are demonstrating returns unseen through more traditional methods. Studying returns of different asset classes, we are determining whether Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, can become a leading asset in the United States economy. Using time series classes such as the S&P 500, gold, and the U.S. dollar I analyze their behaviors and create a story based on their correlations and trends over time. The study conducted results in classifying cryptocurrency as a valid asset class for growth, this was determined with observing coefficients and mapping time-series. I found that cryptocurrencies, through use of Bitcoin, is its own separate asset class by design of its nature and cannot be characterized through grouping nor comparing it to previous asset classes such as Gold, the USD, or the S&P500. I saw how both historical returns and time-series returns mapped out unmatched returns while also creating a volatility scale that was also unlike the other asset classes, upwards of 5x on returns and 3x on volatility with higher-than-average levels of extremes. None of the other asset classes had stats that matched that of Bitcoin or could be classified as similar to its behavior as an asset.


Unemployment and Crime 

by Yining Gao

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: In this paper, we try to examine the relationship between criminal activity (the dependent variable) and the unemployment rate (the main independent variable). The goal of this study is to analyze the factors affecting criminal activities in the US. Two variables are used to represent this relationship: violent crime rate and property crime rate. We control for education attainment, poverty rate, income, alcohol consumption, age, and gender. A state-level panel approach was utilized to observe and analyze this relationship. When using the overall sample of years and accounting for all controls, the results yield a positive and statistically significant relationship between unemployment rate and the two response variables. Generally, most of the states with higher unemployment rate tend to have higher violent crime rate and property crime rate.


The Effect of an Increase in Minimum Wage on Poverty Rate 

by Zihan Guo

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to determine the effect of increase in federal minimum wage on poverty rate. Our dominant dependent variable will be the poverty rate, and our dominant independent variable will be the minimum wage. Other independent variables and controls are RGDP (real gross domestic product), unemployment rate, personal income, educational attainment (High-school diploma), age (18+) and sex. The paper will give a table of panel data in a range of eight years in all Fifty States with the DC Capital. According to the results we get, minimum wage does not have significant effects on poverty rate while it does affect other independent variables and controls, especially personal income.


Industry performance over the business cycle 

by Jiayue Hu 

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The main goal of this paper is to offer possible guidance to investors on how they can change investment actively and reallocate their money from one industry to another through computing alphas tracked by three business condition variables: NBER based Recession Indicators, the default spread and VIX. With longer period since 1926, the dummy variable “NBER based Recession Indicator” shows that Consumer Nondurables and Healthcare, widely known as defensive stocks, are more appealing to invest during recessions. This corresponds to the traditional sector rotation theory. However, with shorter period since 1990, the results of these three business condition variables show that Consumer Durables is more appealing while Utilities is less appealing to invest during bad times, which are not close to the conventional wisdom.


How Income Affects the Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease in the United States 

by Lucas Jordan

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: This paper observes the relationship between income per capita and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the United States. Two variables were used to represent this prevalence: cardiovascular disease hospitalization rates and death rates. A state-level panel approach was utilized to observe and analyze this relationship. When accounting for all controls, the results yielded a negative, but statistically insignificant, relationship between income per capita and the two response variables. After some concern that the data may be time sensitive, time fixed effects were removed from the regressions. As a result, there was a significantly negative relationship between income per capita and both cardiovascular disease prevalence variables.


The Effects of COVID-19 on Corporate and Treasury Bonds 

by Joseph Shimonov 

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: This paper takes a more recent view of the changes within the bond market, including returns from US corporate high yield bonds, US corporate investment-grade bonds, and US Treasury bonds to examine how these returns were affected by the COVID-19 crisis. We also take a closer look at the means and volatilities of these three securities and their correlations during key moments when there is a high return, high volatility, or when there is a high correlation within a twenty-year window. Our study suggests that COVID-19, similar to previous financial crises, affected both corporate and treasury bonds heavily. Despite a similar pattern in volatility when compared to previous financial crises, we find that investment grade bond returns were far more volatile during the COVID-19 crisis. We also find that all the bonds that we have examined have a positive correlation when the VIX index is high. We see the same correlation when the NBER recession indicator indicates an active recession in the economy.


The relationship between housing market and Homelessness, In the United States 

by Xiaotong Sui 

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The increase in homelessness has always been affected by the housing market. This paper examines the data on the homeless ratio of 50 states, through the United States, and compare that data with the housing market. Since the housing market is an umbrella term, which hold multiple fields of data, this paper focuses only on the house value and the rental vacancy rate. The control variables this paper uses are serval economics and demographic controls. After compiling all the data, I discovered that the rental vacancy rate showed a significant contribution to the homeless ratio, while the house value did not contribute a significant contribution. Additionally, per capital income and education also have a significant association with the homeless ratio.


Analyzing the Relationship Between Immigration and the Unemployment Rate

by Jacob Dubin

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Immigration and its effects on the unemployment rate has been the center of economic debates for decades. This paper seeks to address what prior research has said on the matter and add to the discussion through analyzing state level panel data comprised from various sources. I use state-level balanced panel data from four time periods within 2000 – 2018 to explore the relationship between immigration and the unemployment rate. I combine data from a variety of sources such as the US Census Bureau, the Yearbooks of Immigration Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve of Economic Data (FRED), and the National Center for Education Statistics. I find that a 1 percentage point increase in the percentage flow of immigration is correlated with a statistically significant 5.604 percentage point decrease in the unemployment rate.


Is Airbnb Good for Housing Values?

by Jonathan Eng

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of short-term rentals on neighborhood housing prices. Using a cross section of data between 2013-2015 from NYC Open Data and InsideAirbnb, we measure the individual impact of housing factors on its sale price, taking note of the rental concentration variable. We estimate models that include neighborhood fixed effects and other influential variables and find that a 0.165 percentage-point increase in the concentration of short-term rentals leads to a 5.049% increase in the housing sale price.


The Economic Impact of Rising Temperatures

by Matthew Tabares

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: The world has been affected by the increase of temperature caused by climate change.  Newell et al. (2018) have looked at the damages that are to come in the coming century from rising temperatures. However, this paper researches the damages that have already occurred from the rising temperature from climate change using panel data.  By using data collected by The World Bank – World Development Indicators and from The World Bank – Climate Change Knowledge Portal from 196 countries during 1995 to 2016. We found in our research that a one-degree Celsius increase in temperature negatively affected countries gross domestic product (GDP) by -0.041%, was statistically significant when controlling for time fixed-effects and country fixed-effects and comparing decade to decade. However, we found that comparing year to year there was no statistical significance in an increase in temperature effecting countries GDP. 


The Effect of College Education on the Wages of Natives and Immigrants

by Umida Usarova

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: We conduct an empirical analysis to examine the effect of having a college degree on the wages of immigrants through comparison with natives in the U.S. In addition, this paper also seeks to address the influence of schooling on the wages of immigrants by whether schooling was obtained abroad or in the U.S. We use the 2010 American Community Survey and control age, gender, English fluency, and race to explore the impacts on the returns to education in terms of hourly wage change.  We find that having a college degree leads to a statistically significant 57% increase in hourly wage for natives while a statistically significant 71% increase in hourly wage for foreign-born individuals. After further controlling a college degree of foreign-born individuals, the analysis demonstrates a significant change in return to education for foreign born individuals. Those who got their college abroad are expected to have 12% less return to education (60%) than those who got their college in the US with an estimated 72% increase in hourly wage. As a result, policies that increase education among immigrants have a good possibility of increasing economic well-being and reducing inequality.


Does Inventing in Higher Education Reduce Income Inequality

by Ana Vera Vázquez

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper seeks to empirically explore the possibility of increasing higher education expenditures as a strategy to reduce income inequality. Using longitudinal data from a large number of countries, this study finds a negative association between income inequality measured by the Gini index and public spending in higher education. These results suggest that increasing public funding for higher education might be a good approach to reduce income inequality.


The Effect of Foreign Aid on Human Development

by Tali Weg

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper attempts to answer the question of whether or not foreign aid donations are effective at creating human development outcomes. The literature on this topic is mainly divided into three categories: the unconditional aid optimists, the conditional aid optimists, and the aid pessimists. The first category theorizes that foreign aid is effective no matter what conditions are present in the receiving country, the second category theorizes that foreign aid is effective only in the presence of certain domestic factors, and the third category does not find foreign aid to be effective, regardless of the domestic conditions. Using a panel data model, with foreign aid as the main explanatory variable and human development as the main dependent variable, as measured by the UNDP’s Human Development Index, no evidence of foreign aid effectiveness is found. This supports the third hypothesis, that of the foreign aid pessimists. Though these findings are robust, several potential problems of the estimation must be addressed in future study. 


Does Internet Access Decrease Geographic Mobility?

by Miriam Wilamowsky

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: In this paper, we examine the effect of home internet access on American mobility with data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for the years 2003-2009. Unlike previous studies that were based on cross-sectional data, panel data allow us to control for heterogeneity across households and across cohorts. We use two separate variables to quantify geographic mobility; a variable indicating if a household has moved since last year and a variable indicating if a household is likely to move in the next few years. We find no significant effect of home internet on geographic mobility. My finding suggests that the negative effect of home internet on internal migration found by previous studies (Cooke, 2013; Cooke and Shuttleworth, 2017) may have suffered from omitted variable bias. 


The Effect of Covid-19 on Gender Inequality in the US Labor Market

by Nana Yaw

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 unemployment has increased significantly for both males and females. Employment losses have been higher for women than for men due to COVID-19. This paper seeks to ascertain how lockdown restrictions have impacted the employment of adults, specifically women. We use individual cross-sectional data from January 2019 to September 2020 to examine the relationship between lockdown restrictions and the employment rate of males and females. We utilize combined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to gather state lockdown measures depending on the month, and the Consumer Population Survey. We analyze the effect of the lockdown and other factors on employment, using linear regression models. We find that women are usually 12.7% less likely to be employed than men.  Our findings suggest that as a result of the lockdown, women are also 1.7% less likely to be employed compared to 1.2% for men, a difference of 0.5%. 


The Correlation Between Size Value and Momentum

by Jinfei Cao

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: This paper will take a more recent view of size, value and momentum strategies to see how the three portfolio strategies evolve over time. We will also take a closer look at the returns and volatilities of the three strategies and their correlations in specific time when there is a high return, high volatility or when there is a high correlation. Our study suggests that the correlation between value and momentum are consistent with the macroeconomic situation, whereas the correlation of size and value and size and momentum are ambiguous for a give economic situation. For example, during a recession, the correlation of value and momentum tend to become more negative. Although we observe that size and value and size and momentum often follow the same trend, but they can also go to the opposite direction sometimes. We also find that value and momentum have a positive correlation when the VIX index is low. They have a negative correlation when the VIX index is high, and when we see the NBER recession indicators.


Green Bonds Performance

by Paula Moreno

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to study the performance of green bonds. Green bonds are an instrument to raise money for implementation of green projects. Their goal is to reduce global warming and conserve the environment. We use S&P Dow Jones indexes for green bonds, corporate bonds, and stocks. We use different statistical measures such as Sharpe ratio, skewness, kurtosis, and Alpha to analyze green bonds. The results show that green bonds are not appealing from a performance perspective because these bonds provide small gains and do not diversify an investor’s portfolio. However, investors may buy green bonds due to their incentive of protecting the environment.


How Walmart Decides Upon New Locations

by Melissa Ramsaran

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Walmart is the largest company in the world by revenue, and hence it is important to understand how they decide upon new store locations. This paper studies how Walmart considers population, income and unemployment when deciding on which states to open new locations. This paper finds that Walmart tends to open locations in more populated states. Since Walmart sells goods at a low price, they have a rather low profit margin, so they must sell a lot to make a profit. Therefore, they will open locations in more populated states. Another interesting finding is that Walmart tend to open stores in states with lower income which may follow their slogan “Save Money Live Better.”


Minority Investment Attitude and its effect on racial wealth gap in the United States

by Isaac Salako

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Using the most recent Survey of Consumer Finance data (SCF 2016), we examine wealth gap among racial groups and the extent to which investment decisions of each group contribute to it. Our results indicate that the racial group with highest financial assets accumulate the greatest wealth. The wealth gap difference among whites and other racial group reduces when we control for factors such as income and education. The wide gap in wealth ownership between white households and other racial groups shrinks significantly after we control for financial assets, which suggests that investment decisions are important channel for the wealth gap.


The Risk and Return of United States Dollar Carry Trades

by Tomas Skukauskas

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The United States Dollar is probably the most liquid currency in the world. What happens when this currency is subject to the carry trade with other currencies? These carry trades provide a few different but interesting scenario outcomes. The interest rates still play a vast role in the carry trades, however, due to currency volatility over the past two decades, the positive currency return speculation is still possible using carry trades. By applying risk measuring analysis, we found that the least risky currency carry trade is Japanese Yen, while a slightly riskier but most profitable version of a carry trade against the U.S. dollar is the Swiss Franc.


Inequality and Violent Crime

by Runwei Wang

Supervised by Professor Penaranda

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between inequality and violent crime using data across major countries in recent years. Inequality shows a robust complex nonlinear relationship instead of a linear relationship with homicide, a typical type of violent crime. For most of the major countries having larger inequality, higher homicide rates can be anticipated. The ability of a decrease in inequality to reduce homicide far surpasses poverty and income. Inequality, as an economic factor, should be taken into consideration in order to contain violent crime in many countries.


The Effect of Corporate Debt on Employment: The Case of NASDAQ companies

by Anibal Diaz Pineda

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Penaranda

Abstract: In this paper we investigate the effect of current debt on employment at the firm level. How does the employment of a specific company react to the increasing current debt account? Assuming, that long term debt is a growth indicator of a company, we consider that it will be transformed to current debt after several years. Therefore, we found a positive effect on employment that occurs because of the company’s growth in the long run. This assumption is made considering NASDAQ companies, the tech sector.


The Impact of China Entry in Global Wine Market

by Jane Tsai

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Penaranda

Abstract: In the past three decades, China has been the most competitive market in the world for many products, and has dramatically changed the global wine market. China is increasingly important in the world wine market, and wine export prices continue to grow steadily. This article uses data from the University of Adelaide to explore the impact of China’s production and consumption on other international wine prices. The regression with control for USA make the result more clear and match outcome with the chart in figures in both consumption and production ones.


A Crack in The “Glass Ceiling”: A Study of CEO Compensation

by Merle Dweck

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Penaranda

Abstract: The increasing number of women reaching the executive level motivates interest in examining possible gender differences in CEO compensation. Recently, there have been reports released saying, contrary to all previous studies and beliefs, there is a significant gender gap favoring females in the executive position. Since then, there has been little research on the topic. With the goal of contributing to the development of knowledge in this area, I seek to re-examine the wage gap. In this paper, I explore factors that have not yet been considered in recent years: do female CEO’s make more than their male counterparts in all components of compensation? My findings are consistent with recent media reports in that CEO compensation favors females. I find that females, 4.8% of my overall sample, make around 10% more than their male counterparts and are more sensitive to a change in firm performance. I conclude that the gender gap over the past 9 years is no longer in favor of men and women are, in fact, breaking the “glass ceiling.”


Does Vaccination Reduce Outbreaks?

by Sadia Ruhi

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Vaccination prevents the spread of deadly and contagious diseases by reducing outbreaks. To test this hypothesis, we use data from the Centers for Disease Control from period 2009 to 2018. A regression model was used to estimate the effect of vaccination rates of measles, pertussis, and hepatitis at the state level on the size and likelihood of an outbreak. Although our estimates are not very precisely estimated, the results suggest that increasing vaccination rates by 10%, will decrease the number of measles, hepatitis, and pertussis related cases by 0.95%, 3.75%, and 8.45%, respectively. It will also decrease the likelihood of an outbreak by 1.07% for measles, 0.17% for hepatitis B, and 0.39% for pertussis. This suggests that vaccination plays an important role in reducing the number of cases associated with them.


The Impact of International Conflict on Trade Flows

by Sabah Javaid

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Using country-level panel data from 1950 to 2004, we analyze the impact of conflict on trade flows. We combine data from a variety of sources, such as the Correlates of War and CEPII. The Correlates of War provides data on conflicts throughout history while CEPII provides data on bilateral trade flows and its usual determinants like GDP, population, distance, common language, and contiguity. We find a significant effect of conflict on bilateral trade flows. Based on our analysis, in the presence of (military) conflict, it is expected that trade will decrease by 42% and the reduction in trade will persist for 10 years.


Do police reduce crime?

by Anvar Ashurov

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Penaranda

Abstract: Considering the social and economic burden of crime on the society and the lack of substantial research that has been performed at a precinct level in New York City, our paper aims to estimate the effect of police presence on Misdemeanor, Major, and Minor related offenses throughout 76 precincts of New York City. Our paper not only performs a general analysis at the main categories of crimes but also it breaks them down into sub-categories to analyze the effect of police presence on individual crimes. We found that Major offenses and specifically Felony and Possession of Illegal Weapons decreased by 1, 2, and 1 crime units, respectively, per 1000 police stops.


The Effect of Immigration on the Employment of Ecuador 

by Juan D. Astudillo

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: We examine the effect of immigration on the labor market of Ecuadorians using cross sectional pool data from 2008 – 2017 with time and province variation. We utilize data from ENEMDU, published quarterly. We found no significant effect on the employment after controlling for age, gender and education level. However, in our second model where we applied fixed effects, we found a 1 percentage point increase in the ratio of foreigners over natives leads to a 0.17 percent decrease in the probability of a native Ecuadorian being employed.


Socio-political Determinants of Residential Recycling Rates

by Sholomo Klahr

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: What demographic factors influence urban recycling rates? This paper focuses on New York City, utilizing robust multilinear regressions and exploiting borough and time variation from 2005 to 2017 to investigate the relationships between various demographic variables and recycling rates. Our key variable of interest is the political leaning of each borough as measured by the percentage of residents that are registered Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. We find statistically significant results indicating that a 1 percentage point increase in the percentage of the population registered as Democrats is associated with a 7.3 percentage point increase in the Paper Capture Rate, while a 1 percentage point increase in registered Republicans is correlated with a 5.39 percentage point decline in the Metal, Glass, and Plastic Capture Rate (MGP). We also find a statistically significant negative relationship between median household income and all three of our recycling outcome variables.


Public Housing and Test Scores

by Eliana Alper

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Exploiting variation across time and states, we examine the relationship between public housing and NAEP Math and Reading test scores of students in Grades 4 and 8, in the United States from 2005 to 2015. We find a statistically significant, negative relationship between the amount of households with children who receive public housing assistance per capita, and 8th Grade NAEP Reading test scores. All other results produced relationships that are not statistically significant, thereby indicating that at the state level there appears to be no impact of the amount of public housing in an area on Math and Reading test scores in Grade 4 and on Math test scores in Grade 8.


Racial and Gender Perceived Discrimination in U.S. Healthcare Quality 2004 – 2014

by Kavita Sawh

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Holding sociodemographic factors constant and controlling for invariant state and year fixed effects, this study sees how the interaction of race, gender, and healthcare access influences an individual’s perception of U.S. healthcare. It finds that African Americans and those of other races, excluding Hispanics, perceive worse experiences when seeking healthcare. This effect worsens for males in both groups when they do not have health insurance. This study also finds that African American women perceive being more discriminated than non-white women. These findings support the need for the Affordable Care Act and more equity policies in U.S. healthcare.


Music and the Market

by Greg Maghakian

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: We use a balanced panel of 46 countries over 90 weeks to observe if changes in the stock market effect changes in music choice, proxied by the emotion of music, or valence. A volatility index was created to observe volatile returns that were both positive and negative -1.5 standard deviations out from the mean return. We find no statistical significance in volatile positive returns effecting music choice. Our results also show that volatile negative returns increase valence by 3%, and the effect is statistically significant at the 5% level. Therefore, our findings provide empirical evidence for the conjecture that negative stock market shocks motivate people to listen to happier music.


The Effects of School Quality on Housing Prices in New York City

by Lin Yang

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of school quality on housing market in N.Y.C. over the period 2006 – 2013. Using a hedonic price model, I estimate the effect of school quality on housing price. I find that if the scores rating of school quality increases by 10 point, the predict house price is to increase by about 0.4% and the effect is statistically significant at 1% level.


The Age of Cryptocurrency: Analysis and Price Prediction Modelling of Bitcoin

by Sheridan Kamal

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Using Deep Learning to forecast Bitcoin’s price, we will determine if this model is a better forecasting method than the Naive forecasting model, the Simple Average forecasting model, the Moving Average forecasting model, the Simple Exponential Smoothing forecasting model, the Holt’s Linear Trend Method forecasting model, the Holt-Winters Method forecasting model, and the Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) forecasting model. We find that the 2-layer LSTM model is the optimal model to use to forecast Bitcoin’s price because it had the lowest Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and the Symmetric Mean Absolute Percent Error (SMAPE) values of the eight forecasting model with values at 78.47 and 4.52% respectively.


Parents’ Religiousness, Children’s Outcomes, and Gender

by Sarah E. Fuchs

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Using the National Longitudinal Study of Youth in 1997, we analyze whether parents’ religiousness affects their children’s education, religious beliefs, marital status, fertility and income in 1997, 2002, 2008, and 2015. We focus on parents who self-identify as Christian, Jewish or Muslims and classify them as religious if at least one parent reported obeying the Bible, Torah, or Koran. We find that parents who observe their religious book had children who reported being more religious and who married younger than children of parents who did not observe their book. However, there are no differences in educational attainment, fertility, and income across the two groups. Interestingly, while there were no gender differences in outcomes between boys and girls whose parents followed the books, among our population of Christians, Jews and Muslims, women are more likely to be married, have more children, have a bachelor’s degree, and report being more religious than men by 2015.


Impact of Environmental Gentrification on School Quality

by Karen Lopez

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between Environmental Gentrification and School Quality in New York City using a panel model involving 869 DBN, 33 districts, and 30 sub-boroughs from 2009-2017. We generate an intoResidential variable reflecting the rezoning change from July in the previous year to July in the present year, to serve as a proxy for environmental gentrification. We regress intoResidential on school quality which is defined as the percentage of students who earned passing test scores of three and above on the New York State Exams. When using district fixed effects, year fixed effects, sub-borough trends and clustered standard errors at the DBN level, we find that the relationship between intoResidential and test scores are statistically and economically significant. Therefore, our findings provide empirical evidence that Environmental Gentrification has a positive impact on school quality.


An Analysis of Intergenerational Income Mobility

by Jacob Linder

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Exploiting variation across schools and time over the period 2000-2011, we investigate whether a school’s average receipt of the New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is associated with the intergenerational income mobility of its students. While there is an association between a NY school’s receipt of TAP and its students’ intergenerational mobility, we find that 2/3 of this variation is explained by time-invariant school characteristics, 1/6 is explained by the quality of the entering cohort measured by the admission rate and the average SAT scores for that year, and 1/6 is accounted by parental income at the time of admission. Hence, TAP has no effect on students’ intergenerational mobility in the state of NY.


Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Financial Performance

by Byungzoon Kang

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Exploiting variation across company and time, we investigate the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate financial performance in the United States from 2008 to 2018. We find that this relationship is statistically significant and positive. A one percent increase in a company’s Bloomberg ESG Disclosure Score would result in an approximately 0.13% increase in its revenue. Additionally, we conclude that companies tend to disclose more information during a positive economic climate, which can signal competitive strength over less profitable companies.


Automation and Inequality 

by Emilio Minichiello

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas

Abstract: Exploiting variation across states and time, we investigate the relationship between income inequality and automation in the United States from 1999 to 2013. We find that this relationship is statistically significant and positive. An increase of one percentage point in a state’s automation would result in an approximately 0.2% increase in its income inequality. We also rule out that our findings are driven by alternative hypotheses frequently used to explain the increase in income inequality over this period.


Effect of Physical Inactivity on Diabetes Prevalence Across US Counties, 2005 to 2013 

by Chris J.

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas

Abstract: Using county-level panel data from 2005 to 2013, we analyze whether physical activity can prevent obesity and diabetes in the United States. Combining data from different sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, we find that a 1 percentage point increase in physical inactivity leads to a statistically significant 0.051 percentage point increase in diabetes prevalence. This result is robust to including controls for county socio-demographic composition, state-specific linear and quadratic time trends and county and time fixed.


The Effect of Immigration on Native German Unemployment 

by August Rim

Supervised by Professor Rodriguez-Planas

Abstract: We examine the effect of immigration on native German unemployment levels using unbalanced panel data from 2003-2015 with state and time variation. We combine data from a variety of sources, such as the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, German Federal Employment Agency, and the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. We find no significant effect of immigration on native German unemployment levels. This result includes ethnic Germans and refugees as a robustness check to determine the effect of a government-run distribution of immigrants. We find that a 1-percentage point increase in the share of ethnic Germans leads to 63.43-percentage point decrease in native German unemployment levels while a 1-percentage point increase in the share of refugees leads to a 10.52-percentage point increase in native German unemployment levels.


Neighborhood Quality and Housing Values 

by Deena Goldman

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Everyone wants to buy the best house for the best price in the best neighborhood with the best chance of reselling the house for an even better price.  These values are calculated used the average housing values for a neighborhood.  All the elements that people want in for their home and neighborhood play into the housing value. Compared to other research, which looks at school quality, transportation quality, and demographic elements, this paper looks at how neighborhood quality variables affect the average housing value in New York City.  Through an OLS regression, a comparison of two years, and a first difference analysis of panel data my research proves which quality elements affect the average housing value the most.  I addressed this research by using panel data consists of data from 2011 and 2015 and uses the 311 complaints from all NYC zip codes.  In conclusion we found that the quality complaints were more significant than not quality related variables, and that specific quality variables, such as street conditions, were the most significant.


The Contribution of Foreign-Born Workers to the U.S. Economy. State and Industry Evidence 

by Nasreen Khan

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Are foreign born employees contributing positively to the U.S economy? This paper brings forth the contributions made foreign born employees in the US economy, more specifically their contributions to the U.S GDP, compared to the contributions of native born employees. I conducted this research study in a way that allowed me to select multiple industries within each state for the years 2004 and 2014. The study conducted suggests that an increase of native born employees by 1% leads to an increase in GDP of 1.043%, while an increase of foreign born employees of 1% leads to an increase in GDP of 0.094%. In this study, I will focus on the changes in contributions by the foreign born employees and native born employees in 15 different industries for the states of New York and California.


Jobless Recoveries: A Panel Data Look at the State Level 

by Ikramullah Khan

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Has the relationship between GDP and employment changed over time? It is maintained that in the recessions that occurred after 1990 this relationship has weakened; these recoveries are referred to as jobless recoveries. Using panel data of employment, net capital stock, and GDP from 1971 to 2015 of the 50 states, this paper focuses on whether this relationship can be deduced from the given data. To isolate and establish the jobless recovery phenomenon the data was split into two sections. The first one focuses on data from year 1970 to 1990, when the economy recovered from recession at its usual rate, and the second section is from 1990 to 2015, when jobless recovery first appears. The fixed effect regression for data from 1970-1990, show the employment elasticity to be .648 while for data ranging from 1990-2015 it is .622. This paper established that the relationship between GDP and employment weakens after 1990. However, when the employment elasticity is calculated for individual states, the relationship is not consistent. There is an increase in employment elasticity for states like Alabama and Ohio while a significant decrease in elasticity for states like N.Y and California. This suggests that jobless recovery occurs in certain states.


Price Dynamics in Hide and Leather Markets in Brazil, Argentina, and the United States 

by Michael Mosesson

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper attempts to explain price movement in international leather markets. It uses unrestricted vector autoregression (VAR) modeling techniques to suggest relationships between cowhide prices in the United States and their counterparts in Brazil and Argentina. The paper then uses impulse response functions to demonstrate the effects of a shock each of the respective markets would have on each other. The findings include relative rankings of national cowhide markets and their effect on each other, with the United States on top and Argentina on the bottom. This paper is among the first to draw econometric between international cowhide markets in the Americas.


Income Disparity and Its Effect on Education 

by Hafsa Patel

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Income inequality can affect students’ desire for further education and have a detrimental effect on society by promoting the rich over the poor. In order to determine how adversely affected students are, it is important to study and analyze the data to come to a conclusion. Using the National Center for Education Statistics survey for Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, data was obtained on students that are nationally represented. Family income growing up can affect how much education you will obtain but more importantly, math and reading test scores play an equally significant part in not only going to college, but also being able to graduate. If income levels signify a change in opportunities for students who come from different backgrounds, low-income students will be at a disadvantage by not having the same resources available to them as their peers whose families have a higher income.


Pay to Play: The Role of Money in Congressional Elections 

by Nathaniel Selevan

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: With another election season behind us, and the character of the Presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives determined, the role of money in politics is often discussed. Utilizing spending records and results from the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections for the House of Representatives, I will seek to undermine the common myth that more spending equals more votes. Additionally, I will examine different types of campaign spending to determine if a superior way to spend exists. I find that overall spending does not have the effect that it is widely believed to have. Additionally, I will also find that out of the 12 categories of campaign disbursements recognized by the Federal Election Commission, Administrative, Overhead, and Salary Expenses have the highest impact on election results.


The Effects of Minimum Wage Policy 

by Donghwan Shin

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: The United States government has implemented minimum wage laws not only at the federal level, but also at the state level to guarantee minimum hourly wages primarily for low-skilled and part-time workers with a wage floor. This topic has been studied by many other previous literature to evaluate the effects of minimum wages on earnings and levels of employment. This paper particularly introduces leaner regression models to demonstrate the effects of states minimum wage increases on the level of GDP and changes in number of employment among low-skilled and high-skilled workers over the period 1988 – 2015. On average, the models show that minimum wage increases of each state do not produce a significant impact on its level of GDP and numbers of employment. According to the traditional supply-demand graph of competitive labor markets, when minimum wage increases, numbers of employment decrease correspondingly. However, this paper concludes that low-skilled workers, who are the main target of the policy, do not explicitly affect by minimum wage increases.


The Effects of Health Care Coverage on Health Care Cost and Mortality 

by Sucaina Thyma

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: How does health care coverage expansion impact health care cost and mortality? This paper argues that health care coverage does not have significant effects on health care spending. However, expansions in Private Health insurance are likely to reduce mortality several years after the increase in Private Health coverage. I analyzed data obtained from three different databases on healthcare spending and health coverage for 50 states over the period of 1999-2005, and mortality for the period of 1999–2005 and 2006–2012. My fixed–effects OLS estimation model suggests that health care coverage expansion is not statistically significant enough to reduce health care cost. This could be -as suggested by other studies- the result of the impact of factors such as patient demography, technology, health care market characteristics and health care payment system. My estimates also strongly suggest that as more people get Medicare coverage, mortality rate increases seven years after. I believe this result might be biased due to the fact that it could be an age-related factor. I believe the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model I use for my research analysis was not equipped to remove all biases, however, a more sophisticated method would provide stronger evidence.


The Effects of Immigration on the U.S. Housing Market 

by Thura Kyaw Aung

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: The paper studies the effect of immigration on the cost of housing rent and housing prices in the United States over the period 2005 – 2010. Between these five years, the United States does not only faces an increase in the number of foreign share in Metropolitan Statistical Areas, but also faces economic recession and “housing-bubble” crisis in 2008. The variation is across cities between the two years. Instrument is based on the number of foreign-born share across cities in the earlier period, 1980. The study shows that the increase in the number of foreign-born share by 1 percentage point increases the cost of housing rent by 1.103 percentage points, and increases the cost of housing prices by 2.111 percentage points. We can imply that immigration accounts for a significant value of the housing market in the United States.


Spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment: an Updated Meta-Analysis 

by Kevin Carpintero Bernal

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper aims to update the Meta-Analysis research on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and its spillovers based on the work titled Multinational Companies and Productivity Spillovers: A Meta-Analysis by Holger Gorg and Eric Strobl as well as When and Where Does Foreign Direct Investment Generate Positive Spillovers? A Meta-Analysis by Klaus E. Meyer and Evis Sinani. This will be accomplished by replicating their meta-analysis random effects regression and by adding 7 new recent studies (with data from 2008-2015) to their database. The main purpose is to be to replicate their basic meta-analysis regressions accurately and evaluate if, with the new 7 studies, any significant changes have occurred since Meyer and Sinani’s paper was published in 2009. The study finds similar results to these 2 papers with the small difference, due to the new 7 studies, in the panel data variable. The analysis confirms the conclusions of the previous studies. However, results slightly change with the new data added but nonetheless they remain statistically significant.


The Short-run Economic Effects of Austerity Measures in Europe 

by Aitor Iriarte Gurrutxaga

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: Detailed analysis on how the Austerity Fiscal Policies short-run economic effects played a minor role in the Southern European countries Sovereign Debt Crisis.


The Impact of Free Trade Agreements on International Trade: the Case of Colombian Glass Exports 

by Juan Sebastian Nino-Aguirre 

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: In this paper, I analyze bilateral exports data from Colombia to all countries in the world for a specific industry, glass products. I focus on the determinants of exports, with an emphasis on free trade, but also consider other variables like distance, GDP, contiguity, or shared official.


Foreign Aid and Democratic Institutions: an Analysis of African States 

by Eli Stein 

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: In this study, I will use panel data of 55 countries in Africa between the years 1975 and 2010. To further the inquiry of previous studies, I divide my data into two panels; one panel of countries that are more democratic and one panel of countries that are more autocratic. I ask whether aid changes countries’ political trajectories or amplifies what they already are. I find that foreign aid does in fact have a statistically significant positive effect on the countries’ Polity IV score. However, I am unable to find evidence of an amplification effect. I conclude that the effects of foreign aid on democracy are small.


Analysis of Bilateral Air Passenger Flows: Cuba the Forbidden Island 

by Bryan E. Vasquez 

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: The world has become much smaller with air travel in recent decades. However, because of political influence or travel bans some countries remain isolated. This model studies the air passenger flow from the US to destinations around the world. Then it focuses on Cuba, a Caribbean island that has been restricted and banned by the US government. Therefore, Americans are not able to freely travel as tourist or for leisure to Cuba. This affects Cuba in the tourist sector, therefore impacting their GDP and the potential to compete with other Caribbean destinations that Americans frequently travel too. Using the gravity model this study shows that an increase in GDP for Cuba increases the number of air passenger’s flows that Cuba.


Stock Returns and the Output Gap 

by Diana Wong

Supervised by Professor Ortega and Professor Taspinar

Abstract: This paper examines the relation between the output gap and the U.S. stock return. Using data from July 2001 (2001m7) to October 2015 (2015m10), we found that the output gap can be used to predict US stock return. Our results showed that the output gap, both measured as the country’s industrial production index and the country’s difference in its real and potential GDP, takes on a negative coefficient. Our results indicate that a fall in the output gap today forecast a higher return in the future. In addition, our results strengthen and are consistent with the results done by Cooper and Priestley’s analysis.