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Economics News

Zeynep Hansen, Scott Lowe and Wenchao Xu Published a Brief in Global Water Forum

Zeynep Hansen, Scott Lowe and Wenchao Xu published a brief review titled “Climate change, water supply, and agriculture in the arid western United States: Eighty years of agricultural census observations from Idaho” on Global Water Forum on January 26th 2014. Please follow this link to get access to the article:

Boise State Public Radio quotes Samia Islam

Samia Islam, associate professor in the Department of Economics, was quoted in a Boise State Public Radio story about a new international market under construction on the Boise Bench. Islam said urban markets like this are “fusion places” and that the experience is not just about buying and selling, but also about “being part of the community identity.”

Economics Students Recognized as Top Ten Scholars

Economics students Cassandra Sullivan and Zachary Turk have been chosen as Top Ten Scholars.

Cassie Sullivan, Arbiter, studio portrait


Major: Economics, minor in political science
Honored Faculty: Dr. Andrew Finstuen


Zachary Turk, McNair Scholars


Major: Business Economics, minor in Applied Mathematics
Honored Faculty: Dr. Christine Loucks

Top 10 Scholars serve as inspiration for their fellow students. The Top 10 Scholar Award is one of the highest honors a Bronco can accomplish as a student: To qualify for consideration, the student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average and be nominated by their respective deans. Each student is then rigorously reviewed based on academic breadth of coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and community and campus service.

Cassandra and Zachary will be honored at the annual reception on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm in the Jordan Ballroom in the Student Union Building.

Omicron Delta Epsilon Initiates Four New Members

image Jon Hampton, Zeynep Hansen

Jon Hampton and Zeynep Hansen, Department of Economics chair

The Department of Economics held an initiation ceremony to Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE), the International Economics Honor Society, on Friday, April 4. The society initiated four new ODE members with an honor cord that may be worn at graduation as well as a certificate of membership. The new ODE members are Jon Hampton, Jennifer Moore, Zachary Turk and Timothy Wanless.

Undergraduate candidates for election to membership in ODE must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 with at least 12 credits in economics with a B-average or better and have a class ranking in the upper third of economics majors.

The Department of Economics at Boise State University established the Beta Chapter of ODE in Idaho in 1976. ODE’s mission is to encourage excellence in economics. Membership in ODE confers recognition of scholarly achievement in economics, the opportunity to publish in The American Economist, the opportunity to participate in academic meetings sponsored by ODE and the opportunity to compete for The Frank W. Taussig Article Award — the award given to the best article submitted by an undergraduate member of ODE.

Congratulations to the new members of Omicron Delta Epsilon!

Loucks_Moore_Hampton 2_2014Cake 3_2014image Omicron Delta Epsilon induction at Boise State

Faculty Spotlight – Samia Islam

Dr. Samia Islam, associate professor in the Department of Economics, presented a paper titled “Testing for Spatial Equilibrium using Happiness Data” at the North American Regional Science Council (NARSC) conference held on Nov 13- 16 in Atlanta, Georgia. NARSC is an international scholarly organization that focuses on regional analysis, ranging from urban and spatial economic theories to applied problems and public policies in regional development, sustainability, environmental management, transportation and land use.

Dr. Islam was also the discussant for the paper entitled “Centralized vs. Decentralized Tourism Policies: A Spatial Interaction Model Framework” at the conference.

Faculty Spotlight – Michail Fragkias

Dr. Michail Fragkias, Director of the Business Research and Economic Development center has been featured in the Idaho Statesman as part of an ongoing series: Boise State on Business. The article, entitled Idaho Faces Infrastructure Challenges, can be read in its entirety here.

Faculty Spotlight – Zeynep Hansen

Two articles by Dr. Zeynep Hansen, Department of Economics, have been accepted to be published in peer-reviewed journals this summer.

The first article (co-authored with Hideo Owan, Jie Pan and Shinya Sugawara) titled “The Impact of Group Contract and Governance Structure on Performance: Evidence from College Classrooms,” is forthcoming in Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, and is now published online here. In this article, authors show that a group governance structure that incorporates a proper incentive scheme, such as punishment for free-riders and rewards for hard workers, has a significant positive impact on group (i.e. project) and individual (i.e. exam) performance of students. This study utilizes student performance and other demographic data from an undergraduate introductory management course. The implications of the study, however, go beyond the domain of the economics of education because teamwork in the study includes reading and collecting materials, identifying problems, devising solutions, organizing findings in a paper, and making an oral presentation—an array of tasks similar to group projects observed in many workplaces.

Another article by Dr. Hansen (co-authored with Hideo Owan and Jie Pan) titled “The Impact of Group Diversity on Class Performance: Evidence from College Classrooms” is forthcoming in Education Economics, and is available here. Using the same class performance data from an undergraduate management course in addition to student demographic data, authors examine how group diversity affects group work performance and individual learning. Authors find that, on average, male-dominant groups performed worse in their group work and learned less (based on their grades in individually taken exams). This gender effect is highly significant in individual learning outcomes providing evidence that gender diversity is influential in the level and nature of knowledge transfers within groups. However, racial diversity had no significant effect on observed group or individual performances.

Faculty Spotlight – Samia Islam and Siân Mooney

Dr. Samia Islam and Dr. Siân Mooney recently co-authored a paper, “Multidisciplinary Research: Implications for Agricultural and Applied Economists”, which has been published in Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Mooney, S., Young, D., Cobourn, K., & Islam, S. “Multidisciplinary Research: Implications for Agricultural and Applied Economists.” Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics. 45, (2).

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Economics students presented several papers and won major awards at the University’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Oral Presentations

Mentored by Siân Mooney

Kyoto to Copenhagen: The Political Economics of US and Chinese Participation in International Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Reduction Schemes. Brandon Megorden. Received COBE Best Oral Presentation.

Poster Presentations

Mentored by Samia Islam

A Case for Mixed-use, High Density Development in Boise, with Justin French, Allison Storck, Matthew Vook and Tim Wilcox, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University. Received COBE Award for Best Poster.

Geothermal: Renewable and Reusable – Boise’s Competitive Advantage, with Scott E. Lowe, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, and Matt Wiggs, Jody Hilliard, Meghann Harrod and Zach Wilson, students, Boise State University.

Rush-Hour Congestion: Are HOV Lanes the Answer?, with Edwin Ball, Colby Collins, Chrissy Day and Robbie Swajkoski, students, Boise State University.

Population Growth and Crime Rates: The Case of Boise, with Trevor Stebbins, Kody Frederick, Joanna St .Clair and Chris Robison, students, Boise State University.

Impact of Air Quality Regulations on Entrepreneurial Activity, with Kyler James, student, and Scott E. Lowe, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Boise State University.

An Examination of Boise’s Cost of Living, with Benjamin Stoddard, Brian Wood, Chris Doyle, Kai Applequist and John Taitingfong, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University.

Mentored by Scott Lowe

Climate Variability and Water Infrastructure: Historical Experience in the Western United States with Craig Marley

Learning Outcomes and Electronic Textbooks with Amanda Morrison

Impact of Air Quality Regulations on Entrepreneurial Activity with Kyler James

Turn Up the Heat: Integrating Boise State University into Boise’s Geothermal System with Matthew Wiggs, Aaron Rueff, Zach Wilson, Jody Hilliard, and Meghann Harrod.

Mentored by Don Holley

Faculty Salaries at Boise State University: Departmental Rank Using Regression Analysis, with Edwin Ball, David Barry, Joel Fadel, Verl Humpherys, Kyler James, Robert Kabel, Matt Maurer, Alisher Siddikov, Matt Solomon, John Van Dyke, and Brian Wood.

Faculty Salaries and Demographic Bias with Jaclyn Breske, Nick Bross, Nathaniel Clayville, Caitlin Cusack, Mark Getecha, Justin Hardaway, Ben Henke, Emil Huseynov, Melissa Keyser, Amanda Morrison, Josh Rowe, Dan Simenc, Benjamin Stoddard, John Thomas, Tyler Tucker, Mathew Vook, Brian Wood, and Mengze Xu.

Does Salary Compression Exist at Boise State? with Adam Vergne and Craig Marley, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University.


Poster Presentations

Mentored by Samia Islam

Technology Sector Employment in the Boise-Nampa MSA, with Justin Hardaway, Jenny M. Kniss, Lindsey Shean, and Danny Ryan, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University. Received COBE Award for Best Poster.

Future of Boise Bus Transit, with David Bugni, Jake Deskins, Narciso Lansdown, and Marcus Miller, Students, Boise State University. Received COBE Dean’s Choice Award.

Boise Transportation Crisis: Is Commuter Rail the Answer?, with Kyler James and Robert Kabel, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University.

Nuclear power: Economic reaction or economic decay?, with Chris Gonzalez, Craig Marley, Richae Swanbeck and Caitlin Cusack, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University.

Talking Smack: Is Boise Doing Enough for Drug Rehab?, with Miriam Baumgartner, Daniel Bow, Blake Hopkins, and Mike Lipschultz, students, Boise State University.

Mentored by Scott Lowe

The Economic Impacts of Global Climate Change: An Analysis of Idaho’s Treasure Valley with John Van Dyke and Robert Kabel, students, Department of Economics, Boise State University.

Climate Change and Local Fish Populations with Craig Marley, student, Department of Economics, Boise State University.


Poster Presentations

Mentored by Siân Mooney

Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement: City of Boise Activities with Robert Warns III. Received COBE Dean’s Choice Award, Received COBE Award for Best Poster.

Watch George Fenton’s Commencement Address

Economics graduate George Fenton was the student speaker at the Spring 2012 Commencement Ceremony (the largest ever for the University). His remarks were met with a standing ovation by students, faculty, and guests. If you missed his speech, or you just want to hear it again, you can watch it below.