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Two Economics Majors Named Top Ten Scholars for 2012

Economics major George Fenton and Business Economics major Eric Schuler have been selected as 2012 Top Ten Scholars by the Boise State Alumni Association.

George Fenton George Fenton is majoring in economics with a minor in mathematics and will graduate through the Honors College. He competed with distinction as a member of the Talkin’ Broncos debate team during his freshman and sophomore years.  He spent the summer of 2010 studying at Georgetown University and interning at the U.S. Treasury Department. The summer of 2011 was spent studying at the London School of Economics. He is currently an intern for Brad Wiskirchen, CEO of the Boise technology firm Keynetics and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Salt Lake City. George will be working for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as a Research Assistant after graduation.

Honored Faculty: Dr. Kelly Cobourn, assistant professor, Department of Economics


Eric Schuler Eric Schuler is a double major in business economics and accountancy. Eric co-founded the Delta Upsilon social fraternity and partnered with the Honors College to establish the Friday Forum, a weekly student-led discussion series that addresses topics ranging from food security to the Arab Spring. He is also a committed environmental advocate and has been involved with the Sustainability Club and worked to raise awareness about the benefits of a plant-based diet through cooking demonstrations and documentary screenings. During his senior year he served as vice president of the student body and helped create a new grant-based funding model for student organizations that will enable them to spend more time planning events and less time fundraising. Eric plans to attend law school with an emphasis in environmental law after graduation.

Honored Faculty: Allen Dalton, adjunct professor, Department of Economics

Economics Student Accepted into the Agricultural Economics Masters Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Boise State University Economics graduate, Jon Sims, has been accepted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics for his M.S. Degree.  He has also been offered a full assistantship and fellowship that will allow him to complete research projects with the faculty in that department during his time there.

Three Economics Professors Recognized at the 25th Annual Golden Apple Awards

DuWayne Hammond, Allen Dalton, and Dr. Chris Loucks were all presented with Golden Apple Awards.  The Golden Apple Awards are a chance for students to recognize exceptional professors that they feel have stood out from the rest.

25th Annual Golden Apples Awards

Economics Student Selected to Present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2012

Aaron Batteen, a senior economics major, had his paper, “Externalities and Systemic Failure: A Common Law and Property Rights Based Solution” selected from more than 3,500 submissions to present at the NCUR 2012 Conference.  Aaron completed this research with guidance from his faculty advisor Dr. Sian Mooney.

The NCUR promotes undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study.  Their annual conference brings together undergraduate students from all fields to share their research results.

Faculty Spotlight – Kelly Cobourn, Zeynep Hansen, and Scott Lowe

Kelly Cobourn, Zeynep Hansen and Scott Lowe presented research pertaining to water rights institutions at the American Economics Association (AEA) meetings in Chicago on Jan. 8. Cobourn and Hansen organized and moderated the session titled “Water Rights: Historical Perspectives and Emerging Issues.” Hansen and Lowe presented a paper titled “The Political Economy of Major Water Infrastructure Investments in the Western United States and the Impact on Agriculture,” and Cobourn presented a paper titled “Property Rights and Conjunctive Management: Implications of Hydraulic Connectivity between Surface and Ground Water.” The acceptance rate for sessions at the AEA meetings is about 3 percent to 4 percent for institutions similar to Boise State.

Cobourn also gave an invited oral presentation at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco on Dec. 7, 2011. The presentation, titled “Ecological vs. Economic Sustainability: An Integrated Analysis of Thresholds in Semi-Arid Western Rangelands,” was included as part of the session “Identifying and Quantifying Change in Ecological Systems.”


Economics Major Named Top Ten Scholar for 2011

Debra BonkoskiBusiness Economics major Debra Bonkoski has been selected as one of the 2011 Top Ten Scholars by the Boise State Alumni Association. In 2009, Bonkoski won a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. State Department in cooperation with the Council of American Overseas Research and spent the summer in an intensive Arabic study program in Tunis, Tunisia. She has interned with the Area VI Agency on Aging in Idaho Falls and with the Intermountain Fair Housing Council in Boise. Her tutoring roles include English for adult refugees, Arabic and math at the campus Math Drop-in Center, where she teaches basic algebra through calculus III. Bonkoski serves on the Student Advisory Committee for the College of Business and Economics and is co-president of Boise State’s Arabic Club. In June, she plans to move to Ghana, West Africa, to be a junior high school math teacher for the Peace Corps.

Honored Faculty: Dr. Donald Holley, professor, Department of Economics

Faculty Spotlight – Scott Lowe

Dr. Scott Lowe recently co-authored a paper, “The City-Level Effects of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments” which will be published in the journal Land Economics.

Research Details Positive Economic Impacts from Idaho National Laboratory Operations

The results of a comprehensive new study of the economic impact that Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site operations have on the state reveal that INL is responsible for more than 24,000 Idaho jobs and generates a total economic impact exceeding $3.5 billion.

Boise State University’s Department of Economics was awarded a research contract by INL last February to conduct an expansive analysis of the lab’s multidimensional impact on Idaho’s economy. The findings are contained in a report jointly released today by Boise State and INL.

The study evaluated the combined operational impacts of all five major employers at the INL site – the U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office, as well as private contracting companies Battelle Energy Alliance (INL R&D and support services), Bechtel Marine Propulsion (Naval Reactors Facility operations), Bechtel BWXT Idaho (Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project) and CH2M-WG Idaho (Idaho Cleanup Project).

“Although state government is Idaho’s largest employer, it is important to keep in mind that most of its funding comes from sources within the state,” said Geoffrey Black, chairman of the Department of Economics at Boise State and a researcher on the project. “INL is not only the second largest source of jobs in the state, but nearly all of its funding comes from outside Idaho. This provides a huge shot in the arm to the state’s economy. Particularly in the eastern part of the state, nothing else comes close.”

Key findings of the impact study include:

  • INL (based on 2009 year-end data) ranks as the second largest employer in Idaho. With more than 8,000 direct employees, INL had the largest impact on employment in Idaho of any employer other than state government and is by far the largest employer in eastern Idaho.
  • Secondary effects of INL operations accounted for an additional 16,133 jobs, for a total of more than 24,000 Idaho jobs.
  • INL increased personal income in the state by nearly $2 billion.
  • Directly and indirectly, INL operations accounted for more than $135 million in personal income, corporate income, sales and other taxes paid to the state.
  • Direct tax payments to the state of Idaho by INL employers and their workers significantly exceed the cost of state-provided services.
  • INL employers paid $2.5 million to Idaho colleges and universities for their employees’ continuing education.

In explaining the overall relevance of these findings, the report stated that the stabilizing effects of INL and its relative increase in the share of employment, output, income and tax revenues allow for more effective functioning of state and local governmental services. This has been particularly relevant during the economic downturn.

“Funding and employment at INL has remained comparatively steady while other critical sectors of the state’s economy have been hard hit,” Black said. “The fact that such a large business entity has been a solid source of jobs, income and tax revenues is crucial to maintaining a much greater degree of economic vitality for Idaho. The state’s economic picture is substantially brighter than it would be without INL.”

In addition to Black, Boise State Economics professors and researchers Don Holley and John Church worked on the report. This is the third INL impact study conducted by the trio.

Boise State and INL are partners on a number of research initiatives, including the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), a public/private partnership comprising Idaho’s three public universities, private industry and INL. CAES integrates resources and expertise to create new research capabilities, expand researcher-to-researcher collaborations and enhance energy-related educational opportunities. A key component of CAES, the Energy Policy Institute, is located on the Boise State campus. CAES also has launched an initiative to build an Energy Efficiency Research Institute (EERI) that will be housed at Boise State.

The full INL impact study can be viewed on the College of Business and Economics website at

Economics Students Come in Second Overall in the International Economics Summit

On Thursday, October 28 a group of Economics students participated in the International Economic Summit in conjunction with the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University.  The three man team, which included Economics majors Barry Bakke and Steve Canty as well as Finance Major Jon Fulcher, represented Iceland.  They won Top High Income Country, Best Country Display, and came in second overall in the competition.  The International Economic Summit student competition focused on international trade and economic issues between the U.S., China and the rest of the world.

Faculty Spotlight- Charlotte Twight

Dr. Charlotte Twight made three presentations at “Cato University,” an annual program of the Cato Institute held July 25-30. Her presentations were titled, “How Government Works and Grows: Elements of Public Choice Theory,” “Grasping Government: Public Choice at Work,” and “You’re Being Watched and Other Nightmares: The Growth of the Surveillance State.”