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Department Lecture Series

The Economics Department Seminar/Lecture Series it typically held twice each academic year, in the Fall and Spring semesters.

Spring 2018, Catherine Haeck, University of Quebec, May 7 2018

Nonlinear class size effects on the cognitive and non-cognitive development of young children

 Abstract: We estimate the impact of class size on student achievement in the Canadian context by exploiting regulations that prevent schools from having more than 20 students per class in kindergarten. Using student-level information on more than 80 percent of students in kindergarten in the province of Quebec in 2012, this study provides clear evidence of the non-linearity of class size effects on both cognitive and behavioral measures. While the effects are largest on cognitive development, our results also suggest that class size reduction improves social competences in small classes of less than 16 students. Above 15 students, the impacts of class size reduction are limited. The benefits of class size reduction are mainly concentrated among students from disadvantaged areas.

Short bio: Catherine Haeck is an Associate Professor in the Economics Department at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). Her research focuses on the human capital development of children and youth. She has written about universal childcare, prenatal nutrition programs, parental leave reforms, and school reforms. Her current research focuses on the impact of class size reduction on student outcomes, and also the impacts of universal childcare on household expenditures. She also studies the geographical and temporal evolution of intergenerational mobility in Canada compared to the United States with an aim to better understand the causal relationship between education and mobility.  Dr. Haeck is the academic director of the CIQSS-UQAM-INRS laboratory and an invited researcher at the Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics. She is a research fellow at the CIRANO Research Centre and an affiliated researcher for the Education Policy Research Initiative. She is also a member of the Obesity prevention committee at the National Institute for Public Health and a member of the scientific committee of the OLO Foundation.

Fall 2017, Najmeh Kamyabi, Visiting Assistant Professor, Boise State University, Nov 8, 2017

Rockets and Feathers: The Speed of Price Adjustment to Cost Changes in the US Gasoline Market

Abstract: Using weekly crude oil and retail gasoline prices, during the period from Jan 2008 to Dec 2015, this paper examines the hypothesis of asymmetric pricing for the gasoline market in the United States. An asymmetric response in the gasoline market is found for eight cities out of nine and at the national level. However, the adjustment speed tends to vary for different types of gasoline (regular, premium) and across cities.

Spring 2017, Yingying Dong, UC Irvine, March 30, 2017

Regression Discontinuity Designs with Sample Selection

Abstract: This paper extends the standard regression discontinuity (RD) design to allow for sample selection or missing outcomes. We deal with both treatment endogeneity and sample selection. Identification in this paper does not require any exclusion restrictions in the selection equation, nor does it require specifying any selection mechanism. The results can therefore be applied broadly, regardless of how sample selection is incurred. Identification instead relies on smoothness conditions. Smoothness conditions are empirically plausible, have readily testable implications, and are typically assumed even in the standard RD design. We first provide identification of the ‘extensive margin’ and ‘intensive margin’ effects. Then based on these identification results and principle stratification, sharp bounds are constructed for the treatment effects among the group of individuals that may be of particular policy interest, i.e., those always participating compliers. These results are applied to evaluate the impacts of academic probation on college completion and final GPAs. Our analysis reveals striking gender differences at the extensive versus the intensive margin in response to this negative signal on performance.

Fall 2016, Florina Salaghe, UN-Reno, Oct 20, 2016

An Empirical Investigation of Wagering Behavior in a Large Sample of Slot Machine Gamblers (with James Sundali, Mark W. Nichols, Federico Guerrero

Abstract: Positive and negative autocorrelated behavior arising from hot hand and gambler’s fallacy beliefs has been investigated in many domains such as sports, financial markets, foraging, gambling etc. Using non-experimental, individual transaction gambling data, we examine the existence of positively or negatively autocorrelated betting behavior in a panel of 42,669 slot machine gamblers observed over a period of 108 consecutive days. The statistical analyses suggest that gamblers increase the amount bet after wins and decrease the amount bet after losses. These findings remain significant after proxy variables are introduced to control for other competing hypotheses such as house money effects, gambling excitement, a “heavy gamblers” effect, and rare events. Although we are not able to observe players’ beliefs directly and cannot know all the factors driving gambler behavior, the findings that slot machine gamblers increase the amount bet after wins and decrease the amount bets after losses is most consistent with the conclusion of a hot hand effect in slot machine gambling. —

Fall 2014, Frank Goetzke, University of Louisville, November 10, 2014

Housing duration, transaction costs of moving and residential happiness