2019 Annual Newsletter
Table of Contents
- Message from the Dept. Head
- Kautz-Uible Economics Institute
- Undergraduate Program News
- Graduate Program News
- Doctoral Program News
- Alumni Update
- Faculty Update
- Staff Update
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during this precarious time. It truly feels surreal. The university is under a lockdown. We are teaching all our courses online and connecting virtually with students and colleagues.
Yet, even during this time of immense uncertainty, we must reflect on the significant milestones that we achieved in 2019. We are particularly thankful that 2019 has been one of the most exciting years in the history of the economics department. This annual newsletter allows us to share this excitement with you. Given the lockdown and social distancing, we have opted for an e-newsletter, in lieu of a print copy. We are hopeful that learning about all the exciting news in the economics department will brighten your day.
The year 2019 was truly extraordinary for the economics department. The department physically moved to an impressive new building—it is a long journey from Crosley Tower to the new Lindner Hall!
Thanks to a generous gift from Dan Kautz and Woody Uible, the Kautz-Uible Fund is now the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute, which keeps all the existing programs of the fund intact and adds an exciting research initiative for undergraduate and graduate students. Yes, it is a truly phenomenal journey for the Hewett-Kautz Fund that was established by Caroline and Jim Kautz in 1982. I am deeply grateful to everyone whose generosity made the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute possible.
Also, thanks to the fundraising initiatives of Professor Emeritus Wolfgang Mayer, the economics PhD advisory committee, and economics PhD alumni, our department is now able to offer a fully funded doctoral scholarship for the next ten years.
I am truly grateful to our alumni and friends for your generous support; it makes the economics department a very special place and significantly enriches the educational experience of our students. Thank you so very much! Please take good care and stay safe. I am looking forward to a grand economics homecoming in fall 2020. Hope you will join us. Meanwhile, I wish you and your loved ones my very best.
David Sinton Professor of Economics
Head, Department of Economics
The Kautz-Uible Fund Becomes the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute
Thanks to a large gift from Dan Kautz and Woody Uible, the Kautz-Uible Fund is now known as the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute (KUEI). The new name was officially recognized at the institute’s inauguration on October 18, 2019. Professor Michael Jones serves as Executive Director.
The Kautz-Uible Fund was established as the Hewett-Kautz Fund by Caroline and Jim Kautz in 1982. Since then, the fund has enriched the lives of hundreds of economics students and faculty through fellowships and scholarships, the James C. Kautz Lecture Series, educational trips, study-abroad programs, the Women in Economics Initiative, the International Scholar program, and the Kautz Chair Professorship.
The Kautz-Uible Economics Institute keeps all the existing programs of the Kautz-Uible Fund intact but adds an exciting and innovative research initiative for undergraduate and graduate students. This initiative allows students to undertake impactful and applied research projects under the supervision of economics faculty members.
Amanda Wait: Kautz-Uible Fellow, 1998-2000
“The Kautz fellowship program empowered me to think broadly about the application of economics outside of the classroom. As a result, I developed a lasting passion for the economic principles that were the focus of my undergraduate studies and I apply those principles daily in my practice as an antitrust lawyer.”
—Amanda Wait Norton Rose Fulbright
Kautz-Uible Research Initiative Opens Doors for Exciting Research Opportunities
Thanks to the generous support from the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute (KUEI), we now offer supervised research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.
This brand-new venture launched in fall 2019. At the opening event of the innovative Kautz Attic, located on the fourth floor of Lindner Hall, student researchers presented their ongoing work with Professors David Brasington, Lenisa Chang, and Michael Jones.
In the spring, the KUEI is partnering with Kingsgate Logistics and Cincinnati Bell in UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub to develop proof-of-concept deployments of blockchain technologies. IBM is providing blockchain training to Professor Jones so that future economics students can be certified through IBM to develop blockchain applications. The institute is also partnering with UC’s Urban Futures Pathway to provide work opportunities for students in nonprofits in the community. UC’s Department of Labor grant will provide funding to students who work as economic analysts for nonprofits.
Moving forward, more faculty will be involved in the institute's research work. Professor Asawari Deshmukh is proposing a research project through UC’s 2020 Summer WISE program in which an economics student will develop economic business cases with companies in the Cincinnati region. Professor Erwin Erhardt is overseeing a student research project in economic history, while Professor Emeritus George Vredeveld will supervise a research project involving immigrants in greater Cincinnati.
Current Student Research Projects
- Eli Proffitt is developing a model to optimize citation fine amounts for UC parking violations.
- Martin Harrison McNulty is using natural language-processing techniques to develop a new taxonomy for nonprofit classification. This work is now a research project at UC’s Digital Scholarship Center.
- Ben Leonardi is analyzing the fiscal effects of a proposed sales tax increase in Hamilton County to fund public transportation.
- Gio Rocco has created a model to predict the value of tax incentives that he will use in his work at the City of Cincinnati’s Department of Community & Economic Development.
- Chris McCleary is analyzing municipal voting and crime data to understand the effect of police tax levies on crime rates.
- Prasoon Verma is investigating car accident fatalities and response times of ambulances after localities passed hospital and EMS service levies.
- Tony Martini is exploring how automation will affect work opportunities for students with different university majors.
- Sahar Heydari Fard, who is simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Philosophy and an MS in Applied Economics, is developing a code of ethics for applied economics.
This initiative is growing increasingly popular among students. We welcome our alumni to supervise research projects, with the possibility of supervising remotely.
If you are interested in supervising a research project, please email Professor Michael Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kautz-Uible Economics Institute Opens Blockchain Lab
According to a 2019 Deloitte survey, more than half of corporate executives consider blockchain technology a critical priority for their organizations. While blockchain has its origins in digital currencies like bitcoin, the technology has matured into a tool in supply chains, finance and insurance markets, healthcare, and many other industries.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that achieves consensus about the state of the world. This spring, the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute created a blockchain research lab in which students have the opportunity to learn more about this emerging technology and its applications in the field.
Currently, half a dozen of our students are working with companies like Cincinnati Bell and Kingsgate Logistics to develop proof-of-concept blockchain solutions. Students are also exploring how digital currencies can be implemented in censorship-resistant governments when Internet access is restricted.
Kautz-Uible Women in Economics Initiative Continues to Thrive
In October 2016, economics alumna Amanda Wait (BA, 2000) spearheaded the Kautz-Uible Women in Economics Initiative with the mission of enriching the lives of women economics students through scholarships, mentoring, and advice.
Fast forward to today, and the program is fulfilling that mission. Amanda’s vision has successfully fostered a community where alumnae are helping current students as they navigate the field of economics. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of economics alumnae, eight students are presently receiving scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 a year.
During the fall and spring semesters of 2019, the Women in Economics Initiative hosted two luncheons and panel discussions. Several alumnae participated in these events, including Amanda Wait (BA, 2000), Amy Crooks (BA, 2018), Inna Tobin (BA, 1999), Nandita Jena (MA, 2003), Mary DeStefano (BA, 2015; MA, 2016), Chloe Bierman (BA, 2015), Riya Choudhary (MA, 2018), and Dinushki De Livera (BBA, 2015; MA, 2016).
James C. Kautz Lecture Series Drew Hundreds of Listeners
Since its beginnings in 1993, the James C. Kautz Lecture Series has welcomed internationally recognized economists for a full day of engagement at UC's Lindner College of Business. This lecture series offers faculty, students, and staff the chance to learn about unique perspectives and new ideas outside the classroom.
We are pleased to report that we had record-setting turnouts for our 2018 and 2019 lectures. We streamed the lectures to multiple classrooms to accommodate about six hundred listeners each year.
In 2018, Professor Betsey Stevenson of the University of Michigan presented a lecture titled “Our changing lives: Work, family, and policy in a time of rising gender equality.”
In 2019, Professor Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University presented a lecture titled “Are American Companies Badly Managed?”
Prominent Alumna Amanda Wait Presents Lecture on Antitrust Enforcement
Amanda Wait (BA, 2000) presented a thought-provoking talk, “Real World Economics: An Overview of Economic Theory in United States v. AT&T and Time Warner,” at the Economics Award Banquet on April 11, 2019.
Among the finest antitrust lawyers in the country, Amanda is a partner of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. She is a board member of the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute and actively involved with the economics program. In 2016, Amanda spearheaded the Kautz-Uible Women in Economics Initiative.
Professor Asawari Deshmukh Leads Study-Abroad Program to India
In January 2019, Professor Asawari Deshmukh led a group of 22 Lindner students on a study-abroad program to the Indian cities of Agra, Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. Thanks in part to a generous financial contribution from the Kautz-Uible Fund, the following economics students were given the opportunity to take part in the program: Garrett Ainsworth, Claire Binford, Molly Bonino, Jacob Craig, David Jacques, Abigail Klare, Claire Koontz, Benedict Leonardi, Cassidy Peebles, Derek Scoggin, Khoa Tran, and Clayton Warren. Joining the team were Professors Richard Curry and Debashis Pal, Co-chairs of the Kautz-Uible Fund Dan Kautz and Woody Uible, and Economics Office Manager Toshia Watkins.
The trip was a fascinating experience for everyone. Apart from visiting prominent Indian businesses, including Infosys and Hindustan Unilever, the team interacted with local college students, toured the iconic Taj Mahal, and experienced Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi, which is also a manufacturing powerhouse of small-scale businesses.
Another Exciting Year for the Economics Society
In January 2019, twenty economics students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, traveled to Chicago to visit seven different companies and organizations, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Morningstar Financial, Nielsen, BTS Consulting, TransMarket Group, Freeport Financial, and Protiviti Consulting. While on the trip, the group learned about data collection, equity research, market research, consulting strategies, options trading, the private debt market, and management consulting. Even with the subzero temperatures, they all had a great time and a valuable learning experience. All expenses for the trip were paid for by the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute.
In fall 2019, the Economics Society invited students from the YMCA Achievers to the Lindner College of Business. The YMCA Achievers program empowers lower-income minority students to pursue a college education. The Economics Society looks forward to its continued relationship with the students.
Jackson Burton led the organization from August 2018 to April 2019; he was succeeded by current President of the Economics Society, Abdou Ndao.
Abdou is a senior at UC, majoring in economics and finance. He is a member of the University Honors program and the Lindner Circle of Excellence program. Abdou has interned at Merrill Lynch, the Fund Evaluation Group, and BlackRock. After graduating from UC this spring, Abdou will be starting a position at BlackRock in New York City.
Student Ben Leonardi Conducts Research on Hamilton County Sales Tax
Under the supervision of Professor Michael Jones, undergraduate economics student Ben Leonardi researched Issue 7, a ballot measure on the March 17th Hamilton County ballot. The measure proposes an increase in the county sales tax from 7.0 to 7.8 percent and a decrease in the City of Cincinnati income tax from 2.1 to 1.8 percent. Ben found that if Issue 7 were to pass, the Hamilton County General Revenue Fund will decline by nearly 5 million dollars, while the City of Cincinnati will see income tax collections increase by nearly 13 million dollars. This work is an excellent example of research projects from the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute. The institute offers our undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to conduct joint research with faculty members.
For more details about this project, please visit:
Garrett Ainsworth (BA, 2019) Receives Fulbright Scholarshipto Teach English in Taiwan
Garrett Ainsworth was awarded a 2019 Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
With this scholarship, Garrett will be teaching English to children in Taitung, a small city located along the southeast coast of Taiwan.
During his time at UC, Garrett—a Gilman International Scholar—traveled to sixteen countries, including Mexico, China, France, and India.
The Master of Science in Applied Economics Program Continues to Rank within Top Ten Applied Economics Programs in the Nation
Three students from our most recent graduating class have continued on with their PhD studies, while their classmates have accepted job offers from renowned institutions, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Fifth Third Bank, J.M. Smucker, Christ Hospital, HealthStrategy, Medpace, dunnhumby, T-Mobile, and many others.
We offered a new course last year, Competition and Regulation, taught by Dr. David Weiskopf, Executive Vice President of economics consulting firm Compass Lexecon in Washington, D.C. Several students in our capstone course worked with a ski resort in Switzerland to forecast daily skier demand, while other students took courses at our partner universities in Norway, France, and Spain.
We recently surveyed our alumni and discovered that two-thirds of our respondents still work in the Cincinnati region—demonstrating our program’s impact on the local economy. Alumni with 2 to 5 years of experience earn an average salary of $92,000 while typically holding a title of Sr. Analyst/Manager. Our alumni with 6 to 10 years of experience earn an average salary of $140,000 and generally hold the title of Director.
We are offering a 3+1 program through which advanced UC students can earn their bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years. We recently announced a strategic partnership agreement with Christ University in India in which their students can receive a dual degree in Applied Economics from both of our institutions in a two-year period.
MS Students Continue Their Studies in Europe
During the summer of 2019, seven of our MS in Applied Economics students had the opportunity to study abroad in Europe. Part of their expenses were paid for by the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute.
Cassandra Gibbs, Elliot Maynard and Albwin Wagner-Schmitzer attended the Norwegian School of Economics; Yianni Kanellopoulos and Kayla McGinnis studied at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics; and Clemens Marggraf and Brandon Welker attended the Paris School of Economics.
Norway is a little Utopia that I think everyone should visit and admire at least once in their lives.
UC Bicentennial Marks a Time of Growth for Our PhD Program
On November 9, 1819, the first students began their studies at Cincinnati College, which would later become the University of Cincinnati as we know it. It is on this special date in 2019 that we celebrate UC’s Bicentennial and reflect upon our history.
Our program dates back to 1965-1970, when it was initially housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. During this period, the university hired seven newly minted PhDs, all of whom were trained in the latest theories and quantitative techniques. The program gained momentum in these early days thanks to funding made possible in part by the state affiliation the university received in 1968.
Unfortunately, there was no follow-up to the promising start. Over the next 40 years, funding cuts led to a steady loss in both faculty positions and graduate assistantships. By the late 1990s, faculty strength had fallen to a level at which a phase-out of the PhD program was called for.
The move of the economics department from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Lindner College of Business in 2011 was a well-received reversal in fortunes—our faculty began to grow significantly in both quantity and quality, and our PhD program was resurrected. However, there was one unresolved issue: graduate assistantships for doctoral students remained scarce, and the prospects for rising future university support remained uncertain.
Last year, in response to inadequate financial support of doctoral students, the economics department’s PhD Advisory Committee recommended that the Mayer Fund be used as the vehicle to address the issue. The response from our PhD alumni was so encouraging that it will enable the economics department to offer afully funded doctoral scholarship for the next 10 years.
Our long-run goal, however, is to raise the Mayer Fund’s endowment to a level that supports a doctoral scholarship in perpetuity. Thanks to last year’s strong response, we are about half-way to our goal, and we again call on your continued generosity.
Distinguished Alumnus Jean-Claude Kassi Brou AppointedPresident of the Economic Community of West African States
On July 31, 2018, in front of 13 of the 15 heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou raised his right hand and declared:
I, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, swear to serve faithfully the Economic Community of West African States in my capacity as President of the ECOWAS Commission.
Jean-Claude Kassi Brou
The ECOWAS, with a population of more than 350 million, forms an economic and political union with its Commission, Court of Justice, Parliament, and Bank for Investment and Development as its governing institutions. President Brou’s exciting path to its leadership began at the University of Cincinnati, where he completed his dissertation on the West-African Monetary Union. While at UC, he earned a total of three degrees: a PhD in Economics (1982), an MBA in Finance (1980), and an MA in Economics (1979).
After his studies, President Brou gained vast experience in the field of economics. A lengthy stay as Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund preceded his appointments as Economic Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister. These were followed by several leadership positions with the Central Bank of West African States, as well as time spent as Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to becoming President of the ECOWAS Commission, he spent six years as the Ivory Coast’s Minister of Industry and Mines, with his country becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
United States Department of Justice Honors AlumnusGreg Werden (BA, 1973; MA, 1974)
This year, the United States Department of Justice (USDJ) presented the Attorney General’s Mary C. Lawton Lifetime Service Award to Dr. Gregory J. Werden for his remarkable work in the enforcement of antitrust law.
Dr. Werden created the hypothetical monopolist test and played an instrumental role in the development of the technique of merger simulations—both of which are widely used today. He is also credited for authoring and revising several merger guideline documents.
Throughout his four decades of service, Dr. Werden has made an indelible mark on the USDJ's litigation efforts. His impressive resume includes contributions to 75 Supreme Court briefs, citations in 16 federal court opinions, and involvement in high-profile cases against Microsoft, Apple, Anthem/Cigna, and AU Optronics.
The Board of Trustees of the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute Welcomes a New Member
Alumna Nandita Jena (MA, 2003) has joined the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute Board of Trustees. Nandita is a Business Risk Management Specialist at CIBC. Before joining CIBC, she worked as a Risk Management Consultant with Robert Half Management Resources and Protiviti.
Nandita actively mentors and supports women economics students and has been a leading figure of the Kautz-Uible Women in Economics Initiative since the conception of the program.
Nandita lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and two daughters.
Alumni Give Back by Teaching Economics Classes
Several of our alumni are currently teaching economics at the Lindner College of Business. We truly appreciate their support:
- Aziza Lyons, Introduction to Macroeconomics
- Chris Randall, Economic Data Analysis
- Dinushki De Livera, Introduction to Microeconomics
- Dr. Hamed Namavari, Introduction to Econometrics
- Richard Curry, Economics of the Stock Market and Investment
- William Banks, Health Care Marketplace 1: Health Economics
Economics Faculty are Publishing Their Research in Top-Quality International Journals
Research productivity of the economics faculty has been outstanding in 2019. Our faculty members have published ten research papers in peer-reviewed international journals.
Especially notable publications are Professor Rene Saran’s article in The Review of Economic Studies and Professor Iryna Topolyan’s article in Games and Economic Behavior.
Economics Faculty Present Their Research Around the World
Several of our economics faculty have been invited to present their research at international conferences and universities.
Professor Erwin Erhardt presented in Croatia and France; Professor Debashis Pal presented in Japan; Professor Rene Saran presented in France; Professors Jeff Mills and Iryna Topolyan presented in England; and Professor Hernan Moscoso presented in Mexico and Chile.
Professor Emeritus George Vredeveld Receives Rare Honor
The Bulgarian government has bestowed a rare honor on Professor Emeritus George Vredeveld for his significant advisory role during the transition of Bulgaria after the fall of communism. He is now an Honorary Consul of Bulgaria.
Professor Lenisa Chang EarnsPromotion with Tenure
Dr. Lenisa Chang was promoted to associate professor with tenure beginning fall 2018. Dr. Chang is an accomplished researcher who specializes in health economics. In her research, Dr. Chang explores how health economics intersects with public policy. Following her promotion, Dr. Chang took a sabbatical in spring 2019 to conduct research in Italy.
Professor Olivier Parent Earns Promotion to Full Professor
Professor Olivier Parent has been promoted to full professor beginning fall 2019. Professor Parent is an internationally known econometrician. He joined UC in 2006 after receiving his PhD from the University of Saint-Etienne in France in 2005.
His research interests include spatial econometrics, Bayesian Econometrics, regional economics, and social network.
Economics and Psychiatry Professors Collaborate for Mental Health Research
Professor Jeff Mills has been engaged in influential interdisciplinary research with Dr. Jeffrey Strawn, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at UC’s College of Medicine. The pair recently published an article in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that examines the incidence of side effects that impact children and adolescents who are being treated for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Professors Mills and Strawn analyzed the combined evidence of side effects from 18 randomized controlled trials using Bayesian hierarchical models (which allow for the combination of results from different subjects) while also considering individual variation across patients. The study involved more than 2,500 patients, who were then compared to patients taking a placebo.
Earlier this year, Professors Mills and Strawn were awarded $1.85 million in research funding from the Yung Family Foundation to conduct two randomized controlled trials to evaluate anxiety and depression medications for adults, children, and adolescents. The funding also provided for the acquisition of three large data sets. Professors Mills and Strawn are currently working on combining the evidence from these data sets to provide more definitive answers with regard to the efficacy and tolerability of anxiety and depression medications.
UC Alumna Sarah Asebrook Joins the Department as Executive Staff Assistant
In February 2020, we welcomed Sarah Asebrook to our staff. Sarah is an alumna of UC, where she earned her BA in Art History and MA in Professional Writing. She provides administrative support as well as editing and design services, including the creation of this newsletter, for the economics department.
2019-2020 Scholarship Winners
- Kautz-Uible Fellowship
- Molly Bonino
- Anna Croyts
- Dylan Dietrich
- Noah Katz
- Quinn Lemarr
- Joe Niehaus
- Andrew Niese
- Adam Schraffenberger
- Emily Smagola
- Khoa Tran
- Kautz-Uible Amanda Wait Fellowship
- Abigail Klare
- Claire Koontz
- Deanna Marie Lammers
- Meghan Oldfield
- Jinal Patel
- Sarah Rea
- Olivia Robinson
- Margarita Stringfellow
- Kautz-Uible M.P. Gupta Fellowship
- Sara Dwivedi
- Kautz-Uible Nandita JenaFellowship
- Trang Manh
- Kautz-Uible Joni LewisFellowship
- Carmen Licht
- Kautz-Uible Inna Tobin Fellowship
- Molly Flanagan
- Joseph C. Gallo Scholarship
- Abdou Ndao
- Kautz-Uible Don Wellington Fellowship
- Vighnesh Raj
- Citicorp Scholarship
- Mohit Vaid
- Caroline Kautz Book Prize
- Aayaan Mehta
- Jared Mitchell
- Edwin and Carrie FrankPrize
- Alex Coburn
- Maurice B. HexterScholarship
- Jacob Franzen
- Kautz-Uible Economics Prize
- Jackson Burton
- Hunter DeLong
- Brendan Carl Dewing
- Taylor Ferrell
- Louis Langen
- Benedict Leonardi
- Amanda Lipke
- Alexander Randazzo
- Lucas Shirr
- Jared Thobe
- Katherine Van Den Brink
- Wolfgang Mayer Prize
- Bharat Hanumanthu
- Riley Jessen
- Rakshanda Khan
- Iain Kirsch