Effect of Higher Education on Opioid Overdose Deaths: A Case Study of the US

by Nicholas Maksimowicz and Patrick George

Faculty mentor: Dr. Amrita Dhar

Opioid abuse is rising and is a serious epidemic that currently has a major impact on many Americans. It places a burden on all American citizens and American institutions through healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, while making it difficult to create a healthy culture for future generations. People tend to think of opioid abuse to occur in lower-income populations and to be more correlated with uneducated individuals. We estimate the effect of having received some college education or more on overdose deaths across the U.S. We use having some college education or more and standard high school education. We find that people who have obtained some form of higher education were likely to be significantly impacted by the opioid crisis.

Effect of Higher Education on Opioid Overdose Deaths: A Case Study of the US

What has happened to U.S. Inflation? The Effect of Globalization on the Phillip’s Curve

by Brandon Williams

Faculty mentor: Dr. Steve Greenlaw

Since the end of the Great Recession, U.S. inflation dynamics have transformed. Inflation rates have remained low and stable, while unemployment has decreased, and the GDP growth rate has increased. Furthermore, there has been a lack of wage growth of wages in many sectors. These recent behaviors suggest a potential breakdown in the Phillips Curve; therefore, this paper aims to explain the behavior of the inflation dynamics by augmenting the Phillips Curve to incorporate globalization, such as openness to trade and FDI flows. Since the 1970s, world trade has increased from 26.7% in 1970 to 58.4% in 2018. During this time, the number of multinational corporations increased as well. These corporations can conduct vertical specialization to fragment the production process into small tasks, thus decreasing the price of inputs. By using OLS estimation, this paper finds little support for the hypothesis. Further research should focus on data in the sector or industry level. Additionally, further research should explore other possibilities that can influence inflation dynamics, such as workers’ bargaining power or the ‘sharing’ economy.

What has happened to U.S. Inflation? The Effect of Globalization on the Phillip’s Curve

An Economic Base Analysis of Virginia in 2012 and 2017

by Beau De Koninck, Tom Meldrum

Faculty mentor: Dr. Amrita Dhar

Our project uses a location quotient technique and OLS regression to identify the job sectors which provide an economic base for the state of Virginia. A comparison of the bases in 2012 and 2017 reveal that Virginia’s economy has grown more reliant on Professional and Scientific, Public Administration, and Social Security recipients. Through our regression, we can also estimate the relative importance of each of the basic jobs identified through the location quotient technique.

An Economic Base Analysis of Virginia in 2012 and 2017

The Effect of Internet Download Speeds on Income in a County

by Zachary Milnes

Faculty mentor: Dr. Amrita Dhar

In this presentation I perform a Two-Stage Least Squares regression on data over the 5 years between 2014 and the end of 2018 in 135 counties in the continental US in order to determine whether faster download speeds are correlated with higher per capita income. I find that there is in fact a statistically significant effect, where just a 10 mbps increase in average download speeds is correlated with a 7% higher income.

The Effect of Internet Download Speeds on Income in a County

Japanese Whaling and the International Whaling Commission

byTéa Barndt

Faculty mentor: Dr. Margaret Ray

This project examines the effect the International Whaling Commission has had on the Japanese Whaling Industry. Economic research into this field has been limited, and new analyses are needed considering Japan’s recent departure from the International Whaling Commission and resumption of commercial whaling. In particular, we seek to determine whether the 1986 moratorium banning commercial whaling has had a significant impact on the quantity of whales harvested by Japanese whaling vessels. Although this project did not find that the moratorium significantly impacted whale harvesting, there is a number of limitations to this research that suggest further study is required.

Minimum Wage and Fast Food Employment

by Siddhartha Rao

Faculty mentor: Dr. Steve Greenlaw

The topic of living wage is highly contested in today’s political environment with many liberals looking to implement some kind of minimum wage increase, while conservatives argue to keep it where it is. The most common economic theory for the minimum wage debate comes from micro analysis of single firms and shows a decrease in employment from an increase in minimum wage although studies have found no conclusive answer. A newer macro perspective shows the possibility of no change in employment due to a minimum wage increase. With this macro theory in mind, the aim of this study is to look deeper into this question through regression analysis looking specifically at fast food jobs, considered some of the lowest paying jobs in the country. The results of this study support that an increase in population leads to an increase in fast food jobs and an increase in GDP leads to a decrease in fast food jobs. The minimum wage variable had a very low t-value meaning that it was not different from zero. This supports the macro perspective in showing no change in employment from an increase in minimum wage.

Minimum Wage and Fast Food Employment