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December 2003


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December 2003

  1. 1. Economics Alumni and Friends NORMATIVE NEWS HAPPY HOLIDAYS SPECIAL ISSUE December 2003 Letter from the Chair Greetings from Denton. In spite of all the concerns with the state budget, the university keeps growing and we are doing our best to keep up. Enrollment at UNT is now over 31,000 students and building programs are underway to allow us to grow to 41,000 students. Undergraduate majors are at an all time high and we are still at the fifty-student mark in our graduate program. We are actively working to improve our contact with the world beyond the campus. In the spring, Ed Lopez will premier a new departmental program to improve our connection to alumni, firms that hire our graduates, and the DFW community. Ed will become the departmental outreach coordinator and work as a liaison between the department and the community. Be sure to visit our website at and check out the alumni section. The e-reply button gives you an opportunity to keep in touch with the department and to make your address available to Ed. We are continuing to expand the offerings in our graduate program. Last spring’s experiment with Bill Wallace teaching Advanced Monetary Theory and Policy was a success and the course will be offered again this spring. This fall, Ed Lopez taught a graduate only section of Empirical Public Economics. This course is a follow-up for our very popular Public Economics course that was offered as a piggy-backed class and will become a staple in our fall schedule. Mike McPherson’s Research Methods class has become so popular that we are going to offer the class three times a year. In addition Margie Tieslau will be teaching the Economic Forecasting class in the spring and Mike McPherson will take over the Introduction to Econometrics (affectionately known as Baby Metrics) for the spring. These additions are necessary as we continue to bring our top undergraduates into the graduate program. They have completed many of the field courses at the senior level and we want to be sure that we offer an adequate variety of new classes at the graduate level. The department just completed an extensive internal and external review process. A committee of 3 UNT faculty members and an economics faculty member from another university spent two days meeting with faculty, students, and administrators. They provided an extensive review of the strengths and weaknesses of the department and some suggestions for improvements. The experience helped to affirm some of the progress we have made in the last decade and provided some ideas for future improvements. I am including the concluding paragraph from the external reviewer’s report because I think it will give you a good sense of their findings: “In short, I commend the UNT Department of Economics for doing an excellent job without sufficient university resources. The Department has stayed on track with its basic mission of providing excellence in economics education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, without being tempted into a growth game that inevitably would reduce quality. The Department is a significant resource for employers and students in northern Texas.”
  2. 2. Letter from the Chair, continued. I am now in my third term as chair and I am amazed by the hard work of our faculty, staff, and students. The university has grown from 18,000 students to over 31,000 students during my time at UNT and the economics faculty has not grown at all. The external review pointed out that our student-to-faculty ratio is roughly 70% higher than the university average, but I believe that the quality of instruction is better than ever. The growth has not resulted in any additional staff positions either. I am proud to be associated with such a productive group and am constantly amazed at all that they accomplish. The outstanding students that choose to join and complete our program assure me that all the work pays off. Please enjoy this update on the activities of the department and be sure to keep in touch. UNT Economics is “A Place to Call Home” and we miss you when you move away. Cheri Baker, Verizon Scholarship Recipient, shares some relaxing moments with Derrick Bertrand and Nathan Roseberry. They are visiting with Dr. Margie Tieslau, Assistant Graduate Advisor and prospective graduate student Elizabeth Kasekende, at our November reception co- sponsored by Omicron Delta Epsilon and the Department. Graduate students new to our program this year were assigned a faculty mentor. The mentoring program for first year graduate students will continue. Other departments have established mentoring programs patterned on our successful undergraduate mentoring program. Dr. Cobb and Vera Pyrozhkova, from Romania, allow their conversation to be interrupted for a moment. Vera is currently an undergraduate Economics major and is considering our graduate program. Edward Lopez, Assistant Professor Edward Lopez is in his sixth year with the Department. He had an article accepted at the Journal of Public Choice entitled "Party Polarization and the Business Cycle in the U.S." with co-author Carlos Ramirez, of George Mason University. The Eastern Economic Journal accepted his article, "Do Legislators Pay to Deviate from Constituents?" with co-author Noel Campbell, of North Georgia State. This fall, Dr. Lopez introduced a new class for master students, Empirical Public Economics, focusing on applied econometrics in the economics of taxation. 2
  3. 3. In November, he presented a paper, “What Endowment Effect? A Public Good Experiment”, at the Southern Economics Association meetings in San Antonio and will present a paper at the Public Choice meetings this spring. Ed reports that went to his first Cowboys game a few weeks ago and loved it. David J. Molina, Associate Professor Dr. Molina continues to coordinate the ever-popular Economics Graduate Exit Exam program. His Math Econ classes are formidable. Dr. Molina and Dr. Todd Jewell have an article entitled "Productive Efficiency and Salary Distribution: The Case of U.S. Major League Baseball" that will appear in the February Issue of the Scottish Journal of Political Economy. Dave recently became a member of REU (Red de Economistas Universitarios --Network of University Economists). REU takes surveys of professors in the U.S. and Mexico on the status of trade and other issues important to both economies. He continues with research on the impact of NAFTA and was quoted in the Dallas Morning News, Nov. 9th, on the impact of NAFTA on Texas during the past decade. Two more articles have been accepted, one with Todd Jewell and Michael McPherson in Economic Inquiry and one with James Peach of New Mexico State University in the Journal of Borderland Studies. Dr. Molina devotes a great deal of time serving the University as a diversity representative on search committees. 3
  4. 4. Margie Tieslau, Associate Professor related to the SAS software. According to Dr. Tieslau, “Since more and more of our Dr. Tieslau spent several weeks in Germany students have been interviewing for and (and a few days in Italy) this summer, securing jobs that entail time visiting with her family there (mostly in the series/forecasting responsibilities, I hope Alps). While she was there, she reports she this course will provide students with had the great pleasure of touring the German additional skills that seem to be in such high Bundesbank and she also saw the demand in the current job market.” mummified remains of the "Ice Man," or "Otzi," as he is known to the locals, in a museum in Bolzano, Italy. She continues to focus her efforts on high quality research and is currently revising a submission to the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics. This paper, entitled "Panel LM Unit Root Test with Level Shifts," (which is co- authored with Kyung So Im and Junsoo Lee), presents a new panel unit root test that allows for heterogeneous structural breaks. In the spring semester, Dr. Tieslau plans to teach the Time Series/Forecasting class that we offer. This course will be applied in nature and she will make use of applications Michael McPherson, Associate Professor Margie is very involved with the Faculty Senate and is a member of the Executive Committee. She plans to present research at the Missouri Valley Annual Conference in February. $180 million AMAP (Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project). “We are one of 5 institutions that will be invited to bid on specific projects over the next four years”. Dr. McPherson says he foresees “us winning our share of projects, but the requests for proposals have not yet started to come out.” He, (along with Dr. McPherson spent August in East Java, Todd Jewell and Dave Molina) have had an Indonesia carrying out a survey of about 1,300 article accepted at Economic Inquiry that involves small businesses. The idea was to learn whether Major League Baseball salary distributions. Mike small businesses with access to formal credit also has articles under review at the Journal of sources (bank loans) tend to grow faster than Economic Education and Ecological Economics. those without such access. The survey was The latter one is with Mike Nieswiadomy. In funded by the Japanese government and will be February, he will present “Growth and Access to used to design new policies and programs to assist Finance: Small Businesses in East Java” at the Indonesian small businessmen and Eastern Economics Association Meetings in businesswomen. As Co-Director of the Center for Washington, D.C. Dr. McPherson, who devotes International Economic Studies and Research, he a great deal of time as Graduate Advisor, also has been successful in involving UNT with the serves the Department as Chairman of the U.S. Agency for International Development - Promotion and Tenure Committee. Mike McPherson, (center) is faculty sponsor of ODE, Omicron Delta Epsilon Economics Honor Society. 4
  5. 5. In March, 2004, Assistant Professor, Mark Strazicich, (left) will present “Does Corruption Affect Foreign Investment? Evidence From Seventy-Six Countries” at the Midwest Economics Association meetings in Chicago. Harry Ellis, Lecturer and Assistant Undergraduate Advisor, (right) continues to provide sage advise to undergraduate students, as he has for eleven years. Harry is attending the Allied Social Sciences Meetings in San Diego in January. He also continues to see the country by taking numerous trips a year for fun. “Mr. Ellis”, as he affectionately known around the Econ offices, continues to carry a heavy principles teaching load and is much admired by his students. Harry is a recent transplant from Lewisville to Denton. It sure is nice having him as a community neighbor. Mark Strazicich, Assistant Professor Dr. Strazicich had three research papers published in 2003. “Minimum LM Unit Root Test with Two Structural Breaks” appeared in The Review of Economics and Statistics, November 2003, Vol. 85, No. 4, 1082-1089 (with Junsoo Lee). “Stationarity of Health Expenditures and GDP: Evidence from Panel Unit Root Tests with Heterogeneous Structural Breaks” was published in the Journal of Health Economics, March 2003, Vol. 22, No. 2, 313-323 (with Todd Jewell, Junsoo Lee, and Margie Tieslau). “Are CO2 Emission Levels Converging Among Industrial Countries?” was published in Environmental and Resource Economics, March 2003, Vol. 24, No. 3, 263-271 (with John List). Ranita Wyatt, Lecturer UNT Economics Department “A PLACE TO CALL HOME” 5th Annual Awards and Alumni Banquet Date: Saturday evening, April 24, 2004 Open Bar – 6:30 p.m. and Dinner at 7:00 p.m. Silver Eagle – UNT Union Building This year, each alum Scholarship Recipients let us 2003-2004 bring an alum. Be sure to know if you move so your invitation will get to you. Send us e-mail addresses of your fellow alumni. Cheri Baker – Verizon Scholarship Bonnie Harlee – Lew Abernathy Scholarship Kathy Miner Cavin - Econ Graduate Scholarship Ranita is in her second year as a doctoral student Jacqueline Sparks – Econ Department Scholarship in addition to teaching 4 large principles sections. She is a talented oil and watercolor artist, so it Melody Muldrow – Econ Graduate Scholarship should come as no surprise that she created a Karen Mulligan – Econ Department Scholarship 1,250-gallon water garden in her backyard and completed an addition to her patio. Ranita and Piyali Pal - George Benz Graduate Scholarship her husband, Art, can be seen on their Honda Soonyeong Wong – Econ Department Scholarship Goldwing. Take a closer look next time you see a couple on a “bike”. They are the best lookingAndrew Ojede – Econ Graduate Scholarship couple on the road. Ian McCarthy - Abe Melton Scholarship 5 Burin Kanchanomai – Sam Barton LIRE Scholarship Betsy George – Tom Preston Scholarship
  6. 6. Kari Battaglia, Lecturer and Coordinator of Principles of Economics Program Kari continues to coordinate some 25 sections of the principles of macro and micro. UNT honors students still have the great opportunity to study with Kari in her Honors Macro class. Her Economics of Consumption class still fills the first day of registration. Mrs. Battaglia is named a Mortar Board Top Prof just about every semester. The Battalgia family continues to be very happy and busy, according to Kari. Anthony is an Economics major at The Ohio State University. Other family interests include dance lessons, drama, music, and hockey. Jeffrey Rous, Associate Professor Jeff is presenting a paper, "Know AIDS to No AIDS: Analyzing the quality of AIDS knowledge among women in India” at the American Economic Association meetings in San Diego in January. A paper co-authored with Todd Jewell and R.W. Brown will appear in a forthcoming issue of Health Economics. The paper is “Estimating the Impact of Prenatal Care Visits on Birth Weight: A Full-Information Maximum Likelihood Estimation”. His paper, with D.R. Hotchkiss, "An Empirical Analysis of the Determinants of Household Health Care Expenditures in Nepal with Controls for Endogenous Illness and Provider Choice: A Full- Information Maximum Likelihood Estimation." is forthcoming in Health Economics. Jeff and 6
  7. 7. Sarah Rous also have a new baby girl, Ella, at home and Nathan is now three. Bryan Dickson, Adjunct Lecturer After a five-year break, Bryan reports he is glad to be back with the Department this semester. “A lot has happened since May of 1998”. He says he has spent the majority of the past few years working in the consulting industry with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in the Electronics and High Tech industry. “Consulting is fast-paced and exciting and the best news for alumni (and current econ majors!): a degree in economics is a GREAT foundation for a career in business consulting.” Working with clients like Dell Computer, Motorola PCS, and Applied Materials, Bryan says he found that a clear grasp of many economics concepts was ESSTENTIAL for adding client value. He dealt with supply and demand, market forces, fixed costs and variable costs as components of total costs, revenue generation/cost reduction as components of profit, unemployment, and a host of other issues on a weekly basis. “An understanding of economics principles is important in business today. It’s great to be back in the classroom and influencing the economists of tomorrow!” Michael Nieswiadomy, Professor Dr. Nieswiadomy can hardly believe that he is in his 19th year at UNT. “Time sure does fly by!” Many persons marvel at his ability to stay 27 years old for 19 years! 7
  8. 8. Mike Nieswiadomy, cont. Mike has had a productive research year. One article was published in a top level economics journal, titled "Estimating Worklife Expectancy: An Econometric Approach," with Daniel L. Millimet, Hang Ryu, and Daniel Slottje, in the Journal of Econometrics, 2003, Vol. 113. Dr. Nieswiadomy continues to assist our graduates as they search for job opportunities. Contact him at 940-565-2244 or e-mail if your company is hiring and has positions available. Another article is forthcoming in April 2004 in the highly rated journal, Economic Inquiry. The article is titled "Are Political Freedoms Converging?" with Mark Strazicich. He currently has an interesting article under review titled, "Ecological and Political Impacts on Species Fragility: An Empirical Analysis of Endangered and At-Risk Species," with Dr. David N. Laband of the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University. Professor Nieswiadomy regularly teaches environmental economics and managerial economics and will teach undergraduate econometrics in the spring. As the department job placement coordinator, he is always scanning the job web sites and newspapers for job openings for our majors. He appreciates any job leads (full time, part time or internships) that you would like to forward to him. Dr Nieswiadomy enjoys traveling with his family. He traveled this summer to Rocky Mountain National Park with his wife and youngest son to hike and fish. He is also President of the Denton High School Boys Basketball Booster Club this year. He was President of the Denton High Baseball Booster Club last year. He would love to hear from his former students. Dr. Nieswiadomy says he will take on anyone on the basketball court who is up to the challenge! 8
  9. 9. Todd Jewell, Associate Professor ASSA meetings in San Diego in January. The session is "Empirical Assessments of Todd is planning a course to be taught in Spain. Competition in Network Industries". The session The course is Economics 3000: Survey of the is sponsored by the Telecommunications and Spanish Economy. Departure from the U.S. is Public Utilities Group. set for May 15th and the flight back from Spain is scheduled for June 20th. The American Institute for Foreign Study has organized the class and trip. Dr. Jewell can be reached at, if you would like more information. He reports that some scholarships (see UNT Study Abroad Office for details) and all financial aid apply for this course. Janice runs on occasion with Todd Jewell as he prepares for his first 26.2-mile marathon in the early spring. She plans to attend the International Industrial Organization Conference in Chicago in the spring. Dr. Hauge will present “The Empirical Effects of the Uniform Benefits Requirements on Medicare Managed Care Organizations”. Dr. Jewell says he has applied for a Fulbright Fellowship to study “Birthweight and Prenatal Care” at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay for the fall semester of 2004. He won't know the result of his application until January, at the earliest. Dr. Jewell continues to mentor and devote a great deal of time to advising undergraduate majors and has since 1998! Janice Hauge, Assistant Professor Dr. Hauge joined the Department last January and is busy with her husband and one year old daughter. In addition to teaching Public William Wallace, Adjunct Professor Economics and Industrial Organization, she has recently been accepted to participate in a Dr. Wallace leads a busy civic life in addition to national mentoring workshop for junior faculty, teaching graduate Monetary Theory and sponsored by the Committee on the Status of Policy and undergraduate Money and Financial Women in the Economics Profession. The Institutions. He reports that he has been workshop is a two-day program held directly appointed to the Board of Directors of after the ASSA meetings in San Diego. The Communities-in-Schools, in Dallas. CIS is a focus of the workshop is on writing grants, mentoring program for at-risk children, that writing tenure statements, developing a tenure places professional counselors in the schools to case, and revising papers. Dr. Hauge will serve work with students who are having learning as the chairperson of a session at the AEA / problems, family problems, health problems, etc., and are at risk of dropping out of school. The program now operates in seven school districts in 9
  10. 10. the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is case managing over 6,500 students, with a 96% success rate. Dr. Wallace, cont. tutoring, but from Dr. Cobb. After three semesters as an economics tutor, two of which He also attended a symposium in honor of Milton she served as coordinator, Eva became a and Rose Friedman in October at the Federal Graduate Teaching Fellow. Eva completed her Reserve Bank of Dallas. (Dr. Wallace was First Masters in Labor and Industrial Relations in Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the August, and began teaching Principles of Macro Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1981 to both here and at Brookhaven College. Eva 1991.) Chairman Alan Greenspan kicked off the reports, “she enjoys both the work and the people symposium. Among the speakers, in addition to she has found at UNT.” the Friedmans, were Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, Fed Governor Ben Bernanke, and Fed Ajay Babar, Adjunct Lecturer Historian Allan Meltzer. The Plano City Council recently appointed Dr. Wallace to the Heritage Commission of Plano. Eva Schaffer, Adjunct Instructor Ajay Babar graduated with a master’s degree from UNT in Economic Research in 1995. Over the past nine years, Ajay has worked as an applied econometrician with Sabre, Inc. (a former subsidiary of American Airlines), J.C. Penney Prior to returning to school to complete her and MasterCard International. Currently, Ajay Bachelor’s degree, Eva was employed as a works for CitiGroup as an econometrician with National Account Representative for Aetna US the risk group. Besides working as an Healthcare. She says she realized she would not econometrician, Ajay has continued to be be promoted without finishing her education, so associated with the Department as an Adjunct she started back to school part time in the spring Lecturer. Ajay says he would like to hear from of 1999. Eva says, “once I decided to finish what alumni and that he can be contacted at I started, I knew the only way to accomplish my He enjoys spending time with his goal was to return full time to school.” During wife and sons. her first two semesters at UNT, she was an accounting major and worked for a friend’s In Memoriam accounting firm. Upon receiving the economic George Albert Benz, Ph.D., passed away this department’s encouragement letter, she talked to year in San Antonio and was buried in Denton. Harry Ellis and Todd Jewell, and “saw the error He graduated from NTSU and then was drafted of her ways”. After 18 hour class loads, she by the Green Bay Packers. He declined the offer earned her BBA in 2001. She was studying and earned a master’s degree in Economics from abroad when she received a call about tutoring NTSU and a PhD in Economics from the for the Department. Imagine her surprise and University of Oklahoma. He was a Professor at pleasure when she found out the call was not St. Mary’s University and worked tirelessly for from a student, named Steve who needed 10
  11. 11. underprivileged people. Dr. Benz was a faithful contributor to our scholarship program. Newsletter designed and edited by Nancy Loyd Boyd, Administrative Assistant III, Economics staff member. 11