Department of Economics
The University of Akron

Senior Projects 2012

The Senior Project is typically completed during the capstone course in the student's senior year.
To see the Projects presented during a particular year choose from the list to the left or you can search the projects here.

Johnson-Kanu, Ada Nina.  "Does Foreign Aid Affect the Exports of the Recipient Country?" May 2012.

This paper estimates the effect of foreign aid on exports. I use a sample of 28 African countries for a period of 10 years. I find that on average across these countries a 1 percent increase in the Aid receipts is associated with a decrease in exports by 7 percent all else held constant. The estimations for foreign aids effect on RER is not precise based on the estimations in this paper. The path analysis estimates show that while aid has an indirect effect on exports, the direct effect (possibly due to an export bias)in absolute values is larger (-0. 0903) than its indirect effect (0. 0118) through real exchange rate appreciation.

Futryk, Bryant.  "An Assessment of Firm Performance Post Grann-Leach Bliley Act" May 2012.

This study seeks to examine the impact of the repeal of Glass-Steagall on firm performance. Data from SEC filings of Report and Income are used from 1990-2006 to form a consistent time series data set, and the averages from each reported period are used across all institutions. I utilize GARCH and EGARCH estimation techniques to capture the volatility of returns in modelingfirm pe1jormance. In the study I proxy firm performance with return on equity and use leverage as a risk measure in the model. Results suggest that there was in improvement in the robust model,but there was no improvement when firms were sorted by size.

Heisterman, Dare.  "The Effect of Corruption and Corporate Taxes on FDI" May 2012.

This paper analyzes how an average effective co1porate tax rate and a country's corruption score affect Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The data for the tax rates comes from a survey conducted jointly by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Djankov, Ganser, McLiesh, Ramal/to, and Schleifer (2010). The data contains all taxes that are imposed on "the same" mid-size domestic firm. This data makes it possible to include factors such as depreciation by looking at one standardized firm operating in many different countries and thus creating an "effective" tax rate that is able to be compared for all85 countries in the study. This paper looks to add to the current literature by including an indirect tax, "corruption" while using this detailed tax data on low, middle and high income countries. It will then determine if the average effective tax rates and corruption variable are still as robust as past literature shows while including many controls. Finally it will assess if the impact of corruption and corporate taxes on FDI is more pronounced in lower and middle income countries than in higher income countries.

Whittaker, Kyle.  "General Versus Specific Income Inequality in the United States: how do Their Effects on Growth Compare?" May 2012.

Previous studies address either effects of overall inequality or effects which specific groups such as the rich or middle class have on growth. Theory conflicts as to whether positive or negative effects prevail, and emRirical results are mixed. This study uses a ratio of income levels for the 90th percentile over 50t 1 percentile of the income distribution alongside the Gini coefficient for overall inequality to test theories which predict that both greater inequality and increased income for those higher in the income spectrum have growth-enhancing effects. Fixed Effects estimations conducted in this study suggest that the income distribution has multiple avenues through which inequality can act on growth. This study finds a negative linkage between overall inequality and growth, while demonstrating that increasing incomes for the top ten percent ofincome earners relative to the middle class may be beneficial.

Morrison, Matthew W.  "An Examination of the Impact of Executive Stock Options on Sub-Optimal firm Risk-Taking" May 2012.

This study examines whether executive stock options (ESOs) influence sub-optimal firm risk-taking in S&P 500 firms. I utilize an ordinary least squares (OLS) model to estimate a firm's optimal leverage ratio. From the output of the OLS model I use the conesponding residuals to separate the data into tln´┐Żee sub-samples. Lastly, I utilize a fixed effects model to estimate a firm's security issue decision, given their leverage ratio. As a result, I will find whether a firm who's CEO is granted a greater value of stock options relative to their total compensation in a given year, subsequently takes on sub-optimal risk by increasing leverage even when the firm is already over-leveraged. The data examined in this study was collected from Standard & Poor's COMPUSTAT and ExecuComp databases, and includes firms that comprise the S&P 500 from the years 2007-2011.

Beck, Simon.  "An Analysis of Excise Taxes on Beer and Related Fatalities" May 2012.

As alcohol increases the incidence of traffic fatalities (one of the leading causes of death among all age groups), controlling alcohol consumption has been a policy focus for governments throughout the late 20th century to today. Much literature and research has maintained that death rates for alcohol-involved accidents are greater among younger consumers,  upporting a minimum legal drinking age of 21 in the United States. Other literature confirms that taxation is by far the most effective policy for regulating alcohol consumption; this study aims to test the effectiveness of alcohol taxation policy on reducing alcohol-related traffic fatalities (in particular underage fatalities) in the 21st century.

Dan Witmer “The Relationship between Teacher Salary and Student Achievement in Ohio Public School Districts” August 2012

Abstract not available