Department of Economics
The University of Akron

Senior Projects 2015

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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.

Bricey Kepnes. "The Effect of Depression on Academic Achievement for Students in 5th-12th Grade." May 2015


This paper examines the relationship between adolescent depression and academic achievement in 5th through 12th grade populations. I use cross-sectional data from The Panel Study of Income Dynamics-The Child Development Supplement. I build upon previous literature that examines how depression affects human capital accumulation. I find that depression does not affect academic achievement on standardized tests for students in the 5th-12th grade.

John T. Sulik. "Regional Shadow Economy: Friend or Foe?" May 2015


The purpose of this study is to look into the effects of the shadow economy on economic growth at the regional level of development. At the time this study was conducted, shadow economy research had been primarily aimed at looking at cross-national effects. To date, there has only been one other study that has looked into the shadow economy at the regional level, however only estimations of the variable were conducted; no regression analysis has been completed. A Dummy Variable Least Squares regression and the Arellano Bond Two-Step Estimation are used to look at the shadow economy, as well as other common indicators of development, and their effect on economic growth while controlling for geographic location of the state as well as time. The results of the regression show that all variables, including the shadow economy size, increase economic growth at a significant level of less than one percent, supporting the hypothesis of this study.

Joshua Vojtush. "Cleaning Cobwebs out from Nursing Scrubs: A Study of the Cobweb Model and Registered Nurses." May 2015

Using a recursive cobweb model, this study analyzes the responsiveness of nurses to wage changes in the United States between 2004 and 2008. A shortage of registered nurses is predicted to continue for the next 20 years. This is a serious problem, as the registered nurse force ages collectively and retires faster than younger talent enters, and legislation such as the Affordable Care Act greatly increases the demand for healthcare, something must be done. I show that nursing wages are inelastic in the short run and more elastic in the long run. I use state expenditure on healthcare, reported by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in my demand function to capture demand-shift factors and their impact on nursing wages. This study investigates the impact of wages in an alternate career, elementary school teachers, which are also a majority female, on registered nurse labor supply. My study differs from prior studies on male-dominated occupations. I show that increased nurse wages at the time of admission cause more students to enter school.

Trey Boyd. "Exploring the Impact of Military Expenditure on Unemployment: A Study Disaggregated by Industry." May 2015


This study analyzes military expenditure both by per capita and as a percentage of GDP and how they affect the unemployment rates of different industries within the United States. More specifically, this study attempts to look at where the causality in this relationship is running from – military expenditure towards unemployment in the given industry, or from the industry’s unemployment rate to the military expenditure. While simply using the Ordinary Least Squares Method proved to be inefficient in terms of efficacy, it was able to point out some complications that ensured the data was prepared properly for the granger causality tests through the implication of differencing for unit roots. The granger causality tests implied that military expenditure as a percentage of GDP and on a per capita basis both granger caused unemployment in the agricultural sector. There was no causation regarding the expenditure variables and the service industry and the production & operations industry. These tests also found that the professional and technologies industry granger caused the level of military expenditure, which I return to alternative previous literature in hopes to explain.

Matt Dixon. "To Work or Watch Hockey? That is the Question." May 2015


This paper analyzes the effects of Linder’s Disease on attendance demand for the National Hockey League. Linder’s Disease is the adverse effect on demand due to increases in wages. The analysis is composed of the two way fixed effect estimator and the Arellano Bond estimator. The impact of Linder’s Disease was measure in two methods, by the impact of the price of leisure on demand and by the difference between the measure of full income and the measure of real personal income. The data is collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the firm – Team Marketing Report and the National Hockey League website. The derived results from the Arellano Bond estimator confirmed that Linder’s Disease does exist; a 1% increase in full income, which accounts for the price of leisure, results in a 0.1% increase in attendance. While a 1% increase in real personal income, which does not control for the price of leisure, results in a 0.04% increase in attendance. The difference between the two coefficients is attributed to the adverse effect of the price of leisure and rising wages – Linder’s Disease. The impact of the price of leisure on demand also supports the hypothesis that hockey is adversely effected by Linder’s Disease; a 1% increase in wages results in a 0.12% decrease in attendance.

Meg O'Neil. "How a Bad Economy Can Affect Your Future Wages." May 2015


abstract unavailable

Michael Murawski. "Electoral Systems And Income Inequality." May 2015


First, I would like to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Francesco Renna for his guidance, patience, and expertise throughout this entire process; without him this paper would not have been possible. Second, I would like to thank Dr. Stephen Myers and Dr. Ronald Gelleny for their critiques and guidance. Furthermore, I would like to thank several others who did not directly contribute to the development of this paper, but significantly contributed to my academic journey. Specifically, thank you Dr. Bill Lyons and Dr. James Sperling for continuously challenging me, and substantially contributing to my intellectual voyage throughout the past four years.

Ryan Robinson. "Unemployment and Property Crime in the United States: A Panel Study during the Great Recession." Spring 2015


This paper examines the effect of unemployment rates on property crime rates during the United States’ Great Recession. Using a panel data set consisting of 50 states, from the years 2005-2012, I seek to find the effect the Great Recession’s higher unemployment rates had on the total occurrences of property crime. Using two separate fixed effect models, I tested for the unemployment rate’s effect on total property crimes before the Great Recession in 2005 to 2007, and then for a time period of 2005 to 2012, which includes years prior to the Great Recession, years during the Great Recession, and the Great Recession’s aftermath. The initial fixed effects model for the years 2005 to 2007 found that a one percent increase in unemployment rates will increase the total occurrences of property crime by approximately 0.025 percent. In an attempt to account for the Great Recession and its higher levels of unemployment, the second fixed effects model for 2005 to 2012 suggests that, at a 99 percent statistically significant level, a one percent increase in the unemployment rate will decrease total occurrences of property crime by approximately 0.012 percent. These findings disprove my hypothesis and run contrary to the theoretical and empirical framework. Overall, the study could be further enhanced with a strengthened Fixed Effects model, and additional variables that may account for omitted variable bias. Further, future studies could examine the unemployment rate’s effect on specific property crimes to illuminate the relationship between the unemployment rate and certain types of property crime.

Stephanie Harford. "How Much Do Parents Value School Quality? An Analysis of Cuyahoga and Geauga Counties." May 2015


This paper studies how much parents value school quality by examining property values in Geauga and Cuyahoga counties, controlled for open or closed enrollment. Each county has a different open enrollment policy – Geauga County has open enrollment for all districts while Cuyahoga County has closed enrollment for almost all districts. A pooled hedonic model and controlled hedonic model were used to determine if the effect of school quality was higher with open or closed enrollment. The results supported the hypothesis that parents value living in an area with better schools more in a county with closed enrollment.

Tai Tan Huynh. "The Relationship between Education and Crime in the U.S.." May 2015


This paper looks at the relationship between education and crime in the United States. Additionally, the interaction between real GDP per capita and criminal activity is examined to specify whether real GDP per capita is positively correlated or negatively correlated to crime over the time period of 1999-2008. Using OLS regression, results are biased and inefficient. Yet, using fixed-effect models results in statistically and economically significant coefficients. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude that associate’s degree graduation has a negative relationship with crime rates. In general, total crime rates are found to be negatively associated with education. Crime rates also show persistently over time by using difference-GMM estimator.