Department of Economics
The University of Akron

Senior Projects 2017

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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.


Patrick Carabin. "Influence of Resident Preferences on the “Greenness” of Counties; Election Results and co2 Emissions." May 2017


As climate change becomes an increasingly important issue, discussions on the topic have proven to be as political as they are environmental.  This is largely due to the growing divide amongst Republicans and Democrats on its validity and importance.  Many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have made it clear that environmental spending is not a priority.  This is a stark difference from the Obama administration, which oversaw increased commitment on behalf of the US, to address climate change globally.  For independent and moderate voters who prioritize environmental issues one way or the other, this growing divide might have a major effect on future voting decisions.  Without Federal help, local politicians may play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  However, there is little evidence that proves or disproves the ability of local governments to combat climate change.  While there is extensive research on federal and state environmental policies, county level studies are limited.  In one of the few studies which has analyzed voting decisions and emissions, House and Senate election results were used as a proxy for preferences.  In this study, I use county level election results from the 2012 presidential election.  While Congressional voting results may better represent local party affiliations, time restrictions influenced my decision to use presidential election results as a proxy.  This study would benefit from a time series analysis, and the inclusion of more variables.  However, the results did align with past literature.  I found that zip-codes which were a part of a county where Obama received more votes than Mitt Romney had, on average, 2.3 less metric tons of co2 emissions per year.

John Edwards. "Textbook Inequality: The Relationship Between Education and Income Distribution." May 4, 2017


In this paper, the research question of whether education has an impact on income inequality will be tested under the hypothesis that countries with higher government educational expenditures and educational attainment within the population will have lower Gini coefficients. In the pooled OLS model run, it is concluded that educational expenditures are statistically insignificant in their effect on Gini coefficients. However, attainment is found to have a significant negative relationship with income inequality. According to this research, policies targeting secondary educational enrollment and completion would be the most effective for developing countries to reduce income inequalities.

Evelyn Kirkendall. "The Racial Income Gap and Intergenerational Mobility." May 2017


This paper employs 1979-2014 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data (NLSY79) to estimate the impact of intergenerational income inequality on the black-white income gap. The income differential could be attributed in part to the hindered progress of black families’ income across generations. Some income class warfare has become apparent in the last United States’s (US) presidential election of 2017, and the plight experienced by lower income black Americans has demonstrated that existing socioeconomic policies are insufficient to aid their advancement. Two intergenerational income elasticities are estimated, one for black families and one for white families. The Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition is used to determine the income gap and extent of IGE’s effect. The income differential is estimated to be 0.64. IGE significantly impacts the explained and unexplained portions of the income gap. Labor market policies should target employer discrimination against parent income to decrease the difference.

John Hamm. "Zebra Mussels: Amenity or Disamenity." May 2017


The paper uses a hedonic model to show that zebra mussels effect lakefront property prices in the Northern Wisconsin region. The paper not only looks at just the presence of the invasive species, but also considers the effect of the amount of time it has been present in the lake has on the overall price. The latter is the niche of this paper that extends the knowledge of the topic. The paper also takes into account many endogenous factors that are at play in order to limit the possibility of an omitted variable bias.

Seojin Hylton. "How Real Interest Rates Affect Housing in California." May 2017


This paper considers how real interest rates effect housing prices in California. After the housing market crisis, the house price index for California dropped to 59% from its peak. In 2017, the index has bounced back to 90% of the peak. Real interest rates are known to be a strong factor of housing prices. In this paper, expected appreciation is considered to be the difference between nominal interest rates and real interest rates. Several models for housing prices will be developed and interpreted; both the types of models and their interpretations will form the present investigation in to post-bubble housing prices in California.

Josh Fernandes. "Favoritism in Major League Soccer." May 8, 2017


The purpose of this paper is to show if there is a relationship between where you are born and the wage you make in Major League Soccer. Using the Oaxaca Decomposition this paper will attempt to show that there is evidence of discrimination toward foreign born players in Major League Soccer versus their American born counterparts.

Jeffrey Kelbach. "The Value of Highways to Residents of Akron, Ohio." Spring 2017


Highways provide obvious benefits to the people they serve, allowing them to travel further and
faster, but can also prove to be nuisances to those living nearby. Past studies have tried to
examine the value of highway proximity by using hedonic housing price models, and I attempt to
do the same for Akron, Ohio. Using 2012-2017 home sales data collected from GIS and other
physical, neighborhood, and location variables, I seek to examine the effect of highways on
housing prices. I use an OLS model with year fixed effects to find that highway distance returns
results contradictory of theory and past research. As a result, I run additional regressions on each
of the different Akron high school zones to further control for neighborhood effects. These
results find that the disamenties of highways dominate at very close distances, while amenity
effects are more powerful as distance increases.