Economics Class of 2019 Senior Thesis

6 seniors from the class of 2019 share why they picked their thesis topics.

Muhammad Adil Ahsan  : "Violence, Age of Exposure, and the Nepalese Civil War:  Understanding the Effects of Violence Exposure on the Educational Outcomes of Children." (Advisor : Prof. Edmonds)

While there is extensive research on the effects of exposure to violence in utero on later-life outcomes, relatively little has been done to investigate the differential effects of exposure to violence based on age at the time of exposure. Moreover, almost no work has been done to investigate the effect that violence along a road network has on disrupting trade and economic activity. Thus, my thesis seeks to fill these gaps in the literature by examining the case of the Nepalese Civil War. 

Peter Choi : "The Long-Term Effects of EITC Exposure During Childhood on Adult Health Outcomes." (Advisor : Prof. Cascio)

I chose this topic because it combines my interest in public programs aimed toward low income relief and the potential, indirect effects policies can have beyond their intended purposes. Making sure that we understand every avenue through which a program acts is key to determining its usefulness and whether it should be expanded. The EITC ‘s increasing relevance as one of the government’s most important antipoverty tools makes it a prime candidate for comprehensive study. 

Genna Liu : "Examining the Effect of DACA on Geographic Mobility."  (Advisor : Prof. Lewis)

I first became interested in immigration while working on Professor Allen’s project on the U.S.-Mexican border wall, which examined the effect of the wall on the welfare of U.S. and Mexican workers. In continuation, I wrote my Econ 49 project on changes in labor conditions in sanctuary cities following a 2017 executive order that outlawed such jurisdictions. During the literature review process, I came across an article written by Professor Shenhav and coauthors, who found that DACA increased education attainment among undocumented youths. Her research inspired me to conduct my thesis project in examining whether the policy also eased restrictions on movement and improved opportunities and choices for eligible individuals. 

Nalini Ramanathan : "The Impact of Onshoring Business Services on US Labor Outcomes." (Advisor : Prof. Allen)

As someone from a post industrial city (Pittsburgh), I have seen the long-term effects of changes in trade (intranational or international) on labor outcomes and social structures. Pittsburgh in particular has transitioned to a more service-based economy, which, at least from a non-technical first glance, appears to have had a differential effect based on workers' educational background. Given the rapid increase in demand for service trade volumes in recent years, as well as its coverage in primarily a correlational setting rather than a causal one, I decided to study the effects of international service exports from the US on US employment outcomes. My paper contributes to the literature through its use of a gravity-model derived "demand effect" instrument, which I use to control for exogenous productivity effects.

James Schenck: "Bad Company?:  Market Reactions to Securities Class Action Filings." (Advisor : Prof. Sacerdote)

I picked my thesis topic after having an interest in the legal processes around the stock market and class action lawsuits. With companies such as Enron and individuals such as Bernie Madoff consistently being romanticized, I wanted to look into securities fraud more broadly and how securities class action filings affect companies and their market returns.

Madison Minsk: "International Financial Integration and Sovereign Debt Risk Premiums in the European Union." (Advisor : Prof. Feyrer)

I am studying how economic crises change the way international financial linkages affect sovereign default by looking at bank exposures during the financial crisis of 2008 and the Greek debt crisis. I chose this topic because I am fascinated by the ways in which our world is increasingly interconnected and the unexpected ramifications of this increased interconnectedness. A financial crisis in one country is now able to travel around the world and I wanted to better understand one of the channels through which it does so.