Senior Projects 2019

Burnette, James: The Effect of Labor Unions on Airline Profitability

Buzard, Colton: Capturing Competitive Advantage Through Business Model Innovation: Midlands Testing Services Case Study

Dias, Taylor: The Role of Environmental Concern in Clothing Disposal: An Empirical Analysis of Allegheny College Students

DiDonato, Maria: Factors Influencing Access to Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Elphinstone, Troy: Incoherent Diversification Strategy: A Look into the Struggles of General Electric

Ford, Herbert: Analysis of Competitive Advantage in the Golf Club Industry: A Case Study of Callaway Golf

Goodman, Jonathan: An Analysis on the Effect of Trade Liberalization on Income Inequality

Graubard, Ethan: Do Economic Development Corporations Increase Cities’ Median Household Income?

Grence, Alexandra: The Effects of Income on Mental Health and Nutritional Habits

Guzman, Francisco II: The Effects of Blockchain and Economic Determinants in Exchange Markets

Hallman, Abigail: The Effects of Income on Religiosity in the United States

He, Jerry: How Does Teacher-Student Relationships and Organizational Culture Affect Job Satisfaction for Teachers

Hunt, Cody: Automation and How it has Affected Employment in Walmart

Khan, Mohammad: Stock Market Price Changes Through Sentiment Analysis On Twitter Tweets

Kramer, Colin: Renewable Energy’s Effect on Income Inequality in the United States

Li, Bailong: Do stock buybacks influence the market capitalization of athletic apparel companies?

Martinez, Isabella: The Glass Box Office: An Empirical Analysis of Hollywood’s Gender Discrimination

Miller, Johnathan: Patent Strength and Societal Benefit – a Study of India’s Transition to a Modern Patent System

Moore, Jeremy: Dropshipping by the numbers: Analyzing the modes of persuasion and which tactics are most functional in the area of social media marketing.

Nagel, Joseph: Statistical Significance of Factors Influencing Postseason Success in Major League Baseball

Palad, Patrick: Impact of Minimum Wage Policy on Employment: An Agent Based Approach

Patterson, Kendrick: How does Financial Literacy Affect Wealth?

Perez, David: The Effects of Foreclosure on Home Values for Real Estate Throughout the United States of America

Reagle, Trey: The Effects of Forced Vertical Integration in the Colorado Recreational Cannabis Industry

Rumzie, Nicholas: Cost Benefit Analysis of Zebra and Quagga Mussel Management Methods

Shehu, Erblin: A unit based pricing system of waste to reduce the health impacts of landfills

Shrestha, Shashank: Are slums opportunities for upward mobility or poverty traps?

Sieber, John: Contractual Issues in the Elevator Industry: A Case Study

Silva-Jara, Nicholas: What market failures might allow workers to be exploited or abused in the H-2 program?

Sion, Jonathan: The Impact on Competitive Balance in the English Premier League after the 1999 restructuring of the Champions League

Stiefvater, Robert: An Uneasy Marriage: The Relationship Between the City of Pittsburgh and UPMC

Sullivan, Griffin: The Effect of a Female CEO on Firm Profitability of Fortune 500 Companies

Uht, Meghan: Adverse Childhood Experiences Do Not Predict Risky Decision Making in Young Adults

Urso, William: The Affect of Wellness Characteristics on Job Productivity and Job Satisfaction

White, Brett: The Effect of School Quality on Housing Prices and Listing Duration

Burnette, James

 

The Effect of Labor Unions on Airline Profitability

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship, if any, between unions and profitability of airlines. Due to the large amount of labor necessitated in the airline industry, and the inability of airlines to operate without even a small amount of said labor, or replace said labor with other humans or machines, the relationship between unions and airlines is unlike any other industry with union-industry relationships. When looking at airlines, there is a diversity among business models and unionized labor that does not seem to correlate directly with profitability. In essence, airlines that are unionized do not seem to fare worse than airlines that do not have a unionized labor force, nor do airlines that have a non-unionized labor force seem to fare any better or worse than their counterparts. Additionally, there are also airlines that have a partially unionized labor force and another part that chooses not to be unionized. This is important because airlines margins are razor thin, and any ability to realize an increase in profitability can help airlines build enough cushion to whether the downturns. This study concludes that labor unions at airlines do have a negative impact on profitability; however, this could be due to the unique conditions and timeframe of the airlines studied herein.


Buzard, Colton

 

Capturing Competitive Advantage Through Business Model Innovation: Midlands Testing Services Case Study

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: This study aimed to analyze the effectiveness of adopting and implementing Business Model Innovation systems, as well as the potential for these systems to lead a company to competitive advantage. To answer this question, a case study comprised of information from an interview with the vice president of Midlands Testing Services was used to analyze the salience of its Business Model Innovation systems. My overall hypothesis aimed to prove that the use of Business Model Innovation leads to substantial growth in economic performance and transient competitive advantage. While there was not enough evidence to prove that MTS gained competitive advantage through its Business Model Innovations, I found that MTS outcompeted Quest Diagnostics in short term economic growth, and captured market share from important sectors of the Drug Testing Industry. Other findings from this study found that Business Model Innovations and the use of a NBOS are not capabilities that every company can use, and generally limit the ability to create economies of scope. However, in the field of entrepreneurship, Business Model Innovation systems offer firms the ability to create transient advantages and produce profits in specialized industries and markets in which larger unspecialized companies fail to innovate within.


Dias, Taylor

 

The Role of Environmental Concern in Clothing Disposal: An Empirical Analysis of Allegheny College Students

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics, Environmental Science

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: As textile production and consumption increase globally, the producers control the supply and the consumers generate the demand. Post purchase, consumers are responsible for use and disposal of the item, and their methods of disposal maybe related to a variety of factors, including their environmental concern. This paper hypothesizes that the environmental concern of college students will not affect one’s method or frequency of disposal. An online survey, consisting 29 questions and a sample 243 students, investigated the respondents’ level of environmental concern and compared that to the method and frequency used to dispose of unwanted clothing. Thirteen percent (N=243) of the student body responded to the survey. The most frequently used methods of clothing disposal were: donation to charity stores, giving to family and friends, reuse, resale, and upcycling to create a new product. The results concluded that an individual’s level of environmental concern does not affect their disposal behavior. Level of parental education and gender were both found to be leading indicators in how a student at Allegheny College will dispose of their clothing. This research evaluates several variables that have not been previously considered when discussing clothing disposal, such as parental education, gender, and methods of disposal such as upcycling. This study further demonstrates that even individuals concerned with the environment are not considering the impact of their clothing purchases and disposal. Future studies should include other areas or concern in the regression, like convenience, economic, and charity.


DiDonato, Maria

 

Factors Influencing Access to Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The lack of access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) continues to be a major impediment for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 28.5 out of the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally live in the Sub-Saharan African region (“The Status of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” 2018). This paper analyzes the influence that pricing of ART, infrastructure, income distribution, population distribution, and the supply of health professionals have on access to ART in Sub-Saharan Africa. Panel data is analyzed from 2009 to 2015 for each country in the region in order to analyze access to ART over time. It can be suggested from the findings that lack of sufficient infrastructure and investment are the most influential barriers to accessing ART in Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to increase access to ART in the Sub-Saharan African region, there must be a greater implementation of task shifting and more public-private partnerships. Task shifting will increase access to health personnel amidst the effects of the African brain drain; the establishment of more public-private partnerships can increase the efficiency by which companies distribute ART within a country. This increased efficiency is achieved through shared knowledge and infrastructure, resulting in more available storage for ART and greater product innovation.


Elphinstone, Troy

 

Incoherent Diversification Strategy: A Look into the Struggles of General Electric

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Product diversification is a strategy many firms use to enter new markets and maximize shareholder wealth. This strategy can be implemented in two ways: coherent diversification or incoherent diversification. This paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of each diversification strategy by analyzing a highly diversified firm, General Electric. General Electric has faced many financial issues over the past few years, as some of its business segments have greatly underperformed. This paper explains product diversification strategy, economies of scope, and management turnover rates. Applying these concepts to General Electric, along with analyzing the company’s financial performance, evidence suggests that GE’s incoherent diversification strategy has negatively impacted its overall performance. As a result, General Electric has taken steps to leave certain unrelated industries and stick to a more coherent diversification strategy.


Ford, Herbert

 

Analysis of Competitive Advantage in the Golf Club Industry: A Case Study of Callaway Golf

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Managerial Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Callaway Golf Company (CGC) was founded in 1982 by Ely Callaway, a man who had spent decades working in manufacturing industries. Originally, Callaway was a company that produced unoriginal golf clubs with persimmon shafts; today, the company has transformed itself into one of the leading golf club manufacturers in the world. The goal of this paper is to explore how its unique approach to advancing technology and innovation has led to the company having a differentiating competitive advantage over its competition. My research suggests that CGC has experienced periods of tremendous growth as well as times of loss in its history; however, the firm has continuously developed industry changing technology. This along with changes in operational effectiveness has led to increased marketing and brand reputation regarding the quality of equipment manufactured by Callaway Golf Company.


Goodman, Jonathan

 

An Analysis on the Effect of Trade Liberalization on Income Inequality

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics, Mathematics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between trade liberalization and income inequality. The literature is mostly made up of single country studies that utilize microeconomic data, and few macroeconomic studies have been conducted thus far. A data set was constructed by combining the Penn World Tables and the Standard World Income Inequality Database in order to measure the effect of liberalization on the GINI coefficient measured at the country level. This study of 45 countries from 1960-2009 demonstrates that trade liberalization lead to increased income inequality.\


Graubard, Ethan

 

Do Economic Development Corporations Increase Cities’ Median Household Income?

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Economic Development Corporations (EDC) are 501 non-profit organizations used to promote economic development within a specific geographical area. These organizations promote economic development by giving businesses the tools to succeed and grow. Since EDCs help businesses grow and have been proven to decrease unemployment in certain scenarios, I hypothesize that the presence of an EDC is positively associated with household income growth. Through my regression and case study, I find that the presence of an EDC is not associated with income; but still plays a key role in communities. Additionally, I find that among the 311 cities in my regression, the black population, number of major league sports teams, and population all have a relationship with household income.


Grence, Alexandra

 

The Effects of Income on Mental Health and Nutritional Habits

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: For my Senior Comprehensive Project, I strive to discover the effect of socioeconomic status on a person’s nutritional habits and overall mental health state. Over recent years, mental illnesses and obesity have been rising across the world. There are many explanations that a person might develop a mental illness or have a hard time staying physically healthy. In the Literature Review Chapter I discuss different articles that support this theory that use different studies done by other authors. The Theoretical Chapter looks into how income can hurt the food choices a consumer makes. There are three different theories in focus here that further explain how income can affect the choices a person makes while grocery shopping. For the Empirical Chapter, it shows how income and nutritional habits can affect a person’s mental health. The purpose of this is to understand how socioeconomic status can affect a person’s overall life. This study proves that income does affect the nutritional habits and mental health of a person. However, the results are not strong enough to be considered statistically significant.


Guzman, Francisco II

 

The Effects of Blockchain and Economic Determinants in Exchange Markets

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics, Computer Science

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Recently the volatility of Bitcoin in its perspective exchange markets have been an interesting area of study. Even with the extremely high volatility, the crypto market is swarmed with users investing in certain cryptocurrencies in attempts to gain monetary profit in the short or long run. With the cryptocurrency market becoming an investment tool it is important to investigate possible economic and blockchain factors that can influence its exchange value. The goal of this paper is to study the possible economic and blockchain determinants that affect the value of the exchange market for Bitcoin. This paper provides a background history and a brief introduction to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, this paper investigates possible correlations for economic factors like inflation, stock market index, market capitalization, and the volatility of the stock market. Leading cryptocurrency data developers are used to find blockchain determinants shown to that may also affect bitcoin market price. These include factors like by mining difficulty, transactions per day, hash rate, and the numbers of coins generated in the market.


Hallman, Abigail

 

The Effects of Income on Religiosity in the United States

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: This analysis tests the hypothesis that income affects religiosity in the United States. It serves to analyze the effects of income on the interpersonal habits of individuals as a result of certain beliefs and values. Religiosity is measured by strength of affiliation, the belief in life after death, the belief in God, frequency of prayer and spirituality. Income classes are divided into four groups in order to accurately assess possible differences in religiosity. Regression analyses are used for five different models to understand where these differences may occur within the population sample of 2,867 individuals. Results show significant coefficients that support the hypothesis and suggest stronger religiosity among poor groups of people.


He, Jerry

 

How Does Teacher-Student Relationships and Organizational Culture Affect Job Satisfaction for Teachers

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Teachers are the most influential person in the world but many of them feel discontent with their profession. It is important to fix this problem and resolve it before it impedes the learning of the student. Two factors are looked upon to see if it can positively impact their satisfaction. These two factors are teacher-student relationship and organizational culture. By using a multi-regression analysis, it will determine if there is any significant correlation between the factors and job satisfaction.


Hunt, Cody

 

Automation and How it has Affected Employment in Walmart

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: No abstract is available.


Khan, Mohammad

 

Stock Market Price Changes Through Sentiment Analysis On Twitter Tweets

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics, Computer Science

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Speculation takes on the stock market takes place often without much basis outside of the realm of related news titles and rumors about a particular stock and company. Theories like the Efficient Market Hypothesis and Random Walk Theory assert the the assumption that stock market is efficient and all news has already been reflected at each price point. However, these theories were proposed before the 2000s and claimed investors could not beat the market due to the nature of relevant information was already being taken advantage of quickly and that having a diversified stock investment was more likely to give one a better chance on return on investment. These theories do not account for sentiment expression on social media sites that exploded during the early 2000s. Twitter tweets by popular users like Donald Trump are analyzed and categorized into sentiment categories and then this information is used to predict the general price trends for certain stocks.


Kramer, Colin

 

Renewable Energy’s Effect on Income Inequality in the United States

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Income inequality has become a serious problem in the United States recently, with earnings disparity reaching levels like in 1929 before the stock market crashed. There are many causes for the large income inequality; mainly financialization, labor market’s decrease in income share, lack of intergenerational mobility, technological growth, and the importance of a college education. In another dimension, renewable, or green, energy sources have become more prominent in the United States in recent decades. For example, wind energy use increased dramatically in the late 1990s into in the new Millenia. The reasons for the increased use in renewable energy sources is due to the link between coal and climate change, technological advancement bringing down cost of renewable energy, and greater awareness in the American population about the dangers of climate change. However, is there a link or connection between income inequality and the density of renewable energy sources in the United States? If so, how are these two seemingly unrelated economic dimensions related? The study conducted in this paper tests the possible connection between American income inequality, and the density of renewable energy sources used in production and spatial density in residential areas. The paper conducts a survey of the literature, then theorizes how these two economic dimensions are related. Next, tests are run to see if there is any connection, finally the paper reflects and concludes its findings.


Li, Bailong

 

Do stock buybacks influence the market capitalization of athletic apparel companies?

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: A buyback, also known as a share repurchase, is when a company buys its own outstanding shares to reduce the number of shares available on the open market. Companies buy back shares for a number of reasons, such as to increase the value of remaining shares available by reducing the supply or to prevent other shareholders from taking a controlling stake. Regardless of the positive consequences of buybacks, some scholars have started to blame companies’ financial behavior – buyback may cause the potential decrease in market capitalization. This paper analyzes the effects of stock buybacks on market capitalization of athletic apparel companies in the United States. it shows that the increase of stock price can offset the decrease of outstanding shares in the athletic apparel industry and concludes that stock buybacks can increase the market capitalization of athletic apparel companies.


Martinez, Isabella

 

The Glass Box Office: An Empirical Analysis of Hollywood’s Gender Discrimination

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Managerial Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

gender equality in the industry, with emphasis on leading roles and directorial opportunities. While women were once the pioneers of innovation in the industry’s earliest stages, speaking roles for women have hovered around 30% since the early 1930s. A common rationalization for hiring men over women in the industry comes from the belief that male-led films earn more box office revenue than female-led films. Using economic theories of discrimination, this notion can be considered an example of statistical discrimination used to maximize profits. The purpose of this study is to test the effect of the lead actor’s gender on box office revenues. Data from 173 of the top- grossing US films of 2016 are used to analyze the effects of different factors, including the gender of the lead actor, on box office revenue. The results of the study show a positive yet statistically insignificant relationship with box office revenue. The results suggest that Hollywood ‘s hiring executives are not operating from a profit-maximizing perspective and may be taste discriminating.


Miller, Johnathan

 

Patent Strength and Societal Benefit – a Study of India’s Transition to a Modern Patent System

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Using the evolution of India’s patent system, ending with the Patent Act of 2005 as a focus, this paper dives into the differing views on the usefulness of patents and whether or not they should be done away with completely. By using Chow tests to detect structural breaks in India’s patent application, patent grant, and FDI inflow data, this paper provides empirical evidence that by strengthening its patent system, India increased the amount of societal marginal benefit its patent system created. While the conclusion far from settles the debate about patents, it does provide interesting evidence and will serve as a jumping off point for further research.


Moore, Jeremy

 

Dropshipping by the numbers: Analyzing the modes of persuasion and which tactics are most functional in the area of social media marketing.

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Applied Computing

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The purpose of this study it to explore some of the different variables that influence great advertisements for companies that dropship products. The study seeks to answer the question, are people more prone to buy a product with an emotional, logical, or credible advertisement approach? The goal is to investigate drop shipping as a fulfillment method, and what strategies are more effective when using social media.


Nagel, Joseph

 

Statistical Significance of Factors Influencing Postseason Success in Major League Baseball

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Major League Baseball uses an abundance of statistical measurements to evaluate performance, yet none have been able to provide a definitive path to success in the playoffs. The purpose of this study is to see which statistics influence postseason success, so that teams can spend their resources most efficiently. The findings for this study are that few statistics that were included showed a significant relationship with playoff wins except for bullpen ERA. Since these results were inconclusive, the variables examined were tested to see if they showed a significant correlation with success in making the playoffs, which was found to be the case. As a result, teams need to consider these findings in order to maximize their chance of success in making the playoffs. However, once they make the playoffs, these variables no longer become a guiding principle for success, as success in the playoffs seems to have an inherent element of randomness to it.


Palad, Patrick

 

Impact of Minimum Wage Policy on Employment: An Agent Based Approach

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics, Computer Science

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: Income inequality is an economic reality that effects a multitude of nations and severely impacts the life of their citizens. Minimum wage is popularized as an economic policy that would have a direct impact and potentially alleviate some of the suffering experienced by those at the bottom. This research aims to study the effects of minimum wage on employment in order to help guide policy decisions, and ensure that minimum wage policy is implemented with a better understanding of potentially counterproductive effects. An Agent Based Model is created as an extension of the research done by Lengnick and is used as a means of showing possible outcomes when minimum wage is introduced to a simulated economy at a stable state. This allows this research to investigate the effects of minimum wage on employment from a theoretical perspective without relying on strong assumptions such as perfectly rational agents. This research finds that when assumptions about market clearing, firm greediness, and agent rationality are relaxed, there is no clear indication that minimum wage has an effect on employment. Indeed, it is possible that the behaviors of firms in response to minimum wage may be the cause of the effects of minimum wage on unemployment and not minimum wage as a policy itself, though further research is needed to more fully investigate this relationship. Future work in this area may be made in extending this research’s model to investigate the effects of other behavior on employment.


Patterson, Kendrick

 

How does Financial Literacy Affect Wealth?

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: An individual’s net worth or wealth is the net value associated with assets and debts obtained by the individual. This measurement is an indication of financial standing. Assets include, car value, checking and savings account balances, portion of mortgage paid off, etc. While debts include, student loans, remaining mortgage balance, credit card debt and other outstanding loans. Financial literacy, the ability to manage personal finance matters in an efficient manner, has a strong theoretical connection to the net worth of individuals. Using economic theoretical model, I will provide context for the correlation shared between wealth and financial literacy. In this study I will analyze the effects of financial literacy on the net worth of individuals through the influence of activities such as investing, saving, and debt paying. Financial literacy having a positive impact on net worth implies that education about managing financial matter will increase the overall financial wellbeing of individuals. Applications for this information include school curriculum reform and employee education, allowing students and employees to obtain a better financial standing.


Perez, David

 

The Effects of Foreclosure on Home Values for Real Estate Throughout the United States of America

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

hypothesis that foreclosures are a significant factor in driving down the value of a property. My regressions will look specifically at the percent change in single-family home values during and after the Great Recession in order to analyze the changes in home values not only during the recession but also throughout the trough period of the business cycle. This time period is unique to the analyze as foreclosures were especially frequent during the Great Recession and as a result, spillover effects became more apparent. I also ran regressions to observe metropolitan areas specifically and see how the results are different in different sized counties. The results show that the bigger counties, those with a population of at least 100,000 people, in America experience more exaggerated negative effects on single-family home values due to foreclosures. Different characteristics such as estimated foreclosure rates, average income, population, median age, percent renter occupied, percent male, and other demographics will be accounted for within the study in order to analyze their effects on single-family home values. The main goal is to analyze the correlation between foreclosures and home values for real estate across the United States of America and be able to draw a conclusion.


Reagle, Trey

 

The Effects of Forced Vertical Integration in the Colorado Recreational Cannabis Industry

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Business Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: From illegal to legal, the marijuana industry in Colorado was forced to vertically integrate by the state government. The purpose of this study is to analyze how this integration affected Colorado’s cannabis market by using Michael Porter’s Five Forces. Firms capitalize from vertical integration’s advantages by gaining direct supply, reduced transaction costs, and information on quality of supply. The findings of this study show that this market is comprised of monopolistic competition characteristics. Results show higher bargaining power that dictates the price due to a surplus supply of cannabis. With immense initial capital required to compete with previously integrated firms, rivalry is intense while barriers to entry is reduced. Vertically integrated firms are selling their cultivated cannabis to other retailers while buying from other cultivators. The government forced vertical integration for easier monitoring of an illegal drug entering a regulated market. Firms, however, don’t take advantage of the economic strategy because of the high bargaining power buyers have over cultivators.


Rumzie, Nicholas

 

Cost Benefit Analysis of Zebra and Quagga Mussel Management Methods

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The Zebra Mussel (ZM), Dreissena polymorpha, and Quagga Mussel (QM), Dreissena bugensis, are a species of freshwater mussels that are invasive to North America. Since their introduction in the late 1980’s, ZM and QM have spread across the United States and are present in majority of the East Coast states. Mussels present a huge economic concern to the United States. Estimates of economic damage in the Great Lake region are at $500 million annually (Hoddle, n.d.). A 2009 study of Lake Tahoe, California, by the Army Corp of Engineers estimated a $22 million annual loss to the region if mussels were to infest Lake Tahoe. Due to the economic and ecological damages associated with ZM and QM, this senior project examines the cost effectiveness of two types of invasive mussel management activities, prevention and control, in order to effectively utilize limited funds. A cost function was created to conduct a cost benefit analysis on mussel prevention and control measures at three hydropower generation facilities. The results of the analysis indicate that prevention measures should be implemented at the case study locations. Prevention expenditures deemed to be the most efficient management method for zebra and quagga mussels.


Shehu, Erblin

 

A unit based pricing system of waste to reduce the health impacts of landfills

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics, Global Health Studies

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The main motivation behind this project is to find a way to reduce the public health effects of waste from landfills. This project provides an economic framework that assesses the importance of unit pricing when it comes to waste reduction. The existing literature suggests that unit based systems of waste are very effective in reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills and to increase the waste diversion rates. In addition to the existing literature, the economic theory of waste reduction indicates that increasing the price of waste collection services would decrease the amount of waste that goes to landfills. The decrease is done because of a change in customers’ behaviors through recycling, reusing, buying less wasteful products and illegal disposing of waste. In order to test whether unit pricing reduces the amount of waste disposed, a cross-sectional regression was conducted. The dataset used for this regression is composed of waste, population and economic indicators data from 70 different municipalities in Los Angeles County. The results indicated that unit pricing had a negative effect in waste disposed even though the coefficients were not statistically significant. Unit pricing systems are a promising way to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and therefore to reduce the environmental and health impacts of waste. For a successful implementation of unit pricing, certain factors such as educational programs and stricter environmental regulations must be taken into consideration.


Shrestha, Shashank

 

Are slums opportunities for upward mobility or poverty traps?

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: About one sixth of the current world population live in Slums. This population of Slum dwellers is expected to grow in coming years. Large number of slums are located around urban areas of developing countries. The rapid growth in population and the changing socio-economic pattern in India has resulted in a severe shortage of housing and related infrastructure especially for the underprivileged and low-income families. Nearly half the population of Mumbai however lives in conditions of insufficiency, crammed into congested slums and hutment. Mumbai’s informal housing is a result of a poor and incongruous urban design system, with a lack of communal investment and constraint in the formal land and housing market. In this report we will focus on Dharavi Slum and the challenges faced by the people living there. This paper will also try to take a stance and answer the research topic “Are slums opportunities for upward mobility or poverty traps?”. Slums are mostly built in low laying which are closer to sewage and drainage lines. These things pose a health hazard to the people living there. This paper will also discuss how to improve slums from both local and national levels.


Sieber, John

 

Contractual Issues in the Elevator Industry: A Case Study

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to answer the research question, “What factors explain the types of contractual issues between elevator corporations and building owners?” By providing an in-depth outline of the elevator industry, this paper analyzes the different ways in which elevator firms are contracted to provide service. Then by introducing the work of economists such as Ronald Coase and Oliver Williamson, this paper includes a literature review of theories and concepts relevant to contract design. Finally, by applying the literature review to the in-depth outline of the elevator industry, this paper includes a case study regarding contracting in the elevator industry. The case study consists of a standard elevator maintenance contract, as well as multiple examples of the economic forces present throughout contract enforcement in the elevator industry.


Silva-Jara, Nicholas

 

What market failures might allow workers to be exploited or abused in the H-2 program?

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: The objective of this research is to determine what market failures can explain possible instances of exploitation and abuse that workers may experience while apart of the H-2 program. The literature and theories that I have chosen to analyze and use as evidence to support my claim can all be used as examples to show how the market has failed to support the H-2 program in its operation. Once these are all introduced and explained, the H-2 program will be analyzed from its beginning up to its current status. After context behind the H-2 program is given, an analytical review is conducted that looks over case studies of individuals who have worked under an employer in the H-2 program. The explanation of these cases will be supported by the market failures I have chosen, with the intention to show how the market, in these specific instances, failed to support these people. Utilizing these finding in the cases, suggestions and recommendations for improvements in policies will be given in order to improve the lives of workers in the H-2 program.


Sion, Jonathan

 

The Impact on Competitive Balance in the English Premier League after the 1999 restructuring of the Champions League

Date: Spring 2019

Major(s): Economics

Thesis Committee: Econ faculty

Abstract: This study examines the impact that UEFA’s 1999 changes to the structure of the Champions League had on competitive balance in the English Premier League. This change increased the number of participants in the Champions League and increased television revenues and payouts to teams involved. As a result of these changes, it is likely that the increased monetary benefits from participation in the Champions League hurt competitive balance in domestic leagues such as the English Premier League. These low levels of competitive balance over time will likely disinterest fans in the sport, and an overall shift in demand for the sport will occur as a result. In order to test the effects that the 1999 changes to the Champions League had on competitive balance in the Premier League, two metrics of competitive balance are calculated from the league tables in the thirty year period of 1980-2010. Two multiple regressions area run using those metrics to test the effects. This study shows that the 1999 changes to the Champions League had a negative effect on competitive balance within the English Premier League. The study concludes with a discussion of possible implications that these changes will have on domestic leagues, and provide one possible solution to negate those effects.