Senior Project Abstracts 2013

Name: Adams, Kyle

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, R. Ormiston

Title: Determinants of Automobile Production: An Empirical Study

Abstract: Motor vehicles have been produced to move materials and people from one place to another since the 1800’s.  As automobile ownership past from being a fad to a necessity in the United States, many people saw their chance to live the “American Dream.”  The car was a symbol of freedom; you could simply go anywhere you wanted.  This initial fad of individualism caused demand for the automobile to increase.  To fulfill this demand, the first assembly line to mass-produce cars was launched by Henry Ford in the early 1900’s with the introduction of the Model-T.  To present day US automakers still use Ford’s idea of an assembly line, with a few advances in technology.  Annually the automobile industry continues to contribute to GDP and the supply of jobs to citizens.  The industry as a whole has seen its ups and its downs in production since its inauguration.  In this study I use different economic indicators to measure revenues, costs, technological change, impact of substitutes, and the state of the economy in the United States to measure the value gained due to the Automobile industry.

Name: Austin, Theresa

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, R. Ormiston

Title: The Role of Efficient Human Resource Management in the Airline Industry: A Case Study of Southwest Airlines and American Airlines

Abstract: Since its creation in 1967, Southwest Airlines has managed to become the largest low-cost carrier in the United States, as well as one of the leading airlines in the nation. The goal of this paper was to determine whether efficient human resource management (HRM) practices enhanced company strategy and contributed to sustained competitive advantage in the airline industry. In a case study analysis, the cultures and human resource management practices at Southwest and American Airlines were juxtaposed in order to identify the similarities and differences in their strategies. The sources used to analyze the airlines’ strategies included annual reports, financial data, and airline ratings. Once analyzed, financial performance indicators—net income, net operating income, available seat miles, and revenue passenger miles—were used to asses the success of each airlines’ strategies. Analysis indicated that there is no direct correlation between efficient human resource management practices and competitive advantage in the airline industry. Findings indicated that Southwest performed better than American financially, but both airlines had similar HRM practices with very different cultures

Name: Bassi, David

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, R. Ormiston

Title: Exploitation or Compensation: An Examination of the Value of College Athletes In Revenue Generating Sports

Abstract: In recent years, the debate of whether the NCAA should pay their athletes has become a major topic.  The gap between the revenue generated by athletes in college basketball and football is significantly greater than the compensation which they receive.  For this reason, it gives the appearance that these athletes are being exploited by the NCAA. This paper will measure the rents generated by the NCAA Division I athletes in football and basketball in an attempt to demonstrate to what extent the NCAA is benefiting from these athletes.  By using linear regression, the marginal revenue product of a premium college basketball player will be estimated which represents the benefit these players give to the college, then compared to the compensation given to these premium athletes.  This will provide a better understanding to the exploitation athletes are experiencing while in college.

Name: Beckinger, Damien

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, J. Golden

Title: Oil, Influence, and Instability: An in-depth examination of Venezuela’s Oil Dependence under Hugo Chávez

Abstract: Venezuela is home to the most crude oil reserves in the world. During his presidency, the late Hugo Chávez manipulated Venezuela’s oil wealth to fund a set of social programs that, although not self-sustaining, were incredibly popular. The popularity of these welfare programs made it politically beneficial for Chávez to continue funneling oil funds into his programs even to the detriment of the economy. Due to the mismanagement of the country’s oil wealth, Venezuela is now a country considered to be suffering what is known as the natural resource curse. With historical analysis, I explain how Chávez’s political aspirations led Venezuela’s economy to the resource curse. Lastly, I use comparative analysis of Venezuela’s economy to other oil based economies in order to answer the question of, “What policies can Venezuela implement in order to recover from the economic struggles of the Chávez regime?”

Name: Bista, Shilpa

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, J. Liu

Title: The Impact of Brain Drain: Ghana’s Medical Brain Drain & India’s Technical Circulation

Abstract: The migration of highly educated and skilled workers, broadly defined as the brain drain, has important implications for the sending and receiving countries, as well as the global economy. The purpose of this paper is to understand the ways in which brain drain influences the sending country. For this, it will review and synthesize the body of literature that examines the channels through which brain drain impacts the sending country.

Brain drain has both positive and negative implications. As the “best and brightest” workers migrate from lesser developed to advanced countries such as the United States, the brain drain can potentially create winners and losers. In contrast, this paper recognizes that brain drain poses challenges particular to different countries (Ghana versus India), occupations (medical doctors versus engineers), markets and sectors (health sectors versus technological sectors), as well as time periods (periods of HIV epidemics versus technological booms). To demonstrate the many ways in which the influence of brain drain takes form, the rest of the paper will explore two case studies: the brain drain of health professionals from Ghana and the brain circulation of Indian technical talent.

Name: Breskvar, Kevin

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, R. Ormiston

Title: The Wine Industry Cluster: Potential and Driving Forces in Lake Erie Wine Country

Abstract: This study looks at the wine industry in the context of Michael E. Porter’s “cluster” theory.  Specifically, its primary objective is to determine if a wine industry cluster either exists or could potentially develop in nearby Lake Erie Wine Country.  In order to do so, personal interviews of local winery owners and a local industry expert are utilized, which are based on a set of cluster component criteria obtained from the literature.  It is concluded that a cluster does not currently exist in Lake Erie Wine Country, and it is highly unlikely that one would be able to develop there in the near future.  The major limiting factors are determined to be the region’s difficulty in growing a wide variety and consistent supply of European vinifera style wine grapes, as well as its current reputation as being a producer of primarily sweet wines.  These issues are exacerbated by insufficient winery marketing budgets.  Nonetheless, the possibility for a “wine country destination” does exist, which has the potential to both expand the industry and benefit local economies through an increase in tourism.

Name: Brouillard, Noelle

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics, Spanish
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, T. Herrera- De la Muela

Title: The Global Strategies of Spanish Multinational Corporations: A Case Study of ZARA

Abstract: Spain has not been a well-known origin of multinational corporations. This study examines the reasons for the lack of Spanish multinational corporations (MNCs) in the global economy in relation to their global strategies. The focus of this study is on the Spanish MNC, Zara, which is part of a larger conglomerate group Inditex. Inditex’s global strategies are examined using Porter’s (1998) global strategy frameworks of configuration, coordination, and the diamond concept. Next, financial data from Inditex’s annual reports from 1998-2011 are used to evaluate the success of their global strategies.

A comparison of Gap Inc. and Inditex suggests that the latter has achieved financial success over the past 13 years, while at the same time expanding into new global locations. In contrast, Gap Inc., has had difficulty sustaining high levels of net income, as well as difficulty competing effectively in the international marketplace. Finally, the second section of this study, through the use of the Spanish language, examines Spain’s culture and economic history during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in order to explain the reasons for Spanish corporations’ late entrance into the global market. This examination includes an analysis of Spanish business practices within the film Las razones de mis amigos (2000) directed by Gerardo Herrero. Inditex’s ability to be a global success is both attributed to their unique business model and their ability to overcome the challenges posed by the Spanish economy.

Name: Cumpstone, Cal

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: Labor Productivity: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

Abstract: Labor productivity growth drives economic prosperity, efficiency and is an influential determinant of rising living standards.  Understanding the characteristics of labor productivity and the factors that influence its fluctuations could allow for the stimulation of labor productivity growth.  This paper seeks to theoretically and empirically examine labor productivity as well as the variables thought to affect productivity growth.  I define and interpret the trends of labor productivity growth and compare its trends, graphically and analytically, with other variables.  The theory of cost minimization is established as the foundation of labor productivity.  Through the detailed description of cost minimization theory, covering topics such as the production function, isoquants and isocost lines, predictions are made that possible determinants of labor productivity growth include wage growth, capital price growth, manufacturing growth, services growth and technology.  These predictions are empirically tested through multiple regression analysis and the evaluated based on the coefficients of the independent variables, statistical significance of the variables and the R2 value of the regression.  The results of the multiple regression analysis provide numerical evidence that support the theoretical predictions surrounding the analysis of labor productivity and the determinants of its growth.

Name: Cusimano, Kara

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, J. Golden

Title: Influences on the Male & Female Labor Participation Rates in Traditional American Households

Abstract: This study examines the influences of the division of labor and household labor between spouses in traditional American families. The main goal of the study is to see how the division of labor is allocated to which spouse given other outside factors of the economy. Using two regression analyses and data from previous studies, assumption can be made about the time allocated between spouses. The main focus is on the female labor force participation rate, because this in the best measure of the amount of women who are entering the labor force and leaving less time to do household chores. The study finds that there has been a shift in traditional American families’ tastes in terms of more women entering the labor force and more men are contributing to the household chores, but the division of labor between household labor and the time spent in the labor force is still unequal. Men are still the primary provider and women are still specializing in the home.

Name: Danzey, Tyler

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, J. Golden

Title: Okun’s Coefficient Across Demographic Groups

Abstract: As we continue to recover from the Great Recession, the unemployment rate is continuously discussed as a prominent indicator of economic growth. The unemployment rate has received much attention recently as it continues to descend from its recession-high of 10.0 percent in October, 2007. As a result of this “jobless recovery,” many have struggled to find and maintain stable work. With the idea of the responsiveness of unemployment serving as motivation, the purpose of this project is to analyze how unemployment behaves in relation to GDP, particularly for differing demographic groups.

Okun’s Law explains that a 2 percent rise in GDP above potential corresponds with a 1 percent decline in the unemployment rate. This coefficient 2, labeled Okun’s Coefficient, is purely empirical and subject to change. This paper considers the determinants of, and theory relating to, unemployment, as well as Okun’s Coefficients for men, women, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. A simple linear regression model is applied in order to derive Okun’s Coefficients for our relevant demographic groups. The paper then analyzes these relationships through both statistical analysis and in terms of certain demographic characteristics in order to make suggestions on how those groups with poor Okun’s Coefficients may improve moving forward.

Name: Daun, Tyler

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: Strategic Positioning of Internet Television Firms

Abstract: Internet television created a new market niche within the television industry that has seen several firms emerge, many of which are completely independent from the broadcast television incumbents. This paper explores some of the notable internet television firms, focusing especially on Hulu and Netflix – two internet television services that have become household names. Case studies of the two firms explore features including original programming, payment models, and content availability in order to determine what affects their strategic positions within the niche market of internet television and the larger television market overall. Analysis of the contracts between internet television firms and the major television networks demonstrates the importance of content produced by the major networks in this market.

According to the theories and research in this paper, the strategic position of each internet firm is dependent on its ability to balance cooperation and competition by securing advantageous contracts with the major networks while, at least for the companies that are not integrated with major networks, also searching for ways to decrease its dependence on those companies. Long-term success will require differentiation from competitors, including both internet television firms and linear television firms such as cable and satellite networks. Ultimately, this means leveraging unique resources by offering special services and features or producing original content, strategies that will strengthen a firm’s position in the growing market.

Name: DelGreco, David

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: The Economic Effects of a Salary Cap in Major League Baseball: A Study of The New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics

Abstract:  Major League baseball is an enormous revenue generating industry, and widely regarded as America’s pastime by many. When compared to all of the other major professional sports leagues, baseball players are paid the most money with every contract being guaranteed. As large market franchises continue to generate exponentially more local revenue than smaller market franchises, the payroll disparity continues to increase. The reason for this is because Major League Baseball remains as the only major professional sports league to operate without a salary cap. As such, teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs are able to spend in excess of over $150 million more than smaller market teams such as the Pirates and Athletics, thereby causing an economic chasm between large and small market teams.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects a salary cap would have on baseball. How differently would a large market team have to manage their resources when compared to a small market team if a salary cap were implemented? If a salary cap were implemented, would the small market teams have more valuable capabilities and resources than the large market teams considering that they have been competing for decades under a more strict payroll budget constraint? The managerial concepts and articles of core competencies within a firm, competing on resources, The RBV of the firm, path dependency, and corporate strategy will be the focus of my managerial literature. Capabilities such as drafting success, scouting and developing talent through a farm system, and cost per win in terms of payroll will be the focus of my empirical analysis. The two teams that are the basis for my research are the New York Yankees, representing a large market team, and the Oakland Athletics, representing a small market team. It seems that large market teams feel they need to spend large amounts of money to win, whereas smaller market teams such as the Rays and Athletics have proved that this is not necessarily the case. The literature reviews and empirical analysis will answer the question: What effects would a salary cap have on the value of these franchises’ resources and capabilities if one were implemented?

Name: DeStefano, Anthony

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Sporting Goods Industry: An Analysis of Nike and Adidas Competing for Market Power

Abstract:  Corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures the degree by which a corporation self-regulates its morals and ethics to become a more sustainable company. It describes a principle that businesses can and should make a positive contribution to the society as a whole. However, corporations’ first and foremost obligation is to maximize profits for its shareholders. Maximizing profits could lead to corporations conducting their business in socially irresponsible ways. Disasters such as the BP oil spill in 2010 and the Wal-Mart factory explosion in Bangladesh in 2012 are direct results of corporations acting socially irresponsibly. Failing to participate in CSR causes negative externalities to the environment, employees, and society. In the sporting goods industry, we have experienced sweat shops in developing countries and extensive waste in the supply chain. Nike and Adidas are both guilty of participating in these behaviors, yet they are the leaders of the sporting goods industry. Ever since Nike and Adidas have been exposed with negative publicity, they have made an effort to increase their CSR efforts. They started to come out with CSR reports and sold brands that are CSR related. Even though their first and foremost obligation is to maximize profits, they are making a conscious effort to increase their CSR which costs them money. Does participating in CSR efforts increase their revenues, or is it a game between firms to compete for market power? This study takes an empirical approach in determining whether or not CSR increases their revenues. Also, it demonstrates that firms compete in CSR to gain market power.

Name: Douglas, John

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, R. Ormiston

Title: Labor Unions: How Declining Membership Affects Wage Determination

Abstract: Since its peak in the 1950’s, the membership of labor unions has been steadily declining. Currently only 11.9% of all non-agricultural workers in the United States are in some type of labor union, which is the lowest membership percentage in more than 70 years. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of diminishing union membership on the labor union’s ability to determine their workers’ wages during the collective bargaining process. This study captures the effect of falling wage influence by monitoring the union wage premium during the period from 1983-2012.  High profile labor union disputes are used in addition with economic wage theory to create an empirical model that estimates the impact of declining union membership on the union wage premium. Specifically, this study finds that during the period from 1983-2012 a 1% decrease in union membership is expected to result in a 0.49% decrease in the union wage premium.

Name: Eiben, Daniel

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: Determinants of Immigration within the Schengen Area

Abstract: This paper seeks to understand the determinants of migration patterns within the European Union. The Schengen Agreement and the extension of its privileges to new member states have created a border-free zone in the EU. Without border controls interfering, economic theory suggests that wages and fiscal environment will interact with a few non-market factors to determine the flow of immigrants. This discussion finds mixed evidence from models and existing literature, with migrant networks being the only confirmable determinant of immigration.

Name: El-Ani, Taylor

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, A. Baskan

Title: Returns to Education: Is There a Wage Premium Associated With Graduates of Private Colleges?

Abstract: College tuitions have been on a steady increase since about 1980. Tuition at private colleges especially has been increasing at an alarming pace. When students graduate high school, they can choose to enter the work force right away, attend a two-year school, or attend a four-year private or public university. If a student chooses to go to a private four-year college, they will pay a much higher price compared to four-year public universities. This can be seen as a human capital investment. We expect to gain more human capital for attending a private college. This paper aims to discover if there is a correlation between a private college education, and future earnings of undergraduate students. College characteristics will also be examined to see of what characteristics might lead to the higher earnings of undergraduates. It is important for people to know that the extra money they spend on a private four-year college education, results in more human capital and/or higher wages.

Name: Haas, Charles

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, J. Liu

Title: The Federal Budget Deficit and its Determinants Throughout the Business Cycle

Abstract: The purpose of this senior thesis is examine the determinants of the federal budget deficit, including GDP, government spending, and tax policies over the business cycle.  The United States currently has the largest budget deficit in history and it does not appear to be decreasing anytime soon.  Without a solution to reduce the deficit and balance the budget, younger generations will have to pay for the deficits of older generations and larger economic problems will occur.  This senior thesis begins by giving an overview of budget deficits, their importance and examines its trends and movements over the business cycle.  Next, this study explains the budget deficit and its components of aggregate spending, theoretical considerations of budget deficits, specifically the IS LM model and theoretical expectations.  Following, as a part of the empirical analysis, a regression analysis is run to estimate the relationships among several coefficients that determine the federal budget deficit.  Empirical results and analysis follow, as well as interpretations for all coefficients.  Overall the results of the empirical analysis are not significant but the coefficients are still used to hypothetically evaluate the impact of the explanatory variables on the federal budget deficit.  A recommendation of how the United States government can reduce the federal deficit is also presented.

Name: Hartford, Colin

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, R. Ormiston

Title: The Economic Impact of the Olympic Games on Host Cities and Nations

Abstract: The Olympic Games are a global event requiring tremendous money and preparation for the host city and nation. The economics of hosting the Olympic Games have varied in the past.  Economic studies have not yet analyzed the effects of certain economic variables.  I use a regression analysis to study the effects the Olympic Games had on foreign direct investment, gross domestic product, and international tourism. The two Olympic Games studied were the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games and the 2004 Athens Summers Games.  The results of the regression analysis show no relationship between the Olympic Games and most of the variables.  Greece felt no repercussions from the Games in any of the three statistics.  Spain’s foreign direct investment was improved as result of the Olympics. The Olympic Games seem to be a massive investment in time and money for what seems to be minimal economic profit.  Hosting the Olympic Games should not be done for the sole purpose of economic improvement.

Name: Jones, Denise

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, R. Ormiston

Title: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”: Analyzing the Impacts of Public and Affordable Housing Developments on Spatially Concentrated Poverty

Abstract: Current housing and anti-poverty policy debates continue to question the root causes of extreme poverty. Scholars argue that public housing developments exacerbate poverty concentration; however, previous research yields mixed results about whether public housing developments with high levels of poverty breed and concentrate more poverty. Concentrated poverty is a term used to describe the socially harmful poverty that exists in neighborhoods where at least 40 percent of the population lives below poverty level (Gans, 2010). The impact of subsidized housing on concentrated poverty is worth analyzing because it has both efficiency and equity implications for public and private housing residents alike. For example, efficiency is affected if subsidized housing programs force individuals to move to areas that are located away from potential sources of employment, or if the existence of subsidized housing lowers property values in surrounding communities. Equity implications arise if subsidized housing contributes to crime and health problems that disadvantage the impoverished in these programs.

The purpose of this study is threefold. The first purpose is to empirically investigate whether public housing developments lead to concentrated poverty in the neighborhoods in which they are situated, using HUD’s A Picture of Subsidizing Housing data sets for 2000 and 2008. Another goal of this paper is to evaluate the relationship between race, gender, and age and neighborhood poverty concentration. Lastly, through the use of the consumer preferences theory and political economy theory, this article establishes a theoretical framework to understand the putative risks and challenges associated with living in poor neighborhoods and in concentrated poverty. This article’s research findings suggest that increases in public housing developments, particularly for the 2000 data, increase the poverty rate by approximately .42%. Furthermore, these findings suggest a need to reform the current housing policies that often situate, instead of eradicate, poverty.

Name: Jordan, Alexander

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, J. Liu

Title: Competition in Emerging Industries: The Case of Ethanol

Abstract: Every so often, a new industry emerges from technological advancement. New industries enter into existing markets and disrupt society’s infrastructure. According to Schumpeterian theory, some industries are able to threaten and ultimately displace incumbent firms. Much of the existing literature on industry life cycles focuses on new industries’ capacity to threaten incumbents. What they fail to include is how new firms build this capacity in their early stages of development. This study attempts to contribute to the literature by exploring the nature of competition in new industries. Specifically, it will explore the case of the ethanol production industry as the basis for analysis.

The results of this analysis suggest that there is a future market for ethanol, and firms are able to overcome external environment barriers. This demonstrates ethanol is a viable technology for the future. Despite their ability to compete, new entrants in the ethanol industry face challenges, including a lack of infrastructure, dependence on government support, volatile prices and intense competition. These challenges may hinder the industry’s development in the long term.

Name: Jordan, Jonathan

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, J. Sickafuse

Title: Creative Destruction within the Printing Industry: An Examination of Resulting Opportunities

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between creative destruction and (1) large commercial printing firms and (2) small commercial printing distributors. It also seeks to determine viable options that each of the aforementioned entities can take in response to current pressures within the commercial printing industry. Research that focuses on how incumbent firms and new entrants in a variety of industries have been impacted by radical innovation is utilized in conjunction with applicable strategic management literature. It enables two hypotheses: The first suggests that (1) creative destruction is a negative externality for large commercial printers because (a) it devalues costly equipment over time and (b) hinders expansion. The second suggests that (2) creative destruction is a positive externality for small distributors because they (a) reap benefits that technological innovation generates with minimal risk and (b) have more options to expand. Empirical evidence is derived from case studies based on in-depth interviews of Knepper Press, a large commercial printer and Excel Printing and Promotions, a small commercial printing distributor. Based on qualitative analysis, this paper argues that creative destruction can be a positive externality for both large commercial printers and small commercial distributors.

Name: Kawai, Yuki

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, A. Baskan

Title: How Do Companies Succeed in the Global Market?: The Case of Canon and Xerox

Abstract: Porter (1998) points out the importance of configuration and coordination of value-chain activities for competitive advantages in the global market. To explore how a company configures and coordinates its value-chain activities, this paper uses a case study of two global companies: Canon Inc. and Xerox Inc. Using regression analysis, the study concludes that R&D and marketing are two most important variables for performance in the copier industry. The study also found that Canon has performed better than Xerox. To explore the reasons why Canon has been more successful financially than Xerox, the configurations and coordination of R&D and marketing of the two companies were analyzed and compared. As a result, although both of the companies seemingly have configured R&D facilities well, Canon has coordinated R&D better within the company, using outsiders to enhance R&D capabilities, than Xerox. As for marketing, Canon has configured and coordinated marketing internally and externally better than Xerox. This result implies that differences in configuration and coordination of Canon’s and Xerox’s value-chains have generated a huge difference in the performance of the two companies.

Name: Lehr, Ashley

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics, Spanish
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, T. Herrera-De la Muela

Title: Restaurant Industry Strategy: Exploiting Demographic Change in a Weak Economy

Abstract: The American cuisine is consistently changing due to influences from different food cultures around the world. The restaurant industry plays a huge role in the promotion of different food cultures in the United States. I am studying a restaurant called “100 Montaditos,” which is a restaurant from Spain that is globalizing into the United States. I will be using theories from four different academics to better understand how a globalizing firm can find its place in the American market. I will also be looking at two Spanish films in order to better understand Spanish culinary traditions. Montaditos is targeting two demographics in the United States: the Hispanic population and college students. As the Hispanic population rises in the United States, Montaditos attempts to grab their attention and create a good reputation. The needs of college students who eat off-campus seem to be cheap prices, variety, and healthy foods. Therefore, Montaditos will need to find a balance between maintaining its Spanish authenticity and adapting to American food culture in order to exploit these two demographics and be successful in the United States restaurant industry.

Name: Lynskey, Thomas

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, J. Liu

Title: Determinants of the Demand for Natural Gas in the Industrial Sector of the U.S. Economy

Abstract:  With the discovery of Marcellus shale and ever improving hydraulic fracturing technology, the natural gas industry in America is booming. Clearly, natural gas will be important to this country’s future, and with that in mind it is important to examine the determinants of the industrial demand for natural gas. The goals of this study are to find and quantify these determinants and foresee the possibility of natural gas one day substituting petroleum as America’s prominent fuel.
To find these determinants this study first examines the importance and history of the natural gas industry in the U.S. This discussion finds some important factors affecting the demand for natural gas and sets up the theoretical model.
The paper next explains the cost minimization model. Natural gas is considered as an input in this model. The cost minimization model finds the optimal level of inputs needed to produce a given level of output. This model sets forth multiple determinants that could have an affect on natural gas consumption.
The empirical analysis of this study takes the determinants discussed throughout this paper and examines the effects each has on the growth of natural gas consumption in the industrial sector. This analysis is quantified by using a multiple regression model with data ranging from 1960-2011. The multiple regression model helps to draw several important conclusions on the major factors that affect the demand for natural gas and the substitution possibilities is has in the future.

Name: McLeod, Devone

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, R. Ormiston

Title: How Did Government Policies from the 1980s Contribute to Current Income Inequality?

Abstract:  In the past thirty years income inequality in the United States has been on the rise. Economists have different opinions on the causes of this problem. The goal of this paper is to examine the impact of government policies in the 1980’s on current income inequality. This is an important topic because the more income inequality rises the more divided our country may become on economic, political and social issues. In terms of policy, the primary focus of this research is on tax reform and drug enforcement policy. A theoretical analysis and an empirical analysis using an ordinary least squared regression model are provided to examine these policies. Finally, the research concludes with an overview of implications and remedies to the income inequality problem.

Name: Miller, Alexandra

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, J. Golden

Title: The Automobile Industry: Strategies for New Entrants

Abstract: The automobile industry in the U.S. has a long history of a few incumbents dominating the market, and new entrants have had difficulty entering the market. The new U.S. electric car company, Tesla Motors, entered the market in 2003. Since then, they have gone public and received several awards for their innovations. How has a new entrant been able to enter the difficult U.S. auto market, and what types of strategies have they used? In addition, have they been successful, and will they succeed in the future? This study addresses these questions and tests the hypothesis that Tesla has been able to enter the U.S. auto market by collaborating with incumbent firms. A case study was done to determine what strategies Tesla has used to enter the market. Additionally, a financial analysis was undertaken and the market for electric cars was forecasted to determine whether Tesla will succeed in the future. The main findings of this study suggest that Tesla has been successful because of their technology strategy and strong emphasis on innovation. They focused little on collaborating with incumbents, and the support by incumbents was not significant. Additionally, Tesla is currently in financial trouble, but I predict their net income, rate of return on assets, and gross profit to improve in 2013. The market for electric cars will grow on average 63.66% annually until 2020.

Name: Minney, Zachary

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, J. Sickafuse

Title: Paid or Played: The Financial Struggles of Professional Athletes

Abstract: Recently, sports news has reported about professional athletes going broke.  For example, in October of 2012, ESPN released a new documentary from their series 30 for 30 titled “Broke.”  Some eye opening names stated in this documentary would include Warren Sapp, who played thirteen years in the National Football League (NFL) as a defensive tackle; Jamal Lewis, a star running back who played nine years in the NFL; and Jose Canseco, a Major League Baseball player for sixteen years until admitting to the use of performance enhancing drugs.  The purpose of this thesis is to study what causes these retired and sometimes active athletes to lose the millions of dollars they have made.  What causes the financial struggles of professional athletes?  The factors involved in such situation may vary from player to player, but one common factor is the “jock tax.”  The jock tax allows states to makes nonresident professional athletes to pay state income tax.  For every state a player travels to outside of their residing state, they are taxed.  This is also enforced when sports such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) play in Canada.  The state of California is reported to have made around $120,000,000 in one year, off of visiting teams that have come to compete against one of the fifteen professional teams in California.  How does the “jock tax” affect a player’s salary, and what other factors contribute to these athletes going broke?  This paper analyses the financial struggles of professional athletes within the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association, through case studies and empirical tests, to measure the effects of the “jock tax” on salaries.

Name: Moore, Ian

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, R. Ormiston

Title: The Demand for Renewable Energy Resources in the Industrial Sector

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to provide an understanding of the determinants of renewable energy use and the degree to which it can be substituted for alternative fuels (i.e. natural gas, petroleum, etc.).

Chapter 1 presents evidence that renewable energy is gaining great popularity in the advanced industrial economies of the world — particularly supported by the people of the United States. Further, it shows that long-run solutions to the global energy crisis will only become more apparent over time, and will certainly focus on renewables as a primary source. By decreasing the use of fossil fuels in the short-run, many businesses will only profit from being ahead of the curve.
Chapter 2 indicates that the long-run price of renewable energy and the amount of renewable energy consumed are two important input variables a firm must consider. When examining total cost, the theory of cost minimization is an effective explanatory tool to explain this. Through the analysis of isocosts and isoquants, a firm is able to discover the optimal input bundle of capital, K, and labor, L, for a quantity of goods, q, to produce efficiently. The predictions are that an increase in the wage will lead to decreased labor input and an increase of capital use. Through increased capital use, more energy, specifically renewable energy, will be used because energy is an input necessary to the operation of machinery. A decrease in the capital rental rate will also result in a rise in capital use. Furthermore, a non-neutral improvement in technology, specifically those dealing with renewables, will increase the use of both labor and capital. Finally, an increase in overall output will lead to an expansion of capital. All of these examples will increase the potential use of renewable energy as an input in the production process.
In Chapter 3, the regression model is displayed to examine the impact of various variables on the industrial renewable energy consumption growth rate. Here, the true purpose of the study is most fully examined — the degree to which renewable energy can be substituted for alternative sources, labor, and the affect technological change and measures of output bear upon this degree. Through the interpretation of the regression equation, inferences to the relative impacts of the independent variables on the industrial renewable energy consumption growth rate were assessed.

Name: Moreno, Elizabeth

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, C. Allison

Title: International Business Franchising: The Effect of Cultural Differences on Company Strategy in the Food Industry

Abstract: This paper answers the question: how do cultural differences affect company strategy in the restaurant industry? Through the research I have completed, I offer an analysis of company strategy that includes the essential factors associated with entering a foreign market through franchising with an emphasis on cultural differences. This paper begins by examining the franchising restaurant industry, its history, and the growth as an international and global business. It does this by highlighting the importance of human capital in a large corporation. As they can provide insights to company strategy in a particular country that firms would otherwise have not thought of. The introduction is then followed by relevant literature on strategy and theory of the firm. These include Porter’s concepts on strategy and Collis and Montgomery’s resource based view of the firm. The literature is used to help answer the fundamental question and the information gathered will be used to compare the successes and failures of current franchise giants who have expanded internationally.

The empirical chapter will answer the research franchise question building on the literature through two case studies. From the literature, I extracted two factors that I believe are indispensable to understanding the effects of cultural differences on company strategy when entering a foreign market. Overall, there were many factors mentioned in the literature that included: competition, customer preferences, value, and legal environment. But for the purpose of my case studies, I will be focusing on customer preferences/tastes and consumer income. These factors have proven to show exactly how company strategy changes in different foreign countries. These factors are applied to following franchises: the McDonald’s Corporation and KFC Corporation. Through these two case studies and my analysis of the research literature, I have determined the relevancy of the factors based on the experiences of the McDonald’s and KFC franchised chains.

 

Name: Morrissette, Philip

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, C. Allison

Title: Delay of Game, 2 Minutes: The Power Struggle Between the Players and Owners of the National Hockey League

Abstract: On September 15, 2012, the collective bargaining agreement between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) expired.  With the two sides remaining far apart, as of the end of November 2012, there was no near end in sight.  The economic implications of the failure to agree mounted with each week the lockout lingered.  These problems include loss of money for venues around the arenas, workers within the organization, and key sponsorship partners such as NBC, Molson Coors and many more. Throughout the history of the NHL they have faced numerous delayed season starts; 1992, 1995, 2004, and most recently, 2012.  The numerous labor disputes lead us to question if the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, as well as the process taken to arrive at an agreement, is structurally sound.  The purpose of this study is to assess the structure of bargaining between the NHL and NHLPA.  To assess the bargaining structure Game Theory is applied to determine the expected outcome of the current structure.  Additionally, the theory of Asymmetric Information is discussed to understand the implications for the bargaining outcomes are if there are asymmetries.  If the problem of continuous lockouts is not resolved, the NHL and its players will continue to suffer lost potential revenue.

Name: Murphy, Kyle

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, J. Liu

Title: United States Bankruptcy Determinants

Abstract: In American society, where we are free to enter and exit any industry as we choose, the success of individual firms is crucial for our economy to thrive. Bankruptcies in the United States are the ultimate sign of a failed business venture and can lead to many Americans becoming unemployed and losing money. Bankruptcy has a long and interesting history and is critical in America for debt repayment and allowing individuals to recover from a failed business venture. This study provides insight into which economic variables are the most related to high bankruptcies and the reasons behind this. I analyze several cost, revenue, and dummy variables from historical US data and use a regression model with the variables that I found most correlated to bankruptcies. The data in my regression shows several key factors that are the most important reasons why bankruptcy is an issue. My senior project describes what factors cause bankruptcies, why this is, and how to avoid them and have a prosperous firm within US society.

Name: Nda, Axel

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, A. Baskan

Title: The Effect of Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries: An Empirical Study of Côte d’Ivoire

Abstract: Most countries compete to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) because of its advantages as a tool for economic growth and development. This study investigates how economic growth and FDI in Côte d’Ivoire evolved over time. To explore the relationship between FDI and economic growth in Côte d’Ivoire, I used the econometric approach of the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regressions. Results from the regressions reveal that GDP in Côte d’Ivoire depends on Labor Force (LF) and Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF). They also indicate that economic growth in Côte d’Ivoire depends on Inflation rate (INFL), Official Development Aid (AIDgdp) and Labor Force (LF). The study concludes by recommending policies for attracting more FDI to Côte d’Ivoire. These policies include: the 1995 Investment Code, a five year tax exemption on profits and a ten year reduction of 50 percent in export taxes for foreign firms.

Name: Pantelas, Aris

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: The Importance of Well-defined Property Rights: A Case Study of Libya and Saudi Arabia

Abstract: Over the past decade, the process of globalization has vastly restructured contemporary economic thought.  Changing trends of the new millennium stress the ability on the part of countless nations and regions to effectively adapt in an increasingly global economy.  It seems as though no other historical era shares this emphasis on international competitiveness as a determinant of modern economic growth.  Approaches to increasing competitiveness have included economic liberalization, policy reform, and enhancing public knowledge and popular sentiment.  For the Middle East and North Africa, a lack of political transparency stands as the greatest hindrance to business.  Transparency can be increased through the formal establishment and enforcement of a nation’s fundamental institutions.  Focusing on the single institution of property rights, this essay examines the provenance of property rights and their respective enforcement in both Libya and Saudi Arabia.  Among these two widely divergent nations, the clear delineation and identification of property rights stands as the primary solution to bridging the gap and serves as a model for struggling, developing regions.  Thus, the main goal of this essay is to assess the relationship and impact between the institutional welfare and the corresponding economic welfare of a nation or region.

Name: Predic, Uros

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, A. Moskwa

Title: The Determinants and Effects of Foreign Direct Investment in Serbia

Abstract: The purpose of this senior thesis is to analyze the determinants and effects of Foreign Direct Investments in Serbia. Studies concerning the effects of FDI have had contradicting results with regard to the effects of FDI on host countries. While some analysts found a positive relationship between FDI and economic growth, others have found opposite results. This study explores the relationship between FDI and economic growth/ development in Serbia. It is important to note that although many studies analyzed specific aspects regarding the relationship between FDI and the Serbian economy, none has taken such a broad and diverse approach to studying both macro and microeconomic outcomes of FDI in Serbia. The methodology used in this study consists of interviews with two Serbian economists, a SWOT analysis of the effects FDI has had on the Serbian economy, and lastly a case analysis of Fiat. A major conclusion from the study is that FDI has contributed positively to the Serbian economy. Specifically, FDI has been an effective source of technology spillovers, employment, and managerial know-how for the Serbian economy since the year 2000.

Name: Pszenny, Greta

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, J. Liu

Title: Corporate Social Responsibility and Economic Performance: An Empirical Study of the Retail and Healthcare Industries

Abstract: This study examines the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and economic performance. This has been a heavily researched topic, with no conclusive evidence about the relationship between the two variables. In order to provide new insight, this study focuses solely on the retail and healthcare industries, with a goal of exploring whether CSR is important across industries. Using regression analysis and a case study of two companies, the study finds no positive relationship between CSR and economic performance in the retail industry. The results show that there is a positive relationship between CSR and economic performance in the healthcare industry, suggesting that the impact of CSR is industry-specific. Thus, analysts should focus on identifying industries that benefit from CSR, rather than debating whether or not CSR contributes to economic performance.

Name: Rectenwald, Cory

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics, Math
Thesis Committee: T. Nonnenmacher, A. Moskwa

Title: Institutions, Efficiency and Outcomes:  The New Institutional Economics and Indian Development

Abstract: India went through a remarkable economic transition upon gaining independence from Britain. The opportunity to develop an industrial base coincided with the challenge of reforming a severely poor agrarian economy. This senior project examines this dynamic using the analytical tools of the New Institutional Economics. Beginning with two seminal works of Ronald Coase, the study of transaction costs was born using new assumptions regarding human behavior and the transaction as the basic unit of analysis. Transaction cost economics answered a variety of questions about the nature of firms and eventually became part of a larger framework called the New Institutional Economics (NIE). According to the NIE, economic performance is ultimately determined by humanly devised constraints called institutions. In the case of India, after gaining independence in 1947, institutions created barriers to the use of price system, which created high transaction costs for firms. These policies lost favor to new institutions that granted greater security of property rights and resulted in much higher levels of economic growth. Agrarian reforms after independence redistributed property rights to tenants of the land with the goal of creating a more productive and equitable system. Assuming these reforms increased agricultural productivity, there should exist transaction costs preventing landlords and tenants from bargaining away the changes in efficiency. Indeed transaction costs existed in the markets for land as well as agency problems inherent in landlord-tenant contracts. India’s institutional changes can thus be viewed through the lens of changing property rights, transaction costs and economic performance.

Name: Ryan, Ann

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, J. Sickafuse

Title: Competitive Strategies in the Athletic Industry: An Empirical Study of Nike and Under Armour

Abstract: This study examines competitive strategies in the athletic industry. The primary years of this study are from 2003 through 2012, which covers three fundamental factors in the athletic industry: advertising, endorsements, and sponsorships. The two main companies examined in this study are Nike and Under Armour. These companies are compared in order to examine competitive strategies within the athletic industry and distinguish the contributing factors to Nike and Under Armour’s success. The methods used to analyze each firm’s success include their strategic plan, regression analysis and forecasting model. Once analyzed, financial data are utilized to determine the firm’s strategic success. Financial data for this study includes the efficiency of the variables tested and the prediction of revenue for the next ten years.

Analysis indicates that Nike and Under Armour’s success is largely connected with their ability to adapt their strategic plan to successful variables that directly relate to an increase in revenue. Therefore, due to Nike’s maturity in the athletic industry, they dominate most of the industry, which creates difficulties for other athletic companies. Also, with consumer preferences in the athletic industry constantly changing, Nike and Under Armour must diligently work to remain competitive in order to be successful.

Name: Sanzone, Conner

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Onyeiwu, R. Ormiston

Title: Competitive Strategies in the Beer Brewing Industry: The Case of Anheuser-Busch InBev and The Boston Beer Company

Abstract: The beer brewing industry has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years as the big “beer giants” such as Anheuser-Busch InBev have been losing market share to smaller craft breweries like The Boston Beer Company. This research presents a case study drawing comparisons between the two companies in an attempt to determine how companies gain and lose competitive advantage. Company strategies, financial data and executive biographies were analyzed to compare each company. The results indicate that The Boston Beer Company has been more successful than Anheuser Busch InBev in recent years due to its more effective strategy. The Boston Beer Company has been able to differentiate itself from the competition by focusing heavily on creating a quality product that is difficult to imitate. Anheuser-Busch InBev has been focused primarily on cutting costs and overall operational effectiveness. The study supports Michael Porter’s notion that operational effectiveness alone is not enough to gain competitive advantage.

Name: Schneider, Jessica

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, J. Golden

Title: The Role of the Informal Economy in the Greater Economic Systems of Developing and Developed Nations

Abstract: This paper seeks to examine the complex and dynamic relationship between the underground economy and the official economy on a global scale. We will focus on some significant differences and similarities in the role that the informal economy plays in the greater economic system of a country based on its level of development. There are some critical variations between nations that make it crucial for policy makers to research and understand the unique relationship between the area’s formal and informal sectors. There are a number of unique benefits associated with informal work that policy makers should seek to maximize while respecting that there are negative externalities that must also be kept to a minimum. To understand the precise role of the informal economy, we will first determine a definition for underground work and estimate the size of the sector. Then we will examine on a general level the potential causes and effects of growth or decline of underground activity. The comparison between nations with different levels of development will then follow, and implications for policy makers will be discussed. We will find that there is much research needed to develop concrete policy recommendations, and that all policy considerations regarding the heavily segmented factors of the underground sector must be considered independently.

Name: Schwartz, Benjamin

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: A Story of Leverage: Cyclical Patterns in Consumer Credit Growth

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine what causes consumer credit to expand and contract in the economy. This study investigates how, in a credit based economy, the level of debt can rise relative to the income needed to service the debt. At this point, debt cannot rise any further and a de-leveraging must occur. Consumer leveragings and de-leveragings can be explained through the theory of intertemporal choice and the long-term debt cycle. According to the theory of intertemporal choice, the variable consumer credit is a function of consumer income, household asset values, and the market interest rate. Theoretically, a rise in income and asset values will increase the level of consumer credit in the economy. A decrease in the interest rate will also increase consumer credit in the economy. These variables can rise in a self-re-enforcing cycle causing consumer credit to become imbalanced relative to GDP. In 1980, consumer credit started to grow at a higher rate than GDP and by 2007 a severe imbalance in the two variables was formed. A least squared regression model is used to measure the strength of the linear relationship between consumer credit growth and the theoretical model’s determinant variables. Based on regression results, my theoretical reasoning for increases and decreases in consumer credit from 1929-2010 is statistically inaccurate. However, from 1980-2010 the theory of intertemporal choice is statistically significant in determining the level of consumer credit growth in the economy. From 1980-2010, it can be inferred with a high degree of certainty that the rise in consumer income and home values were major contributors to the rise of consumer credit growth. A ten year moving average of real consumer credit growth illustrates the cyclicality of the variable and identifies consumer leveragings and de-leveragings. Based on this evidence, the study makes use of the theoretical and empirical findings to address the issue of credit imbalances in the economy.

Name: Seltzer, Julian

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, J. Liu

Title: The Next Gasoline: Applying the Tesla Model to Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies

Abstract: Statistically, the transportation sector of the American economy is one of the largest contributors to global warming. With such influence placed on reducing our ecological impact on the environment, alternative vehicular fuel sources are beginning to become accepted as necessary. Though, most likely, there is not one fuel source that will single-handedly wean us from our dependence on gasoline, there are a number of front-running technologies.

The purpose of this study is to examine hydrogen fuel cell technology in particular. Included in this investigation are the possibilities and challenges to implementing a hydrogen fuel cell transportation economy, not only from a technological standpoint, but from an administrative position as well. This is done through using the Tesla Motor Company as a case study, uncovering the methods used by the firm in order to break into the automobile industry. The success of a company like Tesla has huge implications for other alternative fuel source technologies.

By citing the research of various economic scholars, I help explain incumbent auto manufacturers’ reluctance to adopt new technologies. Currently, hydrogen fuel cell technology is too expensive and uneconomical to commercialize. Couple the lack of diffusion with pressure from shareholders and copious amounts of risk, and one can understand where this reluctance stems from. However, by replicating the methods used by Tesla in the production of their electric vehicles, I conclude by suggesting a blueprint of sorts for ways incumbent auto firms may help popularize and commercialize hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Name: Shaeffer, Timothy

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: A. Moskwa, A. Baskan

Title: Your Money or Your Life: What’s Wrong with the United States’ Healthcare and How to Fix It

Abstract: The United States of America has the highest per capita healthcare spending in the world, a cost that is only expected to rise in the near future. Despite this high spending, the U.S has healthcare results that are similar or worse in most categories than comparable countries which spend far less. This level of spending is caused by both cultural issues and systemic problems across the United States. This paper will examine several health metrics in order to reveal problems within the U.S.’s quality of care. Through examining the specifics of these high costs and low quality of care, we will show the need for healthcare reform in the U.S. This paper will also examine specific proposals that have been made on how to reform the U.S. health system in order to improve the quality of care while controlling costs.

Name: Sosa, Max

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, J. Sickafuse

Title: Split Decision: The Split Rate Property Tax & Effectiveness as an Economic Growth Strategy

Abstract: Small town operations require a delicate balance of proper leadership, resources, and most importantly revenue. Through a combination of national, state, and local legislation towns acquire their revenue and then disperse it accordingly to institutions of the town. As towns strive for economic growth they will be in search of economic growth strategies that will benefit their towns the most while increasing both the standard of living and overall revenue of the town. The split rate property tax, in theory, provides the means for small towns to improve upon what they already have thus increasing revenue without requiring much in additional capital. In the state of Pennsylvania, a pilot program was started to try and save towns in distress throughout the state. Through varying degrees of success the implication of the split rate property tax is unclear. This study investigates the economic effects of towns that utilize the split rate property tax using educational proxies as benchmarks for economic growth. The results are then applied to the city of Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Name: Sprowls, Zachery

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Casler, T. Nonnenmacher

Title: Output Demand and Job Growth: The Effects of Natural Resource Extraction on the Unemployment Rate

Abstract: The recent growth in natural gas drilling has the potential to create many jobs nationwide and decrease the unemployment rate.  To analyze the effect of natural resource extraction on the unemployment rate, I first analyze how the unemployment rate has fluctuated historically in comparison with Gross Domestic Product and mining growth, which is used as a proxy for natural gas extraction.   I then use macroeconomic theory to show how the unemployment rate should fluctuate as a result of key independent variables, such as output growth, labor force participation, and real wage.  Next, I empirically quantify the effects that the labor force participation rate, real wage, capital growth, technology growth, service growth, mining growth, recessions, and the great moderation have on the unemployment rate using a multiple regression.  Finally, I conclude that natural gas growth has a limited effect on the unemployment rate, but it is possible that this is because the effect natural gas growth has on the labor force participation rate, which causes additional unemployment as it increases, outweighs the effect it has on variables that could decrease the unemployment rate.

Name: Traynor, Brittany

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: S. Martin, J. Golden

Title: Determinants of the Labor Force:  Men v. Women

Abstract: Inequality amongst men and women in the labor force is persistent and so are the effects that stem from it.  This paper examines one’s decision to participate in the labor force and discovers what the determinants of the labor force participation, (LFP), between men and women are.  The underlying purpose of this particular study is to examine the history of the LFP rates among men and women and discover reasons behind such fluidity.  It is important to note how women and men’s participation can be affected by different phenomena.  I am examining the LFP from 1970 until 2005.  Examining this time frame will allow the research to show the participation rates and demonstrate how the economy as a whole is affected by one’s decision to participate in the labor force.  Specifically, it will allow for the differences between women’s and men’s participation rates and the factors that both sexes take into consideration before making their labor decision.  Knowing what determines one’s LFP is important when formulating economic policies.  After closely researching the determinants of men and women’s LFP, a theoretical analysis of the data will identify important determinants and the empirical analysis will estimate the impact of these factors on the LFP.

Name: Zimmer, Andrew

Date: Spring 2013
Major(s): Economics
Thesis Committee: D. Goldstein, J. Sickafuse

Title: Strategic Positioning Used to Break into the Sports Nutrition Industry

Abstract: In the supplement industry which lacks complete information and credible resources, MusclePharm has grown rapidly as a company due to a number of reasons including their unique strategic positioning. This paper goes into the key reasons why MusclePharm has seen such success and tests those theories by first looking at a number of authors who have written on economic factors that apply to the industry such as Lemon Law, Strategic Positioning, and Ethical behavior. An analysis of a survey is then conducted to see how consumer preferences match up in a constantly changing lightly regulated industry. Supplement usage and consumer preferences are broken down by brand to find out what it is that set supplement companies apart from all of the rest. Based on the literature review and the survey, MusclePharm has seen the success it has due to its product certifications and safety which has created a unique niche in the market allowing them to charge a premium price.