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2016-2017

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  • Thumbnail for Is it Economics, or the Bad Luck of a Conflict-Ridden DNA: A Study of the Causes of Civil War in the Middle East and North Africa
    Is it Economics, or the Bad Luck of a Conflict-Ridden DNA: A Study of the Causes of Civil War in the Middle East and North Africa by Al Alami, Mayss Rajab

    The Middle Eastern Exceptionalism theory characterizes the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an inevitable, conflict-ridden nature that cannot be resolved. Such a theory, when adopted by policy makers and scholars, leads to misconceptions about the region. Amongst these misconceptions is blaming factors such as the dominance of the religion of Islam and social fractionalisation for the conflict in the region. More fundamental factors, such as poor economic conditions are then seen as mere results of such social characteristics. This study contends the theory of Middle Eastern Exceptionalism, and compares the factors that increase the likelihood of civil war globally to those in the MENA region. This study concludes that three economic factors have the greatest influence on increasing the likelihood of civil war, and these are: low income per capita, low economic growth, and large population size. It also finds that foreign intervention and religious fractionalisation increase the likelihood of civil war onset. Most importantly, however, the study presents strong results that there are no factors unique to the MENA region that increase its likelihood of civil conflict. This conclusion encourages policy makers to eliminate the theory of Middle Eastern Exceptionalism, and to instead adopt more tactical and proactive approaches in the region to treat the prevalent grievances that cause civil war.

  • Thumbnail for LOCATION MATTERS: THE IMPACT OF MASS MEDIA ON FERTILITY IN BRAZIL
    LOCATION MATTERS: THE IMPACT OF MASS MEDIA ON FERTILITY IN BRAZIL by Hanson, Annika

    Total fertility rates in Brazil experienced a sharp decrease in the second half of the 20th century—from 6.3 children per woman in 1950 to 2.3 children per woman in 2000. Attempting to explain this phenomenon, current literature explores the correlation between fertility and media. However, few studies include a variable for geographical location in their models and even fewer include location as a variable of interest. This study intends to fill the gap in literature and provides a more comprehensive explanation of the effect of geographical location and mass media on a woman’s fertility. This study concludes that mass media has a greater impact on the fertility of women living in more remote places of residence. Additionally, women living in the North region have significantly more children than women living in other regions, and women living in capital cities have less variation in their responses than women living in other places of residence. These conclusions provide insight for improvement and possible future studies. Further, the increasing influence of media across places of residence presents an encouraging result; mass media can impact fertility in regions that are hard to reach, and it can be used as a means to educate people living in remote locations.

  • Thumbnail for MAPPING SENTIMENT: A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS ON 10-K DOCUMENTS USING AN ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORK
    MAPPING SENTIMENT: A TEXTUAL ANALYSIS ON 10-K DOCUMENTS USING AN ARTIFICIAL NEURAL NETWORK by Sin, Ryan

    Using nearly 8000 10-K documents published in 2016 and 2017, we generate contextual vectors through artificial neural networks and test whether the language of 10-K documents, without any detailed numeric indicators of financial performance, correlate with earnings per share and other financials of the S&P 500. We find significant correlation between earnings per share and contextual vectors, concluding that semantic analysis is a valuable tool that has great potential in financial analysis.

  • Thumbnail for MARKETING TO PROMOTE A RESPONSIBLE DRINKING CULTURE: THE CRAFT BREWING INDUSTRY AND DUIS IN COLORADO
    MARKETING TO PROMOTE A RESPONSIBLE DRINKING CULTURE: THE CRAFT BREWING INDUSTRY AND DUIS IN COLORADO by Kauffman, Catherine

    Alcohol-related accidents in 2015 consisted of 29% of total traffic fatalities in the United States (NHTSA 2015). Meanwhile, the craft brewing industry has been on the rise in the past decade, especially in the state of Colorado. An increase in alcohol availability is most commonly associated with an increase in DUIs. However, this study hypothesizes that there will be a negative correlation between the opening of craft breweries and the rate of DUI arrests in Colorado. Panel data were collected for the 64 counties in Colorado from 2009-2014 on the rate of DUI arrests, gathered from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, and on the amount of craft breweries opening, gathered from the national Brewer’s Association. Demographic and economic variables were included to provide controls and more realistic results. Fixed effects regression techniques were used to control for unobserved potential heterogeneity between counties. After econometric analysis of the panel data set, an increase in craft breweries opening is not significantly associated with DUI rates in Colorado.

  • Thumbnail for Mapping Sentiment: a Textual Analysis on 10-K Documents Using an Artificial Neural Network
    Mapping Sentiment: a Textual Analysis on 10-K Documents Using an Artificial Neural Network by Sin, Ryan

    Using nearly 8000 10-K documents published in 2016 and 2017, we generate contextual vectors through artificial neural networks and test whether the language of 10-K documents, without any detailed numeric indicators of financial performance, correlate with earnings per share and other financials of the S&P 500. We find significant correlation between earnings per share and contextual vectors, concluding that semantic analysis is a valuable tool that has great potential in financial analysis.

  • Thumbnail for Productive, Physical, and Social Attributes in Determining a NBA Player's Salary
    Productive, Physical, and Social Attributes in Determining a NBA Player's Salary by Bell, Derek

    The National Basketball Association is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. Franchise owners want the best players on their team to build an increasing fan base, win championships, and generate revenue. Therefore, players displaying key qualities are more likely to receive more money from owners. This paper investigates what productive, physical, and social attributes along with league regulations are most important in predicting a player’s annual salary. The data shows that social attributes have no effect on determining individual salary, but player productivity, Collective Bargaining Agreements, and physical capabilities are significant determinants of salary.

  • Thumbnail for Public Perceptions and Willingness to Pay for Alternative Water Sources
    Public Perceptions and Willingness to Pay for Alternative Water Sources by Sheehan, Che Espenoza

    One way to help address the growing demand for water globally is through the development of alternative water sources, however, one of the biggest obstacles in using these sources is overcoming a strong negative public perception. This paper uses the contingent valuation method to survey what an average American is willing to pay (WTP) for alternative water sources through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 696). Results show that disgust and prior knowledge of an alternative water source are important determinants of WTP for those water sources.

  • Thumbnail for Qualitative Research Of Reverse Mortgages: Followed By Quantitative Analysis of Virginia's HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) Reverse Mortgage Market
    Qualitative Research Of Reverse Mortgages: Followed By Quantitative Analysis of Virginia's HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) Reverse Mortgage Market by Grossman, William

    Home Equity Release Products, commonly referred to as reverse mortgages, allow people 62 and older to sell equity or future appreciation in a home they own in return for liquid currency. The consumer of the product enters a contract that allows them to reside in the home and not pay back the loan until the primary borrower dies, moves out, or sells their home. The attraction of this special type of mortgage is that it allows people to smooth income at an older age. This is very important considering it increases financial safety to our aging population. After reading this thesis, I hope you have a better understanding of the reverse mortgage products offered in the United States, and understand why they are important in this day and age. After reading this you should also have an understanding of the regression models and can see how different independent variables can affect the length of a reverse mortgage contract. We live in a country where the population is aging and people are living longer, thus understanding how these reverse mortgage products work will increase financial safety to our elderly, taking burden off of younger generations.

  • Thumbnail for Reshaping Rio: Competitive Balance and its Influence on the Summer Olympic Games
  • Thumbnail for Retail Marijuana Stores, Crime, and Traffic Fatalities
    Retail Marijuana Stores, Crime, and Traffic Fatalities by Oldendorf, Daniel

    As of April 2017, 8 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, but studies on the effects of legalization are limited. This study focuses on the effects of the regulation of marijuana sale on public health in Colorado’s counties. Certain counties in Colorado allow businesses to sell marijuana, while others do not. If alcohol and marijuana are economic substitutes, violent crime and traffic fatalities should be reduced. I find that the counties that allow retail marijuana dispensaries see a significant decrease in violent crime and unemployment for the first two years of legalization. My results also suggest these counties see a reduction in alcohol related traffic fatalities, but these results are not statistically significant by conventional methods.

  • Thumbnail for Russians in the NHL (National Hockey League): Are They Getting Paid a Premium?
    Russians in the NHL (National Hockey League): Are They Getting Paid a Premium? by Gerdes, Lucas

    This paper examines if the Russians already in the NHL (National Hockey League) are being paid a premium due to the competition for their services from the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League). This paper assesses the determinants of player salaries in the NHL. Data was collected over the 2011-2012 season to the 2015-2016 season in the NHL. I find that player production and Russian nationality are significant determinants of NHL player salaries.

  • Thumbnail for SOLAR POWER TO THE PEOPLE: AN ANALYSIS OF RESIDENTIAL PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM FINANCING
    SOLAR POWER TO THE PEOPLE: AN ANALYSIS OF RESIDENTIAL PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM FINANCING by Stepien, Isabelle Rogers

    Residential photovoltaic systems can provide a household clean electricity at a lower rate than traditional, utility electricity. Solar systems’ high installation price can prevent many middle-income households from adopting solar, however. This paper examines six ways of purchasing a residential photovoltaic system: a cash purchase, home equity loan, cash out mortgage refinancing, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan, solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and solar leases. Qualitative and quantitative factors are analyzed to determine the affordability of each purchase option and accessibility of solar financing mechanisms to middle-income Californian households. The 20-year cost of electricity to an average household is modeled with a solar system, purchased six different ways. Total cost considers system purchase, financing costs, maintenance and operation, tax rebates and credits, and Net Energy Metering. This model calculates a 37%-57% savings of 20-year electricity costs when a household adopts solar, compared to using traditional, utility electricity.

  • Thumbnail for Stocks, United States, Statistics
    Stocks, United States, Statistics by Izquierdo, Emilio

    This paper explores the relationship between levels of short selling and stock prices in the U.S. securities market. The calculations are based on a dataset that contains company information from the three major domestic exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) and spans a two-year period from January 2015 to January 2017. If short sellers are the informed traders they are said to be, short interest should be a negative predictor of stock price. For the NYSE, an increase in short interest is negatively correlated with share price in the following month, but this finding does not hold at the aggregate level. Firms with increased short interest and low institutional ownership are more likely to have negative price movements in the subsequent month.

  • Thumbnail for Strategic vs. Not-For-Profit Corporate Social Responsibility: A Time Analysis
    Strategic vs. Not-For-Profit Corporate Social Responsibility: A Time Analysis by Acquisto, Aiden

    Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now a standard pillar of the corporate landscape. However, despite its prevalence, many CSR studies still boast ambiguous CSR taxonomy and fail to direct attention to some of the different mediums to which CSR manifests. Particularly, although various quantifiable metrics have been applied to deciphering the impact that CSR has on corporate financial statements, research into the evaluation of the relationship between CSR and the stock market has remained relatively neglected. This study first characterizes corporate social responsibility as either strategic, a profit-maximizing CSR classification derived from Baron (2001), or not-for-profit, a purely philanthropic action. Through this categorization, this study proceeds to test the stock market reactions to announcements articulating strategic and not-for-profit CSR initiatives. In addition, this study conducts time-specific tests to evaluate how shareholder preferences to both strategic and not-for-profit CSR initiatives have evolved throughout time. We find that as a whole, shareholders react more positively to strategic CSR than not-for-profit CSR and that shareholders have

  • Thumbnail for Suicide Likelihood Among Farmers in Punjab
    Suicide Likelihood Among Farmers in Punjab by Lauer, Jacob

    This study focuses on the problem of agrarian suicide in the Punjab region of India using individual level survey data. Previous research on North Indian farmer suicides has focused solely on economic and climate related causes, and ignored familial and personal characteristics of these victims almost entirely. This study fills this gap using a Logit model to analyze how different social, as well as financial and agricultural factors increase or decrease suicide likelihood among farmers in northern India. Then it further breaks down the financial components using a Tobit Regression to model how various aspects, such as education, affect farmer debt. The findings confirm previous aggregate studies of suicide showing education and marriage to be negative correlates and decreased crop profits and debt to be positive correlates of suicide; however, it also finds the coefficients of the social factors to be much larger than those of the financial and agricultural variables. This suggests that social factors, and not debt and crop failure, may be the most important keys to preventing Indian farmer suicide. The combination of these findings helps identify Indian agrarian workers who are most prone to suicide as well as provide direction for potential policy solutions to the suicide epidemic.

  • Thumbnail for The Benefits of Extremes; How the Bifurcated Wine Market Affects Prices and Keeps Competition Levels High
    The Benefits of Extremes; How the Bifurcated Wine Market Affects Prices and Keeps Competition Levels High by Cohlmia, Kate Rose

    With the wine market offering a larger selection and variation than ever, some believe that the ideology of wine is under a shift as the market splits. Studying the factors involved in wine pricing, this paper hopes to explain how the extreme variation in prices is able to occur in such a homogenous good despite growing competition. The growing power of both sides leads to a hypothesis that the relationship between pricing of the two extremes is symbiotic and that both are benefiting from the growth of the other. This theory is tested using prices of similarly rated consumer and luxury brand wines to see how the presence of both extremes affects their prices.

  • Thumbnail for The Effect of Experiencing a Salient Extreme Weather Event on Climate Change Attitudes and Policy Support
    The Effect of Experiencing a Salient Extreme Weather Event on Climate Change Attitudes and Policy Support by Mathieson, Rebecca Elizabeth

    Climate change concern remains remarkably low in the United States despite extensive evidence of its current and future negative impacts on the planet. Previous research suggests this is because people perceive climate change as a distant risk that will not affect them personally. This study investigates whether experiencing an extreme adverse weather event such as the 2012-2016 California drought reduces the psychological distance of the issue, and leads those who experienced the weather event to have higher levels of concern about climate change. Using data from a survey administered to California, Oregon, and Washington residents in February 2017, regression analysis was performed to evaluate the hypotheses. It was expected that those living in California who had experienced the drought would express higher levels of concern over climate change than those in Oregon or Washington who had not experienced the drought. Additionally, it was hypothesized that those who experienced the drought would also be more likely to support environmental policy aimed at mitigating climate change than those with no drought experience. The first model in the study showed that drought experience on its own does not lead to higher levels of climate change concern. It was found, however, that experiencing climate change to a lesser degree, such as observing warming temperatures, does increase concern. The second model showed that those who express higher levels of concern over climate change are much more likely to support environmental policy.

  • Thumbnail for The Effect of Presidential Elections on the Economy
    The Effect of Presidential Elections on the Economy by Roos, Alexander

    This study examines the effect that presidential elections have on the economy in the six-months leading up to election day. By investigating several financial markets, we seek to understand whether the economy is directly effected during presidential elections. There have been numerous studies performed looking into the economy during presidential elections, but this particular studies uses financial markets to gauge the fluctuations in the economy during this time period. The data gathered for this study consists of two separate cases, both representing a surprise Republican victory. The model used focuses on the Republican candidate’s stock price from the Iowa Electronic Market. This variable, Republican candidate stock price, was then used to examine the effect of that candidate’s position in the presidential race against the independent variables, which represent economic performance. The results of this study have shown that presidential elections do not have a significant effect on the economy leading up to election day. Additionally, this study finds that the economy experiences significant fluctuations in financial markets during the month immediately following a presidential election.

  • Thumbnail for The Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility on Corporate Financial Performance
    The Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility on Corporate Financial Performance by Hansen, Matthew

    The current literature analyzing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) has not shown a definitive correlation. This study attempts to determine whether implementing CSR into a company’s core business policy will show positive, negative, or neutral returns. The model in this study was based on CSR-Hub’s ratings to find any relationship between three different financial measurements: return on assets (ROA), return on equity (ROE), and earnings per share (EPS) through the years 2012-2015. This study uses total employees to control for the size of various companies, a year dummy to control for economic factors within each year, and the company’s beta to control for risk. Based on the results of this study, companies will be able to make an educated decision on whether implementing CSR into its core business policies will be financially beneficial.

  • Thumbnail for The Effects of Exchange Rate Change on International Student Mobility: an Empirical Study
    The Effects of Exchange Rate Change on International Student Mobility: an Empirical Study by Jin, Qi

    This paper investigated the effect of exchange rate on international student mobility. The paper will begin with literature reviews of the recent papers about the trends in international student mobility and information about exchange rate. The next section will describe the dataset and the empirical models used to examine the relationship between exchange rate and international student mobility. The paper will conclude with the discussion of the implication and limitation of the econometric results.

  • Thumbnail for The Effects of the Paris Agreement on Renewable and Conventional Energy Companies' Stock Returns
    The Effects of the Paris Agreement on Renewable and Conventional Energy Companies' Stock Returns by Harrison, Morgan Dean

    This paper analyzes the effects of the Paris Agreement on renewable and conventional energy companies’ stock returns; particularly, do renewable energy stocks have positive abnormal stock returns while their conventional counterparts display negative or no abnormal returns? This paper applies an event study methodology to the signing of the most important climate deal since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, as a result of the unanticipated completion and high level of international ambition of world leaders to cut emissions and promote low carbon technologies. For example, Sunpower’s, a solar energy company, shares shot up 8.7% in the immediate aftermath of the treaty’s signing while those of Rice Energy, a petroleum exploration and production company, fell by more than 8%. By using the market model, this paper aims to estimate the effect of the Paris Agreement on short-term abnormal daily stock returns of U.S. and European renewable and conventional energy stocks. With new investment flows into renewable energy companies and increased adherence to regulatory compliance by conventional energy companies, this paper utilizes stock returns as a useful indicator to detect whether environmentally corporate socially responsible (CSR) renewable energy companies will outperform their traditional fossil fuel counterparts. This paper examines the hypotheses of higher positive abnormal returns for U.S. renewable energy companies, more negative abnormal returns for U.S. conventional energy companies, negative abnormal stock returns for the combined sample of conventional energy companies, and positive abnormal stock returns for the combined sample of corporations exclusively engaged in renewable energies. This study shows that U.S. renewable and conventional energy samples outperformed and underperformed the European samples, respectively. As a whole, conventional energy companies show significant negative abnormal returns while renewable energy companies exhibit positive abnormal returns. This suggests that investors priced in these companies’ environmental CSR after the announcement of the Paris Agreement.

  • Thumbnail for The Emerging Athlete Stock Exchange
    The Emerging Athlete Stock Exchange by Riley, Thomas Andres

    The paper presented explores the current use and future implications of the securitization of professional athletes’ future income streams. Including both off-field financial variables, and on-field game variables, this study seeks to inform both investors and athletes alike of the attractive traits that lead to success in the athlete tracking stock market and growth in an individual athletes tracking stock. Using a single OLS model, the paper discovers the variables that carry significance in determining short-run growth of an athlete tracking stock. The model incorporates figures from Fantex Inc, the global leader in issuing and trading athlete tracking stocks, with figures from six NFL athletes from the 2013-2017 seasons. The observations should serve as preliminary analysis of an enticing, fast-growing financial market.

  • Thumbnail for The Impact of Demand Shocks on the Emerging Markets of South and Central America
    The Impact of Demand Shocks on the Emerging Markets of South and Central America by McCormick, John

    This study uses structural vector auto regressions, based on the model by Lutz Kilian, to explore Latin American market exposure to oil demand channels and the influence of these oil demand shocks on five major stock indices in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. This investigation finds a loosely consistent pattern in the region and significant relationship between precautionary demand shocks and market index returns. Aggregate demand shocks appear to be less significant in most Latin American countries. Additionally, this study investigates the magnitude and time frame by which markets are affected by each type of demand shock.

  • Thumbnail for The Impact of Endogenous Oil Price Shocks on the Emerging Markets of South and Central America
    The Impact of Endogenous Oil Price Shocks on the Emerging Markets of South and Central America by McCormick, John

    This study uses structural vector auto regressions, based on the model by Lutz Kilian, to explore Latin American market exposure to oil demand channels and the influence of these oil demand shocks on five major stock indices in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. This investigation finds a loosely consistent pattern in the region and significant relationship between precautionary demand shocks and market index returns. Aggregate demand shocks appear to be less significant in most Latin American countries. Additionally, this study investigates the magnitude and time frame by which markets are affected by each type of demand shock.

  • Thumbnail for The Impact of Export Diversification and Corruption on Human Development
    The Impact of Export Diversification and Corruption on Human Development by Havasi, Marcel Philippe

    This study examines the impact of primary commodity exports on to the human development index (HDI). Recent literature suggests Least Developed Countries engage in export policies that focus on a select number of primary commodities. I use The World Bank data from 92 countries, from 1981 to 2013. Export commodity reliance is measured through the percentage of merchandise exports devoted to agriculture, foods, ores and metals, fuel, and technology. This study finds that greater GDP per capita, general government final consumption expenditure, the price of commodity goods, percentage of permanent cropland, fuel exports, greater trade openness, and lowered corruption promote greater human development. Other factors such as gross capital formation, agricultural exports, food exports, high technological exports, and ores and metal exports hinder human development.