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2010-2011

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  • Thumbnail for Systematic risk through the 2007 financial crisis: increasing leverage in the subprime mortgage market and rating agencies' ignorance of default correlation
    Systematic risk through the 2007 financial crisis: increasing leverage in the subprime mortgage market and rating agencies' ignorance of default correlation by Athey-Lloyd, William

    Homes are a permanent fixture in the “American Dream”, representing security, wealth, and social placement. However, the growing number of subprime mortgages that were granted over the past decade has been blamed for the financial crash of 2007 from which we are still recovering. These subprime mortgages carried too much “systematic risk”. I define systematic risk herein as the risk of collapse of an entire financial system or an entire market due to an external factor such as falling house prices or a failing economy. After the financial crash, the packaging of these mortgages into collateral debt obligations (CDOs) has received intense scrutiny. Only after housing prices started deteriorating did the rating agencies that rated these CDOs issue substantial downgrades to securities that, even a year before, they had rated as safe as government-issued bonds. Could a crisis this severe have been the result of the sheer size of the subprime market? Did rating agencies not see a decline coming? I will address these questions, and make my case that within the last twelve years, increasing leverage within the subprime mortgage market had the most substantial impact on increasing systematic risk. This will include a comparison of my research to the revised 2009 Moody’s rating agency model that accounts for increased levels of correlation in its ratings.

  • Thumbnail for Taxpayer utility in a flat world : investigating the utility effects of a transition from a progressive tax to a flat tax
    Taxpayer utility in a flat world : investigating the utility effects of a transition from a progressive tax to a flat tax by Horton, Douglas, Jr.

    The method of determining tax liability in the United States is commonly questioned by policy makers and taxpayers alike. A new trend is pointing toward the possibility of America adopting a flat taxation system. Part of what this paper hopes to examine is the utility effects experienced by taxpayers resulting from a switch from progressive taxation to the flat tax. A switch from America’s current tax system to the flat tax would leave some tax payers better off, while leaving others worse off. A simulation model was designed to investigate just who these “winners” and “losers” would be in the wake of such a change. This model combined taxpayer income across a broad range and utility functions placing differing levels of preference on leisure time and income. Each simulated taxpayer was given a pre-tax income and assigned to a taxpaying group. Taxpayers fall into four groups under the both the flat and progressive tax systems: single, head of household, married filing jointly, and married filing separately. Seven simulated taxpayers were created for each tax filing option. Next, each taxpayer’s tax liability was calculated under the progressive and flat taxes. The resulting post-tax incomes were then entered into the following utility functions: U=I1/4L3/4, U=I1/2L1/2 and U=I3/4L1/4. In each case I stands for income and L stands for leisure hours, which was held constant at 16. The resulting utility functions were then compared and the difference in taxpayer utility was noted. This simulation was conducted a second time, but this time deductions were included for both the progressive and flat taxes. The end results suggest that if standard deductions are accounted for, taxpayers from a broad range of incomes and who place different levels of preference on income and leisure all experience a gain in utility brought about by a transition to the flat tax.

  • Thumbnail for The NFL draft : does off the field behavior matter to NFL teams?
    The NFL draft : does off the field behavior matter to NFL teams? by Dsida, Bradley Steven

    Crime is very prevalent among athletes of all sports at all levels, but it is seen especially often among football players, whether it be in high school, college, or the NFL. In the following study I determine the variables that have significance on where a college player gets drafted and how much that player gets paid in his rookie contract. In this study I used variables in order to forecast where a player will be drafted using a negative binomial count estimator. I then used this forecasted draft position in an OLS regression with the dependent variable of guaranteed money in a player’s rookie contract. I found that there were some variables that showed up as significant in many of the regressions, however off the field issues of a player was not significant in the regression analysis.

  • Thumbnail for The choice between silence and ending violence : an analysis of protection order seeking for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
    The choice between silence and ending violence : an analysis of protection order seeking for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by Shephard, Bridgett Nichole

    This thesis suggests that certain characteristics make victims of domestic violence and sexual assault more or less likely to seek a Temporary Protection Order (TPO). In Colorado Springs, CO, the annual number of sexual assaults is exceptionally high and domestic violence incidents are frequent. Using data from TESSA, the only agency that is serving victims in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, CO, this thesis examines self-reported victim characteristics in conjunction with TPO seeking behaviors. After analyzing the data with a probit regression, the results have shown that domestic violence and sexual assault are very different crimes, and that domestic violence victims and sexual assault victims display some important differences when it comes to reporting the crimes and seeking TPO’s. Victims of domestic violence are more likely to seek a protection order against an offender who was an acquaintance, but victims of sexual assault are less likely to seek a protection order against an acquaintance. At the same time, all victims demonstrated some similarities in TPO reporting. TESSA clients that lived in rural locations, that had lower annual familial incomes, and that were associated with the military were less likely, to varying degrees, to seek a TPO. The results of this thesis, if combined with community awareness, engagement and cooperation, have the potential to reduce the occurrence of domestic violence and sexual assault in Colorado Springs.

  • Thumbnail for The determinants of ski resort success
    The determinants of ski resort success by Anouna, Ezekiel

    As the economy is in a decline, fewer people are willing to pay for luxuries such as vacations. Thus, the ski resort industry is suffering. This thesis reveals an opportunity m the growth of free skiing and a demand for more difficult terrain. In this paper, data is collected from nearly all Colorado ski resorts to form a regression model explaining resort success. Regression analysis is conducted to discover what aspects of a ski resort contribute to success. Primarily, skier visits from the 2008-2009 ski season are_useclas the dependant variable in the regression model to measure resort success. Additionally, hedonic pricing theory is applied to test lift ticket price as a dependant variable. The paper finds that resort size, and possibly terrain park features are related to resort success. The hedonic pricing regression finds that bowl skiing, and lack of crowds, increase consumer willingness to pay for expensive lift tickets.

  • Thumbnail for The economic, social, and cultural dynamics of the Los Angeles apparel manufacturing industry
    The economic, social, and cultural dynamics of the Los Angeles apparel manufacturing industry by Herzog, Karon Chelsea

    Los Angeles is the largest apparel manufacturing region in the United States. The purpose of this thesis is to gain an understanding of the historical, economical, social, and cultural factors that make Los Angeles the most successful apparel production region in the nation and how forthcoming changes in the apparel industry will affect the region. In order to gain an in depth understanding case study methodology is used.

  • Thumbnail for The economics of happiness : assessing well-being through the relationship between income and happiness
    The economics of happiness : assessing well-being through the relationship between income and happiness by Dollinger, Keegan Flaherty

    The investigation of the relationship between income and happiness can provide important insights into human’s material aspirations. By redefining the application of the term utility, economics can be used to understand how money affects our happiness. Today and in past years at a given point in time those with higher incomes are indeed happier than those with lower incomes. However, raising the incomes of a nation does not make that nation any happier. These conclusions are suggested by data on reported happiness and income collected in the United States over the past forty years. The paradox that takes place in this relationship has important public policy implications and raises doubts on the primary economic goal of growth in GDP. This thesis hopes to stimulate a debate that questions some of the basic tenets of economic theory that regard the use of GDP as a measure of welfare and the simplistic and limiting role that is applied to individuals in behavior models.

  • Thumbnail for The effect of education expenditures on income inequality
    The effect of education expenditures on income inequality by Lynch, Michael Francis

    Income inequality has steadily increased in the United States since the census bureau began officially accounting for it in 1967. Over thirty-percent of American income has been concentrated with the top 5% of income earners since 1976. This study examines the notion that education expenditures have an equalizing effect on income inequality. Based on a panel dataset of fifty states over twenty years from 1986-2005, this research examines the effect of total current education expenditures and sector specific expenditures on the Gini-coefficient. A fixed effects regression model, applied with lagged expenditure data, shows that education only reduces income inequality in the long-run.

  • Thumbnail for The effect of emotional intelligence on virtual team performance
    The effect of emotional intelligence on virtual team performance by Davies, Laura Nicole

    Business has transformed drastically over the past several decades and teamwork is now essential in almost every work environment. Working in teams requires a new set of soft skills that help individuals perceive and relate to the emotions of themselves and others. These types of skills, and others related to emotional processing, are called emotional intelligence. As businesses transition to virtual work teams, there is a more pressing need for emotional intelligence skills. Virtual teams suffer from a lack of trust, which emotionally intelligent individuals may be able to restore. This paper investigated the impact of emotional intelligence on virtual team performance using an experimental design. Undergraduate students were sorted into high and low emotional intelligence teams and performed the Johnson and Johnson Winter Survival Task using chat room technology to simulate a virtual team. While the results of the study did not support the hypothesis that emotional intelligence has a significant impact on the performance of virtual teams, the study adds a new experimental design to the current literature basis and provides unique insights for future research.

  • Thumbnail for The effect of industrial composition on metropolitan population growth
    The effect of industrial composition on metropolitan population growth by Brooks, Jordan Saunders

    Theories of urban development stress the impact of knowledge spillovers in generating the positive externalities necessary for growth. The mechanism for generating these externalities, however, is a source of contention. They can arise, as articulated by Romer among others, from efficiencies derived by concentration of industry; from industry diversity due to inter-industry spillovers, as proposed by Jacobs; or from some interaction between the two. This study utilizes both fixed-effects ordinary least squares and differenced general method of movements models to determine the effect of concentration in specific industries as well as composition of the city as a whole on future population growth. Using a data set that includes industry-specific employment and demographic data for 313 metropolitan areas in the United States from 1969 to 2008, this study finds strong evidence that important knowledge spillovers occur between industries and mixed evidence for the existence of meaningful externalities within industries.

  • Thumbnail for The effects of calorie consumption and calorie expenditure on obesity rates in the United States
    The effects of calorie consumption and calorie expenditure on obesity rates in the United States by Mushlin, Rachel Naomi

    Obesity rates in the United States have increased dramatically since the 1970s. This paper examines the effect of calorie consumption and caloric expenditure on obesity rates for both individuals who report that they are trying to lose weight and individuals who report that they are not trying to lose weight. This study uses Ordinary Least Square (OLS) Regressions for both of these groups, and finds that the results are generally consistent with the existing literature.

  • Thumbnail for The effects of foreign aid on African economies
    The effects of foreign aid on African economies by Rasmussen, Alexander Scott

    A major global issue that our world faces is the dilemma of world poverty that millions of people around the world suffer with. Primarily the highest concentration of global poverty resides within the African continent. Many wealthier nations take it upon themselves to donate funds that attempt to combat this dilemma millions of people are faced with. The major issue with this outside funding is that the funds fail to achieve the goal of relieving the burden of poverty. This study will investigate the effectiveness of foreign aid and how changes in certain economic indicators affect African nations’ overall economies.

  • Thumbnail for The effects of foreign aid on public services in Sub-Saharan Africa
    The effects of foreign aid on public services in Sub-Saharan Africa by Davis, Dru Amelia

    The efficacy of foreign aid has been the topic of a long-standing debate between those who view aid as necessary for growth and development in less developed countries and those who view it, at best, as a waste and, at worst, as harmful to development. In theory, foreign aid should provide what its moniker implies: aid. But determining the precedent conditions under which aid should be provided to make aid successful and effective are blurred. This paper aims to find the specific prescription needed so that aid produces its intended outcome in sub-Saharan Africa: to improve the public service sector thereby leading to overall growth and a reduction of those in poverty in the recipient country. Life expectancy and the primary completion rate in school are used as proxies for examining the improvements, or lack thereof, that are realized in the key sectors of public services, which are public health and education. But OLS regression results show that increasing monetary aid alone does little to realize the goal of improving life expectancy, nor does aid alone increase primary completion rates in a manner that is statistically significant. Instead, aid must be accompanied by predicate circumstances. Individual country characteristics such as financial depth, surplus as a percentage of GDP, and percentage of paved roads are the key components to improving the health and education sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Thumbnail for The globalization of the wine industry
    The globalization of the wine industry by Hustava, Neal K.

    Viticulture has had a rich and relatively stable history. However, in recent times, the wine industry has undergone many changes. The global wine industry no longer depends on the outmoded practices and wines of the Old World. New World wineries have grown immensely in recent years in both production and consumption. This thesis evaluates marketing strategies that have brought New World countries to their current state. It includes an investigation into market positioning, market segmentation, new packaging, and internet advertising techniques that have found their way into the wineries and brands of the New World.

  • Thumbnail for The idea epidemic : an analysis of the diffusion of economic disciplines using epidemiological models
    The idea epidemic : an analysis of the diffusion of economic disciplines using epidemiological models by Gurley, Nicole Reier

    In recent years, there has been increasing interest in what drives the diffusion of knowledge. Recent studies have utilized epidemiological models to track the spread and growth of new academic disciplines. This study quantitatively examines 20 years of publication data in Economics, using modified epidemiological models to find the parameters under which these fields evolve. Looking at the quantitative results for 755 JEL codes, intriguing trends are found in the data. These quantitative outputs provide interesting conclusions not only about specific JEL’s, but also suggest that the characteristics of individuals in a given field can have a significant impact on the development of a field. Specifically, our results indicate that individuals who are charismatic and sociable can have a significant impact on furthering the growth of their discipline.

  • Thumbnail for The impact of men's NCAA Basketball Tournament success on quality and quantity of student applications
    The impact of men's NCAA Basketball Tournament success on quality and quantity of student applications by McGhie, Andrew Duncan

    This thesis examines the impact that men’s college basketball success has on the quantity and quality of student applications over the two years following the school’s basketball success. The quantity of applications as well as SAT and ACT scores sent to the schools following NCAA tournament success serve as dependent variables. By examining how far a team goes in the NCAA tournament and its impact on their schools applicant pool, this thesis will assess whether men’s college basketball teams act as an advertising tool for their respective schools.

  • Thumbnail for The market response to bidders of bank mergers : comparing recessionary and expansionary periods
    The market response to bidders of bank mergers : comparing recessionary and expansionary periods by Outtrim, Eliza

    This thesis compares the market response to bidding banks of a merger in an expansionary period and a recessionary period upon the announcement of that merger. Bidding banks tend to see negative gains upon announcement of a merger. With the recent financial crisis, this thesis hypothesizes that in a recessionary period bidding banks will experience more negative gains than in an expansionary period due to the market's risk aversion during an economic recession and the lack of shareholder wealth maximization by management. Twenty-three bidding banks are examined to gauge the market's response to the bidding banks upon the announcement of a merger. To conduct this study, two methodologies are applied: Tobin's q and the Capital Asset Pricing Model. The results do not uphold the hypothesis showing no enhanced losses to bidding banks in the recession period. This thesis attempts to see if a recessionary period affects the way the market responds to bank mergers.

  • Thumbnail for The new stadium effect : the outcomes and extrapolations of new stadia on teams in the National football League
    The new stadium effect : the outcomes and extrapolations of new stadia on teams in the National football League by Spatt, David Campbell

    When seeking a new home stadium, team owners in the National Football League (NFL) often argue that the addition of a new home field will help to ensure their team’s on-field success and generate more wins. Owners argue that a more competitive team will not only provide an increased public benefit, but that a new state-of-the-art stadium will result in a better team – perhaps one that can even contend for a Super Bowl Championship. The public cost of new multimillion-dollar (even billion dollar) stadia accounts for nearly two-thirds of the cost. Do owners have any rationale to prove their claim that new facilities increase their team’s success? This study investigates the true effect that a new stadium has on NFL teams’ overall regular season win-percentage to see if any statistically significant relationship actually exists.

  • Thumbnail for The non-economic price barriers to wind power
    The non-economic price barriers to wind power by Payne, Ryan

    Currently, fossil fuels are the world’s primary energy source. However, the burning of fossil fuels, for energy, has many negative side effects. There is a growing consensus that burning fossil fuels leads to the greenhouse effect and global warming. The supply of fossil fuels is also finite. Thus, a clean and renewable energy source must eventually replace fossil fuels as our energy source. Wind power is currently the fastest growing, and most efficient, form of renewable energy. Wind power has the potential to unite profitable business with the protection of the environment. However, there are currently many non-price barriers that prohibit wind power from achieving its full potential. This paper takes a qualitative approach. Seven people involved with the wind industry are interviewed. This data is used to determine what barriers to wind power exist and how these barriers can be overcome. It also explores the need for the development of a Smart Grid to achieve the large-scale integration of renewable energy. The majority of the non-price barriers can be alleviated; however, the need for a Smart Grid still remains.

  • Thumbnail for The role of the board of directors in nonprofit mergers and strategic alliances : it's all over the board
    The role of the board of directors in nonprofit mergers and strategic alliances : it's all over the board by Mulshine, Eleanor Claire

    Mergers and strategic alliances, two forms of strategic restructuring that are normally associated with the private sector, are becoming increasingly popular in the nonprofit sector. The board of directors is among the key stakeholders who generally have a role in the strategic restructuring process. This thesis takes an in-depth look at what the merger and strategic alliance process looks like for three recent cases in the Colorado Springs area, as well as what the board of director’s role was in those processes. Interviews were conducted with eleven board members, executives and staff members at AspenPointe, the Pikes Peak YMCA, former USO of the Pikes Peak Region, Partners in Housing, and the Myron Stratton Home. The findings show that the board has an integral and complex role in the nonprofit merger and strategic alliance process.

  • Thumbnail for The sustainability of social enterprises : how hybrid businesses can improve society while also becoming financially independent
    The sustainability of social enterprises : how hybrid businesses can improve society while also becoming financially independent by Modern, Thomas

    Given that financial constraints often stifle the impact of nonprofits, some social organizations have started to incorporate commercial aspects to avoid financial dependence. Such social enterprises innovatively combat global problems by fusing market-based strategies and philanthropic structures. Although its potential is uncontested, the social enterprise field is still relatively young and, to date, few hybrid companies have been effectively scaled. Specifically, social businesses face the unique challenge of operating in an interim sector with limited infrastructure development. This thesis investigates the sustainability of social enterprises by isolating specific variables associated with organizational success. This dissertation empirically tests for the correlation between financial health and access to leverage, use of a market-based strategy, board size, inclusion of women on the board, and business background of board members. This research also draws from interviews with prominent social entrepreneurs to elaborate on additional factors related to sustainability, such as strategic allocation of value to stakeholders, transparency of vision, brand development, and the organizational structure of the company. Overall, this thesis finds that board size is inversely correlated with financial success and demonstrates how cause-driven businesses can utilize stakeholder research to develop a competitive advantage.

  • Thumbnail for Which activities matter in college : an analysis of continued leadership participation using Colorado College alumni records
    Which activities matter in college : an analysis of continued leadership participation using Colorado College alumni records by Levinson, Kathryn Michelle

    While leadership experts have found compelling evidence to support the argument that the undergraduate years, and the institutions themselves play a pivotal role in developing leadership capabilities, colleges and universities need to question whether or not they fit this profile. Colorado College, one of seven schools in the nation under a block system, has never been the focus of such investigations, and while some parameters may include it by default, the question that remains is: do the results found in these studies on leadership development for non-block institutions still hold when tested against the unconventional elements intrinsic to a block system school like Colorado College? Even though this investigation does not include the alumni records from similar non-block institutions, the results found in this study will hopefully provide enough information to signal if the theories presented in the literature are applicable to and accurately representative of Colorado College’s demographic.

  • Thumbnail for Who's game is it anyway? A new, modern look at racism and wage discrimination in the NBA
    Who's game is it anyway? A new, modern look at racism and wage discrimination in the NBA by Sweet, Jarrell

    This study was inspired by the ongoing discussions of the involvement of racism in the NBA. The goal of this study is to determine the presence of racism in the NBA through a careful study of player and coaches wages based on their productivity. Previous studies from the 80's as well as 90's have shown that there have been incredible wage gaps between white and black players in the NBA (those wages being in favor of the white players). Using a study of 276 players and 30 coaches from the 2009-10 season, salaries will be put into a regression model while holding player and coach productivity constant. Player and coach salaries will be the dependent variable along with eleven independent variables in the player regression model and 6 independent variables in the coaches' regression model. The results showed that there is a small difference in wages between white and non-white players but not enough to make valid claims of wage discrimination. For coaches, the regression results shows that race does not have a significant effect on salaries but there is still a noticeable salary gap between white and non-white coaches, in favor of white coaches.