March 15, 2011
Cora Wigger (left) and Emilie O’Malley presented their research at the annual Eastern Economic Association Conference last month in New York City.
WOOSTER, Ohio — Cora Wigger and Emilie O’Malley, both junior international relations majors at The College of Wooster, presented the results of their research at the annual Eastern Economic Association Conference in New York City on February 25.
“We are continuing a Wooster tradition of being well-represented at a prestigious national conference,” said Amyaz Moledina, associate professor of economics and co-director of Wooster’s Center for Diversity and Global Engagement. “It is exciting to see our students showcase their research and get feedback before they hand in their final I.S. (Independent Study – Wooster’s nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program).”
Wigger discussed the impact of Core Labor Standards (CLS) on economic growth. Her theoretical findings support the hypothesis that proper implementation of CLS increases the efficiency of workers as well as the stock of human capital, and thus has positive implications for economic growth. In her work, which was advised by Aziz Berdiev, visiting assistant professor of economics, Wigger questions the validity of variables and methods chosen by other authors examining similar issues. “She creates a new measure of CLS, accounting for the ratification of International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions as well as the political environment of the country,” said Moledina.
O’Malley breaks new ground on the topic of interdependence. She argues that economics literature is replete with studies of natural resources, while international political economy (IPE) studies cooperation and interdependence. “Few have merged the two areas, but Emilie explores the implications of natural resource abundance on interstate relations and asks if natural resource abundance facilitates infrastructure development and trade, and entwines the politics of different states,” said Moledina. “Building from rebel recruitment theory, she utilizes game theory and regression analysis to examine the interaction between a resource-rich and resource-poor state, and finds that resource abundance incentivizes cooperation, which is characterized by the exchange of payoffs and resources. The result is economic and political interdependence.”
In addition to presenting, both students attended other sessions, including the keynote address by Paul Krugman, president of the Eastern Economic Association, about the crisis in the economics profession. They also had an opportunity to meet and network with Wooster alumni who live in New York at a dinner hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations.
Upon returning from the conference, Wigger and O’Malley presented their work to a multidisciplinary group of students, faculty, staff, and community members at the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement’s inaugural I-Seminar, which brings the student’s work back to Wooster.
“It was interesting to be exposed to how other schools teach economics/IPE,” said O’Malley. “Many presentations emphasized empirics as the end-all; a project was good if it had significant results. Wooster, on the other hand, teaches regression analysis as a tool. Empirics can do neat things, but it is only as strong as the theory it supports. The experience made it clear how valuable and comprehensive Wooster's approach to a senior project really is.”
Liya Aklilu, senior manager at Colombia’s Center for Global Health and Economic Development and a 1996 College of Wooster graduate, said that spending an evening with students who are intelligent and engaged in their work was inspiring. “It reminded me of the value that lies in seeing the world through a lens of possibilities,” she said. “I.S. can seem torturous at times, but talking to current students made me long for the opportunity to spend a year querying a topic of my choice. I now realize that the I.S. process is a gift.”
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
© Map and Directions | Employment | A to Z Index | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions | Email | ScotWeb | ScotBlogs | Libraries | WHN