Academics > Summer Research Program

The Spellman Summer Research Program

Wander down the hallway of second floor Stuart Hall in June or July and you're likely to hear a small group of students engaged in a lively discussion on anything from developing economies to the marketing of children's toys. You might hear students and faculty arguing over total quality management principles. If you ask any of them why they're in a college classroom on a sunny summer day, you might just be invited to join them in discussing what they've been reading as they work on summer research projects in economics or business.

Each year, eight to ten business, economics, and accounting majors are selected as Spellman Research Associates and are invited to spend the summer at Coe, working on a research project with a Department faculty member. Research Associates receive a stipend, housing allowance, and a free course credit for the summer. Throughout the summer, they meet with their faculty supervisors and with each other in an attempt to learn more about the topics they're studying and about the process of conducting academic research.

The work done by many Research Associates is the beginning stage of what will turn into a senior honor thesis. These theses are in-depth papers that are presented and defended by the students to a faculty committee on campus and are sometimes also presented at professional meetings or published in academic journals.

These opportunities have been made possible by generous donations to the Spellman Fund.


Spellman Summer Research Workshop Associates

2013

Anna Barton '14
Majors: Business Administration, Economics

This summer I worked on developing a literature review for my senior thesis with a focus on how people construct different identities through consumption. These identities can reflect their actual self, ideal self, or situational social selves. The theory of symbolic interactionism, centered around how shared meanings are created and maintained through social interaction, will be used to help explain how people use products and services when creating and reinforcing identity through consumption.

Trang Dam '14
Majors: Business Administration, Economics

This summer, I am doing research on the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in economic growth. Economic theories suggest that FDI can induce growth through two major channels: capital accumulation and the transfer of technology. According to endogenous growth theory, which identifies human capital and innovation as the key factors in growth, FDI can make a significant and long-term contribution to economic growth through technology diffusion. The statement that FDI is a great source of externalities and spillover effects, thus accelerating the catching-up process in the developing countries, while being supported by economic theories yet is debatable in empirical studies. Considering a lack of empirical support, I believe that the type of investment and the circumstances FDI encounters when it enters the recipient country can influence the relationship between FDI and growth, including but not limited to the country’s factor endowments, trade regime, local linkages and the role of institution. I further examined the role of each factor through cross-country studies. My next step is looking at some country case studies to prepare for my case study on Vietnam in the future.

Dylan Henderson '14
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

My research topic is over the legal, economic and social implications of the new legalized marijuana laws adopted by several states in the last year. A primary focus of my effort is to examine the difficulty of designing and implementing state regulations for an activity/product that is still illegal and prohibited by federal law. I am also researching the potential economic implications that policy makers should consider when evaluating the different regulatory approaches available at both the state and national level.

Logan Keehner '14
Majors: Business Administration, Public Relations

My summer research focused on how marketing efforts in the music industry have changed in an age immersed in Web 2.0, user-generated content, and peer-to-peer file sharing. The majority of music-related consumer spending has moved from the purchase of physical CDs to digital copies of music, and additionally merchandise and live shows. My goal was to gain a better understanding of how music firms use marketing and advertising to break through the clutter in today's dynamic digital world. In the coming school year, I will be writing an honor's thesis focused on consumer behavior in response to the dynamic marketing tactics made necessary by these changes in technology.

Hannah McQueen '14
Majors: Economics, Sociology

This summer, I have been exploring the economic impact of gender inequality in developing countries. In developing and developed countries alike, women have traditionally been marginalized by patriarchal social systems, especially in the early stages of development. My focus is on women’s opportunities in the labor force. Discrimination against women in the labor force can manifest itself through gender wage gaps, occupational segregation, and women's labor force participation rates; evidence suggests that these factors negatively affect economic growth. I hope to continue this line of research for my senior thesis and produce a country case study that measures the direct economic impact of gender inequality on productivity and growth.

Timothy Palmer '15
Majors: Business Administration, Economics

For my summer research I am designing and testing a few simple technical trading strategies. I am hoping this will give me some insight into the validity of technical analysis and the market efficiency debate. I have been completing relevant summer reading to give me a deeper understanding of how financial markets work and an overview of the theories that are currently being researched. I have also been designing a few technical trading rules and back testing them on past market data.

Amy Smith '14
Majors: Music, Business Administration
Minor: Economics

In considering ways to increase the productivity of a firm, economists emphasize the efficient allocation and utilization of land, capital (physical and human) and technology. However, economists have not paid enough attention to the impact of management practices on firm productivity. This is partly because there appears to be a wealth of information available in the public domain regarding management practices, and economists assume that firms will adopt these practices most efficiently; however, this may not be the case. My research has consisted of an overview of the management practices in the public domain, including individuals with significant contributions to management philosophy as well as management models. From this foundation, I want to research the recent Industrial Organization literature on Bossonomics: the Economics of Management and Productivity and perform case studies with several Coe alumni who have attempted to implement these management models into their firms.

Amanda Tharp '14
Majors: Business Administration, Psychology, Organizational Science
Minor: Spanish

Employer branding is a vital tool companies can use to set themselves apart and to attract and retain the best employees in the race for talent. This summer I focused on researching employer branding and developing a methodology to study and apply it to real-life companies.

Sarah Thielen '14
Majors: Business Administration

I am researching the case of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc. Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC must follow certain procedures when investigating discrimination complaints. In the recent CRST ruling, the Eighth Circuit challenged what it and CRST alleged was the EEOC's "sue first, ask questions later" tactic when certifying class action lawsuits. The court required the EEOC "to exhaust its investigation and conciliation obligations as to each individual claimant before filing class litigation against an employer." This ruling has already had numerous repercussions on EEOC cases in many other states. Through an analysis of other court cases decided after CRST, I am examining how much this has affected the EEOC's tactics and plans, as well the impact of the case on affected victims of workplace discrimination.


2012

Anna Barton '14
Majors: Business Administration, Economics

My summer research focused on developing an understanding of consumer behavior, or how consumers form preferences and make choices among products. This summer I also was intentional in exploring the different areas of consumer behavior in order to find an area of particular interest for a future research project and thesis. As a result of this summer's research, I have found an interest in the concept of Identity Constructs, or how consumers use purchasing decisions to build a multifaceted identity for personal and public reasons. I look forward to further exploring this topic.

Trang Dam '14
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

My summer research focused on the role of trade in the great divergence during the first global century (1820-1913). The theory of comparative advantage suggests that countries can become better off from trade. In fact, every country except East Asia experienced positive increases in their GDP during that period. The gain from trade is undeniable; however, the growth rates of the poor periphery countries were relatively low compared to those of the Western European countries during the peak of the first globalization century. My goal was to gain a better understanding of the three main negative influences of trade on the long-run economic growth of the periphery: deindustrialization effects, rent-seeking behavior of those who gain from trade and price volatility. For further research, I would like to look at the possible economic role of institutions in helping the periphery overcome trade induced obstacles to rapid economic growth.

Reid Galbraith '13
Majors: Political Science, Economics

This past summer I have continued my research based around the broad question of why some countries are rich and others are so poor? This central question of economics has divided many economists into different camps based on what they believe is the fundamental cause of long run economic growth. After aligning myself with those who believe that institutions are the most important factor in determination of growth, I spent the beginning of this summer reading a book entitled Guns, Germs and Steel, which examined the effect of geography on the ability of a society to create large scale food production for its inhabitants. After that my research shifted into the impact that policy makers specifically can have on the growth of their country. Empirical evidence has shown that there is no magic bullet as many westerners believe that can solve the economic problems of developing nations. Instead it is better to take the approach of identifying the most significant binding constraints a developing nation faces and find ways to correct those inhibitors to growth. It's largely impossible to focus on every area that has gone astray in a given economy, but focusing efforts in the most troublesome areas can have very positive results.

Steven Irlbeck '13
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

Employee retention is often one of the most prominent issues for top-level managers due to the costs associated with employee turnover. Currently, the national voluntary turnover rate is over 21% and in terms of capital, time, and efficiency lost, the total cost of voluntary turnover ranges from 90%-200% of an employee’s annual salary. This summer I continued to investigate the reasons why employees initiate their own leave from their jobs. Specifically, I focused on job embeddedness, a construct used to quantify how ‘stuck’ an employee is to his/her job, and its effect in the turnover process. I plan to continue this research by performing a case study and reporting my findings in a senior thesis.

Manish Khadka '14
Majors: Public Accounting, Business Administration

My research this summer has been on the corporate control modeled on the distinct organizational structure of the Green Bay Packers, the only corporate owned franchise in the NFL. My study focuses on whether the presence of the Packers' diverse ownership base will lead to severe agency costs (costs incurred when the interests of shareholders and management are not aligned). To test the hypothesis, I look at measures that suggest whether Packers are better or worse than the average NFL teams over the past 4 decades. The results are contrary to the agency theory prediction. I further study whether the Coase Theorem can help explain why the Packers perform in such a distinctive pattern. I conclude that the implicit transfer of ownership from shareholders to management is the key success factor for the Packers, a result consistent with the Coase Theorem.

Michael Mitsche '13
Majors: Economics, Mathematics

My research concerns the interconnections between trade and economic growth. For a country, an increase in the amount of goods and services that a country imports directly increases that country’s GDP.  Moreover, it is believed that imbedded in those goods and services there is a technological advancement which may increase that countries growth rate. I reviewed several papers that analyzed the potential growth benefits from trade and subsequently looked at studies which used empirical evidence to see if either the volume of trade, or the openness to trade, seemed to actually correlate in increased growth. To continue my summer research into a thesis I plan to do some empirical work of my own to update some of the critically important, but dated studies.

Anh Phuong Ngo '13
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

This summer, I did a research on the Economics of Industrial Policy. Evidence suggests that every country ends up using some sort of industrial policy to promote economic growth and development. Therefore, the purpose of my summer research was to answer the question “What, if any, is the economic rationale for industrial policy?” Among the many factors that may justify the need for industrial policy, I focus on market failure and coordination failure. In order to understand their role in causing economic underdevelopment, I studied some economic models which explain why externalities – especially complementarities, along with increasing returns to scale, history and expectations can lock an economy in a low-level equilibrium. Due to these failures, I believe that in some cases, it is necessary to implement an industrial policy – a restructuring policy to implement and coordinate dynamic, new economic activities to enable the economy to move out of its low-level equilibrium outcome (Rodrik). Besides studying industrial policy, I also looked at the growth diagnostics framework – an analytical method used to identify the binding constraints on economic growth. I plan to use the economic models mentioned above to perform a country study on Vietnam.

Amanda Tharp '14
Majors: Business Administration, Psychology

My research this summer focused on developing an understanding of consumer behavior, and to that end I read many scholarly articles covering a variety of consumer behavior topics. The ultimate goal of my summer research experience was to identify a personal area of interest for future research within the Department that could lead to the completion of an honors thesis. At this point in my research, the area of consumer behavior research I am most interested in has to do with the underlying psychological factors that influence consumer choices.


2011

William Borseth '13
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

This summer, I've been studying causes of economic growth and development. It is a fairly unsettled field, with accomplished economists taking very diverse positions that often directly refute one another. The role of institutions clearly plays a large role, as does geography, whether it be exogenous or endogenous. Much of the literature emphasizes the European colonization as evidence for their view. The conditions they encountered, such as native population and factor endowments, lead them to set up different institutions that lead to varying degrees of income inequality, which would continue to impact growth.

Erin Brandt '12
Majors: Business Administration

I am researching the evolution of cause-related marketing and its effects on consumer perceptions of participating corporations. This includes studying how a cause-related advertising messaging does or does not affect buying behavior; the relative influence of product performance, price, and cause-related messages on purchase intentions; and the depth of connection between for-profit and nonprofit companies involved in cause-related marketing.

Reid Galbraith '13
Majors: Economics, Political Science

This summer I have been engaged in economics research that has mainly been centered around one basic question: why are some countries more wealthy than others. A debate has gone on for years on possible causes for the income per capita differences between nations. Some believe that geographical variables like distance, natural barriers, or climate mainly explain such differences. Others maintain that the institutions and "rules of the game" in societies around the world have shaped the economic opportunity that has led to their current state. The research has been based on long run economic development and hearing different opinions from economists as they explain their own take on the answer to our original question.

Nam Nguyen Tam Hoai '13
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

I did research on the Economics of coordination failure in developing economies and the role that Industrial Policy can play in correcting it. I began the research by trying to understand how complementarity coupled with history and/or expectations can produce low level equilibrium outcomes (‘traps’). I then examined how a well designed industrial policy can help the market bring about a higher level equilibrium. Industrial Policy is defined as restructuring policy to implement and coordinate dynamic new economic activities to enable the economy to move out of low level equilibrium outcomes. The next step of my research will be to look at countries that have used industrial policy and how they succeeded or failed.

Steven Irlbeck '13
Majors: Business Administration, Economics

The recent economic downturn has negatively affected many companies resulting in large losses. Due to these losses, more and more companies have begun to focus on cutting expenses. One area that has gotten a considerable amount of attention is employee voluntary turnover because it can be very expensive for organizations in terms of capital, time, and energy. This summer I did research on this topic to understand reasons why employees initiate their own leave from current jobs. Specifically, much of my research focused on exploring coworker relationships inside and outside of the workplace that influence employees' decisions to leave an organization.

Jordan Lord '12
Majors: Business Administration, Psychology

This summer I researched the different cultural, personal, and organizational factors and issues that influence expatriate assignments from both the employee's and the company's perspectives. My goal was to gain a better understanding of the strengths weaknesses of expatriate assignments in order to offer practical contributions in improving a business practice that can deliver large returns on investment for both expatriates and their employers in today's global economy.

Michael Mitsche '13
Majors: Economics, Mathematics

My summer research project has been concerned with different models of economic growth. An understanding of how an economy grows allows for insights into how to govern an economy to maximize growth and social well-being. Throughout the summer I have investigated the structure, dynamics, and implications of several different growth models and intend to empirically compare them using economic data.

Kayla Musjerd '13
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

My summer research involved analyzing global income disparities and the diverging nature of economic growth specifically among Sub-Saharan African countries. Sub-Saharan African countries are rendered the poorest of the less-developed countries, except in the special case of Botswana. Botswana's GDP per capita growth has been the fastest of any country in the world in the past 40 years. I will spend this summer determining the factors that led to Botswana's unique economic success and continue my research through the spring term when I will spend a semester abroad studying at the University of Gaborone in Botswana observing the individual political, social, and economic structures that led to this curious phenomenon of prosperity.

Ngoc Nguyen '12
Majors: Economics, Business Administration

I did research on the paradox of thrift in the Keynesian theory of economic fluctuations. A model of the paradox of thrift as a prisoner’s dilemma game can be developed. I hope to develop a full model of the game across the whole business cycle to understand the role of animal spirits in determining the strategies, payoffs and outcomes of the game.

Kayla Waskow '12
Majors: Business Administration, Physical Education

When Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments in 1972, few realized how a statute seeking to secure equal opportunities for women in education would also have a revolutionary impact on college athletics. This summer, I looked into the history of Title IX and the role that it played in the development of women's athletics. My study included a comprehensive review of compliance responsibilities for institutions receiving federal aid, including analyzing the controversial “three part test” required by federal regulations. Additionally, I have studied emerging areas of litigation, including the use of Title IX by male plaintiffs and the application of Title IX in employment and harassment cases. Based off of this review, I offer observations about how these new actions will impact college administration and opportunities for female athletes.


2010

Bibek Adhikari '11
Topic: Estimating Exchange Market Pressure

This summer, I did research on Exchange Market Pressure.  This is the pressure on the international reserve and the exchange rate caused when there is disequilibrium in the demand for and supply of money. Since many countries have managed float policies, it would be useful to estimate the proportion of shock absorption borne by international reserves and exchange rates.

Scott DeAngelis '12
Topic: Economic Applications in Baseball

Many complain that professional athletes are greedy and overpaid. This summer I examined the salaries of Major League Baseball players to determine if there is economic evidence to support this claim. I found that due to the monopsonistic market structure of Major League Baseball, many players are actually underpaid in the economic sense. Certain rules and regulations of the baseball labor market give owners market power over players. Owners are therefore able to pay players salaries a salary less than what the players are actually worth. This is economic exploitation. Much of my research explored the different methods and procedures used to measure the size of this exploitation.

Austin Mouw '11
Topic: The Golden Rule

My thesis is built around Edmund Phelps paper titled, "The Golden Rule of Accumulation: A Fable for Growthmen." According to Phelps, an economy can increase its consumption by manipulating the savings rate. An economy is operating at its golden-rule if consumption is maximized and if the economy is in its steady state. The question that I hope to answer is, are economies currently operating at their golden-rule level? If they are not, what can they do to get there?

Katie Nelson '11
Topic: Business Perceptions of Sustainability

An emerging literature suggests businesses are becoming more concerned with sustainability issues.  Many businesses are participating in more green practices such as recycling, building using sustainable materials, using energy efficient appliances, and using renewable energy. Studies indicate that businesses feel an urgency to implement sustainable practices from a wide variety of constituents, including government, top management, customers, communities, and competitors. My research attempts to measure the extent businesses in Cedar Rapids are adopting green practices and the motivations for this change. Of particular interest is to assess the influence of the 2008 flood and whether such a disruptive natural disaster impacts the rate of implementation of or alters the type of pressure to adapt green practices.

Angie Pederson '11
Topic: Influence of Country-of-origin (COO) on Consumer Purchasing Decisions for Low-involvement Products

This summer I have been studying how individual purchase behaviors for a particular product are impacted by the product's Country-of-origin (COO) (i.e. "Made in the USA," "Made in Japan"). In other words, does associating a product with a specific country enhance its marketability? As markets converge and globalize, COO may become a more influential information and quality cue as consumers become more aware of the global community. Previous research confirms the presence of COO effects in product evaluations; however, there is no agreed upon consensus as to how influential COO is on purchase intentions and behavior. I will use the research I gathered this summer to design a study that will explore how the evaluations and marketability of low-involvement products are influenced by COO and country affiliations. Results from this research will be used to draw specific conclusions regarding how COO interacts with certain low-involvement product categories. Implications regarding promotion or downplay of COO in the marketing of these products will also be assessed.

Navraj Thapa '11
Topic: Effective Tools to Detect Financial Statement Fraud

This summer I conducted a literary review of academic research on financial statement fraud: its causes and consequences, and the use of different analytical tools to detect financial statement fraud. I focused my research question on two important tools that are used to detect fraud: ratio analysis and Benford’s Law. Theoretically, it is very hard to say which of these tools is more effective in detecting financial statement fraud; past literature shows that there are loopholes in both. While Statement on Auditing Standard (SAS) 99 requires ratio analysis in the planning stage of an audit, prior research provides empirical evidence of the limited ability of financial ratio analysis to detect fraud. Benford’s Law on the other hand is not required by auditing standards, but research has shown it to be more effective than ratio analysis in fraud detection. I would like to determine whether auditors consider Benford’s Law to be more effective than ratio analysis in detecting fraud, whether Benford’s Law is used in practice and if not, why not.


2009

Bibek Adhikari

This summer, I am inquiring whether banks in the 1860s window dressed their balance sheet or not. Banks are required to report their portfolios at the end of quarters and year. Window dressing is the practice of temporarily changing balance sheet of the bank at the reporting dates (quarter ends and year end). Banks may have incentive to window dress to look more attractive to the investors or to meet regulatory rules. Although window dressing may make banks appear more attractive, it means that bank are hiding their real portfolios and deceiving their clients, investors and regulators.

Kaleen Rietcheck

Advertisers are known to be in touch with the latest trends. So the recent surge in green advertising suggests green is in. There are other times in our history when green has also been "in" such as the 1960's and early 1990's. My research goal is to determine what, if any, external variables contribute to the rise and fall of the green trend. A content analysis of magazine advertisements from the 1960's to present will help build a timeline of the green movement. I will then be able to find correlations between this timeline and the state of the economy, the political party in power, and any other variables that may affect the green movement.

Bradley Sloter

Brad will investigate the Supreme Court decision Ledbetter v. Goodyear and the recently passed Lilly Ledbetter Act. Lilly Ledbetter, a female worker, was employed at Goodyear Tire for many years. After she retired, she learned that she was paid a much lower salary than her male coworkers for the same work. She sued to recover the lost income, but she lost the case in the Supreme Court because she did not file her claim for lost wages within 180 days of receiving the original discriminatory paycheck. The Ledbetter Act altered the law to allow lawsuits within 180 days of any paycheck which may incorporate past wage discrimination. Brad plans to consider alternate laws to the Ledbetter Act and how different laws might affect a worker's ability to sue for discrimination.

Nicole Thiher

This summer I am looking into the debate between institutions and geography as primary sources of economic growth, particularly in developing countries. I will also continue to look into European colonizations impact on growth and development primarily through its impact on the economic and political institutions established in the colonies.


2008

Tyler Thompson '09

Semiotics, the study of signs and how we interpret them
I conducted a literary review to try and understand semiotics and how advertisers and marketing agencies use signs and symbols to affect consumers thoughts and behaviors. Through both empirical research and literature we discovered different techniques and methods by which people use and interpret signs and symbols in their lives.

Eric Hayek '09

How to Go Green: Economic Analysis of Plans to Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions
I examined past environmental regulation schemes and how various proposed greenhouse gas emission reductions systems will perform if implemented.

Kamal Lamsal '09

Non-Profit firms in a Linear City
If two non-profit firms play a two stage game of first choosing location in a linear city and then choosing price, the Nash equilibrium of this game is that the firms locate at the two ends of the city.

David Benish '09

Market Potential of Corporate Social Responsibility: Company Versus Stakeholder Emphasis
Researched the effects of corporate social responsibility disclosures on stakeholder perceptions and behaviors.

Jake Smith '09

Spiraling Inequality: Instances of Modern Divergence
The research I conducted this summer centered around the macroeconomic phenomenon known as "Divergence." I ask the question: is the gulf between per capita incomes widening, and if so what are its antecedents?

Nicki Thiher '10

The Economic Impact of European Colonization
I studied the history of European colonization and whether or not the institutions that they developed in the colonies are continuing to play a role in the countries development today.


2007


2007 Spellman Summer Research Students - Front row, L to R: Jenny McArdle, Minh Dang, Amanda Nigg, Tommy Breitbach, and Eric Hayek. Back row, L to R: Ryan Baranowski, Zach Huitink, Jake Smith, and Aaron Neiderhiser.

Ryan Baranowski '08

Ryan is using travel cost model analysis in a study of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. He will spend a few weeks this summer at Coe's Wilderness Field Station, located near the Boundary Waters, while he collects data for his study.

Tommy Breitbach '09

Tommy is studying similarities and differences in men's and women's attitudes toward and performances in competitive environments. He plans to research the implications these findings have in the highly competitive labor markets such as the market for high-ranking executives. He hopes to eventually conduct an experiment to determine whether athletes and non-athletes compete in the same ways.

Eric Hayek '09

Eric is studying the competing views of whether capital punishment has a deterrence effect. In particular, he is examining empirical models associated with these views.

Zach Huitink '09

Zach is investigating the causes of the sub-prime mortgage market meltdown. Specifically, he will be investigating the role heightened use of ARMs and other exotic mortgage securities played in the meltdown. If these kinds of securities indeed played a role, he would finally like to determine the characteristics of borrowers seeking them out as opposed to falling back on the traditional thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage option.

Jenny McArdle '08

Jenny is investigating what accounts for a country's progress, or lack of progress, towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Aaron Neiderhiser '08

Aaron is studying how abnormally large seasonal flows may have caused banking panics in the late nineteenth century.

Amanda Nigg '08

Amanda is researching consumer decision-making models as they relate to the effective marketing of energy drinks. She is specifically investigating which situational variables have the most influence on a consumer's choice of energy drink brands.

Jake Smith '09

Jake is studying free market solutions to alleged market failures.


2006

Erica Baasten

Valuing the Ivory Billed Woodpecker: An Application of the Travel Cost Model
"My advice to incoming research students would be to choose a topic that you are really passionate about and that will be able to hold your interest for the entire summer. You will have moments where you are lost and wondering what your project is all about, but your professors are very helpful, and eventually you will make a breakthrough."

Ryan Baranowski

Travel Cost Analysis of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
"Summer research is a great experience. Presenting articles to the other researchers and professors in a casual setting helped with fully understanding the article and presentation skills. It was a very laid back atmosphere, except when it came to the softball game."

Aaron Dighton

What is Bernanke's Plan at the Federal Reserve?
"One of the good things about summer research is that you have a lot of time to narrow your project, so you don't have to have your project entirely planned out before you start. Your professors will help you figure out where you're heading as you go along."

Tracey Freiberg

The Opportunity Costs of Applying to Law School
"I did summer research because I knew that I wanted to an honors project. The time during the summer helps ease into the project while providing a challenge. It requires some time during the week, but it allows us to live on campus and do other things, like an internship or other job."

Erica Langland

Marketing Organic Foods
"Summer research is a great experience because you get to pick a topic of interest and see where it takes you. It is a lot of work, but the professors are very helpful. The research program better prepares you for other classes at Coe, graduate school, and your career."

Jenny McArdle

Singapore's Economic Growth and Development: Policies and Philosophies
"The Spellman research program is a great way to improve your reading, listening, and presenting skills. You learn to think on your feet and process all the information that you've absorbed throughout the summer. You get to follow the research that other students are conducting, and as an added bonus, you get to be the butt of a lot of jokes."

Ashish Rajbhandari

Behavior of Nonprofit Firms with Altruistic Motives
"It was a whole new experience for me. I found it more interesting when I got deeper into my research. With the help of your advisors, you start developing your thought process, realizing your strengths and weaknesses, and get better at analyzing abstruse articles. Your advisors are always there to guide you but it's you who leads the path. I'd say its challenging and demands the best of you, nonetheless, the knowledge and experience you gain during the research program is overwhelming."

Rachel Schmidt

Selection Criteria for Financial Institutions: Recent graduates
"Summer research has helped me tremendously in learning how to find past research and how to utilize it. I've learned a great deal about a few of our professors and have spent entirely too much time with a few of them."

Matt Stoner

Estimating the Effects of Residential Growth: How to Choose and Implement the Most Appropriate Model
"If you pick a topic of research that is of special interest to you, the hours you put in seem much less tedious."


2005


2005 Spellman summer research students and faculty gather for presentations and discussion. Seated at the table are (left to right) Professor David Hayes, Jeshica Baral, Jayson Schmelzer, Erica Baasten, Jenny McArdle, and Aaron Dighton.

Erica Baasten '07

Wilderness Preservation: Comparing and Contrasting the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Endangered Species Act within the Context of the Travel Cost Model
"Summer research gives you a sense of purpose. You are accomplishing something but it is not all you do. The schedule is flexible allowing you to work in the manner you do best. This is great but the best part is the people you are with. The professors want to be there and treat you more as a colleague than a student. They are there to advise you and aid in your research but they want you to develop your own ideas. The other students that participate in this program all have different interests and backgrounds but come together over the summer. Plus the research softball game versus Physics is awesome."

Jeshica Baral '06

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Is It Worth It?
"Be ready to make your own decisions on what you do and read. Prepare yourself for not being told what to do!"

Aaron Dighton '07

Variability in Corruption and the Resulting Effects on Economic Growth
"I was free to research any topic that interested me and being able to concentrate on this topic for a summer without worrying about other courses was beneficial."

Brian Karnik '06

Bet on It? A Statistical Betting Strategy
"During summer research you can work on something that you are interested in. You don't have to do dry research that you don't really care about. Just look at my project, sports betting is not what you think of as an economics project. You can be creative with the project and have fun with it."

Jennifer McArdle '08

Poverty and Economic Development
"I value having had the opportunity to learn about so many topics, through the work of my fellow researchers, that I might not have been exposed to elsewhere. In one summer I became, if not knowledgeable about at least informed on, issues ranging from sports betting to wilderness preservation, and from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to the Celtic Tiger phenomenon. Because of the experience I had this summer, I feel better informed and educated on current global issues."

Krista O'Brien '06

The Celtic Tiger: An Empirical Analysis of Rapid Economic Growth in Ireland, 1994-2000
"Go into this thing with an open mind — you'll probably make mistakes and there'll be questions you just don't know the answers to, but it's ok because it happens to everyone and it's part of the learning process. Utilize your professors — they're a great resource for you and they're here to help you learn."

Ayush Pathak '07

Poverty and Economic Development
"The research is intimidating at times when you have to read technical papers that are hard to comprehend, but once you understand, you are glad you read it because the knowledge you get is worth it. I realized that economics is not just a study of markets and government policy. It is a subject that covers a wide range of very relevant issues. It's not only the range of issues, the summer research program makes you think like an economist. During the school year you often take classes without analyzing the material you read in depth as if you — just following what the book says in order to get good grades. Through summer research you learn to question what you study."

Kristin Phillips '06

Proenvironmental Public Service Announcements: What Appeals Are Effective at Motivating Action?
"The research program is hard work but it is worth it! You get the opportunity to work closely with professors in your department on a topic of interest. The skills you use in your summer project such as researching, writing, and presenting will benefit you in other classes at Coe."

Jayson Schmelzer '08

Poverty and Economic Development
"The research program allows you to interact with your professors more so than in a classroom. You also learn about yourself and how to study more efficiently. Everything is done outside the classroom, so everyone knows whether or not you did work on your own."


2004

Carrie Hook

Determinants of poverty: An empirical analysis
"The worst part of summer research was presenting papers you thought you knew inside and out, yet the professors were always one step ahead and asked a question you had not yet thought of."

Bob Meisterling

Optimal currency denominations

Eric Sandegren

19th century market efficiency: A tale of two stock exchanges
"My advice to potential researchers is to identify which research style is yours quickly. Some people work six hours in one day then take two or three days off, some people work 40 minutes every day. It really doesn't matter, what's important is you understanding how you work best, and then making the most of that. A large part of the Spellman Program is learning about who you are as a researcher, identifying your weaknesses, and improving on them. Don't get lost in all the material. You're learning to become a more competent analyst, don't lose sight of that."

Kate Schneider

Outmoded fashion model or international “It” girl? Market positioning and the barbie doll
"I was able to pick a topic that I was interested in and passionate about...Barbie Dolls. But the best part about it was that even though I knew I wanted to research Barbie Dolls, the focus of my research changed three times during the summer. Having time during the summer to experiment with my topic was great; if I had tried to cram all those mistakes and dead ends into a semester I would have gotten frustrated and possibly ended up not enjoying my research. The Spellman Program gave me the chance to really narrow down my topic until I found something that worked without all the pressure of getting my research finished while taking classes."

Kim Walsh

Would you use butt paste on your lips? An empirical study of the role situational variables play on brand preferences and consumer preferences
"Doing research is different than other college experiences because you choose the topic and are responsible for what you produce. Your advisors are more like mentors than teachers. You basically make all of the major decisions on what you do (with their help of course). It is not like a class where teachers spell out exactly what to do and how to do it. It also requires more time commitment and motivation to do research than traditional assignments."

Drew Westberg

The process of transition in Eastern Europe

Nick Wilkins

Business teams and sports teams: Similarities, differences, and recommendations for change


2003

Lauren Clifford

An analysis of advertisements in teen and adult fashion and beauty magazines: The potential effects of these advertisements on females' self-esteem and body image

Bob Meisterling

The effects of information on the economy
"The best part of summer research are the discussions. The worst part is writing the thesis on Flunk Day."

Jared Rance

An economic analysis of the United States Tort system and its reforms
"The best advice I can give is to not hesitate in partaking in the research experience. The work required is a small investment for everything it can provide. Pick a topic in which you truly have an interest and the learning experience is well worth the trip."

Colleen Ries

A duct tape remedy: A comparative analysis of the effectiveness of medical malpractice caps
"Incoming students who are interested in becoming a part of the program, I provide you with the following advice......This may be a life changing experience for you. From a personal standpoint I thought I knew where I was going and had plans, but if those plans fell through what would I do? My research experience opened up other possibilities for me in a direction I had never considered. Through my relationship with my professors I was guided in the right direction and am now pursuing the career that opened up my eyes during my experience. So even though you may see research as being long and boring, it can definitely be a life-changing experience for you and could open the door for more opportunities."

Mike Smith

Stock market variability and consumer goods output during the 1920s and 1990s

Ben Stevens

Economic analysis of drinking and driving

Nat Tagtow

A descriptive comparison of Tort law in the United States, New Zealand, Sweden, and France
"Take advantage of the opportunity to become a Spellman Fellow. It is a great opportunity to learn a lot about a topic that interests you. In the process, you will get the chance to work with the best professors on campus and vastly improve your research and writing skills."

Drew Westberg

The rhetoric of economics
"The best part of summer research is the friendships that are created between the faculty and students and between the students themselves."


2002

Tiffany Foster

The influence of culture in international marketing: A comparison of advertisements in Spanish and U.S. magazines
"Completing an honors thesis was an important distinction for me not only as a college student, but now post-graduation in my career. When initially searching for a career path/employment, my honors thesis further differentiated myself from other potential candidates. I continue to speak about my thesis today and how this study helped me determine the pursuit of a career in advertising."

Stoyan Gamishev

A survey of the literature on why wages and prices tend to be sticky in the short run

Doug Lindstrom

Estimating the demand for money in the short run and long run with the purpose of testing for stability

Aaron Smith

Consumer Spending and the Wealth Effect
"My research on the wealth effect has provided me with tangible benefits during my days here at Economy.com. Specifically, the use of econometric techniques (Eviews) in my project prepped me for duties in modeling and forecasting. Also, the research and compiling process helped to improve my analytical and writing skills significantly. Finally, an in-depth analysis on the topic itself — the wealth effect — has endowed me an area of expertise early on here at Economy.com (Mickey may argue with the expertise part, to which I would say it's one of many)."

Theresa White

Crisis management: An in-depth case study analysis


2001

Chris Baasten

Business and sports teams: What they can learn from each other

Jenny Conkel

E-Tailers, the future of retail: Who is the Internet shopper and the importance of this information to the Internet retailer

Roshan Khattry

Empirical characteristics of an optimum currency area

Jeff Martin

Impact analysis of the economy of Cedar Rapids

Gabrielle Payne

Empirical research: What influences people's ethical decision making? A look at Demographic characteristics and ethical theories

Carrie Yedlik

The economics of strategic bequests: The case of family farms
"I would advise students to be involved in research. It is intimidating at first, but you will be proud of yourself when you are done with it."


2000

Sabrina Kanwar

Globalization: The future of the world economy

Roshan Khattry

Education, economic growth, and income distribution
"My experience as a Spellman Fellow had a strong influence in my decision to pursue a PH.D. in Economics after graduating from Coe. I came to Coe with no interest in economics or graduate school but after working as a Spellman Fellow for two consecutive summers I learned a lot about the kinds of research that can be done in economics and that pushed me toward graduate school. Even if the topic you choose is not something that you will end up working on in the future just the experience as a Spellman Scholar is extremely valuable and will help you in more ways than you can imagine."

Dawn McAllister

Point of purchase displays: An empirical investigation of sales and shopping behavior

Heather O'Brien

Media advertising and its effects on male body image

Laci Palar

Internet security issues: privacy or personalization
"As a Spellman Fellow I gained project management and presentation experience that have helped me in my studies as well as my career. Also, the Spellman Fellowship looked great on my graduate school application, and I have been able to speak about my experiences in interviews."

Andy Powell

Evaluating player performance in the National Football League
"The Summer Research was my first encounter with hands-on economics research and helped me prepare for my experiences in graduate school. By creating a unique data set, I gained valuable experience learning about pitfalls of building and maintaining large databases, which made me an attractive candidate for my current position."

Heather Reindl

Excellence based organizations: A unified framework for differing management philosophies

Anna Tenzytthoff

Internet marketing strategies undertaken by controversial companies

Brian Voight

Telecommunications and economic growth: An initial structural approach

Janelle Wagg

The effect of appearance on product perception: A study of fragrance marketing and packaging


1999

Erin Gibney

Western highway 100 project: An economic/environmental analysis

Diane Korir

An examination of income convergence: the case of Africa, France, and Britain

Dawn McAllister

A survey of trade association members: Their business practices and their needs

Robert Temple

A computable general equilibrium model of the electrical utility industry

Robert Vicente-Mayoral

Competitive balance in professional sports leagues—determinants and impact

Janelle Wagg

A survey of trade association members: Their business practices and their needs
"The research experience allowed me to gain an appreciation for research and its importance in academia. I feel I gained so much that put me ahead of others at my same academic level."


1998

Alan Bausch

An analysis of the economics of Gary S. Becker with an application to the economics of crime

Mei Ling Chong

The presence of moral hazard in the Panic of 1873, the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980s and the Asian Crisis of the late 1990s: A Comparison

Melissa McGrane

The contributions of Ronald Coase to Law and Economics
"The best and worst part of summer research was spending it with Mickey Wu."

Kevin O'Donnell

The contributions of Robert M. Solow to Economics Growth Theory
"The worst part of summer research was probably the trade-off of working on a research project for the summer instead of working outside in nice weather. But then again, it beat a nine-to-five summer job where you would have to be inside all day."