Computer classroom instruction

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 just might 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 10 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

View more details on current Spellman Summer Research by Fellows and Apprentices. 


Drew Osterman '24

Pitch Tunneling and Pitch Combinations
This summer I looked into the best pitch combinations for a pitcher in Major League Baseball. I used pitch tunneling to measure how different pitch types work together to trick a hitter into not being able to tell what pitch is being thrown at them. Using the distance of two pitches through their flight towards home plate I created a metric to determine what were the best pitches to throw. 

Luke Huitink '24

The United States Single Parenthood Epidemic
This summer, I researched the social and economic influences of the issue of increased single parenthood rates in the United States. Grounded in literature and exploratory data analysis, I used the cultural institution of religion in the United States over time as potential social and economic influence for these increased rates. Understanding what causes the problem of such high single parenthood rates in the country is important going forward when it comes to creating solutions to the diagnosed problem of single parenthood from a policy perspective.

Josh Shloe '24

Impact of COVID on Transition Economies
This summer, I researched the effects of COVID on transition economies. The two main factors I looked into were the overall economic output and the standard of living. Since these transition economies are not yet in their steady-state, they tend to show different effects from recessions than here in the United States. Understanding how these different transition economies responded to COVID can help to build better policy response to future shocks.


Corinne Doty '23

The Effects of COVID-19 Shutdowns on Domestic Violence Rates
This summer I implemented a difference-in-differences model to study how the COVID-19 shutdown period in 2020 affected domestic violence rates. I used 911 calls-to-service data from the NYPD, and accounting for seasonality, looked at the differences between pre-shutdown and shutdown period call counts in 2018-2019 compared to 2020.


Joe Bass '23

Doi Moi and Vietnamese Development
My summer research focused on looking at a group of liberalizing reforms in Vietnam called Doi Moi and what effect they had on Vietnam’s economic development.


Toby Lister '24

A Policy Analysis of the C.A.R.E.S. Act
This summer, I performed a policy analysis of the unemployment insurance provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (C.A.R.E.S.) Act. These provisions are called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. I focused on how these programs impacted consumption in the economy. I used the difference-in-difference methodology, where I compared states that ended these programs early to those that did not in order to determine the effectiveness of these programs. I plan to expand this research to try to determine if these programs created an incentive for individuals to remain unemployed.


Fiona Kilgore

Impacts of Abortion Access and Restrictions
I will be looking at how a significant decrease in the number of abortion clinics in Texas impacted women's labor force outcomes, such as income and employment.


Ryan Smith

The Theatrical-Streaming Model
My research focused on the behavior of oligopolistic movie studios and their strategic decision making. I developed a model predicting the length of time a movie studio should show their film exclusively in theaters before putting that movie on their own streaming service. This model incorporates the usage of price and demand elasticity in estimating theatrical release length. The results of this model are compared to a model that uses DVD as the primary form of home media.


Natalie Hansen '22

Major: Economics, Spanish
My summer research focused on how the use of coupon codes in an online market impacts the demand curve for a particular product. With access to price and quantity data from a real firm, I identified when consumers purchased the product with the various coupon codes, which I used to form the demand curve for the product. Research in this area allows businesses and consumers to better understand how the online market can impact pricing and market outcomes. The summer research program allowed me to build my skills in reading academic papers, synthesizing information, presenting & answering in front of an audience, data sorting and visualization, and building lasting relationships with my peers. 


Keegan Koenen '23

Major: Economics, Data Science
My summer research focused on performing exploratory data analysis (EDA) using spatial soccer data. Spatial data analysis has become more popular within the sports world and I believe that it is the frontier of soccer analytics research. With the availability of spatial soccer data, I was able to continue developing skills to ask meaningful research questions and interpret the data, through EDA models and visuals. The ability to manipulate data is an invaluable skill, even beyond the sports world, that I was able to improve upon throughout the duration of the summer.


Kasey Hendrickson '22

Major: Economics
My research focused on the effects of college campus population size on the spread of infectious illness during a pandemic period. Specifically, I used SafeGraph, which is a resource that tracks cell phone movement of individuals at a census block group level. At the beginning of the summer, I focused on Coe College and the University of Iowa. Later, I included other colleges located in Iowa to view the movement differences. Throughout my experience, I was able to greatly increase my understanding of R Studio coding and working with data cleaning. Like many of the other researchers, I had the opportunity to advance my public speaking skills and the creation of various presentations.


Evan Perry '23

Major: Economics, Data Science
My summer research with the Spellman Fellows program focused on the spatial distribution of green commercial development within urban areas. I created an economic model that describes how firms choose what neighborhoods to locate in and how this interacts with their decision to lease energy-efficient, green buildings. Using data from two prominent green building certification programs, I developed stylized facts that fit with the model’s predictions. I enjoyed the engaging mix of data work, modeling, and presentations during the summer. With the help of the Economics faculty and my fellow student researchers, the Spellman Fellows Program was a great opportunity to develop my research skills in an area that interests me.


Corinne Doty '23

Major: Economics, Data Science
This summer, through the Spellman Fellows program, I researched ways in which to identify fraud within federal relief programs as well as how these programs could be designed in order to minimize their fraud risk. I specifically looked at the Paycheck Protection Program, established in the CARES Act, to model a layered principal-agent problem between the government, the banks, and the loan borrowers. I focused on the role of internal and external auditing within these programs, and how these auditors could be used to decrease the probability of fraud through supervised and unsupervised fraud detection.


Ayam Shrestha '22

Major: Economics, Business
My research this summer focused on landlocked developing countries and how this particular group of countries achieve economic growth. Landlocked countries have to rely on their coastal neighbors for trade making growth hard to achieve due to higher transit costs. Over the summer, I looked into the works and perspectives of veteran developmental economists including Robert Solow, William Easterly, and Jeffrey Sachs to explore the institutional measures these nations could take to potentially reverse effects of landlockedness. Especially coming from Nepal, a landlocked developing country facing stunted growth due to its geography and unfavorable institutions, the research topic very much resonated with my long term aspirations and I look forward to working towards a senior thesis over this coming year.


Makenna Aditya '21

Major: Economics, Sociology
My summer research focused on nonprofit organizations and how they make their location decisions. Through the Spellman workshop, I had the opportunity to learn to conduct geographically weighted regression and use the newest software for spatial analysis, both of which will give me an edge in applying for graduate schools and jobs. The opportunity to refine my research questions and to present my work for critique every week was also an invaluable part of the summer research workshop. It was incredible to have this experience at the undergraduate level.

Sean Connolly '20

Major: Economics, Business Administration
My research examined happiness economics, a new subset of economic research emphasizing the impact of economic policy on individual welfare. I used both classical and contemporary works to form a holistic perspective. While traditional economists study how to increase productivity and per capita income, my research investigated the the implications of rising levels of per capita income and productivity on subjective well-being and happiness. I discovered that while the U.S. maintains economic growth, our overall happiness is diminishing over time. My Spellman Research Fellowship taught me the complexity of the research process, especially relating to topics without accessible data. I also honed my presentation skills and enhanced my ability to tell a clear story with multiple sources. My summer work will be developed into a department thesis. 

Ha Nguyen '21

Major: Business Administration, Public Relations
My research studied the use of social media marketing (SMM) by fashion companies. As a form of two-way communication, SMM has become more popular as company strategies have become more consumer-centric. A company's use of SMM affects customer relationships by building intimacy, trust, purchase intentions, brand equity, value equity, relationship equity and customer equity. My research discussed the five main aspects of SMM: entertainment, interaction, trendiness, customization and word-of-mouth. My case study of Burberry, Louis Vuitton and other brands that have successfully used SMM further elaborated SMM's impact on the relationship between customers, brands and brand performance.

Erika Perlewitz '20

Majors: Economics, Business Administration, Mathematics
My research used an overlapping generations model to determine how bank leverage impacts economic shocks. I learned a lot about how to learn and teach myself a model that I hadn't seen before, and all of the frustrations that come with that process. For example, navigating Google Scholar can present several challenges, especially when I was unable to find the answers I was looking for. My project also forced me to improve my time management and presentation skills. I am very grateful for having had this challenge and I enjoyed being outside of my comfort zone.

Elias Stiely '20

Major: Economics
I researched the effects of state subsidies for public, post-secondary institutions and their effects on private school enrollments. Public institutions tend to lower tuition or reinvest in educational quality in response to subsidies. Incoming college students will choose schools based upon price, the value of the education they expect to receive, and some other combination of unobservable traits. Students of varying ability and income will face different financial aid packages. My research was concerned with finding trends for how certain types of institutions respond to changes in funding, and how those responses influence student choice.

Sigrid Van Den Abbeele '20

Majors: Economics, Mathematics
I continued my previous research into race and income-based residential segregation in America. Still a pressing social issue, researchers have found that residential segregation is correlated with diminished educational and health outcomes and reduced economic opportunity for children who live in segregated areas. I combined techniques like exploratory spatial data analysis and spatial econometric analysis to examine the relationship between race and income-based segregation in the U.S. I also conducted a literature review to understand the root causes and implications or segregation. Over the course of two summers, the Spellman Research Fellowship gave me a constructive environment to grow as a researcher. I developed a variety of analytical and technical skills and developed the ability to communicate a concise story to different audiences. This research will culminate in my department thesis.


Makenna Aditya '21

Major: Economics
In my summer research, I studied agglomeration economies in the non-profit sector by replicating an agglomeration index to measure how similar non-profits cluster together geographically.

Trevor Noble '19

Major: Business Administration, Managerial Accounting
I researched different ways that companies and managers can help improve employee motivation. I began by looking at popular theories such as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory. The issue I found with many exiting motivation theories is that they focus too much on extrinsic factors. Since motivation comes from within a person, the motivation theories need to be focused on intrinsic factors and self-motivation. My research led me to consider the influences of emotional intelligence and mindfulness. Understanding one's own emotions can lead to higher motivation levels. If people have self-awareness and understand their own feelings, they then will be able to motivate themselves. Mindfulness helps keep people in the present, instead of in the past or future. If they can learn to stay in the present, then they can truly focus on the tasks at hand and be motivated. 

Noah Purcell '20

Through the Spellman Summer Research program, I studied Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) baseball. Much of my time was spent collecting and cleaning game-by-game and play-by-play data taken from the IIAC website. I automated this problem by using a technique called web scraping. This extremely detailed data, available nowhere else, enabled the development of a Coe College Baseball Analytics program. Coe College baseball will use this data to improve player performance, prepare for opponents, and help coaches drive decisions with data. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to develop technical and analytical skills as well as the ability to debate, discuss, and present the meaning of results.

Leah Reuter '19

Major: Economics
In my summer research project, I used ta farm production function and emissions to determine whether farms are incentivized to join the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and to study how joining this program is beneficial to the environment. 

Jean Springsteen '19

Major: Economics
My research applied a Cournot equilibrium model to regulatory capture by comparing the profitability of a firm when the competition or the regulation in the market changes. Regulatory costs are a barrier to entry of new firms attempting to enter the market, so market concentration is partially determined by the level of regulation in the market. I focused on modeling the trade-off firms face between competition and regulation. Since both negatively affect the profitability of the firm, there is incentive to pursue which of these changes is smaller in magnitude. This decision depends on a number of market factors, including price elasticity of the product and type of regulatory cost. The results shows that highly concentrated markets are likely to seek regulation, providing an explanation for increase in market concentration.


Brady Anderson '18

Major: Economics
In my summer research, I analyzed serve and return strategy for men's professional tennis in the context of a mixed strategy equilibrium. Using data from over 500 matches from 10 of the world's top tennis players, I tested whether the expected points won serving to the forehand equal the expected points won serving to the backhand. Likewise, I tested whether the mixed strategy equilibrium holds in return strategy such that the expected points won when returning to the forehand equal the expected points when returning to the backhand. I found that the players are largely optimizing their strategies while serving, but are not as optimal when returning. This discrepancy can be explained by strong adherence to the theory when the player is given more time via the 2nd serve return to carry out strategies. Furthermore, when testing for serial correlation, players were largely found to switch too often between strategies to be consistent with randomness.

Hannah Cross '18

Majors: Managerial Accounting, Economics
My summer research focused on the Sarbanes Oxley Act and the costs and benefits of the Act to companies and society.

Cameron Flores '18 and Jean Springsteen '19

Majors: Cameron — Business Administration, Economics; Jean — Economics
We investigated the theory of economic integration among members of multiple economic unions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Like the individual states in the U.S., mobility of inputs and outputs identifiable in the data as a shock, or prosperity, in one location should spillover into economically connected locations.

Cara Lindell '18

Major: Business Administration
My summer research focused on how consumers react to the use of average-sized models in advertisements as compared to the very thin models commonly used in product advertising. My work included studying the negative consequences many women experience after viewing ads that feature thin models and learning about the possible actions that are sometimes taken to reduce that impact. I also reviewed literature that measured whether consumer puchase intentions remain consistent or change when average-sized rather than thin models are used in ads. Conclusions from various studies suggest that in many circumstances consumers prefer to see average-sized models over thin models.

Evgeny Pakhomenko '19

Major: Economics
In my summer research, I investigated the Russian Ruble crisis using a Krugman balance of payments crisis model.

Adam Peterson '18

Major: Economics
In my summer research, I studied how public policy supports suburban growth and how it affects those who remain in the city.

Leah Reuter '19

Major: Economics
My summer research focused on the economic factors that contribute to food waste in the United States.

Sigrid Van Den Abbeele '20

Major: Economics
In my summer research, I investigated the overall pattern of racial residential segregation and residential segregation by income in the 100 largest metro statistical areas in the United States.


Brady Anderson '18

Major: Economics
My summer research focused on studying new tennis metrics that assess the skill level of all tennis players. These unifying metrics are the first of their kind in tennis, and my research involved investigating how well it could be used to predict matches on the professional mens circuit, the Association of Tennis Professionals(ATP). Using statistical modeling, I compiled a large data set of over 10 main-level ATP tournaments throughout the summer that included several variables such as the ATP rankings, height, age, and other relevant data to estimate win probabilities. Furthermore, I used the results to test the efficiency of multiple betting lines under different investment criterion. The results support the notion that these new metrics are robust in forecasting the results of mens ATP matches and can be utilized to gain consistent returns.

Chloe Crain '17

Majors: Economics, Spanish
This summer, I researched non-profit organizations in Cedar Rapids and the connections made to for-profit companies through non-profit organization's board members. I used Social Network Analysis, the process of investigating social structures through the use of mapping networks, in order to test the strength of these relationships. Furthermore, I then used the fundraising of the non-profits, to test my research question: Does a non-profit organizations connections (through board members) impact fundraising for the non profit? My results showed correlation between a non-profit organization being more central within the network and an increase in fundraising.

Jake Deeds '17

Majors: Economics, Business Administration
Bossonomics in Industrial Organization attempts to explicitly model management performance, an idea that is frequently left out of economic theories. To this end I have looked at how decision makers can make use of current best practices within the construction industry during my time at Advanced Traffic Control this summer. During a Spring 2016 independent study, I researched and learned about the basic principles of quality management, lean production, Six Sigma, and lean Six Sigma. Over the summer I looked for ways to apply these principles to different areas within the company. I was given permission to implement several different ideas and the results were promising for improving both efficiency and quality of work. Several other ideas are being planned for in the near future.

Brenna Deerberg '17

Majors: Economics, Environmental Studies
My summer research focused on finding a policy solution to the nitrate mitigation conflict that compelled Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) to file a lawsuit against three upstream Iowa counties in 2015. A traditional solution to this problem would be to impose a pollution tax to, but the real-life dilemma facing DMWW and the Raccoon River watershed is complex enough to make calculating a proper tax difficult. Furthermore, given the size and strength of the agricultural industry in Iowa, it is unlikely that a tax on agricultural goods would be approved. My primary objective this summer was to research "second-best" conflict resolution methods that could provide policy solutions for the Raccoon River action area that are both feasible and stable. I studied Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) methods, which involves surveying stakeholders about potential solutions and the various criteria against which those solutions are ranked. I then explored how game theory—the study of how individuals' strategic actions impact the outcomes and respective strategies of all other players—could be used to model how changes in the political, social, or economic climate of the Raccoon River conflict might shift the strategies and payoffs of various stakeholders. Going forward, I will simulate a conflict resolution scenario for the Raccoon River conflict, which I hope will yield insight and prescriptive policy solutions.

Maddie Koolbeck '17

Majors: Economics, Environmental Studies
Bossonomics, a subject in the field of Industrial Organization, tries to model how management performance affects firm behavior. In the spring of 2016, I studied the tools and philosophies of the following management theories: quality management, Lean, Six Sigma, and Lean Six Sigma. During the summer, I worked at ACCO Brands and experienced firsthand how businesses make use of current best management practices to improve their business. ACCO Brands has implemented a Lean Six Sigma management style and over the summer, I had the opportunity to see how the company makes use of the tools and theories of Lean Six Sigma in a real world setting. I also had the opportunity to apply the tools and theories of Lean Six Sigma myself during my time at ACCO Brands. Moving forward, I plan to complete a project at Coe College using the Lean Six Sigma theories and tools.

Ben Sagers '18

Major: Economics
My research focused on the initial increase in the Johnson County minimum wage. First, I spent time reviewing minimum wage literature and the methodology used in minimum wage studies. The majority of minimum wage studies find very small, negative, insignificant employment responses to increases in the minimum wage. Next, I used difference analysis to determine the changes in labor market variables as a result of the wage increase in Johnson County. Difference analysis uses a treatment and control group to determine the impact that a stimulus had on the treatment group while it was applied. I found that the minimum wage led to a significant negative employment response in the first month of the wage increase. Revision of this analysis will be performed as more data becomes available.

Austin Springsteen '17

Major: Economics, Business Administration
My summer was spent studying various risk strategies associated with the creation of one-week fantasy football teams. Generating a fantasy team of this structure is similar to developing a financial portfolio, and portfolio theory acts as the foundation of my research. Players are valued based on the return that they provide in the form of points. I created a program, using R Studio, that generates optimized teams based on different input criteria. Using this program, I tested three different risk strategies to determine the optimal strategy. I generated teams that optimized expected points, point ceiling (high risk), and points floor (low risk) using aggregated “expert” projections from FantasyPros. Based on the 2015 season, maximizing expected points leads to the highest average points total, while maximizing the point floor leads to the highest median point total. The high risk, maximum ceiling, performs the worst of all three strategies. I also studied common properties of the ex-post optimal teams and found that most optimal teams included top-tier (high priced) wide receivers and tight ends with low priced running backs and quarterbacks. I will continue to test different risk-reward strategies to find optimal roster construction.


Ben Collins '17

Majors: Public Accounting, Business Administration
My research for this summer focused on Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and the tax benefits they confer to companies. I started by reading publications from an employee ownership trade organization and academic articles discussing their structure and effectiveness. I then interviewed companies with experience operating and supporting ESOPs to see how they can impact a business. I hope to continue this project by modeling a company with and without an ESOP to demonstrate the effects they can have on key financial measures.

Maddie Koolbeck '17

Majors: Economics, Environmental Studies
My summer research focused on how colleges and universities defined sustainability and their implementation of sustainable practices. My research looked at case studies and articles of what initiatives colleges adopt and how and why they adopt them. Additionally, I investigated the factors that influence colleges' decisions to implement sustainability initiatives. Furthermore, I looked at the cost savings that colleges experience from taking various environmental actions. Lastly, I studied the ways in which economic impact studies are constructed for various non-marketed activities. These tools may help me construct economic models of how colleges decide which sustainable actions to take.

Meghan McClimon '16

Majors: Business Administration, Psychology, Organizational Science
My summer research focused on behavioral biases in investing and saving for retirement. Throughout the summer I read numerous articles about the biases and heuristics that can impact how much money an individual contributes to their defined contribution plan and methods to increase their saving behavior. Then I narrowed down the topic to study employee saving behaviors in the top liberal arts colleges. I used a Department of Labor database and other public data sources to investigate what factors have influence on contributing to a defined contribution retirement plan. Preliminary results showed that lack of financial resources may play a more important role than behavioral biases.

Allison O'Rourke '17

Majors: Public Accounting, Business Administration
My summer research focused on the management of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). I began by learning what an ESOP is and the motives a business owner may have to create one in his or her company. I read articles to better understand how to manage a company to maximize the financial and non-financial benefits an ESOP may provide, benefits such as tax savings, low employee turnover, and more employee participation. I concluded by interviewing ESOP workers and managers and studying cases of successful ESOPs to learn which techniques are widely used throughout firms.

Tony Peterson '16

Majors: Business Administration, Economics
This summer I continued my study of the impact of being included in and excluded from the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow). I focused on the riskiness resulted from association/dissociation with the Dow. I read more articles on characterizing stock investment risks. In addition to reviewing the literature, I also conducted the analysis of the changes in riskiness of stocks before and after being added to the Dow. Stocks deleted were also studied. Two types of risks were quantified: total risk (standard deviation of stock returns) and systematic risk (market beta). Preliminary results showed that stocks excluded from the Dow exhibit more risks than those being added, both in levels and trends.

Casey Rohret '16

Majors: Business Administration, Economics
Following the financial crisis of 2007 and the resulting Great Recession, notable economists have decried that limiting government spending following economic downturn is the wrong policy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act totaling $831 billion was the government spending program designed to bring the economy up from its lowest point since the Great Depression. Yet, support for the ARRA was strongly divided along party lines. Was this division across party lines based in an economic rationale or for political reasoning? The political business cycle is a theory explaining how policy changes affecting macroeconomic outcomes are driven by political considerations. Typically this occurs when incumbent administrations boost the economy prior to new elections. This research explores the political business cycle theory with respect to the minority party in the U.S. electoral system. Will they use their power to block progress for their own political gain?

Austin Springsteen '17

Majors: Economics, Business Administration
My summer research applied portfolio selection theory to a new class of portfolios: one week fantasy football teams. My research builds off the prominent paradigm for portfolio selection from Markowitz (1952) and Sharpe (1964). According to this theory, investors compile portfolios based on their preferences for expected return and risk. Along with the benchmark papers in this literature, I surveyed different measures of risk and investor preferences under uncertainty. Another aspect of my research was compiling data from various daily fantasy football websites on the price of each player, points scored, average points projected, projected high and low points of each player, projected ranking, and the expected deviation from the rank. Portfolio choice theory can be applied to this data when creating fantasy football teams. For example, a player's projected points is a measure of expected return and the deviation from their rank represents risk. Utilizing this data I can generate different portfolio sets and test the ex-post performance of portfolios along the efficient frontier (the set of optimal portfolios according to the theory). The goal of this research is to develop a general portfolio building strategy that is applicable to fantasy football markets. Understanding the types of investor preferences present in the fantasy football market is key to this strategy. Fantasy football players that are more risk loving will have different preferences and thus different optimal portfolios than players who want a safer team. Since there are different measures of risk in the collected data, these different preferences can be accounted for. I believe that a general rule can be discerned by accounting for this varying preference that will be helpful for fantasy football players when selecting their teams.

Hannah Torry '16

Majors: Business Administration, Public Relations, Communication Studies
This summer I read a variety of different articles related to the attitude-behavior gap found within consumer purchase behavior, most specifically, within ethical consumption. Consumers claim a desire to purchase ethical products and products produced by ethically-sound companies, but actual purchase behavior does not match this desire. I read studies discussing whether this attitude-behavior gap is a true phenomenon, why it may be happening, and how it might be closed. My goal for the summer was to create a solid understanding of ethical consumer behavior that will serve as a starting point for a senior thesis, and I look forward to continuing this work.


Christian Blunk '15

Majors: International Economics, International Business
My summer research was conducted largely on the Japanese economy and how it compares to the American economy, particularly in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and following recession. Emphasis was placed on analyzing the substance and effectiveness of the policies of the Japanese ("Abenomics") and American ("Obamanomics") governments with the hope of generalizing fiscal and monetary policies for economies in a liquidity trap. Making use of what I learned during a semester abroad in Japan as well as from literature I have read, I intend to attempt to establish whether the results of Abenomics, in conjunction with the American government’s policies, support the use of certain economic policies in recessions and financial crises.

Matt Daoust '15

Major: Business Administration
Minors: Economics, Asian Studies
My summer research topic focused on how to recruit and select employees for overseas assignments. Determining which employees will be the most successful overseas is very difficult for organizations and selecting the wrong employees can cost them greatly. Failure rates of international assignments range from 20% to 50%, and costs associated with a failed assignment include rehiring, relocation, retraining, compensation, and other preparation costs. I studied the characteristics of expatriates (overseas employees) that contribute to success, including those such as domestic performance, openness to experience, extraversion, stress tolerance, and previous international experience. My goal for the summer was to find which characteristics best predicted expatriate success, as gaining more information on this topic can help decrease the risk to organizations when sending employees overseas.

Amy Hurd '15

Majors: Business Administration, Public Relations
My summer research focused first on developing an understanding of consumer decision-making and then on how coupons and special offers might affect consumer decision-making. I began by studying several classic decision-making models and reading papers by researchers who conducted empirical tests of these models. This served as a basis for contextualizing the literature on couponing. Two streams of couponing literature exist - one on identifying characteristics of coupon users/non-users and one on what types of coupon campaigns might be more effective. My goal for the summer was to write a literature review that will serve as a starting point for a senior thesis.

Maddie Koolbeck '17

Majors: Economics, Environmental Studies
This summer I looked at the economics of common (open-access) resources. To begin with, I studied markets and how they can fail the efficiency outcome in specific scenarios: namely the effect that common goods have in the market place due to their rivalry and non-excludability characteristics. I studied multiple theories and methods that have been developed to correct market failure due to common resources. I ultimately looked at the current common problem of gas emissions and at policy solutions and suggestions regarding this problem.

Gabe Leonard '16

Majors: Computer Science, Mathematics
Minor: Economics
My summer research with the economics faculty focused on various aspects of growth. Specifically, I investigated possible relationships between growth and inequality, and between growth and institutions. Throughout the summer I reviewed a number of empirical and theoretical papers, and I found many interesting ways that both inequality and institutions can affect growth. I also reviewed the data used to come to many of these conclusions about growth. Though no one channel was able to explain all the effects, I think that the ones I found in the literature can be put together to account for a good deal of the variance in growth rates that is attributable to these factors.

Chad Loomis '16

Majors: Business Administration, Accounting
This summer I worked to gain a better understanding of factors contributing to the effectiveness of organizations that send employees on international assignments, especially the importance of emotional intelligence in these expatriates. I read a number of articles which allowed me to create a literature review that I can utilize in a future senior thesis. A major part of my research involved looking into how expatriates adjust to a new environment abroad and exploring different facets of the adjustment process in order to better understand how a successful expatriation assignment is achieved. I look forward to delving further into this topic in the future.

Tim Palmer '15

Majors: Business Administration, Economics
Minor: Mathematics
My research investigated some market tendencies in the U.S. equity markets. I looked at two forces, momentum and mean reversion, and attempted to find scenarios where these forces produce returns significantly different from baseline returns. In particular, I focused on the effects of gaps, in which a stock opens abruptly away from the previous day's trading range. These insights will shed light on the validity of the efficient market hypothesis. If markets are efficient, there should be little evidence of momentum or mean reversion. My preliminary results showed that stocks tend to revert to the mean after major gap events.

Tony Peterson '16

Majors: Business Administration, Economics
Minor: Mathematics
My research was on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow), a major stock market index in the U.S. This summer I read numerous articles from various academic journals to understand the Dow and related issues. I also completed my own analysis of stock return data. I found that there is a significant index effect to stocks being selected or deleted from the Dow. Announcements of impending changes to the composition of the Dow helped stocks being selected and drove down those being deleted. I will continue my study on searching for a possible explanation to the index effect.

Sean Pyritz '15

Majors: Accounting, Business Administration
Minor: Economics
This summer I surveyed the asset pricing literature with the goal of using the theory to analyze a new class of assets, football players in the fantasy football market. Early in the summer I studied the theory and models used in the asset pricing literature. The second half of the summer I focused on the empirical methodology used to test the asset pricing models. I plan to apply the models and empirical techniques to a data set of fantasy football player prices and expectations that I will create during the football season.


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.


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.


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

Major: 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.


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.


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.


Tyler Thompson '09

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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.


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.


Erica Baasten

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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."


Erica Baasten '07

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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."


Carrie Hook

Topic: 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

Topic: Optimal currency denominations

Eric Sandegren

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: 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

Topic: The process of transition in Eastern Europe

Nick Wilkins

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


Lauren Clifford

Topic: 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

Topic: Optimal currency denominations

Jared Rance

Topic: An economic analysis of the United States Tort system and its reforms

Colleen Ries

Topic: A duct tape remedy: A comparative analysis of the effectiveness of medical malpractice caps

Mike Smith

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

Ben Stevens
Nat Tagtow

Topic: A descriptive comparison of Tort law in the United States, New Zealand, Sweden, and France

Drew Westberg

Topic: The process of transition in Eastern Europe


Tiffany Foster

Topic: The influence of culture in international marketing: A comparison of advertisements in Spanish and U.S. magazines

Stoyan Gamishev
Doug Lindstrom

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

Theresa White

Topic: Crisis management: An in-depth case study analysis


Chris Baasten

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

Jenny Conkel

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

Roshan Khattry

Topic: Empirical characteristics of an optimum currency area

Jeff Martin

Topic: Impact analysis of the economy of Cedar Rapids

Gabrielle Payne

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

Carrie Yedlik

Topic: The economics of strategies bequests: The case of family farms


Sabrina Kanwar

Topic: Globalization: The future of the world economy

Roshan Khattry

Topic: Empirical characteristics of an optimum currency area

Heather O’Brien

Topic: Media advertising and its effects on male body image

Laci Palar

Topic: Internet security issues: privacy or personalization

Andy Powell

Topic: Evaluating player performance in the National Football League

Heather Reindl

Topic: Excellence based organizations: A unified framework for differing management philosophies

Anna Tenzytthoff

Topic: Internet marketing strategies undertaken by controversial companies

Brian Voight

Topic: Telecommunications and economic growth: An initial structure approach

Janelle Wagg

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


Erin Gibney
Diane Korir

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

Dawn McAllister

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

Robert Temple
Robert Vicente-Mayoral

Topic: Competitive balance in professional sports leagues—determinants and impact

Janelle Wagg

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


Alan Bausch

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

Mei Ling Chong

Topic: 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

Topic: The contributions of Ronald Coase to Law and Economics

Kevin O’Donnell

Topic: The contributions of Robert M. Solow to Economics Growth Theory