Passive Management v. Active Management

For my research this semester I am planning to look at investment strategy and whether or not passive management or active management provide the best returns to an investor over a specified period of time.

In terms of classifying what denotes passive management versus active management, I  have decided to analyze ETF’s as being a passive investment strategy and Mutual Funds as being an active investment strategy. However I have run in to a couple of problems when it comes to narrowing my research topic.

For example I am not sure how long of a time period I should collect data for given the variation in economic conditions security valuation. Also when it comes to analyzing mutual funds and ETF’s, I need to decided what type of mutual fund family I am going to use and which ETF’s. Any ideas?

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And the Search Continues…

I would like to explore how immigration impacts the nations or states GDP. I know that I’ve read in books that, overall, immigration has a positive impact on gross domestic product, but how do I know, know. Right? It’s always such a hot topic debate during re-elections and with ISIS and Syria refugees all over the news this topic wrenched my attention.

My initial search through EconLit using my keywords Immigration, GDP, and United States only managed to find 8 results (less when I put quotations around United States). When I did an even broader search through JSTOR I had about 1500 results. Huge difference. But JSTOR also has a larger range of fields; not only economics. These are a start though. After sifting through some of these articles I may find commonalities or keywords to help me find other literature in the future. Maybe if I use that asterisk a couple of times…

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Brand new topic and question, because found something way better

So last post I thought I would be studying Saudi Arabia’s economy, but I had no direction or focus. Then we had class and got to help formulate each other’s questions, which was such a relief. My group was super helpful in trying to come up with something, but we still kept coming up with vague questions, nothing really concrete to work on. Then we talked about another project, and through her discussion of charitable giving, we got talking about charities in general, and long story short, I came up with a new topic and question: At what point, if there is one, do charitable organizations stop being effective?

So often I hear people say “Oh, don’t give to Susan G. Kommen!” or “UNICEF is corrupt and does nothing anymore.” and it’s sad. These organizations all started with a good mission and are huge now, with millions of dollars going into them, and should be doing great things! But when was the last time anyone heard about them doing anything? So my project will be analyzing their intake and output into projects, and their pockets. I want to see if there is a point that they grow too large, or get a certain amount of money, and then they focus on advertising and salaries instead of the projects they set out to do. I’ll be picking a certain amount (to be decided) to look into, and see what records of theirs I can find and donation amounts, what projects they’re doing and how far they’ve gotten, and see if they’re effective anymore, or if we should start giving our money to smaller organizations who aren’t big enough to make a major profit off of donations.

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Hammering out the details

I’m pretty set on my topic, the economics of attending law school, but have been having trouble really deciding what angle to come at the problem from. I’m not sure how much I want to focus on the recovery from the recent financial crisis, the difference in employment opportunities offered to graduates of each tier of law schools, and/or the difference in graduates who pursue careers directly in the field of law vs. those who use their versatile law degree in another field such as business etc. Just not sure if all of these are too much for one paper and where exactly to find the data I need.

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Which Question to Question? Now, That’s the Question

I find myself today a bit conflicted so far as which way to head on the research question. My topic, as a reminder, is on the relationship between Government, specifically the Defense Department, and Small Business. Originally I had leaned toward taking a look at how effective various Government programs designed to benefit small business were, and if there was anything interesting to glean from that.

However, I’ve become increasingly interested in another aspect of the matter entirely, which is: How effective is Government at spending? We could argue of course that Government is very effective at spending, with trillions of bits of evidence that if there’s anything they know how to do: it’s spend. Yet there are some special eccentricities to the way Government does business. For example, all funds must – for the most part – be spent in the period in which they are allocated, typically one to three years. Can you imagine how you would act, as a consumer, if you knew every dollar you had would evaporate on Dec. 31? Does Government act this way, with every available dollar flying out the window before its expiration? If so, are there effects that can be seen – like increased prices for similar contracts due to increased demand?

I guess these all boil down to – when Government spends, does it “think” like a normal consumer, or does it do something different, entirely? If it has bizarre or irrational actions, are there effects to we, the taxpayers?

That’s a lot of questions to talk about a question.

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Research Topic

I would like to do research on technology growth and its impact on employment in both manufacturing and service industries in the United States. At what pace is technology growing in these industries? Is technology decreasing job opportunities, or is it actually promoting job growth? I chose this topic because I have asked myself this question several times but have never really looked into it. It’s something that is currently affecting nearly all areas of labor and will continue to do so. I acknowledge that these two fields (manufacturing and services) are very broad, but I want to focus more on the effect of technology use on overall employment rather than on specific industries.

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A general tip to help everyone pick a paper topic

If you are having trouble picking out a topic, don’t worry about it. Just think of a topic that interests you and figure out what other things relate to it and how those things affect it. It doesn’t need to be overly economics-y. If you like Star Wars, you could research how much or how little the amount of science or engineering majors there are over the years following the release of a new Star Wars movie. Or if more Science Fiction movies cause more people to major in STEM fields. Another idea could be looking at the change in crime rates over time in any city and finding the factors that could cause those changes.

Keep it simple. You can always think of things to add on to your paper or improve upon but leave that for another paper. This is the first economics paper most of you guys will have written. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you are planning on majoring in economics you still have 361 and 462 to improve upon your paper.

The possibilities are endless for what you can write on. Don’t restrain yourself with something that you aren’t interested in.

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tentative research topic

Choosing a research topic has been kind of overwhelming because there are so many potential topics i’m interested in, yet i’m not really sure where to start any of them. I’m very interested in the economics of crime, particularly related to gun violence. For example, the medical costs society incurs as a result of gun violence, or if/ how certain economic environments are related to gun violence. Unfortunately, reliable gun violence data is hard to find since the government has collected practically no data on it since 1996. The tentative topic I settled on was how social class influences gun ownership and/ or gun homicide rates. However, over the past few days i’ve been thinking about doing something related to suicide and economics.

Gun ownership is related to suicide; about 2/3 of gun deaths in the U.S. every day are suicides (about 60 suicides per day) and access to a gun vastly increases the likelihood of suicide completion. Also, for years Caucasian men over the age of fifty constituted the majority of suicides in the U.S., but there is evidence that this demographic trend  has been shifting. The number of women and lower class minorities who kill themselves is increasing. But suicide data can be unreliable because it is typically underreported. I’m also interested in researching if the state of the macro economy influences suicide rates. And if so, do fluctuations in the economy disproportionately effect suicide rates in certain populations.

My ideas are pretty disorganized, so if anyone has suggestions please let me know!

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Research Topic??

The area that interests me for my research topic is the benefit of standardized testing and its correlation, if one, to a student’s level of success in their college experience. I was thinking of narrowing the topic down to researching if students with higher SAT scores, maintain higher college GPAs.  However, my issue is whether or not my topic is relatable to economics. I’m not sure how to add an economic perspective towards my topic, I don’t know what other variables to add to strengthen my topic in that way. Hopefully while researching my topic this week I am able to adjust it accordingly.

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Research Topic

I have a great interest in nonprofits and philanthropy. I have an internship at a nonprofit organization and hope to get a job at a nonprofit after I graduate.   With that in mind, nonprofits seemed like the perfect subject to structure a research paper around. I won’t lie, I don’t know much about the facts and statics surrounding nonprofits; so this would be the perfect time to learn more about philanthropy in the United States. I wanted to add another component to my research paper, and was inspired by the first research presentation, which discussed disaster relief/aid. I hope to find a connection between disasters and nonprofits, such as the role nonprofits play in the aftermath of disasters. I also hope to learn more about nonprofits along the way.

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