ECON300 with professor Greenlaw is one of the best classes I ever been taken. Being free to choose the topic about any economic issue and researching about it interesting. Plus as an Economist I learned a lot from this class and improved my knowledge especially about writing a research paper in an economic way. Thank you Professor Greenlaw for this great class.

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Tips for people next year?

Hi everyone, I thought it would be a good idea to produce a list of tips for people taking this course next semester, maybe we could use this thread to brainstorm?

-Keep up with the weekly assignments and make sure you turn them in the Friday they’re due; don’t let yourself be fooled by Dr. Greenlaw’s leeway
-Pick a topic you’re interested in and make it work
-Your theoretical model matters, A LOT
-The sooner you turn in your draft, the sooner you get to pick when you present AND the better feedback you get

Feel free to add things you’ve learned in the comments!

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I really enjoyed doing this research paper and I certainly learned a lot. The final Presentation and the suggestions really helped me improve my paper.

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My Research

It occurs to me that, since I presented in another one of Dr. Greenlaw’s classes, many of you did not get to hear the final results of my research, so here goes.

My research focused on the rate of diabetes prevalence in the United States, and how it has been affected by the obesity epidemic. People become unhealthy for all kinds of reasons: stress, depression, ect. But some people in the U.S. are hardly even given a chance to be healthy. I wanted to look at CDC block grants and how they can have a positive, lasting effect on the communities they impact. I’ll start with my theoretical analysis.

I knew that healthcare treatment was more expensive in this country than other countries with comparable economies, and there had to be a reason for that. Before I set out doing research I considered the problems that we face: many Americans are out of shape, and a disproportionate percentage of obese people in this country come from households that are below the poverty line. This means both that they have to rely heavily on fast food as a cheep source of calories, and also that they come from communities that have limited access to recreational facilities, pools, running paths, and gyms. I started thinking that if the government was able to use some of the money they spend treating chronic illnesses, like diabetes, on infrastructure and community-based health promotion programs, we would realize a much healthier, and therefore productive, workforce.

So, I aggregated some data from the CDC and other sources to see if the CDC Preventative Health and Services Block Grant was really having a transformative effect on these communities. I ran a regression using this data with the function D = f(P+L+CDC) (Where P = the percentage of people below the poverty line, L = level of physical inactivity, and CDC = the size of the CDC block grant). I added these two control variables because I know that poverty plays a huge part in health problems. I also included level of physical inactivity, because no amount of spending can help a person if they are truly unwilling to help themselves.

When I ran the regression I saw a positive correlation, with an adjusted R squared value of 0.714. However, a P-value of 0.017 for CDC grant size suggests that these initiatives have not been as significant as I first thought. My control variables had much higher P-values, which makes sense. Richer communities with more access to recreational facilities are undoubtedly more resistant to adverse health conditions. While it’s still hard for me to tell if these results are meaningful, I believe that increasing spending on specialized CDC block grants that provide individualized care to building a community atmosphere that is conducive to good health, we will experience less fiscal drag on the economy.

A problem with my results is that these block grants still allocate about one fourth of their spending toward treating chronic disease. Only around half goes toward infrastructural changes. Also, I think my control variables were too significant and clouded my results. If anyone sees this, let me know what you think. I will be continuing my research so any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you all had as good of an experience with this as I did. I wish you all the best.

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Final Presentations

Kinda sad that this class is over… But, once again, I really enjoyed everyone’s final presentations yesterday. I especially appreciated the one that looked into the economics of divestment, as that is a hot issue on campus right now. Everyone did a really nice job and I really learned a lot. I know a lot of people are scared to speak in front of a group, so it was nice to see everyone step up to the plate and really nail it!

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The End

Good job everyone! I really enjoyed listening the last of the presentations. I hope to see you all in the next level to see what more we can do. Have a great summer!

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Final Research Presentation

WOO I am glad that presentation is finally out of the way after talking about it all semester. Now that I finished my research paper and the presentation, I can now note everything I would have done differently. If I take the advanced economic analysis class I will definitely change a lot of things to make my research more accurate.

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Final Presentation

Everyone has done such a good job and has made me feel more confident about my research. Also, everyone gave me ideas of how the flow of my presentation should sound. So, thanks!

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It’s hard to believe the semester is already over.  While I could have executed many aspects of my research project more successfully than I did, this class was a good starting point.  I now know the basics of what it takes to put an economic research paper together – the research necessary before you even start, the editing and re-editing of your empirical model, and the time it takes to gather and run the data.

Thanks, Dr. Greenlaw!


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The end

So I suppose many of us will be presenting shortly. My brain is pretty fried so I’m just going to go watch this and imagine that I’m being productive.

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