Highlights from the 11th Annual Oregon Economic Forum
The 11th Annual Oregon Economic Forum was held on Thursday, October 16 at the Portland Art Museum. Approximately 375 attended the event, which included a very timely presentation of recent research by Assistant Professor Ben Hansen on the potential impact of marijuana legalization. Oregon voters have the opportunity to decide on a measure legalizing recreational marijuana on the upcoming November ballot.
For instance, Hansen’s research found that states with medical marijuana laws saw declines in drunken driving fatalities, suicides (especially among young adult males), and the rate of heavy drinking.
Hansen also noted that taxation of recreational pot should be done carefully to avoid chasing users back to an already-thriving black market for the substance.
Read the Oregonian’s full coverage of Hansen’s presentation here.
Slides from the main presentations are now available here.
Other highlights of the event included an update on the regional economy from the Forum’s organizer and founder, UO Professor of Practice Tim Duy, and an examination by State Economist Mark Mullen of the impact of changing demographics on the state’s economy going forward. The keynote speaker was Doug Elliott of the Brookings Institution, who reported on the progress made in addressing regulatory shortfalls in the financial industry in an effort to prevent a repeat of the events that precipitated the Great Recession.
The Oregon Economic forum is hosted by the UO Department of Economics. KeyBank was the presenting sponsor for this year’s event. Additional sponsors included the Portland Business Journal, Langley, the Portland Business Alliance, the Port of Portland, and Providence Health Plans.
Professor Wesley Wilson received a “Best Paper Award” for his paper entitled “Product Life Cycles: New Products, Quality and Advertising in the Movie Market.” The paper was presented at the 2014 International Business & Education Conferences hosted by The Clute Institute, which was held in Las Vegas October 5–8.
Wilson’s paper was co-authored by Jayendra Gokhale, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Finance and Information Systems at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s College of Business in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Wilson has been a member of the UO Economics faculty since 1986. His areas of specialty are industrial organization, transportation, and applied econometrics.
Science Magazine recently explored the use of social media in the sciences, and as a result came up with a list of the 100 most-followed scientists on twitter. And, wouldn’t you know it—our very own Professor Mark Thoma made the list at #65.
Thoma made the list based on a twitter following of nearly 21,000, and more than 42,000 tweets since joining the micro-blogging network in 2008. Thoma is best known for his blog Economist’s View, which pre-eminent economist and columnist Paul Krugman (who also made the list at #4) called “the best place by far to keep up with the latest in economic discourse,” and as an analyst at CBS Moneywatch (his latest contribution can be found here).
Professor Thoma joined the Department of Economics at the University of Oregon in 1987.
Excerpt of article originally published in Around the O, August 27, 2014.
A research report by UO economics professor Trudy Ann Cameron has been named the article of the year by the Journal of Environment Economics and Management.
Cameron, the Raymond F. Mikesell Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the UO, published the paper in January 2013. It describes a new method for determining the value people place on small reductions in the risk of illness or death.
Such calculations are important in a variety of social and environmental contexts, such as understanding the benefits of medical research, environmental regulation or workplace safety rules. The calculation method proposed by Cameron and co-author J.R. DeShazo of the University of California at Los Angeles improves on existing methods by providing for a more detailed analysis and overcomes some longstanding limitations in the traditional approach.
The article, “Demand for health risk reductions,” is available here.
Read the entire Around the O piece here.
from Around the O, July 31, 2014
Two UO faculty members recently testified before a state task force looking at ways to address a potentially serious savings shortfall among residents nearing retirement age.
Finance professor John Chalmers and economics professor Bill Harbaugh appeared before the Joint Interim Task Force on Oregon Retirement Savings at the state capitol July 15. They shared their research with a presentation “Promoting Retirement Savings: What Works and Why.”
Nearly half of all working Oregonians have no access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. And 26 percent of residents between ages 45 and 64 have accumulated savings of less than $25,000, according to a survey by Oregon AARP.
read the full article.
The Oregon Economic Forum has just launched its new website! You’ll still see the same key economic indexes, reports and analysis about our regional economic picture, as well as information about the annual OEF event in Portland. You can also subscribe by email for instant updates straight to your inbox.
May 2014 State of Oregon Economic Indicators is now available here.
The Oregon Economic Forum is sponsored by the University of Oregon Department of Economics with generous support from KeyBank.
Threatening rainclouds (and even the occasional thunder) were no match for nearly 200 grads and their families who came to celebrate.
Students and their families piled onto the East Lawn of the Law Center, prepared with the full range of items for the weather: sunscreen, umbrellas, and even the occasional rain boots. It was all put to use, with a mix of raindrops, blazing sunshine and lightning flashes along the distant hills.
Nearly 200 of the 300-plus Economics undergrads were on hand to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. And unlike the day’s weather, their future prospects look bright. According to commencement speaker Tim Duy, this year’s graduates would be transitioning into a more favorable job market than those from recent graduating classes.
In addition, Duy noted that a number of grads in attendance were already working or had accepted job offers, for companies including Palo Alto Software, Earthbound Farms, Columbia Distributing, Intel, KeyBank, and ECONorthwest.
The Economics Department also congratulated six PhD students and twelve Master’s students, and awarded a number of department awards, including:
- Ben Fitch-Fleischmann—GTF Teaching Award, 2014 Donald and Darel Stein Graduate Student Teaching Award
- John Voorheis—PhD Research Paper Award
- Ben Fitch-Fleischmann—Mikesell Research Paper Award
- Brad Zukerman—Individual Undergraduate Honors Paper Award
- Matthew Davis and Andrea Vedder—Group Undergraduate Honors Paper Award
- Les Cole Sutera—Undergraduate “Most Valuable Player” Award
- Danial Moas—Most Inspiring Economics Graduate
Congratulations, Class of 2014!
Photographs courtesy of Colleen O’Malley and Jaimee Crouse