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May 2, 2014

Newest faculty member named a "Top Thinker Under 30"

Newly appointed faculty member Mike Kuhn was named one of the Top Thinkers Under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine. The magazine recognizes young men and women they predict will have a serious impact on the social, political, and economic issues that they cover in the publication.


Kuhn’s interest is in the relationship between patience and financial decisions, especially in regard to how people spend or save limited resources, like food stamps or small paychecks. He believes that many social programs need to be redesigned based on scientific research to work better for their beneficiaries.

Read what made Kuhn a Top Thinker Under 30.

Kuhn will join the UO Economics Department in Fall 2014

May 1, 2014

March 2014 economic indicators released

The University of Oregon State of Oregon Economic Indicators for March 2014 was released on May 1, 2014.

Oregon’s economy posted solid gains in March. Highlights of the report include:

The Oregon Measure of Economic Activity rose to 0.73 in March, compared to a revised 0.16 the previous month.  As it currently stands, the March number is a new post-recession high.  The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure, is 0.41 where “zero” for this measure indicates the average growth rate over the 1990-present period.

All major sectors covered by this measure contributed positively to the measure.  A rebound in manufacturing hours worked supported the manufacturing sector while employment bolstered the construction numbers. The labor force component continues to make a positive contribution to the household sector.

The University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators gained 0.5% in March.  Initial unemployment claims continue to signal solid job growth as they hover in a range somewhat above the lows experienced prior to the last recession.  The general upward trend in employment services payrolls (largely temporary help firms) continues, another indication of future job gains.

Residential building permits (smoothed) continue to hover in a range between 1,100 and 1,200.  This is somewhat softer than the 1,300 level of last spring. Consumer sentiment gained for a second month.

The Oregon weight distance tax continues to edge higher, consistent with a faster pace of activity.  New orders for core manufacturing goods rose, recovering their losses from the previous month.  A sharp gain in average weekly hours worked reversed three months of declines.

The two indicators point toward continued growth in Oregon at an above average pace of activity.  The economy continues to slowly regain its footing as the impact of the recession fades further into the past.

You can review past reports and other regional economic indicators at the Oregon Economic Forum website.

Special thanks to our sponsor, KeyBank.

April 4, 2014

Econ faculty quoted in USA Today piece

Tim Duy comments on resigngation of Fed Governor Jeremy Stein

Professor of Practice Tim Duy was quoted in a recent piece in USA Today in relation to the announcement of Fed Governor Jeremy Stein’s resignation.

Tim Duy is the author of the popular Fed Watch blog, which comments on the activities of the Federal Reserve and other factors influencing  the U.S. economy.

You can read the full article here.

February 3, 2014

Professor’s Research Featured in Cascade


Assistant Economics Professor Ben Hansen has been researching the effects of different types of punishments on the rates of drunk driving, and his work was recently featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Cascade, the magazine of the UO College of Arts and Sciences.

Hansen discovered that stricter punishments only work if they are well known in advance, showing that drivers who get caught actually use a cost-benefit analysis when deciding to get behind the wheel. He also determined that the rate of repeat offenses is reduced when a system of progressively severe (and well-publicized) punishments is employed.

Full text of article.

Full issue of Cascade.

January 24, 2014

Econ Club visits Seattle Fed

Student trip sponsored by the Department of Economics

The UO’s Economics Club took a field trip to the Seattle Branch of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank in late January. Econ Club member Jeff Naber was one of the 15 or so students who made the trip.

FedGroup2“When we arrived we passed through two security checkpoints—one outside before we could even park our cars, and one inside the building itself,” Naber recalls. “Cameras were not allowed inside the building; we even had to leave our cell phones in our cars.”

The first part of the visit included displays that traced the history of the Seattle Fed, which was relocated from its downtown Seattle location about 10 years ago to undeveloped land previously owned by Boeing. They also saw samples of the largest currency denominations, including a rare $10,000 bill, which was only used for inter-bank transfers before electronic funds transfers became commonplace.

Next, they learned the role of the Seattle fed, which is to collect information about the regional economy for the Fed to use in determining monetary policy, and to collect, store, and distribute currency from the member banks.

sightseeingSeattleThe group toured the facility with an escort of police guards, after being relieved of purses and coats, and reminded repeatedly not to put their hands in their pockets for any reason. They viewed the receiving room, where armored trucks unload bins of money for sorting.

“At one point one of the employees held up two stacks of money, and our guide pointed out that we were looking at $1 million. Just being held up by one dude,” says Naber. “It was weird.”

Weird, too, was the group’s view inside the vault, which Naber said looked like “a Costco full of bins of money.”

Lastly, the group viewed the processing room, where money is examined to see if it is real and fit for re-circulation, or counterfeit and/or too damaged to circulate. Each group member received a bag of shredded currency as a souvenir.SeattlePikePlace

Afterward, the members made the 15-minute drive to downtown Seattle for sightseeing and exploring the city’s iconic spots, such as Starbucks and Pike Place Market.

The Economics Club’s Seattle Fed trip was sponsored by the Department of Economics, which paid for lodging and travel costs for the group. To learn more about the UO Economics Club, you can visit the club’s Facebook wall.

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