Bagwell Center Undergraduate Fellowship Working Papers

The Bagwell Center’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship was established in 2017 and aims to engage students in the academic conversation about the impact of market institutions in regards to human welfare. In line with the Center’s mission, the Fellowship offers the opportunity to continue educating and engaging with the foundational principles of economics while also examining the related impact of government policy in a mixed economy.

The papers in the Undergraduate Fellowship Working Paper Series are eligible for submission to peer-reviewed academic journals for potential publication.

2023-2024

 

  • Author(s):
    Arielle Adiri

    Advisor:
    Dr. Jesse Schwartz

    Major:
    Economics

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  • Author(s):
    Olivia Mason

    Advisor:
    Dr. Luc Noiset

    Major:
    Economics

    Abstract
    This research examines the geopolitical ramifications of a peculiar aspect of the theory of comparative advantage. When countries specialize according to their comparative advantage, they become more dependent on one another. The degree of dependency can vary from low to high, involving goods that are of great or lesser importance to society. Such dependencies can create geographical and geopolitical risks. Thus, the increased productivity from free trade must be weighed against potential increases in risk, which might suggest trade interventions or restrictions that mitigate those risks.

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  • Author(s):
    Claudia Irina Garavis Montagut

    Advisor:
    Dr. Nicholas Cooper

    Major:
    International Affairs and Relations

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  • Author(s):
    Lukas Ollivier

    Advisor:
    Dr. James Boudreau

    Major:
    Finance

    Abstract
    In this paper, we consider whether any further ties for the European Union (EU) – leading to a federal state like the United States of America – are possible or if, in the opposite direction, the EU should be disbanded. To do so, we collect data from all 27 EU countries plus the United Kingdom (UK) since 1980 on net national debt variation, inflation variation, unemployment rate variation, and GDP growth variation. The goal of the paper is to find out which countries are most correlated with one another in terms of their responses to shocks and their macroeconomic tendencies, an approach inspired by the “Optimal Currency Area” theory made famous by macroeconomist Robert Mundell. The present study differs from that original concept in that we are not only considering common monetary policies, but also fiscal policies, internal and external security, and foreign policy alliances (based on the American federal system). If two countries or more are compatible for such common policies, we expect these countries to be similar in terms of their main macroeconomic indicators such as the variation of national debt, inflation, GDP, and unemployment over time. Therefore, we measure the correlation of those variables across countries, and group those that are most similar to one another. According to our results, it seems like a unification of the entire European nations might be illusory. However, some countries share patterns and similarities, making them good candidates pick for further ties with one another (but not those outside their group).

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  • Author(s):
    Zakaria Sherif

    Advisor:
    Prof. Michael Patrono

    Major:
    Computer Science

    Abstract
    This research compares the GDP growth paths of four major nations—the US, UK, GERMANY, FRANCE—to examine the economic impact of climate policy. Time series analysis is used to track long-term economic and environmental developments from 1990 to 2022. The study explores the shifting relationship between climate policy interventions and economic indicators, concentrating on GDP growth and CO2 emissions. During the research period, all four nations spotted significant economic growth and variable degrees of CO2 emission reduction. The United Kingdom and France have achieved significant economic growth and pollution reductions, demonstrating effective climate policies and cleaner energy transitions. Due to its focus on renewable energy and sustainability, Germany has strong economic development and low emissions. Despite economic growth, the US has only marginally reduced CO2 emissions, highlighting the need for stronger climate measures. The study emphasises policy formulation, institutional frameworks, and supportive measures in determining climate policy economic consequences. Policymakers, stakeholders, and scholars may use its empirical findings to understand the complicated link between climate action and economic performance. The research adds to climate policy efficacy and sustainable economic growth by explaining the economic aspects of climate policies and comparing them.

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  • Author(s):
    Yvonne Thuo

    Advisor:
    Dr. Greg Phelan

    Major:
    Finance

    Abstract
    Attending college is one of the many goals that high school students across America look forward to.

    For a small percentage of these students, being admitted to his or her dream college would mean obtaining exceptional test scores, near-perfect grades, and notable extracurricular activities. But an additional factor that has been considered in college admissions for decades is the student’s race. For numerous public universities and even some prestigious private colleges, race was often  considered when admitting students. However, this practice has recently been nullified by the Supreme Court and will now change the criterion of  student admissions in these once race-conscious schools.

    This Supreme Court decision has potential to impact college admissions, enrollment, and graduation  of minority students. Sander (2004) suggest that minority groups can be harmed by affirmative action admission policies because they can be accepted to a school they are not qualified for, and therefore struggle to graduate. This theory has been named mismatch theory. Sander’s analysis considers a narrow population of law school students. I add to the research on this topic by examining the impact of affirmative action policies in the United States on the graduation rates of ethnic minorities pursuing bachelor’s degrees. My estimates of the impact of affirmative action bans prior to the 2023 Supreme Court decision can provide valuable information about the potential effects of the nationwide affirmative action ban going forward.

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2022-2023

 

  • Author(s):
    Javeria Ali

    Abstract
    Chinese investments in Africa and their impact on the African economy have been a topic of discussion for some time now. These investments are primarily motivated by a combination of foreign policy objectives and economic interests, which include securing access to natural resources, markets, and investment opportunities. Despite this, the influence of foreign policy initiatives on Chinese investment in Africa has been under-explored in academic research and public discourse.

    This research article will examine the political dynamics of Chinese investments in Africa and investigate how Chinese foreign policy influences its investment decisions in Africa. It will do so by understanding the historical context of China's engagement with Africa and how this relationship has evolved. Lastly, it will examine the impact of these policies on sustaining China's rapid economic growth by providing a relief valve for the Chinese labor force and raw materials for increased production rates.

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  • Author(s):
    Parth Pisolkar

    Abstract
    In today’s competitive job market, a bachelor’s degree has become a minimum requirement for many entry-level positions. However, according to College Board, from 2009 - 2019, the average tuition and fees at a public four-year institution has increased by 24% (adjusted for inflation), whereas real GDP per capita has gone up by only 15%(Source: St. Louis Fred).

    With the rising cost of tuition, many students face a difficult decision when selecting a college: Should they attend a top school that boasts a strong reputation or attend one with more affordable tuition fees? This question has become increasingly relevant as more employers place a premium on the prestige of a top institution from which a candidate has graduated. While a bachelor’s degree from a top school may offer greater opportunities and earning potential, a degree from a less prestigious school often provides a more affordable option. In this paper, we will explore how going to a top tier school affects the student’s overall quality of life by looking at their movement within the country after graduation.

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  • Author(s):
    Yvonne Thuo

    Abstract
    This paper relates how advanced biotechnology can influence Kenya’s agricultural sector to the benefit of its economy. With another severe drought affecting Kenya’s crops, a new method of growing crops must be administered. Research involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs) supports that the usage of genetic engineering may be Kenya’s best option for increasing agricultural output. With other countries utilizing GMOs for agricultural practices, Kenya can adopt the technology and produce crops despite drought conditions.

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  • Author(s):
    Duc Nguyen

    Abstract
    This paper studies the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between South Korea and Vietnam, which entered into force in December of 2015. We study the change in trade relationships between these nations, focusing on the levels of exports and imports between them and also their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The data on bilateral trade between these two countries are gathered from the World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) database covering the period of 2010-2020. We also used the UNCTAD and WTO databases to obtain necessary statistics on GDP, exchange rates and FTA, to conduct the data analysis, we use the vector autoregressive function (VAR) test and conduct Granger causality test on its basis to estimate short-term effects of FTA on bilateral trade between these countries. Then, we explore the properties of the Impulse-Response function test to estimate long-term impact of FTA on trade. As the data show, the effects of FTA on Vietnamese exports were significant in the medium term. Whilst the agreement has had a larger effect in the long term on Vietnamese imports from Korea, the results do show that it is worthwhile for both Korea and Vietnam to re-examine the agreement and either revise the document to reflect modern needs or enact policies to encourage trade between both nations. The outcomes of the agreement were similar to those of NAFTA.

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  • Author(s):
    Justin Schymanski

    Abstract
    As of 2021, the market size of the video games industry has reached a figure of more than $110 billion. On top of this, the total revenue of streaming services in the video game industry reached $78 million in 2021. The data compiled by IBIS World shows that the given figures have grown over the past decade and are predicted to continue growing, as shown in Figure 1. The growth of the video game industry and the increasing size of the streaming industry lead to the possibility that the industry could greatly impact people’s financial decisions, given its size and power. Therefore, it is important to understand how consumers’ decisions are affecting the market so that they can make better financial decisions. In order to understand consumers’ decisions, the first step would be to analyze previous instances of companies abusing advertising strategies, such as those through streaming services, which unethically influence consumers’ decisions to invest money or not invest money in their product.

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  • Author(s):
    Noah B. Walton

    Abstract
    The model of dynamic price systems is used by companies to inflate and reduce the prices in response to market conditions. Many large firms use dynamic pricing to manage revenue and maximize profit. Ticketmaster, an international superpower in the live-event ticket sales industry, uses the dynamic pricing model to create profit while accounting for consumer preferences and willingness to pay for a product. Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model helps ensure that goods are more likely to get purchased by the person with the highest value for the good, which is desirable for those consumers with a high reservation price and beneficial for economic efficiency. Ticketmaster's dynamic pricing model accounts for numerous factors, including popularity of the event, concert venue characteristics (e.g., location, size), and day of event. Ticket prices fluctuate continually using a system of algorithms and inputs that are designed to observe and analyze multiple variables such as live ticket sales, previous sale data, and customer reactivity. Critics believe that Ticketmaster's pricing models cause higher ticket prices for more desired, mainstream events, making it impossible for an average customer to purchase without spending hundreds to thousands of dollars. Despite the popular opinion, Ticketmaster's model has worked well for maximizing profits and keeping its top-grade position in the system. This system, despite many public opinions, has also provided high-level access to ticket accessibility and is generally regarded as a very well-structured ticketing system. Ticketmaster has also acquired many companies and receives funding from others to maintain near-monopolization status over the entertainment ticketing industry. This study will cover Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model in the ticket sales market and how that model has impacted the public’s access to live performance.

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2021-2022

 

  • Author(s):
    Trish Weber

    Abstract
    There are two kinds of economist: the student and the engineer. They approach economics with different presuppositions, and each has a different goal in mind. Their sole commonality is that they call themselves economists. Both present themselves as working under the umbrella of economic science. This creates confusion. Science, as a term, has a very narrow and specific meaning: Science is concerned with empiric measurements. Only the student economist stays true to this definition; he measures and observes. The engineer economist, on the other hand, uses the principles of economics science and wants to either persuade or to apply principles of the science to change how the economy works.

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  • Author(s):
    Nathaneal Cook

    Abstract
    This paper will explore the effects of socialism on the Russian economy. It will contrast socialistic ideologies and practices with capitalistic ideologies and practices. The research will inform the reader of the origins of socialism and provide a case study into the economic impact of socialism on those that have chosen to adopt its’ customs and practices. The research will look to answer the question: “does history prove that socialism is an effective economic system?” The paper will exhort the reader to evaluate lessons from history in a manner that provokes thought and causes reflection. Ultimately, the reader will be able to clearly discern the lessons that history teaches about the effects of socialism on an economy.

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  • Author(s):
    Elijah James

    Abstract
    This research will examine how the United States has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from a macroeconomic perspective and the government’s policy response undertaken to mitigate the damage. We will attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of some of the federal government and the Federal Reserve’s policy decisions. At the beginning of the pandemic, the economy shut down, having a daunting effect on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, unemployment skyrocketed as people left the workforce and delayed returning. Data for this research has been gathered from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), St. Louis and Dallas Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

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  • Author(s):
    Terrilynn Melton and Marcus Marktanner

    Abstract
    We examine the impact of democracy and autocracy on environmental degradation, hypothesizing that an authoritarian regime needs to be less responsive to citizens’ needs to internalize the social costs associated with the extraction of natural resources than democracies. If the government maximizes profits from natural resources extraction, meaning that it acts like a monopolist, then the following emerges. Authoritarian regimes will extract more resources and impose higher social costs on their citizens than democracies. Implicit to this result is that the level of natural resource extraction might be closer to the social optimum in an autocracy than in a democracy. We test our hypothesis using simple OLS regression. Our dependent variables are CO2 emissions, natural resource depletion, natural resource rents, air pollution, as well as the number of deaths related to air pollution. Our focus independent variable is a political regime indicator. We control for GDP per capita and population density, as well as regional fixed effects. Our findings lend strong support to our hypothesis that, all else equal, autocracies extract more resources and impose higher social costs on society than democracies who internalize more of the social cost resulting in the extraction of less resources.

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  • Author(s):
    Parth Pisolkar

    Abstract
    Real Estate markets are one of the major indicators of how an economy (micro or macro) is performing. Nearly 5.8 million houses were sold in the US in May 2021 alone, which is a tremendous increase of over 44% from the previous year. Real Estate is considered one of the most stable markets in the US as it is one of the least liquifiable asset class. It is a fixed income asset class which provides reliable income for many investors which is why there is a sense of trust among people when purchasing real estate. This trust can depend on a lot of factors such as Government Policies (monetary and fiscal policy), Prospects of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), DII (Domestic Institutional Investment), etc. When people are willing to invest/buy real estate, it means there has been (or is going on) an increase in savings, earnings, and income of households in a particular geographical/political area.

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2020-2021

 

  • Author(s):
    Andrew Hughes

    Abstract
    In recent decades the complexity of modern popular music has consistently declined. This paper seeks to explain the economic impact marketing has had on music itself, as well as the industry it occupies. The increased ease with which artists can market themselves through social media platforms has led to a detriment in the quality of music being produced today. As a result, an artists’ success is now less dependent upon skill. Rather, prospects for success are increasingly about consistent output, and how the artist promotes themselves. Music streaming platforms have contributed to the degradation of musical originality in recent years, favoring artists who are consistently creating good work over those interested in creating great work that will stand the test of time.

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  • Author(s):
    Amitai Ilan

    Abstract
    This paper will explore how financial markets and investment products can build generational wealth for members of society. The research will answer the question: “can anyone, regardless of initial income, use the financial markets to build and preserve generational wealth and, if so, how can they best utilize it to do so?” It will provide examples to fully show how workers of varying income levels and of different ages can build and preserve accumulated wealth in retirement. This will be done by looking at different case studies with various incomes, compounding interest, and back tested invested principles. It will also touch on what prevents people from doing this effectively, as well as flaws in our current system. The paper will also focus on preserving wealth in retirement, and other alternatives if not enough wealth was generated to do this, or peace of mind is a factor. While this topic is often touched on in other papers, the discussion rarely contains information on an indefinite time, the use of cash, or other various alternatives.

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  • Author(s):
    Matthew Tesvich

    Abstract
    The goal of this study is to find trends amongst vaccination companies and their roles played throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have collected over a year’s worth of data, September 2019 through December 2020, providing entries across the stocks: Moderna (MRNA), Pfizer (PZE), AstraZeneca (AZN), Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings (ARCT), BioNTech (BNTX). We are able to clearly see similar patterns across the stock charts while cross comparing the data. It is clear that there are certain indicators that are firing off that lead to spikes in the data charts. The spikes in the industry can also lead to spikes in other companies, leading us to further analyze why that may be happening. Furthermore, we are analyzing why the stock prices are reacting the way that they are. There are cases that one vaccination may take off or fall hard while the rest of the market holds steady. This could indicate flaws with the product, company, bad press, etc. By discovery of a pattern, we can identify market leaders and correlations for the future. Patterns also allow us to better understand indicators and why they fired off the way that they did. To sum up everything that has been stated thus far, data analysis allows us to see things that the naked eye cannot identify. Throughout this study, we are able to use data to see things that we could not see by merely looking at the charts. This creates the ability to dive deeper into the datasets and come to conclusions as to why something may be happening.

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2019-2020

 

  • Author(s):
    Ryan Wilson

    Abstract
    In many developing economies around the world, the problem of inclusive growth continues to elude economic developers and policymakers alike. A key issue within the inclusive growth model that seems to have lost momentum with policymakers is the concept of full employment as described in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 23, specifically states the following:

    1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
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  • Author(s):
    Antoine Jackson

    Abstract
    This paper will explore the intersection of technology and education on crime and employment. The research will inform policymakers about the costs and benefits of technology centers and research parks and reveal how promotion of education and technology affect the decision-making processes of crime and employment. This will be done by looking at crime and education around technology and research parks and their benefits, both locally and nationwide. A local perspective is important because many of these parks are in high population areas and are more likely to experience higher rates of crime. A national perspective is important because the parks provide incentives for people to migrate and gravitate towards them.

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  • Author(s):
    Matthew McKenzie

    Abstract
    The Drum Corps International (DCI) is an organization for drum and bugle corps based out of Indiana. They are liable for developing rules and providing standardized adjudication at DCI sanctioned competitions all throughout the USA and Canada with the goal of crowning a world championship corps at the end of the season. We question whether some categories of scoring are more important than explicitly listed. Specifically, although there are three main scoring categories that account for 40, 30, and 30 points to add up to a possible 100 points total for each team, the two categories with lower point potentials display higher variations in the magnitude of score differential when judges in those categories do not agree with a team’s overall rank. This suggests that if judges do not agree with the rankings of teams by judges in other categories, they may skew the amount of points they award teams within their category to impact the final ranking.

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  • Author(s):
    Morgan Pace

    Abstract
    The Clean Water Act originated within the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) amendments of 1972 (Bell et al). The impetus for the creation of the Clean Water Act was the Cuyahoga River which repeatedly caught fire as a result of the severe water pollution in the river (“Cuyahoga River Fire”). The initial goal of the Clean Water Act was to “eliminate all discharges of pollutants in the nation’s waterways by 1985” (Salzman & Thompson). The United States government has since spent over $1 trillion to contain and eliminate water pollution.

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  • Author(s):
    Nicholas Fulton

    Abstract
    We provide evidence of a negative relationship between short-term market volatility and geopolitical summit meetings. More specifically, our results show a significant decrease in the VIX volatility index for days surrounding geopolitical events such as G7 or G20 meetings. Though the decrease in volatility is short-lived, this finding may be surprising given the nature of these events as well-known, publicized meetings that are primarily focused on long-term goals.

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  • Author(s):
    Elle Baker

    Abstract
    This paper compares player base salaries in the NBA and WNBA (the premier male and female U.S. professional basketball leagues respectively). Unsurprisingly, average salaries in the NBA ($8,264,922) and considerably higher than average salaries in the WNBA ($73,738). Thinking about intra-league salary inequality, Gini Coefficients are computed for both the NBA (0.5434) and WNBA (0.2462). Thus, while WNBA salaries are much lower than NBA salaries, WNBA salaries are distributed much more equally than are NBA salaries. Following these observations, there is a discussion as to what contributes to the difference in salary levels and distributions between the two leagues.

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2018-2019

 

  • Author(s):
    Steven Rodriguez Martinez

    Abstract
    The text explores reasons why Ford and GM voluntarily increased their operations in China, and how policies of the Trump administration are affecting the U.S. automobile industry with its attempts to force Ford and GM to bring some of those investments back to the U.S. Policies enacted under President Trump have been successful in forcing Ford and GM to invest more in the U.S.; however, because of other hurtful government decisions and these companies’ (Ford and GM) previous actions of increasing their presence in China, Trump’s approach will lead to an increase in the companies’ costs and potentially make them vulnerable to future financial struggles.

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  • Author(s):
    Carnell Tate

    Abstract
    This paper investigates how geographical variations affect energy costs throughout the United States by using a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) model. The objective was to deconstruct a nationwide LCOE model and investigate the assumptions that are made on a state level; in this case, Georgia was the chosen sample to exhibit how challenges in solar technology affect the cost of clean carbon energy.

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2017-2018

 

  • Author(s):
    Robbie Skinner

    Abstract
    This paper examines the impact of macroeconomic variables and other factors that in uence the price of cocaine in New York using the Drug Enforcement Agency's System to Retrieve Information on Drug Evidence (STRIDE) dataset. Results suggest macroeconomic factors have varying effects on price and offer support for the "Expected Purity Hypothesis" proposed by past researchers.

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  • Author(s):
    Sean Balliew and
    Timothy Mathews

    Abstract
    The Fraser Institute’s “Economic Freedom of the World” index provides an aggregate measure of economic freedom by taking a simple arithmetic mean of scores over five subdimensions: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labor, and business. By computing the aggregate score as a simple arithmetic mean, it is implicitly assumed that the different sub-dimensions are “perfect substitutes” for each other. As an alternative, we compute an aggregate economic freedom score, and resulting ordinal ranking, by taking a geometric mean of the five sub-dimensions. For this alternative specification, the marginal impact of each sub-dimension on the aggregate score is no longer independent of the other sub-dimension scores. Consequently, countries with inconsistent levels of economic freedom across subdimensions are “punished” to a greater degree than are countries with less variability across the sub-dimensions. For the ordinal ranking of countries which results from this alternate approach, 9 countries moved up 8 or more spots and 9 countries moved down 10 or more spots in the ranking. When ordered using a geometric mean instead of arithmetic mean, Qatar realizes the largest upward movement in the ranking (ranked 36th instead of 46th), while Sweden realizes the largest downward movement in the ranking (ranked 46th instead of 27th). Finally, we show that our alternative measure of economic freedom correlates with Per Capita GDP slightly more strongly than does the standard measure computed by the Frasier Institute.

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  • Author(s):
    Dave Hagemann

    Abstract
    Crypto currency markets have recently become more and more popular, but are clearly in their infancy relative to developed financial markets. Using prices series data gathered using web-scraping techniques on the more well-known coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as an "alt" coin called Monero, I first test these time series to determine whether or not they are stationary using the Augmented Dickey-Fuller test, and as is usual with price data, find that they are not. After detrending the data, then investigate whether there are any Granger causality relationships between the different price series, and comment on whether this suggests anything about the state of the Efficient Market Hypothesis in this relatively young financial market.

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