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Andrea Thompson '15

Economics and political science double major Andrea Thompson '15 estimated a cost-benefit analysis of the GM and Chrysler bailouts of 2009 by estimating unemployment and wages in Michigan had the bailout(s) not occurred. Thompson conducted the research with Robert Baumann, associate professor of economics

Summer Research

The Program

Economics and accounting students have an opportunity to serve as summer research assistants in the department.

The summer research program runs for 9 weeks in June and July. Students receive a stipend of $400 per week and campus housing, and have the opportunity to apply for funds toward professional conference travel. In addition to working closely with a faculty member on a research project, the research fellows also participate in many educational and social events sponsored by the department. For more information, please email Professor Matheson.

The Application Process

To apply for a position in the 2018 summer research program, please apply online. Be sure to select the Economics and Accounting Summer Research Program application.

Applications for the summer of 2018 are due no later than Feb. 23, 2018. An informational session will be held on Feb. 12 in Stein 526 at 4 p.m.

A completed application consists of the following steps:

  1. Submission of general information and a declaration of whether you would like to stay in campus housing.
  2. You will be asked to identify the faculty member that has agreed to provide a recommendation. A recommendation must come from a faculty member in the economics and accounting department here at Holy Cross.
  3. Upload a written statement (one to two pages single-spaced typed) stating why this program interests you, a description of your economics or accounting background, your interest in research and your long term goals (e.g., research plans while at Holy Cross, graduate school, professionally, etc.). Note: Your personal statement is the most important part of the application process.
  4. Upload a copy of your up-to-date transcript obtained from the STAR system. (Unofficial transcripts are fine.)
  5. Upload a copy of your current resume.

Abstracts of Senior Theses

A. Joseph Dalton IV, “Impact of Digital Music on Jazz Performance Attendance”
Professor: Melissa Boyle

Through the advent of digital music platforms and vehicles for the access of media online, the Internet has become a vital instrument for the sale and transmission of artistic content in the 21st century. As broadband Internet access reaches new corners of the globe, digital music services are rapidly increasing in popularity and economic importance.

While increased access to music has had many positive impacts, this trend raises questions regarding the influence that digital consumption may have on live concert attendance, especially within the jazz performance community. Rooted in improvisatory performance practices, jazz is a uniquely organic musical genre that relies heavily on the “live experience.” As such, alternative means of access present a case to study the importance of this experience to audiences at large.

Utilizing data obtained through the National Endowment for the Arts Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, I find that the presence of access to digital music has a negative impact on jazz performance attendance. Additionally, I show that both race and educational attainment play a role in determining attendance of such performances. These results directly reflect both the challenges and opportunities for growth within the musical genre.


Ryan Elliot, “Returns to a Private Education: Controlling for Selection on Observables”
Professor: Anil Nathan

Private schools have been thought to provide a better education for their students when compared to their public counterparts. However, do private schools actually add value to students’ education or do they just select the best students? This paper uses the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to see the impact that private and public schools had on their students math and reading composite standardized test scores while controlling for selection on observables. Average treatment effects (ATET) on the treated are at least twice as large and average treatment effects (ATE) are at least three times as large as ordinary least squares estimates (OLS). These results suggest that perhaps private schools are actually not selecting the best students, but rather selecting average students and adding value to them.


Grady Ross, “Were the Billions Brazil Spent on World Cup Stadiums Worth it?”
Professor: Victor Matheson

Brazil spent $11.6 billion dollars on the 2014 World Cup, with at least $3.6 billion of that going toward the construction costs of 12 new or refurbished stadiums. We looked at the past five World Cup hosts’ stadiums and their usage four years after to project what may happen to Brazil in the near future. We found stadium costs through news outlets and other sources, as well as attendances from team websites. We then compiled an estimate of how much each stadium was used.
The winners in terms of cost and usage were the United States, France, and Germany. The losers were Japan, South Korea, and South Africa. From the initial numbers, Brazil appears to be among one of the worst cases. Only time will tell if their investment really is a bust. An article pertaining information about this study was published on the popular news source


James Hamilton, “Religiosity and Uncertainty Aversion”
Professor: Justin Svec

An extensive literature has established a correlation between an individual’s religiosity and his risk preferences. We hypothesize that this literature has conflated risk and uncertainty and that an individual’s religiosity is actually correlated to his uncertainty preferences.

Drawing from the existing literature our measures of religiosity and attitudes toward risk and uncertainty, we developed a survey testing each respondent’s religiosity, risk preferences, and uncertainty preferences to see if our hypothesis was correct. The ultimate hope was to determine whether it is truly one’s uncertainty preferences, and not risk preferences, that are associated with an individual’s religiosity. We find modest support for our hypothesis, though with only 28 respondents, the results should be viewed as merely suggestive and indicate a need for more comprehensive research.


Garabed Koosherian, “Do Sporting Events Displace Crime? The Case of the Bulls and Chicago”
Professor: Joshua Congdon-Hohman

This study examines the prevalence of gun crime, specifically in Chicago and looks to build on previous studies that test the link between sports and crimes. In 2012, the FBI named Chicago the “murder capital” of the United States because of its high level of gun violence. Chicago offers precise, publicly available crime information, allowing us to study its crime at an hourly level. Chicago is unique because it is a metropolitan area with many professional sporting franchises across multiple sports like basketball, football, baseball and hockey.

Using hourly data from various sources in addition to Chicago’s crime data over a 14 year period, we performed time series analysis examining the relationship between various measures of criminal activities, and Bulls game data, controlling for year, month, day, hour, and weather. Specifically, we examined assaults and batteries with a handgun, homicides and these crimes occurring at a private residence. Competing hypotheses predicted that games would increase, diminish or displace crime to later hours in the day. The variables created for game specific data included whether a game was played in a specific hour, the winning records of the Bulls and the opponents, game location, whether the impact changes as the game goes on, what happens in hours after the game, etc.

We found some evidence of a positive relationship between gun crime and Bulls games, though not rising to traditional levels of statistical significance. We also found a stronger and statistically significant positive relationship between Bulls games and residential crime. This result suggests that games may move people off the streets and into their homes, but not lessen the likelihood of crime. By expanding this study to demographic pluralities in neighborhoods of Chicago, we found statistically significant evidence to suggest a positive relationship between gun crime and Bulls game in areas that have a self-identified Hispanic plurality.


Thi Tran, “Research in Forensic Economics: Miscellaneous Topics”
Professor: David Schap

Loss of Chance
This research examined aspects of the “loss of chance” doctrine, which permits recovery by successors in death cases in which medical negligence contributed to a reduced survival probability. In particular, detailed research was conducted on the three states (Michigan, New Hampshire and South Dakota) for which a loss of chance rule emerged from the courts, only to be later revoked by legislative action. We primarily used LexisNexis to compile the relevant information, but also used other various online sources.

States Blog
Updated the tabled information for the States Project Blog at the National Association of Forensic Economics website, which compiles the laws of the 50 states related to four aspects of the practice of forensic economics (e.g., discounting and taking account of taxes and inflation). We checked that the cited material was still “good law” (not subsequently overturned or limited in applicability), using LexisNexis and various other sources. The updated table will be launched sometime in August 2014.

Reduction Method Table
Created a table depicting each state’s reduction method in cases of wrongful death, where awards to the estate or statutory beneficiaries of a decedent are reduced to account for either the personal consumption or personal maintenance of the decedent. Research was conducted through LexisNexis and a set of helpful secondary sources.

Right of Action Table
Created a table depicting the right of action as an estate or statutory beneficiary (or both in a few states) for bringing a wrongful death case in each state. Research was conducted through LexisNexis.



Published Work With Summer Research Assistants

Much of the research accomplished over the summer has led to published articles in academic journals where both the summer research assistant and the professor are listed as co-authors. Below are some of the more recently published articles: