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A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights Assistant Professor Chris Mothorpe’s research estimating the economic damages due to power lines. Mothorpe and his colleague David Wyman published an academic article in which they calculated that properties located adjacent to transmission lines sell at a 45% discount.

The link to the Wall Street Journal article is:


The link to their original paper is:


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Professors Peter Calcagno and Douglas Walker recently published a paper on the effectiveness of business-intervention style reality TV shows. For more information:

Economics Professors Binge-Watch Reality TV for Research

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This past year the Center for Public Choice and Market Process celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Center’s director, Peter Calcagno, has done a wonderful job building the Center into an intellectual leader on the College campus. He has raised over $1 million over the last 10 years, and put that money to excellent use.

Every year the Center sponsors Adam Smith Week, a celebration of economics. During this event, the Center has hosted numerous prominent economists, including Nobel prize winner Vernon Smith. The Center organizes other talks throughout the academic year, including those given by superstar academics like Deidre McCloskey and Richard Epstein. Unsurprisingly these talks are popular – this past year over 1000 students attended talks hosted by the Center!

A major part of the Center’s mission is to support undergraduate education and research. From the beginning, the Center has sponsored a Book Colloquium, in which students meet in a small group with select faculty to discuss current writing in economics. In addition, the Center now provides scholarships to its Market Process Scholars, who are expected to work with faculty on research.

The Center has also provided direct support to faculty in Economics, Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies. Fourteen papers and two books have been published with support from the Center.

The Center has been a terrific resource for the students and faculty in the Economics program for the last ten years. We look forward to more success in the future.


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Dr. Beatriz Maldonado is an Associate Professor of Economics and International Studies. She is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and later moved to Oklahoma. She earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Oklahoma. Her research in economic development and political economics has appeared in the European Journal of Political Economy, Oxford Development Studies, Applied Economics Letters, and Social Science Quarterly. She has worked with students on research topics in political economy and development. Recently, one of those research projects with Alumni Schylar Brock was published in Economics and Business Letters. Dr. Maldonado teaches Macroeconomics, Economics of Globalization, and Economic Development.

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ODE Induction 2018

Posted by: blackwellc | June 7, 2018 | No Comment |

On May 4, 2018, Professor Doug Walker welcomed the newest members of Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE), the Economics Honor Society. The following students were inducted:

  • Caroline Carmichael
  • Francesca Howard
  • Meg Montgomery
  • Trevor Padoll
  • Mark Rohrbacher

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Adam Smith Week 2018

Posted by: blackwellc | June 7, 2018 | No Comment |

Every spring semester, in conjunction with the Department of Economics, the Center for Public Choice and Market Process puts on Adam Smith Week. Through a variety of events, the week is a way to engage students, faculty, alumni and the community in a conversation on the ideas of Adam Smith and economics in general.

The theme of this year’s Adam Smith Week was Mainline Economics. Six prominent economists visited the College and gave lectures on six Nobel Laureates. The speakers (and the respective Nobelists) were:

  • Randy Holcombe (Nobelist: James Buchanan)
  • Bruce Caldwell (Nobelist:Friedrich Hayek)
  • Lynne Kiesling  (Nobelist: Ronald Coase)
  • Bart Wilson (Nobelist: Vernon Smith)
  • Bobbi Herzberg (Nobelist: Elinor Ostrom)
  • Kevin Grier (Nobelist: Douglas North)

For more information on Adam Smith Week, visit http://sb.cofc.edu/centers/publicchoice/programs-and-events/adam-smith-week/index.php.

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Graduating Seniors Caroline Carmichael and Meg Montgomery each made presentations at this year’s Association of Private Enterprise Education in Las Vegas. On April 2, 2018, both Meg and Caroline presented their posters at a special session focusing on undergraduate research.

Caroline’s presented work on income inequality. In her poster, “The Regional Determinants of Income Inequality,” she showed that a number of factors significantly impact income inequality at the state level. In particular, more economic freedom, increased education and higher union participation rates all seem to reduce income inequality.

Meg’s research project, “An Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap Amongst Congressional Staff Members,” formed the basis of her Bachelor’s Essay for the Honors College. In her research, she found that women Congressional staffers suffered from a larger pay gap than the 2017 national average, and that this gap was larger for women working in Republican legislator’s offices.

Congratulations to Meg and Caroline for presenting their hard work!

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This year’s winner of the Fanchon Morrow Condon Memorial Award/Outstanding Economics Student is Meg Montgomery. Meg is a Presidential Scholar graduating from the Honors College with a degree in Economics and minors in Data Science and Philosophy. She has been in the Center for Public Choice & Market Process Market Process Scholar program for two years. She has had the opportunity to work on various research projects and has presented her research on the Gender Wage Gap in Congress at the Association of Private Enterprise Education Undergraduate Poster Session, and William Moore Undergraduate Research Conference. She is the captain of the Women’s College of Charleston Ultimate Frisbee team and enjoys photography.

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Mark Witte in the Post and Courier

Posted by: blackwellc | July 19, 2017 | No Comment |

Mark Witte, Associate Professor of Economics and MBA director, is quoted extensively in this Sunday’s Post and Courier. The article, on private equity purchases in South Carolina, is available at:



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Behavioral Economics, Nudges and Handwashing

Posted by: blackwellc | July 12, 2017 | No Comment |

Student’s Bachelor’s Essay Yields Practical Policy Advice

We all know we should wash our hands regularly. Yet studies suggest as few as 5% of Americans wash their hands in compliance with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.

Zach Sturman, a Political Science major/Economics minor, and Daniela Goya-Tocchetto, Adjunct Professor of Economics, wanted to improve handwashing rates, and they seem to have done it. Sturman, who will enter Vanderbilt University’s joint J.D./Ph.D. program in Law and Economics in the fall, became interested in behavioral economics while taking an economics course with Professor Goya-Tocchetto. The two subsequently teamed up to design a ‘nudge’ – a non-binding behavioral cue –  to encourage more handwashing.

Sturman started the project by measuring baseline handwashing rates in the Beatty Center restrooms. Don’t worry – he didn’t skulk around the bathrooms watching people wash their hands! Instead, using infrared people monitors, he and Professor Goya-Tocchetto carefully counted the number of persons who used each restroom, and the amount of soap they consumed. From this data they could compute average soap consumption, a proxy for handwashing. (Note: Consistent with previous research, they found that men washed their hands less than women – let’s work on that, guys!)

Once the baseline was established, Sturman was ready to see how his ‘nudges’ would work. First he tried posting smiley faces on the mirrors in the restrooms. There was little effect, so he tried a second ‘nudge’ – arrows glued to the floor leading from the toilets to the sinks. Presto! This simple intervention increased soap usage by 15%! Consistent with previous studies, Sturman’s work showed that a simple, cheap and easy-to-implement cue could be used to positively change behavior.

If you are interested in learning more about Sturman’s project, his article for the College Today is available here:


Zach Sturman (far left) presents his research at the William Moore Student Research Conference

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