Honors Projects for Economics

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    Emergency Department Utilization, Costs and Effects of the Homeless in Hawai’i
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014) Mochizuki, Kenta ; Traczynski, Jeffrey ; Economics
    The homeless situation is a great concern for many here in Hawaii. Between 2012 and 2013, Hawaii had the 2nd highest homeless person per capita ratio, surpassed only by the District of Columbia (National Alliance to End Homelessness 2014). The purpose of this research is to find an estimate of the financial impact that the cost of homeless healthcare is having on hospitals, physicians and tax payers and increase what is known about the homeless in Hawai`i. My data will come from the HMIS homeless database and the MEPS medical database. My research will be done in four parts. The first will be to rebuild the fragmented homeless dataset. The second is to organize my homeless sample and the MEPS data into bins. The third is to create tables and other figures based upon that data. The fourth is to analyze my tables, other figures and dataset. The fifth is to use computational methods to derive the needed estimates. The findings of this paper were that the homeless go to the emergency department much more than those in the general population. The homeless have a much lower insurance coverage rate than that of the general population. The mean and median total unpaid estimate for the homeless population who received emergency and outreach services is $28,127,689.59 and $15,788,303.30. Having uninsured homeless individuals obtain Medicaid, does not immediately increase payment amounts to emergency physicians.
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    A Comparative Analysis of Energy Policy: Europe vs. the US
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014) Doherty, Kevin ; Karacaovali, Baybars ; Economics
    This paper argues that the elasticity of demand for energy in the US and Europe is the main driver of their energy related policy. First, elasticity of demand for energy, which is a measure of how responsive people’s consumption of energy is to changes in energy prices and people’s income, is broken down into its main components: Population distribution, existing infrastructure, and historical economic drivers. Next, each subsection of these components are investigated to show how they affect the elasticity of demand for energy. Finally, the socio- political climates of both the US and Europe are analyzed to show the manifestation of policy driven by the elasticity of demand for energy. Due to the high elasticity of demand for energy in Europe, there exist policies that reflect the population’s ability to substitute for energy saving alternatives. Likewise, in the United States, there is a relative lack of policies that incentivize consumers to change their behavior due to the lower elasticity of demand for energy.
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    Life Satisfaction of Undergraduate Students: Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivators
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2017-05) Kozai, Landon ; Love, Inessa ; Economics
    In college, choosing a major involves thinking about its extrinsic and intrinsic attributes, for instance its pecuniary benefits versus the degree to which it is internally rewarding. Some students may choose lucrative majors over those which they believe are internally rewarding and vice versa. Previous research has shown that those who pursue intrinsic goals are happier relative to those who pursue extrinsic ones. However, people tend to overestimate the life satisfaction gained by extrinsic needs while underestimating the satisfaction gained by intrinsic needs. It is possible that students choosing a major for reasons conflicting with their personal goals may suffer from lowered life satisfaction. Nonetheless, the temporary circumstances of college students may create a unique dynamic from what has previously been studied. 270 University of Hawai’i at Mānoa college students were surveyed at random. Constructs such as optimism and feelings of community, among others, were found to be indicators of increased life satisfaction. This research may suggest that factors such as the possibility of employment and financial prospects, in addition to other known correlates are key determinants of life satisfaction in college students.
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    Coalition Formation with Multiple Payoff Pots
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-05) Yee, Bryson ; Juarez, Ruben ; Economics
    We study the behaviors of individuals who form groups in order to cumulate power to win payoffs in theoretical scenarios. Individuals are given an arbitrary power and must form coalitions in multiple successive game rounds with multiple payoff pots of varying and decreasing value. Individual powers are additive in a coalition and must be large enough in order to overcome the collective powers of other coalitions that may form. All individuals have the option to form, join, or not join a coalition presented by either themselves or other agents in a given round. A consolatory pot in a later round may yield a higher payout for a certain agent if that agent does not need to share it with other agents, exposing a high level of strategy for each individual playing the game. We present several different theoretical scenarios using test groups of three individuals with predetermined powers and calculate the rational course of action for each individual based on their power. Generalized three-agent models are presented. Additionally, scenarios of larger four agent coalitions are also analyzed for the best courses of action. Focus is put on analyzing the differences in strategy that arises in differences in sharing type and payout pot size.
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    Japanese Trade Policy: Has Japan Jumped on the Bandwagon of Bilateralism
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2015-05) Wainwright, William ; Karacaovali, Baybars ; Economics
    Since its reopening to the rest of the world in 1868, Japan’s economy and trade policy have continued to evolve an prosper. However, in less than 50 years following the conclusion of World War II, Japan has propelled itself to becoming the world’s 3rd largest economy. Japan’s trade policy like the state of its economy has changed as well. In 50 years following the end of World War II a significant amount of trade liberalization occurred under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and it’s successor the World Trade Organization (WTO). The formation of free trade agreements (FTAs) is a relatively new phenomenon not only in Asia, but worldwide. However, since the early 1990s the number of free trade agreements (FTAs) has skyrocketed. Despite their popularity in other parts of the world, FTAs were almost nonexistent in Asia until the formation of the Japan-Singapore FTA (JSEPA) in 2002. Using a qualitative choice model this paper attempts to identify the economic and political factors that determine the formation of FTAs in the case of Japan.
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    Microfinance and Poverty Reduction: Can One Organization Make a Difference?
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Saki, Christopher ; Love, Inessa ; Economics
    Microfinance has become a controversial topic in the field of developmental economics. Proponents maintain that access to microfinance services allows those in poverty to escape a “poverty trap,” a microeconomic situation in which limited resources prohibit individuals from rising above the poverty line by their own means. Opponents of microfinance argue that the benefits of microfinance are unsubstantial and do not result in any significant improvements to quality of life on a substantial and observable level. They also point out the inherent problems in the microfinance industry, citing issues such as poor regulation, inefficient business management, and lack of financial literacy by those who actually utilize microlending services. Currently, there is a limited amount of analysis correlating microlending with subsequent economic and social development on a macroeconomic level. This paper summarizes the results of linear regression analysis of time-series data relevant to microlending and human and social development throughout the world across multiple regions and levels of development. Areas of interest include health, education, and other non-traditional measures of development, such as sanitation and use of mobile technology. Furthermore, this paper links findings of statistical significance in the regression analysis to information and observations obtained during field research to comment on the effectiveness of microfinance initiatives in Bangladesh, one of the oldest, largest, and most-active microfinance sectors in the world.
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    Private Investment and Renewable Energy in Hawai`i
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Ross, Ian ; Boller, Robert ; Economics
    Renewable energy is recognized as a large issue in Hawaiʻi. In Hawaiʻi today, most energy used on the energy grid comes from gasoline. As a whole, Hawaiʻi spends billions of dollars each year purchasing this gasoline. In 2012, 8.6% of GDP was spent on energy costs. In the traditional sense, being that there are no deposits of fossil fuels, Hawaiʻi is an energy poor area. However, the sources of renewable energy such as sunlight, wind, tides, rain, and geothermal are abundant in the state. As of 2010, 10.9% of energy generated was renewable. I will explore the role of private investment in Hawaiʻi's transition to greater utilization of renewable energy. Impacts that the government policy has is of particular interest. Hawaiʻi is set in a fascinating situation where high costs may push the state down a pathway to increased reliance on renewable energy faster than the rest of the United States, making it a de facto leader for the country. For this reason, researching renewable energy in Hawaiʻi could provide insights into renewable energy nation-wide. By examining investment, production, consumption, and the market share of different sources of energy, I provide an analysis of how private investment influences the amount of renewable energy generated.
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    Why Lehman Brothers? An Examination of the Investment Bank Bailouts of the 2008 Financial Crisis
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Maja, Chelsea ; Wang, Liang ; Economics
    The idea that strong connections between investment bank executives and politicians leads to a government bailout when the bank finds itself struggling with insolvency, otherwise known as crony capitalism, has sparked the interest of scholars and popular writers alike (Bartiromo 2010, Cresswell 2008, Prins 2009, Ritholtz 2009, and Rosas 2006). Research on the bailouts of the 2008 financial crisis in particular has indicated that banks who are politically connected are more likely to receive aid from the Federal Reserve (Blau 2013). Blau’s paper looks at emergency aid from the Federal Reserve for all types of banks rather than just the investment banks. This paper will look specifically at the bailouts of the investment banks. In particular, it will examine why Lehman Brothers was the only investment bank to not receive a bailout.
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    Examining the Relationship Between Nationality Diversity and Professional Soccer Team Performance
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Colby, Alex ; Greaney, Theresa ; Economics
    This project examines whether professional soccer teams’ player nationality diversity is related to team performance. I look at the team performances and rosters of all teams in the top five revenue earning soccer leagues in the world, the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the German Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A, and the French Ligue 1, and use an ordinary least squares regression to examine this relationship. My analysis also includes the control variable “team’s average player quality” to mitigate the occurrence of omitted variable bias. The results indicate that nationality diversity does not have a significant relationship with team performance in the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, and Italian Serie A, but it has a weakly significant, slightly negative relationship with team performance in the French Ligue 1. The implications of my research are that it could demonstrate a new model for successful team composition and initiate a more cost effective way for team owners to engage in player transactions.