Childhood Exposure to Mass Incarceration Affects Educational Attainment

By Brock Mutic, Queen’s Economics Department

New research by Queen’s professor Sitian Liu studies the effects that exposure to mass incarceration has on the educational attainment of African Americans in a paper with relevance for policy makers hoping to understand the unintended effects of the criminal justice system in the United States.

In the United States, the educational attainment of black people has historically lagged behind that of white people. Between the 1960s and the mid-1980s, the gap began to close. Since the late-1980s, however, the gap has begun to widen again, with black men experiencing a greater decline in relative educational attainment than black women: 

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Leading Economic Experiments in Latin America

By Brock Mutic, Queen’s Economics Department

QED professor Karen Ye brings her work with the Joint Initiative for Latin American Experimental Economics (JILAEE) to Queen’s, building international connections, and providing research opportunities for students and faculty.

Queen’s Economics Department (QED) Assistant Professor Karen Ye joined Queen’s in 2020 after completing a postdoc at the the Joint Initiative for Latin American Initiative Experimental Economics (JILAEE). Dr. Ye continues to serve as Assistant Director of the institute, an experimental economics research initiative based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, founded in 2018 as a partnership between the University of Chicago—where Dr. Ye received her PhD in 2019—and the Universidad del CEMA (UCEMA) in Buenos Aires. It “use[s] insights from behavioral and experimental economics to reduce inequality and promote economic betterment in Latin America” [1], by “partner[ing] with public and private institutions to produce rigorous research, support[ing] researchers to run their own field experiments in Latin America, and bring[ing] together a network of world-class researchers and innovators” [1].

Testing the Waters

Dr. Ye herself is a behavioural and experimental economist, who combines insights from economics with psychology, sociology, and other disciplines in her research. She conducts experiments in the field to test economic theories. Much of Dr. Ye’s recent research has involved studying how peer effects can affect the human capital investment decisions of young people. “What I’m interested in,” she says, is “how people are affected by their peers and social network when making decisions”. Thus, when UCEMA professor Julio Elias approached Ye and her PhD supervisor at the University of Chicago, John List, with the idea to establish an experimental economics research initiative in Latin America, an area ripe with experimental potential, it was initially a very exciting idea. Before the team at UChicago was prepared to take the plunge into a new world of field work on a different continent however, they wanted to test the waters. Specifically, Dr. Ye and her colleagues wanted to know what kind of demand, if any, existed on the ground for the kind of research they were interested in.

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Improving Girls’ Education in Africa: A PhD Student Research Profile

Through droughts, a global pandemic, and a military coup, Queen’s PhD Student Ardyn Nordstrom has been studying the effects of education interventions on girls’ education in rural Zimbabwe since 2017. In Summer 2022, she finished her PhD studies and begin her new position as an Assistant Professor in Program and Policy Evaluation at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.

Article by Brock Mutic Queen’s Economics Department with Chris Cotton

Ardyn Nordstrom, a recent PhD graduate from the Queen’s Economic Department (QED) and a John Deutsch Institute (JDI) fellow, had no idea her research on the effects of educational interventions in rural Zimbabwe would take her to the places it did. In fact, Nordstrom had not expected to be studying educational interventions in rural Zimbabwe at all.

Nordstrom’s undergraduate path, like many others, was formative and ended in a place it did not begin. Nordstrom studied commerce as an undergraduate at Carleton University, a world away from rural Zimbabwe. She became interested in development economics after taking several courses in the subject. The spark had caught fire. Going on several service trips to Guatemala and Mexico and working with people on the ground influenced her future path even more. Nordstrom’s travels inspired her to pursue a career in development and development economics.Read More »

Economic historian Frank Lewis retires after 44 years at Queen’s

By Nora Ottenhof, JDI undergraduate research assistant

After 44 years at Queen’s University, economic historian Frank Lewis has retired. Prof. Lewis has contributed immeasurably to the Queen’s University community through both his groundbreaking research and passionate teaching style. His research legacy has provided countless insights into First Nations economies in Canada, the fur trade, slavery, and migration, among many other topics.

Throughout his career, Lewis has devoted a great deal of time to the study of trading between First Nations people and European colonizers. Lewis’s 2010 book Commerce by a Frozen Sea, written in partnership with Ann Carlos, delves deeply into the subject matter and is what Lewis considers his greatest professional accomplishment. As Lewis explains, the goal of this research was to understand the exact nature of this relationship. Such questions were posed as: Was the correspondence strictly commercial? Who had the bargaining power and by what degree? How did both the Europeans and First Nations people respond to changes in the market given their limited access to information?Read More »

Why do Wages Differ Across Countries? Lessons from migrants to Canada in the 1920s

By Frank Lewis, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Queen’s University

A chambermaid in Canada has a wage more than twice that of a chambermaid in South Korea; a pharmacist earns four times what a pharmacist in India earns; and a registered nurse receives six times the earnings of a registered nurse in the Philippines. These approximate purchasing-power-parity comparisons typify the large wage gaps between Canada and many other countries; and lead to the question: why doesn’t the chambermaid in South Korea, the pharmacist in India, and the registered nurse in the Philippines move to Canada? Read More »